Five Favorite Things From 2011

5) Remezcla

I began freelancing for Remezcla on a regular basis in May. Since then, I:

My work there continues to expose me to many artists I would never hear of otherwise, such as Quiero Club whose song, “Dias Perfectos,” is my favorite of 2011:

My last interview of 2011 (with Rodrigo of Rodrigo y Gabriela) will be my first published interview in 2012. It can only get better from here!

4) Sargent House

Sargent House is an artist management company (don’t call it a record label!) in L.A. that is home to the types of bands larger labels are too timid to promote.

I met SH founder Cathy Pellow and her staff of dedicated musicphiles in October 2010 when I covered the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group/Le Butcherettes concert for LA Weekly. It was immediately obvious that they were the real deal and not some stereotypical Hollywood character archetype.

2011 was a busy year for everyone involved with SH. Every band on the roster toured at some point. Le Butcherettes, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group, And So I Watch You From Afar, Zechs Marquise, Hella, Gypsyblood and others released an album (two in the case of Boris). Big Sir, Fang Island, This Town Needs Guns and others spent the year working on new material.

One of the highlights of the year was the company’s SXSW showcase, which featured the U.S. debut of Adebisi Shank. This leads to point three…

3) SXSW

You always remember your first! I traveled to Austin, TX for my first SXSW experience. My trip there was brief (two days/two nights) but memorable and fun thanks to the new friends and contacts I met and all the great music that surrounded me.

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Just one of many "entrances" to SXSW.

I was really struck by the diversity of genres and styles represented by the performers at the festival. I remember turning a corner and hearing a country band perform in the patio. Two doors down, an indie-rock band had people dancing while, next door, an independent hip-hop artist made some new fans. By the time I hit the other end of the street, I’d heard punk, metal and latin music as well.

2) Spain

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Festival de San Fermin (Running of the Bulls)

This was another “first” for me: my first time in Europe and Spain. I lived/studied in Valladolid for the month of July and visited Pamplona, Salamanca, Segovia, Santander and San Sebastian (mostly north/central Spain). I hope to return and visit the coastal areas.

1) My niece

I returned home from Spain to be greeted by my newborn baby niece:

Adventures in babysitting!

How I Came to Love the Lone Star State: SXSW 2011 in Pictures

I made my first trip to Austin, TX last week to attend the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and though I only spent 48 sleepless hours there, I’m already making plans to return next year. Coachella, I love you and we had great times but I’m now in love with another music festival.

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I saw a lot of great bands, made some new friends, bumped into some old friends and drank some great local beers (hello 512 Porter). The only bad memory I have of the trip is of the non-existent taxi service at night. Hooray for (almost) being left stranded in Austin at four in the morning!

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Head over to my Flickr for photos of The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group feat. Cedric Bixler-Zavala (sort of The Mars Volta but not technically The Mars Volta), Adebisi Shank, Polock (interview with Polock coming soon), Fang Island, Little Red Radio and many more.