Stairwell Baby: Back from Hiatus

We have had a busy Summer and have not posted in quite a while. We spent the last part of Spring rehabilitating a dog we found on the way to a Grizzly Bear concert. We have gone to a lot of great shows this summer, including Bonnaroo. We want to catch everyone up and post some pictures. We are also in the midst of a full site upgrade. Things should be better looking and we will be adding some new features. In the meantime here is our story of Griz, the dog we found and nursed back to heath. Pictures are included.

Griz Before treatment

Griz After Treatment

Griz’s Story
Over the past 10 years we have cared for over 100 foster animals. Griz is a foster dog that is very special to us. Early in April, the SWB staff was on our way to see one of our favorite bands, Grizzly Bear, in concert. We stopped at a Subway on Harry Hines to eat dinner. As we were finishing up our meal, we saw a brown dog crossing a busy intersection. He was sniffing around a trash can. We looked at each other, and instantly knew what we had to do. We went outside and coaxed him over to us. He was very nervous and apprehensive, but obviously desperate. We noticed that he was covered in blood and sores; and our first impression was that he had been in a fight with other dogs. Using a few scraps of food, we were able to lead him into the back seat of our car. He moved very slowly and had almost no energy at all. We drove him home and placed him into one of our large crates. Upon closer observation, it was obvious he had severe mange and skin infections. We fed him, gave him water, started him on antibiotics, and let him sleep.

Day by day Griz gained strength and energy, but his skin was not improving, despite multiple attempts to treat his mange. Operation Kindness accepted Griz into the foster program and we were able to begin new treatments for his mange and skin infections. He lost more hair, but his skin slowly began to heal. Even covered in sores and blood, Griz loved to be petted and hugged. His wounds were frustratingly slow to heal. We began giving him Zinc supplements and this seemed to help him heal faster. During this time we noticed signs that Griz was quite intelligent. He learned to open doors in our house, and he also started arranging similar items into patterns for us to find. We noticed his habit of eating certain plants outside and catching and eating every bug in site. It became evident to us that Griz had lived quite a while on the streets, and his intelligence and drive were the only things that kept him alive.

He turned from a shy, apprehensive animal, into an active, outgoing member of our household. We have 3 dogs, including a 5 month old 8 lbs puppy. Griz loves to play with all of them, especially the puppy, Scout. He is gentle with her and everyone else. His skin is healing well, and his coat is more full and beautiful each and every day. He is an energetic and loving animal. He is loyal and loves to please people and play with other animals. He is one of the most gentle animals we have ever been around.

Even today, there are still signs of where Griz came from. He has a small patch over his right hind shoulder that he still scratches at from time to time. He will still eat bugs, any chance he gets, and from time to time we catch him nibbling on some leaves. His experience has made him a dog that loves being able to enjoy his life, instead of constantly working to sustain it. Griz will be a loving, loyal, playful member of a forever home, and it makes us so happy to think of Griz in a forever home. Griz melts hearts with his Grizzly Bear Stare©.
A happy ending
Griz has been adopted from Operation Kindness by his forever family.

-SWB

Review: Mikal Cronin-MCII

Haiku
sunshine love and fun
guitar powered poetry
fuzzy poppy rock

Mikal Cronin-MCII
RIYL: Ty Segall, Jay Reatard, Black Lips, Kurt Vile
Pseudo Genre: Garage Pop Rock
Intended for: Stairwell Babies

Mikal Cronin was one of the acts that most impressed us at SXSW 2012. We have been waiting over a year for a new album from the guitar virtuoso since. MCII does not disappoint. Cronin has created an album full of catchy rock music. When rock songs converge with pop tunes it often results in bland schmaltz. The sentimentality never feels false despite the fact that MCII is full of songs about love, introspection, and emotions. There are acoustic tracks mixed in among fuzzy rock songs to create an album that manages to feel both too short and just right at 37 minutes.

MCII is barely over a half an hour long, and seems even shorter when you are listening to it. Cronin has created one of our favorite albums of 2013 and we hope all our readers listen to it. If you want to see if Mikal is your cup of tea you should listen to “Shout It Out”, a track that manages to blur the line between pop and rock and get stuck in your head. You can also listen to Cronin as a vulnerable crooner accompanied only by his guitar on “Don’t Let Me Go”.

