Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – If I Had a Gun


Uncle Noel drops another session of “songwriting 101” on “If I Had a Gun”. “Gun” is how you do it, kids. Want to learn how to write like the best, you gotta learn from the best. And Noel, even at his ripe old geezer age, can still write circles around pretty much any other songwriter remotely in his genre. Thematically, “If I Had a Gun” dips a bit more into Noel’s affinity for Neil, the dusty ballad Neil, and Zimmerman, but the moment that chorus hits you’re back in the familiar and loving territory of anthemic NG shout-a-longs.

Noel Gallagher england (Official) (Facebook) (Noel’s 50 Funniest Quotes)

Rating 8.2


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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Good Rebel


Someday when we meet Noel Gallagher one of the questions that we will ask him about is his perception on b-sides. “The Masterplan” “Talk Tonight” “Listen Up”, undoubtedly some of the best songs Noel’s ever written have been b-sides. “The Good Rebel”, despite not making the cut for his forthcoming two completed solo albums, holds ground with those other great tracks in the Noel b-side pantheon. If a b-side can rule this hard, we can’t wait to see what else NG has.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Good Rebel


Noel Gallagher england (Official) (Facebook) (Noel’s 50 Funniest Quotes)

Rating 8.3

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Noel Gallagher – The Death Of You And Me


If you’re an Oasis fan, make that if you’re a music fan, then you have waited for this. You’ve likely contemplated at some point, ‘what would Noel Gallagher do if he weren’t in Oasis?’ (of course, your worse fear being that it would just sound like Oasis).

A few days ago Noel released a choral and strings version of a track that we had first heard of from a soundcheck in Brazil in 2009. Clearly the song has gone places. Noel has completed 2 studio LP’s which are seeming less like a Le Noise approach in favor of something more George Martin, more Burt Bacharach, more cinematic, more “The Importance of Being Idle”. Not that we’re complaining, “The Death Of You And Me” is epic and High Flying Birds is sure to be nothing short.

Noel Gallagher – The Death of You and Me

Noel Gallagher england (Official) (Facebook) (Noel’s 50 Funniest Quotes)

Rating 8.5

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Noel Gallagher – Everybody Is On The Run (Soundcheck Brazil 2009)


“Everybody Is On The Run” is an unreleased, and yet to be heard again, song from Noel Gallagher recorded during an Oasis soundcheck in Brazil early May 2009. Oasis nerds like us understand that it rarely gets better than the sound of Noel alone with his guitar, and this tune is no exception. a melancholy track, incredible melody, so simple, so soulful… so NOEL! that being said, the cheif’s new album is gonna be mind blowing!! c’mon now.. even George Martin considers “Noel to be the finest songwriter of his generation.” this record is gonna be MEGA! a rumored track listing and album release date (8/10/2010) is listed below. also below are a few clips of other unreleased tracks that may show up on his solo album…

“NG – 8/10/10

1. Revolution Song
2. Stop the Clocks
3. The Magic Can’t Be Right
4. Lazy Days and Sunny Rays
5. If there’s a god
6. Everybody’s on the Run
7. Let it come down over me
8. If i had a gun
9. I want to Live in a Dream in My Record Machine / Purple Parallelogram
10. Its Over now”

Noel Gallagher – Everybody Is On The Run (Soundcheck at Citibank Hall, Rio de Janeiro Brazil 5/9/09)

pre-order Time Flies
help noel gallagher buy sky

clips of two other “new” gems…

in other big “O” news… a new Oasis compilation album titled Time Flies.. 1994-2009, will be released June 14th. Liam Gallagher’s to be named band, hopefully not called Oasis… and with ex-Oasis members including Andy Bell on guitar, is expected to release a single sometime in October in conjunction with some live dates. also, Liam is putting together a feature film with the team that produced 24 Hour Party People based on a book which he owns the rights about The Beatles circa 1968-1970, titled The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider’s Diary Of The Beatles, Their Million Dollar Apple Empire And Its Wild Rise And Fall.

rating: 9.5

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Noel Gallagher’s Playlist


Noel tells us about the music he loves to rip off. At first you will wonder why the Beatles aren’t on here, but then you’ll remember the Beatles aren’t on iTunes. All songwriter swindling debates aside, foookin’ a man, d’you know what i mean?? some killer tunes. You can grab it on iTunes HERE.

