Austin City Limits Music Festival 2010 – DAY TWO

On day two of the Austin City Limits Music Festival we started the day at the Austin Ventures Stage with an electro-pop alternative/indie rock band from Northern Ireland called Two Door Cinema Club. The setlist included a hard-hitting barrage of tracks: “Cigarettes in the Theatre,” “Undercover Martyn,” “Do You Want It All?,” and the solid hit “Something Good Can Work.” The boys from Bangor, Northern Ireland played several tracks like “This Is Life,” “You’re Not Stuboorn,” “What You Know,” and “Eat That Up, It’s Good For You” from their new album Tourist History. And with the closers “Come Back Home” and especially the single “I Can Talk” the young rockers finished strong.

Tourist History

Following Two Door Cinema Club, Andrew Mayer Cohen aka Mayer Hawthorne representing Ann Arbor, Michigan brought the soul of the Motor City to Austin City Limits. The sweet sounding “Maybe So, Maybe No” set the vibe for the afternoon set. Mayer Hawthorne and the County then flipped the script playing the remixed versionGangsta Luv” recorded with the smooth rhyming rapper Snoop Doggy DoggThen he slowed down again for a chill version of “I Wish It Would Rain.”

His neo-soul sound flows in the same manner as the R&B and Soul revivalists: Mark Ronson, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Amy Winehouse. Not that Hawthorne sounds like these contemporaries but rather he sounds more like the classic crooners of old–Smokey Robinson and the Miracles or Marvin Gaye. The soul session then evolved into a sing along with a spot on cover version of the classic Doobie Brothers trackWhat A Fool Believes.” And, ultimately Mayer Hawthorne returned to his roots with the R&B jam ” Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out.”

I left the Austin Ventures stage for the Broken Bells. My family stayed behind for the Local Natives, which they reported were awesome ,especially since the 15-year old virtuoso fiddle player and singer-songwriter Ruby Jane joined the band for a musical ride. Unfortunately, this is the problem with Austin City Limits: there are too many bands at the same time to really see all the bands that you want to see.

I hated to miss the Local Natives, but the Broken Bells beckoned. Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse and James Mercer of the Oregon Indie Rock band The Shins align to make melodic space rock music like “Vaporize” andOctober.” And, I especially like the tracks “The Ghost Inside” andThe High Road.” Some tracks are more punchy like “The Mall & Misery,” but for the most part Broken Bells songs are spaced-out, well crafted, and textured rock songs. Danger Mouse adds layers of synths and keys atop the haunting vocals of James Mercer.

The Monsters Of Folk are a 2010 version of a folk-rock supergroup. They are our generation’s Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Combine the breathtaking vocals of  Yim Yames aka Jim James from My Morning Jacket with the rootsy vocals of Conor Oberst and the talents of multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes; then mix in the vocalist and music maker M. Ward, the genius behind groups like She & Him and you’ve got one hell of a supergroup.

The show opened with the harmonizing vocalists singing “hold out your hands” and “Say Please.”  Although festival organizers should have put this top notch band on a bigger stage, they still managed to put together a wonderful set, including songs from the album Monsters Of Folk. The set included: “The Right Place,”Man Named Truth,” “Ahead of the Curve,”Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.),” “Slow Down Jo,” “The Sandman, The Brakeman And Me,” and “Baby Boomer.”

But the band also played songs from other projects including the Bright Eyes tunes “Soul Singer in a Session Band,” ‘Hit the Switch,” “At the Bottom of Everything,” and “Another Travelin’ Song.” They also played a wonderful version of the M. Ward song “Vincent O’Brien” and the My Morning Jacket tracks “Golden” alongside a fantastic take on “Smokin from Shootin.” Although the guys covered material from other projects they stayed true to their collaborative material playing Monsters of Folk originals like “Whole Lotta Losin’,” “Temazcal,” and “Map Of The World.” And they closed with the haunting “His Master’s Voice.”

Matt & Kim provided a nice interlude between Monsters of Folk and M.I.A. I liked how the duo interlaced their indie dance rock with dance tracks. At one point, I heard a rip-roaring dancehall cut from Diplo’s Major Lazer album Gunz Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do called “Pon De Floor.” Plus there was a nice cover of the Biz Markie favorite “Just A Friend.” Essentially Matt & Kim threw a party on their stage playing their own stuff like “Daylight” alongside other great samples and beats.

Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam aka M.I.A. is a performing artists. For this show, we got up close and danced our assess off. From the slamming “Galang” to the hardcore “World Town” M.I.A. brought anarchy to ACL. I heard lots of complaints about M.I.A. from people near the back, but up front the sounds and sights elicited a punk electronica atmosphere. Of course she played the megahitPaper Planes.”  And she concluded with the noisy “Born Free” from her new loud album Maya. Also, we caught the end of a solid Muse show. Luckily, the science fiction rockers played “Starlight.”

