Here’s something you don’t always hear about South by Southwest – it’s unnatural. Like, the amount of live music concentrated in a relatively contained space for its four days and change would engulf even the peak of the aughties New York scene. It’s beyond saturated; the Philly showcase at Club 1808, for example, was one of three simultaneous shows at the venue. Off of the back porch, a grindcore lineup was raging away, while a third stage was getting started in the back of their back lawn (with a BBQ in the middle, of course). “This is Austin, we have to use every square foot of space for music,” the sound engineer joked to me. “There’s a killer lineup going on in my bathroom right now.”
Cheekiness aside, and sensory overload aside, it makes for some unusual, unexpected and oddly enjoyable juxtapositions of music that you might not experience elsewhere. Here’s a quick rundown of a whirlwind night out, following the path I traced on Thursday the 14th.
8:10 p.m., St. David’s Bethel Hall – Harry Taussig opens the Tompkins Square showcase
Harry Taussig | Photo by John Vettese
In a church hall with serene acoustics, Harry Taussig - a self-taught folk guitarist whose 1965 LP Fate Is Only Once is a cult favorite record among new primitive guitar aficionados – gave his first-ever public performance, alternating between banjo, twelve-string acoustic, lap steel and warm and convivial storytelling. This kicked off the showcase from Tompkins Square Records, for whom Taussig released his first record in 47 years. “It’s a wonderful thing when what’s inside a guitar can surprise you,” he told the crowd. Continue reading →
XPN welcomes prolific Philly smooth-fi outfit Work Drugs to Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Operating behind a mission to create make “music specifically for dancing, boating, yachting, sexting and living,” Work Drugs have a steady streak of releasing one song each month since December of 2011 in addition to 2012′s full-length Absolute Bearing and the retrospective / rarities vinyl Delta (released last November). Tonight’s event with Night Panther, Cruiser and DJ Young Mariah Carey kicks off a spring tour for Work Drugs, their first since 2011. Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here. Below, watch the video for “Delta.”
Before its official release via Dead Oceans on February 5th, Pitchfork is streaming Night Beds‘ debut LP Country Sleep. Though the album has an overall tone of sad alt-Americana with a Jim James energy and delicate reverb, there is an audible, pained history in Winston Yellis’ voice that hints at deeper forces at work underneath polished tracks like “Ramona” and “Lost Springs.” Stream the full record over at Pitchfork; tickets and information for Night Beds’ 21+ show at Johnny Brenda’s with Indians and Cat Martino on March 9th can be found here. Below, listen to “Ramona.”
SPIN premiered a new song from the upcoming Night Beds record Country Sleep earlier today, dubbing the Americana-pop track a “moonlit charmer.” “Ramona” is a brooding, melodic plea from front-man Winston Yellen, a Colorado native who rented out a home that once belonged to June Carter and Johnny Cash after moving to Nashville. Night Beds play Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday, March 9th with Indians and Cat Martino. Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here. Stream “Ramona” below and keep your eye out for Country Sleep to be released on February 5th via Dead Oceans.
Night Beds are one of the hidden gems on the Dead Oceans roster, but look for that to change when Winston Yellen releases his debut LP Country Sleep on February 5th. The Colorado Springs native is a singer-songwriter in the ethereal Americana vein of Red House Painters and My Morning Jacket. Tickets and information for Night Beds’ 21+ show at Johnny Brenda’s with Indians and Cat Martino are available here. Below, watch a live video of Yellen performing an acapella intro followed by “Ramona” off of the upcoming album.