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NME Radar at SXSW 2011 - Heavy Cream, Turbo Fruits, and err, tattoos...

By Laura Snapes

Posted on 21 Mar 11


Heading into Austin on the Sunday of SXSW - when the official festival has ended - is somewhat akin to stumbling onto the set of the indie installment of 28 Days Later. The layers of posters that littered the pillars outside the convention centre: stripped away. The previously bustling 6th Street: without trace of human life. The few casualties you do spot mumble incoherently about seeing Kanye and Jay Z last night, or the riot that took place during Death From Above 1979's secret reunion show. The only bunker of remaining life is up at Beerland, a dive on Red River, where the official Panache hangover party is in full swing, everyone forcing themselves to take advantage of the last chance to swig Pabst Blue Ribbon at 1pm before heading back to civilsation tomorrow.

The first band I caught was Heavy Cream, a four-piece from Nashville, Tennessee. Their debut was produced by Jeff The Brotherhood's Jake Orrall, out on Infinity Cat - the label belonging to the boys formerly of Be Your Own Pet. It'd be all too easy to compare the four-piece to BYOP - they're fronted by Jessica McFarland, a tiny blonde fireball who snarls about deadbeats and boys being shitheads - though they've a meaner streak to their breakneck punk manglings that makes their guitars sound as though they're being amplified through a rusty old exhaust pipe.

Here's them kicking out the cobwebs...

...and a quick chat with a knackered Jessica afterwards.

Next on were Turbo Fruits, also from Nashville. BYOP's Jonas Stein fronts the four-piece, made up of four gnarly dudes whose rawk hair recalls a time when it was okay to say things like "gnarly dudes". Put it this way: I could smell them from where I was standing to film this video...

From that point on, the fare on offer at Beerland started to drag. The only other decent show - Shit And Shine, Dylan Ettinger - was miles away on 53rd Street. So what to do on a quiet Sunday at SXSW? Get tattoos, naturally. Earlier in the week, my roommate - BBC Radio 1's Jen Long - and I made a drunken pact to get tattoos at the end of the week. It came to the crunch, and we only went and did it...

Jen wanted to get the white horse from Deftones' 'White Pony' album, with "I'm your passenger" written underneath. She had hers done by an awesome guy called Jim, who used to hang out with Thurston Moore and smoke weed with Butthole Surfers - he recounted one time when Joey Ramone joined in the fun, but he was too drunk and stoned to talk. If you want anyone to give you a tattoo, it's this guy...

Here's Jen casually checking her Twitter whilst getting inked...

My drawer at work is full of Post-It Notes covered in various permutations of triangle-y designs that I fancied getting tattooed, so I finally did it. I had mine done by a man who introduced himself as Curtains, possibly owing to his enormous twiddly moustache. I think Jen got the better deal. I did not look quite as cool as Jen whilst getting mine done, so here's the aftermath.

Sorry mum.


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