(Track 1) Aphrodite’s Child – The Four Horsemen
“An absolute lost psychedelic classic fronted and sang by the ’70’s housewives’ choice – Demis Roussos – everything else he done was utter sh*te!!” – noel

(Track 2) The Pretty Things – Baron Saturday
“So good that I fully intend to base the rest of my career around it.” – noel

(Track 3) The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – Infra Riot
“The opening track from the album Behind The Music. The album of the decade. (FACT)” – noel

(Track 4) The Doors – Back Door Man
“We always forget just how good the Doors were. Could’ve picked maybe a dozen classics. This one will do for now.” – noel

(Track 5) Bob Dylan – Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
“The tune made famous by Manfred Mann, which is brilliant, but the original? Phew…far out! This is why Dylan’s a genius.” – noel

(Track 6) Michael Andrews – The Artifact and Living
“It’s that piano piece from the Ford Mondeo advert. Beautiful.” – noel

(Track 7) Marmalade – I See The Rain
“Another lost 60’s psychedelic classic. Get on the guitar solo.”- noel

(Track 8 ) Colosseum – The Kettle
“Don’t know anything about these lot apart from they’ve been sampled by Fatboy Slim and they all love to solo, all at the same time.” – noel

(Track 9) Pink Floyd – One Of These Days
“Bloody awesome, old bean!!!” – noel

(Track 10) Elvis Presley -Moody Blue
“The King. ‘Nuff said.” – noel

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Liam Gallagher – Man of Misery


the first offering from Liam Gallagher/ Oasis co-starring Andy Bell/ Pretty Green… whatever the fuck you want to call it, seems an accurate glimpse at what we can expect from our kid moving forward. 2 minutes of straight-forward, no bull-shit rock and roll. that’s no bullocks folks, d’you know what i mean?? godlike.

Liam Gallagher – Man of Misery


bump anyone?

rating: 8

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B3SCI Best of 2015: Staff Favorite Songs


Hello 2016. Goodbye 2015. 2015 was a year. We’ve elected at B3 this year that in lieu of arbitrarily ranking a list of top x-number tracks that we’d prefer to share lists of the favorite songs of the year of each main B3SCI writer. Following later this week will be B3’s choices for top artists of the year and our picks for artists to watch for 2016. Thanks for reading.


1 Drake – Hotline Bling
2 Drake / Future – Jumpman
3 Kendrick Lamar – How Much A Dollar Cost
4 Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean
5 Major Lazer / DJ Snake & MO – Lean On
6 SG Lewis – Warm
7 Kanye West – All Day
8 Florence + The Machine – What Kind of Man
9 Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
10 NoMBe – California Girls



1 Deerhunter – Breaker
2 Moses Sumney – Seeds
3 Gallant – Weight in gold
4 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
5 Midnight to Monaco – Suicide
6 Blur – Go Out
7 Green Buzzard – Zoo Fly
8 Spring King – City
9 Noel Gallagher – Ballad of the Might I
10 Sjowgren – Seventeen



1 Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – S.O.B.
2 Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best
3 Alabama Shakes – Miss You
4 Death Cab For Cutie – Everything’s A Ceiling
5 FFS – Piss Off
6 The Struts – Could Have Been Me
7 The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It
8 Frank Turner – Mittens
9 The Libertines – Anthems For Doomed Youth
10 Hippo Campus – Suicide Saturday



1 Kenton Slash Demon – Harpe
2 Darius & FKJ – O
3 Lettuce – Phyllis
4 Sango – Dias Melhores
5 J.Louis – Camarillo
6 Rick Ross – Amazing Grace
7 Superhumanoids – Anxious in Venice
8 Egyptian Art- She’s Lovely
9 NoMBe – California Girls
10 HONNE – No Place Like Home

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Giveaway: Paul Weller @ the Fonda Theater, L.A. on 10/8

paul weller shot for the observer magazine

Living legend and Noel Gallagher BFF Paul Weller will play the Fonda Theater in L.A. on Thursday October 8th. The former Jam frontman will be mixing new tracks from his latest Saturns Pattern LP in with his impressive entire oeuvre as a writer. Villagers open. If you want to be there, hit our email by tomorrow night (Tuesday) by 5 PM Pacific and you’ll be entered to win a pair of free passes to this way cool show we wish we could be at. For furthers details on the gig, check out the Fonda Theater website. Paul Weller!

