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  South By Southwest 2006 - Day 1 dayshows  



Austin, TX


Rachel Goldstar, Tuung, My Education

Reviewed by:
  Tracers and PostLibyan  
Photographs by:



For the second year running I have dispatched my Minions to that den of sin, grilled meats, alcohol, and loudness known as South By SouthWest in Austin, TX . There they encountered many strange sights and heard many interesting acts. Please be patient as they describe their 5 day musical odyssey.


The very first thing we did at SXSW, aside from checking in, registering, etc. was go to the Clairecords/ToneVendor in-store at End of an Ear Records in South Austin. I had really wanted to go to this event seeing as i adore the Clairecords label (see reviews of Isobella, Eau Claire, and Monster Movie, among others), and spend a lot of cash at their on-line store, ToneVendor. That said, i have exchanged much correspondence with Dan and Heather, who run both, and i wanted to meet them. This was accomplished, and they were nice folk. In addition, we got to catch a few acts that are either on Clairecords or distributed by ToneVendor.

L-R: PostLibyan, Dan, Heather.

We walked in (after chatting with Hitchhike, who did not play this year but still we kept running into them) to catch the last three tunes by Rachel Goldstar. You might remember her from such bands as Experimental Aircraft or Eau Claire, or as the head of the Rollerderby Records label. Today she was playing guitar (with several effects) and keys while singing, accompanied by a drummer and a bassist. We caught three songs of slow, shoegazery goodness, the last of which really reminded me of Experimental Aircraft, and might have been an actual cover version. I do not have their entire catalog, so i could be mistaken. Either way, it was really nice, and the sound in End of an Ear (which is actually just a small record store) was fairly good.

Rachel Goldstar and her drummer/fiance.

While instruments were changed out, Tracers and i stepped outside, where we promptly ran into Jeff Clark and the Stomp and Stammer crowd. Sheesh, we travel 850 or so miles to stand around talking with people we see at The EARL every week or two. Wierd.


Well, at least this year it was a solid 24 hours before we ran into any of the Atlanta crowd! Still, I do find it humorous that out of the gazillon folks in Austin, within an hour of leaving the hotel, we managed to run into people we know (both from Atlanta as well as from Austin). Small world.

Tracers kicks the festival off with the first official beer.


Shortly, the second act went on. This was a big group (6 or 7 people -- it was hard to tell from where i was standing as some were sitting down and i couldn't get an accurate count) with English accents. They played slow music that was vaguely folkish. I guess they are a freak folk act, although i confess an unfamiliarity with the genre. I am unfamiliar with it principally because on my few exposures to said genre i found it deeply irritating. This band was no exception, with weird stoned out vocals and odd rhythms that just never seemed to gel for me. Still, some folks seemed to enjoy them, and i know that the freak folk genre is a growth industry right now, so they might do quite well for themselves. The act was called Tuung, if you are interested, although i am not 100% sure now to pronounce that.

Tuung: group quirkiness.

Tuung: waiting for her chance to sing.


It may have been the relatively large crowd at the day show, or may be it was the lack of some place to sit, but Tuung did little for me. However, I could see them being more interesting in a traditional venue (i.e., with an elevated stage) so that I could watch the different musicians and their styles. I find that with this genre some of the charm comes from being able to see what the band is actually doing, which for me at least enhances the enjoyment of the music.


After Tuung finished, and it seemed like they played forever, My Education took the stage. I have heard several tracks by these guys on various Clairecords compilation CDs. They are an Austin post-rock ensemble, making meandering instrumental music out of guitars, bass, drums, piano, and violin. They are a 6-piece band, doubling up on guitar, and they played 4 songs. The first two were kind of noodley, in that they seemed to wander about without any definite structure, like some of the more abstract moments of Do Make Say Think or Tristeza. But their last two songs were simply phenomenal. The first of these was a piano-based number that moved under a slow rhythm and was very lovely. The second featured a stronger violin part, so much that the song bore a slight Dirty Three comparison, and the violinist played long, slow notes with great passion. These last two songs were so great that i wanted them to play more. However, well, in true post-rock tradition the 4 songs took a little over half an hour, and so the instore ended and The Minions headed off in search of solid food.

My Education: Guitar and Piano.

My Education: Bassist.

My Education: violinist.


Of the three acts we heard this afternoon, I certainly thought My Education were the best. The first couple of songs meandered a bit too much for my liking. But about halfway through the set, the band hit their stride and you could see what they were trying to do. More importantly, they actually seemed to accomplish creating a soundscape that surrounded you and drew you into their musical world.

Related Links:

Read the entire South by Southwest 2006 review:
    Day 1: Dayshow
    Day 1: Night showcases
    Day 2
    Day 3: Dayshow
    Day 3: Night showcases
    Day 4: Dayshow
    Day 4: Night showcases
Added bonus material:
    Photo gallery: Signs around Austin
    Photo gallery: hollow-bodied guitars at SXSW06
    Photo gallery: Pedal fetishism
In addition, some of these acts have been reviewed before. Links within the review point you to the appropriate places.


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