Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Sunday, Mar 22, 2009

Southeast Engine are riding some buzz from their really interesting blend of alt-country sounds, religious imagery, and hints of spookiness. For a showcasing band in the coveted midnight spot, Southeast Engine doesn’t completely have the stage presence down yet (although this was probably hampered by the venue’s tight stage confines), and vocalist Adam Remnant goes into this “I’m in a place far away” mode that sometimes recalls Wovenhand’s David Eugene Edwards. As they offered up songs populated by mysterious women, ghosts, and various temptations and regrets, the band definitely got some speed going by the end of the night.


 


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Saturday, Mar 21, 2009

I suppose dance clubs are the natural home for the Rosebuds now, since their last two albums have fully embraced dance beats and bass-heavy songs. The bottom end-heavy mix at the Parish wasn’t doing them many favors, though, obscuring many of the vocals and nuances of the songs. Still, it’s hard to deny the show’s obvious energy, as a capacity crowd sang along and danced to the band’s set.


 


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Saturday, Mar 21, 2009
Photos: James Edward Crittendon
Jack Oblivion and the Tennessee Tearjerkers

Jack Oblivion and the Tennessee Tearjerkers


The Six Degrees of Memphis party felt like heaven on Earth simply because it took place in a shaded parking lot with plenty of chairs. That the music was consistently strong was a bonus. Jack Oblivion and the Tennessee Tearjerkers offered up some fun, straightforward, slightly bluesy rootsy rock, followed by Cory Branan, who took it upon himself to keep things on schedule. Delivering an overcharged acoustic set (his banter with the soundman concluded with an instruction to leave the buzz in the amps because “I’m not going to be playing any Gordon Lightfoot. Branan was funny, ribald, and aggressive, as if he were reliving the anger in a couple of his songs. John Paul Keith & the 145’s followed with a diverse set of tunes that ranged from blues rave-ups to chickin-pickin’ country to tear-in-your-beer fair to straightforward rock.


Cory Branan

Cory Branan


John Paul Keith & the 145's

John Paul Keith & the 145’s


Throughout the party, bands were exchanging members left and right, so it got hard to tell who belonged in which band and who was just sitting in. Antenna Shoes included Amy LaVere’s guitarist and the bassist and trumpet-player from Snowglobe, as they offered up some very melodic indie rock (the trumpet definitely helped; there’s something about that instrument that makes anything seem epic). Amy LaVere‘s set was short but effective, showcasing one new song and offering up several more from her excellent Anchors and Anvils disc. Lavere’s live show benefits greatly from raucous guitar work, which adds a lot of muscle to her wry songs. Snowglobe finished up the proceedings, playing plenty of older songs and some new ones as well. Snowglobe’s indie rock has a lot of influences, from Beatles-esque pop to Elephant 6-style indie psychedelia to Beach Boys-influenced vocals, so they covered a lot of ground (and as with Antenna Shoes, that trumpet does wonders).


Antenna Shoes

Antenna Shoes


Amy LaVere

Amy LaVere


Amy LaVere

Amy LaVere


Snowglobe

Snowglobe


 


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Saturday, Mar 21, 2009
Photos: James Edward Crittendon

At first glance, there’s nothing so complicated about what the Thermals do. They find a good riff, lock in on it with drums, guitar, and bass, and go right at it. On the other hand, there is sophistication there in the group’s sense of melody and probing lyrics. The Radio Room’s outside tent wasn’t even full when the Thermals started their set, possibly because:


1) The Thermals had played SXSW several times already;


2) This was one of the only showcases at the Radio Room without free food;


3) After two days of nonstop music, 1:15 in the afternoon starts to feel like the crack of dawn.


Whatever the case, it didn’t bother the Thermals, who tore through a set of songs from their strong recent records. Bassist Kathy Foster pogoed and bounced around, and there was a good amount of energy for so “early” in the day.


 


 


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Saturday, Mar 21, 2009
Photos: Jennifer Kelly

Lots of the music at SXSW is about as concentrated as the Coca Cola they sell at the Mohawk… vaguely sweet, see-through watery, and deceptively empty once you discount all the ice. WFMU, one of the oldest and surely the best free-form radio station in the world, doesn’t traffic in that stuff. At their showcase, sponsored with San Francisco’s Aquarius Records, every act on the bill is intense, focused, and compelling. The bands come from lots of genres—spazz punk, metal, alt-country, blues garage, and experimental jam—but they have in common a certain purity of focus and full-body commitment. Nobody here is punching the clock.


Gary War

Gary War


Gary War, for instance, on the inside stage, amps his dream-cave-echoing psychedelia, transforming a wavery, illuminative recorded sound (from the excellent Raytheonport) into something denser and more enveloping. Gary War, whose real name is Greg, played for a while with Ariel Pink and another while with cult psych recluse Bobb Trimble, and his songs have the same glistening sheathe of reverb, the same Beach-Boys-through-a-soapy-funhouse-mirror harmonies. 


Prizehog

Prizehog


Outside, more mayhem, as the drummer for Prizehog has stripped down to his underwear, the female keyboard player on her knees twisting some sort of knobbery, and an unholy sheets-of-noise racket streaming out of the amps. Metal-ish, but not really metal, Prizehog allows long, sustained guitar tones to mutate into space echos and buzz, doom-ish chants to build in slow, nightmarish ritual. 


XYZ

XYZ


XYX, from Mexico, is a frenetic, bass-drums duo, fritzed out with angsty, Lightning Bolt-ish aggression, but with the added attraction of Senorita Anhelo, the female bass player, who chants and shouts and ululates like the Latin chapter of OOIOO.  Her drummer, Mou, is pretty fantastic, too, all clash and clatter and boxy, sticks-up propulsion. “Anel and Her Problem” is straight-out, shout-punk, but other cuts venture into experimental and improv-type sounds. Great stuff. 


Wildildlife

Wildildlife


Everybody in Wildildlife has huge hair, the drummer with his waist-length dreads, the Tad-shirted bass player and curly-haired guitarist, both sporting extravagant, biker-man manes. But the thing is, you need hair for this kind of music, hair to toss in slo-mo, large-scale head nods, hair to hang down over your face as you slam down another power chord, hair longer than a girl’s but twice as menacing, as you lay down pound after pound after pound of ear-splitting, mind-melting metal. All those guys standing in line at Stubb’s for Metallica in Guitar Hero shirts should put down their text messaging and hear this.


 


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.