- Cable TV by Fol Chen
Poppy beats and seductive vocals about doing absolutely nothing. Except watching cable tv. An prime example of the oft overlooked SlackerRock genre.
- Nothing At All by Madi Diaz
Like chasing a butterflies through a field on a summer day.
- Winona by Totally Michael
A love song to Winona Ryder as sung to ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’.
- Up And Down by The Chesterfield Kings
A classic blues rock tune, recalls Lynyrd Skynard.
- Tall Green Grass by Cory Branan
Great for that picnic you have after you’re done chasing butterflies.
- 14 Arms by Crash Kings
An screamy, energizing track – perfect for getting the blood flowing on a dreary day.
- FLEX by Doomtree
It’s Doomtree. I like Doomtree.
- Crown of Age by The Ettes
I dig the sound of female-fronted punk groups, this one reminds me of Joan Jett.
- How We Exit by Gentleman Reg
Despite the horns and non-vocoder vocals, I get a poppy, electronica vibe from this.
- Strictly Game by Harlem Shakes
Made the list for the motivating, timely line: “This will be a better year”.
- Gettin’ High for Jesus by Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs
- If You Should Ever Fall On Hard Times by The Iguanas
- Dag by In Stereo (perCeptie & Kapabel)
Dorky Dutch hip hop, in the vein of Die Fantastischen Vier-esque
- Steel On Steel by J. Tillman
A big, heavy, melancholy blanket.
- Bank Song by The Johnstones
A celebration, though I get the sneaking suspicion it’s about something less than pleasant.
- My Derlirium by Ladyhawke
A highly danceable, electronica track, produced by Blondie.
- Zero Machine by Le Castle Vania
A Depeche Mode + Smashing Pumpkins mash-up, without the mash-up.
- Wake the Sun by The Matches
Play this the next time you’re walking home after singing karaoke “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow” into the wee hours.
- Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song by Matt Hires
I’m guessing Matt Hires opens for Jack Johnson, or enjoys causing “mix-ups”.
- Cannibal Queen by Miniature Tigers
Dorky, bouncy, pop – like Tullycraft. “I’m coming for your heart like a cannibal” wins for best song lyric of SXSW 2009.
- Down in Electric by Operahouse
Another excellent example of oft-overlooked Spy rock genre.
- Little Brass Bear by Rachel Goodrich
This song will get you dancing, the kinda feeling badly toward the signer, and then…kazoos!
- Offbeat Feeling by The Resignators
Ska. Just the way I like it; big horns, mostly angry lead vocalist, well-dressed men jumping straight up and down – but only a few inches.
- You look at me by Rokhsan
A poppy, love song that consistently gives me a big, corny smile.
- Bad Choices by Shout Out Out Out Out
I’d like to nominate this song for 2008 Financial Crisis Theme Song. It even sounds like a storms rolling in.
- Behind Me Now by The Silos
Conversely, this one’s good for 2009.
- Hologram by Ten Out of Tenn
If there’s a remake of Lost in Translation as stop-motion animation, this is on the soundtrack.
- Bag Of Hammers by Thao With The Get Down Stay Down
An un-break-up song with a bag of hammers is being used as a threat. It’s a nervous, nervous smile.
- I’ll Play What You Want by Toy Horses
If Stiff Little Fingers were poppier and happier..but not as poppy and happy as Squeeze.
- Idunno by Ungdomskulen
You know I how much I dig electronically, distorted vocals.
- Trains I Missed by Walt Wilkins
The stereotypical country song version of, ‘when god closes a door he opens a window’.
- Birds of a Feather by We Were Lovers
Sugary Sweet Vocal is protected her older brother, Bass Guitar.
- Amateur by The 757s
Another un-break-up song. This time from the guys side.
- On My Kees by Aqualung
Don’t let him back, don’t let let him back. So, did you let him back?
- Caroline by The Belleville Outfit
An fun, fun track invoking the post-Swing vibe (a la Squirrel Nut Zippers)
- You Won’t Be Able To Be Sad by The Break And Repair Method
The opening song to the next John Hughes teen production.
- Imitation of the Sky by Bryan Scary and The Shredding Tears
Sounds like all of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club wrapped into a single song.
- Still Have My Heart by Caitlin Crosby
She’s either in love with an imaginary person or she’s a stalker.
