Monday, March 30, 2009

New Orleans peeps - Midnight Preserves coming your way

Check out this awesome line-up of midnight shows at Preservation Hall from April 29 - May 2 in New Orleans including my former teacher Glenn Hartman, members of the Meters and the Neville Brothers, The Rebirth Brass Band and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
"Preservation Hall is proud to announce the return of Midnight Preserves, the popular late-night Jazz Fest music series hosted by the world-renowned home of Traditional New Orleans Jazz. Now in its fifth year, Midnight Preserves offers music fans the opportunity to experience intimate performances from legendary New Orleans artists as well as rare small-venue performances from some of the biggest names on the national scene. Tickets are now on sale for April 24-26 via, with more dates to be added soon. Performers include Zigaboo and Friends, Marva Wright, Walter Wolfman Washington, The Del McCoury Band, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Leo Nocentelli, Eric McFadden and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Ticket sales will be limited for these intimate performances, so order in advance!"
Friday, April 24, 11:59pm
Zigaboo and Friends with special guest Marva Wright
$25 (early purchase price!)

Saturday, April 25, 11:59pm
Zigaboo & Friends w/ special guest Walter Wolfman Washington
$25 (early purchase price!)

Sunday, April 26, 8:30pm
The Del McCoury Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Sunday, April 26, 11:00pm
The Del McCoury Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Thursday, April 30, 11:59pm
Rebirth Brass Band
$15 (early purchase price!)

Friday, May 1, 11:59pm
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Saturday, May 2, 11:59pm
Feet To The Floor (Leo Nocentelli, Eric McFadden, Mean Willie Green, Glenn Hartman, Nick Daniels)
$20 (early purchase price!)

click here for tickets.

This video will make you want to go to New Orleans right now.  Watch out.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nice things that folks have said about Always More to Hear

"You are a great writer, I especially like how reveal your own enthusiasm for music in your writing. You tell a story and educate, and all with you own voice. I read a lot of writers who hide themselves in the article, but your articles have a personal feeling."

- Brian Berberich, Creator and Producer of Chasing the Moon

"Her blog is written from a place of subjective personal experience of music, which I find far preferable to the tendency of so many music blogs to annoit themselves the Arbiters of What Is Good And Hip In Music."

Says Kirk Hamilton of Murfins and Burlgars

"Can you send me a monthly email of the best international music? ;) just kidding. But seriously, you have such good taste!"


"I continue to be in awe of your blog. Your taste in music is impeccable and I thoroughly enjoy the funky tunes you are sending our way."


"Your range of musical interests is impressive. I don't think that Otis Redding and Palestrina have ever been placed next to each other on a list, nor have Lauridsen and Nina Simone. Plus there's all the artists that I've never heard of. I'm sure it takes a lot of energy to keep that site going, but you convey a sense that you adore doing it."


"Your blog is really inspiring. It has so many elements happening together and your writing is so easy to read but intelligent and full of interesting info."


"Your site looks Fab. I was just going to take a peek while I was checking my e-mail and found myself spending over thirty minutes checking out all the music. Very fun and easy to find my way around even for an old fart like me. Bravo."

-Uncle D

"I'm really enjoying your blog. It's so informative and unpretentious. It's one of the few I always read. Thanks for sharing."


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Need something to do tonight in the Bay Area? How about some Japanese Rock or 3-part Klezmer vocals?

The Sisters of Sheynville

There are so many good shows on tonight in the Bay Area.  I will be going to the sold out performance of the Tallis Scholars presented by Cal Performances in Berkeley.  I've been a fan since college and interviewed conductor Peter Phillips. The article is still online, check it out here. But to quote, well, myself (because I can):
"We have ourselves, the music and our inspirations. Is there really anything else?" This is how Peter Phillips, director of the Tallis Scholars describes his relationship with music that was written 500 years ago. Phillips describes the Renaissance, the rich and glorified era of Michaelangelo, DaVinci and Machiavelli, as "the only period which can be said to have been dedicated to choral music." Through the Tallis Scholars, Phillips has successfully interpreted this music for the 21st century.
This pioneering choral ensemble has created a standard of excellence and beauty for Renaissance sacred music that has basically been untouched since its inception. They have been recognized around the world for their depth and variety of repertoire and their purity and clarity of sound.
This music is THE most gorgeous music I've ever heard and will probably provide the most spiritual/religious emotions and experiences for me personally.  If you want the full effect, turn this up, LOUD. That's the way classical music was meant to be heard.

