Saturday, March 19, 2005

Best of SXSW, The Final Chapter

And, thanks to another day of sickness I'm able to finish this project. This time we'll group them.

The Philosopher Kings

"Workshy Wunderkind" - The Nightingales - Robert Lloyd was one, perhaps the only of the original Birmingham UK post-Sex Pistols punks and this would be a show worth checking out tonight. He's also associated with the Manchester scene (flirting for a time with joining the Buzzcocks and Joy Division) - the influence of which you can clearly hear on this cut.

"Coming Clean" - Gary Lucas with Gods & Monsters - Another major show since Lucas rarely plays North American shows outside of New York. All Jeff Buckley fans should know Gods and Monsters - this incarnation includes the drummer from Television and the bassist from the Modern Lovers. Perhaps one of the most prolific and innovative guys around, he, like Lloyd rarely gets enough love.

"Brother Jim" - Johnny Dowd - One of those originals that's been scruffing about writing scuzz-lit songs. Not as disciplined, if that's possible to say, from previous stuff I've heard - he seems to be embracing the Haze's early approach to production.

"Wildfire" - Michael Martin Murphey - No, this isn't a joke. I had totally forgot about this song that made it big during the John Denver-Pure Prairie League era of Top 40 radio. Brings back memories of 5th grade girls who had horses on their notebooks and would write out the lyrics to this song inside. I'm surprised Murphey would offer this for free since its his one hit. His shows are said to be in the cowboy storyteller vein if you are in the mood for that sort of stuff.


"Filamented" - Timonium - A sort of slow-core mini-opera from this under-appreciated bunch. Call it their Bohemian Rhapsody.

"Eyelashes" - The Panda Band - Recalls Flaming Lips with a less restrained hand on the synth controls.

"Identical" - The Winter Pageant - Not suprisingly, they appear on the same bill as Timonium. Sigur Ros, Death Cab, Snow Patrol are all invoked. Very crisp production right down to the bells.

"Eyes Wide Open" - Hot Young Priest - It's only been a year but Fiery Furnace sound-alike bands are popping up all around the place. If you ran a voice print of Eleanor against this singer, you'd probably get a 100% match. The band and songs are more traditional with an almost No Doubt feel at times.

They Rawk!

"Why Did I Listen to You?" - NRA - Get into Rollins stance, boyos - this Dutch band is gonna teach us how to rock again.

"zebra" - Man Man - Another cut from this enigmatic band complete with dog barks, marimba, jazz trumpet and what sounds like a snakecharmer. This could have very well fit into the the above and below categories.

It Came From The Garage

"Astral Man" - The Gore Gore Girls - 3-chords, 50's Sci-fi lyrics, fuzzed out guitar, a hooky chorus - how can ya go wrong.

"That Beast" - Faceless Werewolves - A bookend to the previous song. Maybe we can get a rumble going between the two bands.

"Unless" - Outrageous Cherry - Psyche fave. The band consists of two guys in their 30s and 40s and two pretty young girls in their 20's. Yeah, rock and roll!

Girls With Guitars

"how shall i love thee" - Rose Polenzani - Liz Phair's long lost guttermouthed sister. Impressive home recording skillz in play here.

"Not Going Anywhere" - Keren Ann - An MP3 blogger sweetheart (they wish) - this file has been available for awhile but makes for a nice late night tune.

"the littlest birds" - The Be Good Tanyas - Has that Cocorosie two-females-with-different-voices vibe but as if they grew up with Paul Simon instead of Suckdog.


"semaphore" - Jakob - Emyreal pop construct in search of lyrics. Recalls that Malaysian psychedelia I was blogging several months ago (Furniture). No surprise then that they are from New Zealand... - trust me, give it some time to build, it's got a great payoff.

"The Shining One" - Black Sun Ensemble - 10 minute long Middle-eastern blanket jam.
And Finally...the last song...

"Demographic" - Hard Place - Why not leave on a down note? A bracingly cold bucket of cynicism puts things in perspective. Sounds like something Tin Huey might have written after their major label experience and then given to Sparks to record.

Final thoughts: Whew! There's a lot of good music here and I've got a handful of bands that I'm going to add to my collection and keep an eye out for if they come to my region. I'm not a fan of all of it - a bit too much country and I'll be weeding out my library for the next few weeks of some of the rap and metal. If you were at SXSW and saw any of the bands I wrote about, I'd like to hear about it. And as usual, if I missed something (there were some good cuts here that I just couldn't get inspired to write about), just throw a word or two in the comments - I have thick skin. I'll get back to the vinyl after a little break.

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