If you’re familiar with The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, you’ll probably notice some overlap with the artists we feature and those who frequently play there. This is not entirely a coincidence, as I’ve been a fan and attendee of the Hotel for a number of years now. So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that we hit the first night of their showcase at The Parish downtown.
Laura Jansen isn’t an entirely new face here on Aurgasm; she contributed vocals to the Jason Kanakis song, “Anything,” we featured last year. However, when she hit the stage at The Parish, it was with her own songs and her own band. The singer-songwriter’s set was filled with tracks from her two E.P.s (Trauma. and Single Girls). Whether Laura was playing the charming and tongue-in-cheek “Wicked World” or wistful “Single Girls,” there was an exceptional loveliness that permeated throughout the entire set. Take a listen to “Bells” from her Trauma. EP below, and keep an eye out for more Laura on Aurgasm!
Icelandic singer-songwriter Ólöf Arnalds has been a major part of the Icelandic music scene; most famously as a touring member of the experimental group Múm. However, since her solo debut, Við Od Við in 2007, it’s been clear that she’s a musical force solo as well. She played to a packed crowd at the Victorian Room in the historic Driskill Hotel on 6th Street. Ólöf’s set included a playful rendition of “Mr. Sandman,” the beautiful “Madrid” and a cover of Arthur Russell’s “Close My Eyes”. Before playing “Klara” Ólöf explained that she wrote the song for her younger sister’s 18th birthday. She told the crowd that earlier today they were video-chatting and Ólöf mentioned that she was a bit nervous about the show, to which Klara said, “Just remember that you are a giant.” Ólöf admitted, “I’ve been working on that today,” but truth be told, Ólöf had nothing to worry about — she had the crowd entranced from the beginning.
When I’ve previously seen Greg Laswell play live, it was usually solo, or perhaps with a guitarist, bassist and drummer. Not so at The Parish. Greg’s band was a much more fleshed out affair (if I counted correctly, they totaled eight). Rather than being overkill, the layered instrumentation gave an immense body to his songs, resulting in much grander live set. Greg played a number of songs from his previous albums, and previewed a few from his upcoming record. The new record, Take a Bow is set to release this May, but to tide yourself over until then, take a listen to “Around the Bend” below.
[If you look closely at the video above, you might spy Jason Kanakis!]
It’s been a few years since we mentioned Cary Brothers here on Aurgasm; we first posted about the singer-songwriter back in 2007. Since then, he’s dropped the major label, and is self-releasing his newest album next month. What has not changed, however, is Cary’s poignant songwriting. His set at The Parish consisted of entirely new material, and if that’s anything to go by, the new record is not to be missed. Until you can get a hold of the new album, here’s a song we featured a while back:
Icelandic indie rockers Seabear packed the tiny “stage” at The Hideout on Congress. They also packed the venue, with a line of hopefuls at the door waiting to get in (sorry if you didn’t make it in). The band played a number of songs from the latest album, We Built a Fire, which was released earlier this month. Seabear may have started as a one-man project of Sindri Már Sigfússon, but we’re glad he expanded to take on six other musicians. Their lush instrumentation and gorgeous melodies have made them a favorite of mine for a while. Seabear’s stop at SXSW kicks off their first ever U.S. tour, so catch them live if you can. If you can’t, just take a listen to one of my favorite tracks off We Built a Fire: