ACL 2017 In Photos: Saturday – Weekend One

Time for more photos from the Great Lawn. Thanks for coming.

The Saturday edition of photos features a new local supergroup, a not local supergroup, some singers and song-writers, local heroes and super dance pop. We also pepper in some tribute time for Tom Petty. We heard plenty of Petty covers over the weekend, but the best thing was shutting down all the stages for a moment to playback his rendition of “Freefallin'” from a headlining set a few years back as skydivers jumped out of plane above the festival and floated down with sparkler boots. It was giant sing-along, lighters up.

Bands captured – Ought, Mobley, Capyac, Traveller, Car Seat Headrest, Dreamcar, Thundercat, Angel Olsen, Cut Copy and Spoon

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Is America Ready for No Zu?

nozuI’m not quite sure a lot of people Stateside have heard of No Zu…unless they picked up the Cut Copy compilation Oceans Apart from awhile back.  But, the groove on this track from the Melbourne artists will surely perk up some ears here.  First, there’s that throbbing pulse, yet you can also hear the influence of so many other areas like big band to 80s pop music.  It’s an interesting pastiche, and one that should come across as rather refreshing in a genre that can often grow stale.  You can grab this new single from the band’s new label, Chapter Music, or wait for their next LP on the label early next year; it’s titled Afterlife.

 

New Ben Browning Cut Isn’t A Copy

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Ben Browning is in Cut Copy. I love Cut Copy. What to do when one of the gents does some solo work? Usually it ends up being derivative of the band, but this isn’t the case. It is a very simple and clean synth disco jam, slightly surfy and plenty bright.

“Make It Easy” is the first track available from the pending release called Turns. The record is due in the summer on Yellow Year Records.

Show Review: Cut Copy @ Stubb’s (6/21)

Cut CopySometimes you have to pay the toll. The heat was taking the toll. Stubb’s is probably just a little too small to host Cut Copy these days. The band is stuck in popularity in the gap that Austin can’t quite handle and I doubt Cedar Park Center would be a popular destination for an indie-pop electro Aussie dance party.

Damn. It was hot. We sweat, we dance, we sweat more. We wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Click through for a couple more thoughts and plenty of pics.

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Cut Copy – Free Your Mind

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Whenever a band that has been around for longer than ten years puts out a new album, there is always the question of what they will do to keep things fresh but maintain the style that brought you to love them. However, this hasn’t seemed to really troubled Cut Copy’s Dan Whitford, as his synth dance based samplings keep on attracting more and more fans. This time around, the band has taken the hypnotic approach to their tunes, which compliments their sound quite nicely.

If you couldn’t tell from the brightly colored album artwork, or even the title of the record, the first taste of this fourth LP, “Intro,” should clue you in to where this band is going. Consisting of some highly altered, deep set and robotic vocals telling you briefly to do as the album’s title suggests, and “Free Your Mind,” serving as the beginning of the hypnosis. On the following title track, the Australian group opens up things for real with their driving dance beat and layered synthesizer patterns. As per Cut Copy’s style, the sound starts off with some base sounds: high-hat sounding percussion and Whitford’s nasal-toned voice, stand out immediately. Then, they build on themselves, adding piano, bongo-sounding percussion, other female vocals chiming in with some “oh, yea’s.” Overall, you get this jungle-esque groove that builds to a choral crescendo, which should have fans happy, as it’s a pretty typical sound for this group.

This cult-ish movement for the group doesn’t stop here, but continues through the album. Of course, if you buy into the hypnotics of the record, it feels great; each song keeps your body moving, but if you don’t completely fall under the spell first presented, it takes a little while for you to get into Free Your Mind; the heavy presence of not so subliminal messaging is a bit overwhelming at points, but there are still some great tracks on the record. Immediate standouts include “In Memory Capsule,” that shows off a slower side, albeit still dance-able, tune that asks “can you feel it/once in a lifetime?” raising the theme of going through the motions of emotions versus actually feeling something. Another hotspot on the record is “Meet Me in the House of Love,” in which driving waves of never-ceasing synth drones and a high intensity beat is asking you to shake it.

Really, this album makes me want to get up and dance in whatever state or location I’m in. It’s quite difficult to not bob your head to these synth dance pop tracks, so if that’s what they meant by ‘Free Your Mind,’ then by all means they’ve succeeded.

FFF8 In Pictures – Friday Edition

The WalkmenDid you not go to Fun Fun Fun Fest? Wish to be tortured by a ton of images from Auditorium Shores? Did you go and want to try to find yourself in a crowd shot? Your ears still ringing from Snoop?

Are you are fan of twerking? Do you like Aussie Electro Pop? Is Hamilton dead sexy? Or is Little Boots more your speed? Big Freedia? Not judging…

Time to waste the rest of your day with the big gallery from Friday! Raise your pimp cup and click through to have your eyes treated to my festival.

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Cut Copy Is Playing FFF8

Get ready people, Fun Fun Fun Fest is upon us. Festival season is a fickle beauty. It enchants you with dance and libations and wrecks your perception of reality and your liver.

The wife and I will celebrate fifteen years of marriage on the day before FFF8. Cut Copy is her favoritest. Free Your Mind like Neo jumping off a building and dance a little. Here is perfect synths pop dance jam called “We Are Explorers” to get you in the mood for Friday on the Orange Stage.

The Little Ones – The Dawn Sang Along

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Rating: ★★½ · ·

Releasing their debut album back in 2008, The Little Ones have henceforth been known for their hyper-energized, guitar laden power pop. With members of this group coming from the band, “Sunday’s Best,” this group is comprised of several musicians giving their best go at making music that people can shake it to.

If I could say one thing about The Dawn Sang Along, it would be that it essentially defines a ‘fun’ record. When the first inklings of synthesized beat begins, you can already feel the anticipation building quickly before the song takes off. Such is the beginning of the album in “Argonauts,” which opens things up with all of The Little Ones’ explosive and energetic bouncy pop. The borderline falsetto vocals work to keep things extra light and airy, while mechanic drum beats and synthesizers give this band a sound that resembles a mixture of bands like Two Door Cinema Club and Cut Copy. “Argonauts,” though the first track on the album, manages to maintain its resonating catchiness all through the rest of the album, driving to return to it time and time again.

But, as I mentioned before, The Dawn San Along is pretty much the embodiment of a fun record, and so The Little Ones have a lot more to offer than just one song of sunshine. Indeed, the follow the first track with the equally catchy “Boy on Wheels,” which possesses the same hooky guitars that this group exemplified on their previous record. Some other stronger tracks off the album include “Shake Your Sign,” which incorporates some less static sounding drums, opening up the dimensions of sound. Also, late on the album is “Ain’t It Like You & Me,” which closes out things nicely with its building and echo-y vitality.

Though this record is sunshine and fun expressed in a summery sound, it may just be a little too sugary and bright for anyone but teenage girls. To their credit, they do try and slow things down and sober up a bit on numbers like  “AWOL,” but The Little Ones just can’t really shake off the sunshine. And to some, it may just be what is needed to shake off the winter blues, but for others, The Dawn Sang Along might come across like that person who is always smiling a bit too widely, too early in the morning.

Friday Top 5: Album Covers of 2011

Well, it’s a little later than last year but it’s time again to turn the music down and put on your art-critic monocles and top hats.  Yes, in a year where some heavy hitters came along with some high quality production, I did my best to highlight of few of the lesser known ‘other’ artists involved in completing the full album package. Just like the last two years (2009, 2010), my discriminating eye is looking for quality in a holistic sense when it comes to album artwork. Essentially my main question is whether or not it could stand on its own bringing into the discussion composition, tone, balance, introduction of text and its use, color, etc. With that said, here are a few of the best album covers for 2011.

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Friday Top 5: Best Pics of 2011

The photo guy has to have his best of list, right?

The five photos featured are my favorite moments shooting music this year. I want to share some background about them, what was going on when they happened. These aren’t the “best” photos I have taken, but they are all my best memories captured. Thank you, 2011 Live Music, and thank you Austin Town Hall for inviting me to be part of the team.

Break it for the rundown and a gallery of other favorites…
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