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2010 – DAY TWO

ACL Preview – Austin City Limits Music Festival

The Fall (Amazon Exclusive)

After reviewing the lineup for the Austin City Limits Music Festival I am ready for an interesting three days of music. I must admit I am an Eagles fan. And I am hoping for the hits “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Take It Easy,” and “Hotel California.” The Eagles reached supergroup status long ago in Texas and obtained Rock and Hall Fame glory in 1998. In fact the entire album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 was on constant rotation in our house. An evening with “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Already Gone” would be commonplace.

Hotel California

Don Henley and Joe Walsh by themselves should be future Rock and Roll hall fame inductees. And I am hoping for some solo gems like “Life’s Been Good,” “Rocky Mountain Way,” or even “The Boys Of Summer” and “The End Of The Innocence.” From southern rock  classics like “Seven Bridges Road” to soft rock standards “Desperado,” “One Of These Nights,” “The Best Of My Love,” and “Take It To The Limit” the Eagles have been an integral part of my life since early childhood. So I’ll have to disagree with The Dude on this one. The Eagles are worthy! And I am looking forward to “Witchy Woman” and another “Tequila Sunrise.”

Come Away With Me

Norah Jones should be a great show. Her newest album The Fall included the electrified “Chasing Pirates.” And her lush vocals on “Come Away With Me” and “Don’t Know Why” are now legendary. Jones is a talented pianist and her music will be a perfect fit for Austin. In this same easy-going musical vein, I am excited about seeing the talented singer Amos Lee perform sweet tunes like “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight.”

The Resistance

The Muse versus M.I.A. problem causes a little consternation for me. I am a sucker for dancehall, electronica, and Public Enemystyle beats with female emcees. So M.I.A. and her funky fresh posse are certain to bring chaos to Austin, Texas. At her last appearance at ACL, M.I.A. unleashed mayhem. The new album Maya offers some tasty singles to drop, including the feature track “Xxxo.”  And the crowd pleasers “Paper Planes” and “Galang” are always slamming. Yet I’m going to try and catch the end of MUSE because this science fiction infused rock band brings a wicked light show to accompany their monster jams. Take a listen to “Starlight,” “Uprising,” or “Knights Of Cydonia” for a taste of their sound.

Maya (Deluxe Version) [Explicit]

The Monsters Of Folk are my must-see band for the festival. The band includes M.Ward, Yim Yames aka Jim James from My Morning Jacket, and Conor Oberst and Mike Moogis from Bright Eyes. This modern-day supergroup has a country hippy sound reminiscent of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. For example, check out the beautifully crafted “The Right Place.” And they have a couple of haunting stunners like the super hit “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.).” The Monsters Of Folk will have you tapping your toes and singing along to songs like “Say Please.”

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

I am also excited about seeing Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The National, Mayer Hawthorne, Vampire Weekend, and Broken Bells featuring Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins. Plus the great thing about ACL is a lineup full of Texas-based musical artists like Robert Earl Keen, Spoon, and Asleep at the Wheel. And finally, on a reggae note California stoners Slightly Stoopid and the American reggae band Rebelution add some good vibes to the lineup.

Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975

One Of These Nights

Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)

Broken Bells

ACL Preview – Austin City Limits Music Festival

The Top Albums of October 2009

Never Give Up” with Screw Driverand Inner Circle is one of those uplifting songs that inspires and makes you want to take on all comers. It has the punch and message of the Jimmy Cliff classic “The Harder They Come.” This song is my new motto: “Never Give Up, Never Surrender.” Inner Circle’s State Of Da World deserves the attention of the world. This new album includes collaborations with reggae megastars Junior ReidGramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage, Bushman and Luciano.  Slightly Stoopid appears on “Mary Collie Weed” and Damian Marley and  Stephen Marley make guest appearances on “Smoke Gets In My Eyes.”

Texas musicians James McMurtryLyle Lovett, and Robert Earl Keen all released new albums this month. McMurty’s Live In Europe features rocking versions of “Ruby And Carlos” and “Just Us Kids.” Lyle Lovett‘s Natural Forces has a beautiful cover of Townes Van Zandt‘sLoretta.” And Robert Earl Keen has a Townes Van Zandt tune “Flyin’ Shoes” on his new album The Rose Hotel. The single “The Rose Hotel” is free and loose and classic Robert Earl.