Video/music stream links:
You can and listen to “Shout It Out” here:

Here is “Don’t Let Me Go”

You can stream the whole album for free on a Mac or PC with an ad supported Spotify account:

Review: The Joy Formidable-Wolf’s Law

Haiku
Ritzy not Glam Rock
arena sound for the clubs
in your face and ears

The Joy Formidable-Wolf’s Law
RIYL: White Stripes, Frightened Rabbit, Sleater-Kinney, Sleigh Bells
Pseudo Genre: Indie Rock
Intended for: Stairwell Babies

Prior to attending a recent concert by The Joy Formidable, we had only listened to a handful of songs by the band. We had heard of their blistering live shows, and wanted to experience one ourselves. After almost 2 hours of high energy and tightly played rock, Ritzy and the boys had won us over. Wolf’s Law is an album full of the type of rock tunes that 40 year olds claim are no longer being made. Instead of merely stealing from the past, The Joy Formidable build a truly modern rock sound that is lacking from commercial radio. It is surprising to discover that the album is composed by a three piece band. Even live, you find yourself looking around for other two members that just HAVE to be there filling in all that sound.

The starting album track “This Ladder is Ours” is a great introduction to the Joy Formidable sound, and one of the songs we caught live and posted on our website. We are always a fan of tempo changes and “Silent Treatment” is the track that provides a tempo change from the rest of the album. The simple song structure and sparse production provide a perfect interlude in the middle of an otherwise rocking album. The “Maw Maw Song” contains multiple tempo shifts within the track, and is a track memorable for a chorus that is as much guitar as it is words. From start to finish, Wolf’s Law will not disappoint fans of rock music.

Video/music stream links:
You can see the video we shot and listen to “This Ladder is Ours”:

Here is a live performance of “Silent Treatment”

Via Spotify you can listen to the “Maw Maw Song”:

Below are a few pictures from the show we went to:


News: ACL 2013 Line up is out, Tickets on sale this morning

The ACL line up is posted on the website HERE. The tickets go on sale later this morning (5/7/13) at 10 AM CST (11 AM EST). This year the festival is emulating Coachella and is occurring over 2 weekends with identical line ups. The first weekend is October 4-6 and the second is the 11-13. The line up is quite solid with a great middle of the bill line up. The headliners/sub-headliners have a strong “First Wave” flavor with Depeche Mode and The Cure. Other interesting choices include Kings of Leon (who haven’t done anything in about 2 years), Atoms for Peace (with Thom Yorke, Flea, and others), and Lionel Richie. Overall the line up is solid and includes some SWB faves such as Vampire Weekend, The National, Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, Local Natives,Phosphorescent, The Joy Formidable, Haim, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Little Green Cars, and Dan Croll.
The weather is usually a perfect temperature at that time of year in Texas. If you can make it, we highly recommend you attend one of the ACL weekends.

–SWB

News: Bonnaroo Schedule is OUT

Even though the festival is 6 weeks away, Bonnaroo has already posted this year’s SCHEDULE. That gives you plenty of time to think and re-think your plans during those times of scheduling conflict. There definitely are some crowded time periods with similar genre groups playing head to head. If the musical choices are not enough for you, there is also the comedy tent (Headlined by Daniel Tosh) and the movie tent (including The National documentary, introduced by The National). Tickets are still available and can be purchased HERE.
Bonnaroo is the largest on-site camping festival in the United States. The line up is indie music laden, but it covers nearly all genre of music. ‘Roo has artists playing from around noon until about 4 AM Friday and Saturday. There are full days of music on Thursday and Sunday also. For 4 days 90,000 people forego air conditioning, most electronics, and good hygiene to have the most immersive music experience in North America. If you are a huge music fan, at least once, you have to go to Bonnaroo.
For those not interested in camping, tickets which allow you to stay in Nashville and shuttle to ‘Roo go on sale tomorrow, 5/3/13, at noon EST. You can read more about the shuttle option HERE