ACL Battles: CSS vs. Man Man

Round two of our ACL battles pits Brazilian dance/pop band CSS vs. Philly artist Man Man.  This is our earliest battle of the festival weekend with both bands playing at 3:30 on Saturday.  CSS will be gettin’ it down on the AT&T Blue Room stage while Man Man plays on the Dell stage.  So the question is simple: Power pop goodness from the ipod commercial makin’ CSS or get a little more intense with war paint wearin’ Man Man?  Tell us who you’re seeing and why.  Both bands most recent singles are below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/02-rat-is-dead-rage.mp3]

Download: CSS – Rat is Dead (Rage) [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/manman4.mp3]

Download: Man Man – Big Trouble [MP3]

Stereolab @ Emo’s (9/24)

Stereolab, now working on 18 years of existence, will be playing at La Zona Rosa on Wednesday evening.  The show may be one of the only legit shows going down this week that has nothing to do with ACL.  Tickets for the show are $25 and can be bought from Gettix.  Below is a song from the band’s 2008 album Chemical Chords entitled “Three Women”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/0911_stereolab_-_three_women.mp3]

Download: Stereolab – Three Women [MP3]

ACL Battles: MGMT vs. Spiritualized

Okay, so I personally think this may be the toughest choice to make of the festival.  On one side, you’ve got a very young band in MGMT who have only had major success since the release of their superb second album Oracular Spectacular in 2007.  On the other hand, Spiritualized are coming up on twenty years of existence and have been seeing success since before members of MGMT were in middle school.  Both bands will be playing at 5:30 on Saturday on the AT&T Blue Room stage and the Dell stage respectively.  You have a choice between the psych-pop of MGMT or the space rock of Spiritualized.  What’s it gonna be?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/04-electric-feel.mp3]

Download: MGMT – Electric Feel [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/spiritualized_-_soul_on_fire.mp3]

Download: Spiritualized – Soul on Fire [MP3]

Town Hall ACL Battles: Manu vs. Mars

Town Hall ACL  Battles is another feature we will be bringing you everyday leading up to the festival this weekend. The idea is fairly simple: two bands, same time slot, same day, who ya gonna pick? Feel free to leave comments on why you should or shouldn’t see each band represented in our “battles”. Now obviously we can’t hit every single conflict over 5 days so don’t be offended if we miss something. These are “the big ones”. Our first battle pits Manu Chao vs. Mars Volta both headlining around 8:30 on Friday. The schedule does have Mars Volta ending at 9:30 and Manu ending at 10 but were talking about opposite ends of the park (AMD and AT&T stages). It might take you 30 minutes just to get from one side to the other this late in the day. So, Sunday at 8:30, where ya gonna be? Getting your face melted by the prog-rock of Mars Volta? Or jammin’ to the world sounds of Manu Chao? If you need a little assistance, we have the most recent singles of both bands. Ding Ding.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/rollingstone_download_manuchao_politikskills.mp3]

Download: Manu Chao – Politik Kills[MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/04-wax-simulacra.mp3]

Download: Mars Volta – Wax Simulacra [MP3]

ACL Preview: Colour Revolt

This being the week leading up to ACL, we’re going to preview the Festival by offering you a feature of a few bands we’re pumped about seeing. We’ll try to keep it to bands that might be a little left of center or not quite on everyone’s radar. Today, we take a quick look at Colour Revolt out of Oxford, Mississippi. A short bio, song preview and a ton of links after the jump.

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Pecan Street Festival

The Pecan Street Festival goes down this weekend and the huge lineup of vendors, artists and musicians is yet again quite impressive.  The event takes place all day Saturday & Sunday on 6th street in Austin.  Headlining band for the festival is none other than Tommy Tutone… Not familiar with Tommy Tutone?  Watch this video to refresh your memory.  You can see a full list of vendors and artists schedules over on the Pecan Street Festival website.

Calexico – Carried to Dust

Rating: ★★★★½

This is the Calexico I know and love. This is the Calexico I fell in love with when I was just a little lad. No offense to those of you who enjoyed the more rock oriented stylings of Garden Ruin from 2006, but I personally found that album mostly boring and too ordinary. No no, give me that band I used to know from the days of The Black Light or Feast of Wire any day. Much to my delight, newest album Carried to Dust shows a return to that missed form. The guys even hark back to the old Mexican themed album covers after the random black bird on the cover of their last album.

The sound I’m talking about is that dusty, old, spaghetti western, Quentin Tarantino movie soundtrack makin’ sound that’s been the staple of Calexico since their very beginnings. When listening to some of the tracks on this album, specifically tracks “El Gatillo” and “Man Made Lake”, can’t you imagine these as a build up to a bloody shoot out? Or our hero riding off into the Mexican sunset? I can’t seem to get it out of my head.

Another huge highlight on this album, and something I can’t remember Calexico pulling off before, is the sweet dueling vocals of “Inspiración”. The song almost seems like a Spanish version of a song that came out earlier this year called “You Want That Picture” featuring Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Ashley Webber. I loved that song and I can’t get over this one either. Maybe I’m a sucker for good male/female blended harmonies.

Then there’s Sam Bean of Iron & Wine.  Sam shows his face later in the album on standout track “House of Valparaiso”.  The song sounds like it could have easily been something left over from the 2005 Calexico/Iron & Wine EP.   Sam Bean’s rusty and worn voice fits perfectly with the intimate feel of this track.   If I had my way, Iron & Wine would merge with Calexico and take over the world.

I can’t really find any holes in the album, maybe besides random filler song “Sarabande In Pencil Form” and a possible throw away in “Writer’s Minor Holiday.”   Calexico can speed things up with the best mariachi bands and then bring you back down with a heart felt serenade. Here’s to hoping for more of the same from Calexico.

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