Written by Patrick McNamara
SXSW is the time you skip creative intro copy and go straight to the lists.
So this is our list.
The following 14 bands you should really try to see at SXSW 2014.
They are listed below in order of how good they are.
That they are also listed alphabetically is simply a coincidence.
Toronto’s Alvvays are a vvonderfully bright new band that enjoy bringing that svveet guitar jingle-jangle heat to the stage. Think maybe Jens Lekman meets, vvell, maybe Belle & Sebastian. But not as vvhimsical or tender as either of those bands. And oh yeah, I should also mention that Alvvays are catchy as heck. (and oh yeah, I knew from the beginning that I was going to end this short band description with “Alvvays are catchy as heck” - that was alvvays the grand finale.)
I’ll be honest. I don’t know if this band is going by Bad History Month or Fat History Month these days. There have been conflicting reports. Wikipedia mistakes have been made. It seems like their name should be Bad History Month rather than Fat History Month. But you know what? I don’t care. When you’ve got good crunchy grunge-y guitars with a little eccentro-pop bend to ‘em like these guys have, they can call themselves Giggle Cuddly Nerd Ghost and I’ll still be first in line to buy.
These punks were on our list of The 13 Bands You Should Try To See At SXSW 2013. And you didn’t see them, DID YOU!?!?! Just kidding. I ain’t mad. I’m just giving you a second chance to start the first day of the rest of your punk rock life. You want to miss Big Ups again? That’s totally chill. And by the way, I’ll SEE YOU IN HELL. (jk bb boo boo this is a good band tho u kno!)
Gainesville's Frameworks are either really pissed or really happy. Sometimes such massive noise and melodic aggression means the makers are mad as hell and aren’t gonna take it anymore! Or it means this is how I like to relax and unwind after a hard day in an endless string of them. I don’t know. Listen. You tell me.
These Toronto punks played our CMJ show last October. And they shredded the place out. Greys like it loud and melodic and heavy. And they’re not into stages. They opt to blast you from the floor. And as you’re being pummeled you’ll say, “Thank you, Greys! May I have another!” Because this band hurts so good. So good it hurts. File Under: pleasure pain. File Under: file under.
In summation, loud fuzzy sludge punk pop from San Francisco that’s super likeable is something we ALL can agree upon. (polite applause) Thank you. (sits down)(later receives C+)(doesn’t get into college)(starts music blob instead)
Just listen to this song. And you tell me - YOU LOOK ME IN THE EYE AND TELL ME - that you don’t want to see this band sing that for you live. You don’t think that will be the best goddamn night of your life?
Philadelphia’s Nothing are a loud (and sometimes slightly sinister sounding) shoegaze band that swirls toward a noisy sort of musical transcendence. And if that description sounds too farty arty and stuff - the band was once described by frontman Domenic Palmero as sounding like “sticking a chainsaw into a fresh mound of dirt.” So that’s something.
This excellent indiepop shoegaze drill-sound band has been around for a few years now. I believe they were the winner of the Emerging Alts competition at SXSW in, like, 2010. Give or take a year or two off either end there. But The Pains haven’t played much lately. And I’m excited to see them again…... because they are good…. and that’s why they made this list…... amen.
Let me get my notes here. Hang on. OK. I’m back. Oops, almost forgot my glasses. OK. I’m really ready for you now. It says here that Perfect Pussy won the Blobby Buzz Buzz Blob Blub Award at last year’s CMJ festival. Blobby Buzz Buzz Blub Award? Does that mean anything to you? It’s my own handwriting, I can see that, but I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. It also says at the end “#punker #rocker #faster! #faster!! #faster!!!” I swear I can’t make this stuff up.
Remember when I was talking about how Greys played our CMJ show last year (I know humblebrag right?) and how they shredded up the place? Well, that was all true. But before Greys played - PUP also shredded up the place. I don’t know how they managed to get everything back together in time for Greys to shred it up again - I was “getting some air” out front - but they must have figured out a way to do it - because I saw that room shredded - twice.
This man is too talented to still be somewhat under the radar. I guess people just aren’t ready for well-constructed well-written songs sung by a true original troubadour. But those people are on the wrong side of history, friends. Go see Sean Nicholas Savage so someday you can say you did.
Fuzzy goth pop for people who don’t like fuzzy goth pop - because I think that might not be something that exists. These five ladies from Dublin play it though. Pretty sure. Don’t quote me on it.
Super lush ‘90s alt rock. But, like, now.
SCREW IT I’M ADDING A 15TH BAND EVEN THOUGH IT MESSES UP THE CUTE 14 AND 2014 BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE I HAVE #PUNK #ROCK #ETHOS...
….and because I can play this clip again. It’s like, how are you just gonna go throw your son off a cliff, Moms? His own moms just lets him go? I know he was no good and all. But still. That shit ain’t right. He was your son, Moms. Your SON.