Archive for Friday

The Avett Brothers

The Avett BrothersEmotionalism isn’t the latest album by the Avett Brothers (see: I and Love and You) but since the “latest” one isn’t out yet — and nobody seems to have a preview copy — the tracks I’ve actually heard include “Die Die Die”, “Paranoia in B Major”, “Will You Return”. Make no mistake: they’re really good and generally upbeat which is not what I’d expected.

I wasn’t sure how much I’d buy into this indie-folk kind of thing, considering how burnt out I’ve been on Rilo Kiley and the like (I’m looking at you, Saddle Creek Records). The Avett Brothers have a fresh sound to my ears, though. They’re adequately hip and bluesy at the same time and I’m definitely fine with that.

THE VERDICT: Sounds like a good afternoon possibility.

Medeski Martin & Wood

Medeski Martin & WoodNormally, any act even loosely associated with “free jazz” would earn automatic disapproval from my brain. Radiolarians II is an exception, though. It certainly helps that it’s not that unmetered, disconnected schlock “loved” by people who make $140,000 a year or more. That’s not fair, though.

Medeski Martin & Wood (who, curiously, lack commas) write some genuinely interesting tunes. Lots of build-up and resolution and you just sort of get the idea that the guys actually know what they’re doing with this music stuff. In the interest of full disclosure, I remember liking the aforementioned record a lot more during the first listen than during the second but, regardless, I think they’ve warranted a stop-by.

THE VERDICT: If they start playing in 13/6, I’m leaving. I don’t think they will, though.

Medeski Martin & Wood

Medeski Martin & WoodNormally, any act even loosely associated with “free jazz” would earn automatic disapproval from my brain. Radiolarians II is an exception, though. It certainly helps that it’s not that unmetered, disconnected schlock “loved” by people who make $140,000 a year or more. That’s not fair, though.

Medeski Martin & Wood (who, curiously, lack commas) write some genuinely interesting tunes. Lots of build-up and resolution and you just sort of get the idea that the guys actually know what they’re doing with this music stuff. In the interest of full disclosure, I remember liking the aforementioned record a lot more during the first listen than during the second but, regardless, I think they’ve warranted a stop-by.

THE VERDICT: If they start playing in 13/6, I’m leaving. I don’t think they will, though.

Lunch Money

Lunch MoneyMore Austin Kiddie Limits stuff. It’s kind of strange, though. I feel myself lowering my standards for music intended for kids — understandably so, I think — and yet I still could see some label like Saddle Creek having no problem signing Lunch Money. Maybe that’s just because “A Cookie as Big as My Head” sounds a lot like Rilo Kiley to me.

Truth be told, the indie pop sound is pretty irresistible in this context; it’s almost like if Tenacious D were targeted towards 9-year-olds (wait a second..). In a predictably deferential sense, though, I’ll pass. I love the aspiring hipster kids and all but, you know, I grew tired of stegosauruses long ago.

THE VERDICT: Cute but nah.

Walter “Wolfman” Washington

Walter \"Wolfman\" WashingtonIt’s strange how vividly I’m able to predict how some of these acts will fit into my schedule. With a very high degree of certainty, I can say that Walter “Wolfman” Washington will garner at least a few songs worth of my attention at the WaMu tent on Friday afternoon. I mean, I say this not taking into consideration the other Friday acts and, of course, having no idea what the actual schedule will be, but I’ve been through this song and dance before. Funky blues will get a hold of my ears and not let go.

It’s not even that Wolf Tracks is that interesting to me (it’s fine but I wish it was more upbeat). I can just clearly imagine the set being engaging, having huge solos and audience interaction, and just generally being a fun time. It certainly doesn’t hurt that twelve-bar blues is one of my favorite sounds. I guess my high school obsession with Tower of Power is still latent in some capacity.

THE VERDICT: Pretty much automatically.

