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Turtle Bangs and Gold Sounds @ The End: 3/18/10

Though Oli Endless and the Possibilities' mellow folk rock and Bows and Arrows' pretty indie rock are done well, Murfreesboro bands Turtle Bangs and Gold Sounds are the ones who brought the heat at The End last Thursday.

Second to go on, Turtle Bangs, composed of Greg Stephen and Casey Carter, proved themselves as a capable duo. The hardest part about being a two-man band is whether the stripped-down nature of music produced only by two instruments can be enough; whether a set of drums and a guitar will achieve a sound that is whole and powerful, or fall short into the category of elementary.

It can take time to "get" Turtle Bangs' music. At first it may just seem like noise, but perhaps the living rooms at the house shows - where the band so often plays - don't do their music justice.

If given a careful listen, one can find an unexpected finesse to Turtle Bangs. The sound is somewhere between the punk and the polished, and while some listeners have compared them to the Pixies, the scratchiness of Stephen's guitar is really more reminiscent of earlier White Stripes, and the creeping melodies of songs like "Wolf" could even be compared to Tom Waits (his weirder stuff).

Gold Sounds opened an entirely different book after Turtle Bangs, stirring the indie and alternative rock melting pot from the '90s onward, bringing to mind bands like Pavement, Band of Horses and The Broken West. The bad news about Gold Sounds is that everything the band is doing has been done before. The good news about Gold Sounds is that they have chosen some of the best of it to replicate and morph into something of their own - plus they know how to write a memorable tune; there isn't a forgettable melody - especially in "The Slumberist" - on the album they have yet to release.

As a fairly new band, Gold Sounds have created a name for themselves playing Murfreesboro house shows, often with Turtle Bangs. And if they can fill a small house, they can most likely start filling Nashville venues. - Jessica Pace

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SXSW Day 2: NYC to ATX party + MoTel Aviv, BlackBells, Deadbeat Darling

Day 2 was the day of honing navigation skills. The Baeblemusic.com Party at the Scoot Inn lined up promising acts that alternated between indoor and outdoor stages. A park-style area was decorated with paper lanterns and framed by two bars and a food cart, and listeners relaxed on tree stumps and patches of grass. Seabear, a sextet from Iceland, melded strings and acoustic guitars into a pleasant and exotic folk rock. Inside, Washington DC’s These United States upped the energy with a Southern rock lilt and grimy Gospel flavor, and back in the sunshine, Australia’s Dappled Cities played avant guarde electro-pop. Off the main drag at the 21st Street Co-Op, a “clothing optional” shindig hosted Austin natives, MoTeL Aviv (pic below), in an abstractly painted dorm common room. I found the city’s friendliest taxi-driver en route to Hyde Park Bar and Grill (South) for The Deli’s second sponsored show, and completed my night with some 6th Street sight-seeing.

The Deli Magazine and CitizenMusic joined forces to educate Austin on some of the best artists from New York at Hyde Park Bar and Grill (South). A spacious restaurant and bar, home to the best French fries around, opened into a patio where a tent housed the live music for the evening. A SXSW suppertime party, the “NYC in ATX Showcase” entertained a group of all-aged diners, families, and rock ‘n rollers with five Big Apple acts, including Blackbells (picture below), New Madrid, The Shake, Deadbeat Darling, and Black Taxi. Blackbells offered guests free EP’s and a superb set after traveling thirty hours straight to Texas. The fiery New Madrid pushed forward with outstanding vivacity, and The Shake’s second evening at Hyde Park resulted in enthusiastic feedback and a new population of fans. The wind picked up and carried Deadbeat Darling’s blissful and stirring reggae-rock throughout venue, and Black Taxi almost blew a fuse with their high-powered instrumentation and charisma. Mission “Rock Austin” accomplished. - Meijin Bruttomesso





Kendall Morgan & Bitch @ Third & Lindsley, 3/15/10

The best thing about going to a 3rd and Lindsley show is seeing the people who aren't there to watch the scheduled artists, so you can imagine how the sorority girls and country music fans reacted when they sat through Kendall Morgan and Bitch (formerly known as Bitch & Animal) on Monday night.

Kendall Morgan started things off with an acoustic set of melody-driven indie pop. If anyone was fortunate enough to witness a cat fight between Leigh Nash, Eisley and Karen O., their combined voices would probably produce something similar to Kendall's And anyone who would enjoy witnessing that fight is probably the kind of person who would enjoy a Lilith Fair concert, which is what Kendall's music tends to remind us of. Her songs had Alanis Morissette's melodies, Beth Orton's chords, the smooth vibe of The Cranberries and a little bit of KT Tunstall's folksyness. Some choice songs included "Gone Away," "Numb" and "Theif," whose lyrics made us take a hard look at ourselves and the state of our world.

It wasn't too tough to take a look at what happened next, though, because we got to feast our eyes on Bitch and her New York entourage. Girl duo, The State Of, gave us some straight up pretty indie pop/rock with super tight harmonies. Next, we watched a short video by Billie and the Violent Kids, providing us with a quick glimpse into Billie's mind and some erratic footage of skateboarding, football and other ... things ... all set to some electro-trancey tunes produced by Bitch, (silliness provided by Billie).

Things came to a close when Bitch sashayed on stage wearing her prom dress - a black cloak with a stout golden collar - wielding an electric violin. Backed by The State Of, she performed a variety of songs from her new album Blasted, and other old favs, some of which were in her speak-singing manner - (think pervy Ani Difranco at her snarkiest in the interest of efficiency) - but all of which were dedicated to Jesus Christ. God bless Bitch for singing songs like "My Clit Is A Bitch," "Kitchen," "Indian Blood" and this one chant about crystal meth. Despite the tomfoolery that encompassed her set, it was hard to shrug off the sneaking suspicion that Bitch is waaaay smarter than the rest of us, and for that, I bestow a personal blessing upon her.

Monday night was certainly a gay old time, (no pun intended), so dare to dream, and go check out all of these artists. True gems. - Erin Manning

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SXSW 1st day: Suckers, Black Taxi, Roky Erickson, Okkefville River

The first day of SXSW is like the first day of school; you’re excited, nervous, and seemingly prepared. Unlike school, however, SXSW is never boring. After my first ever flight through Detroit and an early morning dash to registration at the Austin Convention Center, I scampered off to Rusty Spurs for Deli sponsored Music Tech Mash Up party, where line-up improvements kept me corralled. The event spanned two days and squeezed in fifty bands at Rusty Spurs, a tri-room gay saloon (how cool is that?) decorated with cowboy boots and Texas trinkets. The Mash Up party celebrated the collaboration of various industries, music, merchandise, and new media technology. Upon arrival, sound spewed from every corner of the venue as bands performed on the main indoor stage, in the lounge, and on the outdoor patio. Mid-day, the barbeque was fired up to feed South by South West goers with free burgers and chicken while they enjoyed the second day of the extravaganza’s hefty line-up. Some of the early-morning performers included LA-based, disco-influenced pop-rockers, Foster the People, dancey R'n'B from Toronto, Curtis Santiago, and Las Vegas’s new-wave, electro-pop, Imagine Dragons. Pleasant surprises added at the last minute, such as Brooklyn’s Black Taxi, and Washington D.C.’s alternarockers, Hotspur, caught the ears of those passing by and reaffirmed excitement for SXSW.

Following a quick Tex-Mex bite and nearly sun-burning in a line for the Paste Magazine Party at The Galaxy Room, I witnessed the last of the Suckers’ (top pic) set and the first part of rock-meets-singer/songwriter Austinites, Roky Erickson with Okkervil river (bottom pic). The day pushed on as I went off the beaten path to Hyde Park Bar and Grill(South) where The Whiskey Rebellion’s evening of music and literature featured NYC’s The Shake who enlivened the venue’s calm St. Patrick’s Day. Due to overcapacity venues back on 6th Street, my night was curtailed. Tomorrow would be a new day with much music to hear. - Meijin Bruttomesso





The Grayces Vinyl Release w/ Mattoid & Hans Condor - 3/13/10

 

The Grayces' vinyl release show on Saturday night at The End proved to be one of the stranger nights we've witnessed. First, there was an inspiring performance by The Mattoid, who treated us to some sensible, nonsensical rock, one straight-faced, faux-Communist monologue, and several melodramatic ramblings by the lead singer/Pavarotti-lookalike, Villa Kiviniemi (of Finland). After he managed to get everyone in the room to listen to his dream about wishing that there were "a crack whore in heaven who can sell [him] pussy and crack," it was time to sing along to the infamous "Party Time."

Burlesque dancer, The Violet Vixxen sidled onstage for a short, sultry striptease, and then it was time for the moment that everyone had been waiting for.

The Grayces rocked everyone's faces off, (not surprisingly), grinding their way through ten energetically raw wailers, and one persnickety encore. They played their usual crowd pleasers with additional flare; we were certain that "Yep's" yodels were  shriller, "Opposite Day's" screams were lengthened, and the extra smarminess of "Needer" left the crowd lusting after lead singer Murielle Rae, and needing to hear more.

Naturally we had to get a copy of their record, whose A and B sides consist of all three of those songs. Jackpot! There were also some tunes we hadn't heard before, including the cheeky encore, whose hook consisted of lots of "la la la's," which Miss Murielle smirked through the entire time.

The Grayces truly packed the pizzazz into their performance, and after seeing more of their brilliance through a longer set list, we look forward to listening to their record, and seeing what they will do in the future. It's fairly obvious they are going to do something.

As the night came to a close, Hans Condor flew by us with such vigor, and kicked our asses so hard that we didn't have time to think about when the last time was that we saw them play. Their lineup was different, although everyone still seemed to enjoy the Detroit garage rock, and Charles' mass of hair. He and his guitar barreled off of the stage into welcoming arms during one particularly wild number - couldn't understand the words enough to guess at a song title - with just the kick drum blasting away and the distortion from his guitar seemingly propelling him along as he whirled and twirled through a solo in the middle of the crowd. Catch them playing at Foobar March 20th.

Also make a point to see the Grayces at Springwater on April 17th and the Mattoid at Little Hamilton on March 19th. 

After seeing the sights and hearing the tasty treats at The End on Saturday night, everyone can say they went to bed with "just desserts." - Erin Manning

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