Posts Tagged ‘Micro-Pixel-Rites’

Unofficial Backyard Memories, Installments #7 & #8: Pill Wonder and Campfires

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

To conclude this year’s coverage of the Micro-Pixel-Rites showcase at SXSW, which only lasted one day but has somehow filled up over a month of retrospective blog time, I thought I would point out that Rangers was not the only one-man recording project that had mysteriously blossomed into a full rock band by the time they touched down in Austin. After reading Sawyer Carter Jacobs’ most lavish and writerly description of the new Pill Wonder record on the Underwater Peoples blog, I half expected main-man William Murder/Murdoch to climb up on stage and pound away on a toy drum kit, mac n’ cheese boxes, and a triangle for half an hour. Instead, he rolled up with an live instrumental powerhouse consisting of two drummers, a bassist, a lead guitar player, and a multi-tasking, bespectacled fellow “on” two laptops and a synth.

The signature vocal merry-go-round that we hear on the album version of “Wishing Wonder” was lost slightly beyond earshot, but this rendition made pretty much everybody in attendance as giddy as six-year-old on Christmas morning. When you catch a band for the first time and every third person in the audience seems turning to his neighbor and breathing an awestruck, “Who are they?,” it’s hard not to feel a little shiver here and there. With Pill Wonder, that shiver felt collective.

Pill Wonder from Samantha Cornwell on Vimeo.

Capping off the evening as the sun set over the city, Jeff Walls Campfires project — here, reincarnated as a traditional four-piece — rocked us out of our cumulative ultra violet stupor with a few high-energy song bytes — not dissimilar to the compact musical “short stories” he channels on recent cassette Burning Rivers, TV Flickers, Drifting Off to Bed (Leftist Nautical Antiques), but suddenly more vivid and three-dimensional, as though those stories had died and come back to life.

Campfires from Samantha Cornwell on Vimeo.


Unofficial Backyard Memories, Installment #5: Alex Bleeker and the Freaks

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Alex Bleeker and the Freaks- “Getting By”- Live- Micro-Pixel-Rites BBQ- SXSW- Austin, TX- March 18, 2010 from Samantha Cornwell on Vimeo.

Seeing Alex Bleeker and the Freaks live is kind of like opening a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get — but at the same time, you kind of do. For one, you can count on them channeling something as perfectly all-American as Forest Gumps’s metaphor; but the group of people doing all the channeling changes every time. When Bleeker rolled up the Micro-Pixel-Rites showcase with the other three members of Real Estate in tow, we were delighted to experience an unusually rhythm-centric incarnation of his revolving casts of Freaks: Martin Courtney riding a deft and bouncy bass line, Matt Mondanile behind the drum kit, and Etienne Duguay pattering away free-style on a pair of stand-up bongos. Visually, they struck a striking silhouette; musically, however, they sounded as humble and quietly hopeful as driving away from what might have been heartbreak, looking up at night sky, breathing in the ice-cold desert air, and thanking the universe that you are just “getting by.”

Video: Samantha Cornwell
Words: Emilie Friedlander

Unofficial Backyard Memories, Installment #4: Family Portrait, “Waitberry”

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Family Portrait- “Waitberry”- Live- Micro Pixel Rites BBQ- SXSW- Austin, TX- March 18, 2010 from Samantha Cornwell on Vimeo.

Good lord. Things have been so hectic over at the Visitation Rites North American HQ that I didn’t realize until glancing up at my calendar today that it has been almost a month since Family Portrait played the above rendition of “Waitberry” at the Micro-Pixel-Rites showcase in East Austin. The afterglow of that sun-bleached afternoon wore off long ago, but this video by Samantha Cornwell certainly brings back some of the most beautiful seconds of the day, around 4:30. Hint: you can see it in the astral light beams that caught the lens of her camera. And you can hear it in Evan Brody’s voice, in the lilting guitar line that forms the backbone of this song about waiting: for a brief moment, chilling there together in the sun, it felt like we would be young forever.

