Friday, May 23, 2014

ISLANDS & TIGERS PLUGGED-IN SESSION

Check out some of the videos from our session with Islands & Tigers. You can find more on our Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/kru917/videos




Monday, March 31, 2014

Maverick Music Festival Run Down



THE MAVERICK MUSIC FESTIVAL


The Maverick Music Festival was a whirlwind of bands, vendors, and San Antonio charm. KRTU's Indie Overnight had the pleasure of sponsoring and covering this up and coming festival. Check out Matt, Joseph Erik, and Elena's thoughts and reviews from the festival and Michelle's photography from this two day event. 

FRIDAY 


Roky Erikson

Roky Erikson was the first show I caught at the Maverick Music Festival this past weekend and it was a good way to kick off the weekend. Roky has lived a colorful and exciting life both onstage and off. Playing onstage since he was 18, his comfort with the stage was evident while he played a fairly tame set. However, tame definitely does not mean boring. Never leaving center stage or speaking, he sang with a passion that was sadly lacking in some of the other bands that would take the stage later that day. While some members of the audience found it understated and by the book, I disagree. This was good old rock n roll with a slight Texas twang. I thoroughly enjoyed the sincerity and tunes that Roky was throwing down.
 -Matt Peebles

The Joy Formidable 

The Joy Formidable put on a solid show that was unfortunately struck with a slew of sound problems for the first 10 minutes of their act. Lead vocals were not properly mic'd for the first song and the drums were suppressed for the first half which made for a rocky start. But those problems aside, the Joy Formidable entertained us and each other thoroughly with their set. The band commands an impressive stage presence, Ritzy wooed us with tunes from both of their released albums, the drummer, Matthew Thomas, stood on his set and practically tackled Rhydian Dafydd on bass. The entire set was a flirtatious affair and set the mood wonderfully for Washed Out and Phantogram later on in the night. 
 -Matt Peebles

Washed Out

Washed gave a great performance of an excessively layered and surprisingly acoustic show. I feel like everyone under the age of 30 likes Washed Out, and that was the crowd set-up for the night. I even saw a 10 year old boy walking into the VIP section for Washed Out’s performance. Either way, having heard Washed Out before, and not bowing to the east five times a day for them, I was ready to watch the fingers on a MIDI pad fly; however, to my surprise, Ernest Greene, master of the stationary keyboard head-bob, started with an acoustic guitar and had a full band with him! It was nice to see Greene incorporating a band for his performance, but this would lead to some other growing pains. Along with Greene’s acoustic guitar came four synthesizers and two drum pads, excluding the drum set, electric guitar and bass. At one point, I saw Greene playing a triad with one hand, the second guitarist playing the lead, and the girl in the back playing something, which I have no clue what it was. This kind of setting, whether it was doubled on the synths or the drum pads, continued for most of the night. The incorporation of this full band setting was a nice surprise for me, but the translation from tracks on computer to a full band could use some work. The performance was smooth, and I’m pretty sure Washed Out was the first band to not have sound problems, so overall a good performance from Ernest Greene and all those who imitated his computer with him
-Joseph Erik Montano

Phantogram
Phantogram is an expertly articulated group who commands a stage presence unlike any of the other bands that night. Their minimal setup on stage represented the blend of acoustic and electric sounds that they are so fond of on their records. Not all of the songs are exactly the most exciting or great songs(at one point she called one of their ballads the kind of song that you wave your lighters too, sooo…. Yea, I shut down after that one), but they all knew how to work the stage and how to maintain their energy in a somewhat awkward venue; however, the reflection that their setup initiated also led to a static translation from the albums to the stage. There weren’t any surprises or anything unexpected that you can’t get from listening to the albums. Although the music that was coming from the stage was not anything new from the albums, it was nice to see a strong and confident performance from those who know how to feed themselves off of stage energy.
 -Joseph Erik Montano




SATURDAY

Main Stage


Lonely Horse

Lonely Horse is probably one of the biggest trending bands in San Antonio right now. As I walk around San Antonio, I hear people asking each other if they’re going to the Lonely Horse show. So it was nice to see Lonely Horse getting a slot on the main stage that only one other local band would get. Although Lonely Horse has an energy like no other, there are still adjustments to make when you stand on platform that is five feet above the ground, with a giant sound system into a huge open area with a an audience that does not move easily. Johnny made good use of the space around him and his noise sets and effects translated well through the system. There were some awkward tensions as Johnny begged the audience to dance and the few that were there refused. Even with some of these pains of being on the big boy stage, Lonely Horse has shown that they have the ability to grow and are ready for more stage time.
 -Joseph Erik Montano

YACHT




Part of the reason Rock Angels may have been a bit dull is because YACHT was anything but. Probably my favorite show of the entire festival, Claire Evans is an absolute fireball on stage singing absurdly catchy lyrics and infecting the audience with her dance moves. She simultaneous infatuated and seduced when she hopped off stage and pulled people right up to her face and sang with only the microphone separating their lips. Characterized by heavy synths, vocoders, French, and tons of personality, their sound is shamelessly electronic pop and damn fun.
 -Matt Peebles





Black Angels

I’m hesitant to be critical of bands as they put their heart and soul into what they do but Black Angels was incredibly disappointing. The heart was missing from their set, looking like they were just playing for the paycheck. Every song sounded exactly the same, the similar chords, similar lyrics, similar melodies, and similar everything. They had opportunities to capture the audience when they sped up the time but that became rote too. Singing with a Texas twang and rather upbeat tone, these guys don’t play bad music by any means and it could be somebody’s cup of tea. I’d play it while writing or concentrating on some task but it’s not something where I would sit down and honestly listen.
 -Matt Peebles

Candlebox

These guys have been around for a while and know what it means to rock. Playing a set that spanned from their 1993 self-titled album to their 2012 Love Stories & Other Musings, it was a nice tour through the last 20 years of Candlebox’s evolution as a rock band. And there is no other way to describe them. They are a rock band through and through. Screaming and spittle was flung around along with the microphone while they picked up the audience and relentlessly shoved us along. The audience loved it, the band loved it, and I loved it. It was an experience and really set the tone for the Psychedelic Furs to take the stage later that night. 
 -Matt Peebles

Run the Jewels

I’m not sure I have ever seen a weirder and more wide-spread range of humans at a festival than I have at the Maverick music festival. From the eight year old boy at Washed Out, to the Hispanic league of family members at Candlebox, and to the typical hipster crowd at Joy Formidable, there has never such an awkward bunch (probably a trademark of San Antonio). Run the Jewels was, strangely enough, one of the only bands to reach them all. Killer Mike and EL-P were surprisingly encouraging of the confused San Antonio crowd and got them chant “RUN THE JEWELS” at any moment. Along with their pretty talented DJ, Run the Jewels made use of the stage and reached everyone in the strange crowd with ease.  
 -Joseph Erik Montano

Twin Shadow 

After having been a little disappointed by some of the earlier bands on Saturday, Twin Shadow was the perfect band to catch that night. Each song had a lot of power and layers and while they sounded original and had a lot of variety, the songs were also just repetitive enough to be catchy so even a new audience could sing along. When he performs, George Lewis Jr. commands the stage and audience, interacts well with them, and knows how to capture attention and draw it to his music. Although Twin Shadow is specifically focused on him, the songs aren’t vocal-heavy and include strong beats between the drums and keyboards. All of these factors make Twin Shadow enjoyable to hear at home, but they translated even better into an amazing live performance that I was sad to see end. 
 -Elena Souris

The Psychedelic Furs

The Psychedelic Furs were the last band I caught at Maverick but definitely stood out the most to me. Of course, the musicians were older than all the other bands, but they seemed to have the most personality and stage presence. Richard Butler, the lead singer, was incredibly exuberant and almost flamboyant with his hand motions and dances, and the rest of the band looked like they were having just as much fun. Like the musicians, the songs themselves had a lot of variety and took turns focusing on drums, sax, guitar, bass, and keyboard. It’s rare to see a band right now that includes sax, which was a welcome change, especially since Mars Williams wasn’t just playing in the background, but often took center stage. Each instrument created its own layer in a song and sometimes they fit perfectly together and other times they were disjointed enough to highlight them individually. With all these different layers, technical skill, and personality, The Psychedelic Furs were one of the most original and enjoyable shows I saw, and the perfect way to end the festival.  
 -Elena Souris


Arneson River Stage


Dark Planes

Dark Planes is a great punk band to watch. They are all veterans of the rock-n-roll world and know how to guide their music to an audience. It truly is a strange mix of internal stage performance that somehow reaches the audience; however, upon getting to the stage, I noticed a fourth member in the band, one that I had not recognized as playing with Dark Planes. It was Nick Federico, who I know has played in the band Last Nighters. This new addition could not have been a better one. The second guitar allows more freedom and independence of lines for each instrument while maintaining fullness of sound throughout the performance. Dark Planes no longer has to worry about filling the sound or a loss of sound as some takes a solo, and this allows for such a dynamic show, even more so than they already had. They’re energy on stage was fantastic, even with the separation across the river on the Arneson theatre, and the sound was a great new refresher.
 -Joseph Erik Montano

Crown


Crown is a fantastic local band that vomits energy and showmanship. Tasting vaguely of surf, blues, and psychedelic rock, they played with an almost overwhelming bass and a melody best described as haunting. The bass may have been a side effect of the stage and sound but it did not lessen their vibe at all. Each song was characterized by Carlos Zubillaga waxing poetic over quieted instruments and then loud helter-skelter, hair everywhere rock.  While the venue was slightly awkward, the band was comfortable interacting with the audience and even congratulated a newly-wed couple as their riverboat slowly meandered through their set. A talented group of guys, Crown knows how to put on an entertaining show and should be on your list of up and coming San Antonio bands.
 -Matt Peebles

Carlton Zeus

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect from Carlton Zeus, having never really heard his music before. I listened to one song online before Maverick, but honestly, he sounded very different live. The sound levels seemed a bit off, with the drums and beats much louder than Carlton Zeus himself. However, his rapping reached impressive speeds and though the songs were somewhat repetitive, the entire show felt like one big party. I’ve never seen an audience with such a wide age range that were all equally excited to be there and sing along. The show included tossing shirts across the river to the audience with incredible aim and taking pictures with the crowd. I’d imagine that it’d be difficult as a musician to really get an audience excited at a venue with mostly seats, but at Carlton Zeus, the crowd was dancing anyway. Even the riverboat drivers passing by joined in, making it a memorable and fun show.
 -Elena Souris

FEA

FEA was a band I stumbled across and would never have discovered without Maverick and I’m glad I did. They stood out to me from the other bands I saw with their unique style. Their sound is more aggressive than a lot of the other artists, especially from the vocals, but with the prominent drums and guitar, they all get equal focus and work well together. Their songs are fast, intense, and also cover a wider range of topics than any other band I saw. The lyrics, especially to songs like “Blame Yourself” were interesting and grabbed my attention. Especially live, FEA was a great experience.
-Elena Souris

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is SXSW For Me?

When I was planning my coverage of SXSW I decided that my overarching theme would be “SXSW: How Cheaply  can I make this happen?” So armed with $80 and a free place to stay I hoped on a $6 mega bus ride to Austin, excited for whatever the music gods had in store for me.  As per my carefully planned out schedule  (that also included multiple alternatives and a penciled in plan to throw it all away after a couple of hours) I headed out on Wednesday. 

I first stopped at the “Spotify House” where I had, well exactly the sort of experience one is supposed to have at SX. I got there early and was greeted by free booze, chips, and sunglasses.  The venue had multiple stage areas, allowing for an intimate concert experience. The Spotify logo wasn’t on every surface, and I really did like the set up.
Hozier 

I had come to see Dum Dum Girls, and by my bosses recommendation Hozier who has one of the most powerful voices I’ve heard in a long time. He apologized for his throat being sore but he still sounded brilliant- a perfect mix of earnesty and confidence that came without being overbearing.  Quickly after that Mutual Benefit of Brooklyn performed on a different, smaller stage. They've got a chill but startling vibe. Its sounds like something you would get if you mixed together Washed Out and early Animal Collective. Although I had never heard them they are definitely a band I will return to from now on.

Finally the act I had been waiting for came on.  Dum Dum Girls have  really mastered that balance between generating a solid stage act without taking themselves too seriously.  Of course they sounded great, moving through a 30 min. set of both recent and older tracks. Then I had the magical SXSW moment I had been promised. For their  last song lead singer Dee Dee invited up an unannounced guest none other than Deborah Harry of Blondie. Phones came out, cameras flashed, but there was surprisingly little freaking out. Dum Dum Girls had a great time though; all of them actually smiled, a rarer occurrence than seeing Deborah Harry herself.
Dum Dum Girls with Deborah Harry. Photo From Austin 360. 

Now by all measures this should have been the time of my life. But it wasn’t. The nature of SXSW demanded that the day shows sped by with 30 min sets and I never felt like I had time to invest myself in a set. I wandered around the rest of  the afternoon but I felt overwhelmed in a new way. Yeah, of course I felt jaded by the intense marketing presence and commercialization so often criticized in the media, but there was something else bothering me.  I constantly felt a pressure to move on to the next thing and a worry that I might miss something, when really there was more than enough going on in front of me. The whole experience made me feel greedy almost. I had a fantastic experience, for free. Why was I out chasing more? For me atmosphere of Austin that day seemed to center around telling rather than doing. It felt like people wanted to collect experiences to post about, to blog about, gather pictures to share, or dare I say it gain bragging rights, rather than just slow down and appreciate the moment.

I realize not everyone’s SXSW experience is like this, and I realize not all SXSW shows generate that sort of atmosphere (Our Music For Listeners showcases at El Sappo are a great example of a easy going atmosphere with fantastic music).  But when I was called back to San Antonio for personal reasons I took the first ride I could get. I may be young, and Austin may be hip, but it’s  overwhelming. I was perfectly happy to go  home to S.A., a city where I actually belong.

-Michelle Padley is the Promotions Assistant for Indie Overnight. You can here her on air Monday nights at 10 p.m. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Maverick Music Festival 2014


If you thought that the spring brought only pollen and SXSW envy to San Antonio, you’d be wrong. Last year a faint strain of local music began to emanate from our city, catching the ear of people far beyond here, people who have begun to hear and pay attention to what the Alamo City has to offer. The Spring Equinox marks the commencement of the annual two day long Maverick Music Festival. A landmark event in San Antonio’s music scene that you’d be remiss to miss.
            

 The Maverick Music Festival originated in 2013 as a one day festival that featured the likes of Gary Clark Jr., Girl in a Coma, and the Toadies. This year Maverick has decided that only one day is not near enough to showcase the talent of the Alamo City. So in 2014, you have the opportunity to gorge yourself on two days of festival goodness this weekend, the 21st and 22nd of March. Stepping into the historic La Villita Arts Village in Maverick Plaza this weekend you will hear a variety of top notch local artists including Pop Pistol, Lonely Horse, Dark Planes, along with several up and coming artists such as Hydra Melody and Saakred. Oh and Phantogram, Washed Out, and the Joy Formidable will be playing as well. And that’s just on Friday. 2014 promises a show that will not easily be forgotten and promises a festival that is sky rocketing. This weekend let your body soak up and be satisfied by the sounds of San Antonio that Maverick is serving up hot.

KRTU is sponsoring and covering the festival so stop by our festival booth, talk to us, and get some swag. If you aren't attending, get all of your Maverick Music Festival coverage right here at our blog. And for the instant DL Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @KRTUindie

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

St Vincent's "St. Vincent"

For 2012’s Record Store Day, Annie Clark knocked the wind out of all those familiar with her music with the “Krokodil”/”GROT” 7”, which took a sharp left turn from the unnervingly mannered indie pop of her first three records straight into a sweaty, violent mosh pit. Her full lengths have all been marked by a push-pull between a creeping sense of foreboding (which made Actor in particular so compelling) and a nervous, rattled energy (which was slightly more pronounced on 2011’s Strange Mercy). The songs on St. Vincent tend generally to skew more towards the latter than in the past, which goes some way towards making this Clark’s most immediately engaging album yet. And while there’s nothing here to match the sheer visceral power of that single, there’s no less subversion or experimentation going on throughout.

                
             This is important, because while all the signifiers of St. Vincent’s music are here--ghostly background vocals layered to sound like bad keyboard presets, sparing but deliberate displays of guitar virtuosity, etc.—they’re used to brighter, stranger ends, and the results can be as bracing as they are familiar. There’s no way, for example, that a song like “Bring Me Your Loves” should work, mashing together as it does a heavily-processed dial-tone guitar riff with simultaneously squealing and buzzing synths over a high school marching band drumbeat, with Clark’s double-tracked, distorted vocals barely keeping things grounded; for all that, it’s one of the most thrilling indie-pop songs yet to be released this year, and it’s surrounded by songs that match or surpass it for sheer replay value. Among these are the hyperactive “Birth in Reverse”, featuring some of her most impressive guitar acrobatics, the patiently building “Every Tear Disappears”, and “Digital Witness”, whose horn-led, Love This Giant-esque strut calls to mind Actor’s “Marrow”. Where that song was a desperate cry for help, however, this song is a self-absorbed plea for attention – “I want all of your mind… if I can’t show it, if you can’t see me/what’s the point in doing anything?”

                Clark’s lyrics elsewhere on the album can often be as off-kilter and surreal as the music, if not more so; the playful “oh-oh-ohs” and bouncy synths of opener “Rattlesnake” dress up an apparently true story of a near-death encounter with the titular animal in the Texas desert. “Huey Newton”, by turns clinically funky and aggressively fuzzy, is a disjointed stream-of-consciousness (“Feelings/flashcards/fake knife/real ketchup/cardboard/cutthroats/cowboys of information”) that gives way to a lament of technology’s effect on the narrator’s mind, “entombed in a shrine of zeroes and ones”. Fortunately, St. Vincent is equally compelling when it’s not letting its freak flag fly so high. The album’s ballads - “Prince Johnny”, “I Prefer Your Love”, and “Severed Crossed Fingers” – may lack the unsettling tension of her previous work, but they make up for it with confident, sticky melodies and some of Clark’s most illuminatingly personal writing. “Prince Johnny” in particular is the sort of subtle, compelling character study that Lana Del Rey’s been trying to write forever now (“You traced the Andes with your index/and brag of when and where and who you’re gonna bed next”), and it’s got a heart-fluttering chorus to boot. The song’s attention to detail, both lyrical and musical, is emblematic of Clark’s approach throughout St. Vincent; the most deliberate moments here are always the most brilliant. 


- Solomon Umana
Solomon is currently in the KRTU Apprenticeship Class at Trinity 
He'll have his own show any time now. 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rock Love 2014

We asked you, our faithful followers to submit stories of a time when you met a special someone at a music show. A few brave souls had some things to say:

1) I met this dude at acl. He gave me cigs in return for vodka and we exchanged numbers. But then he talked over Tame Impala so  I gave up.

2)The venue was loud. Loud enough that she couldn’t hear me unless I leaned in all the way to shout in her ear. For almost an hour I was making small talk just for the chance to keep smelling her hair. It’s a funny type of conversation when you have to really, actually take turns speaking. You make your lame joke and you have to lean back again waiting, praying that you see her crack a warm smile. To be honest, I can barely remember the music. It was any music, it was all music. Every good song is a love song, one way or another. Not always about a person, not always about people, but every good song is a love song. It’s surprisingly intimate among the crowding, the pushing, the general chaos of a concert. I guess that’s how life is, though. Love is the quiet place in the noise of everything else. Our little magical ability to be and not to be. You know the drill by this point: the utterly adolescent brushing of hands, the growing pressure towards decisive movement, the awkward relief of contact, the strange and wonderful feeling of unfamiliar fingers laced between your own, the sense of standing on a looming precipice -- the future suddenly made vast and incomprehensible. The music moves through all of this, the joy and the sound of the music made tangible through volume, the twin heartbeats of body and drum, the confident swagger of the lead guitar, the crooning flips and swirls of a keyboard, the thrumming reassurance of the bass. Maybe there’s spilled beer and shoes stuck to concrete and a sickly sweet smell of sweat and marijuana smoke. Maybe it’s a cold, bracing shock to finally step out into the night, maybe the warm Southern air holds you both closer than you hold one another. It has happened before, it will happen again.

3) This dude took me to see radiohead and I found myself falling in love yet again...with radiohead. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Front Bottoms @ Limelight: How Live Music "Should Be"

The Front Bottoms Live at Limelight
I saw The Front Bottoms at Limelight on January 24. For me The Front Bottoms were always a band I listened to when I was in a specific mood. Their songs were for journal writing, being a little frustrated about too much homework, or a slightly awkward summer afternoon with a new friend. The Front Bottoms were never a band I listened to for an upbeat, make-my-life-feel-like-a-movie kind of indie moment. Regardless, I've loved them for awhile because they've always stood out to me, even if I felt their songs were for only specific life moments. I could talk a lot about why I love this band, from Brian Sella's unique voice, to their rhythm, lyrics, and writing style. However, this show added another reason because I had an experience I've never had before: at this show their music was completely transformed for me. 

The angsty quality is one of my favorite things about The Front Bottoms, and so somehow I expected that vibe to translate into their show. But I was surprised because performed live even the most depressing lyrics from "Maps" or "Father" were given this distinct sense of energy and life. The music was undeniably the sound I love from The Front Bottoms, but it was presented with this entirely new feeling. Since this show, I've listened to their songs about once a day this past week, in a lot of different moods. I haven't been to many shows in my life, but I still haven't had this experience before, so I think this makes The Front Bottoms special. I feel like this kind of show is how live music "should" be, if we're going to go there. The songs felt new and familiar at the same time. The band was funny, told us stories about being in Vegas, and made jokes about their long drive later that night. It all felt genuine and the audience connected to all of that. The show was authentic and I can't wait to go to another one. 

-Elena Souris
Elena is the Development Intern at KRTU
You can hear her on air Tuesday mornings (Monday Nights) at 12 a.m.