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Interview with Jagwar Ma

LR of jagwar.ma_111 (1)

Sydney, Australia duo Jagwar Ma first hit the radar in late 2011 and have made considerable noise leading through 2013 with their, Madchester-esque, guitar and beat saavy psych-pop. Hot on the heels of their Time and Space Dub Sessions EP, the band has recently released their debut full length Howlin (Mom+Pop/Marathon) to much critical acclaim. B3SCI correspondent Brian Litwin caught up with Jagwar Ma vocalist Gabriel Winterfield to ask him a few questions about the Australian music scene, dream collaborators, props from Manchester ‘chief’ Noel Gallagher and more. You can check out the interview below, and for those of you in Los Angeles, Jagwar Ma will be headlining a mustn’t miss set at The Echo on October 4th. Tix and info here. We’ll see you there!

B3SCI: The name Jagwar Ma is definitely one that catches the eye. Is there a worthy story for it’s origin?

Jagwar Ma: To be honest the story changes slightly every time I tell it. I guess that always happens with things you can’t really remember. But The name comes from the combination of a close friend’s suggestion, a found object and Jono’s (bandmate Juno Ma) surname which is a type of Stallion from the times of Gengis Khan.

B3SCI: It’s refreshing to see such a well done music video as the one for “Man I Need” (watch it below). Is there any general idea or concept that you are conveying throughout the video?

Jagwar Ma: Like anything creative there is a concept that goes with the artwork. We wanted to see animated versions of ourselves. I know Fantasia was thrown around as a reference, as well as a few other things. Despite various youtube comments though, we’re not satanic illuminatis. rofl…

B3SCI: What does it feel like to have Noel Gallagher’s bode of confidence?

Jagwar Ma: It’s a great honor to hear of Noel Gallagher’s digging of our music. Though we do worry that it might put pressure on us! I should also add that in that same quote I believe UK band Temples were also mentioned.

B3SCI: Howlin’ is your recent 2013 album release and it could very well make it on to some top albums of 2013 lists. Where was it recorded, and going into the studio did you all have a general idea of how the album was going to come out… and how great it would be?

Jagwar Ma: Haha well I love your confidence in some of those calls, very kind indeed. I wouldn’t say that we knew how ‘great’ it would be, but I do know that Jono and I certainly had feelings and vibes that we wanted to evoke through our music. We recorded some in Sydney at Jono’s studio and even some parts in my bedroom style studio. We did some other stuff at a friends farm house in France, and then other parts we went to Berlin to work.

B3SCI: I hear all the late 80’s/early 90’s Madchester sounds on this album, but there is a lot more going on here. What are some of your influences that have helped you carve out your sound?

Jagwar Ma: Music is and always has been a part of my life, it’s very very difficult to narrow things down to just a few names without feeling like I’ve left someone or something out. It’s sort of like when you sit around with friends and talk about your top ten films. My top ten changes every week. I guess my opinion on direct musical influences do as well. Funnily enough I think that some of the more obvious pop references have gone unnoticed.

B3SCI: How has life on the road been for the band? Has there been a particular date that sticks out to you guys as a moment you will never forget?

Jagwar Ma: There are so many I lose count. I hadn’t written in my diary in a long time and when I began an entry the other day I literally started with “where do I begin?”. But playing Glastonbury was definitely an incredible experience that will go down in my life as one of best times of my life. I watched Azealia Banks and between one her songs she said “thank you so much, this is a great achievement for me..” and I knew exactly where she was coming from.

B3SCI: It’s hard for us being in California to get the full scope of the booming Australian music scene. Can you shed some light?

Jagwar Ma: I was in LA at the beginning of last year and I walked into a store and in the space of about half an hour I heard Gotye, Pnau and Cut Copy. By coincidence I was driving in my car listening to KCRW and one of our songs came on. At first I didn’t agree with a lot of press talking about the Australian scene, but now I’m starting to think that maybe there is something in the water…

B3SCI: What are some of your favorite acts coming out of AU right now?

Jagwar Ma: There are a few, but I don’t want to say, because I don’t want people to hype them up haha I feel like I’m nurturing new saplings. They need to grow on their own first, before the world discovers them!

B3SCI: If you could pick anyone to be a featured vocalist on one of your tracks, who would it be and why?

Jagwar Ma: Tyler the Creator. But the only catch is that he has to sing. I know that he sings on his records, but I like what he has to say, and I think his voice would really cool to capture in a really raw no pitch shifting/autotune/melodyne way. The true voice as it were..