- Hail Destroyer by Cancer Bats
After years of listening through SXSW Showcasing Artists, I finally found a
Scandanavian Canadian death metal track I enjoy.
- A little wiser now by Choo Choo
I generally dig songs that happily admit historical stupidity.
- 9999 (Ways To Hate Us) by The Clutters
It’s fantastic that a group of nasal-signers found each other and started a band.
- R.I.M.L. by Codebreaker
This song might be a joke. Like an SNL skit. I’m not hip enough to know.
- Will I Stay by Colin Munroe
Colin’s pretty whiny. Thankfully the band drops such big beats it can be over looked.
- Kamikaze rock’n’roll by Dead Sexy Inc
British Invasion rock + harmonicas.
- I’m Not Crying. You’re Not Crying, are you? by Dear and the Headlights
A leisurely stroll through the woods…until you step in a beehive.
- Capture and Develop by The Details
Just under 3 minutes of longing guilt.
- That Sinking Feeling by Emma Lee
The chorus completely melts me.
- Boom! Boom! Boom! by The Everyday Visuals
Wins for best use of the title within the song.
- DARTS by FLiP
It’s in Japanese – except for the English chorus. And yes, that just confuses me more.
- Bugguts by Gavin Castleton
Reminds me of the teen car accident pop songs from the 1950’s.
- Goes Cube Song 57 by Goes Cube
A good, guitar-driven, grunge tune – like a Soundgarden or early Foo Fighters.
- C.Y.O.A. by HEARTSREVOLUTION
Female Japanese vocalist + distorting vocoder = delicious noise
- Walk Through Fire by Indian Jewelry
There might be instruments and vocals in there. Somewhere deep below the sea of distortion.
- Single Fins & Safety Pins by The Japanese Motors
A catchy, fun-lovin’ beach tune.
- Happy Birthday You by Jay Jay Pistolet
Remember Marilyn Monroe’s signing of ‘Happy Birthday’? This is opposite of that.
- Over You by Jay Nash
A sincerely sweet Country tune featuring Jim Croce’s guitar,
- Gloom Doom Buttercups by Kittens Ablaze
I’m not confident everyone in the band is playing the same song…and that’s why I dig it.
- Sushi by Kyle Andrews
A synth-pop tune reminding me of all my favorite Top 40 songs from the 1980s.
- Posidonia by La Habitacion Roja
This could be a stereotypical Latin pop tune. It still holds up to heavy rotation.
- No Generation by Lions
Like White Zombie or RAGTM without the annoying parts.
- Punch and Judy by Little Thief
Solid, simple drum, guitar, and vocal work.
- Lalita by The Love Language
Your favorite fleece jacket – as a song.
- days in universe by Maren Parusel
Maren Parusel could be singing directions from Google Maps and I’d be enthralled.
- Diseases Of Yore by MC Frontalot
If you can’t learn medical history from geekcore rap – what good is it? And I think Jonathan Coulton opens the track.
- Don’t Be On With Her by Miami Horror
Another delicious synth-pop 80s track.
- Bus Stop Lovers by My Federation
A great track for you run mix – especially if you use public transit signs as landmarks.
- Cuando, Cuando by Nina Dioz
Extra-tough Latin rap. I don’t know Spanish but I think she’s saying something about using my head as a pinata.
- Greyhound Bus by Oh Susanna
There’s a stereotypical Country song about a man with a broken down truck and a runaway dog. This might that stereotypical song for women.
- Call and Response by Or, the Whale
A couple years back there were a bunch of songs at SXSW about losing New Orleans. This one is about rebuilding the city.
- Broken Heart Land by Owen Temple
Made the list immediate after I hear the opening line: “How did your past get stuck in a pawn shop?”
- 123 Stop by The Postelles
The Monkees with dirty guitars.
- The Waves by Princeton
Maracas and disillusionment.
- I Couldn’t Make It by Randy Weeks
Lou Reed, post-Velvet Underground, and a little bit Country.
- Ornamental by Scissors for Lefty
British people get so excited sometimes.
- King Bolo by Scram C Baby
King Missile-esque storytelling with better instrument work.
- she creatures invade by The She Creatures
When GWAR finally makes that movie, the sequel will star The She Creatures.
- Slow Club by Slow Club
A great example of a SlackerRock duets.
- Hit the Wall by Song Island Revue
“I hit the wall… / I painted a road on it” is much more poetic than that tired phrase about lemons and lemonade.
