Austin City Limits Music Festival 2019 will be going down on October 4-6 and 11-13, and though we got the initial lineup announcement, those of you looking to catch just a few acts can rejoice, as they’ve dropped the Day-By-Day Lineup and single day tickets are on sale now. By the looks of it, it may be a pretty split for those looking to catch similar acts. Friday of both weekends seems to be for the bros of rock and roll with Guns N’ Roses, The Raconteurs and Tame Impala. Saturday is for the feels with Childish Gambino, The Cure and Billie Eilish. Sunday looks to round it out with some dancing/general baddassery from Cardi B (Weekend 1), Robyn (Weekend 2) and Lizzo (Weekend 2). Are you going a full weekend or just picking a day? Whichever you pick, choose quickly and scoop those tickets before they sell out!
Austin City Limits Festival has decided to hold on to the momentum established last year making some bold choices for artists from top to bottom. Guns and Roses are the truly random selection that will be either a spectacle or a spectacle; I’m hoping for the best, but the random thing would be seeing “Live Or Let Die” two years in a row with fireworks. Other artists we will be locked in on – The Cure, Idles, Tame Impala, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, The Raconteurs, FIDLAR, Cherry Glazerr, Men I Trust and randoms.
I am sure there will be more developments as we get closer. Wristbands on sale at 12pm CT. Let’s get weird.
It was a busy weekend. There was a race going on out at COTA, there was house prep for the long run into downtown known as SxSW, a friend’s birthday and this little show that friends put together where several of my favorite local bands were covering Cure songs to benefit The Teenage Cancer Trust. Among participants, we get Bali Yaaah, Modern Medicine, Knifight with half of Night Drive, Moving Panoramas and many more…
Click through for a few thoughts on best-of performances and plenty of pics to see what you missed or relive a great night.
Weekend One of ACL was nothing but fun. Hopefully, you followed along on the intarwebs with the Twitter and Bookface. Me and the people I like a lot spent time in the sun, luckily. It was like a fest of two halves split by a cold front. Oppressing heat and humidity dominated until about 3pm on Saturday and after that, Chamber of Commerce. I will be making a #dontmovehere flag for next year just in case the stars align to give us that glorious cold front of blue skies.
I loved Wild Cub, Electric Six, Lionel Richie, Depeche Mode and The Cure. The collection of photos includes plenty of random revelers that we know as festival people. Click through for a couple extra notes and plenty of pics. See if you can find yourself…
Had I known it was going to be the last day of ACL, I would have gone all out, but I didn’t foresee the future, so I only went mildly out. Regardless, I was up bright and early, as one of my favorites, and perhaps one of the best acts, had an early slot.
Shotgunned beer? Check.
Now on to my highlights and Brian’s photos.
Fridays tend to ease you in, Saturdays tend to beat you down. Or at least the odds of self-inflicted wounds go up exponentially. You have a little hangover, perhaps you start the day with a bloody mary, but by the end you are shirtless, missing a flip-flop and wondering why your hand is blue. For me, it was a pretty non-stop run at awesome; I won at Festival.
Click-through for a few notes on the first Saturday. *spoiler alert* The Cure wins in the end.
Despite what we see in jewelry commercials this time of year, life and love isn’t all hallmark moments and wonderful memories. Sometimes we make mistakes, big mistakes. Mistakes so big that simply buying your loved one aforementioned jewelry can’t help. When that happens, being true to your heart and honestly apologizing is always best. With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, poor (dumb) souls can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone; after all you’re only human. If your heartfelt apology is not enough to smooth these rough waters you are sailing, consider a mix tape. After all, God created mix tapes for this exact reason; to tell someone through song, what you are feeling inside. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few tracks to hopefully ease the pain and invoke the love back into your Valentine just in time for a romantic day. Commence sappiness in 3…2….1…
A few years back I walked into this band, unintentionally, and they’re melodic popscapes have since been part of my valued collection. Really, it’s hard not to love a good band from Sweden. Alas, The Mary Onettes return with their latest album Islands. It’s still got that sweeping emotional grab to it, though listeners familiar with their older work will be able to see that the band sounds much larger than they ever sounded in the past.
“Puzzles” just steps up the band’s reputation from the get go. You’ll find that shrouded wall of noise opening the album, but the electronic bounce that brings the song full circle will catch you in its grandiosity. It bares the mark of Ekstrom’s delightful vocals, warm and dark one minute, then pushing for the upper limits of catchy melody. This is all followed by “Dare,” which was issued on the Dare EP earlier this year. Two for two from the opening moments.
One of the interesting steps aside for the group comes on “Cry of Love.” It’s full of negative space, almost a dark void, but filled with Ekstrom’s brooding vocals. And in the middle of the song, level drumming comes in, almost as if it’s meant to just move the song along until the end. This is one of the band’s moments where they show restraint, scaling back the melodic attack on your ears, quietly sitting in the middle of the album.
And just like that, the winds of the album have turned, well, they’ve calmed down rather. Large bursting sonic pop-tarts are being replaced by a steadier hand in the middle of the album. “The Disappearance of My Youth” and “God Knows I Had Plans” definitely take a turn away from the bombastic jump-start of Islands. For me, this provides a subtle change in the band’s dynamic, which enables the group to push more variation into their songs.
