“If You Must…”: The Swan Fungus Guide To SXSW 2011
Better late than never, right? That’s most-likely because I don’t give a fuck about South By Southwest. In fact, I wouldn’t even be writing this if I wasn’t solicited via Twitter by my dear friend Andy to suggest bands for him to check out in Austin this week. Instead I’d probably write about how last night’s episode of The Event garnered only 4.26 million viewers, which is — amazingly — one million less than the re-launch episodes last week. I think, at long last, this national nightmare might finally be over. Too bad, Sarah Roemer was the odds-on favorite to be my new Gail Simmons. If anyone at NBC is reading this, help me out: I need to interview that “actress”.
Sorry about that tangent. Your’e here because you’re one of the people that actually cares about SXSW 2011. You might even be in Austin. Why. Why? Why are you in Austin!? What do you think your shitty band is going to be written up by Pitchfork? Are you really that impressed by swag bags filled with Wayfarers and designer flannel shirts? Or are you excited by being caught in a perfect storm of hipsters and tech nerds (ass-kissing bloggers, mostly)? Come on, people. You don’t need this. We don’t need this. It’s corporate as fuck. Don’t bands have integrity anymore? TV On The Radio is playing an AOL event. The Black Lips playing a Dickies and a Vans showcase. Yikes. Whore yourselves out a little more, guys. What the hell happened to DIY and independent music?
Alright, fine. You’re not going to listen to me. You’re going to go to Austin and pretend you love it and see a bunch of shitty bands and take home a bunch of free energy drinks. At least have the decency to see some good bands while you’re in town. Here, I’ll help by pointing out a few for you:
– Woodsman: They earned the Swan Fungus seal of approval when I featured their music on two Sunday Mix Tapes, reviewed last year’s Mystery Tape, and ranked that EP the 25th best release of 2010. Described by yours truly as “gauzy, druggy and tribal…songs contain elements that might be familiar to some listeners (Can, Landings), but one cannot simply categorize the band as copying pre-existing styles. A unique and exciting addition to the modern space/psych scene.” Catch Woodsman on Wednesday at the Dot Com Day Stage (Austin Convention Center) at 2pm, or later that night at Soho Lounge, or at Parkside on Saturday. [Listen to "It's Mossy"]
– Vetiver: I haven’t been as big a fan of the recorded output since Vetiver and To Find Me Gone, but they put on a great live show and will likely play some songs from the two albums I just mentioned. They also have a new album coming out in June (via Sub Pop) so you’ll hear some new tunes as well. For all the drone and psychedelic shit I listen to, Andy Cabic still has (in my opinion) one of the best voices in modern rock music. Catch Vetiver on Thursday at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary at 1am. [Listen to "Red Lantern Girls"]
– Agalloch: This Pacific Northwest black metal band does it right. They’re a little more ambient/space-y than Wolves In The Throne Room, but for your bearded hipster ass that’s probably a good thing. Agalloch also earns the distinct honor of being a band that Ian would recommend if he maintained a blog. Instead he told me to check these guys out, I dug it, and now I’m doing my best to make sure you hear this shit. Behold Agalloch on Thursday at 11:45pm at Barbarella Patio on Red River Street.
– Amen Dunes: Of all the bands on the SXSW 2011 website, I’m pretty sure Amen Dunes submitted the best bio of them all. “AMen Dunes is Damon McMahon, at times joined by friends. He used to live in China now he is living in New York. He sleeps a lot and has nothing else to say about his biography.” Amen Dunes can be enjoyed on Friday at Barbarella, taking the stage at the totally rock ‘n’ roll hour of 8pm!
– Weedeater: If you don’t know Weedeater, you shouldn’t be here. I was supposed to see these guys right after God Luck And Good Speed came out, but then Dave shot his big toe off with a shotgun and the shows they were supposed to play were cancelled. They’ve got a tune called “For Evan’s Sake,” which is clearly an ode to their favorite blogger. What’s up, guys. Give me a call some time. We can party. GO SEE WEEDEATER. You can walk to see them right after you see Amen Dunes, because Weedeater are playing Friday at 8:55pm at the Dirty Dog Bar on 6th Street. That place usually sucks, but it’ll be cool when Weedeater are playing.
– White Hills: Duh. Do I really need to devote more space on this website to White Hills? Maybe I should just go all-out with this rebranding and change the name from Swan Fungus to Evan’s White Hills Fan Page. If you won’t take my word for it, listen to reader Bennett (aka Lawdrone) who saw White Hills this week and reported, “Fucking awesome! [Dave] painted his face silver. And Ego Sensation had this crazy short & tight red velour outfit on. Whole set was beautiful.” Come on, join the White Hills fan bus. I’ve been driving this modern Furthur bus for four years now. [Listen to "Ulan"]
– Dreamend: In 2007 I write a blog entry called, “The Top Ten Reasons Why Not To Attend SXSW,” and I counted Dreamend among the bands that I would want to see if I was to attend. Four years later, nothing has changed. I still think “Of Ravens And Winds” is one of the best album-opening tracks of the past decade. You’ve got three chances to see Dreamend at SXSW 2011, on Friday at the Graveface showcase (Skinny’s Ballroom) and Saturday at the Blue Starlight Mini Urban Drive-In. [Listen to "Of Ravens And Winds"]
– Holy Sons: Emil Amos (Grails, Om, etc.) was interviewed by the LA Weekly this week and he talked all about extensive drug use, which is something Swan Fungus proudly endorses. He’s a really smart guy with a great knowledge of cool music, so his influences are as vast as they are impressive. And according to Ian, who has met and spoken to him on a couple different occasions, he’s a real sweetheart. Lose touch with your mind on Friday at Swan Dive and Sunday at 11pm at Lustre Pearl.
Oh, and as a bonus, you can check out my roommate Alex’s band, HANDS, a bunch of different times this week. Thursday at the Roxy showcase (8:30pm at the Black and Tan), Friday at 6pm at Your Mom’s Burgar Bar (sounds awesome) and Saturday Headhunters (2pm) and Hotel Vegas (5pm). Tell Alex you read about him on Swan Fungus and he’ll know you’re cool.
Swan Fungus: caring about friends since 2011.
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