Fricke's Picks: Benevento's Golden Touch

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There are no off hours at SXSW. One morning, hours after finishing a late-night club set, pianist Marco Benevento was in the KUT-FM studios at the University of Texas with his trio, performing the exuberant redesigns of My Morning Jacket's "Golden" and Deerhoof's "Twin Killers" from his delightful new album, Me Not Me (Royal Potato Family). Benevento also demonstrated how, live and on record, he combines loops, distortion and the piano's pure-ivory ring "to accent the color in the song," as he said of "Golden." Me Not Me is mostly covers, and Benevento revels in them: turning Jimmy Page's raga-folk strumming in Led Zeppelin's "Friends" into Indo-honky-tonk staccato; lifting the low spirits in George Harrison's "Run of the Mill" with rolling flourishes and sharp, rhythmic accents. In one of his originals, Benevento puts a thoughtful John Lennon-style piano riff through a cheerful-circus mix of Mellotron, tack piano and fuzz. The tune is titled "Call Home," which, Benevento noted at KUT, "I highly recommend you do today." When you've done that, go to sxsw.kut.org to hear that whole session.

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