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The Hype Hotel played host to San Fermin, Odesza and Spoon on Tuesday (March 17).
Hype Hotel Presented by Feed the Beat returned to SXSW on Tuesday (March 17) to begin five days of music curated by music bloggers and brought to you by Mazda, official automobile sponsor of HypeON. Though primarily staged to showcase some of the hottest emerging artists around, the opening night saw the triumphant return of rockers Spoon, as well as the always on-form San Fermin.
Spoon played a triumphant homecoming gig at SXSW's Hype Hotel event
The evening kicked off with DJ sets for THE BIG P.A and Zach from Portugal-The Man who played a set later in the evening at Clive Bar, on Davis St. The New York six piece Parlour Tricks began the evening's slate of live music with their infectious brand of retro soul, while Swedish outfit Amason continued the party.
Continue reading: Spoon Play Triumphant Homecoming Show At SXSW's Hype Hotel
Portugal, The Man's seventh album 'Evil Friends' seems to be the moment where the band has struck a perfect balance between their pop and psychedelic tendencies. Much has changed since their major label debut in 2011; two band members have been replaced and they've called in a high profile producer. The resulting record is perhaps their most concise to date, and features a bona-fide anthem in the form of 'Creep In A T-Shirt'.
Danger Mouse's contribution as producer really can't be underestimated either. His previous work with artists like The Black Keys informs the approach he takes here. Everything is crisp, allowing guitars and drums to sit comfortably around John Gourley's falsetto vocals without drowning them out. It sounds less confused than some of the band's previous work. Primarily because the more quirky flourishes are subtly incorporated into the mix, rather than feeling shoehorned in. A perfect example is 'Holy Roller (Hallelujah)'. There are a huge number of different things going on in the track, but Danger Mouse chooses to concentrate on the call and response gospel vocals and brass rather than the weird vocal sample that's buried in the mix. Yet when the sample does come to the fore to bookend the song, it seems perfectly natural for it to be there.
Gourley seems to have chosen to make 'Evil Friends' a more intimate record as well. While he's still trying to tackle big issues like religion and faith ('Modern Jesus', and the aforementioned 'Holy Roller (Hallelujah)'), the character sketches he creates feel less grandiose than on previous records. Gourley weaves a sinister thread between all of those characters to make them all evil friends in their own unique way. Even when he does discuss issues like war (for example in the protest song 'Waves' or the multiple mentions of "plastic soldiers".), the perspective he takes to tackle soldiers not coming home from the front line feels personal. Perhaps that's why 'Creep In A T-Shirt' is so memorable; the protagonist is, as the title suggests, somewhat unlikeable. But the alienation he displays plays to a sense of dissatisfaction with modern society that's easy to identify with.
Continue reading: Portugal The Man - Evil Friends Album Review
On their recent visit to the UK, contactmusic caught up with the guys from Portugal. The Man and they recorded us a special acoustic version of 'So American' and 'All Your Light (Times Like These)'.
Perhaps it's by design, but on first inspection the opening bars of Portugal, The Man's new album already sound faintly familiar. They bring to mind the quirky side of Mercury Rev, which can be no bad thing for the major label debut of this Portland band. In The Mountain In The Cloud is actually their sixth record in just six years, but it's seemingly also their most cohesive effort with a collection of concise four-minute pop songs hiding under a psychedelic veneer.
Continue reading: Portugal. The Man, In The Mountain In The Cloud Album Review
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