- You say GOOD BYE by SpecialThanks
Japan does American female-led rock really well.
- Grass is Green by Sweet Water
I think in the 90s, this band was called, The Fall.
- Pacemaker by Teenage Bottlerocket
Can’t be the Ramones, the track is a full 2:30 minutes long,
- This Mission by This Is My Condition
A Discord Records-esque D.C. Hardcore-style track by way of Lawrence, KS.
- It’s Not Too Late by Triple Cobra
The soundtrack to “That Thing You Do” if it was about a Goth band.
- In The City by Tunnel Clones
Digable Planets-style hip hop.
- Get On With It by Val Emmich
You heard the man.
- Drown Them Out by Viva Voce
Sirens. Calling me into the rocks.
- This Is Our Perfect Crime by The Von Bondies
The 21st Century version of Skid Row’s ‘Youth Gone Wild’.
- I Go I Go I Go by Wave Machines
Comparisons can be made between this song and REM’s ‘Shiny Happy People’. Parts of them would be right.
- Safety In Numbers by The Wax Museums
Punk kids discussing recruitment tactics.
- Let Me Drive by Winter Gloves
Last year I was big on clapping, I think that’s why I included this one.
- Death or Radio by Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer
“Let’s hold hands and listen to shitty bands…” – is exactly how I imagine SXSW.
- Soft The Hard Way by 18th Dye
The chorus keeps getting stuck in my head and caught by the spam filter.
Stream the entire playlist [m3u]
Not only are these picks really late (SXSW was months ago) but unlike other years, none of the 700+ tracks grabbed me immediately. The overall tone felt like the ‘college rock’ of 20 years ago. Good, sometimes interesting, artistic even, but every song sounds um, the same.
As in previous years, these are track that are both new to me, struck me, and will keep me in the zone while working. This time around, inspired by J Wynia approach last year, I set up a smart playlist in iTunes that automatically removed tracks after 5 skips. The theory is that this would bias more long term listening enjoyment, rather than short term first impressions – a reverse Pepsi Challenge. I blame this approach and how iTunes counts ‘skips’1 as part of the reason this list took forever to compile.
- Obvious by Watershed
I haven’t heard this mixture of poppy, light-hearted post-punk and “I’d rather be at the bar with you than on stage” since Too Much Joy’s “Gods Make Love” or Ben Folds’ “One Down”.
- Toes by Zac Brown Band
Yes, it’s a blatant rip off of Jimmy Buffet’s “Five O’Clock Somewhere” with the working class country vibe turned to 11. The last couple lines make the song.
- Come On, Claire by Aberfeldy
The kid in Fountains of Wayne’s Stacy’s Mom is now in college…
- Juliet by Army of Freshman
…but he’s still hanging out at the mall.
- Set the Table by Screaming Cyn Cyn and The Pons
Screaming atop a very catchy, if simplistic riff. Makes Madison a much cooler town. This will either annoy you or get you dancing. Continues to do both for me.
- Everybody Knows by The Gougers
Catchy little Country tune in the vein of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi.
- The Mountain by Lucero
I’m a Lucero junky.
- So Long to the Red River Valley by The Quebe Sisters Band
Every now and again, I’m in the mood for the Western in Country & Western. This is such a great example of modernizing that sound. Reminds me of listening to The Lone Ranger and old radio dramas.
- Mean Son of a Gun by Kitty, Daisy and Lewis
The theme song to a old time radio drama about Calamity Jane
- Everyone’s Got’em by White Ghost Shivers
The jazz tune playing in a secret speakeasy right before the cops busted in.
- Cooler than Me by Ari Shine
A much hipper version of Billy Joe’s ‘Uptown Girl’
- I Wanna Be Ignored by Ezra Furman & The Harpoons
Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy.
- Electric Bird by Sia
This song is a picnic blanket in sun-filled valley.
- How Lucky We Are by Meiko
Such an optimistic song about the day after tomorrow and the person you’ve committed to join you there.
- Fascination by Correatown
The break up side of ‘How Lucky We Are’
- See and Be Seen by The Hard Lessons
This is Facebook and MySpace…put to a beat far less than annoying than either.
- All My Love for You by The Emeralds
Another great track from a typical American 3-piece garage rock band. But from a garage in Yokohama, Japan.
