the secret lives of prothros.

October 6, 2010

ACL Roundup: Bands that Start with the Letter T

Filed under: ACLfestival — prothro @ 9:23 am

Here lies my Everest: The T Bands. I think there are 31 of them. Wish me luck. (In my endeavor of listening to, and ranking them by how much I want to see them at ACL).

T Bird and the Breaks- This local Austin band fronted by Tim Crane has a great handle on the old school brand of 50’s rock mixed in with all that good old Mo’ Town soul. I definitely think they could be worth a listen but, as with most Austin bands, I think I’d just rather see them around Austin instead of when I could be seeing someone else from out of town. I know I’m a locationist. So sue me.
My Vote: 2

TV Torso- This is another Texas group. They play a muted sounding brand of indie rock and seem to thrive off of minimalism and at times swing a bit into British pop rock. I didn’t find a ton of their music online, so I don’t have the most comprehensive view of them. I like what I heard but I don’t think it left me really craving a live performance. Plus, they’re another local band so I’m again falling back on the fact that I could always just see them here later this year.
My Vote: 2

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- I really like this group out of Washington D.C. They’re pretty much cut-and-dry rock but the Ted’s voice definitely brings some punk sentiments to mind. Isn’t it weird how the tone of a voice can bring to mind an entire genre. I digress. Anyhow, I like them. They have a really solid musical foundation, and I was especially impressed by their drummer. I think they have potential to be a band I continue to like post-ACL. Oh, and apparently if you’re cool you can write their name TL/Rx. Just so you know.
My Vote: 4

The Band of Heathens- Here is another local Austin band, who apparently got together at Momo’s. They’ve definitely got that Southern whiskey rock vibe going. I just made up whiskey rock, but I think it makes sense, it sounds kind of tough and gritty while at the same time having this soul and groove that is incredibly smooth and of course, whiskey rock definitely has a southern feel. They’ve got some great harmonies and seem like they’d be really good live.
My Vote: 3

The Black Keys- I love the unexpectedness of the Black Keys. First I’m surprised to have such a great blues/rock band come out of Ohio. Then I’m surprised that there are only two of them making all that music. They have a great style and have really blown up in the past few years. Their live shows have added a touring band which I’m sure some fans have mixed feelings about but I’m excited to see what they can do orchestrating even more  into their live shows.
My Vote: 4

The Constellations- This band from Altanta, Georgia achieves a mix of Southern rock with almost psychedelic style. Though really its difficult to put a finger on them exactly as they seem to be always morphing just a bit to add more flare to their music. Though I guess you have to break out a bit to have enough instruments for seven people to play. I’m not sure this band is quite up my alley.
My Vote: 2

The Dough Rollers- It should be no secret by now that I love a bit of mandolin playing some bluegrass. This band has that. They also have a front-man who is the son of Harrison Ford. Random. Their vocals miss for me a bit. They are definitely pain-drenched and razor sharp in a way that gives them a raw and unaltered appeal but I guess I just need a bit more sweetness or smoothness to go along with it.
My Vote: 1

The Eagles- This has already been mentioned but I’m excited to see the Eagles. Not only are they an epic band but they remind me a lot of growing up. Their cassette of Hotel California has in our family Camry on a very regular basis, especially on trips to the Gulf. They just hold a lot of nostalgia for me. I think Desperado has to be an all time favorite. There is just something so pure and simple about it. If you’ve never seen In America, there is an awesome scene with a young girl singing it. Amazing.
My Vote: 5

The Ettes- The Ettes have that really fun garage rock sound led by some great female vocals. Reminds me of Letters to April, not really but if you get that joke you are required to comment below. It will be a precious few.  Back to the point, I really like hearing the contrast of a sweet female vocal against some garage rock, which always tends a bit to the rougher and grittier side. In the past they’ve toured with The Black Keys and Kings of Leon, so they have extra street cred for live shows too.
My Vote: 3

The Gaslight Anthem- This New Jersey band is classified as punk but that wouldn’t be my first thought of them. They definitely have some pink to them but they seem much more classic rock to me. In fact, their sound draws the most comparisons in reviews to Bruce Springsteen. While they are definitely a few steps in a different direction, it is easy to see the resemblance.
My Vote: 3

