Compared to a dark club full of dancing fans, a muggy Austin afternoon with the sun peeking out over our isolated spot at Joe's Crab Shack isn't the ideal setting for a Debo Band performance. But once the group began digging into "Ney Ney Weleba" — a classic song by Alemayehu Eshete — it didn't take long to get caught up in Debo Band's deep, infectious groove.
Looking at Lindsay Fuller, you'd never guess that the mild-mannered singer-songwriter can harness harrowing depths and howling pain. But when Fuller opens her mouth to sing, every head in the room turns in her direction. Championed by the likes of Amy Ray and Dave Matthews, Fuller quickly established herself as one of Seattle's most exciting new singers on the strength of a raw, powerful voice and her Southern Gothic-influenced storytelling.
Can a song that's about the fragility of life and the struggle to survive make you want to bounce around merrily? Somehow the Spinto Band's new song, "The Living Things," does just that. The song's lyrics that on their own could seem depressing — "true to life and in the flesh / though hanging on by just a thread" for example — are pushed aside by the jangly afrobeat-like melody. It's a song that, even though lead singer Nick Krill's voice wails about how he'll "be no good," leaves you with your toes tapping and a smile on your face.
Sometimes Stephin Merritt's dry demeanor can be misconstrued as standoffish or apathetic, but he was very friendly and engaging when he stopped by WFUV for a live session in Studio A. He played a few favorites from The Magnetic Fields' catalog, as well as a couple of songs from the band's new album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, but his solo, ukulele performances have a different feel.