Hello, thank you.

I am Matthew Bates. Somewhere along the way, many years ago, my nom de guerre became Mat Diablo. Silly, I know. I am professionally interested in the creation, discovery and consumption of music and radio content. I am personally interested in classic motorcycles, anything snow-related, family, and churros.


Entries in Music (4)


The best of 2011- this is a list.

Click through to read my highly subjective list of the Top 25 Songs of 2011.

Click to read more ...


SXSW 2011 Wrap up

My trip to SXSW 2011- with my place of employ, Slacker Radio- is a wrap, and the music portion was not without it's share of incidents, accidents, and legitimate questions about it's size and purpose. That said, I had a blast, and more importantly, we did some great business and got a ton of work done. I am pretty sure that is the ostensible purpose for members of the "music business" to attend...right? This was my 8th year at SXSW, my 3rd with Scott Riggs and the Slacker Radio crew, and I must say- I found it exponentially more fulfilling to actually create content rather than stumble around from place to place for 4 days.

My primary objective at SXSW this year was creating content for the Austin 2011 radio station that we have curated and programmed in conjunction with FILTER mag and many other fine companies/products. We had an awesome broadcast setup at the Cedar Street Courtyard. Over the course of 4 days, we interviewed ~50 bands there, and that content is making it's way on to this radio station as fast as I can produce and load it.

So- if you didn't make it to SXSW music this year, or you just want to relive the experience, check it out here:



New content is being added daily- please enjoy! And while you have this station and it's free music as a soundtrack, I've put together a brief "best-of" SXSW music 2011 list...

Best planning:

Catching the earliest flight possible out on Sunday morning. In doing so, we dodged the usual hangover-brigade amateur hour, and a bunch of weather-related delays. Easiest post-SXSW flight out yet, highly recommended.


Best sightings:

I happened to be walking by 4th and Colorado when I stumbled upon Jack White playing White Stripes songs acoustic in a parking lot in front of his Third Man mobile record store. After twitter was alerted and that crowd reached critical mass, I went to meet a friend around the corner, where I found him having coffee with Talib Kweli. Also, it seemed like Tyler from Odd Future was everywhere on his skateboard. Only at SXSW.


Best bands:

This is so subjective, I'd be stupid to make a definitive statement here. I really enjoyed Ted Leo solo at the Brooklyn Vegan party. Maps and Atlases and Little Dragon both did several incredible sets as well.


Best San Diego-related encounters:

Far and away, Lesands. They are already gaining a great deal of national admirers, and because they are sequestered in North County, they are blissfully unaware of SD local music politics and happenings. They will break nationally before most of SD even realizes what these gents are up to.

Also, Dynamite Walls. These guys did it right, playing like 30 shows in 3 days at every possible spot, and looked as sharp as ever throughout. SD music dude (and sometime-Slacker Radio contributor) Andrew Rowley was on the road with these guys documenting the entire experience and putting up daily video recaps. Very, very cool, and very, very smart.

The Burning Of Rome came through with Sammi Skolmoski- my former co-host on the 91-ex Morning Show. They had a high-profile showcase at Maggie Mae's, but they did everything DIY style, going so far as to set up a generator-powered street set before the police shut them down.

Finally, Cults. They played the day show for FILTER mag, and even though they are based in Brooklyn now, they come from Hillcrest and La Costa, respectively. Good catching up there.

Honorable mention goes to O-official San Diego ambassador and all around good-dude, who hooked us up with J Mascis, and Tim Pyles, who looked like a 10 year old on Christmas morning every time I saw him. And of course- Fran and the dudes from Spy Optic.


Best food:

Forget the tourist trip to Salt Lick or any other obligitory BBQ-related excursion- Ranch 616 has become an official Slacker Radio tradition. Best food, best desserts, and craft cocktails on par with the best of the Austin mixologist scene. Dude, fried pie? Insane. I watched our SVP eat a huge rib-eye with a fried egg on top and two cheese enchiladas underneath LIKE A BOSS.


Best discovery (non-music)

We found the elusive spot where all the empty cabs queue up, even during the peak of 6th street insanity. If you ask nicely, I'll share this magical spot with you. You'll never be stuck waiting for a cab again...it was like finding a mythical beast in the wild.


Best bait and switch

I interviewed the guys from The Knux on Friday. They were awesome, and I am a fan of what they do. After the interview, they said something to the effect of "that was awesome, do you want a T-shirt, dude?" to which I replied "sure!". Shortly after, one of the dudes from their crew came up and handed me a shirt, to which I said "thanks!". He looked at me funny and said "yeah...for you, 10 bucks. Normally 20 at the show". I had no intention of buying any t-shirts at SXSW, but I ended up with one...


Best "dodged a bullet" moment

When I was 16, I had 300$ and an idea for a tattoo. I went to a tattoo shop and fed them a line about how I had just moved to Tahoe and didn't have my ID yet, but assured them that I was 18 and ready to get a tattoo. They believed me at first- going so far as to set up the machine and stencil out the tattoo. Just before we got started, the dude got cold feet and told me to come back when I got my ID- he even offered to knock 50$ off when I came back for the inconvenience.

Of course, I didn't go back, because I was 16, not 18. If I had received the tattoo that day, it would have looked like this, on my forearm:

Given what happened at the Screeching Weasel show this year, I probably wouldn't have been very popular for a few days. Little did I know how fortuitous that day was.

Special thanks to the peeps at FILTER mag,  Asics/Onitsuka Tiger and Blue Microphones for the good times.

So, see you in Austin next year?

Questions/Comments? Holler at me @matdiablo.


On quarterly musical obsessions (UPDATED)

I have a pretty solid track record of identifying and presenting musical trends, more or less. It was even the foundation on which I made my living for many years. Im not infallible...I have been very wrong in the past, but I have also been very right.

That said, as I get older- I am less inclined to immediately jump up and proclaim every interesting piece of music to be the next big thing. It's more of a quarterly thing... four or five times a year I find my new favorite song, and I subsequently spend the next few weeks feverishly evangelizing for it.

So far this year i've had 3 new favorite songs.

The first was Empire of the Sun- Walking on a Dream




Then there was Camera Obscura- French Navy

And now... there is Mpho. Her song is called Box N Locks.

Watch video here. (why on earth would you disable embedding with a new artist?)


80's aficionados will immediately recognize the sample from Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins.

Mpho is one Mpho Skeef...from the UK by way of South Africa. Martha and the Muffins gave Mpho full clearance to use the sample, which is not only unusual, but also very smart. The commercial placement and licensing potential of the new version of this song is limitless. I have to imagine that music supervisors worldwide are currently recognizing the potential in this song.

Additionally, its a total summer banger. Does this mean you'll hear it on your local terrestrial radio outlet? Unlikely, at least in the US. Too hard to categorize. Too edgy for pop radio and too pop for "alternative" radio.

So where does the "trendspotting" tag come in? This song is very good, but its not going to start a revolution. I am predicting a renaissance, however. A renaissance of that sweeeeet 80's flange guitar sound. Seriously. I think that flange is going to be the new keyboard in '10.


That said- I think that I have found my final new favorite song for Q4 of 2009. Ladies and Gentlemen, Brooklyn-by-way-of-Baltimore band Yeasayer. This is the video for their new single- Ambling Alp. It is also NSFW...you have been warned.

Yeasayer - "Ambling Alp" video - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.




On Xavier Rudd...

One of the more memorable live sessions that I have engaged in with an artist...

Xavier Rudd came into the studio on 6.25.09 in anticipation of his show at the House of Blues. He typically plays with a rather elaborate setup, so I was a bit nervous as to what his technical requirements would be.

He showed up with two incredible South African musicians on bass and percussion/vocals, respectively. Turns out they are Tio Moloantoa and Andile Nquebezelo, the late Lucky Dube's rhythm section, so it was a privilege to see them perform in such a scaled-down environment.

He was incredibly gracious, and afterwards I found out that he was grateful that I didn't hype the pro surfer/musician angle too much. The guy just exudes good spirit.

BTW- I didn't know that he was a devoted barefooter.Pretty cool. He played two songs for us:


Energy Song