Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Best of SXSW 2006 (F-G)

Well, there's a second bit-torrent out - bringing the total to about 900 MP3s - incredible especially considering that many bands didn't even submit audio. I remember when you could advertise the entire SXSW line-up on a single postcard!

So far my I've culled about 100 from the first 700 or so. Here are the "five star" selections but there were plenty of "three star" songs that I'm holding onto but just weren't noteworthy enough to include here.

In this group for instance, that second tier of songs included stuff from Fires Were Shot, First Nation (Animal Collective fans may like this band), The Femurs, The Foxymorons (recommended by a reader as well), Gorch Fork (they have better songs elsewhere), The Gossip, Grand National, The Glass Family and about a dozen more. And on a slightly lesser account, Gerbils, Forward Russia and The Gun Shys. All good stuff just nothing that really inspired me to write.

Although they don't have an MP3 up, one thing I noticed is that Glass Eye, an 80's Austin band, are doing a reunion at SXSW.

F for Fake - "Rome" - Charley Roadman (Evergreen) takes inspiration from travel in this Wilco-ish soft boy song. Lyrics sublime: "In Prague / we saw the basement discotheques / where the SS used to rest / and now all the schoolgirls are taking X / dancing through the Gateway to the West." This song alone interested me enough to purchase his latest record.

Faith Kleppinger (pictured left) - "Pickup Blue" - On the surface, this is a f-u postcard to a former boyfriend but Kleppinger's slightly throaty voice is what grabs you, then the comparisons to Yo La Tengo come next. Kleppinger writes copy for CNN's Headline News as her day job - I always find musicians' day jobs to be a trip.

The Flairz - "Rock and Roll Ain't Evil" - Rock and Roll IS evil and these pre-pubes (pictured right below) will someday learn that awful truth -- perhaps they'll even meet a record executive or two in Austin. The Ramones were perhaps the most evil rockers of them all and they appears to be The Flairz's role model. Which is pretty damn encouraging for us old fogies (our local DC pre-pube band Lemonheads seem to emulate Green Day, yecccch). But then they probably wrote this song for their parents in the first place.

Flip Grater - "Bedside Table" - Cat Power can't play at SXSW this year (in fact, it sounds like she won't be playing this year at all) so you'll just have to make do with this Kiwi stand-in. Very much like early Chan "learning to play my guitar" Marshall. Everytime I hear her name, though, I think about my first job, flipping burgers and grating cheese.

Flogging Molly - "Seven Deadly Sins" - Anyone up for Irish punk fucking pub pirate rock? As a proud son of the Flanagan clan, I fucking well am. Hand me that Guinness, love. They encourage stage diving, so go for it.

The Freak Accident - "Chinese Phrasebook" - Oh, bitch, this song is too cool for this Earth. On the lam from Victim's Family, Ralph Spight makes about a half dozen walls of noise-skank simultaneously.

Friends of Dean Martinez - "Cabeza de Mojado" - I don't like to parrot back what their liner notes say but "parched ambiance" is a great description of this epic desert instrumental. If Alex Cox ever does a sequel (or remake) of Straight to Hell, this is the band to be playing in the bar. "Go boil yer 'ead!"

Funeral Diner - "Collapsing" - This isn't that bad of a song but there were better songs in this bunch that didn't make the cut. I call it epic screamo (or as they say in their snotty liner notes: "what some have tagged 'screamo...'") served up with all the fixings. But I just wanted to point out what has to be one of the worst band names of recent history. If there was a Funeral Diner, what would they serve? Would it be attached to a funeral home or would it be in a giant hearse? Or are they referring to a person who eats food at funerals? Tsk, such bad manners, that. Or is this some sort of witty reference to cannibalism? Wouldn't Funeral Dinner be a better name?

Gena Rowlands Band - "The Last Words of Lesley Gore" - For awhile DC had the B-list celebrity band name market cornered what with Edie Sedgewick, Adam West and the Gena Rowlands band but rumor is that Bob Massey has finally gotten disgusted with the DC scene and moved to L.A. which is yet another big minus for this city. First Ariel, then Bob. Guess he means it when he sings here, "gonna leave this party now." But hey, Monopoli are playing somewhere tonight, so like buck up.

Gingerbread Patriots - "Wax Lips and Hummingbirds" - The fey indie pop lyrics and the random electronic beats aside, this song pulled me in with the nearly inaudible "ah ah ah ahs" that come between the verse and the chorus.

Girls from Hawaii - "Flavor" - They're from Belgium, their band name references Hawaii and they sound like American indie power chord pop. Warning: drum machine.

Goldenboy - "Summertime" - Wow, this guy has indie cred - not only was his band named by Elliot Smith but he's got the dead guy playing on this latest album. He's got the sweet California pop thing down so far, I wasn't sure if I was listening to Seals and Croft at first.

The Grates - "Sukkafish" - I jumped on their "Trampoline" last year and called them "new wave lo-fi for hot monkey sex" - although this song is 100 percent different from "Trampoline" - the best I can think of is Alanis Morrisette if she were likable and even more fey. It's the type of song that you want to put on leder-hosen and dance around the living room with the blinds open and a mug of beer in your hand. Not like I do stuff like that. You can stream the four song EP (The Ouch. The Touch.) that this came off at the band's website. Check out "Wash Me" and tell me whether they aren't channeling Lisa Suckdog.

Great Lake Swimmers - "Various Stages" - I've plugged these guys previously in my infrequent MP3 mixes and liked 'em so much I bought all their music as imports before it became available in the US. At their best they capture what I like about Neil Young. Not every song on this their second disc (Bodies and Minds) is a keeper but this song definitely is. I strongly recommend their debut CD.

Great Northern - "The Middle" - They sound like ELO at their least annoying and the Beatles at the height of their orchestral period. Great Northern is part of the The Ship studio "collective" that includes Earlimart and Grandaddy and if this is any indication, they are heads and shoulders above those two - and they ain't no slouches (well, Earlimart isn't).

Gretchen Phillips - "In Case of Rapture" - If you hate those smug Xtian bumper stickers ("In case of rapture, this car may be abandoned"), here's the revenge song for your car CD player. Gretchen made me laugh outloud last year with her dirty crush song "Swimming" and she continues here in her epic "rapture" - which starts out like a Joan Baez folk-rock strut, switches into a jazz waltz where Phillips suggests "why don't we stay here and try to make things work" and then stops cold to turn into a mock-gospel Dixieland rouser.

As for The Rapture taking away all those "Christians"... If only... if only.


Seb said...

As for The Rapture taking away all those "Christians"...

You just made me think of Luke Jenner & Co. doing a music video a la AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock," throwin' down in a church in choirboys outfits while a group of sextagenarian conservatives try to figure out if "House of Jealous Lovers" is a metaphor for Hell.

Now THAT would be awesome.

Knobtweakers said...

Great post! I'll have to swing by again and try to absorb more of it.