I’m leaving for Austin in a few days to cover South by Southwest for the Boston Phoenix. Before I leave, here is a playlist of ten or so bands I’m really keen to see. (All these bands are playing more times than listed.)
Japandroids are responsible for the best show Iâ€™ve ever seen in Boston. Four-chord grunge anthems about drinking too much, falling in love and forgetting about it all the next day inspired the entirety of great Scott to crowd surf and stage dive. I wish drinking actually felt like Japandroids.
(mp3)Â Japandroids – Young Hearts Spark Fire
3/17 @ Emo’s
3/18 @ Yard Dog Gallery
When I saw DD/MM/YYYY, it was like the Blood Brothers vocals fronting Animal Collective’s rhythm. Shit was epic, totally insane and undeniably compelling. Dueling drum sets beat out schizophrenic rhythms deep within whirlwinds of guitar and bass. It had me reeling for days. I’m not sure whats real anymore.
3/17 – Verge FM Radio Session
3/18 Magic Jewels Party
(mp3)Â DD/MM/YYYY – Bronzage
The Black Angels
The Black Angels play droney, psyched-out acid rock that sometimes sounds like the Velvet Underground blown through a shit-ton of post-production distortion, sometimes like the smooth descent into a one-way coma. All drenched in reverb, all slightly reminiscent of a punch in the face. But in a good way.
(mp3)Â The Black Angels – Black Grease
3/17 @ Emo’s
3/18 @ Mohawk
I was recently introduced to Beach Fossils at the Butcher Shoppe in Allston. Their song “Vacation” follows sparkling arpeggios along waves of reverb, above choppy, syncopated drums and a tremolo’d vocal melody. Sounds like a vinyl left undiscovered in your parents collection for the last thirty years. Sounds like something recorded in your kitchen yesterday.
(mp3)Â Beach Fossils – Vacation
3/17 @ Red 7
3/18 @ 2908 Cole Street
Like the Stooges Raw Power, the production behind Sleigh Bells is intended to destroy any and all sound systems it touches. The guitar fuzz on single â€œCrown on the groundâ€ had me thinking Iâ€™d blown my speakers. I was pissed, until the smooth M.I.A. style vocals dropped, rounding out this part club-banger, part basement thrasher.
(mp3)Â Sleigh Bells – Crown on the Ground
3/17 @ Parish
3/18 Mexican American Cultural Center
Bear in Heaven
Bear in Heaven sound like the reasons why people like the Knife, only way better.Â Their most recent release, â€œBeast Rest Forth Mouth,â€ is underscored by chugging, minimalist keyboards that somehow evolve into soaring I-want-to-be-drunk-and-seventeen-style choruses. With a fat, drony low-end, and a shrill tenor lead vocal, Bear in Heaven are sure to kill live.
(mp3)Â Bear in Heaven – Lovesick Teenagers
3/17 @ Emo’s
3/19 @ Red House Pizzaria
Magic Magic are at the point locally where Iâ€™m out of things to say. Smooth, surf-guitar leads, crooning chamber-pop vocals a-la Grizzly Bear/Beach House blah blah blah. Theyâ€™re sweet, theyâ€™re local, theyâ€™ll own SX.
(mp3)Â Magic Magic – Sleepy Lion
3/17 @ Spill Bar
I wanted to not like Local Natives. They play a type of sincerely melodramatic alt-country akin to Okervil River or even Death Vessel and sing choruses like â€œI want you backâ€ and â€œI promise not to lose her againâ€œ and â€œOmg, like so in love.â€ Ok, so that last one was just me being bitter. Still.
(mp3)Â Local Natives – Sun Hands
3/18 @ Parish
3/19 @ Emo’s
By now everyone knows No Age, since they pretty much did for noise rock now what the Strokes did for garage rock in the 2000s. Still, these guys are pretty rock and roll. From their album Nouns, â€œEraserâ€ feels like a summerâ€™s day, all swaying guitars under the sun and â€œTeen Creepsâ€ is a punk epic, distorted vocals over a handful of disgusting, swirling chords. Easy listening recorded at the outskirts of a hurricane.
(mp3)Â No Age – Eraser
3/20 @ Barberella
School of Seven Bells
Since shoegaze became cool again, School of Seven Bells is the band that most effectively captures the My Bloody Valentine sound without sounding like a total knockoff. Their album â€œAlpinismsâ€ has all the shoegaze staples: droning guitars, harmonies swirling in the ether, and a female lead to fall in love with.Â The songs feel effortless, yet could easily score a John Huges film in that same self-indulgent way as M83â€™s â€œSaturdays=Youth.â€
(mp3)Â School of Seven Bells – Half Asleep
3/19 @ La Zone Rosa
3/20 @ Stubbs
I’ll be tweeting fromÂ @musicfloss (IndieMuse’s Twitter!)Â and from the phoenix’s blog (thephoenix.com/sxsw). Interviews with most of the above mentioned to come.