It’s not any surprise to this writer how much attention Alabama MC Yelawolf is getting this summer. It was almost a year ago I first learned of the heavily inked hip-hop rising star. This is one of those one in a million type of artists, who has both the ability and opportunity to transcend age, race, and genre. Hip-hop is finally starting to grow up, and it’s branching out to reach new heights as it sheds adolescence. Read more
Tags: Delay Trees
You may not have heard of Finland’s Delay Trees yet, but it’s only a matter of time. It does take a while for good music to trickle through the world. Their pop/rock sounds are mellow but delightful just the same. We managed to get some recommendations from Rami Vierula. Check out some of these up and coming bands: Read more
Welcome to another edition of Music Emissions Podcast of the Week……It’s Benjy, (iamparadox), thanks for joining us again. After receiving several requests from friends and M.E. users, I decided to throw together another Summer Playlist. Without further wait, here the Sizzling Summer Kick Off, part deux!
Episode 82: Sizzling Summer Volume 1
1. Young Buffalo – “Bury Me”
2. AWOLNATION – “Sail”
3. White Denim – “Drug”
4. Civil Wars – “Barton Hollow”
5. Toro Y Moi – “New Beat”
6. Dom Kennedy – “Watermelon Sundae”
7. The Naked And Famous – “Young Blood”
Photos by Caleb Dickerson
Heat has a tendency to bring out the worst in humanity. With North Texas consistently trying to break a record temperature lately, everyone it seems is running low on patience. This was the climate surrounding the first ever Gorilla vs. Bear fest (gvbfest) at the Granada Theater. Leading up to the unique event, everyone could feel the pressure mounting: who would show up and attend, how would the bands and artists be received, and what would this experience mean for the scene?
As you may already know, Gorilla vs. Bear started a few years back by music enthusiast and blogger Chris Cantalini. While considered a novice compared to other websites that have been around longer, Chris had the swag they were missing and rapidly grabbed attention, driving traffic to the start up. Having learned the hard way about organizing and promoting shows from past SXSW showcases, Chris would use this as a springboard to the inaugural fest. Of course having the Dallas Observer award wining Granada Theater in your corner as a partner can’t hurt your chances.
First up to start off the night was local Denton act Dreamed. With only a Facebook and Soundcloud page to their credit, this was their very first performance. Jessica Minshew and Julie Emrick, who is from Portland, make self described bedroom pop. I was late and missed her debut, but was lucky enough to be given a copy of their CD at the merch booth. Reviews in town about the set were mixed, but I think everyone understood and were willing to cut them slack. I doubt this will be the last we hear from them. The next band up, the first of mostly Austin based artists of the night, was Sunset. They were the opening band for Yuck and Smith Westerns earlier this year. I was really bummed to miss their time slot as well, and blame it on the restaurant next door’s bad service.
We were finally able to make it into the venue and noticed the effect of the new air conditioning system immediately (thanks Granada!). The sights, sounds, and synths emanating from the front of the room grabbed our attention as Pure X grooved through their set. Another Austin act, their bare and intimate style were able to capture and for the most part keep the attention of the audience. Their relaxed presence was a great transition for Sleepover, a 4 piece whose sound was both psychedelic and dreamy. They had 2-3 snyth machines along with 2 females providing vocals. This Austin entourage improved the longer they played, and their last song was reminiscent of the all female band Warpaint.
The first artist not from Texas hails all the way from Montreal, Canada. Claire Boucher, known as Grimes, struggled at the start of her set, and then fought back to regain composure. There may have been some audio or technical difficulties that distracted her, nevertheless the show must go on and it did. Her music could be described as a cross between electronic and folk. A few times she looked like she was trying to cast spells over those who were gazing upon her, and it seemed to work to some extent. Overall, my hunch is that everyone was about evenly split down the middle regarding her artistic display.
One interesting surprise of the night was Julianna Barwick. The Brookyln musician is described on her Facebook profile as lacking definable lyrics, her songs feature hardly any discernible words and some sounds become as indecipherable as the human voice. This would have went over better if fans knew ahead of time. Instead, the majority politely tuned out and found ways to be distracted. Her time slot was one that probably sounded better in a brainstorming session than in actual execution. I think she deserves recognition for being unique and original, and so do those involved for attempting to create such a diverse lineup. As it were, this ended up just being an awkward hiccup to an otherwise great festival experience.
The hype preceding Sub Pop Records newest hip-hop member Shabazz Palaces could be felt in the auditorium as they took the stage. Having perhaps the loftiest expectations of the entire bill, everyone present wanted to see who the blogosphere and twitterverse has been raving about. Black Up, the new record that just came out a month ago, wasn’t the pair’s first release, just their first major one. Gorilla vs. Bear has been quoted as calling it the best record out so far this year. Shabazz is led by the one and only Ishmael Butler, from the Grammy award winning, jazz infused hip-hop group, Digable Planets. The talented and creative entertainer, also known as Palaceer Lazaro and Butterfly, was assisted by someone else playing percussion. I would presume this to be the other lone member of the group, but Butler’s interviews are always so elusive it’s as if he doesn’t want fans to know. Smoke filled the theater throughout the duo’s time, both from the stage and from the crowd. This is chill and relaxed hip-hop music at it’s best, even though this show wasn’t. While sounding like they are at the top of their game, unfortunately the two were not very exciting to watch visually.
Momentum was building as the night progressed, especially right before midnight after Shabazz, as the highly buzzed new local act Preteen Zenith prepared to debut. The already strong anticipation grew even more intense as laser lights began to be projected and shot around as practice. After about a half hour of delay which translated to almost an eternity in concert time, Tim DeLaughter‘s new collaboration kicked off their initiation with a short film on the big screen. The movie was a nice touch and could have been a cool concept, it was just too long. After waiting so long to start, they probably would have been better received had they yanked the video last minute. Then they could have proceeded immediately into their otherwise stunning and stimulating showcase. But they seemed to have cared less, disrespecting both their audience and the other bands on the bill. They probably played 6 or 7 songs, and would have kept going, until being motivated to quit by finally catching the hints. It only took the lead singer of White Denim to approach Tim and confront him, then the curtain came down faster than they could start another song. Their demonstration was a display of spectacular showmanship and psychedelic chaos. How this bodes for the future is any one’s guess.
The concert goers that stayed well past 1 am to see White Denim were not disappointed. One of, if not the largest draws of the night, was this Austin spawned, highly creative and massively talented bunch. They wasted no time and immediately proved to everyone still present why they were chosen to play last. And even though their set was cut painfully short, they still without question the highlight of the fest. Trying to describe their sound is almost as difficult as trying to describe Austin. Jazz, punk, funk, country, acid rock, even piano ballads – all these labels have been used, accurately, to describe White Denim previously. Their authenticity, passion, and chemistry easily translated into one of the greatest concerts in the area this summer. I could write another review almost as long as this one on how bad ass White Denim is, but will wait until I see them again.
I believe that the first ever GVB fest was a risk that was worth taking and paid off. Although it didn’t quite sell out, there were more than enough in attendance for it to be deemed successful. Not only did fans and concert goers turn out, they were able to be exposed to some of today’s best new, indie music. If you were hoping for a perfect event then you were probably disappointed. If you consider yourself a music lover and believe in local music scenes, it was most definitely a step in that direction. I don’t think I am alone when I say I am looking forward to this being able to happen again, and to be part of it.
Back in the day, when this place was crawling with forums and chats about random acts of music, we used to poll ourselves. Which album not only set the artist atop of the industry, but stapled them in as musical gods.
Tags: Kings Of Leon
This is a breaking news story still developing. Earlier tonight on Friday, Kings of Leon were scheduled to stop in Dallas, TX, as part of their on going summer tour supporting Come Around Sundown. Band of Horses opened the show and everything was completely normal. KOL then preceded through about 40 minutes of their set before lead singer Caleb Followill exited the stage suddenly and unnannounced. Some in the crowd could be heard chanting kings of rip off and kind of rip off. His brother and band mate Jared Followill posted a cryptic message on twitter: Read more
Blah Blah Blah are a new unsigned band from Chicago. Comprised of two friends from Iowa and two Chicago musicians, the midwestern quartet started to find their footing in 2010 after being voted one of the Chicago Tribune’s next bands on the verge of breaking BIG-TIME. For their new project, Thank You, Thank You, the band decided to ditch the ease of digital by recording the entire EP in analog reel-to-reel on 2-inch tape. Here is the new single and video for “Why Am I The Only One Laughing”.
Letting Up Despite Great Faults is a new electronic band from LA Native Mike Lee. It’s nice, organic electro pop music that is perfect for that summer afternoon. Watch for their new Paper Crush EP out this summer on Old Flame Records. Mike gave us some great indie recommendations this week. Check out these 5 acts! Read more
Welcome to another edition of Music Emissions Podcast of the Week……This month we decided to grab the core of our Unsigned and Wound Up artists from one website. Read more