Thursday, March 31, 2011

List: The 8 best baseball songs

Happy Opening Day, everybody! For those of us baseball fans (me among them), it's a glorious holiday. I can now start checking the sports page every day for box scores and standings, mostly to find out how many games out of first my New York Mets are.

And at the very least, it gives us all something to argue about for the next six months.

Inspired by this, I put together a list of the very best of baseball songs, some old, some new. Enjoy the list and listen to the music. Then, add your own in the comments.

(Also, at the very bottom, you can check out the very worst baseball song of all time.)


"Don't Call Them Twinkies" by Craig Finn of the Hold Steady and the Baseball Project
Finn's known for his Twins fandom even if he doesn't live in Minnesota any more. Some of those team nicknames stick, but Finn's not a fan of the one for the Twins.

"Centerfield" by John Fogerty
It's the classic song, and maybe an obvious choice, but still a great tune about wanting to get in the game.

"All The Way" by Eddie Vedder
"Don't let anyone tell you it's just a game." Damn right, Eddie. Apparently, Vedder wrote the tune about being a lifelong Cubs fan.

"We're Talkin' Softball" from "The Simpsons"
One of the funniest episodes of "The Simpsons" ever was "Homer At The Bat" from the cartoon's third season. The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant needs a softball team, so Mr. Burns hires some ringers in the form of '90s-era greats like Darryl Strawberry, Ken Griffey Jr., Ozzie Smith and others. Some crazy stuff happens to the players, which is captured in the closing song, "We're Talkin' Softball," a parody of Terry Cashman's song "Talkin' Baseball."

"Joe DiMaggio Done It Again" by Billie Bragg and Wilco
Bragg and Wilco's recording of the Woody Guthrie tune is all banjo and baseball.

"Take Me Out To The Ballgame" by The Hold Steady
Sure, we've heard the original a few times, but The Hold Steady put their own little spin on it. Of course, it has to do with the Twins.

"Paradise By The Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf
Sure, it's not exactly a song about the game, but the play-by-play by Phil Rizzuto is a great metaphor for trying to score with your girlfriend.

“Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)” — The Treniers
Definitely the best big band tune about baseball and Mays actually appears on the song and sang backup.

* * *

The worst baseball song of all time? That would have to go to one about my Mets - "Get Metsmerized," a poor attempt by the World Series-winning team to capitalize on the Chicago Bears' "Super Bowl Shuffle."

How bad is it? Take an excerpt from "The Bad Guys Won," Jeff Pearlman's excellent book about the '86 Mets team: "Picture Vanilla Ice on crack, MC Hammer with half a tongue, and Kurtis Blow without one iota of rhythm. Now put them all together and subtract any remaining shreds of harmony, flow, cadence and talent. Oh yeah - make sure the lyrics don't exceed a second-grade reading level. That's 'Get Metsmerized.'"

It truly is atrocious. But you should listen to it if only for hilarity's sake.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hawkins opens up on It's True (its past and future)

By Kevin Coffey

“I knew It’s True wasn’t over.”

While the band had called it quits last summer, Adam Hawkins still had plans to continue making music.

But at the time, a lot of people were dumbfounded.

It’s True was the most promising local band to come around in awhile. They had successful tours to South By Southwest and California. The group was set to play the main stage at Maha Music Festival.

Things were happening. People were buzzing.

Then we found out, rather suddenly, that they were going away.

“It was mostly just me needing to remember what I was doing there — the attraction to being in a band,” Hawkins said. “I needed to get out of it.”

Last year, Hawkins called it “It’s True fever” and said all of the planning tours and trying to find label deals distracted from why he wanted to do it in the first place: to create music.

“We all put the blinders on a little bit and let other things get pushed out or crowded out,” he said.

But Hawkins wasn’t finished.

About a month into his sabbatical, he was writing music again.

“After having been away from it, I was getting the itch to be playing, recording or (doing) something creative,” Hawkins said.

The result, after months of work, is “Another Afterlife,” a nine-song EP that Hawkins and It’s True will release at a pair of shows — Friday at The Waiting Room Lounge and Saturday at The Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln.

The songs are a nice compliment to the band’s debut record, “It’s True,” that was released last year and was on my best of 2010 list. It also includes one, “Here I Come,” that became a staple of the band’s live show toward the end.

The songs are often pretty melodies and include Hawkins’ angelic vocals. Then, as It’s True songs tend to do, build with layer upon layer of interweaving music, sometimes beautiful and sometimes trashing.

Hawkins hints at some of his feelings in the lyrics of the songs. It’s not what the album’s about, he admits, but it’s there with lines such as “I don’t want to be the one who lets you down” or “looking at all of these people looking back at me it seems they’re seeing more than I would want them to see.”

Back last summer, the band’s demise maybe seemed sudden for those of us not in the know, but Hawkins, his bandmates and others close to him knew it might be coming.
The stress was wearing on him. He wanted a break.

Some people were upset.

Other people were teary-eyed at the band’s last shows. Hawkins was astonished when some fans told him they had driven across the country to see the band’s very last show in July.

Hawkins moved to Grimes, Iowa, to help his parents with the family business.
He also found out some other news: He and girlfriend are going to be parents.

This weekend’s shows will include the band’s old players — Kyle Harvey, Karl Houfek, Andrew Bailie and Matt Arbeiter (who’s flying back from New York for the show) — as well as some new ones.

But don’t expect a full resurgence of Hawkins, the band or his music. At least, not completely.

“It’s not like the band got back together. There’s not a tour schedule. We’re not thinking about the next show,” he said. “But I know we’ll playing music and writing. We feel lost when we’re not working on something creative — music or otherwise.”

Watch It's True's video for "Nothing At All" from Love Drunk:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SXSW Guest Blog: Satchel Grande's Austin roundup

This year was truly a learning experience for all of us, and we learned many things we’d do differently next year.  We learned how to hustle more on the front end to potentially get more gigs. We learned how to navigate an amazing city, and how much talent you can squeeze into a 5-day festival.  We learned how many gallons of beer we can consume as a Grande collective.  We learned that it is impossible to see everything, but to enjoy the 1% that you’re fortunate enough to see.  We learned that a van full of dudes can write quite a collection haikus on a 15-hour drive.  We learned new techniques to incorporate into our own set.  And most importantly, we met some of the most incredible people in the business that we all love.  Austin, yes you are still in Texas, but we won’t hold that against you.  And hopefully the SXSW decision makers will extend the “Y’all come back now, ya hear” to us next year.

I obviously can't keep on top of this blogging regimen like Mr. Coffey, but here is the overview of the final two incredible days of music in Austin from one Grande’s perspective.

Top 5 Favorite Performances of the Week:
TV on the Radio @ Stubbs – The doubters thought we couldn’t get in (I’m looking at you Coffey) but amazingly people filed out in steady masses after the first couple of songs of their hour + set.  I personally thanked each departing wave of haters with a sarcastic “Y’all come back now, ya hear” as my hopes of entry exponentially increased.  I think some people have a checklist down there and as soon as they hear a tune or two and capture a quick picture, they have the authority to put it on their bragging rights list.  Or a bunch of people just have garbage taste because TotR totally killed it.   Unbelievable energy and album like execution.  We only missed about four songs while standing in line, but luckily we were able to hear those with relative clarity from outside the Stubb’s compound.  And once we were in, I was able to walk fairly freely to about the 4th row to capture decent iPhone shots (but I stayed for the whole set).  This performance confirmed why they have been a personal favorite for the past couple of years.    

Fitz & The Tantrums @ Waterloo Records – These guys are the next big thing as far as I’m concerned, especially since they are resurrecting the soul/R&B flavor that I do so love.  I’m wishing for only the best, and hope they are in need an opener for their Midwest tour.  Solid lead and backup vocals, crisp horns and an impeccable rhythm section make this a must listen.  And the legendary Waterloo Records parking lot was a really cool venue for them.  And what a fantastic store inside.  I strategically placed a Satchel Grande cd on one of the shelves under the SXSW performing artists section.  I wonder how much they will get for it?

