When looking at the ACL lineup, we ATH kids always get really excited about the middle of the day bands. For starters, those are typically the bands in the prime of their career, coming off a recent well constructed album. Not to mention that the crowds aren’t quite as big and you’re just getting into that mid-day buzz. While perusing those afternoon bands this year, I first took notice of upstart Santa Barbara group Gardens & Villa. Follow the jump for more.
It’s that time of year again, with the Austin City Limits Festival just around the corner. As one of our favorite festivals, and one of the many musical outlets in the city, we thought it was our job to keep you updated on the acts that are vital to a successful weekend out at Zilker Park. Our first act to take a look at is Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs. Read More
What? You don’t have your own copy of Funky Was the State of Affairs yet? What are you waiting for? It’s one of the most interesting listens of the year, and the band makes their way into Austin at Beerland on Friday night, ready to share their talents with us all. We caught up with the band trying to get the story on their life and their latest release.
ATH: On Funky Was the State of Affairs you seemingly steer clear of the folk art rock spectrum you were lumped into on the first release. Was the progression natural or did you actively seek to distance yourself from your past?
F&G: Interesting, because I also saw the folk rock comparison being drawn. I don’t get it. But to answer your question, it’s both. This band started as friends making music pretty randomly; without too much thought given to cohesion or style. Our first output was really just a collection of songs that didn’t fit with our bands at the time. Both of us are fairly prolific songwriters. When it came time to do the first Lp we had the opportunity to define the bands identity a bit. We were already tired of being lumped into the indie/garage/lo-fi labels that were popular at the time. Music is so much more fun when you stop trying to please others and just do what you’re gonna do. Fergus & Geronimo is a good outlet for me to be a bit more daring than I am in my other bands.
ATH: Thematically speaking, what’s the most important aspect of the new record you hope people take away after listening? Do you feel that message is being well received by the regular earthlings such as myself, or have we missed the point?
F&G: I don’t really want to make any suggestions about what the audience should take away from the record. Let them glean what they will, because at this point I’m not sure if I even intended any narrative for it. I definitely don’t think its a record for everybody. I mean, there is a reason that this band isn’t headlining festivals, we can only survive in the very small margins of independent rock music that we do. Music is not a universal language, thank god.
ATH: I think I unjustly lumped you in with bands like White Denim when you first burst onto the Texas scene. Who do you guys see as your musical contemporaries, be them past or present?
F&G: I identify with bands that are fiercely individualistic. Funkadelic, Sparks, Devo, Quintron, Beck. I’ve never heard White Denim.
ATH: When bands create a piece of work like Funky…. I always wonder whether or not the group is taking a jab at listeners. Do you guys feel like there’s any relevance to that comment, or did you set out just to create a record where you could have the most fun in the studio?
F&G: Yeah I think by nature we Are slightly confrontational. But, most of the art I enjoy is cut with a healthy dose of aggression. I can feel how somebody might feel alienated by this record and deem it as being tedious. But, that happens all the time, people ask that artists understand them rather than seeking to understand their art.
ATH: Do you guys feel like you’re appreciated in Texas, or do you have a bigger response from audiences outside of your home state? I always feel like Texans have a tendency to look the other way until their bands make a bigger name for themselves.
F&G: As much there as anywhere else I suppose, I haven’t noticed any place that has more F&G fans than others really. I would say our biggest fans are our close friends, many of which are in Texas.
ATH: If there’s a statement song on Funky Was the State of Affairs, one where you establish the mood/theme/etc for the whole record, which track do you think that is?
F&G: I think it would be the titular track.
ATH: You guys are obviously in the midst of a good long tour. What’s the one thing you miss the most about being in the comfort of your own home?
F&G: Well it’s only day three so I haven’t really started missing anything yet. I’m sure the answer for me is alone time.
ATH: What advice do you have for all the young upstart bands in Texas? What should their goals be?
F&G: Just do your thing And have fun. Freak life is a beautiful thing, embrace it.