The Henry Clay People-His voice reminds me so much of someone and I cannot place it. Please help. These two brothers from California and their bandmates sing upbeat songs about young love and all that comes with it. Their songs aren’t overly complex and the band has taken a stand to make them more about substance than show. They throw in a smidgen of country every once in a while which I like instrumentally more than vocally.
My Vote: 3

The Jane Shermans- Full disclosure: I didn’t hear much from them, which may have worked to their favor because I am totally intrigued. Their songs each seem to showcase really great bass lines and Eulene Sherman’s smokey cool assertive vocals singing hook-ladden lyrics. Let’s all be honest for a second, hooks are really nice when you’re seeing a band you don’t know much about because they allow you to sing along. And I will.
My Vote: 4

The Jellydots- This is another Austin Kiddie Limits offering. This one stands out in a fun way. The lead singer is apparently a local Austin guitar teacher who lets some of his young students write the songs that he sings and performs. The song I heard from him was about a bicycle, and I happen to really love my bicycle and it makes me want to go outside and ride immediately.
My Vote: 1

The Kicks- This is another band I didn’t hear much of and this one was especially confusing because there are like three other bands named the Kicks. So I stuck with what I knew was them. These guys can harmonize, like whoa. There is a youtube video of them singing before a show and their  vocals are killer. Very similar to the opening of Bohemian Rhapsody which seemed to be what they were wanting to achieve. Three guitars, three great voices and a drummer. Nice.
My Vote: 4

The Morning Benders- This quartet of indie rockers from California met at Disneyland operating Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. And that is hilarious.  Their music is warm and smooth and light. It’s like a sunrise on a beach, something very significant is happening to break the dark silence of night but it’s happening slowly and subtly and when the golden light starts to shine over the horizon is just makes you feel a bit warm and fuzzy.
My Vote: 3

The Mountain Goats- This guys voice reminds me of a singing vegetable off of VeggieTales. Expect that instead of singing nice things he’s singing about suicidal thoughts and broken marriages. His most depressing songs lyrically seem to be the most upbeat musically. It’s an odd juxtaposition. His voice is full of clarity so you’re not likely to miss any of his raw and morbid lyrics. There are moments he reminds me a bit of Ben Folds singing out over a simple guitar or piano.
My Vote: 3

The National- This rock band based out of Brooklyn has really simple mixes of drums, guitar and piano that all serve to showcase the mood and tone of Matt Berninger’s voice. His voice is a bit dark, and sombre with a really sharp, cutting rasp to it. I’ve had a more difficult time figuring out my feelings towards this band than any others. I have to keep coming back and still can’t decide. in the end, I think any time I wanted to hear this music, I’d rather hear Pete Yorn.
My Vote: 3

The Relatives- These guys are fun. They’ve got those gospel voices that seem to know no bounds in regard to vocal range. I’m stupefied by the high notes this men with deep soulful voices can hit. They sing gospel and some singing-sermon style numbers on racial equality and other issues. They mix their sound up a bit from song to song, adding in some 50’s rock or 70’s hippie funk. Quite fun.
My Vote: 2

The School of Rock All-Stars- This is definitely the most original of the Austin Kiddie Limits offerings because they’re actually all students performing. The School of Rock is a music school for aspiring musicians under the age of 17 and it focusing not only on learning musical skills, but on the end goal of performing live. The students perform a wide array of songs and styles.
My Vote: 1

The Soft Pack- The Soft Pack, formerly the Muslims, are a San Diego rock band. As you could imagine, there was some significant conflict involved in their previous choice of band name. There aren’t huge faults to find with their music but it doesn’t really excite me. I don’t know if it just seems like I heard it before or that its missing something but for whatever the reason, I don’t think I’ll be seeing them at ACL.
My Vote: 2

The Strokes- I like the Strokes but I would be lying if I went so far as to say I was a fan, though Julian Casablancas does have a nice voice with good levels of rasp. Random fact: he’s the son of the guy that owns Casablancas modeling agency. It was advertised in every single silly teen magazine that I ever came into contact with as a youth, back in the back. I still remember the picture. Anyways, I always enjoy their music but I don’t usually pick it off an iTunes library. However, I do think I would pick them off a schedule line-up because they’re supposed to give a pretty impressive live show.
My Vote: 4

The Sword- This local Austin band is one of the only heavy-metal offerings at ACL. I can’t really think of any others. They’re pretty classic heavy metal too, similar to Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. They’re not just noise like some metal bands, they certainly have impressive guitarists and they showcase their sounds well. I don’t mind metal at all but it’s not generally what I would choose to see. Usually, going to see a band like this would be a result of being taken along, which could certainly transpire and I would not complain. I would head bang. Also, they should have a song on Rock Band. I would really enjoy watching someone (Brad) play some of their stuff.
My Vote: 3

The Temper Trap- I’m a big fan of the Temper Trap. This group from Melbourne is responsible for Sweet Disposition the song that led the soundtrack of 500 Days of Summer. They’re certainly not a single hit machine though, their other tracks offer variety while sticking to the same big guitar sound and bouncing rhythms. I really do think that Sweet Disposition is something special though, and one of the better songs I’ve heard in the past few years.
My Vote: 5

The Verve Pipe- You remember the song Freshmen don’t you? Well this is that band, except they’ve undergone some pretty major changes, the biggest of which is that their latest album is entirely kid’s music. Surprising huh? So they’re playing twice at the Austin Kiddie Limits stage. The album is really interesting, there are moments when they sound just like their vintage selves but they’re singing about cereal.
My Vote: 2

The Very Best- This is pretty fun. The Very Best are African dance-pop music. They sing in languages I didn’t know existed–Chichewa and other African dialects. Luckily there is some English mixed in there too so I can understand some of the lyrics. The mix traditional African beats and choir-sounding choruses together with some electronic dance beats to make something quite original. It would make a great soundtrack. THey also collaborate with a few other ACL acts that could be making appearances.
My Vote: 3

The xx- This trio from the United Kingdom makes music that has strong upbeat synth beats but isn’t poppy at all. Instead, it is quite calm and lovely, their voices are beautiful and almost trance-like in the way that they linger around words. It’s such perfect early morning, rainy-day coffee music. As I listen to them I can hardly wait to put them on a new playlist reserved for just such occasions. I’m thrilled to have found them but not sure I’m dying to see them live at a festival. I’m not sure that is their medium.
My Vote: 3

Tom Freund- He’s playing twice on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage from his children’s album called Hug Trees. I’m kind of bummed about it because I’d really enjoy hearing him seeing some of his grown-up music. He has a beautiful, smooth voice. I mean there is a reason he and Ben Harper like to sing together. I do think he is playing some after shows around Austin with some of his other stuff.
My Vote: 3

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue- Troy Andrews has been playing trombone since before he could reach all the slide positions, leading bands before he was in high school and joined Lenny Kravitz’s band when he was just 18. Now he’s out on his own fronting a band whose style he describes as “supafunkrock” which is appropriate because these guys can wail, jam and rock, simultaneously. Maybe my favorite fact is that he performed on Studio 60’s tribute episode. If you haven’t seen that show, Netflix instant.
My Vote: 4

Two Door Cinema Club- This group from Northern Ireland does the upbeat, punch brand of electric indie pop that seems to be popping up everywhere these days. It’s upbeat and catchy with good melodies but there isn’t a ton that sets them apart from similar acts. There also isn’t much that sets their songs apart. They’re a good group and with that style of music I’m sure it will be a fun concert.
My Vote: 3

Two Tons of Steel- These guys are good old rockabilly. They’re from San Antonio and would definitely be able to get a crowd amped up enough to do a little bit of boot scootin’ Are rockabilly singers recorded on different types of microphones than other musicians? There is a quality to their vocals that sounds so different but not necessarily from their voices. I think my dad would really like this one.
My Vote: 3



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3 Comments »

  1. Trombone Shorty! His album is so so good. AND the Black Keys? I just wish we could all jump on a plane and spend 3 days listening to music with you. If wishes were fishes and all that…sigh.

    Comment by Meg — October 6, 2010 @ 11:28 am

  2. I love The Sword. Viking themed jam-metal? Check. Also they have a song on Guitar Hero 2 (Freya).

    Comment by brad — October 6, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  3. Everest.

    Comment by Jessica Schmale — October 14, 2010 @ 8:01 am


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