Polack @ Red Eye Fly – These Spaniards pretty much photocopied the first couple pages out of the Phoenix songbook, and since I love Phoenix, that’s just fine with me.  The drummer was solid and lead vocals/guitar sang in perfect English had a perfect synth pop/rock sound that I was looking for.  We had to stalk the lead singer/guitar player after the set to find the stash of cds and finally found the merch girl whose broken English was good enough to complete the $10 transaction.  Very much worth it.  Also, this venue is one of my favorite, too.  Set on top of a small creek with a scenic view, it’s really set up well.  And in the middle of the set we noticed a raccoon clinging to the iron rafters scrambling toward the main speakers mounted on the ceiling.  I was hoping for an epic Eddie Vedder “Even Flow” crowd dive, but no such luck.  He exited the rooftop without incident.

Hey Rosetta @ St. David’s Sanctuary – This was a complete surprise since our intention was to see Fences who performed right after them.  These Canadians who hail from St. John’s Newfoundland have a Local Natives/Mumford & Son’s vibe going on and have a great dynamic variety and sweet vocal arrangements.  They mix in some incredible violin and cello melodies and the guitar and drum work lock perfectly in.  Nice surprise since we left after 3 songs of Fences.  And the venue, was literally in St. David’s Sanctuary.  We sat respectfully in pews and enjoyed the pristine natural reverberated sound that bounced so freely around the sacred room.  A perfect band for this venue.  I noticed G. Love played this same spot 2 hours later, and I’ll I have to say about that is WTF?   

Ghost in the Jukebox @ Maggie Mae’s – This Ben Fold-esque trio consists of a guitar, piano/synth and drums and they bring an energetic and fun sound that was quite refreshing.  Sing songy lyrics and tight three part harmonies complimented the impressive piano technique of Ben Thornewill whose left hand takes care of the bass lines as well as the blazing chords and intricate melodies.  And anytime you can throw some Moog synth lines that work into an indy trio, bring it, I’ll listen.  I also enjoyed the drummer Jesse Kristin’s shtick of systematically flinging his right hand stick during his shaker/maraca lines and his near magical method of refreshing with a new stick from his overstocked quiver.  Since no one was injured, and the gimmick worked in my eyes.    

- Andy Kammerer, Satchel Grande

Saturday, March 19, 2011

SXSW: Bright Eyes at Auditorium Shores

Bright Eyes performed at South by Southwest this year for the first time in a decade.

And it was perhaps the biggest show they've ever done.

The band played Saturday night at the Auditorium Shores stage, a large stage in a park that fits 20,000 people.

And it was very full, if not at capacity.

The band's touring in support of it's latest album, "The People's Key," an album I said shows the band maturing and finally combining the various sounds and genres - not just electronic or folk but a fully-realized Bright Eyes record.

It was in that vein that the band performed on Saturday. They played songs from their last several records and reached way back in the song catalog.

The show started with two tracks from "The People's Key" -- "Firewall" and "Jejune Stars" -- before the band delved into older tunes such as "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)" and "Four Winds."

Fans in attendance loved watching the seven-piece group and sang along to songs like "We Are Nowhere And It's Now" and fan favorite "Lua."

"Thank you so much, Austin," Conor Oberst said. "It's goddamn good to see you."

It was one of the best Bright Eyes sets that I've seen, and I've seen them a lot.

The new songs, especially, were fun to hear live. Nate Walcott's keyboard and synth skills made the songs come alive and Laura Burhenn's backing vocals gave a pretty edge to Oberst's sometimes-warbly voice.

The finale consisted of an encore that included new and old songs - and a huge fireworks show.

The band started the finale with older tunes "Gold Mine Gutted" and "Lover I Don't Have to Love" and finished out with the noisy "Road to Joy" and then "One For You, One For Me" while the fireworks blasted off in the night sky behind them.

