Doctor Who – The Wedding of River Song Recap

Now is a great time to admit that the finales of DOCTOR WHO have never really blown me away. For the most part they were either over wrought or never felt entirely earned. I prefer not to think of the horror of the Master’s takeover in Season 3 and even last seasons amazing set up, “The Pandorica Opens” was followed by an overstuffed confusing episode for the finale. This season, however, ended beautifully.

In perfect Steven Moffat fashion, it never answered everything, asked a few more questions and had some wonderful moments of pathos and hilariousness. Its one of my favorite season finales of the new Who. Lets unpack this shall we? It is 5:02pm on April 22nd, 2011—the day the Doctor dies and something is wrong. How do we know something is wrong? Because there are cars floating in hot air balloons and train tracks running through that really phallic looking British building (this building looks like a giant penis). Who but Meredith Vieira (WTF?) should come on the TV and tell us that Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill is riding a mammoth. Aside: That is something I would pay a shit ton of money to see.

Anyway, Emperor Churchill is all, “Cleopatra is a bitch, wait! Why isn’t time moving- it’s always 5:02 on April 22nd!” And his Silurian doctor is all like, “Yes, and?” So Chruchill, the most intelligent and perceptive man in this universe calls for the “soothsayer.” Who, you guessed it, is totally The Doctor sporting a really scraggly, ugly beard. Creators of Doctor Who, Matt Smith is really attractive and trying to hide it helps no one. Churchill wonders what happened to time, the Doctor looks up all mysterious and wise and says, “A Woman.”

Now we are back in the earlier times and The Doctor is getting information from the only Dalek that has shown up in this season so far—good on you Moffat, I was suffering from over exposure to Daleks, I appreciate the self restraint. So he gets some information about The Silence and goes to see a monk will a terrible haircut and eye-patch ladies eye patch. But it’s not the monk guy he was looking for; it’s the little people in the man sized space ship from “Let’s Kill Hitler.” The tiny people give him the weakest link in the Silence’s order, and now he is playing chess with a Viking- except it’s voltage death chess. Voltage Death Chess, best game since Rollerball. So The Doctor concedes the game to the Viking in order to get information on why The Silence want him dead. The Viking takes him to Dorium Maldovar (fat blue guy) who was beheaded by the Headless Monks at Demon’s Run.

Can we take a moment to appreciate how scary some of the shit that Moffat comes up with is? Seriously, those moving skulls in the catacomb were nightmarish, and when they ate up the Viking (after he steps on a trap trying to kill The Doctor) and menacingly looked up the pit, I jumped about 10 feet in the air. After a nice scare we get the comic relief of Doruim’s head talking to The Doctor and asking how bad his wounds are (ha ha, you’re headless!)

At this point, Churchill butts in, apparently he has a problem believing that there are skulls that eat people whole. The Doctor explains that in his universe they were friends, and he senses that, like he sensed there was something wrong with time—apparently Churchill accepts that. Basically he is showing here the same instinct he showed at Yalta. Back in the tomb The Doctor asks about The Silence and we get this gem: “On the fields of Trenzalore, the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature will speak falsely or fail to answer, the question will be asked […] a question that must never, ever be answered a question hidden in plain sight.” It’s the first question, the one that silence falls after. Do you want to know the question, Dorium asks, YES we all yell back. The skulls look at the Doctor, and then he answers weakily, “of course.”

The Doctor takes Dorium to the TARDIS where Dorium says, “you know the question, you see why you have to die.” WAIT- says Churchill, what was the question? The Doctor starts explaining that there are some secrets that you would kill to protect, and that is what The Silence are doing. But what is that on his arm, a hash mark, and Churchill has a gun. In the TARDIS Dorium revels that The Doctor’s death is a fixed point in time, which we know from being giant Doctor Who fans means it has to happen. But time is not the boss of the Doctor, he can help Rose Tyler with homework, go to all Capt Jack’s stag parties– to prove it he calls up his old friend Brigadier only to find that he died. That could be the saddest thing that has ever happened on Who, for those of you who don’t know Brigadier died a few months ago. It was a great moment that worked beautifully. This makes him realize there is no avoiding death, and so he gives the blue envelopes to his tiny friends in the man spaceship- they ask if they can help in any other way, and he sadly leaves.

