Austin is a city brimming with tech investment, yuppie luxuries, hipster havens, Southern charm, healthy eats, and cultural attractions — but it’s probably most famous for its mighty SXSW Music Conference. My first time at the annual music-industry extravaganza involved quite a mix of emotions: excitement, anticipation, confusion, anxiety. With so much going on, the sense of wonderment and worry comes from that nagging feeling that you’re missing out on something great just around the corner. I was lucky enough to go with a seasoned veteran, aka Handstand Steph, who helped direct me to venues and parties filled with great new bands. This may not be as easy a task as you’d think. See, SXSW has quickly grown into a corporate free-for-all, where a stage resembling a giant Doritos bag is the main attraction, and where A-list celebrities woo even the snobbiest of music fans and insiders. Do Justin Timberlake and Prince really need to be there? More importantly, does every media outlet need to report on it? What happened to SXSW being purely an outlet for unsigned bands and music discovery?
PhotoPhiles will be a recurring feature spotlighting some of our favorite photos taken on and off the road. The second edition includes shots taken from Baja California, Mexico.
Will Toby ever reach the Cuddle Queen?
PhotoPhiles will be a recurring feature spotlighting some of our favorite photos taken on and off the road. The first edition includes shots taken in Idaho, San Francisco, Panama, and Joshua Tree.
I vowed to make 2012 a year to fully embrace my endless wanderlust. I think I did a pretty decent job. Here, I’ll attempt to prove just that. I’ll be running down my top travel adventures of 2012 … slowly but surely. In no particular order, here’s Vol. II, a trek south and inland to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park.
There’s something mystical yet menacing about the desert. Maybe it’s all that dry air sucking out all the bullshit. Bullshit can’t survive in the desert — the sun would rot it too quickly, or, on a chilly night, the wind would just carry it all the way to, well, a place like L.A.
Will Toby reach the Cuddle Queen?
I vowed to make 2012 a year to fully embrace my endless wanderlust. I think I did a pretty decent job. Here, I’ll attempt to prove just that. I’ll be running down my top travel adventures of 2012 … slowly but surely. In no particular order, here’s Vol. I, the last of my year’s adventures: THE BIG APPLE.
Ah, New York City. No other metropolis can make you feel as little and insignificant as an obedient ant in a bustling farm, yet as big and bold and alive as a caged animal set free to roam the most exotic of concrete jungles. It’s noisy, hectic, and vibrant. It never sleeps, so neither should you (and we didn’t… much). Our adventure in NYC was a quick one, but never lacking in good times.
For me, 2012 may be just as memorable for its live shows than for the music itself. Then again, that’s the way it should be, right? Music is about the experience — physical, mental, and emotional — and that experience can be multiplied tenfold in a live setting — if the artist is good enough, that is. So, as a way to remember these good times, I’ve tracked my top live music moments of 2012. Enjoy the show!
My most memorable and heartfelt moment occurred watching New Order in Oakland. The members of New Order are all beyond 50 and no longer even making new music yet they still pack quite a punch. New bands seemed to have stepped aside for the older and more established bands like New Order, Refused, Blur, and more that continue to dominate the live circuit. However, newer bands like the Babies, Youth Lagoon, The Drums offer hope if they aim higher and strive for more. I have outlined my top moments, all from live shows, from this past year.
Panama City is a seductress. The quiet beauty and remoteness of Isla Contadora, just off the city’s Pacific coast, is humbling and refreshing, while the luscious rainforests of Metropolitan Park give you a sense of the undeveloped mystery behind this part of the world. But despite all this natural appeal, this seductress can fall short on its delivery.