SXSW Utne Party 2009

Utne Reader and Team Clermont present


Thursday March 19, noon to 6 p.m.

Flamingo Cantina, 515 E. Sixth Street

Featuring: Loney Dear (5 p.m.), Mirah (4:10), Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (3:20), Modern Skirts (2:30), Slaraffenland (1:40), Telekinesis (12:50), Ruby Isle (noon), and Rafter (DJing between sets)

Enter to win up to $1,000 in gift certificates toward a room makeover from The Container Store. (Must be present to win.)







Preview the show with band bios and streaming songs:

MirahMirah: Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn has been at the heart of the vibrant Northwest independent music scene ever since her debut album You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This. Her subsequent release, the stunning Advisory Committee (2001), cemented Mirah's place in the alternative music canon. These albums were an exploration of the territories beyond lo-fi, aiming to transcend mere technical limitations and to push the boundaries of indie rock toward a more meaningful communicative goal. Phil Elverum's sound experiments collided with Mirah's striking lyrical poise and unabashed emotional honesty and the resulting mix proved quite evocative. Mirah's third album C'mon Miracle (2004) combined the ever-present youthful splendor of her earlier works with a more mature stylistic component, which led many critics to hail it as her best work to date. In March 2009 Mirah will unveil her new full-length album, (a)spera.

CasiotoneCasiotone for the Painfully Alone: Hot on the heels of the recently released singles and rarities compilation Advance Base Battery Life comes Vs. Children, the fifth album proper by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. Vs. Children continues the trajectory of 2006’s Etiquette, which showed singer-songwriter Owen Ashworth straying from the strictly electronic instrumentation of his earlier recordings. In fact, Vs. Chilren is an album decidedly absent of the battery-powered keyboards of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone’s namesake. Instead, Vs. Children’s arrangements are built largely on the sounds of piano, organ, Mellotron, and acoustic percussion, both live and sampled. It’s like gospel music, if you can imagine that most of the choir has gone home for the evening and the church musical director is just really into samplers.

Following a tedious preoccupation with religious music and an unhealthy obsession with grand larceny (inspired in part by the arrest of a former co-worker for the robbery of 26 banks from Illinois to California), Ashworth wrote many of the songs on Vs. Children from the perspective of remorseful criminals. Many more songs deal with the themes of babies, pregnancy, and parent-child relationships, because, let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger, if you know what I mean. Tick tock goes the baby clock.


Loney DearLoney Dear: Hailing from the small city of Jonkoping, Sweden, Loney Dear's primary member Emil Svanängen first began recording homemade, overdubbed tapes of delicate, folkish indie pop in the early 2000s. As Loney, Dear (the band has since deleted the comma from its name), Svanängen self-released three homemade albums—River Fontana ReduxCitadel Band, and Sologne—through his website. As buzz developed through MP3 blogs and other new media manifestations, Sub Pop offered Svanängen a contract in 2006. The first proper Loney Dear album, Loney, Noir, was released in early 2007. After several years touring stateside and abroad, the new Loney Dear album Dear John is complete.

TelekenisisTelekinesis:  This is the project of Michael Benjamin Lerner. Michael recorded Telekinesis! at Two Sticks Audio in Seattle with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie, yhe Decemberists, Tegan and Sara). Michael wrote and sang all of the songs and played nearly all of the instruments on the album, but tours with a full band that includes David Broecker (guitar), Jonie Broecker (bass, keyboards), and Chris Staples (guitar). Influenced both by the carefully constructed timeless pop of the '60s and '70s and by the nonchalance and brevity of classic indie rock, Walla and Lerner approached the recording of Telekinesis! with the goal that each song's tracking and mixing would be done to analog tape in a single day, and that they would never look back.

SlaraffenlandSlaraffenland: Say it: Sluh-raf'-in-luhnd. Based in Copenhagen, Slaraffendland found its final formation in 2002: Christian Taagehøj, Mike Taagehøj, Bjørn Heebøll, Niklas Antonsson, and Jeppe Skjold. They expertly expanded on the guitar-bass-drums standard with brass and woodwind instruments, various racket-makers, and transfixing gang vocals. Many of them childhood friends (and Mike and Christian near-identical twins), they've spent years developing a sound that conjures everything from free jazz to noise to melodious addictive rock. They joined the Hometapes label family in 2006 and have since taken the U.S. by storm with tours, festival appearances, special projects (they were featured on Stereogum’s tribute to Radiohead’s OK Computer last year), sneaky appearances (they played with Akron/ Family at SXSW back in March), and, of course, their records. They are an amazing entity whose name, which means "the land of milk and honey,” everyone is surely learning to pronounce. 

Modern SkirtsModern Skirts: You don't need to be a music major to recognize that the 12 tracks on Modern Skirts' sophomore album, All Of Us In Our Night, are unusually constructed. They have unexpected twists and turns, chords that startle with their novelty, and melodies that feel refreshingly original. And you don't need to be an aficionado to get excited by such infectious choruses—they'll get stuck in the heads of neophyte listeners and super-hipsters alike. Since the group formed five years ago, Modern Skirts have sold out shows at the legendary 40 Watt Club and are regulars at Chapel Hill's Cat's Cradle and NYC's Mercury Lounge. You won't always know exactly what's happening in a Modern Skirts song, but you'll always be curious, and surprised, at where they're going next.


Ruby Isle PhotoRuby Isle: Their name is stolen from a 79-cent movie theater that Mark Mallman and Dan Geller used to frequent in their childhood home of Waukesha, Wisconsin. It was here where the two played a game of chess once a day for 90 days, and Mallman lost every time. After high school, they moved 1,200 miles apart from each other. Recorded in the basement of a church, then e-mailed to Geller's studio in Athens, Georgia, for bass, beats, and synths, Night Shot is a classic rock record dipped head first in a digital stew. The title track features guest vocals by internet "Chocolate Rain" pioneer Tay Zonday. The LP also features a duet version of Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" with I Am the World Trade Center's Amy Dykes.


Rafter: Rafter is one of San Diego music fixture Rafter Roberts' many projects, which also include the indie pop duo Bunky, running one of the city's most popular indie recording studios, and producing and engineering albums for Sufjan Stevens, Castanets, Fiery Furnaces, Arab on Radar, Rocket From the Crypt, the Album Leaf, Fol Chen, Rogue Wave, and many more. Rafter's kaleidoscopic noise pop features Roberts and a revolving cast of friends. Growing up in a California commune, Roberts wasn't exposed to much pop culture or music except for what his new wave- and punk-loving older brother played for him on weekend visits. Asthmatic Kitty signed Roberts as Rafter and released 10 Songs, a collection of his four-track recordings from 1998 and 1999, in 2006. It was quickly followed by 2007's Songs for Total Chickens and 2008's Sex Death Cassette. The Sweaty Magic EP, which dove deeper into Rafter's funk and Afro-pop fascinations, arrived in summer 2008.

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