It was a nice, pretty way to close out a whole huge week of music.

I'm not done yet, though. Still a few more bands to see!

SXSW: The Meat Puppets rock it

The Meat Puppets at Waterloo Records.

The Meat Puppets haven't lost any of their fire. In fact, I think their last record and their upcoming one, "Lollipop," are their best yet.

The Kirkwood brothers put on a pretty wild set. Curt Kirkwood can really shred, and he made a point to do a lot of that.

The band also played both of the songs that were made famous when they appeared with Nirvana on "Unplugged" and Kurt Cobain sang their two songs: "Lake of Fire" and "Plateau."

Watch a video of "Plateau" below:

SXSW: Lines, lateness and (finally) some bands - City & Colour, Tapes n Tapes, The Head and the Heart (with video!)

The Head and The Heart at Red 7 Patio.
When last I left you, I had just parted with TV On The Radio.

From there, I headed to charge my dying phone (the tool I've been using for all the photos, blogging, video, scheduling and everything). Beats carrying around a laptop all the time, I say.

Anyway, I tried to go see Omaha band Midwest Dilemma. I didn't catch them because the showcase they were supposed to play was running an hour and a half late. As much as I wanted to see the Omaha boys play, I couldn't wait for them to come one.

I tried getting into the Bright Eyes secret show, too. But due to technical difficulties (or the band arriving late, if you believe the rumors), that show was also pushed back an hour and a half.

Sheesh. It shouldn't be that tough to see a band at SXSW.

I did make it finally to see a group. City & Colour, the side project of Alexisonfire's Dallas Green, was on at Stubb's. He was playing alone onstage when I arrived. I've always enjoyed how sweet his songs sound while they're also brutal, specific and honest.

For me, it sure beats Alexisonfire. I'm glad Green's been sticking with City & Colour. The group's third album, "Little Hell," comes out soon.

Next, I headed over to Rusty Spurs to wait for Tapes n Tapes. I missed them when they came to Omaha, but dug the latest album a lot. Reminded me a lot of "The Loon," actually.

I never realized how freaking loud Tapes n Tapes could be. The bass was so intense that the entire floor was vibrating like a massaging chair. Made my sore feet feel nice, but I was also happy I remembered my earplugs.

I then headed off to Red 7 Patio. One of the bands I most anticipated seeing at SXSW was The Head and The Heart. They're a folky group and recently signed to Sub Pop. I caught a few songs the other day, but it hadn't been exactly what I expected. Still, I wanted to catch a full set.

When I arrived at Red 7, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. was setting up for his solo set. Oddly enough, last year I sat at the exact same venue and waited through Mascis' set to see another band.

It's not that I think he's terrible, but I just can't get into it. He's a damn talented guitar player, but his skill during these solo shows is kinda lost on me. It's like he tries to shred and play nuanced melodies at the same time and can't quite pull of either one.

Anyway, the Head and the Heart finally came on stage and that's when the magic happened.

The group reminds me of a fun time folk band. They're not there to sing slow, folky dirges. They're on that stage to make you get out of your seat, dance around a bit and have a blast.

They employ three-part harmonies from three lead singers (two male, one female) as well as violin and a pianist (I hate calling a guy like this a keyboard player) that alternated between ragtime melodies and rhythmic ballad playing.

I had an absolute blast. So did the crowd, which filled the outdoor venue. Two kids had such a good time that they hopped onstage during the last song and rocked out with the band. Pretty funny and the band didn't seem to mind, giving them hugs at the end of the show.

Check out a video below of The Head and the Heart doing "Lost In My Mind."

Friday, March 18, 2011

SXSW: Video!

I've got tons of video for you that I sadly haven't had time to upload until now. Apologies for the delay, but I hope you dig it!

• Rural Albert Advantage play "Muscle Relaxants" at the Stage on Sixth.

• The Chain Gang of 1974 play a song (not sure of the name, but it's sweet) at Maggie Mae's Rooftop.

• Fitz & the Tantrums play "Breakin' The Chains of Love" at Rusty Spurs.

I'll have more later, including a song each from TV On the Radio and Satchel Grande.

SXSW: Joy Formidable, La Sera, Pains of Being Pure At Heart, TV On the Radio

TV On the Radio live at Stubb's.

It's a sunny, bright day in Austin, pretty much perfect weather for strolling the streets and taking in good tunes while you soak up the sun.

I started the day at Waterloo Records, a pretty sweet store that Homer's main man Mike Fratt actually recommended I check out when I talked to him a couple weeks ago.

The large record store had a big, solar-powered outdoor stage where band's were playing short, 25-minute sets.

The first group was Joy Formidable. Again, they're a band I've never really heard much about, but they were a blast.

Only a three piece, the group had that fuzzed-out rock sound that really reminded me of Silversun Pickups. Except British. And with a really cute blonde frontwoman.

I'm looking forward to grabbing their debut record and maybe catching them again. They rocked.

After that was a set from Vivian Girls bassist Katy Goodman's new project, La Sera. It's really sunny California surf pop, probably indicative of Goodman's recent move to the West coast.

Inside the store right after that was the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. The stage was in an odd spot in the store with a wall right in front of the stage dividing the store (and the crowd) in half.

Still, it was really cool to see the band again this weekend, especially because they did a bunch of new stuff. The new material is in the same vein as it's debut album and the EP that followed, but included a lot more melody. A welcome addition, in my opinion.

I then hoofed it across downtown to Stubb's to catch TV on the Radio at Spin's day party. I arrived just in time to see the band take the stage.

I'd never seen them before. It was loud and jammy, but sorta dancey. And sweet to see a non-ska band with a full-time trombone player.

My favorites were the last couple songs: new track "Repetition" and old track "Wolf Like Me." Definitely need to pick up that new album now (and some of the old ones, too).

SXSW Guest Blog: Satchel Grande in Austin, part 2

Apologies for the late post. I had some technical difficulties on my end that meant I'm posting this a day late. So don't blame Satchel Grande. Those gentlemen are above reproach.

* * *

Well, sadly our Official SXSW Showcase is over. But the most anticipated 40 minutes of Satchel Grande’s career couldn't have been more entertaining and satisfying. And when you can get nine dudes to agree that this was above and beyond the most solid SG set to date, that is a minor miracle in itself.

It started out with our full court marketing press where we distributed and teased potential concertgoers with our BluBlocker encrusted handbills. You had to come to the show to get a pair, and as our new fans, including the Karma Lounge staff and SXSW volunteers sporting the signature Grande look, it was truly a sight to see. All in an amber tint of course.

Yes we had our concerns with the 8:00 p.m. sharp start time, especially since this wasn’t one of those loose Benson gigs where we could improvise with the clock. But as we warmed it up with Internal Stereo the crowd swelled around 100 strong during our set. The Karma Lounge had the disadvantage of being a few blocks away from the built-in mayhem of 6th street, but people made the trek up the hill to hear the elusive funk/soul showcase. And I think we made it worth their while.

We also had the fortune of listening and befriending some of the coolest musicians in the world. Literally. We met Akina Adderley and her band who hails from Austin and made quick friends with Melbourne’s own, The Vaudeville Smash. And we got to know Har Mar Superstar’s briefs a little better than we had hoped. All amazing people who love talking music and life. Some of us strayed from the Karma to 6th street corridor after the show and caught shows along the way. Watching people is often more entertaining than anything. I ended up at the Club Deville, and caught sets from Tennis and Yuck, both quality acts. But on the walk back to the Karma to load out, a huge line caught my eye, and the familiar sound of “Ordinary Day” was hear as Duran Duran wrapped up their set. You never know what you’ll stumble into in this town, and it’s only the first day.

My summary for the day though is this…while the thought of competition at these showcases came up in conversations before we came down, that silly idea dissipated in a hurry. Tonight was about lovers of music coming together to enjoy and explore something new. And something old if you’re a Duran Duran fan. What an incredible first night in Austin.

