Nick’s Pre-SXSW Playlist

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 I’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) 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) 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) The Black Angels – Black Grease

3/17 @ Emo’s

3/18 @ Mohawk

Beach Fossils

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) Beach Fossils – Vacation

3/17 @ Red 7

3/18 @ 2908 Cole Street

Sleigh Bells

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 “Crown on the ground” had me thinking I’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) 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.  Their most recent release, “Beast Rest Forth Mouth,” 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) Bear in Heaven – Lovesick Teenagers

3/17 @ Emo’s

3/19 @ Red House Pizzaria

Magic Magic

Magic Magic are at the point locally where I’m out of things to say. Smooth, surf-guitar leads, crooning chamber-pop vocals a-la Grizzly Bear/Beach House blah blah blah. They’re sweet, they’re local, they’ll own SX.

(mp3) Magic Magic – Sleepy Lion

3/17 @ Spill Bar

Local Natives

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 “I want you back” and “I promise not to lose her again“ and “Omg, like so in love.” Ok, so that last one was just me being bitter. Still.

(mp3) Local Natives – Sun Hands

3/18 @ Parish

3/19 @ Emo’s

No Age

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, “Eraser” feels like a summer’s day, all swaying guitars under the sun and “Teen Creeps” is a punk epic, distorted vocals over a handful of disgusting, swirling chords. Easy listening recorded at the outskirts of a hurricane.

(mp3) 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 “Alpinisms” has all the shoegaze staples: droning guitars, harmonies swirling in the ether, and a female lead to fall in love with.  The songs feel effortless, yet could easily score a John Huges film in that same self-indulgent way as M83’s “Saturdays=Youth.”

(mp3) School of Seven Bells – Half Asleep

3/19 @ La Zone Rosa

3/20 @ Stubbs


I’ll be tweeting from @musicfloss (IndieMuse’s Twitter!) and from the phoenix’s blog ( Interviews with most of the above mentioned to come.

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About Nick

"Don’t ask me why I obsessively look to rock n’ roll bands for some kind of model for a better society. I guess it’s just that I glimpsed something beautiful in a flashbulb moment once, and perhaps mistaking it for prophecy have been seeking it’s fulfillment ever since. And perhaps that nothing else in the world ever seemed to hold even this much promise" - Lester Bangs 1977 That about sums up why I write about music. I go to school at Boston University with Akhil, one of the other indiemusers, and we share similar views on music. I just want people to hear stuff. Sometimes I wish I were more eloquent. I also write for Performer Magazine, and play in the band You Can Be A Wesley. And that's me!

One thought on “Nick’s Pre-SXSW Playlist

  1. Dude thanks, I was looking for songs to bone up my playlist and I liked most of your recommends.

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