For nearly two decades, the Muffs have been one of LA punk’s best-kept secrets: a band that makes wonderfully catchy punk-pop that makes you smile. Frontwoman Kim Shattuck has one of the greatest screams this side of Roger Daltrey. I caught up with Shattuck following the Muffs’ spunky St. Patrick’s Day show at Beerland.
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At 2am Wednesday night/Thursday morning, I am utterly exhausted. Between the music industry panels, wonkish talk about the industry’s alleged health and sickness, official and unofficial showcases, label and press parties, there is so much music in Austin right now. It’s at once dizzying, blissful, and nearly suffocating.
There was no real stage, but that didn’t seem to matter against the beautiful backdrop of the New York City skyline. The roof of the Cooper Square Hotel, the venue for a new musical showcase hosted by former music publicist Annie Ohayon, was entertaining enough, but it served as the perfect venue for this event, which promised to be part artists’ salon, part cocktail party. Officially titled the Annie O. Concert Series, the curated evenings will be open to bands and musicians from around the world.
Led by a pair of former choirgirls, Las Rubias del Norte are a melting pot of Latin music and song. Like the city they call home, Las Rubias represent a mixture of culture and sounds, all under the leadership of Allyssa Lamb and Emily Hurst.
Celebrating the release of their third record, Ziguala, the band played an intimate early set at Joe’s Pub Friday night. A self-described exploration of world music “if rock ‘n’ roll never happened” the record’s songs skip from country to country. Backed by congas, timbale, maracas, upright bass, glockenspiel, vibes, electric guitar, keyboard and ukulele, the songs were either assertive or beguiling, but always rhythmic. Peruvian, French, and Bolivian songs supplanted the title track, a Greek tune, all with an underlying Latin beat. By comparison their only English song, a drowsy Western, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, seemed lethargic and uninspired.
Washed Out’s Ernest Greene didn’t need any help to accurately render his sample-heavy songs at DC9 on Thursday night. What he did need help with was stage presence. After all, there are few things less engaging than a dude crouched over a table full of samplers and effects pedals. So Greene wisely kept his solo set short, ceding the stage to his tour mates, the groove-heavy synth-pop act Small Black. After a set’s worth of Small Black songs, Greene jumped back on stage and performed a few more Washed Out numbers with Small Black acting as his backing band. With the benefit of a real rhythm section and the stage show that a full band affords, Greene’s technicolor jams proved difficult to resist. It should speak volumes that by the end of the night, the room had turned into a sweat-soaked dance party, a rare occurrence in a town known better for—in the immortal words of the Dismemberment Plan—“doing the standing still”.
// Notes from the Road
"Philip Glass, the artistic director of the Tibet House benefits, celebrated his 80th birthday at this year's annual benefit with performances from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Brittany Howard, Sufjan Stevens and more.READ the article