Spin This: SXSW 2010 Edition
Check out the Spin This podcast below:
Drive-By Truckers have been hoisting the Southern rock banner so long that they’ve remade the much-maligned genre into a highly emotional, engaging, and even smart sound, creating rock operas about the Southern experience. The first single from Big To-Do (album number ten), “This F—–G Job,” is another of their patented calls-to-arms that’s equally a fist-pumping anthem and a tear-in-your beer lament. Take a listen below:
Official showcase: Thursday, 10:30 PM, Stubb’s
The band Happy Birthday might have a terrible name—it’s impossible to Google—but their appeal is undeniable. It’s the brainchild of Brattleboro, Vermont native Kyle Thomas, who’s other moniker King Tuff makes pitch-perfect glam rock. Happy Birthday is Thomas’s pop vehicle: their self-titled debut is packed to the brim with hooks and snappy guitar rock without stumbling over the genre’s myriad clichés. The band has been together for only a handful of months, but the effortlessness of Happy Birthday’s sound seems to be coded in their collective DNA. Take a listen to the cheekily-titled “Girls FM,” a song perfectly suited to warm weather and long roadtrips.
Official showcase: Thursday, 9 PM, Galaxy Room Backyard
Day shows: Wednesday, 4 PM, End Of An Ear; Thursday, 7 PM, Trailer Space; Friday, 2 PM, Urban Outfitters; Friday, 9:10 PM, Ms. Bea’s; Saturday, 4 PM, Waterloo Records
Other notable releases:
The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night: The Besnard Lakes’ third album is built around a wall of guitars and soaring, Beach Boys-inspired harmonies. The dichotomy works to great effect; the songs are big, loud, and joyous.
Official showcase: Thursday, 8:30 PM, Stubb’s
Day shows: Wednesday, 4:20 PM, Mohawk; Saturday, 1 PM, Galaxy Room
The Morning Benders – Big Echo: Like many of their peers, the Morning Benders are influenced by the 1960s, but they look to the early part of that decade for inspiration. Big Echo is full of Phil Spector-style orchestration that lends their sweet pop songs a timelessness, but beneath the beautiful orchestration lie mature compositions that stand in stark contrast to the relative youth of the band.
Official showcase: Thursday, 1 AM, Emo’s Jr.
Day shows: Wednesday, 1:30 PM, Emo’s; Thursday, 9:25 PM, Ms. Bea’s;
Balmorhea – Constellations: Classical music is not a headline-grabbing genre, but this Austin group is steeped in antiquated influences without feeling antique.Constellations is another collection of expertly-crafted songs—using mainly piano, guitar, and an assortment of strings—that unfold gradually and grandly.
Official showcase: Wednesday, 7 PM, Central Presbyterian Church; Saturday, 1 AM, St. David’s Bethell Hall
The Ruby Suns – Fight Softly: The Ruby Suns’ worldly electronic sound is the result of lead singer Ryan McPhun’s extensive traveling: he’s a native New Zealander who’s spent time in California, Seattle, and Hungary, among other places. Fight Softly boils these sounds together in a rhythm-centric stew that’s sure to get feet moving.
Official showcase: Thursday, 1 AM, Galaxy Room Backyard
Day shows: Friday, 4:30 PM, Lovejoy’s
The Strange Boys – Be Brave: Austin’s very own gnarly R&B combo brings more country and blues influences to their garage rock sound, culminating in an infectious album of raucous rock and roll and slow-burning soul.
Official showcase: Wednesday, 8 PM, Emo’s Jr.
Local Natives – Gorilla Manor: This L.A. band derives much of their sound from African pop music, which highlights bright, ringing melodies and polyrhythms. Local Natives add to this sound with multi-part harmonies, creating an original and full-bodied musical aesthetic that’s complex but equally catchy.
Official showcase: Friday, 9 PM, Galaxy Room
Day shows: Friday, 12:30 PM, Emo’s; Saturday, 2 PM, Urban Outfitters; Saturday, 4:30 PM, Galaxy Room