Among the legions of Music City denizens who drifted down to SXSW last week were Luella and the Sun, an all-star crew of Nashvillians that makes a truly singular gospel-blues-R&B-rock amalgam. We've taken notice of L&tS a time or two in recent memory, but it appears we aren't the only ones. For their Front Row series, NPR shot the band's performance of "Sign of the Judgment" at the Continental Club at last week, and you can watch that above.
"Nashville's Luella and the Sun approach the blues and gospel-soul as if these traditions were the food of the gods and they haven't eaten for a week," writes NPR's Ann Powers. "Luella herself has a ferocious, feminine voice, and performs with zero fear. If you like the White Stripes, you will love the fire and brimstone of 'Sign of the Judgment,' filmed at Austin's iconic Continental Club on South Congress." While the Luella in question is actually named Melissa Mathes, and while I'm not hearing any White Stripes similarities really whatsoever, high praise is high praise, and Powers is correct in that Luella and the Sun deserve your attention. Give the performance a look.
In the Big Tent of Punk Rock, Green Day and Thee Oh Sees occupy very different corners. One utilizes T-shirt and toilet-paper cannons, the other plays back-to-back late-night sets to seething swarms of sweaty beer-clutchers. Two of the most promising tickets of Friday night at SXSW 2013 featured The Flaming Lips unveiling material from their forthcoming The Terror as well as some new production (no hamster ball, but a prosthetic baby!) at Auditorium Shores, and Depeche Mode playing their first live show in three years (old and new songs!) at Brazos Hall. But one man can only cover so much ground, and my ground yesterday included Green Day, Thee Oh Sees, Kendrick Lamar, Charles Bradley and more. (Colleague and fellow Creamster wrote some words on Depeche Mode's set and The Flaming Lips' set for something called Rolling Stone, if you'd like to have a look at that.)
Speaking of Rolling Stone, their day party at La Zona Rosa featured some serious talent — Eric Burdon of the Animals playing with a seven-piece band, as well as the Screaming Eagle of Soul, Bradley, and more. An impossibly large bouncer let me enter not long after Burdon’s set, which our boy Gold described to me as both “perfect” and “awesome.” I had a glance at La Zona Rosa's larger stage, where Prince will be performing tonight with a 22-piece band, and I would guess that official capacity for the room is in the triple digits, and no more. Godspeed to people hoping to cram in for that.
By early afternoon, the crowd at the Austin Ale House for the Cream-co-sponsored Nashville Day Party was peppered with familiar faces, leading more than one of us to quip, "We traveled all this way to see a show and a bunch of people we could probably catch at Mercy Lounge!" Maybe so, but the showcase also featured just about the most concentrated collection of fine-looking and practiced-sounding talent you're likely to come across, Austin or anywhere.
Grohl demonstrated his own early method of bedroom "multi-tracking": He played an acoustic Gibson into an old tape recorder, placed that tape into a stereo and recorded "drums" (tapping on the body of his guitar) onto a second tape while the first tape played. It was via this method that Grohl recorded his first songs — songs about his bike, his dad and his guitar — before joining a high school group that entered a battle of the bands under the name "Nameless." Why? Because choosing a band name is "still the hardest fucking thing." Foo Fighters, he admitted, is a stupid name.
Any night in Austin that begins with the sinister strains of the human spider himself, Nick Cave, and his Bad Seeds is sure to end in a peculiar fashion. The pinnacle of my first night at South by Southwest was certainly at NPR's showcase at Stubb's — where Cave & Co. played songs new and old, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs played their new single "Sacrilege" live for the very first time. But my Wednesday night ended amid the fallout of a Nashville-bred atom bomb by the name of Natural Child, and there may or may not have been some shady scooter riding somewhere in the mix as well.
Well, apparently it's Fresh Vid Day! Tyler James and Jessica Maros' alt-country duo Escondido just debuted their Erik Anders Lang-directed video for the tune "Black Roses" over at Vogue. What's more, Vogue named 'Dido their "Band of the Week," with contributor Jacob Brown labeling them one of those "rare alt-country crossover acts with highbrow cred." The video — shot in Palm Desert and featuring James and Maros sporting some rather striking dust-country duds — suits the song well: It certainly boasts more polish than Gram and Emmylou ever strove for, but not without a little bit of spaghetti Western-informed breezy expanse.
Escondido released their debut The Ghost of Escondido just weeks ago — see contributor Jewly Hight's pick on that here — and as mentioned last week, the outfit will play the Cream-co-sponsored Nashville Day Party this Thursday, March 14, at the Austin Ale House. They'll play a couple more dates down in Austin this week, and you can see those after the jump.
As we noted last week when we shared Bad Cop's brand-new video for the tune "Chicago Lady," the Cop and their fellow Music City rock 'n' rollers Natural Child are unleashing a pair of 7-inch singles today via Adam Moult's Jeffery Drag Records (order them on vinyl here, or get the MP3s via iTunes here and here).
Well, in conjunction with the release of their laid-back, grooving "CRS Blues," Natural Child has a brand-new Beau Welsh-directed music video, which you can watch above. To accompany the long, lazy, bloozy sprawl of "CRS," the video too — which, if I'm not mistaken, was shot at local spot Fort Houston (aka, New Zombie Shop/Brick Factory) — is slow and lackadaisical. Most non-lackadaisically, Natty C. will be performing a whole slew of shows down in Austin this week, and you can see a list of those after the jump. I've also embedded Bad Cop's SXSW dates, so have a look
And if your band's going to be in Austin this week, tweet at us (@NashvilleCream, naturally), and we'll share your dates with our followers.
Even if you work in the most remote, far-flung or otherwise obscure corner of the music industry, your inbox probably looks about like mine at the moment: an incessant flurry of messages begging us to check out this new act, or RSVP to that hot showcase, or be on the lookout for so-and-so. Well, we here at the Cream are proud to flood your browser with one more such announcement, only this one features a whole gaggle of legitimately excellent local artists!
From noon until 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, Austin Ale House will host the Nashville Day Party, featuring performances from Nashvillians Caitlin Rose, Brooke Waggoner, Luella and the Sun, Andrew Combs, Rayland Baxter, Escondido and Odessa Rose. Co-sponsoring the showcase will be American Songwriter, design house Kill Canyon and L.A. talent bookers Mullatic Music. Get hip to the lineup by peeping: Jewly Hight's feature on country darling Caitlin Rose, who's just released her sophomore LP The Stand-In; my review of pop songstress Brooke Waggoner's brand-new Originator; Stephen "Goose" Trageser's Critic's Pick on bohemian-R&B newcomers Luella and the Sun; and Hight's recent Critic's Pick on country-pop troupe Escondido and her interviews with folk and indie-country singers Combs and Baxter. We haven't spilled any ink over Odessa Rose yet, but every party needs a surprise, right?
RSVP here, and see the full schedule after the jump.
What do you call a place where, in a span of four days, you can see sets by Bruce Springsteen, Built to Spill, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Wedding Present, Dinosaur Jr., Thee Oh Sees, the reunited dB’s and, oh yeah, YouTube sensation Complete?
South by Southwest.
Sounds like a Rock ’n’ Roll Heaven on Earth, right? Wrong. Now I’m not saying that The Lone Star State’s lone spring week as the epicenter of the music world — dimensions big and small — isn’t totally awesome. I’m just saying that whatever the eardrum’s equivalent of the thousand-yard stare is, I now have it. Right now my vestibular nerves are totally rejecting and chucking up any and all music I try to shovel into my external auditory canals. Still, my burgundy earwax isn’t anywhere near as uninteresting as most of the regurgitated audio vomit I had the misfortune of unavoidably suffering while en route to and from the great many kickass killer shows to killer kickass parties I caught last week.
If war is hell, SXSW is a first-world purgatory between a jaw-dropping glut of great shows to see and an exhausting, chaotic clusterfuck of long lines for free drinks, big, bank account-draining bar tabs, ubiquitous freeloaders, food trucks, photo booths and glorified buskers scurrying back and forth across a gridlocked city that’s barely able to contain the critical mass of musicians. Like everything else in life, SXSW’s heavenly pleasures are asterisked with harsh realities and hellish hangovers.
The “Roony” in question was actually Rooney Mara (she of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo fame). Also in the crowd were Win, Regine and William of Arcade Fire, and though we never spotted Malick, free booze and oysters were indeed had by all. A couple friends and I had ventured out via exceptionally slow pedicab. Why? Because a significant part of the SXSW experience is freebies, and I hadn’t yet indulged in enough of those. And if we could hear some Tristen tunes, “mothballs” jokes and Madi Diaz tunes (she played some of her pristine pop numbers right after Tristen) while a lady dressed in a giant oyster costume served us cocktails, then why in the hell not?
Figure when the tour is played out and the line up blows. TN fairgrounds? weird…
There was a man named Jimmie Rodgers once.
PS#2: Gold, meant to ask, "Are you up to the task?" It does keep getting…
PS: I have already found another early influence on rock music. Folk music recording artist…
Well, it is about time... check out www.rockhall.com/inductees/byyear and you will find Hank Williams SR…