I have 14 days left until I hit up Austin for SXSW and within the last two days I have learned more about what acts I plan on seeing than I have since I bought the flight tickets.
A lot of shows are going on at the same time and I can help but wonder, how do all the folk who go to SXSW do it? how do their weigh who they are going to see every day? I want to see Screeching Weasel but just found out the Black Lips are playing a set right around the same time…
Regardless, yesterday my fav female pal in Austin left me a voicemail telling me to RSVP for a free show that The Dead Milkmen were going to be playing. I about fell out of my chair the moment I heard her say that…
Then looked at the website for Transmission Entertainment’s Mess With Texas 5th annual event and saw this line-up:
The Dead Milkmen
Ted Leo (solo)
Thee Oh Sees
The Strange Boys
The Fresh and Onlys
Esben and The Witch
I know what I am doing Saturday whilst in Austin now.
Sadly I am going to be missing the one and only Wu Tang Clan who play the night of the 17th… Having seen them twice in my time, once with ODB himself, I think I will live, but I am always down to see some live Wu Tang.
Philadelphia punkers Dirty Tactics are officially the band I overlooked last year. In a day and age where punk rock music is taking all sorts of diversions into different genres, sometimes I am just hesitant of checking out newer acts.
Maybe it’s the old man in me telling me to hold back as I sadly think I have heard it all or perhaps I’ve just grown tired of band after band sounding alike. Whatever the reason is, I am glad I took a moment to pop in It Is What It Is, the bands sophomore album on Say-10 Records.
From the very start of the CD I was into it. It was not because the band exploded into a infectious jam (that was later), it was because of a certain dated excerpt of an interview that opened the album. Where as I can not pinpoint who the actual band is that is being interviewed, someone who sounds an awful like Mick Jones of the Clash says “it’s just like, there just has to be new groups and that’s just what you got,” when asked where punk rock started. Without time to agree with that statement, Dirty Tactics jumped into “When You Wake Up” a dirty DIY sounding catchy-ass song.
“Baltimore” followed the opening track continuing with an infectious pop-punky (see, I told you that happened later) song that won me over mostly thanks to the use of the organ throughout. Begging to be sung along to was “The Process”, a pop-punk heavy track wit a dab of clapping to keep that good feeling going.
“Secret Lives” had an interesting prelude to an amazing track. “Train Song” proved it is ok to play organ in a punk rock song and have fun doing so. All I could think to myself is how amazingly talented these guys were and I was only halfway thought the album.
“Arkansas” was unlike any other song previously heard and perhaps my favorite. Upright piano, almost whispering gruff singing, and distant percussion brought together this quick gem of a track that begged to be listened to over and over again.
The shift in sound also applied to the final track “Blind Man”, a trippy track that sounded almost as if Jeffrey Lewis wrote it. Even if it was out of the norm I loved it and especially appreciated the repeat of “it’s what you got” taken from the opening sample at the songs end.
Dirty Tactics are group of talented and hardworking musicians that make punk, well…punk. They recorded the It Is What It Is themselves, work their day jobs when home, and tour when the time is right. I only hope to catch this band live one day.
It Is What It Is just isn’t just an album that I’ll be listening to a couple of times and forget about…and yes I mean that. I am pretty sure they will remain in regular rotation for me for quite some time. If you have not heard of Dirty Tactics yet make sure you put that on your to do list.
Earlier this year I had one of those evenings that made me remember why I do what I do. Before you start thinking dirty thoughts, I am talking about my love for music and sharing it with all of you wonderful readers out there via this high tech blog. I don’t get paid for this (yet), but I can tell you what, I will do this for as long as I can just because I love doing it…
Great, now where was I?
Oh yes, that one evening earlier this year when I remembered why I love music and my blog and blah blah blah… Flashback time.
It was a warm summer evening and my favorite Columbus folk-duo The Electric Grandmother were playing a show at Annabell’s in Highland Square (a hipster rich area in Akron). We arrived just before the show was to start and I remember helping them move their gear into a side room of the bar as there was another act scheduled before them.
Mary Alice & Pete (aka The Electric Grandmother) offered me a delicious tall PBR as a thank you for helping them get situation (who later in the night dedicated a song to me – how thoughtful).
As I sat there and enjoyed that 24oz. of goodness, there was a male/female duo getting set up. I remember specifically stopping everything I was doing the second they started their soundcheck. All I could think of was “who in the hell is this?” Mind you I was dead serious and not sarcastic…
The band was called Fort Wilson Riot and they just so happened to fill in a last minute slot at Annabell’s as some unnamed venue in Cleveland cancelled on them. They were not looking rushed but you could tell they were moving as fast as they could to get set up. It was then and there they started that song that my attention was captured.
The song they played was called “Snakes & Scorpions” and featured the duo singing in a perfect harmony backed by an electric guitar and electric keyboard as well as a drum machine providing the beat.
It was a simple set up but the sound was not what I expected at all. The duo consisting of Jacob Mullis and Amy Hager reminded me of everything I liked about acts like Dresden Dolls, Mates Of State, Matt & Kim, and even The White Stripes. Why? Because they complimented one another perfectly. It’s like the ying and yang of music.
I liked what I heard and apparently so did everyone else in the bar that night as the entire basement of Annabell’s filled up after a couple songs in by Fort Wilson Riot. They were indie rock, they were pop rock cabaret-style…they were…good.
No one was expecting to hear that kind of music that night. I know I wasn’t.
I remember looking at Pete & Mary Alice and then looking around at all the people who gathered to see this mysterious band play. It was one of those acts where we could see people mouthing the words “who are these guys” followed by “they are really good.”
When I see people do that while watching a band I can not help myself but smile. That is why I love music and that is why I like to share it. Chances are I am not the only one who decided to tell someone about Fort Wilson Riot. I know I have multiple times, and here I am telling you all.
After their set I greeted them and throughout the night we chatted. I found out that they were from Minnesota and once were considered an “indie-rock opera” before slimming down to the duo. They were touring in a van on their own and had been touring with Ice Palace before making the stop in Cleveland.
Amy and Jacob hung out with us for the rest of the night and by the end of the evening they hooked me up with a copy of their latest album Predator Prey, a self-made album that once I listened to, turned me into even a bigger fan.
Not only is it the duo on the CD but they also enlisted a bunch of their talented friends to put together one great listen. I highly recommend checking out “Forgotten Language”, “All My Friends”, “Snakes & Scorpions” and cabaret-heavy “Diamond Blues”.
Have you found yourself interested in this band Fort Wilson Riot I speak of? Fear not you can check them out by heading over to their Bandcamp page. The album is only $8. What are you waiting for?
Daft Punk has done it again. The pro-robotic duo recently dropped the score to the new Tron Legacy movie that will be out next week. I have already listened to it multiple times. It is good, if you like the Daft Punk of course…
Today the video for their single “Derezzed” was released and I just watched it….
This video is for all you old school gamers out there…if you have not seen it already
Check out Patrick Jean’s latest creation where he has 80’s video game characters take over NYC. Simply amazing to watch. I loved seeing Arkanoid incorporated in the video – one of my fav NES games of all time.