SXSW2010: Salem

The video above I took my first day at SXSW. Salem closed the iamsound party playing after jj and Sleigh Bells. Most of the crowd bounced after Sleigh Bells and it was really, really late at this point. The sound guys were awfully slow at getting bands set up so Salem only got to play 4 songs.

John (the guy rapping above) took to the mic and performed “Trapdoor” and “Tent.” On record his voice is heavily altered, making him sound more like a 400 pound black guy than the 20’ish year old scrawny bro that he is. Frankly I’m having a hard time coming up with words to describe the performance. This is a band most will find better suited to record. I left a little bewildered.

My initial reaction was ‘this kind of sucked’ but what with the pentagram necklaces, the passed out groupie mid-stage, the girl from The Ring bobbing all over the stage in front of me, Heather’s thigh high leather boots and the unflinching death glare from John, the more I think about the performance the more I find to like about it.

There have also been stories about the band getting booed off the Faderfort stage. The comments section on this post on Fader is a pretty great read and gets into live bands vs recorded bands as well as editors possibly trying to control their staff a bit too much.

I think what it comes down to is: did you enjoy the performance? I saw them twice and until I had a few days to ruminate on the experience I don’t think I had anything positive to say though I was certainly telling everyone I saw about how bizarre it was. In the end there was certainly no band I wanted to listen to more post-sxsw than Salem. So, I think that says a lot.

      Salem - Trapdoor

      Salem - Tent

      Salem - Redlights

      Salem - Frost

Here are a couple of mixes:

      Salem - We Make It Good Vol. 11

      Salem - XXJFG Mix

And some of Jack’s other hiphop leaning tracks.

      Salem x Gucci Mane - Bird Flu

      Salem x Gucci Mane - Round One

SXSW2010: Active Child

One of the bands on my must see list was Active Child. I made sure to catch their first show which took place at the Beauty Bar Annex. I spoke with Pat and Stratton (who plays bass in the live show) and also recorded a couple of tracks from the audience. There were about 30 people in the audience and as you can see from the interview video we were walking through town so the band could make the next show. I was actually in an alley speaking with Titus Andronicus when I heard what I thought was Active Child. I walked down a few doors and came up behind the band playing to a HUGE audience; probably 250 people crammed into a tiny outdoor patio/stage. Pat later said that was the biggest crowd he’s played for. Unfortunately the harp was suffering some tuning issues for both these shows so Pat played guitar for a couple of the harp-y jams. Guitar totally transformed the band, they sounded more like an electro disco band than the ethereal spaced out rock I’ve come to know and love from the various MP3’s floating around. I’m told the guitar only comes out to punch up the live show when the harp is down –I think that’s for the better.

Pat confirmed they were putting out an EP with Merok this May and wasn’t sure what would be coming after that. Maybe a UK tour with White Rabbits…

On Friday I went to an NME showcase to catch Grave Babies (who were great but could benefit from a drummer in a live setting) and Active Child were playing right after them. I heard the harp was going to be in attendance so I stuck around and was treated to a really great sounding show and wonderful performance. These were a couple of great guys making great music who I absolutely believe will go a long way. Keep an eye out for that ep…

One of the recordings I took on that first day was a song I hadn’t heard before. According to Pat:
“the first song was called “take shelter”, one of the few songs from the EP that hasnt been blogged or made available for download. one of my favorites.”

      Active Child - Take Shelter (Live at SXSW)

      Active Child - When Your Love is Safe (Live at SXSW)

      Active Child - Wilderness (Live at SXSW)

And here is a roundup of the misc tracks that have been circulating since early January and beyond:

      Active Child - Voice of an Old Friend

      Active Child - Wilderness

      Active Child - Body Heat (So Far Away)

      Active Child - When Your Love is Safe

And lastly, a couple of remixes. The Lonely Galaxy remix is right up there with Jamie xx’s remix of Glasser’s “Tremel” as early contender for remix of the year so far.
      Active Child - Voice of an Old Friend (Summer Camp Bedford Falls Remix)

      Lonely Galaxy - Have a Heart (Active Child Remix)


The band’s Myspace confirms the White Rabbits tour.

LivingEars Radio 03.27.10

Scene Not Heard is now LivingEars Radio

Tune into UtahFM every Saturday night 9-10:30 MDT to catch me spinning (digitally) the latest and greatest…

You can listen to a replay of the show at your convenience for the next two weeks right here.

Sort of freshly back from SXSW I spent the show recounting memories and telling stories about the fest and played only bands I saw. Not all of the bands were great live but the stories were good…

LivingEars Radio 03.27.10 Playlist

      Grave Babies - Eating Babies

No Age – Errand Boy
Titus Andronicus – Richard II
      Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars

jj – Are You Still in Vallda?
      Salem - TRAPDOOR

Javelin – Susie Cues
      Small Black - Despicable Dogs (Washed Out Remix)

      Washed Out - #4

Lemonade – Banana Republic
The xx – VCR
      Best Coast - When I'm With You

Dum Dum Girls – Baby Don’t Go
      The Golden Filter - Hide Me

The Crystal Method – Black Rainbows
Memory Tapes – Plain Material
      Delorean - Stay Close

      Active Child - When Your Love is Safe

Fat Mike as Cokie the Clown


A SXSW story I apparently missed until now… I usually save that OPP section off to the right for other people’s posts but this story seems a bit too sick and near tragic to just be a link in a list.

NOFX’s Fat Mike dressed up as Cokie the Clown, told depressing stories, drank a lot and may be on his last leg. This sounds like the type of thing a suicidal person would initiate. Just read the thing to the end…

Cokie The Clown – SXSW 2010 – Fat Mike

Sleigh Bells new song live at SXSW

Live @ Malverde 3/17/2010

I haven’t been able to upload much of my content but I have some great audio and visual recordings from most of the shows I’ve seen. I was hoping to be able to update each morning but my internet connection here in Austin is too unstable.

The best show I’ve seen yet was Sleigh Bells. Unfortunately they were only allowed to play 4 songs as the club was 2 hours behind schedule due to bad sound guys. It all came together for Sleigh Bells though. Their first SXSW performance and they had jj as an opener and Salem playing after. Sleigh Bells stole the show from both (not hard to do, both those other bands sucked live.) This new track is by far the most metal track they’ve done. Guitar line almost reminds me of Green Jelly’s “Three Little Pigs” which sounds like it would be awesomely bad but I mean it in a good way.

This is a recording I took while standing in the audience. It was the first song they played and the only one I hadn’t heard before. If anyone knows the name of it please shoot me a message.

      Sleigh Bells - New Song (Live at SXSW)

Picture thanks to Stereogum, click here for many more from the show. Look for the rest of my content next week including an interview with Active Child, live tracks/vids from The xx, jj, Titus Andronicus, Delorean, Salem and more.