Posts Tagged ‘ Oryx and Crake ’

[STREAM] The Viking Progress – “The Couple”

The new album from Athens’ The Viking Progress is a collection of character sketches, with each track adopting the point of view of someone facing the end of the world.  That sounds like a drag, but the record is a lot less ponderous than it reads on paper.  Viking Progress mastermind Patrick Morales uses his central conceit to paint distinct, humane portraits of eight different points of view, and the focus is more on core values and past experience than it is on the impending end times.  Morales sings these sketches over carefully sculpted folk, tastefully decked out with strings and the occasional horn line from Neutral Milk Hotel’s Scott Spillane.  Check out lead single “The Couple” below to get a feel for the project.

The Viking Progress will be celebrating Whistling While The End Is Near‘s release with a show at The Earl tonight.  The opener is Adron, and the headliner is Oryx and Crake (who generously lent out cellist Matt Jarrard to Morales for Whistling).  Oryx haven’t played a show since December and will be debuting new material at tonight’s show, so it should be a good one.


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[PICS] Sealions, Modern Skirts, and Oryx and Crake @ The Earl, 7/29/11

Photos by Peterson Worrell

Sealions

Modern Skirts

Oryx and Crake

More pictures of all 3 bands after the jump.

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[VIDEO] Oryx and Crake – “The Road” and “Hold Hands for Dry Land”

 

It hasn’t even been a full year since Oryx and Crake put out their first full length, but the band is already at work on album number two.  They’ve been playing some of the new material live, and it sounds incredible.  They opened with two new ones at Saturday’s house party, and that’s where the above video comes from.

I previously said that new song “The Road” might be my favorite thing they’ve ever written, but “Hold Hands for Dry Land” isn’t far behind.  It’s upbeat and rollicking in a way that’s reminiscent of “Pretty How Towns” from their debut, and I get an unexpected Ted Leo vibe from Ryan’s vocals.  The audio on this recording is a little thin, but it’s enough for you to get the general idea.

I recorded a few of the older songs, too, but they’re still processing since my internet connection has slowed to a crawl.  I’ll update this post once they’re finished.

 

[VIDEO] Two new videos from Oryx and Crake

 

 

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to host Oryx and Crake as they debuted their first two music videos in front of a live audience in my backyard.  Both videos are viewable online now, and you can check them out above.  The first one is the Chronicle-produced video for “Open Your Eyes,” which features footage gathered from 50 local Atlantans who agreed to have their entire workday filmed via webcam.  The second one is Max Blau‘s “Unbound” clip, which is journey through the streets of Atlanta.

Oryx played a set after debuting the videos, and Tim Lampe of I’m a Bear! Etc. took some wonderful photos.  You can view those here.  I should have some live videos up in the next couple of days.

[PICS] Secret Stages Music Festival

Howlies

Noot d' Noot

Check out pictures of URI, Noot d’ Noot, Oryx and Crake, Futurebirds, Skewby, and Jack Oblivian after the jump.

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[LIVE REVIEW] Secret Stages Music Festival in Birimingham, AL

Noot d' Noot

There were a number of unknowns surrounding the first-ever Secret Stages music festival in Birmingham, AL.  I knew it had a good lineup, but I didn’t know how it would function as a festival.  Would it feel like a unified event, or just a bunch of loosely connected shows taking place during the same weekend?  Would each individual venue stick to their schedule?  Would anybody show up?

Luckily, the answers to those questions were good ones.  Secret Stages definitely felt like an interconnected festival.  There was a central, blocked off area in downtown Birmingham that served as the main hub, with vendors, an outdoor stage, and several of the participating venues all situated around the same city block.  All of the other venues were nearby, too, so it never took more than few minutes to get from one place to another.  Furthermore, they all had prominent Secret Stages placards displaying their schedule out front, and they miraculously stuck to that schedule for most of the weekend.   There were a couple of logistical issues that I’ll talk about later, but for the most part the festival was run smoothly.

Plus, the music was just great.  Almost all of the lineup was composed of emerging bands from the Southeast, and the organizers had clearly done their homework.  In this case, “emerging” never meant “your friend’s brother’s bar band that plays locally 3 times a year.”  There were a ton of genuinely talented bands that look like they have great things on the horizon.

So, how was the attendance?  I would say it was about what I expected.  When the biggest names in your lineup are The Love Language, G-Side, and Dawes, you’re not going to be drawing massive crowds.  This festival is a celebration of under-the-radar bands, so they’re catering to a smaller crowd of music lovers willing to seek out the unfamiliar, and I would say they were successful in drawing in that crowd.  The club shows all seemed like they were more well-attended than they would have been under non-festival circumstances.  I think a lot of bands probably played to crowds 2 or 3 times the size of what they would have drawn had they booked an unrelated show on another weekend.  That’s especially impressive when you consider the fact that there was a ton of scheduling overlap among the 11 stages.

Day by day breakdown of what I saw below.

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Secret Stages is a regional music festival worth your $25

One of my favorite things about music festivals is the thrill of discovery.  It’s somewhere between unlikely and impossible that the average festival-goer is familiar with every single act on any given lineup, so encountering new music is almost inevitable.  Even if you plan your schedule around tried and true favorites, you’ll probably end up hearing something unfamiliar along the way.

Discovery seems to be one of the driving forces behind Birmingham, AL’s Secret Stages, a new walking festival that will feature emerging bands from all across the Southeast.  There are a handful of acts with considerable national recognition (Dawes, The Love Language, and G-Side, among others), but most of the lineup is made up of bands looking to make the move from local to regional to national.  The festival was booked with the intention of showcasing some of the most promising under-the-radar bands in the region.  “We literally went through every state in the Southeast and handpicked our favorites,” says festival organizer Travis Morgan.

The Atlanta bands making the trip this year definitely back up those claims.  We will be represented by Noot d’ Noot, Howlies, Oryx and Crake, The Booze, and The Biters, all of whom have received a strong reception in their respective local scenes and seem poised for more recognition outside of Atlanta.  The same can be said for Athens’ Futurebirds, Venice is Sinking, and Madeline.  For me, Secret Stages’ biggest draw is the chance to discover these bands’ counterparts from Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, and beyond.  It’s a chance to hear some of the best stuff from other regional music scenes.  And it’s cheap – weekend passes are only $25.  VIP passes guaranteeing priority entry to venues are $55, and that also gets you access to a VIP area with complimentary food and booze.  That should pay for itself.

The two day festival will take place across six different venues and one outdoor stage in downtown Birmingham.  Morgan says the schedule is being put together “strategically,” with bands assigned to appropriately sized venues and not necessarily grouped by hometown or genre, a scenario that seems ideal for audience cross-polination.  Show up to support some hometown heroes, then stick around to see something new.

When asked about future plans for Secret Stages, Morgan stresses that the festival wants to maintain its regional focus.  The festival isn’t just trying to replicate the success of SXSW or CMJ: “I’ve definitely been to both events and they certainly have made an impact on me.  I know they both started out very small like Secret Stages, but our ambitions are not to necessarily grow to the size of those festivals.”  The focus will remain on putting together a quality festival with the best acts the region has to offer.  Those are modest ambitions, but that’s for the best.  If the festival got too big, it would be at the expense of what makes it unique.

Some of the other lineup highlights are Crooked Fingers, Thomas Function, Wooden Wand, Glossary, Jack Oblivian, William Tyler, Jacuzzi Boys, Pujol, and The Deloreans.  The full current lineup can be found after the jump (there are still more acts to be announced).  There will be comedians performing, too.  More information can be found on Secret Stages’ website, and tickets can be purchased here.

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