-- Andy Kammerer

SXSW: Recapping day 2

Fitz & the Tantrums at Rusty Spurs

Yesterday was kind o a whirlwind. Then my phone died, so updating the blog was kind of impossible.

Anyway, I caught quite the lineup yesterday, plus stood in way too many lines.

Smith Westerns, who a lot of people were talking about, weren't as awesome as I had heard. But they were good. At least, I'm glad I stuck around for awhile because they grew on me. They warehouse garagey than I had expected.

Next, I attempted to see the Strokes. Apparently, the rest of Austin harris same idea. By the time I got there, Auditorium Shores - the largest venue at SXSW - was full. And several thousand people were milling about outside.

Some decided to hop the fence. Others just stood along the fence line or by the river. Me? I had better stuff to do with my time and decided to hoof it back to downtown.

I just saw the Strokes at Lollapalooza and standing next to a fence to listen wasn't my idea of a good time.

I'm glad I made the decision because the next two band's I saw are some of my favorites so far.

The Chain Gang of 1974 were over at Maggie Mae's Rooftop and i knew virtually nothing about them other than one song I heard last week.

From the name, they sound like a bunch of misfits, but these guys were pretty clean cut, at least by hipster standards. They're a dance-rock band and, had it been up to me, a dance floor would have been right in front of the stage. Their sound actually reminded me a lot of Omaha group The Faint, though less electronic.

I'm a bit sad that I have to wait until June to pick up the band's debut album, but I think it will be worth the wait.

My next discovery was Fitz and the Tantrums, an R&B group that I had never even heard of until a friend mentioned them Thursday afternoon.

The set I caught was the band's third of the day, but they didn't lose an ounce of energy. And despite it being nearly 11 p.m. the crowd diet have a problem going nuts during the last song, "Moneygrabber."

After that, we caught Jukebox the Ghost. They're a fun trio that mixes synth, piano and guitar for a pretty rhythmic rock mix. Last time I saw them was at Lolla with about 2,000 people. Last night, I was 10 feet from the stage amid a crowd of about 200.

Yet another reason I love SXSW.

Along with a few Satchel Grande folks, we tried to see Maps & Atlases, but the venue was full and the line wasn't moving. So, we headed to Stubb's to see TV on the Radio. Again, the line wasn't moving, so I booked it (though Andy Kammerer stayed and did end up getting in).

I went to see Surfer Blood at the Habana Bar. They were just OK. I really dug their guitar player, but the stage presence of the lead singer bugged the he'll out of me. He had his weird, ineffective Mick Jagger thing going on.

Feet hurting and not too impressed, I went home.

* * *

Headed to Waterloo Records now to see a load of bands.

Bright Eyes' secret show was announced and they play tonight at 8:30. Sadly, that's the same time Midwest Dilemma plays its only SXSW show.

I'm going to see Midwest Dilemma. Why? Bright Eyes plays again tomorrow and I've seen them countless times. Midwest Dilemma only has one shot, so I'll be there.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SXSW: Delicious Austin

Man, I love the food here. Most of it is served from carts and little windows, but it is quite tasty.

My only problem so far is variety. I've had a lot of pizza so far. Not much BBQ. No tacos.

I think I need to venture out a bit more and explore more than Sixth St., at least as far as food is concerned.

One phenomenon that everyone seems to talk about (but I've never ever seen) is breakfast tacos. What are they? Where can I get one? Honestly, I've never even seen a place offer them.

* * *

Amines thing I've noticed is the lack of giveaways. Normally, day parties are sponsored and the sponsor likes to give away food, beer amenities goodies.

I think I saw some free Qdoba once. But that's about it.

Not that I'm really complaining. I'm on a great trip seeing some amazing music. I'm just curious why the sponsors have dropped the giveaways.

Then again, maybe I'm just at the wrong parties...

SXSW: Late start, Head and the Heart and Rural Alberta

It's never fun being injured. Even less so at a music festival. Ask Greg Edds, who tooled around on crutches at last year's SXSW after breaking his foot.

