SXSW, via NPR….

Cheating again! All Songs Considered is a great NPR show (I don’t think it airs here in Boston; I go to the website) and the current epiode is a preview of the upcoming South by Southwest festival (the true March Madness for indie music fans). You can listen to the 41 minute show HERE, and it’s downloadable until the next episode airs. The highlights are here:

Oklahoma quartet Evangelicals are melodic and noisy at the same time. Weird sounds, not there just for their weirdness, it seems. Sleater-Kinney guitarist/blogger Carrie Brownstein kicks off the discussion with their “Skeleton Man”.



Fanfarlo, from London channel David Byrne, a la Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, or maybe they just channel CYHSY, minus a bit of the quirkiness. Their MySpace page has a free download of “Sand and Ice”, a demo they recorded “in the living room”. “Fire Escape” appears to be the single, but I like the flipside, “We Live By The Lake”.



Troubled Hubble gets a nice plug on the podcast, but they’ve been defunct for years. The SXSW story that earns them mention is endearing enough: they drove 18 hours from Elburn, IL to play 20 minutes at an out-of-the-way party, then turned around and drove home. It’s a bit of a shame they are no longer, as the tunes on their MySpace page (last updated in 2007) are quite catchy. Frontman Chris carries on as The Heligoats (skip that MySpace page altogether), and can be seen here in a YouTube clip playing solo at a coffehouse. I like how he takes longer to introduce and explain the song than he does to perform it.

She & Him, bad grammar aside, has an advantage: “She” is Zooey Deschanel (so really, who cares who “Him” is?). Evidently, she’s been secrectly recording demos for years and “hoarding them like acorns for winter”. There’s only one song on their MySpace page, but it’s worth hearing, and the NPR podcast has a snippet of another. Him, by the way is M. Ward, a successful one man band in his own right. Pretty neat website too, plus his MySpace.

She & Him

She & Him

Honeycut suffers the minor indignity of having their name and song title mixed up by host Bob Boilen, but they might be the best find on the podcast. The Bay area trio lists their duties as “beats”, “samples”, “voice”, and “keys”, and they make the kind of music I could be making here in my office, if I had any initiative or talent. Go to their MySpace page to check out “Shadows”, “Tough Kid”, and the one Bob Boilen liked, “Exodus Honey”.



No strangers to the blogosphere, Nada Surf will be in Austin in support of the new CD “Lucky”. Go to the MySpace page for a free download of “See These Bones”, but don’t rush off; stay for the cut I prefer (alas, not a free download), “Whose Authority”, and revisit 2005’s “Always Love”. Brooklyn is the coolest of the boroughs.

nada surf

Nada Surf – Lucky – 2008

There’s more on the podcast, which you should definitely check out when you have 41 minutes and 16 seconds, like Magic Arm (dreamy and vaguely Middle-Eastern sounding), Basia Bulat (like Tori Amos crossed with Dido), Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore (a hell of a lot prettier than you’d expect), and the de facto headliner, Vampire Weekend. I’m trying to be sick of them already but they’re far too much fun. Check this player on their website for a couple of tunes that aren’t being played everywhere, “Oxford Comma” and “M79” (remember, I used to work at M80!)

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend

edit: I should have mentioned that VW was to be on SNL on 3/8, the date of this post. I doubt too many visitors might have seen my post before the show anyway. Alina emailed me after their second SNL song (she stays up WAY too late) to say how shocked she was at their preppy look, which I haven’t mentioned but I thought was well documented. In a wine-fueled discussion of the band with contributor Rick (see Scrod, #31, below), we agreed that it’s a kind of “reverse-Graceland” phenomenon. I don’t know if the Paul Simon reference fits our opinion but that’s another commonly ascribed VW reference, along with Peter Gabriel. What we’re saying is that most bands of white college boys that fall in love with ska, reggae, or another ethnic music tend to espose a false authenticity, singing about strife in Kingston or salvation through Rastafari. VW stays true to their preppy Columbia University origins, singing of Cape Cod, mansard roofs, and other real parts of their lives in Brooklyn, summering at the cape, etc. For me, that makes it more authentic. Granted, I was late to the VW party, but I plan to enjoy them at least through the summer.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Todd R. on March 8, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Hey there; Two other guys from Troubled Hubble play in a new band now called Kid, You’ll Move Mountains. I’m pretty sure they have a MySpace and stuff.


  2. thanks Todd; I’ll check them out. don’t be a stranger!


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