Whoops!! I’ve been home for a week and I still haven’t really posted anything about SXSW.
I had such a good time this year!! This was my third consecutive trip to what a friend once semi-suicidally dubbed “Myspace meets Spring Break,” and it’s hard to compare the three years since my situation was wildly different each time – going from college radio music director, to stressfully employed while simultaneously managing a band with shows there, to basically just representing myself and a few other non-stressful entities with weirdly not a single one of my bands playing so pretty much all I had to do was hang out and soak it in. Clearly, I am not complaining at the position I find myself in these days.
It was a great week to see friends…with the choices I’ve made in my life (college far away from home, studying abroad, music industry), I’ve ended up with a fantastic network of truly awesome people I consider myself close to, most of whom unfortunately do not live anywhere near my zip code. So this is one of the few times a year where I get to see any of them, and suddenly they’re (almost) all there all together!! It’s crazy. I got to spend more time this year with my A+ Winner of a college friend Ryan Miller, who deserves ice cream cakes for eternity (the nicest gift I could think of) along with his cousins for their hospitality in sharing their home with me. Plus there were of course the dozens of loveable real-life mugs presented by you sweet music directors and other artist/photographer/promoter friends I speak to so often but see so rarely.
(there’s Ryan throwing some darts for Team Polka Dot. We almost won!!)
Okay here’s where I start posting some things that are gonna flare up some google alerts. I saw so many good bands!! A pretty good percentage of the photos I took went up on the tripwire last week (pics of friends are going to strike the Facebook any second now, man I’m slow)…but here were my highlights!
Themselves – doseone and jel KILLED it at the bay area show, @beauty bar on Thursday afternoon. Some other band that was going on later even cancelled so they got to keep going and play a full, spectacular set. Oh man you guys. I could have watched ONLY Adam Drucker perform all day every day for the entire week and not been bored. I dragged Laura from WWHR along and she seemed pretty impressed with me for being cool enough to be into these dudes.
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – the only band I saw three times. The first was the best, at the k recs showcase @ beauty bar weds night – zac pennington from the parenthetical girls (who also played a great set earlier, complete with Marry/”the F word”/”push off a cliff” game stage banter) AND nick krgovich from no kids both came out and guested. omg. He played 5 songs I recognized and the rest all newer, but the older ones included ‘bobby malone moves home’ and ‘I love you creedence’ so I was happy. Sarah Cass and my friend Valerie from college were along for that one.
(that’s from a later show @ Ms. Bea’s, but my best of Owen+Nick)
No Kids – that aforementioned Nick Krgovich has a damn sexy voice. This was a band I’ve been intending and attempting to see for like a year and a half, so this was a long-awaited success. Dude stands surprisingly still while performing, looking much more passive than I would have expected from the latent energy that’s always bubbling through the music. It was great anyway, and I was glad to have Chris from Radio UTD and his friends Rudy and Christine with me to experience it. Also I saw Nick and Julia (the girl on keys below) at a bunch of other shows and at one I introduced myself and said I was a huge fan. It was embarrassing.
Polka Dot Dot Dot-beautiful pastoral harmonies, employing a singing saw and a banjo but more often than not sticking to glorious a capella with foot-stomp and knee-slap percussion. I am so proud to call these Olympia sweethearts my friends! You should ask me sometime about how I first met Jordan, it is one of my better stories. Anyway he is currently running a radio campaign for PDDD’s EXCELLENT record “Love Letter From New Zealand” through Bicycle Records, so if you are a college radio programmer you should seriously get on that. Here is Jordan looking incredibly dapper at a late-night Todd P acoustic jam
And here he is with Colleen and Onyx, collectively ruling at a really great two-day-long house party sponsored by People in a Position To Know Recordings and The Olympia All Ages Project, where I was gallantly accompanied by Jenny, her friend Lydia, Joel and a slew of Mikes.
Yoni Wolf – anyone who knows me these days already knows that whenever this guy crosses my path, he’s going to overshadow anything else I do that day (or week, or month, or year). The frontman of WHY? played a few solo sets, just him on a piano playing stripped-down songs, and when I missed the first one at Terrorbird’s monster day party, I rushed out of the K/tomlab/asthmatic kitty showcase Weds night to pay another $10 to squeeze into anticon.’s showcase at the crowded little room in the Mohawk. It was totally worth it. I got to catch a few Dosh tracks, which were great although I wish I could have seen the stage (Dosh is another musician I’ve been intending/trying to see for years), and then Yoni played “These Few Presidents” and an entire rest of the set of new songs off the forthcoming September new WHY? album. I have NO IDEA how I am going to handle waiting that long. I remembered a couple of the songs from a similar performance he did at the Knitting Factory at an incredible NYC anticon. show in December, so that was cool to hear those again. Anyway basically I freaked out for about half an hour and then it was over. I still couldn’t really see so I didn’t really get any pictures, but here is one that is hilariously embarrassing i-can’t-belive-i-did-that-and-now-i’m-posting-it of me to have taken, of yoni standing with nick and julia from no kids and todd p at ms bea’s watching (Angel) Deradoorian. HA:
Pomegranates – my old buddies are always a favorite, but Tuesday’s performance at the art disaster party @ beauty bar was especially great – the matching jumpsuits and audience-participatory tambourine solos really turned the sxsw kickoff crowd on. I overheard so many people around me that I didn’t know, commenting on how good it was. Plus it was a nice place to run into friends old and new, like my buddies from Pirate!, Erin Chandler who hooked me up with my Tripwire gig before moving on to Dangerbird, and Shiv from WOXY who is such a cute friend/fan of the Poms!