On the rap/hip-hop scene Wu-Tang Clan Alumni Raekwon and Ghostface Killah released new albums. The sequel to Raekwon’s classic album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx has been released. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Part II features killer solo tracks like “Ason Jones.” Method Man, Inspectah Deck, and Ghostface Killah guest on “House Of Flying Daggers” and on “The New Wu.” Old School maestro Slick Rick joins Raekwon, GZA, and Masta Killa onWe Will Rob You.”  And new school rapper Lyfe Jennings appears on the track “Catalina.” Ghostface Killah’s album Ghostdini Wizard Of Poetry In Emerald City includes the notable tracks “Baby,” “Back Like That (Remix),” and “Do Over.” Also on the rap scene A Tribe Called Quest emcee Q-Tip released Kamaal The Abstract with the jazzy single “Even If It Is So.”

Greensleeves released two solid reggae compilations this month: The Biggest Reggae One-Drop Anthems 2009 and The Biggest Ragga Dancehall Anthems 2009. Great songs on this year’s one drop anthems include Beres Hammond’s Can’t Say I Never Tried” and Marcia Griffith and Busy Signal’s Automatic (Keeping It Real). The outstanding track is Romain Virgo’s tribute to the legendary Alton Ellis entitledAlton’s Medley: Breaking Up / Ain’t That Loving You / My Willow Tree.” Also Peetah and Assassin’sHot A Road,” Mr. Williamz’s No Cigarette” and Ziggi’sGonna Leave You” make this easy-going reggae collection worth the listen.

On the dancehall side of things with The Biggest Ragga Dancehall Anthems 2009 Black Ryno’sBend Over” and Vybz Kartel and Gaza Indu’sVirginity” induce the booty shaking while the catchy “Never Change (From Mawning)” by Chino will have you singing along. This newest addition to the dancehall anthems collection stocks up on heavy hitting dancehall singjays like Busy Signal, Demarco, Mavado, Jah Vinci, Laden, and Konshens.

  1. Inner CircleState Of Da World [Shanachie 2009]
  2. James McMurtry Live In Europe [Lightning Rod 2009]
  3. Lyle LovettNatural Forces [Curb/Lost Highway 2009]
  4. Monsters of FolkMonsters Of Folk [Shangri-La 2009]
  5. Various Artists The Biggest Reggae One-Drop Anthems 2009 [Greensleeves 2009]
  6. RaekwonOnly Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 [EMI 2009]
  7. Robert Earl KeenThe Rose Hotel [Lost Highway Records 2009]
  8. Various ArtistsJah Live Riddim [Joe Frasier 2009]
  9. International Observer Felt [Dubmission 2009]
  10. Roseanne CashThe List [Manhattan 2009]
  11. Various ArtistsPenthouse Showcase Volume 4 [Penthouse 2009]
  12. Various ArtistsPenthouse Showcae Volume 5 [Penthouse 2009]
  13. Kiddus IGreen Fa Life [Makasound/Makafresh 2009]
  14. Breakestra Dusk Till’ Dawn [Strut Records 2009]
  15. Danny MaloneCuddlebug [Township Records 2009]
  16. Kid CudiMan On The Moon: The End Of Day [Dream On/G.O.O.D./Universal Motown 2009]
  17. The XX xx [Young Turks 2009]
  18. Various ArtistsThe Biggest Ragga Dancehall Anthems 2009 [Greensleeves 2009]
  19. MuseThe Resistance [Warner Brothers 2009]
  20. Ghostface Killah – Ghostdini Wizard Of Poetry In Emerald City [Island/Def Jam 2009]
  21. Various Artists5: Five Years of Hyperdub [Hyperdub 2009]
  22. Gossip Music For Men [Columbia 2009]
  23. The Avett Brothers I And Love And You [Columbia 2009]
  24. Chuck FendaFulfillment [VP Records 2009]
  25. Omar Perry –  Can’t Stop Us [Makasound/Makafresh 2009]
  26. Tribal SeedsThe Harvest [Tribal Seeds 2009]
  27. Toddla TSkanky Skanky [1965 2009]
  28. Masta Ace & Edo GArts & Entertainment [Traffic 2009]
  29. Mark Stuart and the Bastard SonsBend In The Road [Dualtone 2009]
  30. Q-Tip Kamaal The Abstract [Jive 2009]
  31. Doveman –  The Conformist [Brassland Records 2009]
  32. DawesNorth Hills [ATO 2009]
  33. Kris KristoffersonCloser To The Bone [New West 2009]
  34. Mark KnopflerGet Lucky [Rerprise 2009]
  35. Takana ZionRappel à l’ordre [Makasound/Makafresh 2009]
The Top Albums of October 2009