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ACL Interview: My Brightest Diamond

mbd

We are merely a skip and a hop away from ACL Festival 2k14, and so to get you properly hyped (as if you weren’t already) we’ve got yet another artist interview to tantalize you from your office chair or couch and get those feet itching to touch ground at Zilker Park already. Today’s interview features Shara Worden, the lady behind the moniker My Brightest Diamond, who released This is My Hand earlier this year.

ATH: Now, this is an ACL interview, but we’ve got to ask, which would you rather play: a club show or a festival?

SharaWhen I was conceiving the album, I imagined an outdoor festival where a marching band approached the stage from behind the audience and surrounded them, creating a 3D affect. Then I imagined that on the stage the rock band would have a micro version of a marching band with flute, clarinet, trumpet, alto sax, and trombone, so that there could be this kind of call and response between the big macro marching band in the crowd and the mini but microphoned group on stage. Dreams come true! So sometimes when I get lucky, this situation actually happens and we are lucky enough to have a marching band in Austin!!!

ATH: You’re slated to play on the Sculpture/Zilker Stage from 4:30-5:30 on Saturday for both weekends, if you could pick any bands from the lineup to play before and after you, who would it be?

Shara: Whoever is playing before and after us!

ATH: Would you rather play to a crowd that knows all the words to your songs, or get the chance to win over a crowd who has never heard of you before?

Shara: My ideal engagement with an audience is when we can have it all, every emotion. I love us singing together, laughing together, dancing with abandon, and also being able to be silent and cry in certain moments. That’s my goal in every show, to create an environment for release, for oblivion, for anger, for joy and if that happens with those who know all the lyrics or with people who have never heard the music, then I’m happy.

ATH: This Is My Hand, your latest full length, has received a fairly large amount of praise… does this make you more inclined to play more songs from it, or can we expect a mix of new and old?

Shara: This show is a mix, weighing heavily on the new material but jamming some oldies too. Some of the songs on This Is My Hand are too difficult for me to play with a trio formation, so not all of them are ready for the stage.  With some more work I will be able to play a song like “Shape”,  but it’s in 5/4 and I sing in 4/4, then when the drums move to 4/4, I play my guitar solo in 5, so it’s tricky. I need to practice more. I recorded myself improvising and singing as I was writing, and then I often kept the exact improv, but formalizing it by notating it for other people to play, especially with “Shape” and the title track “This Is My Hand”, so it’s very hard for me to repeat exactly what I did. Possible ultimately,  but I need more practice.

ATH:  Best food you’ve had on tour so far?

Shara: Vietnamese noodles in New York.

ATH: Favorite song to play live?

Shara: “Pressure” !  I like the loud parts best!

ATH: Of the new songs, which have you enjoyed breaking in so far on the tour?

Shara: “Resonance” is fun because it feels like just pushing up against a wall and banging on it until the wall comes down.  You never really know what it is going to be each night, so it’s a risk and that feels good to just take a chance.

You can catch My Brightest Diamond and her macro and micro marching bands on the Sculpture (Weekend 1) and Zilker (Weekend 2) Stages on Saturday at 4:30.

Chilled Groove from Dirt Dress

dirtydressingI honestly don’t really know how to pigeonhole Dirt Dress (I know you’re probably thankful for that); they definitely have this groovy vibe with those sunny Cali vocal recordings, but I don’t feel like the music they’ve crafted on this latest single really has a lot of compatriots. It’s actually kind of refreshing, and I love the fact that the guitar seemingly wobbles out of key, though clearly its done with purpose. You’ll enjoy the mini-pop explosion near the end with its touch of horns and keyboards.  Look for their new Revelations EP on November 4th via Future Gods.

Another Holy Youth Ditty

holyierJust last week I wrote about the pop tunes of Holy Youth, and this time they’ve got an even softer approach to their songwriting that might win over listeners.  It’s interesting, as there’s multiple textures working together, though they seem to approach a point of cacophony…you know distorted guitars working against bright angular tones and such.  Personally, the vocal touch on this song is immediately more appealing (though I grew to like the vocals on the previous single), which I think will go along way for listeners. Don’t forget that Happenin Records will be releasing the group’s self-titled album on October 14th.

New Indiepop Gem from The Popguns

091jacketIt seems like it’s been far too long since our friends at Matinee Recordings have unleashed something new on the masses, but they’re now ready with the much anticipated return of The Popguns.  The Brighton act had largely been quiet until the last few years, tweaking their line-up a tad, and writing their first new material in 18 years.  This single below is the feature on the group’s Lovejunky EP; the shimmering guitar work has this attraction you can’t deny and Wendy’s voice has this matured innocence to it that’s inescapable.  You’ll be able to get your hands on one of the rare cherry red 7″, numbered by hand, but you better act quick because songs like this get a lot of love.

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Download: The Popguns – Lovejunky [MP3]

Show Preview: Dark Blue @ Beerland (10.2)

ceremonyThe town is about to be billowing over with traffic; you know you’re going to be filled with angst, especially if you live near Barton Springs Rd, so why not get that anger out with a really rad rock n’ roll show at Beerland on Thursday.  I’ve covered a lot of the tunes from Dark Blue, who are sort of a lesser-known super group of sorts (Paint it Black, Strand of Oaks, Ceremony); their music is this darkened rock n’ roll that’s had me hooked for weeks.  But, if that’s not enough to get you out, then just look at the incredible line-up featuring great local acts Total Abuse, Video and Xetas; there’s not a better bill in town, I promise.  Check out Pure Reality below, the new LP from Dark Blue.

Another Great Tune from Evil Arrows

evolMan, I’m really loving this stuff from Evil Arrows.  During the hours when I’m feeling the need for relaxation, I put on this act.  There’s something about them…something that reminds me of Superdrag (one of the most underrated acts in my opinion). They’ve got this spin that’s half-pop, yet a little bit out there in the world, filling space with cascading solos and crashing cymbal work.  Sure, it’s the softer side of rock n’ roll, but it’s right up my alley.  If you like what you hear, look around for the bands EP 4, which comes out today.

A Little Dream with Methyl Ethel

740088_718075458235398_671062281685800029_oAs I’m finally getting back on top of life, I’ve come across this gem from Methyl Ethel that I seem to have glanced over mistakenly, as there’s no other reason for that exclusion on our site.  Recently they gave this tune a live spin via THIS VIDEO, but I’m stuck on the swirling guitar work that casually glides like only the dreamiest pop songs can.  A nice little echo on the vocals smooths things out just a bit, completing my love of the tune. They’re wrapping up the finishing touches on their debut album, so I’ll keep you posted on the Aussie outfit.

More New Music from Cool Ghouls

socoolSome bands just get you. Their sound encompasses everything you’ve been enjoying over the last however long, which is where my infatuation with Cool Ghouls begins.  They’ve got this semi-folk feel to their sound, though admittedly, it’s been more folk than semi.  That being said, the newest single from the group has a nice touch to it that seems to amplify the band’s sound; I love the way the vocals hold onto a gang approach. If you’re looking for something that adheres to the current psychedelia cum folk realm, then check out their new album, A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye, when it hits on November 11th via Empty Cellar Records.

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