I'm not that injured. But I do appear to have torn something in my foot. It makes getting around downtown Austin kinda difficult an is the main reason I got started so late today.

First off, I hit up the Head and the Heart, a band I've really been looking forward to, but injures yesterday. Unfortunately, they only played about 20 minutes and I was a bit late, so I missed all but a few songs.

Anyway, what I saw from the folky group was great, so I plan on seeing them again.

After that, I met up with a gaggle of Nebraska natives here in Austin, including Brent Crampton, Andy and Angie Norman of, Neal Duffy and the entire Satchel Grande crew.

Drinks were drunk, pizza was devoured, good times were had.

I then moved onto see Rural Alberta Advantage. Oddly, they're only one of two Saddle Creek Records bands playing at the fest (the other being Bright Eyes, of course).

Rural Alberta is working damn hard by playing several shows a day. Seems to be paying off, too. A few hundred packed into the Stage on Sixth to see the group and flooded he place with applause.

Currently, I'm at a show with the Smith Westerns. Sorta garagey, but with a lot of synths. Updates later!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SXSW: Satchel Grande does us proud

The funkiest band in Omaha is the funkiest one currently in Austin, Texas. At least, they are as far as I'm concerned.

The nine-piece played to only about 30 or so folks at the Karma Lounge, but were approached by every person in the joint afterward. While I said hello to frontman Chris Klemmensen, a British man couldn't stop telling him how wonderful Satchel Grande is.

I'm proud to have this band representing Omaha (and the rest of Nebraska) this week. If only they had a bigger stage to perform on...

Anyway, they played a set of old and new favorites. Klemmensen looked to be having the time of his life and, as he was playing and singing his heart out, he was moving so much I couldn't take a photo of him that wasn't blurry.

I really wish the band was playing more this weekend, but I'm happy to know I'll probably see them again soon.

Still, tonight proves that Omaha bands need to keep playing outside of our own little town. Stop being a well-kept secret. Get out here and show yourself off. Satchel Grande did it tonight.

* * *

After some conversing with the Satchel boys and getting my hands on a pair of Blublockers (the band's fave brand if sunglasses, which, no joke, sponsored them), I made my way down to Emo's.

On tonight's bill is OFF!, the new band featuring Keith Morris from the Circle Jerks and Black Flag. I actually got to meet Morris before the show. He was selling his own merch (how very DIY, right?) and so I bought some vinyl and asked him to sign it. Not very punk rock of me, I realize, but he obliged.

More importantly, OFF! took the stage and rocked it, pumping out angry punk songs full of as much energy as if Morris was spitting the words out 25 years ago.

Next up is hardcore legends the Bad Brains. Glad I brought my earplugs...

SXSW: Long lines and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The darlings of SXSW past are many and one of the more recent gems is Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

I shouldn't have been too surprised to have to wait in line when I got to Beauty Bar, but I was still pretty surprised. It was one-in, one-out and I honestly
Missed most of the band's set.

But I finally made it. The fivesome was blasting through it's shoegazey rock, which owes a lot to '80s stuff like Depeche Mode.

It was great, and the sound was a little clearer than the last time I saw the band, which was at Slowdown a couple years ago.

Of the four or five songs that I caught, only one was from the band's new album.

Anyway, I caught some video of "Young Adult Friction." Check it out.

SXSW: Trampled By Turtles and Jeremy Messersmith

Jeremy Messersmith at The Stage on Sixth.

It's only been a few hours, but I've already seen some great stuff.

After The Civil Wars, I listened to Keegan DeWitt for awhile. He was OK and mostly served as background noise while I tried to fix my iPhone, which had suddenly stopped working.

Anyway, Trampled By Turtles were next. Someone labeled them "progressive bluegrass," and by my estimation, they are a really skilled bluegrass group that has some jam band tendencies.

Next up was Jeremy Messersmith, another favorite discovery of the day.

