Wednesday, March 12, 2008

10 LA Bands to See at SXSW

The Everest lads

SXSW is so vast, it's impossible to do a real preview. So here's the first of two posts. In this post I'm highlighting ten LA bands that are worth tracking down in Austin (and all the bands sound pretty different). If you're a first time attendee, my overall advice for the festival is to slow down. Pick a few bands that you really want to see, make your best effort to see them, but don't stress. While many of the venues are in close proximity, it's not worth rushing around to try to take it all in. I plan on seeing a lot of old friends, supporting some of my friends in band, checking out a few bands I've been wanting to see and eating a lot of barbeque and tex-mex and drinking a lot of Shiner and Lone Star.
The foks at Do512 have done a great job covering the festival. For other opinions, check out Jeff Weiss' Guide to LA Bands at SXSW .
10 LA Bands Worth Seeing:

1) Everest: Kind of like a Silver Lake supergroup with Russ Pollard, J. Soda, Rob Douglas, Davey Latter and Joel Graves. They make it look too easy. Very appropriately signed to Neil Young’s Vapor Records. See them Thursday at 1:45 PM @ Cedar Street and 7:45 PM @ Copper Tank Download “Trees

2) Le Switch: No official showcase for these guys, but they’ve got a coveted slot at the Hot Freaks party. I’ve been working on writing a press release for them, so I don’t want to blow my wad here. They’re influenced by the early 1970s rock like the Kinks/Wings/Nilsson that I also love. Frankel plays right before them and is well worth seeing. See them Saturday at 1:30 PM @ the Mohawk

3) Henry Clay People: No official showcase for them either, but another local band that I really like. They’re inspired by Pavement, the Replacements and a lot of other fun indie-ish guitar bands. See them Thursday at Noon @ the Belmont and a little later @ Lucky Lounge

4) The Little Ones: After getting signed to the EMI family, they toured their asses off last year. What did it get them? Dropped from the label. With the popularity of Vampire Weekend, their willingness to work their asses off and the fact that they’ve already got a Dave Newton produced album in the can, should make them an attractive addition to any indie label. Infectious indie pop. See them on Friday at 3:30 PM @ Red Eyed Fly and 9:00 PM @ Cedar Door; Saturday at 5:00 PM @ Salvage Vanguard Theatre

5) The Deadly Syndrome: Another band that’s just a whole lot of fun to see live. Their music is more along the lines of contemporaries like Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade. See them Wednesday @ Hotel San Jose during the day and at 1:00 AM @ the Beauty Bar Backyard; Thursday at 3:40 PM @ Antone’s; Saturday at 10:00 PM @ Cedar Street Courtyard

6) Autolux: Noise-pop done extremely well. They haven’t released an album since 2004, so the new one is highly anticipated. See them Wednesday at 11:40 PM @ Emo’s Main Room; Thursday at 5:20 PM @ Antone’s; Friday at 5:30 PM @ Red Eyed Fly

7) Radar Bros.: Dreamy music that reminds me of Meddle-era Pink Floyd. It’s the kind of music I’ve always been able to get completely lost in. I just saw one of their first shows with the new lineup, and it was sped up a bit. See them Wednesday at 1:00 PM @ Emo’s; Thursday at 4:00 PM @ End of an Ear; Friday at 10:00 PM @ the Parish; Saturday at 6:30 PM @ Dog and Duck Pub

8) Division Day: Rohner’s keyboards play a prominent role in Division Day’s sound. It’s hard to pin down their influences exactly, because the four guys are all contributors and have pretty disparate interests. The All Music Guide compares them to Depeche Mode, Grandaddy, Elliott Smith, Boards of Canada and the Frames (?). High energy live band. See them Wednesday at 4:45 PM @ Creekside Lounge and Buffalo Billiards at 11:00 PM; Thursday @ Lucky Lounge; Friday at 4:00 PM @ Waterloo Records

9) Earlimart: Aaron Espinoza’s an integral part of the crop of Silver Lake bands that includes: Silversun Pickups, Radar Bros., Let’s Go Sailing, Irving, Pine Marten and all their offshoots. The good news is that Aaron’s been furiously writing and plans to release another new album this Summer. See them Wednesday at 7:00 PM @ Bat Bar; Thursday at 2:00 PM @ Antone’s; Friday at 5:00 PM @ Salvage Vanguard Theatre and 11:00 PM @ Buffalo Billiards; Saturday at 6:00 PM @ Homeslice Pizza

10) No Age: They’re responsible for bringing worldwide attention to the tiny, all ages, DIY, Smell venue. I’m over 21 and personally like to drink when I go out, plus I don’t have any sort of political issue with the traditional bar/club scene, so I don’t frequent the place (but I know people who do, and I’m sure I would if was in high school or college right now). I find them a bit overrated but you can’t hold that against a band. They’re lo-fi and experimental with hints of melody that occasionally peak through. High school and college kids will probably discover Crass, Wire, Dischord and SST bands through them, and that’s a cool thing. See them Thursday at 1:30 PM @ Mohawk and at 10:00 PM @ JellyNYC Texas Garage and 1:00 AM @ Habana Annex Backyard; Friday at 2:00 PM at the Opera House and 5:30 PM @ Emo’s Outside and 12:30 AM @ Bourbon Rocks Patio and super late @ Lamar Street Pedestrian Bridge; Saturday at 3:00 PM @ Volume Night Club and 7:10 PM @ Waterloo Park and 9:00 PM at Ms. Bea’s

I had to leave some out, but here are some others playing: Frankel, The Watson Twins, Let’s Go Sailing, Mezzanine Owls, The Mae Shi (who are playing about 14 times), The Pity Party, The Happy Hollows, Mika Miko, Abe Vigoda, Ima Gymnist, Anavan, HEALTH, Mike Stinson, Eleni Mandell, Airborne Toxic Event, Bodies of Water, Foreign Born, and on and on and on

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