Monday, March 19, 2012
The Big Beat's SXSW Review
For whatever reason, of all of the social platforms available I chose to update my personal Facebook account with quick, capsule thoughts about the bands I caught during SXSW. Here they are, conveniently cut-and-pasted from four posts to one, with my verdict at the end.
(Wednesday, March 14th)
Caged Animals - ok, but just ok.
2:54 - the band was great, especially the rhythm section, but the songs were bit weak. Too centered around the singer. A long way of saying the music was more interesting than the lyrics.
Daughter - very, very good. Seemed genuinely blown away by the audience reception.
Zola Jesus - wow, really boring. left after a few songs.
Got closed out of Django Django. Wasn't willing to wait in line. Would have made it in but The Best Wurst called.
The Men - rawk! Got venues confused, meant to see Blondes and ended up at this backup choice. Left after one song. Too tired to rock, wanted to dance. Ended up just going home. A good start.
(Thursday, March 15th)
Psychic Ills - stoner rock. Not for singing and dancing, but for laying down and avoiding. Far out, maaan.
Turf War - Sloppy, anthemic post-grunge punk from carefree Georgia boys. No beer left untouched. 4 guitarists on stage, don't tell Pitchfork. Long live rock.
Breton - angular, electro English math rock. Love child of Foals and Errors. They've got tunes. First US gig. Big potential.
Clock Opera - ballyhooed, kinda fey English indie pop band version 19,739.
Capsula - thunderous power trio employs every rock star cliche but with infectious enthusiasm. Stooges-style rock that, surprise surprise, played to the largest collection of over 40 year old dudes of the week. Lousy room.
Letting Up Despite Great Faults - posh venue (Driskill) hosting pleasant LA electro pop band. Rattle your jewelry.
Korallreven - delayed start, chatty inattentive audience ruined this Radio Dept. offshoot for me. Hype Hotel fail..
Alpine - Aussie band fronted by two animated, sashaying females. Quirky alt-pop. Not enough tunes.
(Friday, March 16th)
Electric Guest - charming white boy, doo wop reggae. A li'l Vampire Weekend-y. Debut CD recorded w/ Danger Mouse so, yeah, you'll be hearing about them.
Friends - Brooklyn blog buzz band - odd makeup, like they met through want ads - have a few legit bangers but the rest is kinda meh. Black Kids, anyone?
Tanlines - caught the last half of their last song, damn! Like what I've heard from the record though.
Caveman - moody Brooklyn indie that sits comfortably between The Walkmen and Grizzly Bear. Admit to being engaged in conversation throughout. Blame the free Red Stripe.
Three Blind Wolves - Scottish band. Um...that's all I've got.
The Xcerts - more Scots. Energetic emo/screamo trio that sounds pretty 2003 to me yet still have some nice meoldies and an appealing front man.
The Twilight Sad - can you tell I was at a Scottish showcase? Suitably intense & brooding wall of sound. Stumped a Scottish friend when I asked if they have bands that do anything subtle. Singer looks like Ian Curtis. A lot.
The Hundred Days - San Fran guitar pop aiming for alt-rock radio. Too vanilla for my taste but can see them finding airplay.
Tiny Victories - Brooklyn electropop band engaged crowd by sampling audience members voice and looping 'em into each song.
(Saturday, March 17th)
The BlueBonnets - Local all-female band feat. Austin native and Go-Go Kathy Valentine. Melodic adult pop/rock that went down well with mostly local, non-SX crowd out to take in some tunes. The ladies can play.
Howler - The NME hype unrealistically raised expectations for this *very* young band. Their good but not great debut is a promising start with hints of better to come, but let's leave it at that. Their final show of a long week had both band and crowd taking a while to warm up to each other.
DZ Deathrays - Artrocker championed Aussie duo are a scuzzy punk Black Keys. Playing in an awful room, the rawk sounded like a wall of indistinguishable noise. Left after a few songs.
Big Scary - Aussie duo: she plays drums, he alternates between keys & guitar. Supposedly an up and comer down under yet did nothing for me. Starting set with a lengthy, maudlin number never a good idea.
Dutch Uncles - Natty Brits (might be first wingtips ever seen on stage but the pleated pants...dude!) play snappy Noughties-style Britpop. Entertaining and distinctly British, reminded me of Dogs Die In Hot Cars and Maximo Park.
Ceremony - for anyone that missed out on 80's hardcore bands like Black Flag or the Dead Kennedys, this SoCal band bring the sound back. That said, Rollins could eat these guys whole.
Odonis Odonis - huge find here. Canadian trio rocks hard like Future of the Left doing The Jesus and Mary Chain. Lots of melody buried underneath a wall of noise. Yum!
Clock Opera - 2nd time seeing 'em to ensure spot to see the next band. Caught a little more of the nerviness in their music but dude usually sings in a high register, which is a turnoff for me.
Django Django - Franz Ferdinand meets Hot Chip. They've got the tunes and down to earth appeal. "Default" is a legit tune that could launch them here.
D/R/U/G/S - cool, chunky beats that shoulda had the joint bumpin' but 70% left after Django. One of the more intriguing DJ's I've heard in a while. That's all folks.
(The Top 6 SXSW bands/shows)
1. Odonis Odonis
4. Turf War
5. The Twilight Sad
6. Django Django
Hear a tune from each of the Top 6 on Spotify.