At this point Churchill makes a really good point, why did you invite these people you care about deeply to come watch you die? Are you really that much of a narcissistic douche—imagine how awful that would be, watching your best friend die. He says something about not dying alone, but I think its crap. So we are back at the lake and The Doctor goes over to the astronaut rising out of the water and talks with River. The suit is in control and she will kill him, he says she is forgiven and then, “Hello, Sweetie.” Nothing happened, River re-wrote time and now everything is fading to gray. Back in 5:02 time, Churchill and The Doctor realize they were defending themselves and look up only to see a nest of Silence! Gas canister goes off and there is Amy Pond speaking like James Bond and she is wearing… an eye patch!

Awake on the train we find out that Amy is ok, and remembers everything because she is a girl who can do that. She gives the Doctor his suit and bow tie, he asks about Rory and she says, “my husband?” And shows him a picture she drew that looks NOTHING like Rory. In walks Captain Williams, who gets a big smile from The Doctor and nothing from Amy, cause she apparently can’t figure out that she’s insane in love with him. It’s adorable watching those kids fall in love over and over again. They go into a pyramid called Area 52 where there are hundreds of Silence imprisoned and where River is waiting and nasty eye-patch lady is a prisoner. Isn’t the design of the Silence terribly cleaver? They look like what human lore has postulated Aliens look like, with the big head and eyes, throughout most of modern history. It is a nod to their power, they erase themselves on site, but humans have still been seeing them for all of our history and instinctively know what they look like. They become all the more frightening because we recognize the nightmare.

The Doctor goes over to River who starts confessing her love to him and he’s all, “why can’t you just let me die!” Doctor, I know a lot of ladies have confessed their love to you through the years, you could be a bit more sensitive. Yes, River screwed up all of time and now it’s disintegrating, but still. SHE DID IT FOR LOVE! The Doctor touches River and it makes time go forward, see they are the opposite poles of the disruption and if they touch things go back to normal. River is not able to accept this, so she has the Doctor handcuffed. Everyone is bantering when they notice water is leaking from the ceiling. The Silence are coming, they are coming to kill you with electricity in the eye-patches that they short out. Even eye-patch lady’s eye-patch starts to kill her, and she is very peeved.

 Everyone runs upstairs to where there is something that The Doctor needs to see except Rory who is defending the door despite being in immeasurable pain. He is a mensch that one! The Silence come in and say to Rory, “Rory Williams, the man who dies and dies again. Die one last time and know she will never come back for you.” But, it’s Amy and she does come back, and mows those big headed dudes down with a giant machine gun. Eye-patch lady asks for Amy’s mercy to which Amy says, “Ha! Bitch please- you stole my baby, suffer the consequences” and puts the eye-patch back on her so she can have voltage fry her brain into fried jell-o. Amy Pond, one ruthless bitch.

River and The Doctor are on top of the pyramid which has a space beacon and has sent a message out that The Doctor is dying and millions responded with a resounding, “Oh No! Can we help?” River tells the Doctor she loves him some more though The Doctor seems very intent on dying. So he asks to be un-cuffed and wraps his bow tie around he and River’s hand and asks the parents of the Bride to say, “I consent and gladly give.” The Doctor leans forward and whispers something in River’s ear and she brightens up considerably. “I just told you my name,” he says and then he and River kiss as everything goes bright. Time is set right and The Doctor has died.

Amy is in her yard with two glasses of wine and in pops River, fresh off the adventures with the Weeping Angels last season. River is a sweet and good daughter so she tells Amy a secret, a secret that makes them jump up and down for joy!

Back in the tomb with the horrifying skulls a hooded figure brings Dorium back to his resting place, and Dorium being the smarty that he is knows it is The Doctor. How did he escape? Well, he wore the tiny people in the people sized spaceship to the lake, and what he whispered in River’s ear was to look in his eye- where the real Doctor was waving about happily. “But your fall at Trenzalor is still coming,” and so is the question, the question that Dorium shouts after him as The Doctor enters the TARDIS, “Doctor, who?” So there you go, more questions were asked than answered and Moffat and Co. have set up some serious consequences for the fall of Eleven. There was a lot of exposition in this episode- so much that I think I just got carpal tunnel from writing the recap, but it moved quickly and was great fun. See you at Christmas!

From Reel Vixen, 10/5/2011: http://reelvixen.com/?p=920

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Doctor Who- Closing Time Recap

Hello fellow Whovians and welcome to the inaugural DOCTOR WHO recap- yay! Unfortunately, we happened to start re-capping DOCTOR WHO right when it’s almost over. Still, that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the last three episodes of the season, especially since this one had the always lovable Craig and the final two parter looks to be about as insane and action packed as about eight Pandroicas opening! So, let’s just jump right in.