After that I'm heading over to the Independent to check out this years crop of Japanese SxSW bands. Every year, Japan sends about a dozen bands/musicians to the SxSW festival for two nights of showcases.  Then, they go on tour. Japanese bands put on an awesome show, like much of Japanese culture, nothing only goes half way. 

Check out the line-up and tour schedule, they might be coming your way.

My favorite band that will be there tonight is detroit7 (I've blogged about them before). I finally figured out who lead singer Tomoni Nabana sounds like: a female Lou Reed(!!!)

Also happening tonight is the Jewish Music Festival's West Coast premiere of the Sister's of Sheynville and Gaucho.
Inspired by the legendary Barry Sisters of the 1930s and 1940s, this all-female Swing-Klez sextet was voted Canada’s top folk vocal group in 2008. Their airtight three and four part vocal harmonies in Yiddish positively sizzle with seduction. You’ll think you’re in Paris when Gaucho opens with the Gypsy Swing sounds that recall legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt.
Check out some clips here and at their website.

Friday, March 27, 2009

CD mixes

I'm making CD mixes. Who wants one? email with your address.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Howling Blues & Dirty Dogs": The life and times of Big Mama Thornton - for LA peeps

This piece comes to you from my very first guest blogger, my Dad, Jeff Freedman:

If you happen to be in Los Angeles any weekend between now and April 12, run, do not walk, to the Stella Adler Theater on Hollywood Blvd. to see national treasure Barbara Morrison as "Big Mama" Willa Mae Thornton in "Howlin' Blues and Dirty Dogs," a musical about the legendary blues pioneer.

Elvis Presley is connected in immortality to the blues crossover anthem "Hound Dog." Few know that this 12 bar blues tune was written by Los Angeles natives Leiber and Stoller for Thornton, not for Elvis. She received only $500 for her recording, which became an R&B hit three years before Elvis' recording helped launch him into international
stardom. Thornton had her share of success, but questions of race and economic power deprived her of the success in the 1950's that flowed to white artists. She died at age 57, poor and forgotten, in L.A. in 1984, a victim of alcoholism on top of her diabetes.

Barbara Morrison, an amazing talent in her own right, delivers an emotional depiction of Big Mama, and lends her own fantastic voice to the performance, which combines original music as well as tunes from the 50's. (The actual song "Hound Dog" is not part of the performance,
probably because Lieber and Stoller are still quite alive and this production did not obtain usage rights.) Other characters in the show include the tragic Johnny Ace, an outstanding singer, who died at age 25, and local legend Johnny Otis (of "Hand Jive" fame) who is still
quite alive at age 88.

Morrison is backed by a talented group of singers/actors playing multiple roles, plus a great blues quartet on piano, guitar, bass and drums.

There are many yet untold stories about the founders of modern music. Movies like "Ray" and "Cadillac Records" are helping to set the record straight about the early days of the genre. Plays and movies about Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, etc. are yet to be written. This story, about Big Mama, needs to be heard. Her time has come.

The Stella Adler Theater is at 6773 Hollywood Blvd, just east of Highland.

Phone number is 310-462-1439. Also check
Go see it!

Buy tickets here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Joshua Nelson and Kosher Gospel: Concert Review

If you are not a religious person, but feel drawn to African American gospel music, raise your hand. (I know this is the internet, but do it anyway. Unless you are in public, then spare yourself.)

If you are not Christian and are still drawn to gospel music, raise your hand.

If you are not Christian and are drawn to gospel music but get a little (or very) uncomfortable with the lyrics, raise your hand. 

Still have your hand raised? Thought so. Okay, you can put it down now.

I LOVE African American gospel music. I have been drawn to it for as long as I can remember. I even wrote a one-hundred page master's report on it in graduate school.

I am an agnostic Jew, and I love music written with the love of Jesus Christ in mind. What's up with that?  

People have described the concept in many ways, but it usually gets back to something like: it's not the words that matter, it's the conviction, the emotion and the excitement of the music behind the words. And most of the people that sing gospel, can really SING.

I learned about Joshua Nelson years ago when a friend who knew that I was researching gospel music sent me a newspaper clipping.  The Grammy-nominated singer grew up as a Black Orthodox Jew in South Orange, New Jersey. His grandmother introduced him to Mahalia Jackson and he fell in love. Nelson wanted to be a gospel singer, but he couldn't realistically sing about Jesus now, could he?

"All I can do is be who I am," said Nelson at the sold-out opening night of the Jewish Music Festival at the First Congregational Church in Oakland, California. Really all Nelson has done is replaced hebrew lyrics over the gospel style of singing, accompaniment and harmony.  Similar, and yet very different, to what Ray Charles did with gospel music and secular lyrics years before.

To me personally, it's theoretically the perfect blend.  It actually it sounded a little cheesy to me at first, but then I experienced it in person this evening, and I got it.  Let me explain:

The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir took the stage first. The choir is a professional group that is unaffiliated with any church and has singers of all backgrounds and creeds.   They started off with a handful of gorgeously arranged spirituals like "Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit" and "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel." 

"Good start," I thought, "stick to the old testament and songs that tell about the glory of god. The Jewish people can get that, definitely."

Then came a more contemporary style gospel. I heard the word "Christ" once and at that moment wondered what every person in the sanctuary was thinking, I mean, we were in a church, but as part of the Jewish Music Festival.  I kinda thought my brain would explode for a second there, too many layers to think about.

The audience was into it, heads were bobbing. Things were going well.  Terrance Kelly, conductor of the Interfaith Choir, gave the audience a gospel 101 lesson, "don't wait for the song to end to clap!" People laughed.

But then after the intermission, Nelson and his band took the stage, and people couldn't stay in their seats. They went nuts. The difference was like night and day.  

In addition to singing Jewish traditionals like "Hineh Ma Tov" and "Mi Chamocha" he referred to and sang the songs of Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Louie Armstrong and Harry Belafonte. He riffed off of Benny Goodman's (a fellow member of the tribe) "Sing Sing Sing" and Ray Charles' "Hit the Road" Jack. Music that was familiar to everyone in the room.

I spoke to an older couple on my way out who said that that was some of the best music they had heard in a long time. 

As a Jew, I get it: this guy is literally speaking my language. He's singing words that I recognize. And words that I, even as an agnostic, am emotionally attached to.  And it's to the music that I know and love.  I don't have to distance myself from the music just because I can't relate to the words.

Oh, and Nelson can sing too...

Here's another one of the tune Adon Olam with his backup singers.

This picture from 2004 cracks me up.  You know if Oprah says someone is the "next big thing," it's gonna be true. 

I will be attending most of this weeks Jewish Music Festival's shows, so please check back for bloggings.  It's going to be fun!

Here's a the schedule. Tickets are available for all shows:

Young People's Symphony Orchestra: Special guest cellist Bonnie Hampton sits in with California's oldest youth orchestra in a concert that is part of "Bloch Party - A Celebration of the Life and Music of Ernest Bloch." 2 p.m. today. $15-$20. Castro Valley Center for the Arts, 19501 Redwood Road, Castro Valley. (510) 889-8961.

Andy Statman Trio: A master of blurring genres, this clarinet and mandolin virtuoso shuffles through bluegrass, American roots, and avant-garde jazz with klezmer and Hasidic nigunim. 8 and 10 p.m. Monday. $20. Yoshi's, 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco, (415) 655-5600.

Flory Jagoda and Friends: Born 84 years ago into a singing family in the Sephardic community of Sarajevo, this Jewish singer and composer is one of the primary ambassadors for Ladino culture. This program finds her sharing stories and songs. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. $16-$20. Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.

Di Goldene Pave: The Toronto-based Yiddish singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Lenka Lichtenberg duets with clarinetist Kinneret Sageet. 1 p.m. Thursday. $12-$16. Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. Also 6 p.m. Thursday. Free. San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco.

Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird: Mixing klezmer and politics with elements of punk and folk on its new album, "Partisans and Parasites," this Berlin cabaret group will be joined by beatboxer Yuri Lane. 8 p.m. Thursday. $12-$14. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St. Also, 8 p.m. April 2 (without Lane). $12-14. Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

The Sisters of Sheynville and Gaucho: The all-female Canadian folk vocal group headlines with its three- and four-part harmonies in the style of the Barry Sisters. Gaucho plays seductive gypsy swing with a detectable Django Reinhardt influence. 8 p.m. Saturday. $18-$28. Jewish Community Center San Francisco, 3200 California St., San Francisco.