Walter "Wolfman" Washington

Walter \"Wolfman\" WashingtonIt’s strange how vividly I’m able to predict how some of these acts will fit into my schedule. With a very high degree of certainty, I can say that Walter “Wolfman” Washington will garner at least a few songs worth of my attention at the WaMu tent on Friday afternoon. I mean, I say this not taking into consideration the other Friday acts and, of course, having no idea what the actual schedule will be, but I’ve been through this song and dance before. Funky blues will get a hold of my ears and not let go.

It’s not even that Wolf Tracks is that interesting to me (it’s fine but I wish it was more upbeat). I can just clearly imagine the set being engaging, having huge solos and audience interaction, and just generally being a fun time. It certainly doesn’t hurt that twelve-bar blues is one of my favorite sounds. I guess my high school obsession with Tower of Power is still latent in some capacity.

THE VERDICT: Pretty much automatically.

Daniel Johnston

Daniel JohnstonWhere do I begin?

I have to admit that I must be a terrible Austinite. I had no clue where the famous “Hi, How Are You” mural came from before I started looking into Daniel Johnston a few days ago. Let’s get this clear: Songs of Pain is really good. I imagine I’ll enjoy a decent chunk of his other albums when I go through them (I already know I love “Walking the Cow”). Beyond that, some of the covers of his songs are wonderful — see: TV on the Radio’s “Walking the Cow” and Beck’s “True Love Will Find You in the End”. Johnston is, it seems, an Austin icon in every sense.

That said, I seriously can’t decide if I want to see this set or not. By all accounts, Johnston is a severely overweight man whose mental health is sharply deteriorating and, frankly, I just don’t know if I want to experience it in person. I was already afflicted with Bob Dylan a couple of years ago and I see this being eerily similar: a bunch of people cheering and applauding because the man is trying his best. I suppose I can’t very well say that I “don’t care” about Johnston’s show but, wow, I’ll have to keep thinking about this.

THE VERDICT: Ick. I guess so. I’m pretty terrified, though.

Jonell Mosser

UPDATE (May 21): A small conversation has sprung up about this post. I’ll leave it unchanged but the information in the comments may be of use.

Jonell MosserI can’t figure out how much of this is a joke. Jonell Mosser‘s website is a disaster and I can only find one-and-a-half tracks anywhere at all. Her MySpace page has no songs on it. Who does that?

Anyway, if I had to guess, she’s a singin’ and songwritin’ gal just tryin’ to make it in this world. I suppose the full track I heard (“Good Thing“) was kind of cute and maybe even a little catchy but, come on, I couldn’t care less about seeing her set. I’m not much for country-folk-rock-whatever in the first place and that video, which shows her drummer using a padded chair instead of a trap set, just oozes with contrived minimalism as if they were trying to get “back to basics”.

That pisses me off.

THE VERDICT: Um, no.

Barton Hills Choir

Barton Hills ChoirWell. Pretty much nothing is known about the, um, Barton Hills Choir. Although, really, a bunch is known. This is almost surely a church choir from the Barton Hills neighborhood of Austin. They’ll be in the WaMu tent and probably be the first or second act to go on Friday. I imagine I’ll stop by for a song or two but, if I’m being honest with myself, it doesn’t matter to me at all.

THE VERDICT: No offense, guys.

Nelo

NeloThese guys may be on to something. Formed in Austin, Nelo will have a career there as long as they want. They have exactly the laid-back jammy sound that Austinites tend to go crazy about and, honestly, they’re closer to Dave Matthews Band than I’m comfortable admitting. I like what I’ve heard — hooray pop songs, boo “messages” — and I can already envision them being just what the doctor ordered for the hottest hours of Friday.

For the interested listener, their tunes might take some searching. I’ll start you off with a couple of choice tracks, though: “Roots” and “The Note“. It’s really a shame that the biggest following around Nelo will almost certainly be UT frat-boys who are intrigued by this urban version of country music. Whatever.

THE VERDICT: Looking forward to it.