If you like what you hear, you can catch Fergus and Geronimo rocking things out Friday night at Beerland. Thanks to J. Baxter for help setting up the interview! Pick up Funky Was the State of Affairs now at Hardly Art.
Download:Fergus & Geronimo – RomanTick [MP3]
In honor of their show, which we just posted about a bit ago, we wanted to share with you an interview we just did with Deep Time. We talk about their recent record, Jennifer’s voice, and Austin bands you need to check out. Be sure to make it in time to check out one of Austin’s most deserving bands. I’m guessing they’ll go on around 11. Read More
Well, everyone else is doing it, so why don’t we? We’re going to toss out our top five albums of the year, except we’ll be doing it with our four main contributors, so hopefully that’ll mix things up a bit. Obviously, we’re only half-way through the year, so things are subject to change, and by things I mean our minds.
Nathan and I were just discussing the other day when it was that we really got into Brooklyn based experimental pop group Suckers. We think it was way back in 2009 when we sent out an email interview to the band for ACL fest and then left very impressed with an amazing live show from the upstart band. From that point, Suckers has landed on year end lists for music, appeared on award’s lists for performances during SXSW, and eventually played our SXSW show this year. All this culminated in a love affair with the band that has turned into a major bro-mance. All that being said, we of course had to ask these guys to take part in our lost in Austin takeaways while they were in town at Red 7 last Friday. The resulting video is a beautiful take on their new song “Chinese Brail” from the just released Candy Salad. Follow the jump for video and more info.
UPDATE: Apparently Marrissa had to cancel due to illness, but we’ll leave this up because we love the band. We’re just a few short days away from Chaos in Tejas, but we still have a few bands we think should be on your radar. Screaming Females is one such act, and one that you surely have to be aquainted with by this point…but if not, here’s the good word.
The New Jersey trio have been working tirelessly since o5/06, with five full lengths to their name–including this year’s excellent, Ugly LP. There’s all kinds of ways you can label the band, from punk to garage to perhaps metal (if you consider their recent tour with Tragedy), but the band has one key element that makes them something entirely unique, something you might consider a spectacle; they have Marissa Paternoster.
Marissa is probably one of the most unassuming women in rock n’ roll, that is until you catch the band live. She stands about 5 foot tall, average fashion sense, almost shy in appearance. But, when she steps onto the stage, something transforms her into one of the most powerful women in rock n’ roll. She slings her guitar around as she furiously strums, and that voice, dear lord that voice. I remember the first time I caught the group as they were opening for Ted Leo a few years back (and you all know I love Ted) and she almost blew Ted off the stage. This by no means indicates that Jarrett and Mike (the other two) don’t own their instruments as well, but if you’re looking for a live performance that will change the way you look at music, then you don’t need to go any further than by watching Screaming Females. I promise you, if you want to catch one band, it’s this one.
Download: Screaming Females – Expire [MP3]
Anytime you listen to some jangling garage pop track, or off-beat power pop, the odds are, that band was influenced by the Clean, who’ve been releasing songs since 1981; their first single is the track we’re featuring below.
They didn’t actually release a full-length album until almost a decade into their career, instead compiling tons of singles to release as compilations on the legendary Flying Nun label in their home country. But, disbanding and focusing on different groups, often incestuous groups with other NZ acts like the Chills, saw them sort of sputter out, barely making the radar outside of their island home. Hopefully, that all changed when Merge released their album, Mister Pop, a few years back, bringing the band some new fans.
For me, I say start with the Anthology, as that was my first introduction to the band many years ago; it’s got tons of great singles waiting to be your favorite track. Within those songs you’ll see the energy and wit that defined the group’s sound, leading them to be one of the most revered, yet underappreciated acts, of all time. I’ve never seen them though, and I know it won’t be the same as watching them back in the day, but just to hear some of these songs live will further complete my life as a music fan. They’ll definitely be worth your time.
They play at 11 PM at Club Deville on Saturday, June 2nd.
Download:The Clean – Tally Ho [MP3]