SIDE NOTES: 10 SXSW Artists You Oughta Know
The 28th annual SXSW has come and gone, leaving in its wake an overwhelming amount of new music to sift through. Of the 2,000+ artists who performed, here are 10 of SXSW 2014’s finest, spanning a spectrum of genres from soulful alt country to “tropical grit pop.”
BASECAMP - Although from “the home of country music,” this Nashville trio is anything but twangy. Instead, the Basecamp boys blend their achy breaky heart lyrics with downtempo, electronic beats and smooth vocals, creating some sleek, sexy PBR&B. 
Listen here
COIN - Upbeat and college-radio-ready, COIN craft sunny tunes to lift listeners’ spirits. Add any of the band’s tracks to your spring playlist and let the happiness abound.
Listen here
Elle King - From opening for Of Monsters and Men here at the Club to kicking-off Heartbreaker Banquet on Willie Nelson’s ranch, this soulful alt country songstress has played some pretty amazing gigs. No matter where she performs, King always includes a “dirty” cover, like Khia’s “My Neck, My Back” or R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix),” in her setlist.
Listen here
Ghost Beach - “Tropical grit pop” is what Ghost Beach calls its brand of vibrant, dancey electro-pop. Experience the duo’s inventive, fun sounds for yourself when they open for The Sounds at the Club on April 12!
Listen here
Horse Thief - Hailing from Oklahoma by way of Denton, TX, Horse Thief are midwesterners through and through. The band’s psychedelic folk rock, with its steel guitar tones and drawn out tempo, evidences the influence of these geographical roots. 
Listen here
Jungle - A dash of BeeGees there; a pinch of Fitz and the Tantrums there - these are some ingredients of Jungle’s updated take on disco funk. Indeed, were a remake of Saturday Night Fever made, the UK group’s falsetto-tinged, boogie-dance-inducing music would surely serve as the soundtrack.
Listen here
PINS - PINS parallel another all-female, British punk rock quartet with similarly empowering music - Savages. PINS, however, are less abrasive, perhaps making them more accessible and less polarizing.
Listen here 
RÜFÜS DU SOL - It’s practically impossible to resist dancing to RÜFÜS’ catchy beats. Expect more hits from the Australian purveyors of indie dancetronica when the trio’s debut album invades our shores later this year.
Listen here
Shakey Graves - Alejandro Rose Garcia, under his moniker Shakey Graves, is a countrier, bluesier Tallest Man on Earth. The triple-threat, one-man band plays guitar, sings, and kicks his makeshift bass drum so well that February 9 is now “Shakey Graves Day” in Austin.
Listen here
Wet - Brooklyn’s Wet have only one EP under their belts, and chances are you’ll wear out the four tracks before any more material is released. The trio’s sparse, ethereal pop is addictive, as is front-woman Kelly Zutrau’s voice as she sings of love, loss, and moving on.
Listen here
-Madelyn Dutt

SIDE NOTES: 10 SXSW Artists You Oughta Know

The 28th annual SXSW has come and gone, leaving in its wake an overwhelming amount of new music to sift through. Of the 2,000+ artists who performed, here are 10 of SXSW 2014’s finest, spanning a spectrum of genres from soulful alt country to “tropical grit pop.”

BASECAMP - Although from “the home of country music,” this Nashville trio is anything but twangy. Instead, the Basecamp boys blend their achy breaky heart lyrics with downtempo, electronic beats and smooth vocals, creating some sleek, sexy PBR&B.

Listen here

COIN - Upbeat and college-radio-ready, COIN craft sunny tunes to lift listeners’ spirits. Add any of the band’s tracks to your spring playlist and let the happiness abound.

Listen here

Elle King - From opening for Of Monsters and Men here at the Club to kicking-off Heartbreaker Banquet on Willie Nelson’s ranch, this soulful alt country songstress has played some pretty amazing gigs. No matter where she performs, King always includes a “dirty” cover, like Khia’s “My Neck, My Back” or R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix),” in her setlist.