Interviewed by Brian Litwin

Jagwar Ma australia (Facebook) (‘Howlin’ on iTunes)

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New Ivory – Something You Should Know

New Ivory

Here’s something you don’t hear blaring out of Dim Mak HQ everyday. UK trio New Ivory will release their latest EP via the famed Hollywood based label tomorrow, February 5th, and b3sci has a first listen to one of the cuts. It’s “Something You Should Know”, and you know Noel Gallagher knows a thing or two about that coda riff. Press play and get familiar below.

New Ivory (Facebook)

Rating 8.0


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Spiritualized / Nikki Lane Live @ The Wiltern 5-22-12

Nikki Lane graced the stage at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Tuesday night while opening for headlining act Spiritualized. The match was complimentary. For one, like the bluesy and soulful veins that flow through Spiritualized, Nikki Lane too has an appreciation for classic, early rock and roll music, so early that it’s more country and bluegrass influenced. The Nashville singer-songwriter, who had been performing solo for most of the tour, had pleasure of pedal steel and guitar accompaniment that night.

In this time, of what feels like, Zooey Deschanel mania, how could Nikki Lane not translate to the masses? Her Americana blend has a country twee flavor that’s as classic as apple pie, early Jenny Lewis and, still at moments, is as much Elvis Presley as anything (#TLC baby). For example, the way that Lane chooses to keep the botched guitar lick on her recording of “Thousand Dollar Hound” because (we’d like to think) it has the right feel (which it totally does). Still there seems a coincidental appreciation of a contemporary flare, like something musical which writers like brit pop-father Noel Gallagher and even someone ilke Willie Mason might relate. In between tracks like “Lies” and “Sleep For You” Nikki proclaimed that she ‘fucking loves Los Angeles’. Feelings seemed mutual.

“Sleep For You” by Nikki Lane tennessee (Facebook)

The stage curtain was set before Spiritualized took stage. Hanging on the curtain to the 80+ year old art deco Wiltern Theater was an aptly sponsored advert for snacks in the lobby. That’s right, this was no ordinary rock show, this was an event. The house lights went dark and the curtain rose to Spiritualized ripping into “Hey Jane” from their most recent Sweet Heart Sweet Light LP release. It was pretty epic stuff.

Noteworthy things about Spiritualized include their volume threshold. At even the lowest of volumes Spiritualized seem able to ringingout something on a guitar, but unlike many of their brit-guitar drenched peers, Spiritualized have achieved a savvy and certain level of critical success. Perhaps it’s because of their ability to work outside a box of repressed experimentation. That combined with an occasional freeform song structure which can come off as conductorial at times. Call it whatever you like but Spiritualized are musicians before they are rock stars. They finesse pentatonics with a variety of musical styles and tempos, and their jams can be something to watch.

Spiritualized performs in a half circle arrangement on stage. Almost like they’d prefer to be submerged in each others sound more than anything having to do with putting on ‘a show’. The near capacity venue (stiff competition that night from Lianne La Havas, Beck and more) absorbed every swell from a band who’s experiencing something new (live, recording, collaboration, etc) from the band at times can feel like discovering a rarely seen jungle flower (or something like that). Standouts from the set like “Soul On Fire” served a perfect fix. As did the classic refrain in “Ladies and Gents..”.

“Out of Sight” by Spiritualized (Official)

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B3SCI took to the streets of Austin in March for the 25th annual South by Southwest. We braved/raged through the musical flurry of performances, ridiculous entourages, grid-locked streets, fantastic rumors and more while covering some of the world’s top breaking talent. Below are some choice highlights from our experience (during festival highlights here), including our most recent Virgin Mobile Live broadcast featuring tunes from festival acts as well interviews with Fast Years, Tashaki Miyaki, PAPA and Saint Motel tracked on the streets of SX.

Full set list here.


WEDNESDAY March 14, 2012

Roll the Tanks @ RED 7

Millennial music-host royalty Carson Daly kicked off Wednesday evening at his Last Call showcase with punked-out pop rockers Roll the Tanks. After a flattering introduction from Daly himself, Roll the Tanks and their Never Mind the Bollocks-informed post 90s-fueled power-pop set a familiar tone. Some songs had a definite Weezer-type approach, in a cheeky sort of way, and when combined with the energy of decades worth of nostalgic punk, and for that the band made some new fans. Sans some technical difficulties, the band powered through a well versed set of savvy- for-commercial-voltage rock music.