- Fireflies by Search/Rescue
This is the lead track from John Hughes’ next teen romantic comedy.
- Clandestine by Brooklyn
Early Beatles with a French attitude.
- Shut Up by Shellshag
This is closest I’ll get to hardcore punk these days, there’s no way I can take these guys seriously. I imagine this is what it was like to deal with me as an angst-ridden teen.
- Champagne Girls I have known by Johnny Foreigner
Yelpy, like Tullycraft with undertones of Oasis
- Only Fooling Myself by Kate Voegele
Inclusion of this song betrays that I still enjoy listening to Wilson Philips’ ‘Hold On’.
- You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie by The Submarines
This reminds me a lot of Redd Kross, if it was fronted by Aimee Mann
- 1906 by Songs for Moms
An all-woman, 3-piece, folk-punk. Had me at folk-punk.
- Balboa by Cruiserweight
I’m a sucker for Stella Maxwell’s voice.
- Oh Man! by Sybris
and for whomever’s voice this is.
- So Down by Jen Lane
Jen’s a Canadian signer-songwriter. That’s a magic combination.
- Half My Kingdon by Alina Simone
A Ukranian April March. Except she’s really Ukranian.
- Blinkandyou’llmissit! by Bo Pepper
Highly dance-able smack-down dropped by some distorted female vocals.
- Smoking Gun by The Tennessee Boltsmokers
A finger-picking discussion on the dangers of following fashion trends.
- 4th of July by Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
A stereotypical Country song about loss, patriotism, and vans. Includes the great line, “Ever think maybe if you’re not happy it’s because of you.”
- Blue Canoe by Blue Mountain
I’ve never heard a song about going fishing in a canoe. You have? With a distorted guitar?
- Secretary’s Day by TAB the band
A great example of the blues-based, guitar-driven rock I remember as a kid.
- Stand Up by Thurogood Wordsmith
I’m very critical about hip hop rhymes. This one made the list with: “I came to clean house, kick ass, and take names / Like white Anglo-Saxons across the Great Plains.”
- Do It Again by You, Me, and Everyone We Know
If Ben Folds was backed by Blink182
- Tu Boca Lo Quita by Alex Cuba
A rocking mash-up of electric guitar, ska, steel drums, and an amazing voice.
- No Matter How Bad It Gets by The Barker Band
A poppy little tune for eating buckets of shellfish.
- Hello Friend by Cheveu
Guitars and distorted vocals. Over before reaching a climax. Like a cheap midway ride.
- Inmovil (Wrong ID) by Le Baron
A solid early-90s rock track from a typical 4-piece American indie rock band. But from Mexico.
- International Flight by Le Concorde
The theme song to a fantastic new sitcom about an American girl falling in love with a London record store owner.
- Nono by Ze Dos Frangos
I keep expecting this to be that sappy, overexposed Moldy Peaches track. It’s not. It’s Portuguese. Just that makes it better.
- Exodus Honey by Honeycut
A softer, mellower Strawberry Fields.
- Mina do condominio by Pierre Aderne
For those days when your life is a walk on the beach.
- Negative Thinking by TheDeathSet
Vocals of a cheap punk band and a crisp, jumpy, electronica beat.
- Namida Vacuum Sound by Ketchup Mania
Love song by a very, very angry Manga character.
- Morningside Heights by The Strugglers
Dirt roads, melancholy, and violins
- American Hearts by A. A. Bondy
As honest and patriotic as any Dylan, but intelligible.
- Nickels and Dimes by Scissors for Lefty
“Hey, hey, nickels and dimes are all we need to rock tonight.” Yeah!, that lines earns automatic inclusion.
- Let’s Get Crazy by Limbeck
Finally, a song with clapping. Just not enough songs with clapping in them this year.
- Dirty Blonde by Greta Gaines
One of those tracks that feels like college rock from the late ’80s.
- Julia, we don’t live in the 60s by The Indelicates
- EXTINCTION by The Muslims
Here’s a punky third.
1. Play duration longer than 2 seconds but shorter than 20 seconds. Personally, I found it can take a solid minute to find a song distracting.
When I started listening exactly 3 weeks ago, I was tossing out so many songs, I started wondering if there was anything fun and interesting in the 739 tracks. In fact, true to Sturgeon’s Law, 89% of the tracks didn’t do anything for me. Follows are the 80 tracks that, listen after listen, both pulled me in and let me keep working. According to this list, a few artists only made the BitTorrent – not the SXSW website, hence no direct mp3 links.