Listen here

Ghost Beach - “Tropical grit pop” is what Ghost Beach calls its brand of vibrant, dancey electro-pop. Experience the duo’s inventive, fun sounds for yourself when they open for The Sounds at the Club on April 12!

Listen here

Horse Thief - Hailing from Oklahoma by way of Denton, TX, Horse Thief are midwesterners through and through. The band’s psychedelic folk rock, with its steel guitar tones and drawn out tempo, evidences the influence of these geographical roots.

Listen here

Jungle - A dash of BeeGees there; a pinch of Fitz and the Tantrums there - these are some ingredients of Jungle’s updated take on disco funk. Indeed, were a remake of Saturday Night Fever made, the UK group’s falsetto-tinged, boogie-dance-inducing music would surely serve as the soundtrack.

Listen here

PINS - PINS parallel another all-female, British punk rock quartet with similarly empowering music - Savages. PINS, however, are less abrasive, perhaps making them more accessible and less polarizing.

Listen here

RÜFÜS DU SOL - It’s practically impossible to resist dancing to RÜFÜS’ catchy beats. Expect more hits from the Australian purveyors of indie dancetronica when the trio’s debut album invades our shores later this year.

Listen here

Shakey Graves - Alejandro Rose Garcia, under his moniker Shakey Graves, is a countrier, bluesier Tallest Man on Earth. The triple-threat, one-man band plays guitar, sings, and kicks his makeshift bass drum so well that February 9 is now “Shakey Graves Day” in Austin.

Listen here

Wet - Brooklyn’s Wet have only one EP under their belts, and chances are you’ll wear out the four tracks before any more material is released. The trio’s sparse, ethereal pop is addictive, as is front-woman Kelly Zutrau’s voice as she sings of love, loss, and moving on.

Listen here

-Madelyn Dutt

ALBUM REVIEW: The Flaming Lips, Flaming Side Of The Moon
It is rare when a cover exceeds the quality of the original. Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” (Otis Redding’s original, for comparison) and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (and here’s Robert Hazard’s original) come to mind as contenders. 
Released earlier this week, Flaming Side of the Moon is not a cover version of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon but actually a companion piece. The band says that it even works as a companion to The Wizard of Oz. Now when this was first announced on March 31, it seemed like an early April Fools’ joke. But it wasn’t. And it’s glorious.
The Lips artfully crafted their album to accompany and enhance the Dark Side experience. This can especially be heard on the track “The Great Gig in the Sky,” on which the Flaming Lips’ guitar work augments the chords produced by David Gilmour, creating a totally new sonic experience. The Lips’ work on “Us and Them” enhanced the track to the point where I’m not sure if I’d be able to listen to it without the Flaming Lips’ contribution again.
If you want to try syncing it up yourself, press play on Soundcloud at the same time as doing so on your CD or iTunes. (Don’t use anything like Spotify - Dark Side won’t be gapless and the albums will become out of sync.) If you’re looking to be adventurous and try the Flaming Side of the Rainbow, here’s a link to a pre-synced version of that.
-Ryan Largent

ALBUM REVIEW: The Flaming Lips, Flaming Side Of The Moon

It is rare when a cover exceeds the quality of the original. Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” (Otis Redding’s original, for comparison) and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (and here’s Robert Hazard’s original) come to mind as contenders. 

Released earlier this week, Flaming Side of the Moon is not a cover version of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon but actually a companion piece. The band says that it even works as a companion to The Wizard of Oz. Now when this was first announced on March 31, it seemed like an early April Fools’ joke. But it wasn’t. And it’s glorious.

The Lips artfully crafted their album to accompany and enhance the Dark Side experience. This can especially be heard on the track “The Great Gig in the Sky,” on which the Flaming Lips’ guitar work augments the chords produced by David Gilmour, creating a totally new sonic experience. The Lips’ work on “Us and Them” enhanced the track to the point where I’m not sure if I’d be able to listen to it without the Flaming Lips’ contribution again.

If you want to try syncing it up yourself, press play on Soundcloud at the same time as doing so on your CD or iTunes. (Don’t use anything like Spotify - Dark Side won’t be gapless and the albums will become out of sync.) If you’re looking to be adventurous and try the Flaming Side of the Rainbow, here’s a link to a pre-synced version of that.