But, the darkness returns with Cure influenced “Symmetry,” which oddly, is one of the best moments on the record. You can hear the eighties in the song, almost too much, but then again, the band has always bordered on being labeled as relevant nostalgics. And with this, they’re off again, jumping right into “Century,” a song aided by pounding drums and sky-high vocals. It’s like Glasvegas-lite, and you know your heart can’t fight that sort of audio attack.
And there you have it, another successful album by The Mary Onettes. Nothing is daring on this album, but nothing need be. You’ll find yourself with an album worthy of harmonies and brooding, just like you remember them talking about (or maybe you participated) in the tail-spin of the eighties. Still, there progression and perfection of pop music labels the group as more than classic revisionists; if anything, they’re definitely relevant, as Islands clearly proves.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/01-Puzzles-1.mp3]
Download: The Mary Onettes – Puzzles [MP3]
Some of the simplest music occasionally connects with you on the most personal level, and this probably is just one of those times. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have released one of the most personal albums of the year, and yet there is no explanation. From start to finish, the album wins you over, time and time again.
Minute one is full of the jangly guitar pop that leapt all over the indie landscape throughout the late 80s and into the 90s. Surrounded in layers of reverb and feedback, it chugs along, claiming that “you never were a contender.” Lyrically, it is one of the most simple ideas put to paper, but you can carry that any which way you like; it never takes away from the magnificence of the music.
At times, you can clearly see the influence of bands like My Bloody Valentine, as the band use various effects to coat their sound in a darker spectrum, but at the heart of it all is a clear understanding of the craftsmanship in pop formulas. Suppose you cleared away all the atmospherics intentions of the band, just for a moment. You would find the most accessible pop song you’ve come across this year, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. This New York quartet didn’t take the easy way into your hearts, they took the road less traveled.
Vocalist Kip seems like the sort of guy you always wanted to hang out with when you walked through your campus. He wasn’t pretentious, not even in his writing, as he was assuredly an English major. Still, every time you saw him cross your path, you knew he had something to him; you knew he could take over the world. Here, his voice is warm and entirely unassuming. The songs he crafts are all the things you wish you could’ve written, and he’ll gladly share them with you.
One of the more intriguing elements here is that the bobbing bass work is precisely what this record needs to move along. It’s got a certain bounce to it that makes you want to continually move your feet. It’s club music for those that just don’t have the need to go to the club every single night of the week. Toss that in with the simple, yet exact, drum work, and you have a rhythm section that can really claim to be the backbone of this band. See “Teenager in Love” for the perfect example of the strength of the rhythm section.
Vocal interplay across the album is perfectly fitting, coddling every little harmony. There is nothing modern about this record, other than the fact that it came out in modern times. It could fit in alongside the best albums of the Cure or even the Go-Betweens, yet it stands on it’s own two feet. Each turn brings you a new melody, a new angle with which to approach the songs. You don’t want to put it down, as you are sure that there has to be more to what lies beneath the album.
But, greatness aside, there is a drawback to the album. You want to keep listening to it over and over again. You want to play it on your walks, in your house, in your car on a sunny day. That can be a bit much, and since the sound is a bit repetitive at points, you might find yourself worn out on the album in a short time frame. Rest assured, you’ll be back soon to keep listening to this album time and time again[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/07-everything-with-you.mp3]
Download: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Everything With You [MP3]
Long ago, circa 2003, Longwave released The Strangest Things. It was an album full of possibilities; part pop album, part New York cool. Then comes 2005 and There’s A Fire loses everyone, pushing the band back to start. So where on Earth will we find them with Secrets are Sinister?
Briefly, lets journey back into the late 80s/early 90s, a time when pop music was a socially acceptable medium. Let’s face it, The Cure was a pop band; they still are. Yet, somewhere along this path, marketing interrupted creativity, rendering pop music virtually useless. In steps Longwave, circa 2008.
This album is precisely what a pristine pop album should and still is. Opening track “Sirens in the Deep Sea” is a heavy hitter, blasting guitar swells from the instant you press play, but then it drapes careful melodic vocals upon the walls of the song. It’s not the most novel approach, nor do we ask it to be, but there is not an instant where this song doesn’t immediately feel familiar and lasting.
“No Direction” keeps the pace with it’s predecessor, continuing the beating, yet this song is one of the one’s that harkens back to the band’s heyday. Most unique here are the levels to which singer, Steve Schlitz, pushes himself; it’s the most passionate he’s ever sounded.
However, it’s not all scowling guitars and walls of feedback. Let’s take “The Devil and the Liar,” for instance. It’s a calm moment in this storm of a statement; it’s also fairly reminiscent of Albert Hammond Jr, one of Schlitz’s dear friends, or at least old friends. This song clearly states that the band can play both ends, and they play it well. Similarly, you play a song like “Shining Hours” and you find yourself basking in the rays of pop goodness. It’s got a youthful edge, but one we can all identify with, no matter who we are. Longwave‘s ability to tug at any and every emotion is clearly where the band is at their best.
In trying to find a detractor here, one could easily state that there isn’t too much here that is pushing the limits of the local musical lexicon, but since when did everyone really have to go out of their way to be different in order to garner some sort of fandom. Clearly Longwave treasure those moments musically that we can all share; those moments when we realize we all love music for the same reason. That’s the secret.
You can listen to the record, Secrets are Sinister, in its entirety by visiting the band’s web site.