Elana Jagoda, Yuri Lane and guests: A program directed at children as part of family music day, featuring folk-rocker Elana Jagoda, beatboxer Yuri Lane, workshops and performances by other festival artists. 11 a.m. Next Sunday. $7-$20. Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.

Finale Dance Party with Brass Menazeri: The festival closes out with a lively set by a horn-driven Bay Area soul and Klez-Balkan outfit. 4 p.m. next Sunday. $10-$25. Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SxSW Day 3 highlights: Peggy Sue, Steve Taylor, The Environmental Encroachment Marching Band & Theresa Andersson

I started my day with something called "The Trailer Park" from  Torchy's Tacos in South Austin that included fried chicken. I also had a Mexcian Coke (all sugar, no corn syrup), perfect! 

Then I headed up to on the roof of the Whole Foods Headquarters for the Girls Rock Camp Day Party with a Daisy Rock Guitar raffle, face painting (check out the KISS makeup) and of course, girls who rock. England's Peggy Sue greeted me with their gorgeous yet forceful vocal blend. They remind me a little of First Aid Kit but with a little more sass.  

Then I strolled further into downtown and came across Steve Taylor, an Oakland musician who had decided to busk on Sixth street instead of playing proper staged venues.  He drove his portable piano all the way from California to Texas to play on the street. From the little that I saw, I'm willing to guess that he sold a pile of CDs that way. People loved him. His style reminds me a little of Paul McCartney or Jamie Lidell.

This is a video that I took of Steve while a hula-hooper provided visual entertainment. Ah, such is South by Southwest... actually, this is pretty normal for Austin year round...

This is a quick video I took of 6th Street, the main strip for South by. You can hear the cacophony streaming out of the clubs, even in the daylight. Image what it sounds like in the evening.

Another band I found wandering the streets of Austin is the Environmental Encroachment Marching Band from Chicago.  I think this video speaks for itself (sorry it's so short and blurry).

Later that night I ended up at Antone's, a special place for me (I was Clifford Antone's teaching assistant while he was working for the University a year or so before he died) and got to see Theresa Andersson, a Swedish ex-pat living in New Orleans. She's got quite a voice on her and with the help of looping, she's a one-woman band. Check her out with her apartment setup (I like this video because you can see all her pedals).

I came home to the Bay Area earlier today and am ready for another (but not quite as intense) week of music!  This time with the Jewish Music Festival.  Honestly, I'm a little sick of guitars at this point...

Friday, March 20, 2009

SxSW Day 2 highlights: Efterklang, Girls in Trouble, The Sway Machinery & Golem

If I had a Girls Rock Camp day on Wednesday, Thursday was my Jewish day. 

My sunlit hours were a bit of a wash (which has to be expected), but we did stumble upon experimental Danish band Efterklang (meaning "echo") at the French Legion. With 8 musicians on stage, I think each instrument on earth was present.  This is of course, not true, but this band is interesting enough for me to pass onto fans of folks like Akron/Family.

I then got myself a seat at the gorgeously remodeled speakeasy on Congress to see the JDub Records showcase including: Girls in Trouble, The Sway Machinery & Golem.

Firstly, let me just share that within the first hour of arriving, a girl came around with free sausage wraps - at a jewish record label sponsored party. I had myself a good chuckle. People, of course, ate them up. 

Golem violinist, Alicia Jo Rabins, has a new project called Girls in Trouble. This description comes from their myspace page
GIRLS IN TROUBLE started as an attempt to get out of writing a thesis for a masters degree in theology and grew into a song cycle which grew into a band.

These are songs that tell ancient stories of girls in trouble from that hotbed of human and divine darkness, The Bible.

Girls with names like Dinah and Tamar, and some whose names were never recorded. Tales of runaways, human sacrifice, and illicit seduction from a time before God and the Devil got separated out from each other. 
This was my favorite tune of the set:  

Hunter from hoovesontheturf on Vimeo.