-Ryan Largent

WE LOVE OUR PARTNERS: The Blind Dog Cafe at Darnell’s
Delicious food and strong coffee by day, drinks and soul by night. There’s much to be said about The Blind Dog Cafe, which takes over Darnell’s bar at the corner of Florida Avenue and W Street NW during the daytime hours. They serve up sandwiches (breakfast & lunch), salads, baked goods, and unbelievable coffee, all made with local ingredients, in an atmosphere that’s as comfortable as your living room. And since they’re our neighbors, we couldn’t help but team up with them! Next time you head over to Blind Dog (which should be..um..now), look immediately to your left upon entering. Drop your contact info in the box to be entered to win a pair of tickets to 9:30 shows, updated twice monthly! 
-Mandy Brownholtz
The Blind Dog Cafe is located at 944 Florida Ave NW. Click here to check out the menu!

WE LOVE OUR PARTNERS: The Blind Dog Cafe at Darnell’s

Delicious food and strong coffee by day, drinks and soul by night. There’s much to be said about The Blind Dog Cafe, which takes over Darnell’s bar at the corner of Florida Avenue and W Street NW during the daytime hours. They serve up sandwiches (breakfast & lunch), salads, baked goods, and unbelievable coffee, all made with local ingredients, in an atmosphere that’s as comfortable as your living room. And since they’re our neighbors, we couldn’t help but team up with them! Next time you head over to Blind Dog (which should be..um..now), look immediately to your left upon entering. Drop your contact info in the box to be entered to win a pair of tickets to 9:30 shows, updated twice monthly! 

-Mandy Brownholtz

The Blind Dog Cafe is located at 944 Florida Ave NW. Click here to check out the menu!

SHOW PREVIEW: Goldlink “The God Complex” Release Show

The grapevine has been busy whispering the name “Goldlink” since SXSW. Even if you weren’t able to attend SXSW, chances are you still heard that his performances in Austin were nothing less than bone chilling. No need to feel like you missed out though, because the Virginia native is headed back to the DMV to hold his project release concert at U Street Music Hall on April 12! His project “The God Complex” was premiered by Fader and recognized by a number of other highly regarded publications. Openers include Mista Selecta and more, so it’s sure to be a party! 
-Lawrence “Tre’” Banks
Goldlink will perform at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, April 12.

SHOW PREVIEW: Goldlink “The God Complex” Release Show

The grapevine has been busy whispering the name “Goldlink” since SXSW. Even if you weren’t able to attend SXSW, chances are you still heard that his performances in Austin were nothing less than bone chilling. No need to feel like you missed out though, because the Virginia native is headed back to the DMV to hold his project release concert at U Street Music Hall on April 12! His project “The God Complex” was premiered by Fader and recognized by a number of other highly regarded publications. Openers include Mista Selecta and more, so it’s sure to be a party! 

-Lawrence “Tre’” Banks

Goldlink will perform at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, April 12.

Ahh, GROUPLOVE. What’s not to love? Positive energy, poppy beats, and an all around good time. Thank you for three wonderful sold out nights! We can’t wait until you return.

Check out the rest of the photos for the March 30 date here, all taken by our wonderful house photographer Dustin Whitlow!

SIDE NOTES: Kevin Lyman’s Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2014
Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman was kind enough to send us his top picks for this year’s tour. Take note!
1. Air Dubai

Denver band Air Dubai is hitting the Vans Warped Tour this year with their combination of eclectic genres and explosive onstage energy.  In efforts to not fit into one specific genre or category, their sound is a mix of hip- hop, pop, soul, rock and electronic. They strive to have every record be new and fresh which is what caught Hopeless Record’s eye in 2012. After signing to Hopeless Records, Air Dubai released their new 5 track EP “Warning” which kick started their popularity. Air Dubai plan to release a new album in 2014 along with touring throughout the year.
Listen here
2. Real Friends 

