Chelsea Light Moving
I was beginning to think Thurston Moore had gone soft on us. Don’t get me wrong, his softer side is nothing to scoff about. His two solo albums from the past five years have been intimate, atmospheric listens, and Sonic Youth’s two releases in the past decade have been much more stripped down in comparison to the days of Dirty and Goo. But with his recent divorce with band mate Kim Gordon (and probable break-up of Sonic Youth), it seems Thurston has reconnected with his distortion pedal, stirring up the ashes of his bratty brand of disorder on his new project, Chelsea Light Moving.
Just moments before sitting down to write about the best and worst of the South By Southwest music festival of last week, I found out about the death of Jason Molina, the troubled genius behind folk-blues outfits like Songs/Ohia and Magnolia Electric Company. This news would have been unsettling and heartbreaking regardless of what I was about to embark on, but sitting here trying to write about my 10th year at the music festival, I can’t help but think back to my first year in attendance and how I got to see Magnolia Electric Company perform at The Parish.
A lot has changed since that night a decade ago when Molina first enchanted me with his fragile, somber voice. Over the years I’ve seen SXSW grow along with my understanding of the festival and all its nuances. I think back to those performances from the first few years and wonder where the festival’s one time luster has gone. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a great week, seeing dozens of bands each day, but along with the growth of social media, SXSW has become more about the hype and less about discovering unpolished gems like my friends and I did 10 years ago with Jason Molina and his band. Yes, Dave Grohl, Stevie Nicks, and John Fogerty played a surprise set together, as well as Prince and Green Day (badge only shows), but due to the influx of speculation and misinformation within the Twitter world, I was unable to see several shows I would have in years past due to the miles of sheep lined up in hopes of seeing MTV TRL darlings like of Usher and Justin Timberlake.
Yet as much as these moments of frustration tainted my week, I still relished my chance to see up-and-coming artists pour their hearts out on the stage. Within the past ten years I’ve seen unknown artists perform at SXSW that went on to big time success (Bon Iver, The Fleet Foxes, and TV On the Radio), and I expect that many of the artists seen this week will go on to do just the same. Who knows? Maybe in ten years folks will be lining up for miles to see some of my favorites from this past week while I roam 6th street, 10 years older and wiser, in search of that next great unearthed treasure.
In memory of Jason Molina, I present to you my list of the best and worst of SXSW 2013.
In this episode we take a look at some of the best music to be released so far this year. Here are some of the tracks you’ll hear:
Traditional Fools “Please”
FIDLAR “Cheap Beer”
California X “Pond Rot”
Frightened Rabbit “Holy”
Torres “Jealousy and I”
Cocaine 80s “The Sun and the Moon”
Nightlands “So Far So Long”
Bob Dylan “One More Weekend”
Listen below, or subscribe on iTunes (keyword- BDWPS):
As discussed on my Podcast, over the past year I’ve found myself obsessively watching all of the episodes of “Classic Albums” on Netflix, the documentary series that originally aired on VH1 and BBC chronicling the creation of some of rock’s most influential albums. After viewing around a dozen of these one hour episodes, I came up with the “great” notion to make a list of the episodes, ranking them and discussing each one in a short paragraph. Well, this was easier said that done and remains an unfinished project (maybe this post will get me re-motivated to finish it).