Streaming Playlist of 76 tracks
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- ‘Paradise’ from Ana Laan.
World – 5 stars. You know that super hip party you imagine when you say, “Yes, we entertain a lot” to a real estate agent? This song is playing in the background at that party.
- ‘Origin of Species’ from Chris Smither.
Singer-Songwriter – 5 stars. A fun, folky, finger-picking song covering a number of stories in the book of Genesis. Also, this is one of two songs referencing Katrina in the list.
- ‘Modern Love’ from The Last Town Chorus.
Pop – 5 stars. An amazingly dark and somber cover of the David Bowie classic.
- ‘What Else Would You Have Me Be?’ from Lucero.
Alt Country – 5 stars. Lucero made the cut last year as well. As soon as I heard the vocals, they made the cut – imagine Bruce Springsteen singing country.
- ‘Crush Me’ from Prisonshake.
Rock – 5 stars. It starts out a kinda slow, but gets going after the first chorus. Oh, and I’m a sucker for the scratchy, bootlegged-sounding vocals.
- ‘Jugglin Justin’ from Skratch Bastid.
Hip Hop – 5 stars. This is the best skratch-based song I’ve ever heard.
- ‘Energy’ from The Apples in Stereo.
Rock – 4 stars.
It sounds like lead singer Robert Schneider is doing a completely different song than the rest of the band. The two songs just happen to mash-up great. I like that.
- ‘Tokyo East End Rockers’ from Asakusa Jinta.
World – 4 stars. If the Squirrel Nut Zippers were’ from Japan.
- ‘Mystic Song’ from The Berg Sans Nipple.
Experimental – 4 stars. Light, floaty, – uh – mystic, track. It sounds very hip. Like there’s a million bands out there with this sound, and I’m completely out of the loop. Or there will be – and I’m so cool.
- ‘Don’t Bother Me’ from The Blakes.
Rock – 4 stars. This song acknowledges the ’90s Seattle sound, throws in some Iggy Pop, and then rocks steady.
- ‘Between the Moon and the Ocean’ from Bon Savants.
Rock – 4 stars. You had me at “You kiss like a Russian.”
- ‘Who Are You’ from Deaf in the Family.
Hip Hop – 4 stars. Heavy Who sampling with some harsh rhymes on top.
- ‘Mr. Milk’ from Errors.
Electronic – 4 stars. Electronica, like all music genres, has a push-pull relationship with its stereotype and interestingness. Mr. Milk is both.
- ‘Left Hand’ from The Gaskets.
Pop – 4 stars. “Sell me something I haven’t bought before” – damn straight. Isn’t that what we’re all asking for.
- ‘Eight Arms To Hold You’ from The Gear.
Rock – 4 stars. ‘That Thing You Do’ – sung by a spider.
- ‘Beautiful Mystery’ from Harris Tweed.
Pop – 4 stars. Yes, there’s some Jewel in this track. If Jewel could seduce by rhyming ‘float’ and ‘boat’.
- ‘War’ from Ladyhawk.
Rock – 4 stars. Come on, everyone sing along, “Don’t just go along – start a war if you want to.”
- ‘Tout va pour le mieux dans le pire des mondes’ from Les Breastfeeders.
Rock – 4 stars. I have no idea what they’re saying, but it sure sounds cool.
- ‘closer’ from Melissa Ferrick.
Rock – 4 stars. Melissa made last year’s cut as well.
- ‘Hardcore Hornography’ from Michelle Shocked.
Jazz – 4 stars. A sweet New Orleans jazz tune’ from Michelle Shocked – hitting all bases; Katrina, Gumbo, and Mardi Gras.
- ‘Touch Up’ from Mother Mother.
Pop – 4 stars. Coolest underwater song since Ringo’s Octopus’ Garden.
- ‘River of Daughters’ from The Old Soul.
Rock – 4 stars. This is a nice enough track, comfortable and listenable. I couldn’t remember why it made the cut, until….2:44 in. That little bit makes this a pretty cool song.
- ‘In The City’ from Peel.
Rock – 4 stars. In the vein of Trans Am, Peel’s vocals aren’t the highlight – just another instrument, equal to all the others.
- ‘Grain of salt…and a shot of tequila’ from Ray Herndon.
Country – 4 stars. Probably the best chorus in all stereotypical Country music. First time I heard it, I couldn’t stop laughing.
- ‘Lay Em Down’ from Rico Pabon.
Hip Hop – 4 stars. Sure, the beat is Rico Suave, but the rapping is far better.
- ‘The Girl’s Distracted’ from Saturday Looks Good To Me.
Pop – 4 stars. I vote this song for Target’s next commercial.
- ‘Self Inflicted Wounds’ from Sole.
Hip Hop – 4 stars. This track is so timely, I’m not sure how well it’ll age. Hopefully, in a year if I can’t get past the rhymes, I can still dig the clapping.
- ‘Oregon Girl’ from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.
Pop – 4 stars. Special award for coolest name. Think Fountains of Wayne…from Missouri.
- ‘Ten Years Pass’ from Sunny Sweeney.
Country – 4 stars. Sunny’s captured the feelings of revisiting a small town for a class reunion, down to the smell.
- ‘Moving to New York’ from The WOMBATS.
Rock – 4 stars. This song has clapping in it too. I think that’s why it made the list. Oh, and Matthew Murphy’s really cool voice.
- ‘Hummer In My Hummer’ from Yuppie Pricks.
Punk – 4 stars. This is an updated version of the Dead Kennedy’s classic ‘California Über Alles‘. The similarities between these two songs is amusing enough to make this list. The Yuppie Pricks are even on Alternative Tentacles.
- ‘Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here’ from 65daysofstatic.
Experimental – 3 stars. Consider this as the alternative background music in Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell.
- ‘Bring The Good Boys Home’ from The 1900s.
Pop – 3 stars. The echoing background vocals and synthesizer grabbed me on this one.
- ‘Figure Out’ from A Cursive Memory.
Pop – 3 stars. I kept trying to figure out who they remind me of…turns out, it’s themselves. They made the list last year as well.
- ‘Think Niles Drink’ from About.
Electronic – 3 stars. Like being trapped inside a broken hard drive. In a good way.
- ‘Gonna Be Alright’ from Abram Wilson.
Jazz – 3 stars. Trumpet as lead vocals. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
- ‘The Rifle’ from Alela Diane.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. There’s something unsettling about impending death being sung about so calmly.
- ‘Heaven Is For Easy Girls ‘ from The Awkward Stage.
Rock – 3 stars. I’m trying not to listen too carefully about the lyrics. Just bounce to the beat and clap along.
- ‘Shine In Exile’ from Beat the Devil.
Experimental – 3 stars. If a Bond movie was ever placed in the future – this is the background song to the first martini.
- ‘HeavyMetal’ from Bisc1.
Hip Hop – 3 stars. Feels more like Rhymesayers, MN than Brooklyn, NYC.
- ‘Must You Throw Dirt In My Face’ from Charlie Louvin.
Country – 3 stars. By the second line, you’ll either bust out laughing or give this song a big hug. Hopefully, by the end you’ll do both.
- ‘Patience’ from Damien Dempsey.
Hip Hop – 3 stars. Pissed-off Irish hip hop mixed up with gentle, affectionate R&B.
- ‘Fa-Fa-Fa’ from DATAROCK.
Rock – 3 stars. I always liked MC 900 FT Jesus’ lyrics, but never his beats. He shoulda had DATAROCK to the beats.
- ‘Story Never Gets Old’ from Death Ships.
Rock – 3 stars. A rather fortune combination of Elvis Costello, TMBG, and the Decemberists.
- ‘will to doubt’ from Delicious Food.
Experimental – 3 stars. Yes, there is such a thing as ‘New Classical’ music.
- ‘Everything’ from Dolly Varden.
Alt Country – 3 stars. Good, solid, Chicago rock. Ok, I admit, it made the list for the clapping.
- ‘KeMo Thera-P’ from E>K>U>K.
Pop – 3 stars. Dinosaur Jr.-esque guitar work with just the right amount of screaming.
- ‘Not Giving Up’ from The Femurs.
Punk – 3 stars. This track is far more 80’s British punk than ’06 Seattle, and Ramones influence is obvious.
- ‘Act 7, Scene 8’ from Going Home.
Rock – 3 stars. If Sum81 sang catchy pop tunes’ from the 60s.
- ‘Dead Fish on the Banks’ from The Goodnight Loving.