Pop-punk band Real Friends aren’t your typical five hometown friends hanging out in their basements of South Side Chicago. These five have taken the pop-punk world by storm with their fresh new sound although they’re sound is still reminiscent of older pop punk bands that their hometown fans caught on to quickly. With the responsiveness of their local scene and their continuously growing fan base they caught the well-deserved attention of Fearless Records in 2013. With the backing of Fearless Records, the band plan to release their much anticipated first full-length album in 2014. Real Friends continue to grow due to their hard work, dedication to fans, and relatable music. Keep an eye out for their upcoming record and make sure to catch them all summer on the Vans Warped Tour.
Listen here
3. Stray From The Path 

Stray From The Path isn’t your common hardcore band. With their own mood and dark energy their albums surpass the expectation of listeners with their precision and honesty.  They catch the audience’s attention with their high energy stage appearance as well as their unpredictable but intricate sound. In 2013, Stray From The Path released their most mature and cohesive record “Anonymous.” They’re goal is to always to bring “honest pissed off music to the world” and in 2014 the band will spread that message as they spend their summer on the Vans Warped Tour.
Listen here

4. K.Flay

K.Flay is a hip-hop/indie rapper that started from parody and went to indie. She began her parody when she picked up a mike while she was attending Stanford University. To her surprise as she mocked the genre she fell in love with making her own raps and was surprised of what she could come up with and how much she loved doing it. This was the beginning for K.Flay as she then spent the rest of her sophomore year recording and debuted her first album ‘Sunburn Rap Queen.’ After her second full-length was released, she was later contacted in 2013 when RCA took interest and released her major-label debut ‘What If It Is.’ K.Flay has kicked off this year with a headlining tour and will be heading out on the Vans Warped Tour all summer long.
Listen here
5. Plague Vendor

Epitaph artists, Plague Vendor are an Alternative/Punk band known for their dark tones and instinctual playing. On April 15th, the band is set to release their highly anticipated debut album ‘Free To Eat.’  With a number of house parties, club gigs, and warehouse shows, Plague Vendor quickly became associated with wild nights and good times. Plague Vendor is known to be an undeniable force, simultaneously dangerous and comforting, and predicated on the meaning its own name invokes. You will be able to catch Plague Vendor on all of the Vans Warped Tour this summer following the release of ‘Free To Eat.’
Listen here
6. State Champs

At the forefront of the pop-punk revival you’ll find State Champs; a group of friends that at first, just wanted to make great music and have a good time. With their start back in 2010 they quickly became a fan favorite in the pop-punk scene. In 2013, State Champs dropped their debut album ‘The Finer Things’ on Pure Noise Records and exceeded fan’s expectations. Quickly after the release the band realized their hard work paying off and got offered to tour with artists such as Bayside, The Wonder Years, and We Are The In Crowd.  In 2014, as always, the band will be working hard and having fun on the Vans Warped Tour.
Listen here

7. Neck Deep

Neck Deep, a pop-punk band from overseas, started off  the band as “a bit of fun.” However, Neck Deep quickly became one of the most popular and young bands in the UK scene. In 2013, Hopeless Records caught on to the fast-growing band and Neck Deep joined their roster. Without wasting momentum, the band recently released their debut album ‘Wishful Thinking’ early this year. For Neck Deep this is only the beginning. In 2014, they will be headlining their own tour as well as jumping on the entire Vans Warped Tour.
Listen here

8. Dangerkids

Dayton, Ohio’s Dangerkids are not one to be confined by genres. With a mixture of sounds from rap, electronic dance music, post-hardcore, and metalcore this band doesn’t mind breaking rules. With the band signing to Rise Records in 2013 they recently dropped their debut album ‘Collapse.’ Not disappointing their fans, the album incorporated a blend of EDM and heavy post hardcore jump starting the band’s fame. In 2014, the band will be on the road for the Take Action Tour as well as jumping on the Vans Warped Tour all summer.
Listen here
9. Issues

