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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Samantha Crain at The Fire, Des Ark at Johnny Brenda’s, The Districts at World Cafe Live, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Chameleon Club

Photo by Harry Taylor
Photo by Harry Taylor

Whether it’s with a band, as a guest musician or simply flying solo, Samantha Crain makes great music anyway possible. The folk singer has been around for a few years and just released her third studio album, Kid Face in February.  Her music varies from haunting to sweet folk ballads and all of it is pretty good.  Tonight, she’s playing at The Fire.  Check out some of her music below and click here for ticket information.

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SXSW Dispatch: A whirlwind night out, pt. 1 (Night Beds, Paws, Tegan and Sara, more)

Paws | Photo by John Vettese
Paws | Photo by John Vettese

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
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 →

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fun. comes to the Mann Center in July with Tegan & Sara

fun.

We’re excited to announce that fun. will be coming to the Mann Center main stage, toting their Grammy nominated album We Are Young along with openers Tegan & Sara. Fans can also hope for new tracks like “Sight of the Sun,” recently recorded for HBO’s Girls season one soundtrack. Tegan & Sara come bearing new material as well. The duo released an album last week, Heartthrob, which has received attention for its pop sensibility and accessibility. This show promises to bring together two critically-acclaimed artists and their most dance-friendly albums to date. Tickets for the show will be available Saturday, February 16, at noon. Below, listen to fun.’s track “Sight of the Sun.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ben Folds Five at The Tower, James Iha at World Cafe Live, Balmorhea at Johnny Brenda’s, Los Lonely Boys at the Strand, and Chuck Prophet at the Tin Angel

Ben Folds Five will be playing at the Tower tonight after releasing their brand new album The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind last week. This is the first record Ben Folds Five has released in over a decade; during the band’s hiatus, Folds enjoyed a solo career in which he produced six solo LPs. According to the band, a portion of the profits from this album’s sales will be going toward Music Education and Music Therapy. The all-ages show tonight at the Tower begins at 8 PM; ticket information can be found here. Below, watch the video for “Brick,” the from 1997′s Whatever And Ever Amen. 

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Stream the new Tegan and Sara single “Closer” (playing Susquehanna Bank Center 12/13)

Yesterday Rolling Stone premiered the catchy new single “Closer” from indie pop twins Tegan and Sara‘s forthcoming album. The infectious new single officially drops on September 25th, but you can stream it now in the player below. The duo also announced a slew of tour dates with The Killers this winter, including a stop at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on December 13th. Tickets are on sale at 10 a.m., and you can get them here.