The Oh My Rockness SXSW 2007 Preview!

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The Oh My Rockness SXSW 2007 Preview!

March 13, 2006
It's time, homey. Things are about to get loco. Bake your corned beef and boil your cabbage because it's SXSW 2007 (March 14-18). Every year thousands of post-rock pilgrims make the long treacherous trek from their respective states and countries to the magical terra firma called Austin, Texas. We go for the holy trinity: bands, beer, and Artz. We go to listen, to love, and to get free stuff. We go to see, to be seen ("hey, you're from NYC?!?! So am I!!!") and to once again visit LBJ, the talking cowboy robot. Below you will find Oh My Rockness' short list of bands you should see during this long weekend of enlightenment. If you follow our guidance, you will come out SXSW seeing some great shows and will finally be able to forgive yourself for the musical mistakes in your past.

Walter Meego
File Under: Dancey
Remember when we were talking about DataRock and Hot Chip and how they were two of the few bands that can pull off making happy electro rock? Well, silly us. We totally forgot to mention Walter Meego! We love Walter Meego! This under-the-radar Chicago duo kicks out the seriously cheerful synth jams.

Apes and Androids
File Under: Futuro
Think David Bowie meets "Bohemian Rhapsody" meets Godspell meets Tron, and you're left with Apes and Androids. This young fearsome fivesome peppers their electro-inspired songs with four-part harmonies/chants that surely sounds light-years ahead of 2006. This must be the new shit, because I've never heard anything like it before.

Shout Out Out Out Out
File Under: Dancey
Now this is what a live band should be: two drummers, four bass players, two samplers and five synthesizers. These six dudes rock exciting and energetic electro pop. Shout Out Out Out Out relies exclusively on vocoder vocals, which reaffirms that before anyone did anything, Cher and the Transformers did everything.

File Under: Melodic Metal
Pelican rules! Instrumental, forceful and somehow melodic, think of these Chicagoans as an angrier Mogwai, or Explosions in the Sky on Andro. Pelican play repetitious, almost trance-like, guitar riffs that steadily build into a euphoric atmosphere of hardcore noise with the most subtle trace of pretty guitar lines floating over the top. They pull off the fine line between melody and dissonance, and ward off the instrumental band curse of monotony.

Matt & Kim
File Under: Happy Rock
Brooklyn's Matt and Kim are an undeniably energetic drums (Kim) and keys (Matt) duo from Brooklyn that play super tight, and super happy, toe tapping tunes. hink of their songs as the soundtrack to slow motion summer montage; grinning guys and gals engaged in silly horseplay... a water fight, maybe, full of giggles and romps through sprinklers.

Call Me Lightning
File Under: Herky Jerky
Milwaukee's Call Me Lightning employ a superbly skittish angular sound that propels this punk. But their angularity and scratchy vocal shrieks are nicely supported by melodic overtones that give these songs some feeling. In other words, you can rock and hum to this. The band's riffs sound similar to their label mates The Plastic Constellations, and you can throw in a Minutemen reference in regard to their bass lines, too.

Fujiya & Miyagi
File Under: Dancey
These guys aren't from Japan, they're just "pretending to be Japanese." The trio is from Brighton, England, and Pat "how come you not hurt hand" Morita and Daniel with an L aside, they're definitely down with those sweet electro samples and beats. This is fun disco-Kraut-funk that is catchy and sometimes silly (I believe I heard a "Sock it to me!" at least once).

Beach House
File Under: Hazy
Beach House are a Baltimore duo that play organ and reverb heavy songs that are a safe substitute for tranquilizers. Alex Scally (guitar) and Victoria Legrand (organs/vocals) write layered, down-tempo songs full of all sorts of those subtle electronic pulses that can slowly entrance and seduce the listener into taking a chilled-out trip. Aggressive music this isn't. This isn't a rock-out, it's a space out.

The Big Sleep
File Under: Rock Riffage
The Big Sleep are an NYC trio that plays driving psych-rock that sounds similar to the forever-underrated Turing Machine, or Trans Am back when they were good. This band is extremely tight on the rhythms, creating walls of stunning guitar sound backed by precise percussion. Their songs definitely get a groove going, and you can almost hear each member's pure delight at how well they can rock it with each other.

Dragons of Zynth
File Under: Futuro
This NYC band is gaining a strong word-of-mouth following based on the strength of their insane live shows. Think of their sound as sort of synthy stoner rock from outer space. According to their bio, they take an "audio-physio-psychic" approach to music. Sounds spot-on to my ears. They are currently working on their debut album, produced by Dave Sitek and Kyp Malone, their two fans/friends/touring mates from TV on the Radio.

File Under: Melodic Metal
England's Justin K. Broadrick is the main visionary behind the dark drone-experimental psych-ROCK band Jesu. He also used to be the Godflesh guy (1990-2003), a pioneering industrial band. His new band, Jesu, is a thunderous trio that perfectly executes dynamics in song. Their sound is an epic, layered journey through steady sonic build-ups that often leads to an explosion of distorted noise. There's something both scary and sweet about the atmospheres these guys create.

The Kingdom
File Under: Eccentro-Pop
I really like The Kingdom, even if the singer's voice sounds like Dave Matthews. This new Portland band is bros with The Thermals, with whom they share a similar style of music, although with less emphasis on the punk and more emphasis on the weird. Their songs start off pretty normal and to-the-point, but then they pull out these crazy strings and piano interludes that take it in a completely different direction.

Genghis Tron
File Under: Scary
Here's what you need to know about Poughkeepsie's Genghis Tron (besides the fact that their band name rules). They scream rather than sing, they have an absolutely insane drummer (ok, it's actually a drum "machine" but why get picky), and they're really really really loud. This is a brutal band for fans of Gospel, The Locust, the old stuff on the Gravity, and those who enjoy migraine headaches.

File Under: Pop Hearts
Texas' Midlake play super melodic electro-folk that sounds like Fleetwood Mac meets Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, meets Cass McCombs. Singer Tim Smith also gets a lot of Wayne Coyne comparisons, although he's not as warbled as that guy. Think of pick-up trucks, dusty roads and Robert Duvall, and you're left with Midlake. A very optimistic band, Midlake's breezy songs sway, slide and croon.

The Narrator
File Under: Herky Jerky
Infectious Chicagoans The Narrator play manic, Dischord-inspired post-rock punk that sounds like Trail of Dead meets Unwound meets Detachment Kit. They mix chaotic machine-gun outbursts with introspective arrangements, often abruptly and in mid-song, to create a stop-start whiplash of tracks that could best be described as "tumultuous anthems."

File Under: Good Ol' Boys
Brooklyn's O'Death feature six members who can lead a straight-up hootenanny full of boot-stomping "goth-country" songs. These good ol' boys use fiddles, guitars, ukuleles, banjos, and trombones to get their rockin' revelry started. They list some of their influences as being "whiskey" and "Appalachian mountain music," which is very accurate, but I also hear Neil Young.

Oxford Collapse
File Under: Herky Jerky
NYC's Oxford Collapse play noisy, spazz rock that puts on emphasis on disjointed, spiky guitars, yelps and howls, tambourines, and bass-induced grooves. Fans will see an obvious (and successful) homage to the stripped-down sound of Nation of Ulysses and Fugazi, yet Oxford Collapse also seamlessly incorporate the dancier aspects of bands like Radio 4 and Q and Not U with the "artiness" of Liars and Oneida.

The Six Parts Seven
File Under: Inspirational Instrumental
This wonderfully uplifting band from Kent, OH plays easy-going instrumental music that will definitely appeal to fans of The Album Leaf, Tristeza and Saxon Shore. Six Parts Seven (on Suicide Squeeze) is the perfect band to play at work when that Excel spreadsheet is getting you down, or your emails keep getting bounced back for no reason. They'll help you chill out.

Tokyo Police Club
File Under: Happy Rock
Toronto's Tokyo Police Club play optimistic and twitchy pop with a beat. These four young guys definitely love pronounced bass lines, chants, hand-claps and rapid drums. If that's not optimism, I don't know what is. Be sure to check out their acclaimed debut album.

We Are Wolves
File Under: Dancey Spazzy
Montreal's We are Wolves is the 945th band to use that creature in the title of their band name. A full-out guitar/drum/synth attack, the band's staggering blasts are like Les Georges Leningrad's off-kilter electro tweaks crossed with Lightning Bolt's distorted vocal shouts and Suicide's guitar insanity. Feedback, danceable bass booms and lurching percussion are what make We Are Wolves such wild animals.

All these bands are playing SXSW 2007. What are you waiting for?


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