Tag Archives: Emo’s

Dandys and Brian Jonestown Massacre – both huge successes in my book

How do you define musical success? Lots of money? Lots of fans? Most dedicated cult following? Major label deal? It just keeps getting trickier and trickier.

A few weeks ago a friend loaned me his copy of Dig!, a documentary about the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols. Two very talented and trippy groups that had very different career paths – the Dandys got a major label deal and got really popular, especially in Europe; the BJM got more and more dysfunctional over time, with rampant drug use and constant fighting.

It also follows the changing relationship between BJM’s volatile singer Anton Newcombe and the Dandys’ Courtney Taylor, who started out as great friends and ended up as bitter rivals.

I recently saw both bands at Emo’s in Austin. The Brian Jonestown Massacre played at Psych Fest and The Dandy Warhols played later at their own show. I loved both bands, but I think I would’ve appreciated them a lot more if I had seen Dig! beforehand. I didn’t realize how awesome it is that Anton is keeping it together as well as he is right now, or that tambourinist Joel Gion still tours with the band after quitting/getting fired/getting in fights, etc. so many times. (BTW, Joel was my favorite “character” in Dig!, just laughing and clowning and partying through it all, the quintessential stoner.)

So which band succeeded? I would have to say both. The Dandys had more commercial success (Although Capitol has since downsized, dropping them from the label and turning them back into a “true indie” band). Their songs are catchier.

Brian Jonestown Massacre make consistently great music that will stand the test of time. They’re like some of the great psychedelic bands from the ’60s before they got big and lost their edge.

I think the Anton and Courtney love/hate relationship is fascinating. Anton envies Courtney’s success with the Dandys and Courtney loves and envies Anton’s songwriting ability. Here’s hoping they get back to the point where they can hang out and perform together again.

If you’re a fan of either of these bands and haven’t seen Dig!, you owe it to yourself to watch it. Even if you never heard of either band, watch it. Best documentary and in fact best movie I’ve seen in a long time.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under movie, music, psych, review, rock, Uncategorized

Dandy Warhols rock Emo’s Austin

Last week I finally got a chance to see the Dandy Warhols, one of my all-time favorite bands. Avant garde yet catchy, nice and psychedelic. I saw them at Emo’s in Austin in the company of some good friends.

One of my friends referred to them as the coolest-looking band on the planet, and he could be right. They don’t do a lot of jumping around on stage, they just look really cool. As cool as they sound. I sort of get the impression of lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor as someone who’s been around and seen and done pretty much everything, kinda  sleazy, druggy and wise.

The Dandy Warhols are still on tour. Check here to see if they’re coming to a town near you.

Didn’t manage to get a decent photo with my cellphone, alas, but check out this video of my favorite Dandy Warhols song. They killed on this one.

 

They also had some really kickass songs that I hadn’t heard before, many from their new album, This Machine.

Leave a comment

Filed under indie, indie pop, indie rock, live show, music, psych, Uncategorized

Austin Psych Fest day 2: the ladies won this one

Just as expected, my favorites from yesterday were unexpected. The two shows that really got my attention were from girl bands. Both were at the “small stage” at the Beauty Ballroom.

Prince Rama

Prince Rama down in the crowd. The were very shiny. (Chris Kinney photo)

Prince Rama gets into the audience - which clearly got into them also. (Chris Kinney photo)

The first was a duo called Prince Rama of Brooklyn, NY, two ladies performing a sort of electroclash with a lot of percussion, some programmed, some acoustic. One song started with Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” and turned into a really cool tribal jam. For their last song, they got down into the crowd and danced. The crowd loved them. Enough to beg for an encore. We didn’t get one, alas (I guess if every band did that, the festival would drag on forever).

Chris, my concert buddy for the weekend, compares them to Govinda and Fisherspooner.

The two sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson, have an interesting background. They were raised on a Hare Krishna commune in Florida and went to an art school in Boston. They were picked by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in May 2011. Pitchfork recently gave them a really good review.

Feathers

Feathers singer dances, bewitches the audience - especially the guys. (Chris Kinney photo)

Blue disco ball, smoke machine, black lingerie outfits, Feathers put on a spectacle and the music was awesome. (Chris Kinney photo)

An all-female group from Australia, Feathers also lit up the Beauty Ballroom last night. Lots of percussion, they had a dark, brooding electronic sound, very danceable, and an impressive light show. They were dressed in black and were sexy as hell. I guess you would refer to their stuff as electro clash, but I also thought of witch house. Definitely a darker vibe than Prince Rama.