Finally the club filled up, and we got to bask in the frenetic energy of The Sway Machinery and Golem. I've now seen The Sway Machinery three times since October, and they never disappoint (read an old blog post here). With an all-star lineup of musicians (from Antibalas, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Balkan Beat Box & Arcade Fire), these guys are tight. They also have a lot of fun, bumping into each other onstage and dancing around.  I love their suits too.

Finally at 1am, Golem took the stage. Rather than donning an according, the pregnant Annette rocked a red keytar. That baby is going to be cool.  My favorite new song?: "Tucheses and Nenes" (listen on their myspace page). For  those that don't know, these are certain female body parts.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SxSW Day 1 highlights: La Papuna, Follow that Bird!, Blues Mafia & Girl in Coma

Started off the day traipsing around downtown Austin with my friend from PDX Pop Now! and stumbled upon Brazilian dance band La Papuna at the Beauty Bar. This is not your typical salsa band, they mix surf music, rock and the regional Brazilian Guitarrada style. It was fun watching the already intoxicated hipsters "dance."

Later I took the bus down to Joe's Coffee on South Congress to volunteer for a Grounded in Music and Girls Rock Camp benefit party and sell merch and $2 beer. My favorite bands were Austin's local Blues Mafia and Follow that Bird!

If you like the Yeah Yeah Yeah's you will dig this band, the little ladies of Girls Rock Camp do too, they LOVE them.  Follow that Bird! (pictured in dryers) will be playing tomorrow at the Girls Rock official day party on the roof of Whole Foods.

Another band that knocked my socks off was Blues Mafia straight out of highschool and Austin's Rock Camp (where boys are allowed).  FYI: lead singer Sasha Ortiz is 19 years old and sounding a little like Amy Winehouse. This is a singer to keep your eye on. 

After dinner I headed down to the Girls Rock Camp Showcase.  Favorite band of the night: Girl in Coma from San Antonio (featured with giant mic above).  These Latin ladies put on a terrific show and drew a large crowd. I love lead singers facial expressions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Independent Film Channel starts SxSW off with Gomez and Decemberists partay

Quick recap of last night: The IFC (the Independent Film Channel) brought Austin quite a party with Gomez and the Decemberists.

We stood in line for an hour-and-a-half Monday morning for tickets and then for another hour just to get in, but it was well worth it. This was the first time I have been in Pangaea, the space that was once the Downtown Alamo Drafthouse. It's a gorgeous space and small enough that we were able to get pretty darn close to the stage.

Gomez was terrific as usual. They never disappoint. The boys played songs from their new album, A New Tide as well as old favorites. A cool moment was the mention that Gomez played SxSW 11 years ago.

The Decemberists also stepped it up. They played old favorite and will play their entire album The Hazards of Love. So if you are planning to catch them tonight, have fun!

Girls Rock Camp SxSW

Come out and support the Austin Girls Rock Camp at South by Southwest.

Supporters from all over the world will be throwing down in March to show their love for Girls Rock Camp Austin. Don't miss these rockin' shows!

Wednesday, March 18, noon: Day party Benefit with Grounded In Music at Jo's Hot Coffee, 1300 S.Congress. Girls Rock campers, volunteers, and friends Rank + File, Fabi Reyna, Peggy Sue, and Adrian and the Sickness, along with a powerhouse lineup from Grounded in Music, will rock South by San José.

Wednesday, March 18, 7:30pm: SXSW BMI Showcase to benefit Girls Rock Camp Austin at Maggie Mae's, 512 Trinity St. (Sixth and Trinity), with Ume, The Besties, Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer, Girl in a Coma, Jedd Hughes, and Ten Out of Tenn.

Friday, March 20, 2:45-7:00pm: Girls Rock Camp Austin Day Party on the upstairs patio at Whole Foods, 525 N. Lamar Blvd. Family-friendly fun, with face-painting, plentiful food and drink for purchase, and and amazing musical entertainers Fabi Reyna, Peggy Sue, Bo-Peep, Rank + File, Follow That Bird!, Northern State's Hesta Prynn, The Coathangers, and Adrian and the Sickness.

See the Calendar for lineups/times as available.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bluegrassalicious!: The Difibulators and The Asylum Street Spankers

Well maybe bluegrass isn't the best way to describe these bands, but old-timey and adorbale for sure. The Defibulators have done well in Austin in the past and even though they call Brooklyn their base, their music is firmly routed in the hills. So are their boots.

