WBEZ | Holydrug http://www.wbez.org/tags/holydrug Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Laura Stevenson, Holydrug Couple, Foxygen and more http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/laura-stevenson-holydrug-couple-foxygen-and-more-106090 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/laura_stevenson_and_the_cans_6_515.jpg" title="Laura Stevenson and the Cans." /></div><p>AUSTIN, Tx&mdash;The best-laid plans tend to quickly go awry at South by Southwest, especially with these epic crowds. Yet if I missed catching a few acts I&rsquo;d hoped to see on night one&mdash;Merchandise, the Black Angels, Guards&mdash;I did have a couple of great surprises in the clubs.</p><p>The first of these was a Brooklyn singer-songwriter named <strong><a href="https://www.facebook.com/LauraStevensonandtheCans">Laura Stevenson</a></strong>, who performed with her band the Cans under a tent outside a club called Holy Mountain off Seventh Street. Think of a less intense, sweeter-voiced Sharon Van Etten, but with a two-guitar, bass, drums and accordion lineup capable of unexpected eruptions of noise a la the Velvet Underground or Neil Young with Crazy Horse.</p><p>Music is in Stevenson&rsquo;s blood: Her grandfather was a composer who made key early recordings of the Christmas standards &ldquo;The Little Drummer Boy&rdquo; and &ldquo;Do You Hear What I Hear?,&rdquo; while her grandmother sang with Benny Goodman. But Stevenson has a voice all her own, honed over the course of three indie albums including the latest, <em>Wheel, </em>released on Don Giovanni, the label that brought us Screaming Females. Hopefully she and the Cans will make just as much noise.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KeH2-XA1k6Q" width="560"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6871685494_86245e72b7_z.jpg" style="float: right; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="The Holydrug Couple (Flickr/PUMA LABS)" />I was heading out the door after Stevenson&rsquo;s set when another band playing on the smaller indoor stage at the same club stopped me dead in my tracks. <strong><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Holydrug-Couple/103071603419">The Holydrug Couple</a></strong> is a duo from the apparently burgeoning psychedelic-rock scene in Santiago, Chile. Ives SepĂșlveda and Manuel Parra expanded to a trio for this gig, showcasing a sound that force-feeds that mellow &rsquo;70s West Coast folk-rock sound newly resurgent in some circles (a primary culprit: Dawes) through a freaky and evil psychotropic blender, with striking results.</p><p>Most impressive was a stunning track called &ldquo;Follow Your Way&rdquo; that began as a rough cover deconstructing Todd Rundgren&rsquo;s &ldquo;Hello It&rsquo;s Me&rdquo; and became a full-on interstellar-overdrive freak-out.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/hMsX5vvyhAc" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Most of the rest of the night consisted of unremarkable mediocrities, plus one truly dreadful act, Alabama-reared, Brooklyn-based EDM/folk-rock hybrid <strong>Phosphorescent</strong>, a.k.a. Matthew Houck, whose set was all the more painful for taking place in a big, uncomfortable, corporate-sponsored temporary party space called Hype Hotel, and for starting 40 minutes late, thereby screwing up the schedule for everything that followed.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/foxygen.jpg" style="height: 305px; width: 620px;" title="Foxygen (Jagjaguar/Angel Ceballos)" /></p><p>I stayed put because I was eager to see <strong>Foxygen</strong>, no matter the delay or the unwelcoming surroundings. And the core Los Angeles duo of vocalist Sam France and guitarist-keyboardist Jonathan Rado plus assorted friends did not disappoint as they rendered onstage the brilliant tunes from <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-02/pastiche-or-parody-foxygen-much-more-sum-its-parts-105631">We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace &amp; Magic</a></em>.</p><p>To be sure, the acoustics of the cavernous concrete space worked against the band&rsquo;s intricate and sometimes delicate arrangements, as did the scent of the foul fast food being handed out by Taco Bell, one of the corporate sponsors. (Taco Bell&mdash;in a Texas city with another great mom-and-pop taco joint every 15 yards!) But if Foxygen could deliver in circumstances like that, no doubt it can do infinitely better anywhere else.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KtdWGGpvY1s" width="560"></iframe></p><p><strong><u>My complete coverage of SXSW 2013</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/imaging-jingle-crafting-crowdfunding-and-%E2%80%98born-chicago%E2%80%99-106087">Imaging, jingle-crafting, crowdfunding and &lsquo;Born in Chicago&rsquo;</a></p></p> Thu, 14 Mar 2013 01:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/laura-stevenson-holydrug-couple-foxygen-and-more-106090