SXSW 2014 & Nick Waterhouse Review

SXSW 2014

Back from their trip to SXSW in Austin, TX, Jim and Greg share their favorite bands from the annual music conference. Later, they review the sophomore album from retro-soul artist Nick Waterhouse.

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Sound Opinions is sad to report the death of Stooges drummer Scott Asheton at age 64. This punk pioneer took the rhythms of Bo Diddley and the Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker and piled on the aggression, carving out the sound that would soon define punk, Jim explains. Listening to him pummel the drums on early Stooges albums, it’s no surprise that Asheton (whose family couldn’t afford a proper trap set) first learned to play by banging hammers on oil cans. Along with his brother Ron on guitar, Scott was described as the gasoline that Iggy’s match set aflame. Jim and Greg honor the drummer by playing 1969 from the Stooges’ debut album, a punk inferno that Asheton’s brutal rhythms kept burning bright.

It’s the double feature that everybody was waiting for… in 1994. Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden are teaming up for a summer tour, just in time for the 20th anniversaries of NIN’s Downward Spiral and Soundgarden’s Superunknown. Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell says he’s always been a NIN fan, and that he’d love to jam with the band onstage—but Trent Reznor might not be so enthused. Back in 2009, Reznor took Cornell to task on Sound Opinions, calling his Timbaland-produced solo album an impressively bad sell-out. Maybe NIN will bring on a more suitable collaborator for its next tour.

The 2014 SXSW Music Conference, normally a festive event, which brings tens of thousands of people to Austin every year, will unfortunately be remembered as a tragic one. A horrific car crash early Thursday morning resulted in the death of three people and the injury of many more. Also making headlines was Lady Gaga. The pop diva not only performed at a contoversial event for a snack food company, she gave the keynote address. According to Gaga, without sponsors, there wouldn’t be music events; labels can’t afford it. A surprising assertion from a woman who later touted her music industry rebellion.

SXSW 2014

The SXSW Music Conference in Austin, TX is in its 27th year, and still remains the place for fans and industry professionals to see a ton of music. Every year Jim and Greg come back from SXSW with a list of new artists to watch (as well as aches, pains and headcolds). Check out the 2014 SXSW discoveries:

Jim

  • The Preatures
  • Cindy Lee Berryhill
  • Wytches
  • Ivan & the Parazol

Greg

  • Moses Sumney
  • Benjamin Booker
  • Temples
  • Protomartyr

Holly Nick Waterhouse

Holly

Neo-soul singer and guitarist Nick Waterhouse made a big impression on Greg during a performance at SXSW in 2012, but unlike a lot of acts that passed through the annual music conference, Waterhouse had staying power. On his second album, Holly, the retro-rivalist deftly channels the likes of Ray Charles and pianist Mose Allison. Jim finds the occasional grittiness of the album appealing, but mostly it’s too sterile and formulaic to warrant anything more than a Try It. Greg disagrees, saying Holly nails the snap-and-swing feel of old R&B records while tossing a Raymond Chandler, L.A. noir vibe into the mix. Waterhouse’s first album was good, but Greg says Holly is even better: Buy It.

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