They will be playing at SxSW this Sunday and Monday, check out their schedule.

It is possible that the Defibulators might be taking some cues from these guys, the Asylum Street Spankers, one of the funniest, irreverent, entertaining bands out there. The Spankers can sing a gorgeous gospel ditty and then sing a song about loving beer.

They are as classically Austin as you can get.

Check out this video calling out yellow ribbons on SUVs.

The Spankers will be playing Saturday night at SxSW.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The SxSW African Beat: BLK JKS and Nomo

If you're in the market for some African grooves, check out BLK JKS from South Africa and Nomo from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

BLK JKS (Black Jacks) has been called the "African TV on the Radio," and judging from their single "Lakeside" that's what I thought too. But after seeing them live at the Rickshaw stop, they are way more than that, more prog rocky and more jam bandy - "afro avant noise rock" if you will. (I love that way some music critics describe sound...)

It has also been said that "Lakeside" has a drumbeat even Radiohead would be jealous of." If this sounds like your thing, go check them out.

In the middle of their tour of the US and Europe, they will be playing SxSW later this week. Check their myspace page.

Nomo has a special place in my heart. I went to college with a bunch of these kids. I take pride in turning people onto their music. I loved playing the cowbell to their music in my Afropop ensemble in grad school. I heard a track off their most recent album Ghost Rock on KUT earlier today and felt the urge to spread the word.

This is a video I took of Nomo at the 2006 SxSW. The band traditionally descends from the stage and jams on a riff amongst the audience. This is my favorite bit.

Check out their SxSW schedule on their myspace page.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Botticelli's and Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele: SxSW recommendations

The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, the Steve Miller Band: the music created in San Francisco has a very distinct flavor; The Botticelli's carry on this tradition, full of dreamlike ambiance and whimsical lyrics.

The Botticelli's will be performing several times at SxSW this week, check out their myspace page to see when.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele at the Bay Area's NoisePop! Festival this year. Hailing from Mississippi and singing of finding love at academic conferences, the Magnificent Ukulele is funny and fun. The record The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele is silly sing-a-long music (I should know).

Find out their SxSW schedule here.

I've added some tunes of the bands I've recommended to the playlist including Dent May's cover of Prince's (and Cyndi Lauper's) "When You Were Mine." Check it out.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

South by Southwest 101: a crash course

Founded in 1987 the South by Southwest Festival & Conference has grown from a small festival celebrating the local music scene to a full-blown world takeover of Austin, Texas. SxSW has become the place for industry professionals and amateurs to do business, network, and party. Heck, I’ve even got freshly printed business cards for Always More to Hear to give out to people I meet in the hopes of drumming up interest.

Occurring during The University of Texas at Austin’s spring break, the festival overwhelms the city so completely that locals either leave town for the week, stay away from downtown entirely, or dive in to the wave of hipster humanity.

Music, film, and interactive media (web, gaming, computer, etc) industry professionals stream into Austin (over 11,000 of them) from all over the world to attend the conference portion of SxSW during the day and film screenings and musical showcases at night. While the film and interactive portion of the fest are renown, it the music segment of SxSW that has put Austin on the map in the month of March.

Unlike many other contemporary outdoor musical festivals, SxSW showcase performances take place on club stages across town. Temporary stages even pop up in unlikely places like churches, parking lots, lofts, and even Urban Outfitters.

It is completely normal for artists to play a dozen times during the week of SxSW, sometimes only three songs at a time. Artists that are “accepted” by the SxSW careful screening committee get one or two “official” showcase slots. But most bands play at free day parties sponsored by attending record labels, magazines, or other organizations. Bands also play for live radio broadcasts, web broadcasts, benefits and other “unofficial” performances.

Basically, if you are an emerging artist, you want to play as much as possible, even if you are not accepted to play an official showcase. The more places you can get on stage, the higher the chances that you can make a connection with someone who can help further your career.

This year will be interesting for me: after living in Austin for three years and attending SxSW from 2005-2007, I came to the festival wearing a number of hats and therefore experienced it from several vantage points. I have been:

--- a tradeshow volunteer (the stuff the exhibitors give away! If you get shwag and don’t want it, don’t throw it away, give it to me!)
--- a grad student interviewing artists about their experiences for a class project
--- in a band that had an official showcase performance
--- an employee at a hip hat store right downtown.

This year, I’m just showing up with no agenda and no purchased pass (which provide more flexibility with seniority to skip lines). There’s plenty of free stuff. I can also pay the cover for one club and just stay there the whole night. After missing SxSW last year and being very mopey about it the whole week, I decided to make the trip out here to visit one of my favorite cities in the world and hear some good tunes. All I want to do is see good friends who live in Austin and hear some music, hopefully some of it will be good!

Favorite memories of SxSW’s past:

---Every year Japan brings in about a dozen artists for two “Japan Nite” showcases. Generally speaking, they put on the some of the most interesting live shows I’ve ever seen, from mystical punk orchestras, cowgirls with ukuleles and modernized geisha’s with samisens. The bands that come out to SxSW represent the highly innovative and creative Japanese popular culture.

The band detroit7 has been my favorite find so far. They toured the US last year with Japan Nite and will this year as well (coming to a venue near you). With a two women and one man, this music is something like alternative prog rock… whatever, I have no idea what to call it. I’m just so drawn to the lead singers badass presence and sexy vocal quality. See for yourselves: detroit7 is performing at SxSW this year.

--- Being one of the 30 people watching Gomez, one of my favorite all-time bands, play for The Current's live radio broadcast, and then sharing an elevator with them after. I was a dumbfounded idiot, it was awesome. Gomez is also playing at SxSW this year.

---Seeing the bazilllions of hipsters and aspiring rockstars from all over the world prancing down the street in their ultra-hip outfits and hair. I’m such a people-watcher, it never really gets old. These people are keeping the hair gel industry out of the recession all by themselves.

On that note, it will be interesting to see if SxSW is noticeably affected by the recession. Well see.

SxSW and the Jewish Music Festival: Always More to Hear is souped up and ready to go!

Alrighty folks, I'm off for Austin, Texas and "the Music Capital of the World" and the South by Southwest Conference and Festival.  As soon as I get back it's full swing into the Bay Area's Jewish Music Festival which I will also be in attendance.

I have my text messaging hooked up to my twitter, hooked up to facebook hooked up to the blog.  This means that you will be able to follow what I'm doing on the blog. Over to the right there is my twitter feed. For those that don't know twitter (come on, even congress uses it!) it's basically just a live feed of updates: what your friends are doing. 

I will be blogging about my musical endeavours as well as using twitter, leaving you links to check out some of the good (hopefully!) music I will be hearing for the next two weeks.

The music part of the South by Southwest Festival technically starts on Wednesday, but I will be blogging until then about bands that I recommend to folks that might be in Austin for the fest and for the rest of you to check out anyway. There's going to be some great stuff there.

Anyway, I can't wait to visit the town I called home for three years, I was heartbroken to leave it. Some of my favorite people are there and you just can't get a breakfast taco like an Austin breakfast taco anywhere else.

Check back soon and often, there's going to be some good tunes coming out of this site.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Smart Girls at the Party and Care Bears on Fire

Amy Poehler's new webproject "Smart Girls at the Party" recently featured the New York based band Care Bear's on Fire

Smart Girls at the Party "celebrate girls who are changing the world by being themselves" much like Girls Rock Camp. (Read my previous post about GRC here

Now junior high students, Care Bears on Fire have been playing together since 2005. Check out Amy's interviews with them on "Smart Girls at the Party."

Part 1

And also their spot on NPR.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Barenaked Ladies: "Lovers at a Dangerous Time" circa 1991, I miss this band

This band is so cute. Some day soon I'll post the photo of when I met them at a meet-and-greet at the Taste of Chicago in 1997. I'd never heard about them, but my boyfriend at the time was a huge fan and insisted on going.

The Ladies cracked me up and signed my new copy of "Rock Spectacle".

We, at Always More to Hear, love Canadians.

This is a cover of "Lovers at a Dangerous Time" by Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn. Wow, the early 90s were awesome. Check out the hair and the tapered jeans.

click here:

Thanks for passing this on Dave!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good ol' Pop Music: Lady Gaga, Lily Allen & Ellen

I enjoy pop music, to a point (SOOOOO sick of Britney). Some "pop" stars are very talented people that know how to milk the music industry with a sellable image.

Right now chicks with attitudes are in: Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Lady Gaga, etc.

I dig what I've heard so far of Lady Gaga's super electro sound. And judging from this live radio performance of "Poker Face," the girl's got some vocal pipes too (and a very strange horrible looking wig complete with a "hair bow").

This is a silly moment on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" with Ellen and Lily Allen singing Britney's "Womanizer" in the bathroom. I'm amazed that Ellen knows this song in it's entirety.  She's so cute.  (And Lily Allen is cool too, here's a link to her new video "the Fear".)

And while we're talking cute: Ellen's show has a schtick where her celebrity guests go to various places on the studio lot with an ear piece. Equipped with hidden cameras, we watch unknowing service people's reactions as Ellen feeds the celebrities lines. They end up looking like lunatics. 

Here's Dennis Quaid at the studio Starbucks, he gets the barista to sing "Day-O" with him:

Thanks to Lauren for these.

Sungha Jung: this young guitarist is pretty amazing

There are no words: just listen...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I HAVE BRAND NEW DEMOS!!! This is very exciting. Listen to my recordings of jazz standard "Save Your Love for Me" (made famous by Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley) and Brazilian folk song "A Moro na Roca" (arrangement by Monica Salmosa). 

I added an imeem playlist over on the right side of the blog. Tell what you think about this different kind of playlist application and about my demos.  I think you might be able to download these AND make them ringtones (which cracks me up).

If you'd like me to email these to you, I would be happy to. I've already got a CD ready to get shipped down to my Grandma in LA, she's going to flip when she hears it.

Thanks to Chris at Creative Scores Studios in Oakland, California!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spinal Tap's long awaited reunion tour

Read at Rollingstone that Spinal Tap has finally gotten over its petty bickering and are going on tour. Here are the dates. I know you won't want to miss this.

I can't wait. This one goes to 11.

April 17 - Vancouver, BC @ Center for the Performing Arts
April 19 - Portland, OR @ Keller Auditorium
April 20 - Seattle @ Paramount Theatre
April 22 - Oakland, CA @ Paramount Theatre
April 23 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara County Bowl
April 26 - Los Angeles @ The Wiltern
April 27 - Phoenix, Ariz. @ Dodge Theatre
April 29 - Denver @ Paramount Theatre
May 1 - Houston, TX @ Jesse H, Jones Hall
May 2 - Dallas @ Nokia Theatre
May 4 - Jacksonville, FL @ Florida Theatre
May 5 - Miami @ The Fillmore
May 6 - Orlando, FL, @ Hard Rock Live
May 8 - St. Petersburg, FL @ Mahaffey Theatre
May 9 - Atlanta @ Fox Theatre
May 10 - Nashville @ Ryman Auditorium
May 12 - Baltimore @ Lyric Opera House
May 13 - Washington, D.C. @ Warner Theatre
May 14 - Philadelphia @ Keswick Theatre
May 17 - Columbus, Ohio @ Palace Theatre
May 19 - Cleveland, Ohio @ State Theatre
May 21 - Toronto @ Massey Hall
May 22 - Mashantucket, CT @ MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods
May 23 - Boston @ The Wilbur Theatre
May 24 - Atlantic City, NJ @ Music Box at The Borgata
May 26 - New York @ Beacon Theatre
May 27 - New York @ Beacon Theatre
May 29 - Detroit @ Fox Theatre
May 30 - Chicago @ Chicago Theatre
May 31 - Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theatre

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 "Look Around" LP cover collage

Check it out: this Sergio Mendes record didn't have a proper cover (it was living in a Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture jacket) so I decided to collage my own. 

It's pretty groovy, don't you think? And very much in spirit with the original (shown at the top).

This LP includes covers of "The Look of Love," "With a Little Help from my Friends," "Like a Lover" and originals.  It's straight up smooth 1960s Brazilian bossa nova; good for a Sunday morning.

I just read on wikipedia that this version of "Look of Love" was more popular than Dusty Springfield's.  Also, Mendes performed the same song at the 1968 Oscars, which skyrocketed his popularity in the United States. He's still making records today with American artists like, Erykah Badu, Chali 2na, India.Arie, John Legend, Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder.  Not bad for a guy that's been around for 40 years.

I've added some Mendes, old and new, to the playlist.