Watching members of Augustines, Billy McCarthy, Eric Sanderson, and Rob Allen, playing and singing their hearts out a capella in the middle of the crowd at Larimer Lounge in Denver with lots of smiles from the faces surrounding them, these musicians live and breath their connection with these people huddled in this small rock club. Having seen them a few years ago at the Bluebird, my friend Jen and I enjoyed the after-show banter with the band members; the sumptuous dessert after a luscious meal of songs from the band's repertoire.
The guys cherish these moments to talk to the people that listen and drink in their personal tales of triumph and woe. As the double edge sword of popularity, relishing in the embrace of their fan base and growth, moments likes these are not always possible and may be even less so in the future, if all continues to grow and blossom.
As the paying-your-dues story goes, Augustines have the road rash and badges to show for it, including dealing with legal issues in regards to the use of their name and even personal and tragic loss of loved ones. Having reclaimed their identity and arrived at this point in their journey, the overall feeling and embrace of the aptly named self-titled album is one of rebirth, where a level of self knowledge and a more worldly perspective has been taken even deeper than before. Billy responds, “It’s always funny with anything like art, painting, photography, poetry, whatever, you’re, ‘I feel this way. I wonder if it will come out in the work.' We all really feel that way, and we’re constantly reinventing ourselves.”
While Augustines’ musical legacy and catalogue is strung together with silk threads of deeply personal stories put to song, the tracks on the new album move into the realm of thriving and not just surviving, about getting out of your mind, literally, as on “Nothing to Lose But Your Head,” set to triumphant percussion and choruses, catapulting your soul past loss and ache. To get rid of the human penchant of living in the past and bringing yourself into the present, turn to “Don’t You Look Back.”
“Well, we talk a lot, we think a lot, we reflect a lot on life,” Eric adds. “I think it’s only natural that it comes across in our music. We’ve talked about the ideas behind the record a lot now, and the truth is, we didn’t sit down and come up with a theme and then carry it out. We just carried on doing what we do; being present, being conscious, and trying to express what’s going on in our thoughts and our lives.”
According to Eric, this songwriting process involved a lot of soul searching, and “coming to terms with who you are, and coming to terms with the fact that you don’t know who you are. At the same time it was a really fascinating time not entirely knowing who we are. We had the opportunity to reflect on our lives and not be held back by unbelievable struggle. We had the opportunity to sit in some degree of comfort and look at ourselves and say, ‘Who are we?’”
At this point Billy looks at his bandmate with an expression of recognition of those moments, half laughing in a way of relief of those accomplishment emotional resolutions. Eric continues, “When you’re a struggling artist your entire life, you don’t have that luxury. All you have is this identity you form as the struggling artist…trying to prove that you’re worth something. Then you finally get to the place that you always wanted to be, you have to ask yourself, ‘Where are you going to go from there?’ because that identity of a struggling artist no longer exists.”
While Augustines may not have the opportunity to huddle in the middle of the crowd at every show to perform in the way they did in Denver, Billy vows they will retain their sense of closeness to the people who take their music to heart.
“We’ve always liked the word ‘community’ rather than ‘fans.’ because these are people who have homes, and lives, and jobs, and they’re coming here to be with us,” he said, delving into the other side of popularity in the form of sold out shows and radio airplay, of their music being picked up by the mass populous. “It’s a little threatening. We had to work through a lot of those thoughts. What happens when the crowds are so much bigger and we don’t get to get out there?”
Already Billy admits that in some cities it turns out to be a circus if they all go out into the crowd after the show, like the sold out turning point for Augustines at Shepard’s Bush Empire.
Connecting back to that time, the anthemic “Now You Are Free,” feels of sorts, as a love letter to London, and the making of its video brought the two countries of America and Britain together, representing the cross-country roots of Augstines’ members. In fact, Rob’s father is in the video driving the taxi. “That kind of integrates a lot of our community, family ethos.”
The Crookes sat down with Kaffeine Buzz today, theoretically speaking, via Skype (along with intermittent screen and audio freezes) to discuss the Sheffield band’s third album, Soapbox (out April 14 on Fierce Panda in the U.K, April 15 on Modern Outsider in the U.S.), and their third time back to Austin to perform a SXSW 2014.
As a veteran of SXSW, I’ve learned many tricks of the trade over the years to not only survive the ‘marathon, not a sprint’ annual conference and party extravaganza, but come out the other end thriving. Most of these lessons have been learned the hard way by being ill prepared or just not knowing what to expect, since things change from year to year. I’m sharing my SXSW veteran tips and tricks so you can enjoy an event better SXSW experience.
The beauty about music is it can lead anyone anywhere, figuratively or literally, as a listener or as a songwriter. For Griff Snyder, it took him from the snowy mountains of Colorado to the shores of California and back; from the days of folk music parties featuring his band Dovekins to the solo explorations of electronic music and the birth of Inner Oceans.
What may or may not be an 'official band photo' of Portland's Grandhorse is no doubt an apt representation of their persona: floating carefree in the water, jovial, and bonding with cold beverages.
After chatting with Harry Koisser, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for Birmingham's PEACE, I realized that the band wasn't on a stretch for this current U.S. tour. He, along with Samuel Koisser on bass, Douglas Castle on guitar, and Dominic Boyce on drums had been going solid since I'd seen them on the last day of SXSW 2013, playing a blow-out set at the British Music Embassy showcase.
Klaxons at SXSW 2013
According to an NME article based on Radio 1's Zane Lowe broadcast featuring Jaime Reynolds, the lead singer for Klaxons, the band has been working on their follow up to 2010's sophomore success, Surfing the Void. This time 'round they're moving deeper into their dancey tendencies while continuing to complement electronics with organic guitar stylings (Chemical Brothers and James Murphy are rumored to be their tutors and producers).
"We have learned to make electronic music with computers, that’s been our mission over the last however long…there are guitars on it, it’s electronic, you know; it’s synthesised and electronic drums and the rest of it, with computers."
Klaxons fans got a sneak listen to the new stuff - "Invisible Forces" and "Rhythm Of Life" - which appeared in their set at the We Love Green festival in France last September (fan-recorded videos on YouTube also show "Invisible Forces" being performed at shows back in 2011). Previous to that, they had cancelled their 2012 summer festival plans to focus their time in the studio, and since then have been on the silent side.
UPDATE: Klaxons were originally scheduled to play the Windish and Red 7 party at Mohawk, Wednesday March 13 at 10:30pm. We believe they had to cancel. Will confirm and update as needed.
We're looking forward to hearing the new material first hand and hope Polydor has by this time, allowed the Klaxons to be free to create as they see fit.
The Postells at SXSW 2013
For the born and bred New York foursome - Daniel Balk (singer), David Dargahi (lead guitar), John Speyer (bass), and Billy Cadden (drums) - much was quite on The Postelles front as well at the time of the November airing.
Since then, a new album announcement has been made: …And It Shook Me is due to be released April 23, a follow up to their self-titled debut in 2011. The first single, "Pretend It's Love (featuring Alex Winston)," has also appeared on Soundcloud as a free download, a jingle-jangle tune full of sprite and springtime melodies.
The Postelles are no strangers to touring, having kept busy over the years with both national and international tours, and festivals ranging from Lollapalooza to Filter's Culture Collide and Icelandic Airwaves. The band is on the road again, hitting up the east coast before they arrive in Austin.
So far they've got one SXSW date booked - March 13 at Soho Lounge via Songkick.com; nothing's showing up on SXSW.com and their March 14 at 1am timeslot on http://austin2013.sched.org doesn't have the specifics yet.
It's a new year and right on queue, SXSW announces Round 3 of bands that have been invited to perform at this year's music showcases. Right off the bat and skimming through this very long list, which brings the total number to around 1,300, artists that stand out include: Toy, Black Lips, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, French Horn Rebellion, Andy Clockwise, Local Natives, Frightened Rabbit, Barcelona, The Limousines, Camera Obscura, Ash (yes! Ash are back!), Baauer, Fenech-Soler, Myka 9 & Factor, and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls (at Sx two years in a row!).
Happy Birthday David Bowie!!!! "Time may change me, But I can't trace time..." It was 40 years ago and a day, January 7, 1972, when David Bowie was about to enter what today is called the quarter-century crisis. Turning 25 was indeed a celebration, a crisis it was not since on this day RCA issued his first single "Changes/Andy Warhol."
It was one year ago when I spoke with Brennen Bryarly about his idea: to top into 100 personally chosen tastemakers in Denver to be a part of a monthly community event that brought renowned dance music to the people. That first night on November 19, 2011 at Beauty Bar featured Damon Allen, along with Brennan, otherwise known as Option4, locals Mike D. and Peter Black.