If you work in a shop in England, never let the girl who is with you leave early while you stay to close up. This can result in only one thing- death and destruction.  After the lights go on and off a couple of times in a department store where only one pretty lady with bras in cleaning up- we discover this week’s mode of death and destruction THE CYBERMEN (OH NO!). The pretty lady with the bras is taken, there are some lights flickering and—look who it is, our old buddy Craig!

I sincerely hope that Moffat era WHO always ends with a social call to Craig and Sophie. Like last season, the penultimate episode allows for relative calm and humor of Craig’s little life. Turns out that the Doctor’s meddling in Craig and Sophie’s romantic life in last season’s excellent episode “The Lodger” resulted in a baby. The kind of baby that prefers to be called Stormegeddon, Dark Lord of All and refers to everyone as “not-mum” and “peasants,” you know, the kind of baby that shows up in Moffat era Who.  So Craig has a baby, Sophie is away and The Doctor comes to say hello, and notices that something is wrong AND SUDDENLY has a job in a shop selling toys to kids. I would wonder why people are always so keen to give the Doctor a job when he needs one, but I would imagine he gets them the same way he just “shhhhes” and people stop talking- timey-wimey charm power. I like how this Doctor doesn’t use the stupid name “John Smith” whenever trying to not be weird and just has them put on his nametag, “The Doctor:  Here to help.”

Who should walk into the nice department store but Craig and little baby Stormy. Now, Craig, though a little exhausted from baby duty, is not stupid and knows that because the Doctor is there, something is up. He gives a wonderful little plea for information with the lofty, “my son lives here,” line and we learn that not just the pretty lady with the bras went missing, but several people and that those people went missing around the time of the energy fluctuations. Craig says there’s new cabling and because of what some new found guilt The Doctor latches on to that and throws Craig and the baby in an elevator with a big DANGER sign on it (after a sonic screwdriver wave, of course) and then, because he is the Doctor, jumps in to explain what he thinks is going on. See, there is a teleporter that something is using to get down to earth- a teleporter that could look like anything and—HOLY SHIT, there they are, in a spaceship. The Doctor, intent that Craig doesn’t know confesses his love and really awkwardly tries to seduce him, basically giving Matt Smith and James Corden a vehicle to show off what spectacular comic chemistry they have together.  Of course, Craig notices the spaceship and screams just as the Cybermen start walking towards them and the Doctor un-does the teleporter.

Craig insists on staying with the Doctor to investigate what the Cybermen are doing and why they haven’t invaded yet- and Craig responds with a hearty, “you always win, you always survive.” Craig, bad timing—The Doctor is coming to grips with the fact that he is supposed to be killed at Lake Silencio soon, he’s going through some heavy shit, Craig and you just totally made him remember that. The Doctor isn’t mad though, no, he gives Craig a nice hug and tells him to go investigate. The Doctor goes to a nice lady, who thinks that his “partner” and the baby are very cute- it’s a nice reverse gay panic joke! And it is adorable. The Doctor wonders if partner is better than companion and it’s a nice meta joke! Investigation is done, Craig looks like a perv in the lingerie department asking around and The Doctor finds out about a silver rat robot thing that’s been zipping around.

Then the Doctor then sees Amy and Rory and wants very badly to talk to them- but hides behind a rack while he watches a little girl get Amy’s autograph. Then behind him he sees a big perfume called Petrichor (call back to The Doctor’s Wife!) ad with Amy’s face on it and the slogan “For the girl who’s tired of waiting.” So Amy is a model now, and apparently a perfume magnate because the name and slogan totally came from her, so good for you honey, make that money!

But back to the task at hand- the store closes and the Doctor, Craig and a really well behaved Stormy look for the silver rat thing, which they find and capture with great ease. A security guard is taken by a Cyberman and the Doctor, after running to find him, is knocked out by the Cyberman. He isn’t compatible though so he is ok and they head to Craig’s place. Craig pops out for some milk, opening up the time for the Doctor to teach baby Stormegeddon about existential dread and, of course, how pretty the stars are. BUT WAIT- the silver rat has woken up and wants to eat you for its dinner! The Doctor and runs out of the house with the baby, but Craig comes back just in time to get attacked. The Doctor saves him from being eaten, and they have a nice chat about how the Doctor is going to die. Tomorrow. But Craig doesn’t notice cause he’s asleep. Again Craig, seriously, there is some heavy shit the Doctor is trying to work through and you are all about the crap timing.

The Doctor then leaves in the morning to figure out what is going on, and Craig is determined to help him. So he follows the Doctor to the store with baby Stormy in a papoose because as he says, “the doctor always needs someone.” Very sweet. The Doctor finds a secret underground Cyberman factory through a dressing room and the Cybermen come and get him cornered—but in comes Craig to save the day! Or, to get captured and “upgraded” into a Cyberman. Luckily, Craig left the baby with a nice lady in the store and through the security system can hear baby Stormegeddon crying as the Cybermen begin to erase all his emotions. He fights off the Cybermen’s conversion of him THROUGH THE POWER OF FATHERLY LOVE! Yes, love saved the day- but not in a corny way, in a really sweet way. The power of love blows up the Cybermen and the day is saved. All is good- because of love. Craig gives the Doctor a Stetson for his trip to the USA, the Stetson he wore in the beginning and The Doctor leaves.

He stands outside the TARDIS getting ready to go in for his last journey when he sees some kids and says to them, “I am the Doctor, I was here to help and you are very, very welcome.” It should end there but we cut to RIVER! She is looking at eyewitness accounts and playing with her TARDIS diary when- eyepatch lady and THE FUCKING SILENCE come out of the darkness with an ASTRONAUGHT outfit. The next thing River knows, she’s in at the bottom of a lake. Holy.Shit.

From Reel Vixen, 9/28/2011:http://reelvixen.com/?p=843

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Zola Jesus- Conatus

Zola Jesus Conatus ZOLA JESUS CONATUS [8.0]

Vessel – Zola Jesus

If Riddly Scott is looking for someone to write the soundtrack for his Blade Runner prequel, he should look no further than Zola Jesus (@zolajesus). The Wisconsin singer is able to weave her cold, cyborg beats and deep voice through an electronic landscape that feels just as stark and brutal as the nightmarish science fiction cities of the future. Conatus, the newest album released under Nika Roza Danilova’s Zola Jesus project, expertly creates that dark Blade Runner-esq atmosphere — dark and nihilistic, layered but sparse.  It’s haunting and beautiful all at the same time.

Conatus begins with an atmospheric statement of intent with the minute long “Swords”, pairing electronic glitches with the far off echo and unsettling beauty of Danilovia’s voice. The tone stays the same throughout the record, at times adding strings and larger synthesizers, but always remaining desolate. She simply never lets up on the darkness. Even the single “Vessel”, a spectacular track with an almost dance-worthy beat, is clinical and severe. When her songs build toward a noisy break, Danilova holds back the cathartic beat drop, instead allowing the song to fade and end.  There is no catharsis here, only vague discomfort, and that’s exactly what she was going for.

Not all the songs are stark and empty, though. Some like “Hikikomori” and “Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake” add backup singers, ethereal ahhs and orchestral strings. Though these do nothing to make the album less of an aural science fiction nightmare, the larger sounds succeed in adding a more soulful and enticing twist to what could have been an incredibly alienating record.

What makes Zola Jesus such an arresting project is Danilova’s extraordinary voice. Her deep croon has often been compared to other gothic voices, like Siouxie Sioux, but her opera training puts more power behind her low rumbles than those who came before her. Her voice fits perfectly with the industrial influences of the music she creates. Unlike many singers in our current “America Idol” age, Danilova understands that a slight whisper can be as powerful as a scream, a restraint that makes the moments when she puts true power behind her voice absolutely breathtaking.

At times, Contaus can feel too isolating and harsh, though songs like “In Your Nature” and “Vessel” add levity by using more traditional electronic structures. By and large, Contaus is a stunning work by an artist with stunning vision. Danilova has matured greatly in the years that she has been releasing work as Zola Jesus, and her third album sounds like a long standing vision finally congealing into a whole.

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20 Fave Bjork Songs

In the pantheon of those who are truly original, the iconoclasts who did whatever the hell they wanted and damned the consequences, Björk (@bjork) has a cemented place. Her influence can be felt far and wide, from The Knife and Radiohead to, most obviously, Lady Gaga. Björk’s stunning creativity is only amplified by her extraordinary voice.In celebration of the (slow) release of her new album/app Biophilia, we compiled our absolute favorite Björk songs — the ones that make us dance and the ones that make us cry.

Graphics credit: Dylan Clancy

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20. “There’s More to Life Than This (Recorded Live at the Milk Bar Toilets)” – Listen
19. “Hunter” – Listen
18. “Possibly Maybe” – Listen
17. “Venus as a Boy” – Listen
16. “Violently Happy” – Listen

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15. “Innocence” — Listen
14. “Hidden Place” – Listen
13. “Oceania” – Listen
12. “Alarm Call” – Listen
11. “All is Full of Love” – Listen

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“Earth Intruders” — Buy

The driving tribal beat, the blaring horns and Bjork practically screaming “Turmoil! Carnage!” is infectiously catchy and incredibly unique, obtuse and immediate. This track is the perfect definition of the artist herself.

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“I’ve Seen It All” — Buy

Collaboration between Bjork and Thom Yorke is about as close to musical perfection as you can get. While the use of a train’s thumping as the primary beat is incredible, the aching sadness and hope that it portrays in the devastating film Dancer in the Dark is truly where the song’s genius lies.

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“Big Time Sensuality” — Buy

Pure dance music, this is the song that branded Bjork as a flighty pixie. It  bursts with joy punctuated by her guttural animalistic noises near the end. It was her first song that charted in the US, and it’s not hard to see why.

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“Isobel” — Buy

The combination of strings and light electronic beats, a theme in many Bjork songs, is never more stunningly beautiful or haunting as it is here. “Isobel” is a celebration of nature, independence and beauty that unfolds slowly and wraps itself around you.

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“Unravel” — Buy

This is a fair time to admit that the album Homogenic almost always makes me tear up a little, and “Unravel” is the primary reason why. Thom Yorke, in fact, named this melancholic love song his favorite of all time. Bjork uses her vocal power here to sound like she is breaking down, and as a result, so do I.

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“Army of Me” — Buy

Industrial darkness is not one of the many reasons I worship at the feet of Bjork, but “Army of Me” proved that she could create nightmarish music as well as the best metal bands. The depth of her voice, and of course, that amazing grinding beat, make it an impossible song to forget.

4 20 FAVE BJORK SONGS

“Bachelorette” — Buy

This is a perfect example of what I love most about Bjork — the epic stings, the crushing electronic beats and that damn voice. Can anyone else in the world place that much emotion into a note or belt with such sustained power? Bachelorette makes me quake every time I hear it.

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“Pagan Poetry” — Buy

Delicate, serene, spacious and erotic, “Pagan Poetry” has to be one of the most romantic songs of all time. The beautiful harp and its dissolution into the monk like repetition of “I love him, I love him” is absolutely devastating.

2 20 FAVE BJORK SONGS

“Hyper-Ballad” — Buy

There is probably no better illustration of the fear and tension of giving yourself over to someone than “Hyper-Ballad”. Amongst all the morbid throwing of “car parts, bottles and cutlery” off the cliffs, there is always the promise to be “safe again with you.” It is optimistic and realistic about relationships and has the power to make a lover out of anyone.

1 20 FAVE BJORK SONGS

“Jóga” — Buy

I hold firm that “Jóga” is one of the most beautiful and affecting love songs of all time. The orchestra softly cradles Bjork’s extraordinarily tender voice while she sings, “All that no one sees, you see deep inside of me/ Every nerve that hurts you heal, deep inside of me,” easily the most romantic lines I have ever heard. “Jóga” is the reason I fell in love with Bjork.

From The Wild Honey Pie, 9/28/2011: http://www.thewildhoneypie.com/20-fave-bjork-songs/

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Austin City Limits 2011 Awards

awardsACL 550x483 AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

Graphics credit: Dylan Clancy

Austin City Limits is a beast of a festival. Everything from the park to the amount of food to, of course, the headliners are larger than life. For three days we baked in the sun (except that one day of light rain, which was awesome), waited in giant crowds to see show after show and had a spectacular time. ACL is a huge festival that runs like clockwork — there are no infinitely long sound checks and no bands that go on late or stay on after they are slated to leave. This year, the festival sold out with 75,000 people attending, making it just as gigantic as Texas likes everything else.

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As always, we have come to give out our list of The Wild Honey Pie Certified Austin City Limits awards!

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With the addition of multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez, Yellow Ostrich’s sound filled out the giant Google+ Stage on Sunday morning. Alex Shaaf and company let loose and put on an entertaining and energetic show, while still maintaining the awkward charm that we’ve come to love. Their early set at the giant stage was sparcely populated at the beginning, but thanks to the band’s spectacular set many curious festival goers stopped by and filled the stage to the sound board by the end. It was a great way to start the last day of the festival.