SOFI @ Parish

SOFI is a contemporary pop artist. A type that might foreshadow a new wave of SXSW popular artists. Sophie brought her brand of Lady Gaga electro-heavy pop to Parish on 6th street with a strut. It was a spectacle of dancers, poles, lights, a mic, and some backing tracks. That about covers it, a few timely electro pop songs and a hot stage show that clearly attracted some die-hard fans. The bass-driven atmosphere worked so well that I wondered about the possible scheduling conflicts with the Winter Music Confrence just a Gulf of Mexico away.

The Knocks @ Parish

The Knocks knocked it. The NYC duo finessed their gadgetry with a heaviness and energy that translated directly into a hall of moving bodies, a/k/a a serious party. In today’s Sea of electronic noise these dudes can mix in something like the B-52s with a freshness that doesn’t sound self conscious. The Knocks’ show works because of the duo’s dynamic urgency in performance.

Friends @ Hype Hotel

Take a quick glimpse at Friends. If your hipster radar isn’t freaking out at this band then get it’s battery checked. When Friends rhythmic and tropically based glam-pop grace the stage you should be ready to see a fashion show along with your concert. Not unlike everything that is endearing about novelty disco, the band’s minimal sound is an urban jungle. Lead vocalist Samantha Urbani jumps into the crowd like it’s her loft party. Once this band dials in there’s no stopping the impending Studio 54. Friends’ catalogue can be spotty at times but they do have some songs that stick; like it’s that sort of abstract, new wave-flavored stick that can only come from deep record collection gold like the Thompson Twins.

POND @ Hype Hotel

Pond fucking rock. I walked into the band’s first set of SXSW and was shocked at what I saw; definitely something to see. The Perth band (worth noting, come from some Tame Impala blood) are one of the most charismatic bands I’ve seen in a minute. From fixing his hair on stage, the swinging of microphones, the sneering, the dinosaur-raptor like convulsions… front dude Nick Allbrook has a strong comfortability on stage to say the least. A sort of stage presence that walks the line of over-the-top and sheer genius. Pond’s sound encompasses a striking blend in qualities of classic rock. When the band’s ambitiousness and stoner, punk, and classic rock influiences congregate, the resulting product is a high level brand of rock and roll. POND leave an impression, enough of one that lead us to three more gigs throughout SXSW this year. More to come.

Gary Clark Jr. @ La Zona Rosa

What kind of artist is Gary Clark Jr.? Is he a AAA radio staple still looking for that crossover hit? Is he the blues guy on your favorite festival circuit? or his he that guy that you and your dad can both rock out to? (Clapton fans were looking at you.) He’s probably a little bit of all the above. Gary Clark Jr. has the talent regardless of any label to be slapped on him. . His more popular songs like “Don’t Owe You a Thang” and “Bright Lights” stole the set at a song level but it was the sheer charisma of young G.C. that stole the show. Take Gary Clark featured on a guitar solo, take him featured as a vocalist.. our word, take him anyway that you can get him.


THURSDAY March 15, 2012

Lee Fields and The Expressions @ Hype Hotel

In the everdeep sea of soul pop legends, Lee Fields is a pearl. Coming to and from in a career of ups and downs, twists and turns, this man is still at his best. Dressed from what seems a Ross’ out of rural Nebraska, Little J.B. adeptly worked his crowds. He’s a pro. “I still got it” he sings from “…the new CD” (Faithful Man – get it) and he’s not kidding. Fields’ band, The Expression add an energy that other artists Field’s age wouldn’t be able to keep up with. Late in the set, ‘On a whim’ Fields directed his faithful band into an unrehearsed performance of their new song “Hanging On” from ‘the new CD’ (Faithful Man – get it). While getting down to the funky soul tones of Lee Fields, it was pretty hard to not notice that the dude loves singing to the ladies. Lee closed the set with “Faithful Man” which is the title track from the the CD. After letting fly his blood curdling screams of infidelity, Fields came back for a rare mid-day SXSW encore by audience demand.