A Family Affair: Micro-Pixel-Rites Unofficial Backyard Showcase, SXSW 2010

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Like the supremely chill afternoon of live music and bbq that the Underwater Peoples hosted at a cattle ranch outside of Austin the day before, MicroPixelRites’ SXSW debut on Thursday, March 18 was a family affair — and not only because it united a host of musicians, label people, and “blogger types” who were already acquainted either online and off. Even if you rolled up to a sea of strange faces, the afternoon was so long and the summer camp vibe was so strong that you were pretty much bound to leave feeling like you had known everyone there since you braved your first canonball off the dock. I know we are adults now, but it was just that kind of day.


Monday, March 22nd, 2010

SXSW 2010 was as blissed-out an exercise in excess as an exercise in excess can be. All in all, the Visitation Rites mobile reporting team (videographer Samantha Cornwell and I) probably caught more sun, saw more live bands, walked more miles, ate more tacos, drank more beer, laughed more, bickered more, took more photos, tweeted more tweets, shot more video, and reunited with more old friends than in all of 2009 combined. After five consecutive days of non-stop partying and documenting, however, we couldn’t help feeling a bit crestfallen when we realized that SXSW wouldn’t last forever.


Tuesday, March 16th, 2010


Remember when I told you that Thursday’s Micro-Pixel-Rites SXSW showcase was inspired by an obscuro musical collab between none other than Annie Lennox and Aretha? Well here, coming at you just two short days before our very own Austin frolic of beer, bands, and babes, is Micro-Pixel-Rites’ official video homage to sisters everywhere, past and present, doin’ it for themselves. And also our brothers, of course.

New Jersey Apocalypse: Real Estate, Family Portrait, and Alex Bleeker and the Freaks Play Micro-Pixel-Rites Loft Party in Bushwick

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

In case you were still scratching your head after all the ridiculously obvious hints we dropped, or you didn’t notice when Brooklyn Vegan itself let the cat out of the bag, Real Estate was the not-secret-headliner at the SXSW pump-up party Micro-Pixel-Rites hosted at the PIXELHORSE HQ in Bushwick last Saturday night. (Come on guys, the Facebook invite said “featuring members of Ducktails, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, and Predator Vision”).

Visitation Rites, Microphone Memory Emotion, and PIXELHORSE are TERRIBLY sorry for the all the cigarette butts, PBR cans, and falafel balls that were left behind in the stairwell of said loft building, but also TERRIBLY touched to have hosted some of New Jersey’s finest in a context they have all but outgrown. After watching them become an international success story, I got to see these vocational boys-next door in exactly the way they should be seen: at a house party, surrounded by friends and ear-to-ear grins on all sides, watching Seinfeld Season 3 on the overhead projector, and hearing the cops roll up just in time for the closing chord.


Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

The ladies of PIXELHORSE, Microphone Memory Emotion, and Visitation Rites present you with an exclusive pre-SXSW house show this weekend. Alex Bleeker and the Freaks will be there, freakin’ out, playing first. Family Portrait will follow, kicking off their tour and playing with their recently restored, stellar lineup. Finally, there will be a suuuper special secret surprise guest performance*. (We’re so excited about this we could pee!) Come party with your fave bloguettes, bros and bands, and help fuel their trips down to Austin, TX for SXSW 2010 so thousands can benefit from their beautiful jams.


Monday, March 1st, 2010

Micro-Pixel-Rites Presents: Unofficial SXSW SHOWCASE and BBQ

Thursday, February 25th, 2010


Elise Oh, Georgia Kral, and I had been contemplating throwing a joint SXSW showcase for some time when we stumbled upon this insano musical collab between Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin over at the Pixelhorse headquarters the other day. Needless to say, we realized that we, too, were capable of making our dreams come true. Visitation Rites, in collaboration with fellow lady-run blogs Pixelhorse and Microphone Memory Emotion, is proud to announce a sunny Austin afternoon of beer, barbecue, and babes — not to mention 10 of our favorite acts in independent music right now. The party will drop on the 18th of March into the same grassy backyard where After the Jump Fest hosted its own unofficial party in 2008 and 2009, and will feature the following friends, in no particular order: