ACL 2017 In Pictures: Sunday – Weekend One

The Final round from the photo pit, but first a love letter…

Hopefully, you know the feeling you get when you are on a good team, when all types of different people come together and get things done. Now, my fellow Austin music photographers weren’t shooting for the same outlet. In fact, we mostly compete for your views, but the reality is that each in the group takes care of the other. Whether it is an extra water, pepto tabs, pickle run or a spare memory card, it makes festival life awesome. Truly talented and happy to have them as colleagues and, more importantly, friends. When the Sound on Sound announcement landed, we were crushed, not just for the organizers, but also to lose that chance to just be together all doing what we love.

…and bitching about something the whole way.

Today’s gallery features Deap Vally, Melat, Middle Kids, Charlotte Cardin, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Whitney, Caitlyn Smith, DRAM, First Aid Kit, Run The Jewels, Portugal. The Man and Gorillaz.

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ACL Weekend One Recap

A fun, exciting, and sometimes exhausting Weekend one of Austin City Limits Festival is officially in the books kids. As always, the organizers managed to run things like a well oiled machine of music festival royalty. We saw some significant changes this year for the first time in awhile, and while many might have been skeptical at first, things still went off without a hitch. For weekend one, myself, Nicole, and BGray were all in attendance frantically covering as much ground as possible. We’ll start some recaps today with thoughts from all three of us and some quick shots from photo man Brian.

Hit the jump for more.

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New Tunes from Blur

Remember these kids?  Yeah, it’s been awhile since you heard from Blur, but now it seems that the band have patched things up with Graham Coxon.  They released a UK 7″ for Record Store Day (damn you UK!), but the band made the track available to US fans.  It’s a pretty chilled out little track, and one that resembles Albarn’s works with Gorillaz as opposed to Parklife, but who really cares?  I mean, come one, this is Blur, and they were one of the best (2nd best in my opinion) Brit pop groups ever. Love this new track.


Download: Blur – Fool’s Day [MP3]

Broken Bells – Broken Bells

Rating: ★★★★½

If you’ve been living in a cave for the past 10 years or so, here’s a music tip: There’s an indie rock band from New Mexico called the Shins and there’s a music producer from New York named Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton). They are both good at their respective positions and have enjoyed very lucrative careers. Well the romantic tale begins in 2004 in Denmark when Shins front-man James Mercer met with Burton and they discovered a mutual respect and fandom.  After years of playful collaboration in a secret, bunker-type studio, the result is virtually seamless.

The resources of Mercer and Mouse blend together in a way that is well thought out and intriguing as first, but it’s not life changing music. (For me, Chutes too Narrow changed my life) It is, at the least, very enjoyable. The record is no doubt a candidate for best album released so far; however just ask me about it at year’s end.  If you listen to the radio, chances are, you’ve heard the first single, ‘The High Road’.  The group also just began their tour with a stop at the Late Show with David Letterman (AKA How can anybody stand him?) performing the single live for the first time to great success. The group isn’t going to blow you away with their live performances, but no one should find that surprising.

The track ‘Your Head is on Fire’, pulls a page from Animal Collective with very Panda Bear-esque vocals and samples mixed in. This simple but effective layering technique falls away displaying some of the best of Mercer’s lyrics on the album and I find myself going back to this track in particular for repeated listens. ‘The Ghost inside’ sounds like the next Gnarls Barkley single/ Gorillaz until Mercer’s lyrics come back in about half way through. (How ironic that the Gorillaz new album was also released the same day?)

‘October’ and ‘Citizen’ are about as vintage Shins as we find on the new record, circa 2007. On both tracks we find intriguing lyrics of which Mercer is well known, though the latter, it is the only track that feels over-produced.  It’s really the only track that feels significantly different from the rest, though the final third contains wonderful musical dénouement.

‘Mongrel Heart’ with a good hearty bass line that drives the track and ‘The Mall and the Misery’ finish off the record strongly, but fall to make any real lasting impression for me. It is a smart record that holds a good tempo throughout, with each track holding an infectious beat which is becoming something of a Danger Mouse calling card. So at your next party,  if you were wondering  how to make the Broken Bells ‘cocktail’: Take one part Shins, one part Gnarls Barkley, and one part Gorrilaz, mix with ice and strain (for a smooth consistency), garnish with a little Panda Bear and serve in a high-ball glass (Nothing too classy). Repeat as needed.  Your buzz may not last as long as you’d like.

Austin gets 2 chances to catch the group at SXSW:

Wednesday March 17th @ Stubbs – NPR’s Official Showcase

Friday March 19th @ Lustre Pearl – Dickie’s/Filter Party


Download: Broken Bells – The High Road [MP3]

Men Without Pants

Now that I have the ladies attention with the post title (tee hee)…. Our favorite producer man Dan The Automator (Gorillaz, Deltron 3030) is producing and playing on a new album with Russel Simins (John Spencer Blues Explosion). Dan, as always when he collaborate with folks, has come up with another unique name for the project: Men Without Pants. The album is said to have special guests including Sean Lennon, Pelle (lead singer of The Hives) and members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Mooney Suzuki and Cibo Matto, amongst others. A release date for Naturally is set for August 19th. Check out two songs “double life” & “and the girls go” from the highly anticipated new album below.  You likey?


Download: doublelife.mp3


Download: andthegirlsgo.mp3