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James Blake’s music, as has been noted by everyone that’s seen him at a festival, is best heard in a small cavernous space in the evening rather than outdoors in the blistering heat at 3PM. Still, he put on quite a show, with the slow quietness of his music absolutely capturing the Honda Stage and enrapturing everyone who cared to listen.  While much of Blake’s music is quiet and slow, the digressions into noise at the end of songs like, “Never Learnt to Share” absolutely filled the park. The stark beauty of Blake’s music was not lost in the Austin heat, it just made that heat more atmospheric.

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Photo credit: Matt Ellis

With a brilliant stage set up and music as loud as any headliner, the crowd stretched out way behind the sound board and was freaking out the entire time. Sure it was hot, sure it was in the middle of the day, but Cut Copy delivered as always, and the crowd was right there with them the whole time. Even in the middle of the day they go crazy – Cut Copy is a must see set at any festival.

DALE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

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Photo Credit: Jay Janner

This duo, like their ironic, whimsical name suggests, knows how to have a great time and spread their good vibes to the crowd. Playing favorites from their EP, and the best off their album, including my personal favorite “We Almost Lost Detroit”, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. rocked incredibly upbeat jams and brought smiles to the faces of the crowd. Also noteworthy, their cover of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” was absolutely stellar and had everyone dancing with their hands in the air. Though they had an earlier slot at the Honda Stage on Sunday, their energy was exactly what each person needed to wake up, myself included.

GARY AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

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Photo Credit: Gary Miller (Austin Chronicle)

As one of the festival’s limited number of Texas natives, Gary Clark Jr. may have played the smaller BMI Stage, but his performance was worthy of one much larger. While his brand of intricate, authentic blues is better suited for the intimacy of an indoor club, the crowd he drew certainly wasn’t complaining about the outdoor venue. As always, he let his guitar skill do most of the talking, maintaining the sort of mysterious swagger that will keep people coming back. It’s great to see him play his home town, but I’m eager to have him back up North.

FITZ AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

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Photo Credit: Gary Miller (Austin Chronicle)

I’m not saying that Fitz and the Tantrums don’t put on a damn good live show. Almost everyone who’s seen them has instantly fallen in love with their completely magnetic presence and catchy songs. That being said, I just couldn’t feel that when I saw them on Saturday. Maybe the mix was poor (which it was), maybe the volume didn’t reached my ears correctly, or maybe the crowd wasn’t enthusiastic enough. Whatever it was, I left wanting more and I hadn’t expected to.

BETTER AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

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Photo Credit: Nate Azark

Ray Lamontagne completely blew me away a few years ago at my first ACL. With the sun setting in the background and his beautiful voice wafting over the crowd, it was nothing short of amazing. For that reason, I had very high expectations for his performance this year. Though I found myself missing the more stripped down versions of his songs that seemed to carry so much emotional weight, the full band arrangements were incredible in their own right. Wearing what looked to be a velour one-piece, Lamontagne and his band played with an innate passion for music and a desire to share that with the crowd. Bravo!

CHIDDY AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

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Photo Credit: Nate Slevin (Consequence of Sound)

Holy balls, I have never seen a crowd so huge. Like many, I went to see what the fuss was about, and like several more, I had to leave half way through because the number of people there was almost oppressive. They filled up the space of the Google+ Stage and then some with, relative to the rest of the festival, a very young crowd. Donned in bright tank tops and hats, those watching Chiddy Bang were certainly there to party — easily done considering the easily digestible hip hop spewing from the stage.

STEVIE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

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Photo Credit: Gary Miller (Austin Chronicle)

There was no way to hear the living legend if you weren’t in front of the sound board for the show, which means the vast majority of people who came to check out Mr. Superstitious himself were unable to take much away. It had to be one of the worst sounding mixes I’ve ever heard. Those who were more dedicated than me and stayed through the set said that it never got much better, just harder to hear with all the people yelling “turn it up.”

WALKMEN AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

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There was little respite from the heat on Sunday, making it difficult to really lose yourself in any of the sets. The Walkmen, however, didn’t let it get to them, playing in suites and ties the whole time and sounding better than ever. They played several new songs that got me all kinds of amped up for their new album as well as two of the tracks responsible for getting me into indie rock: “The Rat” and “In the New Year”. I may have left the set a sun-baked husk, but I left it a happy sun-baked husk.

BESTKANYE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [AWARDS]

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I think I’m still high off the amazing show put on by Kanye West. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to come down. That, my friends, was one hell of a performance. From being brought in on an elevated platform (that was only around 10 feet away from where we were standing) to the stunning troupe of modern dancers on stage, nothing about this show was small. While Kanye wasn’t able to speak his “truth”, as he called it, due to a sound curfew, it allowed him to focus more on the music. His ramblings flowed more with the songs, my personal favorite being at the end of Runaway where he promised that “he didn’t like our shoes cause he’s an asshole” and we are “always fine” (that Ye!). While some were surely saddened by the lack of Kanye’s signature brand of airing of grievances, more energy was put into the spectacle, as he broke out hit after hit in a three act opus. It was the last night of the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy tour, a tour I feel special to have witnessed.

From The Wild Honey Pie, 9/27/2011: http://www.thewildhoneypie.com/austin-city-limits-2011-awards/

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Austin City Limits 2011 Festival Guide

newACLheader AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 2011 [GUIDE]

As we get ourselves ready for the end of summer and the bone-crushing cold that comes with the change of season, it’s time to focus important things like family, friends, and getting heavily intoxicated while listening to one spectacular band after another — you know, the important things.

So it is with great joy in our hearts that we pack up our things and ship out to Austin for one of our last festivals of the year, the illustrious Austin City Limits. In order to properly prepare our psyches (and yours) for the magnitudes of pure, undiluted awesome in which we shall partake, we have listed the bands we are most excited to see below. As per usual you can follow on Twitter (@missangst) for all updates on the ruckus!

Graphics credit: Dylan Clancy

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Cults – 11:45AM @ Honda Stage

Since the single “Go Outside” began making waves, we have loved the twinkly, hazy sound of Cults. Their “wall of sound” throwback vibe is a perfect way to start a packed weekend.

Theophilus London – 12:30PM @ Bud Light Stage

Kid Cudi-esq melodic hip hop is a serious weakness for us here, a weakness that will be exploited again and again this weekend, starting with the spectacular Theophilius London.

Delta Spirit — 2:30PM @ Bud Light Stage

Delta Spirit was one of our favorite sets at Newport Folk festival. They play with such a reckless abandon that you are guaranteed to have a great time.

James Blake – 3:10PM @ Honda Stage

His debut album is one of the best releases this year, so hopefully the muted sonic landscapes he creates will translate well to the blinding Austin heat.

Kurt Vile and the Violators – 5:00PM @ Austin Ventures Stage

Kurt Vile’s lovely melodies and immediately recognizable voice promise to blend wonderfully with a festival setting.

Foster the People – 5:30PM @ Google+ Stage

Foster the People have had a pretty amazing summer, and there’s no quelling  their habit of putting on energetic performances.

Santigold – 7:10PM @ Honda Stage

After a day of slow moving beauty from most of the line-up, Santigold is sure to start some serious dancing. This is the perfect way to get warmed up for the headliner of the night…

Shove It – Santigold

Kanye West – 8:30p @ Bud Light Stage

You guys, it’s Kanye Fucking West. Do you need more of a reason?

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The Antlers – 12:30PM @ AMD Stage

We have a serious, kind of creepy love of The Antlers. I’ll just stop at that.

No Widows – The Antlers

Twin Shadow – 1:15PM @ Google+ Stage

Twin Shadow played a spectacular set at Sasquatch, and I’m looking forward to chilling in the sun to his breezy voice again at ACL.

Tyrant Destroyed – Twin Shadow

Young the Giant — 2PM @ AMD Stage

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Phosphorescent – 2PM @ Austin Ventures Stage

The first difficult choice of the festival comes with the amazing, and long time favorite of ours, Young the Giant, just off performing at the VMAs, and the beautiful Phosphorescent. So ask yourself, do you want the energetic indie pop of Young the Giant or the delicate subtly of Phosphorescent.

My Body – Young The Giant

Full Grown Man – Phosphorescent

City and Colour – 3PM @ AMD Stage

It’s not a festival until someone breaks out the sensitive man folk.

The Girl – City and Colour

Iron & Wine — 4PM @ AMD Stage

Iron & Wine has been a constant source for great music over the past ten years and is notorious for his fantastic, though sometimes quiet shows.

The Trapeze Swinger – Iron & Wine

The Moondoggies — 4:30PM @ Austin Ventures Stage

Why stop the sensitive-man folk when you can catch a set of beautiful, understated indie-folk from The Moondoggies? Their Fleet Foxes-esq harmonies and acoustic guitars are perfect for Austin.

Fitz and the Tantrums — 5PM @ Honda Stage

Soulsters with a reputation for some of the most amazingly fun shows this side of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings? Sign us up please!

Cut Copy — 6PM @ AMD Stage

Why are we seeing Cut Copy? Cause LIGHTS AND MUSIC ARE ON MY MIND!!!!

TV on the Radio — 7PM @ Google+ Stage

TV on the Radio is one of the most influential and just plain spectacular indie rock bands around. This one that you certainly shouldn’t miss.

Stevie Wonder – 8PM @ Bud Light Stage

You know you always wanted to see that sway up close, and hear “Superstition” live.

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Yellow Ostrich – 11:45AM @ Google+ Stage

Yellow Ostrich is another long time TWHP favorite. It is absolutely worth getting up early to see the looping genius and the catchy rock of Alex Schaaf.

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr — 1:30PM @ Honda Stage

Another BuzzSession veteran, we have loved Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. for a while and are excited to see them playing ACL. Their beautiful swirling pop is a great way to start the last afternoon of the festival.

The Walkmen – 2:30PM @ AMD Stage

The Walkmen put on an incredibly legendary and memorable show. Their pure, guttural New York City rock is some of the best around. You will be a better person for seeing this set.

AWOLNATION – 3:30PM @ Honda Stage

AWOLNATION is nothing if not unique, and his live set promises to be as odd and eclectic as the genre bending music he creates.

Sail – AWOLNATION

Broken Social Scene – 4:30PM @ Bud Light Stage

The enormous talent of this legendary band is only outweighed by the enormous number of line-up changes they go through (they are, after all, a collective). Atmospheric and energetic, this will absolutely be a memorable set.

 Elbow – 5:30PM @ Google+ Stage

Delicious indie rock with a prog base, Elbow will permeate the last day of ACL with their loud fuzziness.

Mirrorball – Elbow

We Are Augstines – 6:30PM @ BMI Stage

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Fleet Foxes — 6:30PM @ Bud Light Stage

Another tough call that depends on what you are in the mood to see — the gorgeous harmonies and light song craft of the always amazing Fleet Foxes or a more intimate, intense set from the Brooklyn based We Are Augustines?

Chapel Song – We Are Augustines

Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

Empire of the Sun – 7:30PM @ Google+ Stage

The fantastic futuristic chill electro of Empire of the Sun will have everyone grooving, and hopefully their show is as unsettlingly odd as their album cover.

Arcade Fire – 8:30PM @ Bud Light Stage

They won a Grammy, and now they are closing out festival after festival — all in all quite a good year for the indie giants. There are very few moments that are as fun as hearing an entire crowd sing along to “Wake Up”. It’s a moment that has to be experienced at least once.

From The Wild HoneyPie, 9/15/2011: http://www.thewildhoneypie.com/austin-city-limits-2011-guide/

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Pepper Rabbit- Red Velvet Snowball

 

Pepper Rabbit Red Velvet Snow Ball PEPPER RABBITS RED VELVET SNOWBALL [8.0]

Lush instrumentation and psychedelia have lately fallen out of favor in the LA music scene, giving way to the throwback beach pop that is currently infecting the blogosphere (we can’t really say airwaves anymore, can we). Hopefully Pepper Rabbit’s masterful sophomore album will bring lushness back into fashion.

Red Velvet Snowballs is truly a dense, beautiful record submerged in swirling soundscapes. In fact, I find it difficult to believe that its rich textures are the work of only two people. Xander Singh and Luc Laurent pile on the flourishes, from the twinkling pianos and alarm bells of the standout “Allison” to the electronic groaning and handclaps of “Rose Mary Stretch.” Where the addition of so much sound could overwhelm the album, making it buckle under it’s own weight, Pepper Rabbit manages to make their songs feel light and soaring. The key is the understated, though powerful vocals from Xander Singh that act as a grounded center piece and a rhythm section solid enough to allow for the extra weight.

Red Velvet Snowball is full of track after track of excellence, but the bookends “Lake House” and “Tiny Fingers” work perfectly together to sum up the accomplishment of such a spectacular record. “Lake House” builds slowly from it’s Fleet Foxes style, naturalist harmonies to an explosion of of noise and “Tiny Fingers” ends the record as a slow and beautiful ballad. With each song, Pepper Rabbit adds and subtracts sounds and layers, always managing to create something solidly enjoyable and infinitely re-listenable.

Though Red Velvet Snowball represents a different sound from their first release, the duo never fully give up the pop-rock backbone that drove Beauregard, allowing a full dissent into sonic experimentation. The album never feels like the work of a band playing with the parameters of their music. It never feels labored or bloatedly pretentious as these types of albums tend to be—it’s never less than completely enjoyable.

From The Wild Honey Pie, 8/29/2011: http://www.thewildhoneypie.com/pepper-rabbits-red-velvet-snowball-8-0/

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