Alt Country – 3 stars. Wisconsin’s answer to Uncle Tupelo. Probably the best thing outta Milwaukee since I-94.
- ‘TV’ from Headlights.
Rock – 3 stars. Erin Fein is a siren. Her singing on this track are so faint, so elusive, the closer I listen, the further away she drifts.
- ‘Don’t Play this’ from Hera.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. I dig really bad break up songs like this. So many love songs are.
- ‘Rattling My Tin Cup’ from Honeydogs.
Pop – 3 stars. Finally, the Minneapolis sound, with a hint of Elvis Constello. This song sounds as solid and experienced as the band themselves.
- ‘Westboro Baptist Church’ from I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House.
Rock – 3 stars. This curse-filled song has a real simple message and a real catchy chorus. This is one of a bunch of songs in the list offering insightful critique of our current admistration.
- ‘Breakfast by the Mattress’ from Kristoffer Ragnstam.
Pop – 3 stars. This is a silly song. How Kristoffer says the title makes me giggle.
- ‘Where I Live’ from Leeroy Stagger.
Country – 3 stars. Another portrait of a town paved with broken hopes.
- ‘Pissing on the Mainframe’ from Live Fast Die.
Punk – 3 stars. If you were introduced to punk with badly-copied cassette bootlegs, this song was probably on those tapes.
- ‘Passenger 24’ from Melissa McClelland.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. Noir. Bad trouble. As persistent, poetic, and pesismistic as Sin City.
- ‘Batterie’ from Omni.
Hip Hop – 3 stars. A modern day version of early Hip Hop, back when sampling wasn’t such an issue. There’s hints of early Beastie Boys and NWA in here.
- ‘Far Side of Nowhere’ from Onion Creek Crawdaddies.
Alt Country – 3 stars. The line, “don’t miss me while I’m here”, makes this one of the great good bye songs.
- ‘Miss Idaho’ from Ox (Canada).
Alt Country – 3 stars. This track is a classic, up there with Son Volt’s ‘Out of the Picture’.
- ‘Turning Colours Into Greys’ from Paper Moon.
Pop – 3 stars. This song played after the last fight with your best friend. If you starred in a very popular television sitcom.
- ‘Red Eagle’ from Paul Duncan.
Country – 3 stars. Non-stereotypical country mixed with classical.
- ‘Moving Forward’ from Protokoll.
Rock – 3 stars. Trans Am with less geekiness.
- ‘Much Farther To Go’ from Rosie Thomas.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. If Simon and Garfunkel weren’t two guys, but one woman in-between hometowns.
- ‘Psalm 102’ from San Saba County.
Alt Country – 3 stars. This to me, is what a country song should sound like. Very audible finger picking and a weary, tired voice.
- ‘Don’t Believe Everything’ from Shane Bartell.
Rock – 3 stars. A great track for a Sunday brunch, or spring cleaning with the windows wide open.
- ‘let it go’ from Shannon Moore.
Pop – 3 stars. Shannon Moore’s voice, and this song especially, reminds me of my favorite Aimee Mann tracks.
- ‘Weather Machine’ from Signal To Noise.
Rock – 3 stars. Stiff Little Fingers mixed with Blink 182 and a tinge of New Jersey Bon Jovi. Good rocking beat, scratchy lead vocals, and comfortable backup vocals sounds.
- ‘Love Show’ from Skye.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. Come on, I liked Dido.
- ‘Try’ from Sparkle Motion.
Punk – 3 stars. Garrick’s a sucker for all-girl punk bands. It’s as simple as that. Even if one of the girls is named Pete.
- ‘Mega Lamb’ from Tammany Hall Machine.
Rock – 3 stars. Cousteau without his morning coffee.
- ‘What We Have Is Now’ from To Live And Die In LA.
Rock – 3 stars. They used to call this ‘College Rock’.
- ‘Shattered’ from The Trucks.
Pop – 3 stars. This is a cute track. The lead voice is cute, the nostalgic 4-4 techno is cute, the angry attitude is cute. There are a couple of interesting bits in the song, but really, I included this song cause it’s cute.
- ‘Yeah Right’ from Unbusted.
Rock – 3 stars. The essence of rock and roll: three guys, a mic, a guitar, 3 chords, and a drum kit. Singing ‘Yeah Right’.
- ‘Trouble’ from Voxtrot.
