The Couch Abides

A few weeks ago, Couch by Couchwest, the online music festival for everybody who couldn’t or didn’t want to go to South by Southwest, called it a day. They started in 2011, and they were recommended to me just before we released The Ghost of John Henry in 2012, so Sci-Fi Romance participated in every year but the festival’s first.

As a tip of the cap and a thank you to the festival organizers, who all had their own lives, jobs, blogs, cats, taco recipes, dogs, and beer can pyramids to attend to, I decided to make one more video, and keep the spirit of Couch by Couchwest alive for 2016. So I give you “The Masque of the Red Death, 1964” from our October EP, recorded in my garage two nights ago.

If you weren’t hip to CXCW, it presented a staggering — staggering! — amount of great music recorded in fields, back yards, front porches, living rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens all over the world. Do yourself a favor if you haven’t and spend some time going through the archives on their site. You can catch up on all the Sci-Fi Romance performances here, for instance. But if you only have time for one video, I will leave you with what is probably my favorite: Rosanne Cash and her band playing “A Feather’s Not a Bird.”


Couch by Couchwest 2013

There’s this thing, kind of a party, kind of a “festival,” that happens in Austin every year about this time. Maybe you’ve heard of it. But there’s this *other* thing that also happens at the same time, that maybe you haven’t heard as much about, and that is the Couch by Couchwest festival, “where the beer is cheaper and the only hipster is you.”

For the second year, we were invited to submit to this curated online video festival celebrating independent music and musicians, and it was our great pleasure to do so. Last year we shot our videos the same day we shot the video for “Broken World,” as we were gearing up for the Ghost of John Henry album release. This year, we managed to actually be on a couch. Here is the version of “Steam Drill Blues” we recorded — and please notice that Kurt is in a soft cast on his right arm, but still, STILL, he brings the boom.

If you’re not following the festival, treat yourself. I don’t know how else you’re going to see so many talented and unique musicians, or make more new music discoveries than right here. There are a lot of videos on there now, so I’ll include some of my favorites so far to get you started.

The Pyles – “Answer to Ruby”

The Stone Sparrows – “Picture Show”

And to slow it down a little (and invoke a tiny trumpet), Moon Motel – “Adored”

Josie Little – Patty Griffin’s “Rain”

So check out the festival, let the videos run in the background at work or put your feet up when you get home and dig through them. Maybe find some music you’d like to add to your collection.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include our other Couch by Couchwest video for this year, which is a brand new song called “When You Wake.” My little girl makes an appearance on the couch for it. Head on over to our CXCW video page and take five seconds to click the blue “Like!” button to help us out.

And here are my cats watching one of the videos:

Couch by Couchwest

Yes, SXSW is in full-swing in Austin, and while I once lived in Austin, that was a while ago. It’s cool, though, because the Couch by Couchwest festival is here for us all — those of us “too broke or too lazy to get off our couches and go to Austin.”

Over the weekend, we were shooting a music video for the first song off of our upcoming record, and Jody and I took a few minutes to step off to the side and record a version of the absolute classic “Goodnight Irene.” First recorded by Lead Belly, everybody has done this song, and I hope our version does it justice. Please let us know.

Incidentally, I sent my dad the link to the video and told him we’d recorded a one-off version of a Lead Belly song. After he watched it, he sent me a note back telling me that my grandfather (who died when I was one) used to play this song all the time. Total coincidence. Who knew?

The good people at CXCW posted a solo performance I shot on a tree stump in my backyard. I joked to them that if they didn’t have room for it this year, they could save it for the inevitable Stump by Stumpwest festival. This is the song “Tomorrow May Take You,” which will be on The Ghost of John Henry this May.