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SXSW Music: Yellow Ostrich

I saw a lot of great bands a SXSW this year, so I’ll keep working on sharing that with you. Here’s another one!

Band: Yellow Ostrich / Hometown:NYC
Show: Billions / Venue: Antone’s / Date: 3/18

Alex Schaaf is a resourceful man. When we first encountered his project, Yellow Ostrich, it was a solo lo-fi indie folk project based in Wayne, Maine (though also tied to Wisconsin). The inevitable move to New York happened (along with the addition of drummer Michael Tapper – formerly of We Are Scientists – and the more recent addition of bassist/horn player Jon Natchez – formerly of Beirut and Bishop Allen) and the band quickly got up to speed with some extensive touring. At the group’s Bandcamp page you’ll find a number of albums (we might call this one prolific) available for pay-what-you-want. The latest, The Mistress, is available at emusic or on vinyl via Afternoon Records. Though the live experience is obviously a far cry from the dense crackle and hiss of the recordings (and – well, feels more like a rock band) the strength of Schaaf’s vocal and guitar loops still carry the songs, only now they’re bolstered by additional live instrumentation. Perhaps my expectations were low, and I was prepared for a mellower performance, but the energy onstage gave these songs (which have a memorable quality that’s hard to deny) a whole new life. Check out the photo gallery, tour dates, and more below. Continue reading SXSW Music: Yellow Ostrich

New o’death Video + SXSW Photos

Band: o’death / Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Show: Panache + Ernest Jenning Records / Venue: Red 7 + 512 / Date: 3/17 + 3/20

Currently in the midst of a North American tour, with European dates kicking off April 27, o’death are on the road (dates here) in support of their fantastic new record, Outside. I caught two of their sets at SXSW (in an attempt to make up for missing both of their recent shows in Maine at The Ox + The Ax – a venue run by the band’s frontman, Greg Jamie) and the difference in crowds made for very different experiences. The first – at Red 7 on a bill with like-minded bands on the Panache booking roster – felt like most proper o’death gigs, with a rowdy mix of punks and friends losing their minds to the band’s onstage contortions. The second – and ultimately the last show I chose to watch at the festival – was in the smaller venue 512 and seemed to invite more of a walk-in crowd that may not have been familiar with the band. It was definitely the first time I saw anybody play air guitar at an o’death show!

Below is the new video for the song “Bugs.” It was filmed here in Maine by the band themselves.

Read on for photos from both shows by Bryan Bruchman.

Continue reading New o’death Video + SXSW Photos

SXSW Music: Low

I’m still catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw at SXSW. Here’s another one!

Band: Low / Hometown: Duluth, Minnesota
Show: showcase Venue: St. David’s Historic Sanctuary / Date: 3/16

You couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting to enjoy the sublime slowcore songs of Duluth’s Low. Alan Sparhawk wrenches tones from his guitar as if his entire soul is being pulled from it, even if it’s just one note ringing out. Truly one of the most incredible concerts I’ve ever witnessed. Certainly not ideal for photography (plus having to stay on the floor in the front with minimal movement around so as not to disrupt the quiet performance with a full house of seated audience members) but absolutely enjoyable, it made for a great first experience with this incomparable band. Their new album, C’mon, was actually recorded in similar environs (a former Catholic church) and will see release on Sub Pop in just a couple weeks (April 12).
Continue reading SXSW Music: Low

SXSW Music: Yuck

I’m still catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw at SXSW. Here’s another one!

Band: Yuck / Hometown: London, England
Show: Paradigm/Coda Agencies / Venue: Club Deville / Date: 3/16

One of the most talked about bands at this year’s festival, Yuck are another extremely young band (both in terms of age and existence of the band) being put to the test with extensive touring. A simple name, a straightforward noisey rock sound reminiscent of Dinosaur, Jr., a recognizable aesthetic to their album/flyer art, and to-the-point lyrics are what make them stand out. Live, there was a shy awkwardness that may have been partially brought on by the overwhelming festival experience, but I get the sense that it’s really just how this band is. If you’ve been naysaying the reemergence of 90’s guitar-based indie rock sounds, let Yuck help convince you. You can get their debut, Yuck, from Bull Moose. Read on for some music videos and interviews with the band, plus the HillyTown photos from their SXSW showcase at Club Deville! Continue reading SXSW Music: Yuck

SXSW Music: Oberhofer

I’m still catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw at SXSW. Here’s another one!


Band: Oberhofer / Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Show: Brooklyn Vegan day party / Venue: Barbarella / Date: 3/18

Led by young Brad Oberhofer (a college student at NYU, from Tacoma, WA), the energy and excitement of this bunch of 19/20 year olds is apparent in their music, both on record and live. Don’t be fooled by the presence of a glockenspiel, this band is much more frantic art-punk than twee cuteness. Onstage, every song explodes with a shuffling of feet and flailing of instruments, adding to the jubilation of the players (just imagine yourself in college, touring with a well-received band, and getting to play your music, you’d smile this much too). They haven’t been through Maine yet, but they certainly should come by. This would make great summer music (perhaps paired with a local like Theodore Treehouse). Check out the band’s song “Away Frm U” at P4k and read on for the photo gallery below! Continue reading SXSW Music: Oberhofer

SXSW Music: Wild Flag

I’m back from SXSW and catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw there. Here’s another one!

Band: Wild Flag / Hometown: Portland, OR
Show: KEXP + Merge Showcase / Venue: Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop + The Parish / Date: 3/16+18

Above all the hot new buzz bands and old favorites that I was excited to see in Austin last week, Wild Flag was what I was most excited for. With members of Sleater-Kinney, Helium, and the Minders all in one band, it’s definitely a bit of a super group. The combination of Carrie Brownstein and Mary Timony (two of my favorite musicians, I should mention) on dual guitars and lead vocals (with no bass in sight) is powerful, and smoother than S-K but wilder than Helium. The band’s performance is captivating, and the songs are powerful and catchy. I look forward to their first release later this year (on Merge Records). Hopefully they’ll make it across the country to our Portland on that tour! Read on for photos from these two (of the band’s six total) shows! Continue reading SXSW Music: Wild Flag

SXSW Music: Oh Land

I’m back from SXSW and catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw there. Here’s another one!

Band: Oh Land / Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Show: Fader + Austin BFFs / Venue: Fader Fort By Fiat + Lipstick 24 / Date: 3/17

We first encountered Danish singer Oh Land (Nanna Øland Fabricius) back in September when she visited SPACE Gallery in an opening slot for Mates Of State (see photo below). Having no frame of reference at that time, we were impressed by the songs, performance, and high production value – which included LED walls, video projections mapped onto balloons, and more. Now, with the music world at large having caught on, Oh Land played a slew of high profile shows in Austin during SXSW. In one afternoon, I caught two shows in a row. The first at a large venue (the Fader Fort By Fiat) and then at a small outdoor patio space (on the same show as Milagres).

Oh Land

Tonight, Oh Land makes their national tv debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Read on to see the video for “Son Of A Gun” and our full photo gallery from the two SXSW shows! Continue reading SXSW Music: Oh Land

SXSW Music: Milagres (are playing a HillyTown show)

I’m back from SXSW and catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw there. Here’s another one!

Band: Milagres / Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Show: Austin BFFs / Venue: Lipstick 24 / Date: 3/17

Our friends in Milagres have been very busy lately. First off, they recently signed to Kill Rock Stars, who will put out their album this fall. Second, they’ve been touring their faces off and will continue to do so – check out their full upcoming schedule after the photo gallery below. The current tour wraps up just after their scheduled stop here in Portland, Maine, where they’ll play a HillyTown Presents show at One Longfellow Square with locals the Milkman’s Union and Indiana’s Husband & Wife. We couldn’t be more excited for this show! Get tickets now!

I’ve personally known the guys in this band for a number of years, through various projects, names, and practices spaces, and it’s always great to catch up with them at music festivals. This show – presented by I Rock I Roll, The Bellhouse, and Flavorpill and held at Lipstick 24 – was only the first of a handful the band would play during SXSW, and despite the early start time (noon!) the band performed as strongly and tightly as ever. Check out the full photo gallery below. Continue reading SXSW Music: Milagres (are playing a HillyTown show)

SXSW Music: Dead Man’s Clothes

I’m back from SXSW and catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw there. Here’s another one!

Band: Dead Man’s Clothes / Hometown: Portland, Maine!
Show: The Eruption of the Real / Venue: Cherrywood Coffeehouse / Date: 3/18

This week’s Portland Phoenix features SXSW coverage, including a cover story and photo of mine from this show. Local indie rockers Dead Man’s Clothes (who we checked in with just before they hit the road) rolled into Austin, TX without an official showcase, and ultimately ended up scheduling three shows (including one officially-sanctioned festival party) but only the first – at an unofficial day party outside a coffee shop – actually happened. This was that show (note: Cherrywood Coffeehouse had excellent food, coffee, and atmospher both inside and out – I wish we had places like this here in Portland!) . Despite the odd environment and early hour, the band performed strongly, a testament to the consistent development of their talents since we first encountered them.

Read on for more photos from their show.
Continue reading SXSW Music: Dead Man’s Clothes

SXSW Music: Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

I’m back from SXSW and catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw there. Here’s another one!

Band: Lady Lamb The Beekeeper / Hometown: Portland, Maine!
Show: Brooklynvegan showcase / Venue: Swan Dive / Date: 3/16

What more can I say about Lady Lamb The Beekeeper at this point? We’ve covered her/the band’s music almost as long as this site has existed, and it all just seems to have been snowballing ever since. On a solo mission to make Portland proud while her career takes off, she’s made a huge splash in both Boston and NYC, and this official showcase curated by our friends at the most popular music blog around (in case you were curious, before I started this site I was a contributor there and still occasionally am) solidified that at this year’s SXSW Music Festival. This was one of a modest three shows that Aly Spaltro played at the festival, but I’m counting on seeing her rack up more dates at CMJ, next year’s jaunt to Austin, and anything else that comes up. Read on for photos.
Continue reading SXSW Music: Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

SXSW Music: The Sounds

I’m back from SXSW and catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw there. Here’s another one!

Band: The Sounds / Hometown: Helsingborg, Sweden
Show: Conflict Of Interest Party / Venue: Purevolume House / Date: 3/15

With a brand new album (Something To Die For) being released next week (March 29), The Sounds are still on a roll since their strong reemergence in the past couple of years. The undeniable Blondie comparisons will probably never go away, but this band has a blend of pop, punk, and new wave that’s proven to satisfy. At this late night show presented by music marketing group The Syndicate, the band was in a smaller setting than normal (as is often the case at SXSW) and fans were treated to a special performance that felt much more aggressive than the last time I saw the band. Read on for more photos! Continue reading SXSW Music: The Sounds

SXSW Music: Delicate Steve

I’m back from SXSW and catching up on the photos of all the bands I saw there. Here’s another one!

Band: Delicate Steve / Hometown: NJ
Show: M for Mikey showcase / Venue: Spill / Date: 3/15

A band whose name I heard kicked around quite a bit before hearing any of their music, Delicate Steve‘s label (Luaka Bop) and recent tourmates (Akron/Family) provide reasonable hints to the sorts of sounds emanating from this NJ-based 5-piece. World music influences and adept guitar work blend smoothly with the frantic art/punk tendency common to just about every modern “indie” band for what I preemptively (and lazily) described as “Animal Collective playing at a strip mall in Jersey.” It works, and it’s something we don’t get to see much of here in Maine. Read on for more photos from this show and to stream/purchase the band’s album, Wondervisions! Continue reading SXSW Music: Delicate Steve

SXSW Music: Esben and The Witch

Hello from Austin, Texas! The SXSW Music Festival is fully under way, and it’s already a bit overwhelming. I’ll be posting galleries of bands I caught (some, like this, will just be one band, others will be a mix of acts I saw) with special attention paid to bands from or connected to Maine, those who’ve toured through Portland recently, and those that I’d really like to see come through! Keep checking back throughout the week.

Band: Esben and the Witch / Hometown: Brighton, England
Show: M for Mikey showcase + Austin BFFs Day Party / Venue: Spill + Lipstick 24 / Date: 3/15+3/16

Another instant favorite for me, again with a lot of volume and shoegaze tendencies, this Matador Records trio does things a bit more on the damaged surf noise side of things (like Liars) – in fact you might even say they’re a bit… goth. Going into the first of these two shows, I kept expectations low, especially since they have a lot of programmed drum tracks and only one drum and cymbal live, which often has a hard time translating well for a great performance. EATW made great use of what they did have, and brought the show out into the crowd at the Tuesday night showcase. Again, I’d love to see this band come through Maine on their next US tour. Check out their video then read on for the photo gallery!

Continue reading SXSW Music: Esben and The Witch

SXSW Music: No Joy

Hello from Austin, Texas! The SXSW Music Festival is fully under way, and it’s already a bit overwhelming. I’ll be posting galleries of bands I caught (some, like this, will just be one band, others will be a mix of acts I saw) with special attention paid to bands from or connected to Maine, those who’ve toured through Portland recently, and those that I’d really like to see come through! Keep checking back throughout the week.

Band: No Joy / Hometown: Montreal
Show: Pitchfork Showcase / Venue: Emo’s / Date: 3/15/11


It didn’t take long for this band to win me over. I was already a fan from watching their “Hawaii” video and seeing them live (where the loudness and hypnotic stoner/shoegaze sound was much more intense than expected) solidified it. Portland take note: we want this band to come for a visit.

Read on for the full photo gallery. Continue reading SXSW Music: No Joy

SXSW Bands: Astronautalis (and SPACE Photos)

On March 3, Seattle MC Astronautalis debuted his new live band with a show at SPACE Gallery in Portland, Maine. The band includes two familiar faces from our local scene, plus another member from the Bronx (we did an interview and photos at their practice space). At the show, Astronautalis said he’d been dreaming of this day since 2003, and seemed to be in constant disbelief that he’d finally been able to put together (and support on tour) a full live band. The show itself was electric, and the crowd welcomed the new incarnation of his performance. Now, two weeks into their 31-day tour, the band has a slew of dates in Austin, TX for SXSW. Let’s see how the road is treating our boys from Maine.

Astronautalis SXSW 2011 Shows:
3/16 (Four Fists) showcase @ Flamingo Cantina
3/17 Party Ends Party @ the Highball
3/17 showcase @ Easy Tiger

Brass Cankles has a video from this show:

Read on for a few more photos from the SPACE Gallery show. Continue reading SXSW Bands: Astronautalis (and SPACE Photos)