SXSW a to z pt. 2: the ‘b’s!

Day two of our picks of the best of this years South By Southwest.  Today the ‘B’s!

Beach House: One of our fave albums this year.  This band is certainly primed for blog mega-hype during the festival

The Bronx:  Pull up a chair, this is going to take a while.  The Bronx have released two albums that define passion in music.  I’ve made my feelings that punk rock is dead, clear.  The Bronx are literally the only band in the world who can say that I’m wrong.  They do it by understanding and demonstrating punk through emotion and style.  This doesn’t mean “punk” hair or makeup or brand new ripped jeans they just picked up at Hot Topic.  When you listen to their music (have I mentioned that both of their albums were on my top 10 album of the year lists?) and see them live (see my top 10 live bands of 2008 list) you understand that nothing they do is calculated.  No show is the same and what happens, occurs because of the passion they feel during that show.  Matt Caughthran’s vocals are raw, angry and as passionate as anything Ian MacKaye or Iggy (Stooges era) ever did.  Joby Ford seperates himself from the other current hard rock/punk bands by actually writing hooks that are incredibly agressive without being “noise” but are memorable without being…..Blink 182.  Personally, drummer Jorma Vik is my favorite.   While most rhythm sections are strictly bass and drums, Vik plays drums that are the punctuation to everything Ford plays on guitar.  He seperates himself from the other drummers of this genre by using breaks in ways that few in the history of drum have had the inhehrent musical ability to think of, let alone talent to execute.  I read an interview with the lead singer of Interpol once, in which he marvelled at his own drummers ability and talked about how his drum rhythms almost seemed to move backwards relative to the tempo of the music.  It’s a difficult concept to understand, but it accurately describes what Vik does on some of the breaks in Bronx songs.  Suffice to say, The Bronx is a must-see anywhere but will be one of the highlights of SXSW.  You’ve been warned.

I will try not to make too many snarky comments about bands showcasing at SXSW, but I feel obligated to point out those that contribute to TDOA.  So…Bowling For Soup?  Really?  According to the band’s bio: “Bowling for Soup (acronym: BFS, or sometimes B4S) is an alternative, comedy band based in Denton, Texas (but originally from Wichita Falls, Texas) formed in 1994 from the ruins of an old metal band. Quoting Jaret Reddick, the lead singer, “we wanted to make happy music”. They’re known for their often humorous lyrics, upbeat guitar riffs, and Jaret’s voice.”

Alternative comedy?  A lead singer who says he wants to make “happy music”?   This band has been miring in obscurity since 1994.  Why are they still happy?  Why won’t they stop?  Many, many years ago I went to see The Ramones play a small club in Detroit.  The opening band was some local metal band that clearly didn’t belong there.  I spent their entire five song set booing loudly.  Before songs, during songs and after the songs.  After the band walked offstage, the lead singer immediately walked over to me and attempted to punch me.  Luckily, I smelled his hairspray coming from a mile away and had my wits about me enough to duck.  The crowd surrounding me seemed to agree with my assesment of the band as evidenced by the couple of guys standing by me (I didn’t know them) who grabbed the guy and literally carried him out the front door.  I mention this story as it’s a fate that might be too kind for “B4S” at SXSW.  Keep an eye out for me boys.

Tomorrow: The ‘c’s!

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~ by toddc2001 on February 17, 2009.

2 Responses to “SXSW a to z pt. 2: the ‘b’s!”

  1. WTF? What about Buck 65? Myabe you were thinking it starts with a $ sign instead. He will be playing with a Strange Famous Records stage shared by Sage Francis and others. I like many of the shows you are highlighting but disappointed that Buck didn’t show up on the shortlist.

    • Buck 65? Here’s a tip that I shouldn’t have to give. It took me 10 minutes to get even a vague idea of who he is. No torrent provided to SXSW, so there’s no way to listen to him on the sxsw.com site. No MySpace page which would allow someone to listen to him. His personal site doesn’t give you the ability to listen to his music. So all I know is SXSW says he’s hip hop. His website says he’s a canadian dj on CBC. I’m stumped.

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