Black Mountain always have some subtly creative videos. In this glitchy, sun-baked video for "Old Fangs", psychedelic witches meet trashy road film. This amazing video was directed by Mike Bruce and produced by Zoe Bower and Russell Sanzgiri -- a combination of folks who have...

If you own a pair of comfortable dancing shoes, Viper Creek Club's album, Letters, is sure to bring out your inner Fred Astaire or Boogaloo Shrimp. No doubt put together with an array of synths and an endless cache of ideas, all the electronic blips...

Damien Jurado's new record, Saint Bartlett, is refreshingly pleasant for two reasons: the first is that is sounds like something from the past that you have known and loved. This is not to say that it is derivative necessarily, but that it draws from many sources in the best possible way. The second is that the soothing voice of lead singer and songwriter Jurado makes everything sound beautiful, calm, and at peace. These two are intertwined; some say that Damien Jurado is reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright, M. Ward, or even Will Oldham, with a bit of Neil Young-style songwriting mixed in. He is all of that, it is true, but has own his unfaltering take on what it is to be a singer-songwriter-performer.

 

Jurado's personal musical style has been perfected through time and experience in the music industry. This is his ninth full length, and his fifth for the midwestern Label Secretly Canadian. It is also happens to be my personal favorite. Nothing of Jurado's I have listened to in the past has had much of an impact, and even revisiting his previous albums doesn't do much for me. Saint Bartlett, however, was gripping upon first listen. This might perhaps be due to the welcome musical addition of the Saint Bartlett Band (an eight member orchestra comprised of members from Kay Kay And His Weathered Underground) to flesh out Jurado's sometimes stark sound.

Listen to "Arkansas" - DOWNLOAD MP3

A week-and-a-half after returning from SxSW 2010 should be enough time to blend back into mainstream society, recover from strep throat, and map out my SxSW favorites. Yet unlike some of the other REDEFINE writers, who rambled down the West Coast and into the heart of Texas via a leisurely road trip, my trip is best summed up as three-day dance party fueled by free Red Bull and the knowledge that my trip was much too short, ultimately leaving me disheveled and confused. So here they are at their most honest: my Top Five SxSW Picks.

 

5. Polly Mackey & The Pleasure Principle

www.pollymackey.com
Meandering through downtown Austin, Polly Mackey & The Pleasure Principle were rocking out loudly and early, easily luring myself and a slew of other hungover weirdos into a random bar. Once inside, I realized that the band happened to be SxSW showcase openers getting in one last show, so I made myself comfortable between two heavily bearded men. Tip for the solo traveler: sitting between two largish, fully bearded men at a bar is, I've come to learn, the equivalent of going out with eight friends. I assure you: things will get cozy and familiar quickly. Meanwhile, the band was cranking out classic rock riffs with some kind of emo punk sliced in. Their high energy, combined with the multiple pitchers of Bloody Mary's making their way around, equated to an early morning crowd ready to party. What sold the show for me though, was their intriguing vocalist Polly Mackey. A tiny woman wearing the most unimpressed expression stood center stage, strumming her guitar with this huge voice that I overwhelmingly got the feeling she was holding back. Maybe the show was a fluke, or maybe it was all the facial hair in my way, but someone needs to tell Mackey to stop holding back and let that voice rip.

 

Viper Creek Club are a little dreamy indie pop duo from Seattle. They really haven't been around too long, so unless you belong to the 206 area code there is a good chance you haven't ever heard of them. Regardless of that fact, their song...

Whether you hated them or loved them, in the early 00's, The Blood Brothers were THE It Band of the hardcore scene. Wild, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and highly intelligent, the band quickly amassed a devoted following, praised by the die-hard fans for their originality and irreverent...

After Seattle underground superheroes Carissa's Wierd disbanded, Sera Cahoone went on to do her own thing, Ben Bridwell came up with Band Of Horses and Grand Archives, and Jenn Ghetto became S. If you weren't around ora conscious while Carissa's Wierd was around, here is what...

One-man bands usually call to mind images of a comical minstrel barely standing under the weight of a drum-and-harmonica contraption and self-penned songs that probably belong in a sideshow rather than on a CD. But Chris Otepka, the indie rock artist from Illinois performing under...

Just sharing some jolly good locally-grown experimental psych-pop with you, courtesy of Big Spider's Back and director Karla Santos. The video for "Warped" captures psychedelic pop in its essence, really, with radiant colors swirling in and out of consciousness, melding with shapes and figures reminiscent...