Our guests today are Phox on the SXSW portion of our Sense of Place visit to Austin. This rarely if ever happens, but the band have done the best job of describing themselves on their Facebook page: “PHOX is from Baraboo, WI which is a place where kids often drink poisoned groundwater and become endowed mutants. The six best friends who make up the ensemble happen to be blessed with madness, illusions of grandeur, and the inability to do the same thing twice.” They also play music. Their debut coming on Partisan this June.
Our guest on the SXSW portion of our Sense of Place visit to Austin are Kins. They are a band that seems to like the coast of whatever continent they are on. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, the band's home base has now become Brighton on the British coast. Their sound has grown in a more electronic direction in a very organic way which has had a major effect on their songwriting. Their self-titled debut released last year has actually made more of an impact here in the States then in either the UK or Australia. We’ll meet them live at the Four Seasons at SXSW.
Fortunately there was a great choice for our Sense of Place: Austin Latin Roots segment. It is Grupo Fantasma a 9 piece Latin band that formed in 2000. The band created their own path as a Latin Funk orchestra. They became known along the way for backing many other performers from other genres including GZA from Wu-Tang Clan, even Prince and others. They received the Grammy in 2010 for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album for El Existential. They have a new album already recorded and set to go later this year. We'll hear a set of those new songs coming up.
Longtime Austin resident Jody Denberg, who is at least somewhat responsible for Austin's musical tastes as the Program Director of KGSR radio for 19 years, is our guest for this Sense of Place visit to Austin. KGSR was a commercial station playing music much like public station KUTX where Jody works today. Although Jody was born in New York City he is here to talk about the musical history of his adopted home. He engagingly brings a fan’s perspective.
Our Sense of Place stop in Austin continues today with long time resident singer-songwriter Patty Griffin. In late 2013 Griffin finally saw the release of her album Silver Bell which was recorded in 2000 as the follow-up to her second album Flaming Red but was shelved by her then record company.
The very first person we thought to talk Austin with for our Sense of Place series was long time resident Alejandro Escovedo. Make no mistake Al was born and raised in San Antonio but has called Austin home for years. Today he reminisces about coming to Austin as a kid and tells how it was a tour stop with Rank and File, his band with his brother Javier, that convinced him to move back to Austin. Alejandro is a connector and a bridge between eras of Austin music and recently hosted a live show telling the city’s music history. Alejandro Escovedo sets the scene for our Sense of Place week in Austin.
If you are a fan of Spoon, the long time Alt-rock band that got their start in Austin, then you are undoubtedly a fan of their drummer Jim Eno. He and lead singer and writer Britt Daniel speak the same dry, spacious and extremely inventive language. For our Sense of Place trip to Austin we visited Jim Eno’s Public Hi-Fi studio where Spoon has recorded a number of their albums (including the new one which was in progress as we visited). In Spoon’s downtime Eno has taken on a number of distinctive production projects. They include the Austin R&B revivalists Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, indie rock Telekenesis and even the organ trio Dupree that Eno recorded directly to two track analog tape. We’ll talk about Jim’s philosophy as a producer, a drummer with Spoon and about the things he loves about Austin.
The Austin band Orthy are our World Cafe: Next band for our Sense of Place visit to Austin. We picked Orthy, whose two EPs touch on Electronic Dance Music, to illustrate the breadth of the music scene in Austin. The inspiration for Ian Orth, who is at the heart of this band, is his ongoing weekly dance party Learning Secrets.
Bob Boilen is the founder of NPR’s All Songs Considered. A musician himself, he has a unique feel for presenting music on the web. And he is a bit obsessed. Obsessed and ambitious. Obsessed enough to attend over 600 shows a year. Ambitious enough to listen to songs from 1400 acts scheduled to play SXSW each year to figure out what is worth seeing. And we are crazy enough to ask him to limit his picks to just five for our Sense of Place: Austin. We’ll not only find out about Bob’s picks but also get his advice on how to survive SXSW and get the most out of it. He’ll also reveal his favorite venues to see music and to chill.