Issues is a post-hardcore/metalcore band with a strong RnB influence based out of Atlanta, Georgia. The band was formed in 2012 by former Woe, Is Me members Tyler Carter, Michael Bohn, and brothers Cory and Ben Ferris. Just a few months after forming, Issues was signed by Rise Records imprint Velocity in 2012. Quickly after being signed, the band released their first EP ‘Black Diamonds.’ With the success of their first EP, anticipation for their debut self-titled album was at an all-time high. When the album was released on February 18th, 2014 the album reached #9 in the Top Billboard 200 charts. In the rest of 2014, the band will continue to tour and will be hitting each date on the Vans Warped Tour.
Listen here
10. Sleeper Agent

Sleeper Agent is a six piece band with Alex Kendal at the forefront as their front-woman. Since the beginning of Sleeper Agent and the release of their debut album, ‘Celabrasion’, its members have played everywhere from the Coachella festival to Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. They’ve caught the attention of Mom + Pop Records where they have since opened for acts such as Weezer, Circa Survive, and fun. In 2014, they will be releasing their second debut album ‘About Last Night’ and will be hitting the road this summer on the Vans Warped Tour. 
Listen here
Catch all these bands and more at Vans Warped Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion on July 22!

SIDE NOTES: Kevin Lyman’s Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2014

Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman was kind enough to send us his top picks for this year’s tour. Take note!

1. Air Dubai

Denver band Air Dubai is hitting the Vans Warped Tour this year with their combination of eclectic genres and explosive onstage energy.  In efforts to not fit into one specific genre or category, their sound is a mix of hip- hop, pop, soul, rock and electronic. They strive to have every record be new and fresh which is what caught Hopeless Record’s eye in 2012. After signing to Hopeless Records, Air Dubai released their new 5 track EP “Warning” which kick started their popularity. Air Dubai plan to release a new album in 2014 along with touring throughout the year.

Listen here

2. Real Friends 

Pop-punk band Real Friends aren’t your typical five hometown friends hanging out in their basements of South Side Chicago. These five have taken the pop-punk world by storm with their fresh new sound although they’re sound is still reminiscent of older pop punk bands that their hometown fans caught on to quickly. With the responsiveness of their local scene and their continuously growing fan base they caught the well-deserved attention of Fearless Records in 2013. With the backing of Fearless Records, the band plan to release their much anticipated first full-length album in 2014. Real Friends continue to grow due to their hard work, dedication to fans, and relatable music. Keep an eye out for their upcoming record and make sure to catch them all summer on the Vans Warped Tour.

Listen here

3. Stray From The Path 

Stray From The Path isn’t your common hardcore band. With their own mood and dark energy their albums surpass the expectation of listeners with their precision and honesty.  They catch the audience’s attention with their high energy stage appearance as well as their unpredictable but intricate sound. In 2013, Stray From The Path released their most mature and cohesive record “Anonymous.” They’re goal is to always to bring “honest pissed off music to the world” and in 2014 the band will spread that message as they spend their summer on the Vans Warped Tour.

Listen here

4. K.Flay

K.Flay is a hip-hop/indie rapper that started from parody and went to indie. She began her parody when she picked up a mike while she was attending Stanford University. To her surprise as she mocked the genre she fell in love with making her own raps and was surprised of what she could come up with and how much she loved doing it. This was the beginning for K.Flay as she then spent the rest of her sophomore year recording and debuted her first album ‘Sunburn Rap Queen.’ After her second full-length was released, she was later contacted in 2013 when RCA took interest and released her major-label debut ‘What If It Is.’ K.Flay has kicked off this year with a headlining tour and will be heading out on the Vans Warped Tour all summer long.

Listen here

5. Plague Vendor

Epitaph artists, Plague Vendor are an Alternative/Punk band known for their dark tones and instinctual playing. On April 15th, the band is set to release their highly anticipated debut album ‘Free To Eat.’  With a number of house parties, club gigs, and warehouse shows, Plague Vendor quickly became associated with wild nights and good times. Plague Vendor is known to be an undeniable force, simultaneously dangerous and comforting, and predicated on the meaning its own name invokes. You will be able to catch Plague Vendor on all of the Vans Warped Tour this summer following the release of ‘Free To Eat.’