BRETON @ Latitude 30

BRETON performed their first set on US soil at Lat 30 during SXSW, the perfect venue for those ‘different’ sounding brits (to of course American ears), and as expected, were greeted with mixed reactions (playing both for and against their favor depending on how you like to look at it). The projects team delivered a set of electro pop that’s all their own. There’s a youthful energy in the band’s near Vans-tour style presence. With a new skool approach to pop instrumentation, Breton are likely to introduce electronic music to a few youngins or two. With BRETON’s remix work already catching fire, this band seems to have the right formula as was further evident in what we heard original material-wise.

Love Language @ Cheer up Charlie’s

In scurrying to make an interview we missed a set from Moonlight Bride but in the process we were pleased to stumble on a great set from Merge Recordings act Love Language. The band’s soothing middle of the road pop rock brought me back to the days of bands like The Stills. Love Language seemed to play because they live for it.

Alabama Shakes @ Hype Hotel

Athens, AL based four piece Alabama Shakes were definitely a band to see on most everyones list during SXSW. The good news is that the band played like 8-10 sets so that you couldn’t miss them. Regardless, frontgal Brittany Howard puts it all out on the table. Even after all the hype, all the Lefsetz, all the usual ‘ha-bub’, you still can’t take your eyes and ears off of Alabama Shakes. This is a band clearly eager to explore the depths of their musical creativity. With newer songs in the dylan’esque transition Beatles style and less of the swamp tinted pentatonic rock (which many have come to love from them), Alabama Shakes still at their heart have a soulful swagger. They are aiming for the top, which is what separates them from much of the hype. A career is about longevity. For now, Alabama Shakes are destined for festival billing but whether or not Alabama Shakes will deliver further (say an iconic album for the books) remains to be seen. Only the strong survive.

Tashaki Miyaki @ Cheer Up Charlie’s

Tashaki Miyaki are a band with little to be known about. IS there something wrong with a band wanting the music to be what everything is all about? Isn’t that the way it should be? Adding a bass player helps with the live show of some generous covers appreciation. The band’s downtempo sound (which might sound familiar to some) is a signature stamp. Songwise – Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers… the singing-drummer duo has an appreciation for the singles era. An era where an artist’s tastes could be appreciated in a less time intensive fashion. Kinda ironic how the attention spans of music fans in the 50’s have never rang more true today. Tashaki Miyaki’s shoe gaze and wash of Lucy’s vocal coos and Rocky’s fuzzed guitar is a winner combination for us. Lucy sings and plays like its all she knows, beautiful consonant octaves at the third or fifth.

Dirty Beaches @ Cheer up Charlie’s

The shameless and expressive musical rantings of Dirty Beaches. I don’t know how Alex Zhang Hungtai can replicate the emotions performance after performance that he pours into each of his live shows, but I am always grateful for the chance to experience it. There is difficulty in always finding the pocket dealing with a more abstract/impulsive sound palette; but this dude is dialed in.

Colleen Green @ Vegas Hotel

Colleen Green makes timeless strung out chic pop. The simplicity of her songs is a heavy contrast to the reflective themes that she conjures up in powerful doses. The short set of tracks was rocked at a full capacity; a bit of her pedal, a bit of Happy birfday Jeff! and a bit of moody power chord pop; perfect for this off beaten path Hotel Vegas venue.

Kendrick Lamar @ Stage on 6th

K Dot had control of the house from moment one as he rolled through an energetic albeit brief set, comprised mainly of highlights from his much lauded Section.80 mixtape. There was a heaviness and rasp in Lamar’s voice that revealed a bit of fatigue (The guy has been literally all over Austin the past few days) but there was no let up in performance quality as the L.A. rapper 100% knocked it out.

Nicolas Jaar @ Central Presbyterian Church

22 year-old American-Chilean musician Nicolas Jaar kept the lights down low for his headlining slot at Central Presbyterian Church for Pitchfork’s party. Reading the room, the trio brought experimental electronic jazzish composition to a packed room of enthusiasts looking for an intimate experience outside of the chaos down on 6th street. Saxophone, laptops, strings, drums, no instrumental territory was off limits. Atmospheric in all of it’s aspects, lush, strings, electro, world beats, Jaar’s music generates a big sound both controlled and intellectual.


FRIDAY March 16, 2012

Ed Sheeran @ Cedar Street

Ed Sheeran kicked off Friday morning SXSW 2k12 with something fierce. Armed with only his guitar, the UK dude tore it up at the Filter mag party.

