049: Astronautalis

by howmanybeards

This is a guest post from the inimitably impassioned Meghan. She’ll be bring us regular updates on the music-world with a Left Coast take from her current home in Portland. To get your fill of music nonsense and passionate rants about New Girl, follow her on Twitter. Meghan is now the 1 of the 2 better halves of Secret Rad Media!

An impromptu, short introduction to Astronautalis.

Portland, Oregon – Wonder Ballroom

WHY and Astronautalis 012

I’ve got a new Wednesday recommendation for you all. To begin, when I try to explain an artist to someone as an introduction I usually use the “If so & so and so & so had a baby” analogy. That has always worked perfectly until this past Sunday night when I found myself in front of clean-cut and handsomely charming Andy Bothwell, aka – Astronautalis.

Opening for WHY? which I was set to attend that evening, I decided to throw some of his tunes on before the show, just to get acquainted. Now let me throw some names at you. First I heard the rising addictive hip-hop beats and vox of recent phenom, Macklemore. Perfect, I thought. Then I heard the grungy southern twang ala Lucero with the added smoothness of a one Caleb Followill. “This guy is all over the place;” I stumbled forward in confusion. More deep beats. Okay, he IS hip-hop. Now synth. Now he is Isaac Brock. Then, wait, did someone put on Billy Joel? What is happening?! And then my brain imploded.

When I came to, I found myself at the front of the stage of Portland’s Wonder Ballroom. Looking up at Astronautalis he explained how he used to be a ‘little British girl,’ later to amend “that was a lie, I was never a little British girl. Everything from here on out will be the truth.” The center crowd, slow to feel him out, finally broke into an all out dance party as he belted through what appeared to be his biggest hit – “Contrails” (which recorded, features Tegan Quin).

Astronautalis ft. Tegan Quin – Contrails

As sweaty bodies and exhausted breath overwhelmed the crowd, Andy asked us to name some topics for the backbone of his traditional freestyle session. Bukowski, drinking tea, being 21, The Walking Dead, redheads, an unavoidable sneak-in of C.S. Lewis, three or so more and he was off. I looked around the crowd as he spit out a slew of words, band building beats behind him, as if this was a poem years in the making. The closing of his set produced gaping jaws on faces of the crowd, as the percentage of bodies who had never heard of Astronautalis inevitably accepted they would be leaving their brains behind at Wonder ballroom this night.

An Astronautalis Freestyle

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