Thursday SXSW Highlights
Ann Powers (@annkpowers): "The Houston band Wild Moccasins began its showcase set with a moment of silence for the victims of last night's terrible accident. After the unique experience of standing in a club crowd in total silence for a full minute, the group's New Wave ecstasies were all the more intense and liberating. Zahira Gutierrez danced and sang as if governed by jolts of electricity, bouncing off the angular grooves her bandmates generated. Pure pleasure on a somber day."
When Luther Dickinson was growing up in rural Mississippi — just 40 miles south of Memphis, but deep in the hill country — his favorite band was Black Flag, the caustic L.A. punk band that defined the hardcore movement in the 1980s. That may surprise listeners who have been following his career as a folk-blues-rock innovator. With his brother Cody, Luther is a charter member of the North Mississippi Allstars and has recorded with an amazing array of musicians over the years: Beck, Patty Griffin, Mavis Staples, John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, RL Burnside, Lucero, Jon Spencer, and Robert Plant.
Outlaw country has traditionally been a male province, but Nashville-via-South-Carolina singer Nikki Lane breaks stereotypes on her Dan Auerbach-produced second album All Or Nothin', set for release May 6th.
"My songs always paint a pretty clear picture of what’s been going on in my life, so this is one moody record," she tells Rolling Stone. "There’s lots of talk of misbehaving and moving on." On her new album, the follow-up to 2011's Walk of Shame, Lane unapologetically sings about one-night stands and shady ex-boyfriends.
★★★★ out of 5 stars
Around the same time Robert Ellis relocated to Nashville, he also chopped off all his long hair and adopted a more clean-cut look. There are those who are disinclined to believe that was mere coincidence.
"I had a lot of fans that asked me, 'Did the label ask you to do that?' " Ellis says. "And that's really sweet of them to think that I'm at this level where I've got enough fans that people care what my hair looks like. But yeah, that's not the reality."
Ed Hamell of Hamell on Trial is one of the most exciting and brilliant songwriters to come our way in years. The New York-based Hamell is a one-man punk band, and what with his frantically strummed and heavily amplified acoustic guitar and wonderful vocal delivery; simultaneously bleak, touching, and hilarious songs; and propensity for telling long and very amusing anecdotes you won’t even notice he’s up there all by himself.