Here are a couple of their songs on Bandcamp:

Pink Mountaintops

Pink Mountintops, doing one of their folkier numbers. (Charles Wood photo)

The Pink Mountaintops rocking out at Psych Fest 2012. (Chris Kinney photo)

I have enjoyed the light shows so far for all the bands. Most have been computer generated. I really enjoy the old school effects though. We were standing close to this guy, who swirled dye around on plates, with the images projected on screen. Really cool. (Chris Kinney photo).

It wasn’t all about the ladies. I really enjoyed Pink Mountaintops of Canada, which is a spinoff of another favorite band of mine, Black Mountain. The music was at times hard and heavy and at other times rather folky.

Tonight looks to be a big night. I’m looking forward to seeing Tuareg singer Bombino, Thee Oh Sees, The Meat Puppets, and of course the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Austin Psych Fest first day: Disappears killed it

Disappears - awesome performance at Psych Fest 2012. (Cellphone camera couldn't cut the mustard so I nabbed this one off the band's Facebook page.)

Just starting to feel human again after a late night at Psych Fest. As usual, the band I enjoyed most wasn’t the one I expected it to be. Best performance and a definite band to watch, is the Chicago-based band Disappears.

I did enjoy the bands we went to see: Dead Meadow were very good and The Black Angels were great as always, I enjoyed a few other bands as well, both at Emo’s East and the Beauty Ballroom. The thing is, none of that really jumped out at me. It was the kind of fare you expect to hear at a festival devoted to psychedelic music – lots of reverb, lots of Velvet Underground influence.

Disappears stood out from the crowd (kind of an amusing statement now that I think of it). They were very together, every member knowing what the others were doing at all times. Different rhythms, vocals higher in the mix. I got a strong postpunk vibe from them. They made me think of bands like Joy Division, Magazine and The Fall.

Chris, my concert buddy, was so impressed he bought three of their CDs. I would have if I hadn’t been a little strapped after buying a few drinks. We played through a couple of the albums after we got back to Chris’s appartment and their latest – Pre Language – is unquestionably the best. The others were good also, but they had a different sound, reminding me a lot of the Stooges.

Here’s one of their best in my opinion:

BTW, I just found out after a bit of searching that their drummer is Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth.

Disappears will be playing in Dallas tonight and in Memphis, Tenn. tomorrow night. They are also getting ready for a summer tour of Europe. Check out their website for more. Also visit their store. You can get Pre Language for $12. Worth it I would say. And check out their Facebook page.

Bands I look forward to seeing tonight include Pink Mountaintops, Olivia Tremor Control, Telescope and the Black Lips. But who knows? Best show might once again be someone completely off my radar.

Emo’s East

I’ve decided I really like the new Emo’s East location on East Riverside Drive. I will miss the old location on 6th Street. I saw so many great shows there. But this one is big, still homey somehow, and they kept a lot of the art from the old place – like the creepy/weird/trippy painting of the elephant cutting open its third eye and the one of Johnny Cash flipping the bird.

Leave a comment

Filed under live show, music, one to watch, psych

Getting psyched for Psych Fest 2012

I’ve been so busy lately that I just now had time to check out the lineup for this year’s Psych Fest. There are some killer bands on the bill this year. I really enjoyed last year’s festival, which was held at the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant. This year, the festival will be at Emo’s East and the nearby Beauty Ballroom on Riverside Drive.

I’m going to miss that weird industrial aesthetic, and the fact that you could go from the “big” stage to the “small” one to check out different bands without leaving the building. We’re going to have to walk a little more this time. There are advantages to having two separate venues, however. There was a certain amount of interference between bands last time.

Some of the bands I’m psyched about include: Brian Jonestown Massacre, Pink Mountaintops, Telescopes, Dead Meadow, Olivia Tremor Control, and of course, the Black Angels. And as always, I look forward to checking out some bands that I don’t know anything about that could turn out to be new favorites. I discovered some great ones last year.

Here’s a link to the official site. There might still be time to get tickets. And in any case, here is Al Lover’s Psych Fest Mixtape. Tons of great music.

And check out my posts about last year’s festival here and here,

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized