SXSW Rock 'n' Report—No one is sleeping in Austin right now, not even your grandma. The South by Southwest music festival and conference is going full force, and one lucky Alibi reader is reporting about it. Lucille King is the proud, press-pass carrying Rock 'n' Report contest winner, armed with a reporter's notebook and a March 23 deadline to produce some damn good copy. Lucille and her two friends, Aja and Margaret, road tripped it to Austin for their virgin SXSW experience, and we'll get all the gritty details. For daily, late-breaking information from the trenches of SXSW, check out our blog at alibi.com. It'll be the next best thing to being there yourself. Next time, just write the freakin' 500-word essay, won't ya?
Local psych-rockers Death Valley Days take codeine bong hits for breakfast. Heaaaavy. See this week's "Sonic Reducer" for Hypatia Lake's deal. March 19 at Atomic Cantina. A great Sunday show, and a free one at that. (LM)
Sunday, March 19, Launchpad (21-and-over); $8:
Q: What does a kinky dance party sound like when the expensive designer drugs really, really kick in? A: An Albatross.
Celebrated for their explosive, one-minute, synthesizer-soaked songs and their tendency to encourage impromptu audience participation in their live shows, An Albatross are a stirring thing to behold. Their We Are the Lazer Viking LP clocks in at a mere eight minutes and 20 seconds, but don't rush to judgment. With an odd habit of attempting to add words and phrases to popular language ("The Bear Warp" and "Aural Liberation," for example) and an even odder habit of distilling four minutes of already-lunatic rock into 60 seconds of utter abandon, everything about these guys is designed to rescue pop culture from the ho-hum condition that it's in. One visit to see An Albatross will have you convinced they are succeeding. Eddie Gieda, lead singer and self-proclaimed "Psychedelevangelist" puts on an impulsive, athletic performance that will have you questioning reality. (And afterwards, he's likely to come and visit you in your booth to talk about music, love and what it's really like to be a Lazer Viking these days.)
Go on—be a part of An Albatross' cultural revolution. Tickets are available at Natural Sound and www.virtuous.com.
As a genre, doo-wop has been the least-mined for contemporary inspiration, overshadowed by the wealth of '50s R&B gold.
Friday, March 17, Launchpad (21-and-over); $12: I should preface this by saying that the idea of individual entitlement by birth, whether it be money, fame or artistic talent, is somewhat nauseating. That said, pursuing a career in music as the spawn of a great musician must be a complex position to be in. Some obviously do use nepotistic avenues to gain commercial success (Lisa Marie Presley, Jakob Dylan). Some hide their parentage (Nora Jones, daughter of Ravi Shankar). Others are legitimately talented (Natalie Cole, Hank Williams Jr.). The latter is true of the son of outlaw country legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, who after years of rocking in L.A. with his band Stargunn, decided to get back to his roots and become the outlaw he was born to be.
Texas and New Mexico have what one could call a sibling rivalry. We New Mexicans give our Texan friends a hard time for being from the Lone Star state, and they jest back by asking us how we learned to speak English so well. Well, big-bro Texas, we really do love ya and that's why we're coming over to crash your party.
Hypatia Lake's previous release was a concept album about the fictional town from which the band draws its name. ... And We Shall Call Him Joseph focuses on the experiences of a particular resident of the town, Joseph Bigsby, who ends up starting a riot in the town's candy store where he works. Expansive, engaging and richly textured, Joseph is a splendidly complex LP that is consistent without becoming predictable. Lance Watkins' vocals and the Mercury Pop-, M83- and even Pink Floyd-evoking melodies create an atmosphere that reeks of depressingly stagnant suburbia. The whole package is bizarrely alluring.