Monday, January 26, 2009

MP3 Monday: One-Eyed Doll, Kalu James

Artist: One-Eyed Doll | Album: Monster

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dollOne-Eyed Doll is easily one of Austin's most entertaining live acts, but it's the off-stage backstory most people don't know that makes this duo compelling beyond the face-slapping, drum-crashing rock-n-roll theatrics. Luckily, there are hints in the music. "Pao", the Mandarin verb for "to run", is about the year-and-a-half guitarist/vocalist Kimberly Freeman spent in hiding from the Chinese government in a village in mainland China. No kidding. Long-story-short: Freeman signed up to teach English to Chinese children but shortly after she arrived in China the agency she was to work for was busted for vague and never-fully-explained "crimes against the state". Fearing for her life, she ran. She ended up in a village teaching English under a pseudonym. A year later, she fled the country under the cloak of the SARS panic of 2002-03. She had never played her music professionally before the ordeal but decided, when she made it back to the States, that life was too short not to follow your closest-held dreams. I'll let you decided whether or not to believe the story. For me it's the lesson, not the details, that matter.

Watch the official Pao music video here, directed by New York videographer DavidJr. About the video:
Pao was filmed in the shower of my trailer from when I lived in a trailer park in South Austin. One of those fancy indoor ones. The entire song was filmed in maybe five to ten minutes, and completely in the shower/tub. My mic (the shower nozzle) was flicking water all over the trailer while we were filming, and it was freezing cold! It came unscrewed at one point and got me so wet. We made a point of filming this video after a One-Eyed Doll show, so my make-up would be all smeary and gross. I was totally out of it at about 5:30AM when we started. I don't think any of us slept that weekend.
-- Kimberly Freeman

Upcoming One-Eyed Doll shows:
Fri 1/30 Stubbs
Sat 2/14 Room 710
Thu 2/26 White Rabbit (San Antonio)

"Austin Bound"
Artist: Kalu James | Album: Dim the Lights

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kaluSinger-songwriter Kalu James brings us a second song about journeying to a new place, though his story is a bit more relatable than facing exile in a Chinese village. Kalu, who was born in Nigeria but came of age in upstate New York, has a story many of us can relate to in today's nomadic age of going to school in one city then moving to another after graduation. "Austin Bound" is about outgrowing your surroundings. Not that you don't love your town or city. You do, but you realize that if you're going to accomplish your dreams you're gonna have to move. Literally and figuratively. Kalu's lyrics capture the hopes and anxieties young people feel about leaving home to take on the world. So far, he seems to be doing pretty well for himself in terms of finding friendship, camaraderie, and a home in the Austin singer-songwriter scene.

Upcoming Kalu James shows:
Tue 1/27 Speakeasy
Thu 2/5 Apple Bar
Fri 2/6 @ Momo's
Wed 2/18 @ Antone's

LYRICS for "Austin Bound"
I'm Austin bound, got my feelings checked at the door
Austin bound, don't know if she's gonna accept me
See I got this feeling in my heart,
That somewhere, someone's calling me
Gotta save the eruption in my soul

I'm Austin bound got my eyes set on the price,
The time is now, gonna do MEEEE
Please oh please, car don't die
We got more hundred miles to cruise
I'm Austin bound, got my eyes set on the price

This city is filled with hopes and dreams
Vision and a chance to life
I don't know, i don't know
If she's gonna take, Good Care of me

I'm Austin bound, in debt but oh so High
This city holds the keys to my dreams
See mama, I'm in a better place right now
The strength I have is because of you

Austin Bound, guitars, computer, some clothes, TV and a friend
I know I've left so many
But you're always in my heart
When I come knocking on this door, remember this sound
The strength I have is because of you

I miss my friends, miss my life,
Everything that makes me, me
But I know, I know
She's gonna take, Good Care of me

Don't worry about me, I'll always be fine
Keep praying for me and I'll always do fine
Cos I got this funny way, I get myself outta shit
The strength I have is cos of you
Cos I'll always be fine