Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Buncha' SXSW crit-pics heading your way

I stole this list from that bastion of rock & roll indie cred, The Contra Costa Times. I'm not being sarcastic. This is a really good and helpful list--thank you Jim Harrington and Michael Mayer for putting it together. Since I can never afford (in $$ and time) to go to SXSW, these kinds of listings really help a girl out. And if you live in the Bay Area, these bands are coming atcha. Hooray for music. It keeps on keeping on, despite the troubles.

Yuck are from London but they sound like early-90s Akron, Ohio to me. In a good way. Some European bands seem to be pulling from the early 90s obscure/fuzzy/angsty thing as a form of expression. No complaints here.

Yuck - "Get Away"

Playing with Tame Impala at The Fillmore on April 18.

Janelle Monáe is a performance artist with a theater background. Can you tell? She's invented some kind of character from another world/planet and you get to decide if you want to go there. I think her commitment to percussive dance numbers, big hair, short pants and two-tone shoes are all good signs for the stylistic musical future.

Janelle Monáe [featuring Big Boi] - "Tightrope" (Film geeks: can you spot the Maya Deren reference?)

Playing with Bruno Mars at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, June 8.

The Baseball Project consists of indie luminaries Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, and Linda Pitmon. They compose and play songs about baseball. Critics are always head-scratching about this one but let me tell you: a lot of indie-rock musicians are baseball fans. Baseball is, as far as I'm concerned, the unofficial sport of scrappy musicians.

I used to play in a pick-up league (with rubber "doggie balls") with a bunch of them and we were passionate about our baseball. We ran the bases in our thrift-store cleats four seasons out of the year (during drought years) and we didn't get too drunk or fall down much even (two injuries in a nearly decade run--pretty good).

But back to The Baseball Project. Peter Buck is such a baseball fan that I've actually seen him play live, wearing cleats. And they're not comfortable on a hardwood stage, believe me (I hope he had insoles). So he is dedicated. He's also one of the best guitarists in rock--lest we forget. So put on your favorite-team hat and support The Baseball Project.

The Baseball Project - "Past Time"

Sorry, we missed them in San Francisco earlier this month (damn!) but they're based in Portland, so they'll be back--hell, it's baseball season and Portland doesn't even have a pro team--so they better.

Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers are perhaps the only harmonium-based punk rock band in the history of the world. I mean, I've seen and heard a lot of punk rock over the years, but this is a harmonium-playing howling woman from a traditional Indian-music background. That's just different.

Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers

West coasters: she played here in March and she's based on the East Coast, so be patient.

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