South By Southwest 2009 New Music Round-up part 3

Yesterday me and ex-Radar Ed Alex Miller had some Mexican brunch then took a cab out of town to one of a chain of big camp, kitsch Hispanic eateries called Baby Acapulco. It felt like where Rip Taylor would go for his Burritos. It had a massive water feature in the middle of the room and gigantic shiny plastic palm trees everywhere.

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Baby Acapulcos

It was some showcase for the Terrorbird/True Panther labels, and we’d come to see Radar blog-featured act, Fol Chen. We arrived just in time to stop bickering about who section lay-out looked better and see Ty Segall play.

He looked like he should come from some weird suburban outpost in Minnesota and make leftfield avant-garde hip hop concerning “stealing my blackened heart-pump moon out of its pawn shop sky”, and stuff like that. But it turned out to be a dirgey one-man band of him and his laptop, making niggling meth-head anti-anthems. He introduced his first song by saying, “This is about a homeless friend of mine who freezes to death whilst fucking his girlfriend in a cardboard house.” He was nowhere near as bad as either of us had anticipated.

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Ty Segall, phwoar

Next up Fol Chen. Now, don’t get me wrong their single ‘Cable TV’ is massive. Like really big. The album isn’t bad either, and in fact, the set they play today is littered with patches of loungey hip-pop catchiness. But look at these guys. I know if the music’s decent it shouldn’t matter, but c’mon… The uniform band look is a tricky one to pull off at the best of times, but for fuck’s sake. What is that mesh design strewn across random limbs? It looks like the background of a ‘lads on tour’ group tattoo an Essex personal trainer called Darren would get with his boys after a Faliraki holiday. Plus, they’ve not even made effort to match their tops and bottoms, let alone match their garms with each other’s. The girl on the right’s mustard/faded yellow combo – Jesus Christ! And the main dude’s tights on arms catastrophe??? Is he a 12-year-old goth girl drinking cider and getting fingered in car park in Brighton? Sorry guys, NME signs off its’ Fol Chen coverage until they hire a stylist.

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Fol Chen, just look at them

We then swung by the Fadar Fort for some freebie beers and happened to catch both We Have Band, who sounded like exactly what they are, three sacked A&R guys using their marketing media training to crudely carve out some kind of vaguely listenable indie/dance crossover. Pretty disparaging.

Women(excellent name, OK band) were significantly better. Palpitating lo-fi indie discord with bounding grooves and sunken anchor tunes. Would have probably been very watchable if that stage’s sound wasn’t so dire, a recurring problem for the whole festival. Note for next year guys…

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Women, well, men actually

Time for another inappropriate venue? You’d have thought so. How about the back room of Fast Folks Bike Shop, right on the other side of town. Perfect.

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You really don’t get much more Wonder Years intro sequence than this shit, right?

Plus, they had an actual keg, with a proper pump and everything and even those red plastic cups. Talk about stereotype tick list checking a-go-go.

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Local Natives at Fast Folks bike shop

I’d been meaning to see Local Natives, who are basically this year’s SXSW answer to what Fleet Foxes did there last year. It’s Crosby, Stills, Fleetpire Weekend, or something like that, sorry it’s getting late. All very earnest and jubilant, life-affirming, driving, and obviously destined for mahoosiveness. Not hurt by the fact they got signed by Coldplay’s management off the back of these string of shows.

Then I went to see Metallica, which, I shall say no more and no less about.

Before catching a few songs of Stardeath and White Dwarfs, they’re Wayne Coyne’s from the Flaming Lips’ nephew Dennis’ band. He grew up on the Lips’ brand of extroverted progedelia, and from the looks of their live show it’s all-too evident. Ridiculous stuff, especially for such early days. They’re stoner drop-outs living the Oklahoma generation-Y dream. The tunes are millenniums of far-flung night sky gazing wedged into squeeky-tight radio moulds. Hillbilly regressive progressives. So good.

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Jamie Margerita, wasn’t actually that nice

Then I found a drink called a Jamie Margarita (wrong spelling, but hoping for Jaimie Margarita is maybe asking a too much) and went to bed.