Yr. Weekend, Pt. 3: Gemma Ray (MP3!) + Oberhofer + Pond(?) + Junius + O’Brother + Bleached + More

Ouch. Tonight really, really hurts; it does, seriously. Why? Well, because while I’m at home watching two ailing munchkins — the wife’s going to a play with some friends — there’s a fair handful of cool, cool shows going on, shows I’m actually really bummed I won’t be seeing. Don’t get me wrong, now: I’m definitely not begrudging my wife going to her play, and she rightly deserves to go & have a good time & all that. I just wish these damn bands would consult with me when they’re scheduling things like shows, y’know?

All kidding aside, Sunday, March 11th, is promising to be a signficantly more jam-packed Sunday than most; here’s what’s on:

Gemma Ray/Handsome Ransom/AThousandColours @ Warehouse Live (Green Room)
This one’s jumped pretty rapidly up to the top of my list, after hearing “Runaway,” the first single from Gemma Ray‘s forthcoming Island Fire; it’s a near-perfect chunk of retro-pop, melding together Northern Soul, Phil Spector’s wall of sound, ’60s psych, and murky surf-rock, all with an interestingly Nancy Sinatra-like feel. It’s really, truly great, I swear — see for yourself:

    Gemma Ray – “Runaway”

The funny thing is that after hearing & falling in love with the song, I realized I already had one of her albums, last year’s It’s a Shame About Gemma Ray, that had come in a big pile of discs from friend Marc; it’s a covers album, and there’s some neat, neat stuff on there, as it turns out, including Ray’s versions of “Big Spender,” Memphis Minnie’s “Looking the World Over,” and Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick” (no, seriously). I’m told she plays those live, as well, so keep an ear out.

As an added bonus, locals {AThousandColours} are opening — I was able to hear a couple of their songs recently, and they’re pretty excellent in an anthemic, fists-to-the-sky sort of post-emo vein, like False Cathedrals-era Elliott or pretty much anything by Mae. Check out “make your amends.” in the H-Town Mixtape over there on the right.

Oberhofer/Pond/Night Moves @ Fitzgerald’s
This one snuck up on me somewhat, I’m afraid, despite the best efforts of the PR folks for Oberhofer. I’d taken a brief listen to 2011’s o0Oo0O0o and thought it was interesting-but-eh, and so I didn’t really pay a whole lot of attention when I got word of new album Time Capsules II. Stupid me; it’s one hell of an album, all sleek, shimmery rock that grabs hold of ’90s Britpop and makes it sound newer/better than a heck of a lot of similar-sounding bands these days. If the band live is anything like TCII, I’d wholeheartedly recommend seeing these folks.

You can download the debut single from the album, “HEART,” for free right here:

Now, I have to say, I’ve got a bit of a weird feeling about openers Pond, primarily because I dunno who the heck they are. Part of me hopes against hope that this “Pond” is the Pond, the ’90s indie-rock band on Sub Pop whose 1993 self-titled album freaking blew my mind back in college — I loved “Foamy,” “Agatha,” and “Gone,” to the point where I can still remember allllll the lyrics, even almost two freaking decades on, despite not having heard the album in nearly that long. I know, I know; this band is most likely not that band, especially since that band broke up back in 1998. But hey, I can hope, right?

O’Brother/Junius @ Warehouse Live (Studio)
Been listening to both of the latest releases from these two bands lately, too — O’Brother‘s Garden Window and Junius‘s Reports From the Threshold of Death — and I’ve been fairly impressed by both. The latter, in particular, has stuck with me in a big way, the band’s heavy-but-gorgeous roar carving a brand-new niche in my subconscious, right over there next to Co-Pilot and ISIS; they’re loud and thundering but not strictly “metal,” really, or if they are, they’re no type of metal you’re likely to have heard before.

O’Brother, for their part, are darker and stranger, more Neurosis-like (to my ears, at least), although with more of a prog-rock tinge to it. It’s definitely not bad, although I think I prefer their tourmates, honestly. Maybe it’ll just take some time to grow on me a bit more…

Pre-SXSW Showcase, featuring Bleached, You Can Be A Wesley, Beast Make Bomb, & The Busy Kids @ Walter’s (1120 Naylor)
I didn’t really know much about this one, honestly, beyond the fact that, hey, The Busy Kids rule, and you should definitely go see them. But then I saw that Bleached is actually Jessica & Jennifer Clavin, who’re ex-members of Mika Miko and Cold Cave, both of which I’ve liked, and all of a sudden, the show seemed even cooler. No idea what the band sounds like, sadly, but it’s a promising pedigree.

And heck, how can I not like a band called You Can Be A Wesley? That’s just so weird it’s neat.

Runners-Up:
SXSW Overflow Fest, featuring Gang of Thieves, Hume, Spectrals, Part Time, & Xmas @ Super Happy Fun Land
KPFT’s 42nd Anniversary Party/Fundraiser, featuring Hayes Carll, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Marley’s Ghost, Lisa Morales, Patrice Pike, Sara Hickman, & Sideshow Tramps @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
of Montreal/Cults/Roman GianArthur/Kishi Bashi @ Fitzgerald’s (sold out!)
Heart/Erick Baker @ House of Blues
Moths/Sputniq/excuseMesir @ Notsuoh


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