Summerfest Rundown, Pt. 4: Female Demand + Miniature Tigers + Nosaprise + Leg Sweeper + Wild Moccasins + Sour Notes (MP3!)

Once again, here we are with yet more preview-type things of this weekend’s looming Clash of the Musical Titans, Free Press Summerfest. I’m going to have to keep these short(-er), I’m afraid, but I’ll do the best I can — seeing as tomorrow’s the start of the fest, by the by, this will have to be the last of my little preview deals. Apologies to anybody I didn’t get a chance to write about…

Before I go, though, I wanted to share the Google Calendars I’ve set up for each stage of the festival — they’re public for anybody who feels like using ’em:

    Main Stage
    KTRU Stage Stage
    Dos Equis Stage
    Fancy Pants “In The Bowl” Stage

I know I’ll be using ’em on the handy ol’ iPhone; the calendars make it fairly easy, I think, to see who’s playing when and who you might be missing if you run from one stage to another.

Anyway, here goes with the last pile of previews:

Female Demand
The mostly-instrumental tunes the duo of Female Demand pull off are cool not only because of the neck-snapping, heavy rock they lay down, but also because they incorporate some truly jazz-y, prog-y influences into the mix. The result is a swaggering, staggering beast of instrumental post-punk muscle, two instruments seemingly wrestling (in a friendly fashion, mind you) for control and resulting in a gigantic explosion of sound. The band stomps along, melding Jucifer with sludgy stoner-metal, Jon Spencer, and Dub Trio, and come out the end sounding like something all their own.
[Female Demand plays at 11:45AM on Sun., June 6th, at the Dos Equis Stage.]

Miniature Tigers
They may not be the “big” headliners of the ‘fest, but I’m still pretty psyched that Arizona’s Miniature Tigers are playing; I’ve raved about these guys before, but it bears repeating. The band’s smart, slyly-grinning, electronics-tinged indie-pop is damn cool stuff, and what I’ve heard so far of upcoming album Fortress is a neat step forward, blending the more straightforward, catchy, poppy stuff with the sarcastic urban sensibilities of Bloc Party.
[Miniature Tigers plays at 6:20PM on Sat., June 5th, at the Stage.]

Along with Fat Tony, Nosaprise (known to his mama as Nosa Edebor) is one of my favorites out of the current crop of H-town hip-hop artists, the best of whom eschew the standard mo-money stereotypes in favor of smarter, socially-conscious themes; Nosa’s not necessarily focused on the positivity, but he’s definitely focused on reality, instead of trying to create a playa facade and rapping about cars and women. Which makes sense, considering the guy’s a teacher by trade (I think?); I can’t help but think of Chuck D or KRS-One when I hear his rhymes, and that’s no bad thing.
[Nosaprise plays at 6:05PM on Sat., June 5th, at the Fancy Pants “In The Bowl” Stage.]

Bull Thieves
Summerfest’s a homecoming of sorts for H-town expat scenester Lance Walker (ex-Jessica Six/Port Vale/The White Papers), who left our warm, muggy climes for The Hipster LifeTM up in NYC and has been working more on the writing side of things than the music side. I’m glad to see he’s gotten back on the horse, though, with Bull Thieves; ’bout damn time. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot just yet to hear from the band, just a collaboration with Dope-E that’s up on their Myspace (and which isn’t bad, a murky, synth-heavy bit of dark-ish New Wave hip-hop), but they’ve reportedly just finished recording their debut, so keep an eye out for it…
[Bull Thieves play at 2:00PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Stage.]

Leg Sweeper
Heard of Dallas-dwellers Leg Sweeper for quite a while now, but never actually heard the music they make before now… I can see why the comments I’ve heard have all been raves, though; bandmates Taylor Stolly and Justin Gomez blaze through a sung-shouted, breakneck-speed variety of punk that owes a fair amount to all those Dischord Recs forebears but (unlike some of ’em, anyway) definitely knows how to party. The closest recent analogue I can think of is Obits, although Hot Snakes seems like an appropriate comparison, too. Either way, these guys are pretty badass.
[Leg Sweeper plays at 3:10PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Stage.]

The first time I saw B L A C K I E perform, it was something really, truly bizarre. He played a set at Numbers in-between a couple other bands one Thursday night, and he spent most of the time with his hoodie up, covering his face in shadow while he stalked the club floor, climbed the seats in the back, and perched on top of the massive speakers, all the while spitting these insane, hypnotic, bitterly vitriolic rhymes over a smothering, ear-destroying curtain of speaker-crushing breakbeats and flat-out noise. It was like watching a hip-hop performance taking place during Ragnarok, the end of the universe. In the time since then, B L A C K I E has only gotten tighter and tougher, crafting a confrontational, bloody-nosed style that mashes up Atari Teenage Riot with cLOUDDEAD; it’s good shit, the kind you really have to witness to believe.
[B L A C K I E plays at 1:45PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Dos Equis Stage.]

The Wild Moccasins
Indie-pop kids, growing up… For far too long, the talented folks in The Wild Moccasins have had to grapple with being dismissed unfairly for being too sweet, too pretty, too flat-out poppy, but trust me when I say that these days, they’re a changed band. Touring’s not only tightened the band down musically, but has hardened ’em somewhat, too, and the new songs on debut full-length Skin Collision Past reflect that, taking the gorgeous melodies and sweet boy/girl harmonies and marrying ’em to more obliquely serious lyrics that show a band in inner turmoil. Not good for them, maybe, but definitely good for the rest of us.
[The Wild Moccasins play at 2:35PM on Sat., June 5th, at the Main Stage.]

The Sour Notes
When I first saw The Sour Notes, I’ll admit that I was a little inclined to not be all that fond of ’em — I knew not much about ’em beyond the fact that local folk-pop chanteuse Elaine Greer had been lured away from our fair city by these Austin-dwelling yahoos, and I was a tad bitter about it. After seeing ’em play, though, I can’t hold a grudge, particularly since Greer fits in perfectly with these guys’ starkly electronicized, sweet-voiced, thoughtfully melancholy pop. This year’s It’s Not Gonna Be Pretty is a fine, fine chunk of baroque, intricately-structured indie-pop goodness, treading a line that runs somewhere between the crystalline beauty of Trembling Blue Stars and the lovelorn melodies of The Secret Stars. And hey, there’s no way in hell I can stay mad at a band that can pull off a Jawbreaker cover this freaking cool:

As a side note, btw, astute observers of the H-town scene may remember frontman Jared Boulanger from his time down here many moons ago…
[The Sour Notes play at 6:05PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Stage.]

That’s all for now, folks; if all goes according to plan, I’ll hopefully be writing up as much as I can catch of this weekend’s sets. If you’re out there & see a bearded guy roaming around in a beaten-up black baseball cap with a drawing of a ship on it, that’ll probably be me (esp. if I look tired and confused). Say “hi,” and I’ll try my best to not give you that bewildered, deer-in-the-headlights look I’m told I usually do.

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