Friday, March 3rd, 2006


So I’ve been cruising the SxSW bit torrents and am over 1/3 of the way through the first one (around 770 artists/songs) and it’s been an interesting experience. It’s a wildly eclectic mix of stuff, and while I do my best to give everything a fair shake, my hand does stray to the skip button on occasion. But in the process, I’ve listened to more hip-hop, metal and experimental noise in the past couple days than I have in, like, ever. Which isn’t to say that I’ve liked it, but I’ve listened to it and it’s been interesting. I can’t say that I’ll make it through all 1000 or so songs in the two torrents, but it’s an educational exercise and is a reasonable sampler and substitute for not hitting every showcase going down in Austin later this month.

But every once in a while, something jumps out at you that really makes you sit up and take notice – I’ve had a few of those moments so far, and one came yesterday courtesy of Australia’s Decoder Ring. Their SxSW profile denotes them as “electronic”, but I don’t think that’s wholly accurate. There’s definitely programmed beats and sequencing at work here, particularly in some of the songs posted on their MySpace page, but there’s plenty of organic instrumentation to be found here including singer Lenka’s gorgeous voice. Some of the material is strictly instrumental fare and some of it is classic pop songsmithery, but all of it is pretty damned impressive.

Their latest album, released late last year, is Fractions and it’s the title track from it that utterly beguiled me from the first note. Starting with a shy, breathy opening and building to a joyous crescendo, it pushes all the right buttons. Reminds me of Bjork’s “Hyper-Ballad”, in that sense – not a bad thing at all. The video is a little hokey, but the song feels like Spring and it makes me happy. Check them both out:

MP3: Decoder Ring – “Fractions”
Video: Decoder Ring – “Fractions” (MOV)

The band will be at SxSW this year, playing both the Aussie Showcase & BBQ at Brush Square Park on March 17 and a proper showcase at 8PM at Red 7 on Saturday, March 18.

And fellow Aussies (and Bella Union affiliates) Howling Bells are offering “The Wild”, the b-side to their Wishing Stone single, as a free download to anyone signed up to the Bella Union mailing list.

Garrick Van Buren has likewise been going through the SxSW torrents, and has listed off some faves from the pack. Via Largehearted Boy.

Belle & Sebastian are the subject of a feature article in the new Harp, Chris Geddes gives good interview to The Swarthmore Phoenix, Steve Jackson to and this interview by Incendiary with Bobby Kildea has been up for a while, but I only just found it now. And finally, an audio interview with Boston NPR. The next single from The Life Pursuit will be for “The Blues Are Still Blue”, all proceeds from which will go directly to Marc Bolan’s estate. Like the “Funny Little Frog” single before it, it will come out in CD/7″/DVD on April 3 and you can pre-order all three from for 5 quid. The “Funny Little Frog” set cost me around $17 CDN all said in done, if you were wondering.

And since I can’t seem to post any B&S stuff without an Isobel Campbell footnote, here’s today’s – pieces from The Chicago Sun-Times and Chart, and courtesy of V2, I’ve got an autographed Isobel Campbell poster and two copies of Ballad Of The Broken Seas, out Tuesday, to give away. To enter, just send me an email with “Isobel Campbell contest” in the subject. This is a quick contest – it’ll close tomorrow night at midnight. And locals, don’t forget she’s doing an instore at Soundscapes tomorrow at 3PM and playing a full show at Revival tomorrow night. Update: Shit, meant to edit this before posting – I’ve been informed the instore for tomorrow is cancelled. Sorry. Update 2: Just got word from the label that the evening show is cancelled as well. Verify this with the venue, CMW, etc, but that’s what I’ve been told. If Isobel isn’t going to be in town at all, this will obviously affect my ability to give away an autographed poster. I mean, *I* could autograph it, but that wouldn’t look nearly as nice on your wall. Anyway, we will figure something out in regards to the contest.

MTV gets an update in the state of Feist, though she neglects to mention her appearance in the new Broken Social Scene video for “7/4 (Shorelines)”.

Exclaim! looks at the annoying yet understandable reasoning behind staggering international release dates for albums.

np – Sigur Ros / Takk

By : Frank Yang at 8:45 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Sean says:

    Glad to see Decoder Ring getting soem love from the homeland. I’ll be seeing them Sunday in Sydney actually. Thanks for the Feist link as well.

  2. luscaswiththelidoff says:

    I did the Sigur Ros presale as bookmarked. I don’t imagine there is any way to find out what tickets I got? It just said ‘Best Available’. I’d hate to have to wait until the day of the show to know where I am sitting.

  3. Frank says:

    yeah, "best available" here, too. I guess it’ll be like a big wonderful surprise.

    I am hoping they don’t suck, at least, though Massey Hall is generally good no matter where you’re seated. And at least the tix weren’t THAT expensive.

  4. Torr says:

    Nice find with Decorder Ring. And it works out perfect as 8pm Sat was my only empty timeslot!

  5. Gary Campbell says:

    There’s a second torrent? I’ve dashed through about 200 songs of the first 700… I’m surprised how many of the same artists from last year included the same MP3 they did a year ago…

  6. Thierry says:

    How about adding this to your SXSW schedule?

    Sid’n’Susie (Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs):

    Mar 18 2006 10:00PM
    Drink on Sixth – SXSW Austin, TX

  7. Erik Smith says:

    I e-mailed back and forth with the Klink guys, they said this:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Sigurros Tickets @ Sandbag []
    Sent: March 2, 2006 12:02 PM
    To: Ounpuu, Erik
    Subject: RE: Seat Selection

    We have the central seats in rows A-J. If you order in the general sale you may get row A tickets but me sat in the corner. Seating is assigned by the order in which they were purchased. They’re all pretty great seats but if you’re at the website at 9am tomorrow and keep refreshing the page you should get the best of the best.
    Let me know if you have any further queries.
    All the best,


  8. Frank says:

    well THAT’s good news.

    I just hope nothing comes up that I can’t make the show – kinda hard to sell tickets you don’t physically have.

  9. ovenking says:

    Thank gawd they at least used the latest LOW LOW LOW USD exchange rates for the tickets. There’s something to be said for a strong Canadian economy.

    I don’t think I’ve paid this much for concert tix since Jimmy Buffet came to town.

  10. Chris says:

    What? Isobel Campbell has cancelled? This has totally ruined my weekend….

  11. Chris says:

    Also…are the Sigur Ros presale tix in US Funds? And is there an additional service on top of that $40?

  12. Frank says:

    each ticket was $40 + $4 service charge, so I was billed a total of $88 for my pair. And I believe those are US funds because a hold of about $100 CDN was put on my Visa immediately thereafter. So $50 a ticket – not terrible, it’s what I’ve paid the last two times I’ve seen them. At least there’s not been inflation.

  13. matthew says:

    I’m glad I checked here, otherwise I might’ve gone to the Isobel Campbell show…

    Speaking of which, are you doing any of the shows/showcases? I know Torontonians are wholly unimpressed by the whole thing, but I’ve been here a day and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

  14. Frank says:

    glad you’re having fun, matthew. it doesn’t look like I’m making it out to any CMW stuff. It’s so lame to say, but it’s cold out and I’m lazy. But don’t worry, I’ll have all sorts of new excuses for missing NxNE…

  15. matthew says:

    It’s a pity you’re skipping it…I’d actually hoped we might be at one or two of the same shows! Ah well…plenty of time to badger you until NxNe, I suppose…