May 09, 2005

103: The Effects of a Texas Festival on a Musical Mix

I think the title says it all: I composed this mix after attending the South By Southwest Music Festival for the first time. There's no better time to escape dreary Boston winter weather than mid-March; and Austin, Texas, is not a bad place to escape to: T-shirts and jeans abound, tequila flows like water, the roads are paved with pork ribs, the Dr. Pepper is sweetened with cane sugar, and the steaks are chicken fried.
This mix is peepered with music we heard on our trip: read on...

  1. HUDDLE FORMATION; I saw The Go! Team perform at a UK Pop showcase. The show was a circle-jerk of music industry weasels with corporate credit cards. It was like the Black Hole Of Calcutta of self-congratulation. The Go! Team had a UK record deal but was pimping themselves for a US deal- the hype was so thick I had to burn my sneakers afterwards. The band members knew it, and they were so smug I wanted to slap the bass player around to regain my self respect. Having said all that, I like this song.
  2. BRIGHT FUTURE IN SALES; Fountains of Wayne
  3. F.I.N.E.; I was reminded of this Aeromsith song when I heard the new Billy Idol song on the radio.
  4. SCREAM; Billy Idol
  5. SISTER SURROUND; We saw The Soundtrack of Our Lives from the front row as they opened for Robert Plant on our first night in Austin. The Scandinavian sextet did great imitation 1970s rock, with one Keith Richards clone, one Pete Townshend clone, and the lead singer was a beefy bearded man in a mumu who looked like Mick Fleetwood. Between sets, I ran into "Mick" near the bar. I gave him a quick soggy hug and yelled in his ear "you guys are FABULOUS!"
  6. BIBLE CYST; The Legendary Shack Shakers also opened for Robert Plant, and they put on a hell of a show. Think of a hillbilly Stray Cats on amphetamines and you're close to the mark.
  7. OH WELL, PT. 1; Fleetwood Mac
  8. SON OF A PREACHER MAN (live 1991); Joan Osbourne
  9. SHOW SOME EMOTION; Joan Armatrading
  10. LOUNGER; Dogs Die in Hot Cars was also in the UK Pop showcase - I was drawn to them because they play power pop and their lead singer sounds like the guy from XTC. Their CD was pretty good, and their set was OK.
  11. TAKE ME OUT; Franz Ferdinand
  12. ONE (live 1992);  'Automatic Baby' was a hybrid of R.E.M. circa Automatic for the People and U2 circa Achtung Baby:
    • Michael Stipe, vocals
    • Mike Mills, guitar
    • Adam Clayton, bass
    • Larry Mullen Jr, percussion
    This one-off ensemble covered U2's "One" at an awards show. I really liked Stipe's interpretation of the lyrics. He sang the same words as Bono did, but his style is so different! Back in the early 1990s, it was damn near impossible to find a one-time-only performance from a TV show- if you didn't record it on VHS, you were out of luck. Somehow I found the recording on a benefit CD completely unrelated to the awards show.
  13. CLOSER TO YOU; The Wallflowers
  14. SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS; The Postal Service, since used in UPS commercials?
  15. BOULEVARD OF BROKEN SONGS; A great mashup of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Wonderwall"; A year after I discovered this mashup, we heard it on the set of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart- it was one of the high-octane songs they play during commercial breaks to keep the crowd pumped up.
  16. KINGDOM OF RAIN; I always liked this song by The The because Sinead O'Connor sings on it. I finally bought the CD at a yard sale that spring.
  17. CATCH MY DISEASE; Ben Lee, I always love tinkly kiddie piano!
  18. RENT A COP; Ben Folds
  20. GUERO CANELO; A memorable song in 12/4 time, from Calexico- we saw them live at SXSW too.