SXSW 2014

Due to a series of events, I haven’t had a chance to do the usual research in preparation for my time here in Austin. I haven’t taken the time to keep the blog current. But here I am in Austin, TX again for SXSW. I know I say it every year since I’ve been attending, but it might be time to take a break from the festival. A number of reasons, both professional and personal, require my focus elsewhere. Perhaps smaller festivals in other cities might suit me in the future.

Let’s focus on the now though! I try to focus on bands I’ve never seen, are new to me, and are from outside the US. Many non-US bands rarely get to tour the US proper, so SXSW might be the only opportunity to see them. I benefit from living in the Northeast corridor and can get to NYC, Philly, and of course, Baltimore and DC very easily.

I’ll mix in bands I know and love with friends’ bands and am willing to check out a song or two from just about anyone.

There’s no must see band this year for me, no one that stands out above the rest. Last year, I couldn’t get enough PAWS!

Here are some bands that I’ll be seeing for the first time. I’ll let the music speak for itself! I’ll try to add some more, but for now, I’ve got to get my day started. Heading out to Lockhart, TX for some fine BBQ.









Death by Unga Bunga



The Bats interview for Topsy Turvy Twister Rama

Amy and I interviewed The Bats in August 1993 just before their set at The Fastlane in Asbury Park, NJ. My photographic memory pulls up all sorts of images: when we got to the venue and The Bats were gracious enough to sit down with us, despite not knowing about the interview; walking to the cafe at the Howard Johnson’s nearby; The Bats buying us cokes, because I was just 21 & didn’t drink, and Amy was 20 & so much more!

This appeared in issue #2 of Topsy Turvy Twister Rama. I’m hoping to scan in all three issues eventually. It was Amy’s ‘zine, and I helped with contributions, including some really bad drawings in issue #1. On the cover of issue #2 is a classic photo of Amy & her Mom dancing:


For now, here’s the scan of the interview! Getting to see The Bats again tonight here in DC!

SXSW recovery

Greetings dear friends!

While I’ve been neglecting my poor site for so long, I am planning a major overhaul and renewed enthusiasm for it. I’m in the process of recovering and catching up from my annual visit to Austin for SXSW. Not only must I recover myself, but I’ve a ton of things to capture and recover from an aging iMac. I’ve a couple years of SXSW and more to post!

It amazes me how I manage to take on a week in Austin every March, running on little more than 4 hours sleep each night, on the go, on my feet, going going going. It’s a constant challenge, especially as I’ve been a medical mystery for quite some time. Having been diagnosed with two auto immune diseases and tested for a myriad of others, I think the entire time I’m in Austin, I’m running on pure adrenaline. I joke about music being my drug but it surely is!

Since I’ve been home, the aches, pains, migraines and general feeling of being ill returned and I’m working on trying to get through it. Despite all of this, I forge ahead, reminding myself that I managed to walk all over Austin, seeing bands all day and night for 6 days. To quote a song that’s been getting loads of spins in my world:

The doctors don’t know anything. It’s not right, not right. Well my belly sure does hurt me, but it’s O.K. ’cause I feel damn alive.”

I take my music addiction seriously and in preparation for SXSW each year, I go through all the showcasing bands who have mp3s on the site (1200 this year) and narrow it down to the genres I like. From there I listen to pretty much all of them by using an old college radio trick, listening to the first bit of the song, scrub through to middle, bring up SXSW bio or facebook or website and research each band that catches my ear. If your band doesn’t have a SXSW bio or link to any outside site, and your song is just ok, I’m probably gonna skip it. It’s not that hard to put some basic PR materials together! If it is, perhaps you’re not ready for SXSW.

I combine my time at SXSW with bands I already know and love, including friend bands and try to mix in as many new or new to me bands. I do tend to have an emphasis on the UK bands and bands from outside North America. Sometimes there’s a chance those bands may never make it back to the US again.

This year, I narrowed the 1200 bands to 240 and created a playlist to share.

SXSW 2013 Lauree’s List

Did I get to see all 240 bands? no, but I used it as a guide to create a reference schedule for my time in Austin. I don’t adhere to a strict schedule, but I make note of about 5 bands who are MUST SEE bands, the rest of the bands listed come down to “game time” decisions. I could easily walk up 6th or Red River at any given point and find friends along the way, sometimes I go along with them, sometimes I move on and meet up later. It’s all rather fluid. I am a firm believer in the sage & commonly adopted advice of SXSW: Don’t think about what you’re missing, revel in what you’re experiencing.

I’m putting the memory puzzle pieces together and hope to have photos & reviews up soon! I’m working as fast as I can, and there’s tons of rock shows to attend. And a little thing called work! (and I’m still unpacking from moving to a new place in February)

Three Blind Wolves

In November 2011, Three Blind Wolves were in the US for the first time. They were kind enough to sit with us for a few songs before their gig in the North Star Bar Victorian Dining Room.

The Philadelphia date was added at the last minute and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and combined efforts with PhillyCAM. In about 10 days time, I was able to coordinate the shoot, a task made easier by great friends in Philly, a fabulous crew and of course, the band and their managers!

Farmer with a Pulse
Helpless (Neil Young)
When the Garden Gets Near

you can find out more about Three Blind Wolves:

This was a combined effort of Arlington Independent Media and PhillyCAM!

Please support your local community media center!

Top Music of 2010

I’ve wanted to post this for some time, but kept forgetting to do so. I think I’ve been avoiding it because I usually write up a little bit about each Top 10 record at the very least. I’ll have to add it later as I’m still not in a mindset to write it up! I still need to add links.

At any rate, here’s what I loved and listened to in 2010. There are many records released that I never got around to purchasing, so I’ve got a list of almost two dozen I’d like to get at this point!

1. Teenage Fanclub-Shadows
2. Frightened Rabbit-The Winter of Mixed Drinks
3. Glossary-Feral Fire
4. Two Cow Garage-Sweet Saint Me
5. Admiral Fallow-Boots Met My Face
6. Broken Records-Let Me Come Home (couldn’t wait for the US release, so I ordered from Amazon UK!)
7. Treecreeper-Juniper
8. Elvyn-The Declline
9. Stornoway-Beachcomber’s Windowsill
10. Superchunk-Majesty Shredding

11. Ardentjohn-On the Wire
12. The Vaselines-Sex with An X
13. Michael Carpenter & the Cuban Heels-The Incomplete Cuban Heels
14. Aberfeldy-Somewhere to Jump From
15. First Aid Kit-The Big Black and The Blue
16. The Pernice Brothers-Goodbye, Killer
17. Darker My Love-Alive As You Are
18. Standard Fare-The Noyelle Beat
19. Marching Band-Pop Cycle
20. The Phantom Band-The Wants

the rest in alpha order:
Beach Fossils-Beach Fossils
Belle & Sebastian-Write About Love
Best Coast-Crazy for You
John Cunningham-1998-2002
Escape Act-Balance
Horse to Water-Junkie
Magnolia Mountain-Redbird Green
Past Prayers-Past Prayers
The Posies-Blood/Candy
The School-Loveless Unbeliever
The Successful Failures-Three Nights
Two Hours Traffic-Territory
Versus-On the Ones and Threes
The Wynntown Marshals-Westerner

Top songs-
1. Sweet Days Waiting-Teenage Fanclub
2. The Loneliness & The Scream-Frightened Rabbit
3. A Darkness Rises Up-Broken Records
4. Lonely is a Town-Glossary (although I could easily put Save Your Money for the Weekend here)
5. Home-Ardentjohn
6. Squealing Pigs-Admiral Fallow
7. Ghost Town-First Aid Kit
8. Don’t Leave, Don’t Go-Elvyn
9. Last Days-Treecreeper
10. That Song-Michael Carpenter & The Cuban Heels
11. Watching Birds-Stornoway

ps. very much enjoying songs by Weather Barn & Treefight for Sunlight
and look forward to hearing more from them in 2011

Don’t Look Back

The Star Signs-Don’t Look Back
now downloadable from Soundcloud in mp3 or wav:

Mick Chorba, Jim Becker, Rob Martin, Lauree McArdle, Ron Bechamps & John Williams
(the *band* name was Jim’s idea, to keep it TFC related)

created for the Teenage Fanclub Message Board tribute 40 Million Seconds-The Long Road to TFC

Featuring members of The Successful Failures, Taggart and Stars Apart. Recorded at FDR studios.


In August, I got together with some great friends and we recorded the Teenage Fanclub song “Don’t Look Back”

It was for a contribution to the latest Fanclub message board tribute compilation and it marks the first time I’ve had the courage to record my singing voice. Mick, Becker, and Rob were great and we got an initial rough mix in just a couple hours in one night. The rest happened after I had to come back to Virginia and then Ron and John got into the mix.

It was a lot of fun to do and I’m glad I did it. I thought the hard part would be singing and recording it. Actually, it’s finishing it and putting it out there into the world for all to hear. I’ve always had an insatiable genuine love & appreciation for music, but it’s gone to a whole new level.

The entire tribute is dedicated to Tom O’Grady, who was a regular on the board. Sadly, I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. A donation page is up in his memory that includes a link to download the entire tribute and make a donation to cancer research:

here’s another contribution from Wayne James and The Harry Evlar Experience-Sparky’s Dream, with a fabulous video: