Austin has brought me many musical joys. One of the most rewarding has been exposure to the funkier side of things.

It started with T-Bird and the Breaks, probably my most-seen Austin band because their live show is just so damn fun.

T-Bird and the Breaks at The Continental Club, August 09

Then came sweaty, sweaty nights at TC’s with Soul Track Mind who moved on up.

Then it was Big Sam’s Funky Nation

And digging the funky influence in Toro Y Moi’s new songs he played at FFFFest.

FFFFFFFFFFest.

How did I live before, not getting down to some funky beats?

Do you get funky?

OK, apparently I just have to get a little more off my chest.

Hexadecagon.

Just saying it, you know something epic’s behind it. It’s a project from Austin’s own The Octopus Project that uses eight channels of audio and eight channels of visuals to create an immersive experience. I missed it at SXSW, and I missed it again last night. Because I was studying. Epic bummer.

But I bought the LP, which is charming because it comes with its own mini-zoetrope that you build and play on top of the record. And, several of the videos are worth watching over and over and over again. Compression has taken away some of the depth of the videos, but they are stunning nonetheless.

http://player.vimeo.com/video/13882251?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

Catalog from Wiley Wiggins on Vimeo.
Makes my eyes dance.

http://player.vimeo.com/video/14833744?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

Hallucinists from Wiley Wiggins on Vimeo.

Sweet playlist of some recent tunes

  • Swimming, by Breathe Owl Breathe
  • All Dried Up, by Phantogram
  • Allison, by The Burning Hotels
  • Another Day (Blood Diamonds remix), by Apache Beat
  • DAMIR DOMA, by WILD EYES
  • Sixteen Shades of Black & Blue, by Fujiya & Miyagi
  • Nemo, by GOBBLE GOBBLE [the vocals are a downside.]
  • The Mending of the Gown, by Sunset Rubdown
  • Home, from Zooey Deschanel’s She & Him Vol. II
  • Mouthful of Wasps, by Kashmir. The oldest song on the list by far.\

Have to give recognition to Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist for bringing me many of these songs. Check out the site – every month, you can (free & legally) download a package of 120 or more songs. Kind of overwhelming, but brings me gems and helps me find new bands.

What do you study to?

Through the years my study music needs have changed as my study patterns change. I have two pretty constant preferences, though. Light, melodic, light-on-words music for when I am reading new material or trying to absorb dense material. Heavy, bass-thumping, rap or dub-step whathaveyou for when I am “working,” applying what I’ve just read or absorbed. Often, the music on my bass-heavy playlists makes me chair-dance as much as my headphones will stretch to allow me, sometimes drawing curious glances from people around me.

For the past two finals studying periods, I’ve noticed a particular tic. I find a few songs and play them in heavy, heavy, heavy rotation. This spring it was Kid Cudi’s Lonely Stoner song and Pursuit of Happiness. Currently, building off an obsession with Lil Wayne (I love approximate 1-2 songs of each album of his), my heavy hitters are

  • What’s Wrong With Them, off Lil Wayne’s I am Not a Human Being. Nicki Minaj’s hook on this song is what keeps me coming back for more, and it prompted to look for more by her, so my second study song is
  • Did it On Em, featuring the most charming of lyrics, including “If I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on em.”

I’ve played each of those songs at least 50 times in the past week. Is that a lot? Sure seems that way, but I can’t get enough.

True Colors

Do yourself a favor and watch this one in HD

Current LOVING:
The Tallest Man on Earth – Swedish Bob Dylans, those men. Unfortch, they are coming to Austin in the midst of finals time. To go or not to go?
The Temper Trap – like Phoenix, but with different songs! Another concert that comes in the middle of me attempting to outline and write a memo and so therefore one I probably will miss.
Bassnectar – ESPECIALLY his remix of magical world with nelly furtado. it is the JAM of, well, the weekend at least.
Blalock’s Indie Rock playlist – hellllooooo too much new music for me to get through!

The Decemberists are one of those few bands whose new albums I am still excited about, a band that I’ve continued to adore even as I get older and my tastes change. But all albums are not created equal.

For no particular reason other than I am bored of researching negligent hiring, my preference in Decemberists albums.

1. Her Majesty The Decemberists
Maybe it’s because I have an epic poster of this album from when I saw them at Trees in ’04, but I think mostly it’s Billy Liar that puts it over the edge, because it narrowly beat out
2. Castaways and Cutouts
I think the original is still masterful. My first joy at hearing lyrics of petticoats and joie de vivre resurges with every listen.
3. Picaresque
The name is a delight, 16 Military Wives is a subtle protest from a time when I seethed at the political landscape, and The Mariner’s Revenge Song lends itself to epic concert performances (’05 in Asheville).
4. Hazards of Love
With a few undeniably genius songs (Wanting Comes in Waves & Rake’s Song) and the inspired recruitment of Shara Worden, this album stands out. I’ve gotta admire the commitment to concept and storytelling, but man, half the album boils down to one word: filler.
5. The Tain
6. Crane’s Wife
Its bottom-barrel ranking is largely a product of the fact I rarely, if ever listen to it. Or the cause. Like the red-headed stepchild of a whore mother (who is probably off shagging sailors on a sea shanty), this guy could live in a closet under the stairs and I wouldn’t miss it.