Hear the Concerts from the Paste Magazine and Stereogum Party broadcast by World Cafe.
Two years ago, acclaimed guitarist Kaki King announced that she would tour with a full band. For an artist who made her name as a solo instrumentalist, especially in the acoustic fingerstyle-guitar tradition, it marked her move into pop territory. Hear King and her band perform a concert at SXSW, webcast live on NPR.org from Volume in Austin, Tex., on Fri., March 14.
Until We Felt Red marked King's first attempt to distance herself from her musical past; the disc's producer, Tortoise's John McEntire, gave the disc an agreeably post-rock feel. Since then, King has scored the music for the movie Into the Wild and collaborated with many artists, including The Foo Fighters, Tegan and Sara, and Northern State. Her latest album is Dreaming of Revenge, her first to feature a full band.
Within months of coming together, The Whigs' members were already packing clubs in their native Athens, Ga., as well as its metropolitan neighbor, Atlanta. Local fans just couldn't argue with the band's clever mixture of Pixies, The Replacements, and Spoon — an easy sell for a crowd looking for something both accessible and enthusiastic.
Dave Matthews took notice and signed The Whigs to his label, and just recently released the group's second album, Mission Control. Despite the disc's familiarity, there's a bigger sense that a lot of energy went into its recording. Mission Control's pop charms show through its meaty production.
It's hard not to come right out and mention Liam Finn's father, Neil. After all, the Crowded House and Split Enz member has more than 30 years of experience on his son, including two albums with brother Tim Finn. But Liam Finn is far from his father's clone.
While Liam's vocals and melodies sometimes bring to mind Neil Finn's work, the former offers a few notable differences. Odd instrumental arrangements pop up on his debut, I'll Be Lightning, that suggest a healthy amount of experimentation in the production room. While influenced by The Beatles, Finn also looks to some of indie-rock's foremost songwriters, including Elliott Smith.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
A group with a moniker like Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is bound to have a couple of jokes up its collective sleeve. Like many long-named buzz bands, SSLYBY makes charming, affable pop music worthy of its playful name. Its home-recorded debut, Broom, sounded like Rivers Cuomo forgot his distortion pedal for Weezer practice. With Pershing following in April, the band is set to remind fans that someone still loves Someone Still Loves Boris Yeltsin.
Four albums in, The Weakerthans' members are still making intelligent, punk-tinged pop music. The band's leader, John K. Samson, is a fiction writer disguised as a songwriter, crafting an impressive array of troubled wanderers and everyday Joes. In his narrative world, cats reflect on self-confidence, curlers are heroes, and Edward Hopper paintings reveal cold truths.