Tristen @ Cedar Street Courtyard

It was at the same venue that I ran into Tristen last year at SXSW. How could those hauntingly beautiful tones not draw us back in? Her’s is a brand of poetic folk rock that touches every music lover’s inner country music. Tristen’s voice, in performance, floats as if were made for neo-trad pop. Tristen are a band comfortable in their own skin. Big.

U.S. Royalty @ VML House

Good old classic rock that’s not afraid to let its roots shine through. When shredding and belting vox out like American Royalty, we mean US Royalty… we mean dubbaya.

PAPA @ Cheer Up Charlie’s

PAPA sound great. PAPA were tight, in the pocket, on their soul. And for their fourth show of the day the band were dialed in to the frequency of the circus of Austin around them. Mid-set frontman Darren Weiss even did handstands. (seriously is was pretty fucking hilarious). He said, “it does taste like chicken” and proceeded to lay down more of the soul-informed rock vibes from the band’s A Good Woman Is Hard to Find EP, and also offering some hints towards what to expect from a forthcoming new album release.

HAIM @ VML House

HAIM drew second looks at the Virgin Mobile Live house early Friday evening. The 3:1 lady lead collective sounded big. Crossover type big. Like advert campaign big. It will be interesting to see how and if this group will develop. It wasn’t that any of the musicianship on display was anything that would blow your mind, it was more the profound feel the band convey that drew us in. We will be watching what happens next with HAIM in 2012.

DJ Jacques Green took to the decks for those lucky enough to catch a glimpse between all the action of band’s outside.

Fast Years @ Fire House

Fast Years are like the Motley Crew of jangle pop. Four cool looking dudes with a great feel for pop-informed rock music. While the fog machine (and LASERS) inside the Fire House was a bit over the top (almost choked then blinded us to death), the band still seemed to manage it. It was guitarist Mikah’s birthday and it was clear the partying on stage during set was no doubt part of the day’s celebration. With a nice collection of songs in the can, the group can look forward to hitting the road and honing their set for the masses.

Willy Mason @ St. David’s Church

Willy Mason is a good answer to AAA rock-leaning fans of artists like Noel Gallagher. Mason’s a sure bet expert collection of folk and classic rock songwriting was on display throughout the entire performance; each song telling a better tale than the last. Mason rocked the church with his fantastic band and his make-shift 19th century player-kick drum; a novelty on site but it actually added a musical depth to the mix.

Daughter @ St. Davids Church

Another band with a lot of hype leading in to SXSW were Daughter. Daughter have a uniquely intimate style to their songwriting. Lead singer Elen Tonra brings you into her vulnerable world with lyrics sung like they can only be said through song. Guitarist Igor Haefeli put on display one of the most beautiful/tasteful exhibitions of guitar work I’ve seen in years with such a mature sense of instinct and control. Should Daughter continue down a road of great songship, legions of fans await.

Michael Kiwanuka @ St. David’s Church

Michael Kiwanuka brings gospel-informed writing back to the mainstream of crossover songwriter pop. Like Jack Johnson, Michael Kiwanuka can pick up a guitar and potently tell a quiet story to masses of media-bombarded music consumers. Presences like his make for timeless moments and hit records. Kiwanuka is a budding talent with likely incredible things on his horizon.

Dinosaur JR. @ Fender Party

Strolling back to my hotel room Friday night, I heard a gnarly version of The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love” echo through the streets. Fuck it I’m at SXSW. I followed my ears and (surprise!) I found Dinosaur Jr. rocking the 80’s classic. Not much to say about Dinosaur Jr. except it’s the only thing that could have picked me up at 2am. The trio play like they just discovered rocking out with each other in their garage yesterday.

SATURDAY March 16, 2012

The War on Drugs @ Mohawk

I ran into Michael Kiwanuka watching The War on Drugs. He seemed captivated by the band. Can you blame him? The War on Drugs are easily one of the next great American folk rock legacies. Frontman Adam Grundencial delivers dylan’esque rambles with brilliance. Guitar riffs played an important role in the songs as well; vocal and instrumental melodies met with a rootsful backing.