Rock – 3 stars. 40 seconds in and Voxtrot had me quietly floating down the river. Sure, there’s a few rocks to dodge and in some places, you need to paddle. Totally worth it.
- ‘Jarvis Cocker’ from Washington Social Club.
Rock – 3 stars. A great dance tune about dance floor drama. Plus clapping. I dig the clapping.
- ‘Better Off This Way’ from We Are the Fury.
Rock – 3 stars. Solid Midwest rock (Toledo) with two shots of espresso.
- ‘Catching & Killing’ from Youth Group.
Rock – 3 stars. This is a real simple, comfortable track. Something I could listen to a hundred times (the goal of this culling). I quite like the lead voice.
- ‘Wipeout (Try Waking Up!)’ from Zykos.
Rock – 3 stars. How many instruments and sounds are in this track? Lots. That’s what makes it a fun listen.
It’s that time of year again – the time of year when SXSW releases their 3GB torrent files containing 739 mp3s this year’s Showcasing Bands.
And like past years, I’ll be keeping you up to date on my picks.
Finally got through all the Showcasing Artists from this year’s SXSW. Found 39 songs
Which means there’s 7 you don’t know about yet….
- Red Hot by Ellegarden
This is the same band as Blink 182, Sum 41, except of course – Ellegarden is from Tokyo. Rock on.
- Got Myself Arrested by Gomez
Kari’s been a big fan of Gomez as long as I can remember. In this one track, I can see why. Good, solid, rock tune with hints of blues.
- Are You the One by The Presets
Vocoder-heavy, electronica somewhere between Nine Inch Nails and Trans Am.
- Changes by A Cursive Memory
Again, good poppy punk a la early Green Day.
- Children of December by The Slip
This is the perfect song for a working outside on a spring day. As soon as the road construction ends, I can start doing. Also, it made the list just for referencing Autobots and Decepticons.
- Shove U Out by The Applicators
Punk rock chix. The Applicators are to music as Alias is to spy dramas.
- I am Aglow by Sarah Harmer
This one missed my inclusion earlier, because I though this was track from the Be Good Tanyas. It’s not, Sarah Harmer just has the same folk, country vibe.
Here’s my second set of favorites from the 2006 SXSW BitTorrent, 7 this time. A little background on the process: I’ve got all the songs in an iTunes smart playlist – anything with the album of ‘SXSW 2006 Showcasing Artist’, playcount less than 1, and shuffle is on.
Today’s a pretty serious heads down work day, so the songs listed here break through the din of background music in the first listen.
- Under the Bed by Stephen Clair
Coincidentally, Jen’s had “Working 9 to 5” stuck in her head for a week now. This is an updated version of that song, not sung by Dolly Parton.
- St. Patrick’s Day by Neck
I didn’t realize how much I missed the House of Pain, until this track came up.
- What if She’s an Angel by Tommy Shane Steiner
Like any genre of music, country can be trite, clichÃ©d, sappy, and sentimental. Sometimes this works – my favorite example is Hank Williams III. Other times it’s just plain awful. On our longer drives (>3 hrs) for entertainment, Jen and I regularly tune to a country station in hopes of finding that one awful, trite, sappy tune. Well, no need to scan the FM dial this summer – this is that song.
- Shimokita Dream by The Emerald
This song reminds me of the time David Carson typeset a interview in dingbats for Ray Gun magazine. It doesn’t matter what language (or typeface) the words are in, the song’s the same as a thousand others. It’s a catchy, driving, poppy punk tune.
- Poison Control by Old Haunts
A quick dose of Olympia, WA – a little grungy, a little Ramones, and the voice – what a voice.
- She’s Gone by P W Long
There’s very little better in this world than a man singing to his whiskey glass about a love lost. This tune wins best lyrics of this collection with, “She’s not going – she’s gone”. Honestly, I’m not sure if PW’s referring to his woman or ordering another shot.
- Nice Day by Persephone’s Bees
I’m a sucker for a seductive female singer telling me what a fabulous day it is. Especially on an overcast March day like today.
Cranking out some wireframes this evening, I needed a little pick-me up. The trusty SXSW Showcasing Artists were there to help out – specifically, The Divorce and their rocking track Yes, off their Gifted Program release.
After a week with the 650+ tracks in the first 2006 SXSW Showcasing Artist Bittorrent, here’s the first 10 tracks capturing my attention.