Centro-matic: “Flashes & Cables”

Song of the Day

Centro-matic: “Flashes & Cables”

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014

Growing up in Dallas, local music wasn’t as readily available like in Austin. So when a band like Centro-matic came bursting from Dallas’ cooler, northern cousin Denton, it was a big deal, especially to a musically-obsessed teenager like myself. Seeing Centro-matic live at age sixteen–opening for a buzzed-about Ben Kweller, no less–was revelatory. The group’s blend of rock, country, and lo-fi weirdness was so different. It’s a great feeling to take pride in that kind of local artistry.

After nineteen years, eleven albums, and countless tours, Centro-matic is hanging up its collective boots. This year’s Take Pride In Your Long Odds is a fitting capstone: here’s a Denton band that never set the music world on fire, but they took on those long odds by organically building up a following, touring the world, and making the kind of music they wanted. It’s an inspiring thing to see such consistency in a veteran band when so many groups flame out or lose their touch. Centro-matic is bowing out before that happens, adding just a little bit more luster to their local legacy.

Centro-matic plays the Parish tonight in a sold-out, final Austin show. For today’s song of the day, we dug back into our own live archives and unearthed performance of “Flashes & Cables,” one of the band’s best songs and coincidentally done live at the Parish in 2008.

–Art Levy

Leopold & His Fiction: “Waves (Golden)”

Song of the Day

Leopold & His Fiction: “Waves (Golden)”

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014

Photo by Elaine Huang

All this week, the Song of the Day spotlights some of our favorite live sessions from the past year.

Daniel James, the dynamic frontman for Austin’s Leopold & His Fiction, likes his music with a little chaos. Growing up in Detroit, James learned from the Motor City’s best madmen like Iggy Pop while soaking up all the R&B and soul he could find. An interest in creative writing took him to San Francisco State University, and there James started writing his own songs. He formed Leopold & His Fiction as a raw, blues-rock two-piece in 2005, but a move to Austin in 2008 found him incorporating more styles.

The group turned our Studio 1A into an arena straight out of 1978–the walls were shaking all throughout the building. Watch their video and download “Waves (Golden)” below!

Laura Mvula: “Green Garden/See-Line Woman”

Song of the Day

Laura Mvula: “Green Garden/See-Line Woman”

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014

All this week, the Song of the Day spotlights some of our favorite live sessions from the past year.

There’s simple pleasure in Laura Mvula’s music. Her debut album, Sing To The Moon, is filled with retro soul and pop influences that make it hard to place her in a given time. She could’ve popped up in any decade and Mvula’s voice would fit right in. That’s testament to her compositional skill. She’s a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire in her native England, applying her studies while also keeping her sound rooted in blues and R&B.

Mvula stopped by our Studio 1A earlier this year and showed us that her songs bloom even further in the live setting. Her electric performance of “Green Garden” grew into a cover of Nina Simone’s “See-Line Woman”–past and present converging seamlessly. Watch video and download the song below!

Eleanor Friedberger: “I Am The Past”

Song of the Day

Eleanor Friedberger: “I Am The Past”

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014

All this week, the Song of the Day spotlights some of our favorite live sessions from the past year.

Great songwriting always lurked under the Fiery Furnaces’ avant-garde tendencies. Being a fan of the band was an adventure, following the Friedberger siblings as they explored the confines of what a pop song could sound like. Could it be a ten-and-a-half minute suite incorporating electro, folk, musical theatre, and more? In their hands, that was a definite yes.

Since the beginning of the duo’s hiatus in 2011, frontwoman Eleanor Friedberger has changed the balance, favoring straight-ahead pop melodies with a bit of weirdness thrown in to keep you on your toes. Her two solo albums, Last Summer and Personal Record, are warm and inviting, cycling through power-pop, R&B, and punk with Friedberger as the freewheeling conductor. She’s a razor-sharp lyricist, favoring complete thoughts so that her songs unfold like short stories.

She stopped by our studios earlier this year and offered a stripped-down take on “I Am The Past.” It’s a simple acoustic performance, punctuated by Friedberger’s meditation on how the past always stays with us no matter where we go. And in true Friedbergerian fashion, a warbling echo effect accompanies her playing like a weird ghost that she can’t seem to shake.

Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis: “Needles And Pins”

Song of the Day

Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis: “Needles And Pins”

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014

Earlier this year, dozens of Austin musicians came together for All ATX: British Invasion, a compilation album celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the British Invasion hitting our shores. But more importantly, the album’s proceeds benefit HAAM, the Health Alliance For Austin Musicians. This week, we’re highlighting some more cuts from All ATX and reminding you the album would make a great holiday gift (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Even with the British accents, there were a lot of folk and country touches to many British Invasion songs. The Searchers–the second Liverpool to have an American hit after the Beatles–even named themselves after the John Ford western. Their 1964 hit “Needles And Pins” was actually a cover of Jackie DeShannon, and now Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis try the song on for size. Pedal steel, fiddle, and their harmonies bring out the country influences in the original. Of course, Bruce & Kelly aren’t strangers to covers: their annual Holiday Shindig, featuring Christmas classics, returns to the Paramount Theatre tomorrow night. Get details here, find the All ATX album here, and download “Needles And Pins” below.