POND @ Maggie Mae’s

By the time we caught our third set of Pond I was convinced to have some conclusion. Especially after catching a second set in a venue better suited to host MMA on Pay-Per-View, and awful sound. Frontman Nick Allbrook took to the crowd in an early St. Patties Day jabber something like, “Busting is it? We’re Pond from Brixton. I’m Irish…” as they slammed into their blues rock, Led Zeppelin like wall of sound. The upstair patio at Maggie Mae’s took notice. Pond had the right amount of tameness this time, like their appearance at Hype Hotel two days earlier, and about 40% more tame than the ‘cage-match’ show the day before. With each set tactically different than the last, and this one being 20 some minutes in length, Pond held a captive audience. The band brought the pace back for “Broke My Cool”, a classic rock like ballad that showcased Allbrook’s voice more so than his personality; at moments Jagger-like in its’ tone-deffness. Perth’s Pond, have character. Some of the most character I’ve seen in a rock band in a minute. Add the Tame Impala backstory and a hearty new album, and we’ve got a band that might have us at fan status.

Bob Mould @ Mohawk

Bob Mould tore in to a complete performance of Sugar’s Copper Blue at the MOG party at Mohawk. Again he proved the album’s a classic, Sugar was epic, he’s a genius. Mould’s attitude and deamenor simply reads something like ‘fuck it’. The trio on stage killed the songs like they just wrote them yesterday. There’s something to admire about musicians that never loose the sight for and passion in their roots.

Clock Opera @ Hype Hotel

Clock Opera are a good reference point for contemporary indie pop rock bands. The five piece out of London put on a solid set of, mostly air-tight, rhythmically driven songs, and dis-enfrachised lyrics with non-traditional melodies and structures that you can’t get out of your head. Plus the band occasionally rock out on household kitchen ware! The crowd partied at the Nialler 9 showcase with an uptempo set of Clock Opera songs from their previous EP’s as well as their forthcoming Ways to Forget debut LP release.

Ceremony @ Red 7

This was a punk rock show. Posers take note. Provocatively genuine microphone gestures, moshers who mosh like it’s a profession, shit breaking on stage. The Bay area band ripped through an arsenal of material including cuts from their latest Matador release, Zoo. See this band but stand in the back.

Odonis Odonis @ Red 7

O^2 bring out the inner garage rock in everyone. The muddied abrasive, but still melodic, guitars frame songs with lyrics that live forever (when audible.. which is kind of the point). In fact it inspired me so much that I was compelled to buy one of the band’s cassette tapes (yes, that’s right a cassette tape). This Toronto trio will rip your head off it you’re not ready for them. The music, as energetic as it was loud, was played HARD with a washy mix of heavily fuzzed guitars. The band’s song structure is simple and on the punkier side of garage music. “Handlebars” stood out as a favorite with it’s British-y sneer and kowabunga cool vibes.

Forest Fire @ Red 7

Forest Fire are a band waiting for that big moment. With an almost Monkees quirkiness to them, the band must be on deck for the next Austin Powers movie. Plus lead singer Mark Thresher clearly knows a good parka when he sees one (James Brown would probably give it an 8.5)! Following the stage after Ceremony could not have been a good feeling for this band who might as well had been playing hippy rock in a field of daffodils. Still good pop is good pop music, and where stage experience lacked the, band made up for in melody and pure song.

The Velvet Teen @ Red 7

After what seemed a soundtrack from hell, the Velvet Teen launched into their much anticipated set. The jagged chords of “Radiapathy” would soon lead the crowd’s delight. A new track presumably from their forthcoming 6 years in waiting LP was mainly rhythmic and had no guitar. In fine Velvet Teen fashion, a departure from anything expected next out of the band. Judah Nagler got the crowd into it “come on Austin”! but there wasn’t much selling needed to be done.

Django Django @ Latitude 30

One of the most hyped acts at SXSW this year seemed to be Django Django. Lat 30 was packed to catch a glimpse of these popular new wave revivalists. The London collective rocked a new school DEVO type vibe. And like DEVO, in our opinion, DD either strike out or hit a homerun with what they are doing. Django Django are the type of band that relies on a penchant for strong tunes and consistency and have a successful career waiting where a boppy aesthetic makes for pleasant listening. It will be interesting to follow what 2012 (and potential music licensing, these are tunes that scream advert placement) will have in store for them.

D/R/U/G/S @ Latitude 30

The Manchester based beatsmith D/R/U/G/S filled in for Maverick Sabre who unfortunately couldn’t make it to Austin. While musically a major departure from the originally scheduled act, D/R/U/G/S took the stage, cast on left-arm and ready to deliver an electro induced set of dancey mayhem. Synced with his custom visuals, the DJ rocked through a set of intricate sound layers and manipulation. The music was great and his freshly minted remix on Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” stood a set highlight

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