aurgasm special posts

Aurgasm@SXSW – Day Two

Friday, March 19th, 2010 by Michelle

SXSW

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.


Joshua James | Matthew Mayfield | Lissie | Meiko

Laura Jansen
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!

Laura Jansen – “Bells”

Ólöf Arnalds
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.

Greg Laswell
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.

Greg Laswell – “Around the Bend”


[If you look closely at the video above, you might spy Jason Kanakis!]

Cary Brothers
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:

Cary Brothers – “Honestly”

Seabear
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:

Seabear – “Lion Face Boy”



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Aurgasm@SXSW – Day One

Thursday, March 18th, 2010 by Michelle

SXSW

Nas and Damian Marley
After we arrived into Austin and got our badges and photo passes, we cut across town to catch the tail end of Levi’s annual FADER FORT. With a stacked line-up all week that includes Aurgasm favorites, Local Natives, we got to the Fort in time to discover Wednesday night’s “Special Guests” were none other than Nas and Damian Marley, who have a collaboration album, Distant Relatives, tentatively dropping this May. The crowd didn’t need any encouragement when Damian said, “If you’ve got a lighter, put it up in the air. If you don’t have a lighter, hold up your cell phone! …if you don’t have a cell phone, just hold up your hand.” Damian, in case you didn’t know, our hands were up since you first stepped on stage, and never dropped.

Sofia Talvik
Swedish singer-songwriter Sofia Talvik may have played to a smaller crowd at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary on Wednesday night, but her poignant songs had the audience enraptured. Strangely enough, Sofia mentioned “This is the second church we’ve played in this tour. It’s weird, I’m not even religious!” Sofia’s songs, which range from melancholy to blithely anecdotal, all contain a hint of wistfulness within them. Set against the backdrop of a 157 year old church, Sofia’s dreamy folk-pop was a beautiful way to start the evening.

Sofia Talvik – “Florida”

Basia Bulat
Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat and her autoharp may have run into a slight technical mishap during her set at Emo Jr.’s, but the crowd (and Basia) didn’t even falter. The folk songstress’ set included tracks from both her debut album Oh, My Darling, which was shortlisted for a Polaris Music Prize in 2008, and her newest record, Heart of My Own. Basia was backed by Allison “Wonderland” Stewart on viola and backing vocals, and her brother Bobby on drums, and all three kept the crowd at Emo’s wanting more.

Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Johnny Flynn
Before English folkster Johnny Flynn started his set at Latitude 30, he told the crowd, “Tonight’s show is dedicated to my goldfish, who died today,” and started right in with the buoyant track, “The Box”. Playing songs from his 2008 debut, A Larum, as well as his newer Sweet Wiliam EP, Johnny kept the crowd tapping and bobbing their heads along with his marvelously upbeat and terrifically English indie folk. Though he was backed by a cellist, bass player, drummer & keyboardist, Johnny himself played acoustic and electric guitar, trumpet, violin and mandolin! His albums are some of my favorites to play in the car, but the multi-instrumentalist is best served live.

Johnny Flynn – “Drum”



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Aurgasm@Bumbershoot: Day Three

Monday, September 7th, 2009 by Julija

Bumbershoot

Anomie Belle
We started our morning with the hypnotic strings and vocals of Anomie Belle. Anomie Belle is classically trained violinist and songwriter Toby Campbell, who toured North America with such artists as Little Dragon, The Album Leaf and legendary trip-hop artist Tricky. “Down”, featured here, displays her Trip-Hop experimental aesthetics, while its production brings to mind the clear and smooth downtempo vibe of Zero 7.

Anomie Belle – Down

Oren Lavie
Featured on Aurgasm two years ago, Israeli born Oren Lavie gave a warm and intimate performance that didn’t disappoint. Attached below is Aurgasm’s favourite track “Her Morning Elegance”, which was recently featured on Brian Williams’ “Inside the Obama White House” Special on NBC.

Oren Lavie – Her Morning Elegance

Lenka
We were happy to catch probably the most playful and colourful show of the festival, Aurgasm’s favourite Lenka. Despite Franz Ferdinand playing at the same time, Lenka had a full house and her music was received with much support and enthusiasm.

Lenka – The Show

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Aurgasm@Bumbershoot: Day Two

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 by Julija

Bumbershoot

Hey Marseilles
Hey Marseilles, previously mentioned on Aurgasm as one of Michelle’s SXSW discoveries, warmed the hearts of the crowd on a cold and cloudy morning. Seattle’s Hey Marseilles play fresh and magical orchestral folk tunes that are both melancholic and genuinely cheerful. With piano, violin, trumpet, cello and accordion their stage presence is a miniature extravaganza. Barely known outside Seattle, these guys are definitely worth to keep an eye on.

Hey Marseilles – From a Terrace

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The Dusty 45s
Another pleasant discovery today was the Dusty 45s. Their energetic performance covered a variety of styles ranging from rockabilly to powerful Balkan notes (think Devotchka), from alt-country and Americana to classic Rock & Roll fun.

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Aurgasm@Bumbershoot: Day One

Saturday, September 5th, 2009 by Julija

Bumbershoot

Dyno Jamz
A funky hip-hop 8 members Seattle based ensemble was the highlight of the morning. Their lively horn lines, cleverly phrased rap lyrics and overall soulful vibe makes this act worth to keep an eye on as they’re starting to record their first studio album.

Mayer Hawthorne & the County
Mayer Hawthorne mixes funky catchy old school soul with a post-modern nerd chic. Producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer, Mayer recently released a new album and is currently touring the country. Recommended to Jamie Lidell advocates.

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Matt & Kim
Bursting with energy, Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim certainly did not disappoint. The crowd went wild and crazy when they finished the show with Aurgasm’s favourite track “Daylight”.

A note from Yoav (our photographer): Young bands out there, take a good lesson from Matt & Kim on how to give a show and love your audience. And remember, boys and girls, Aurgasm was there first!


Matt & Kim – Daylight

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