Saturday, February 25, 2006
Best of SXSW 2006 (A-B)
Well, I can't be there again - maybe when I retire? Until then I'll put together my homemade wristband and listen from afar. We're going alphabetical this year... you can browse ALL the bands, download the MP3s separately or as a bit-torrent (721 total MP3s), peruse the films, buy tickets, etc. from the main site. Just to be upfront about this - there's a ton of Coldplay/U2/Radiohed imitators, hip-hop, metal and pop-punk on the site - not my thing so you won't see too many of those cuts. Go watch MTV.
+/- - "I've Been Lost" - I have three other songs in my collection from this indie-pop outfit, this swirling and building confection is probably the best.
127 - "Coming Around" - Sam Beam goes to Southwest Asia and gets even more mellow.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw - "Portlandtown" - Proof that Neutral Milk Hotel was more than just Jeff Magnum and that Jeremy Barnes was perhaps behind much of the instrumental interludes. From their under-rated 2005 release Darkness at Noon. I caught them several months ago here in DC and was impressed - can't say the same thing of Magnum's "recent" live recording. Live footage currently here...
Adult Rodeo - "Buildings" - I have a general rule about not trusting bands with "rodeo" in their title. And they gotta come up with a better description than a "heavy but clean Buttholes and blurry Townes Van Zandt"... how about The Shins hoedown with The Hickoids?
An Albatross - "I Am the Lazer Viking" - The best tribute I've heard in a long time to Animosity-era Corrosion of Conformity singer.
Andy Pratt - "Avenging Annie" - No, it's not another Sufjan imitator - Andy has been around since 1973 and in fact this cut was a "hit" back then. Think the writers of Godspell meet Supertramp and form a Genesis tribute band - this is the song that comes 10 years later when they decide to branch out into writing originals.
Annuals (pictured left) - "x" - Nice little indie rock piece from the NoCar bunch who also front as Sedona when they aren't doing their Arcade Fire-with-electronics imitation. That's keyboardist Anna Spence in upfront picture (via myspace)
Antietam - "New Parade" - Included here only out of loyalty to what this band was. Boring down-low boogie and a crappy recording/mix. Where's Tara's guitar? UPDATE: Much better online tunes from this band can be heard here.
Ariel Pink - "Helen" - If you have Ariel's latest CD or you've been by his website, you may already have this but if you haven't heard this weird take on the Beach Boys recorded in a crappy 8-track home studio, here's your chance again.
The Arm - "Vile Lives" - I'm sure Mark E. Smith will like it that the kids are imitating him again. And at first I hated them for that but after repeated listens, I'm all over their website downloading everything else they got. Best self-referential line so far for SXSW: "I took a break from the art rock circuit / I took one look around and said fuck it."
Audion - "Tide" - Repetitive piece that perfectly captures the bored complacency and laconic apathy of electronic music.
Barbez - "Fear of Commitment" - Best song so far with a theremin and vibraphone. Comes out of that post-goth Russian cabaret East Village scene that no one else besides the performers has heard of. Really different. They're doing a whole March tour thing and I'm told the lead singer does part of the show in Victorian-era lingerie in case that's your thing. I mean, it's not mine.
The Bellrays (pictured right) - "Revolution Get Down" - Cool Animal House rock. If you saw footage of Tina and Janis rocking and thought that it wasn't such a bad thing, here's your next big thing.
Bexar Bexar - "The Krinkle of Henry's Heart" - Ambiance accompanying a lone acoustic guitar. From the whole Western Vinyl stable that includes Dirty Projectors and Madagascar who were previously featured here in Mp3 mixes.
Black Joe Lewis - "You Don't Love" - Well, he's black and his name is Joe Lewis and he sings/talks like James Brown doing the blues. He's also pretty damn young to be doing this (at least in his 20's). Not so enamored with the mix what with the Elvis back-up singers and the sax overpowering Lewis's sweat-on-the-walls wailing but it's different enough from the rest of the crowd to stand out here. An Austin local, so he's sure to bring out a loyal crowd.
Bound Stems - "My Kingdom for a Trundle Bed" - Apparently trying to conquer the world of indie-dork-pop, this cut is harmonically interesting enough that I'd go out of my way to hear more. I wouldn't crawl over broken glass or anything but...
Brother Ali - "Forest Whitiker" (sic) - A hip-hop Gospel tribute to being ugly as personified in one of our best actors - Ghost Dog is currently chewing up the scenery as this seasons "Big Good" on the Vic Mackey show. "He's is God's fingerprints..."
... and that's about all I kin take for now...
Link: I reprint some pages from Bill Callahan's fanzine Disaster here.