Listen here

6. State Champs

At the forefront of the pop-punk revival you’ll find State Champs; a group of friends that at first, just wanted to make great music and have a good time. With their start back in 2010 they quickly became a fan favorite in the pop-punk scene. In 2013, State Champs dropped their debut album ‘The Finer Things’ on Pure Noise Records and exceeded fan’s expectations. Quickly after the release the band realized their hard work paying off and got offered to tour with artists such as Bayside, The Wonder Years, and We Are The In Crowd.  In 2014, as always, the band will be working hard and having fun on the Vans Warped Tour.

Listen here

7. Neck Deep

Neck Deep, a pop-punk band from overseas, started off  the band as “a bit of fun.” However, Neck Deep quickly became one of the most popular and young bands in the UK scene. In 2013, Hopeless Records caught on to the fast-growing band and Neck Deep joined their roster. Without wasting momentum, the band recently released their debut album ‘Wishful Thinking’ early this year. For Neck Deep this is only the beginning. In 2014, they will be headlining their own tour as well as jumping on the entire Vans Warped Tour.

Listen here

8. Dangerkids

Dayton, Ohio’s Dangerkids are not one to be confined by genres. With a mixture of sounds from rap, electronic dance music, post-hardcore, and metalcore this band doesn’t mind breaking rules. With the band signing to Rise Records in 2013 they recently dropped their debut album ‘Collapse.’ Not disappointing their fans, the album incorporated a blend of EDM and heavy post hardcore jump starting the band’s fame. In 2014, the band will be on the road for the Take Action Tour as well as jumping on the Vans Warped Tour all summer.

Listen here

9. Issues

Issues is a post-hardcore/metalcore band with a strong RnB influence based out of Atlanta, Georgia. The band was formed in 2012 by former Woe, Is Me members Tyler Carter, Michael Bohn, and brothers Cory and Ben Ferris. Just a few months after forming, Issues was signed by Rise Records imprint Velocity in 2012. Quickly after being signed, the band released their first EP ‘Black Diamonds.’ With the success of their first EP, anticipation for their debut self-titled album was at an all-time high. When the album was released on February 18th, 2014 the album reached #9 in the Top Billboard 200 charts. In the rest of 2014, the band will continue to tour and will be hitting each date on the Vans Warped Tour.

Listen here

10. Sleeper Agent

Sleeper Agent is a six piece band with Alex Kendal at the forefront as their front-woman. Since the beginning of Sleeper Agent and the release of their debut album, ‘Celabrasion’, its members have played everywhere from the Coachella festival to Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. They’ve caught the attention of Mom + Pop Records where they have since opened for acts such as Weezer, Circa Survive, and fun. In 2014, they will be releasing their second debut album ‘About Last Night’ and will be hitting the road this summer on the Vans Warped Tour. 

Listen here

Catch all these bands and more at Vans Warped Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion on July 22!

Hey Kraftwerk fans! If you are attending the show tonight, head over to U Street Music Hall to keep the party alive! Free entry with a ticket stub or 9:30 hand stamp.

Hey Kraftwerk fans! If you are attending the show tonight, head over to U Street Music Hall to keep the party alive! Free entry with a ticket stub or 9:30 hand stamp.

VOTD: Jack White, “High Ball Stepper” 

Leave it to musical genius Jack White to sneak up on you when you least expect it. Yeah, we all knew he was playing many festivals this upcoming summer, but who knew he would be releasing a solo album at the start of summer? After an announcement that the album will drop on June 9 or 10, mere hours later the first video off the album appeared for an instrumental song, “High Ball Stepper.” Jack White has a knack for taking something simple and making it awesome. The guitar sounds like pure blues straight from his Nashville, TN  recording studio. The keyboards add another unique touch. The video is an amazing accompaniment, as well. White, blue and black paint (signature Third Man Records colors) violently bounces off of the speakers, expressing how loud Jack White’s sound can be. The different colors continue to make waves and patterns, matching with the guitar riffs and beat of the track. His first track and video has captured us all, who knows what we can expect from Lazaretto? One thing is for sure though, its bound to surprise us.

-Lauren Rosalenko