We don’t engage in too much snark here at Austin Sound, just ‘cuz that’s not our style. But somewhere in the midst of plotting out our schedules and rifling through the thousands of bands flooding into the city for SXSW, our cynicism took over. So rather than simply present the national acts that we’re excited to see and rehash the usual over-hyping bullshit, we decided to take another track. Make no mistake, these are the bands we’ll be going out of our way to catch over the next few days, and we encourage you to as well, but we needed to flush our systems of hipster snark so we could start fresh. So without further ado, we present Austin Sound’s SXSW Buzzkill! We have 30 bands covering this year’s biggest buzz, to the familiar indie powerhouses, to the under the radar groups who we think will make a splash at SXSW 09. Give us your best buzzkill in the comments!
The New Buzz:
Because nobody cared about his debut when it was released in 2007, John McCauley re-released War Elephant again last year. Maybe the third time’s the charm.
It’s nice to know that the American tradition of drowning god-awful vocals with big guitars has reached Australia. Note to the Drones: however loud you play your guitars, they’re still out of tune.
Here’s a surefire model for success if your solo career is floundering - become the bassist for a big buzz band like Fleet Foxes, and then put out their leftover scraps under your own name.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Oh thank God, the world so desperately needs some more fey, male/female shoegaze pop. These guys are gonna be heartbroken when their C86 cassette finally falls apart, and they realize they’re not, in fact, British.
School of Seven Bells
You really can’t blame Benjamin Curtis for leaving his brother and the Secret Machines for the menage a trois with Alejandra Deheza and Claudia Deheza. Too bad he left his balls behind, too.
The Tallest Man on Earth
Who knew that the tallest man on earth was Swedish, and Bob Dylan?
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down
Thao Nguyen looks like she’s 16 and sings songs like she’s 12. Your little sister loves her. In fact, she is your little sister
Titus Andronicus sounds like what Bright Eyes would if Conor Oberst had gotten more punk instead of roots. Which means they’re still obnoxious, whiny brats.
If everyone’s off-key and flat, does it still count as harmonies? Just ’cause it’s called art-punk doesn’t mean it’s either.
If this is “best new music,” we’re in trouble. It sounds like Ariel Pink strangling the Pixies.
The Old Buzz:
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers used to throw down a raucous alt. folk stomp, but then got all sensitive with Emotionalism. In rock, that’s just called Emo; in any genre, it’s just called terrible.
The Black Lips
You know why they call it garage music? Because that’s where you keep all all the trash you don’t want in your house.
Every year we think the Northwest has hit the tipping point for be-flanneled country rockers, but they just keep coming! No wonder Portland is the most depressing city in the country.
Thanks to NPR, the Decemberists are going to be your mom’s new favorite band. But at least you can have M. Ward back, if you want him.
Warner Herzog is going to make a documentary about a man who goes to live with Grizzly Bear in their natural Brooklyn habitat, and eventually dies at the hands of the very hipsters he loves. We predict the cause of death to be a lethal combination of vintage clothes and boredom.
Loney, Dear used to make a sweet kind of folk-pop, but his new Dear John adds all kinds of synth and dance beats. Someone please remind him he’s Swedish.
The Mae Shi
The Mae Shi’s myspace page says the band is “our attempt to grow up.” Really? Well, hopefully your voices will eventually change from that grating falsetto screaming.
Mathew Houck just put out an album of Willie Nelson covers. I guess he was tired of ruining his own songs with his cracked mumbling.
The Thermals just signed to Kill Rock Stars for their latest post-punk album. We can only hope it does.
Vetiver’s new album, Tight Knit, is a lot more poppy their past stuff. Of course, hanging around Devendra Banhart that much will turn anyone off of folk music.
The Coming Buzz:
Apparently South Africa has something against vowels, as well as not screwing up a good soulful groove with psych-wankery.
These guys are actually brothers from the Catskill Mountains in New York. They make good alt. folk, so naturally they moved to Brooklyn. Effin’ hipsters.
The beautiful thing about the internet is that any group of sloppy, worthless kids can turn their pathetic existence into art. Oh wait, that’s what sucks about the internet.
The Phenomenal Handclap Band
If Canada has taught us anything, it’s that the number of members in your band is directly proportional to how awful your music is. New York’s PHB boasts as many as 27. That tour bus must reek.
The Low Anthem
With a name like the Low Anthem, these guys must like oxymorons. Here’s another: Original Americana. Haven’t heard it? Yeah, neither have we.
Calling your dance-pop “experimental” just means you can’t keep a beat. Micachu is kinda like the Blow, except they actually blow.
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
Robinson is TV on the Radio’s most recent Eliza Doolittle project, proving that Kyp Malone can make even a homeless junkie famous.
The latest Saddle Creek release manages to perfectly meld the worst elements of Azure Ray’s Orenda Fink and Remy Zero’s Scalpelist. It’s like remixing depression.
The Rural Alberta Advantage
It should say something about the Advantages of Rural Alberta that the band moved to Toronto, Ontario. The reality of the past is never as good as our nostalgia for it, a lot like the concept of this band.
Everything about this band is like a punchline to a really bad Elliott Smith joke. You know, as opposed to those really good Elliott Smith jokes.