Sunday, March 22, 2009

Four-word reviews from SXSW


So. Despite the new Twitterific agony of deadlines every 10 seconds, SXSW was very good this year. It’s getting harder to select a single “breakout” band, or even a dozen of them. Partly that’s because the festival gets bigger every year — there were 1,958 official bands this time, and who knows how many more unofficial ones — but also because the “breakout” itself was an effect of a more monolithic media era when a handful of critics and publications created a consensus.

It wasn’t an illusion, exactly: there really was a consensus. That no longer seems to be possible, although I would love for a new band to be so great that they steal the show for real. (That would also be a great excuse for getting out of the other 1,957 shows, which get tiring.)

Herewith, all the four-word reviews I wrote for the ArtsBeat blog. There were maybe 10 or 11 more bands that I either didn’t see enough of to form even four words of an opinion, or didn’t think they were worth it. Wow, the introduction to a list for four word items is nearly 200 words long.

  • Daniel Francis Doyle: Spasmatic, atonal, yet precise.
  • Micah P. Hinson: So pretty, twangy, relaxing.
  • Photobucket
  • Gomez: Groovy ... whoa, double-kick!
  • Decemberists: Want opera? Must wait.
  • Crocodiles: Stylish wall of throb.
  • Wavves: Another duo bashes away.
  • Thermals: Sweaty; thanks for Nirvana.
  • Motel Motel: Yowling, exuberant Band-isms: emocana?
  • Two-Way Radio: Homely, cute. Metal disrupts.
  • Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers: That scream is primal!
  • Department of Eagles: In church, harmonies envelop.
  • St. Vincent: Graceful, ambitious. Odd banter.
  • The Wheel: Stark, eloquent Cash echoes.
  • The Donkeys: Mellow; sitar’s potential unrealized.
  • K’Naan: Schooled me re Mogadishu.
  • Dirty Projectors: Omigod omigod omigod omigod!
  • Blitzen Trapper: Lo-fi Americana doesn’t translate.
  • Pains of Being Pure at Heart (at Malverde): Childlike bounce brings smile.
  • Pains of Being Pure at Heart (at Opal Divine’s Freehouse): Too loud; intimacy lost.
  • Telepathe: Tribal futurism? Futuristic tribalism?
  • The Soft Pack: Prefer former name, Muslims.
  • Matt and Kim: They swear too much.
  • King Khan and the Shrines: Unabashed sleaze = rock’s origin?
  • Mi Ami: Tight like a fist.
  • Earthless with J. Mascis: Cathartic waves of electromagnetism.
  • Tinted Windows: Non-obvious supergroup actually works.
  • Crystal Antlers: Overcame double-drummer skepticism.
  • Silversun Pickups: Metallica opener. Shortest straw?
  • Metallica: Slayed. Surprisingly, didn’t overshadow.

Next list: all the bands I didn’t get to see.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Saw Shilpa Ray a few months back. Pretty great show.