Still Flyin – a supergroup comprised (at least sometimes) of members of international pop groups like love is all, architecture in helsinki, and the ladybug transistor (they also list marky monnone from the lucksmiths and jens lekman as ‘occasional jammers’ on their website)…I saw these guys perform a year (or two? I can’t believe I’ve been in NYC almost two years) ago in Brooklyn. I liked it then, but it was an entirely different experience from this time – what I remembered was a surprisingly jammy band, reggae influence on its sleeve; this week what I saw was a sweet pop group that made more sense considering its members, with claps and chants and singalongs in addition to one reggae-ish jam I remembered from before. Later in the week I met a couple members and they were totally nice. I made Joey from the Pomegranates come along with me after a failed attempt to catch more than 10 seconds of Pete and the Pirates, and he was so psyched.
New Villager-the only band I had heard absolutely nothing about before and walked away super excited about. Reminded me a bit of tv on the radio, performed by 2 guys with synths and bass. Ryan came along and he seemed way into it too, we were both telling friends about them the rest of the week. Album coming soon on the quickly-proving-to-be-excellent twosyllable records, who put on the sweet party at Scholz Garten where I also caught Women and Evangelicals. Also I randomly realized a few songs into the set that although I had never met him or even seen him play before, I’ve been to the guy on the left’s house (basement/loft) in Brooklyn where I saw Phosphorescent and Deer Tick play once. Weird right?? Well I thought so.
BONUS: here is Zach (of twosyllable) surveying his party handiwork like the mogul he clearly deserves to be:
Fishboy-thermals meets mountain goats from denton, tx. HOW COULD YOU LOSE. Plus any friend of the terrordactyls is a friend of mine (I made them write that into an official law, they can’t take it back now). Also Fishboy has a song about a member of Still Flyin’ hating his guts, it’s the first song right now at their myspace. HA. At that fun Olympia house party:
Wild Moccasins – cute boy/girl folky pop stuff from Houston…some new buddies/new favorites. I made Ryan and his cousin Katherine join me for this one…put on at some kind of a school and peddling vegan wares, and check out those stage dressings! Further enforcing the terrordactyls friend law mentioned above.
Gasoline Heart – these guys are old buddies from Orlando…like I’ve known them longer than anybody else mentioned in this whole post (except MAYBE Ryan and Valerie), weird. I was a fan of the band that some of them were in called The Kick that broke up in like 2004. I wrote a review of their record that came out in 2006. They have a line about “New York and LA” that’s always given me a little twinge of maybe feeling like a sell-out for moving to Brooklyn. I hadn’t seen them in over a year, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a little bit like coming home again, revisiting one of my former selves, watching them play and hanging a little after the set. Also they played a show put on by that anti-suicide charity “To Write Love On Her Arms” with yet another old friend, a twangy singer-songwriter named Josh Moore who used to play in a North Carolina band called Classic Case. I love Josh Moore too. Anyway Gasoline Heart is working on a new record for P is for Panda, look out for it!
WHEW okay, so that was the highlights of what I saw, and mostly even who I saw them with and where. Did you like how a bunch of them tied together?? You are so bored!!! In case you’re not bored enough, though, here is a complete list of the not-pictured bands I saw, in order of when I saw them, even if it was only half a song or from-the-parking-lot-behind-the-stage for some of them….all were respectable-to-great, it really was a solid year for music down there:
fight bite, shunda k, franki chan, pains of being pure at heart, vivian girls, pete and the pirates, the beets, josh moore, desolation wildernessx2, dosh, parenthetical girls, women, evangelicals, best friends foreverx2, todd p late nite acoustic jam (too many bands for too short a time to count), golden boots, the muggabears, bearsuit, deradoorian, marnie stern, health, mae shi w kid static, natalie portman’s shaved head, tara jane o’neil, mirah, busdriver, wavves, no age, the intelligence, kurt vile.
Time to start resting up for CMJ!!