Messersmith looks like a blond Buddy Holly. Sounds like him, too, but more like if Buddy had listened to a lot of The Beatles (instead of the other way around). He has a very solid '60s pop-rock sound, solidified by Messersmith often playing bass as the lead, not just as part of the rhythm section.

He did change it up a bit a few times, including a couple songs with a four-person string section.

My favorite song was the one Messersmith called "my most famous" and the one that turned me onto him in the first place. "Tattooine" is a song about love under two suns and is a blatant reference to "Star Wars." Personally, I love it when nerdery and music collide and this was a fine example.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart (with video!) on it's way...

Guest Blog: Satchel Grande in Austin, vol. 1

It took a mere 15 hours (including a 1/2 hour football scrimmage at the Wichita rest stop), but we made it to Austin unscathed at 1am. We added a last minute rider, Brent Crampton who puts the Grande entourage at a lucky 13. We all have BluBlockers on, but tha's a given. Just picked up our credentials at the Austin Convention Center and are making a BLine for the nearest BBQ purveyor. Chris is destined to consume BBQ for each meal of the trip and I don't blame him. Wanted to scope out the Karma Lounge, but they are closed. Load in at 5:30, show at 8:00. More details to come. And pictures.

-- Andrew Kammerer

SXSW: Finally seeing some bands

After arriving in Austin, getting to my hotel, getting downtown, picking up my badge and all that madness, I'm finally seeing what I came for: music.

I arrived at Paste Magazine's day party in time to catch The Civil Wars after missing a set by The Head and The Heart and deciding that I wasn't going to wait behind 1,000 other people to get into the Fader Fort.

Over at the Stage on Sixth Street (formerly the Radio Room) the musical duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White were just getting set up when I arrived.

Williams and White's music has been buzzing about for the last few weeks and today I found out why.

Quite simply, they're incredible. The band (which is just the two of them) plays a southern style of country/folk that's all about picking and singing harmonies. They seem to know how the other is going to sing. And it's mesmerizing.

If I were casting a movie, I'd put Jonny Depp and the Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn in the title roles, as those artists would match in both talent and looks (though Burhenn would have to dye her hair).

They played for about 45 minutes, which included two covers: Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and the Smashing Pumpkins' "Disarm."

Watch a video of their version of "Disarm"

SXSW-bound: What you can expect

In just under an hour, I'll be rocketing toward Texas. In six hours, I'll step foot on solid ground in Austin, ready to take on SXSW once again.

My schedule's all set, all my must-see bands are picked out and I'm ready to go.

Here's what you can expect from me while I'm at the festival:

• Blog updates right here throughout each day.
• Tweets over at my twitter page or over in that widget on the right if this page.
• Daily columns recalling the SXSW experience.
• Video and photos from the fest.
• Coverage of the NE bands making the trip.
• Interviews with artists.
• Insightful opinions from yours truly. Maybe.

Basically, I'll let you know what I find down there, from delicious breakfast tacos to delicious tunes and weird hipster haircuts.

Location:Decatur St,Omaha,United States

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today's Downloads (SXSW theme): The Head And The Heart , TV On The Radio, Pains of Being Pure At Heart

• New additions to the Sub Pop roster, The Head And The Heart are offering "Down In The Valley." They're also one of the bands I'm most looking forward to at SXSW next week. (Also look for my gigantic SXSW preview package coming on Saturday.)

• TV On The Radio are offering a download of their latest track, "Caffeinated Consciousness" from the forthcoming album "Nine Types of Light."

Get it by entering your e-mail address below.

• You can also stream the Pains of Being Pure At Heart's new album, "Belong," in its entirety.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today's Downloads: SXSW playlist (with Bright Eyes and Lucinda Williams) and Okkervil River

More wonderful stuff for you to have today. For free.

• SXSW is offering a bunch of songs from a variety of artists playing next week in Austin. Head to iTunes to download stuff from Bright Eyes, Lucinda Williams, Talib Kweli, Toro y Moi, Hayes Carll and a bunch of other stuff.

• Check out "Wake and Be Fine" from Okkervil River. All you gotta do is give them an e-mail.