Man, it's already that time again. SXSW is only a week away! If you've never been to Austin for the festivities, you're missing out. It is truly one of the most exciting music events in the country in one of the best cities in the country. I'm biased because I live here. And I'm proud and opinionated about a few things about the city - namely: local bands and Mexican food. Allow me to indulge...
A relatively new noise rock band who has already gained a small but dedicated fan base among local punk rock fans. They sound a little like late 80's Japan (Boredoms) or mid-90's San Franscisco (Deerhoof), but ultimately - they've created their own sound and presence, one that's indescribable and unignorable.
Brothers and Sisters Familiar, laid back, mellow, warm and relaxed, like a trip to California in the late 60's. Inspired by country-rock legends like the Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield, The Brothers and Sisters, sound like the records you can still find at thrift stores- Harry Nilsson/Glen Campbell/Neil Young. There's actually only one brother (Will) and sister (Courtney) in the 5 piece band, and the two of them are the offspring of really cool musical parents. Their mom was/is a gospel singer banned from Christian radio because of a large gay following. Awesome.
Not quite garage-goth (see Blank Dogs) -Equal parts Wipers, Misfits, Ramones, and Pixies(?) - (I think I'm the only one who hears that last reference), the Hex Dispensers are dark, raw, primal, and stripped-down and at the same time tender, ironic, nerdy and catchy. If you liked the Coachwhips or like Thee Oh Sees, I think you'd like them. A lot. Their last album was recorded and mixed by Mark Ryan of the Austin band the Marked Men and mastered by Jay Reatard. I wonder how much longer we'll have 'em in Austin.
The Ugly Beats
Boisterous, catchy, hip shaking, celebratory - the Ugly Beats are everything garage rock is supposed to be. They are a continuation of the '80s garage rock revival - the objective being to honestly replicate the sound, style, and look of '60s garage bands. And they do it so well. I dare you to have a lousy time listening to them - they embody the true spirit of rock 'n' roll.
I think I should also mention White Denim and Octopus Project. They're both popular enough that you've probably already heard them or heard of them, so I wont go into detail.
Some out of towners I'm excited about:
Rye Rye School of Seven Bells Hickoids Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers No Age Eat Skull Brimstone Howl The Thermals Crystal Stilts Lover! Oh Sees Radioclit Wavves Mika Miko The Sonics The Krayolas and The West Side Horns Magic Christian School of Seven Bells The Felice Brothers The Urges The Cute Lepers Japanther The Evaporators
And I'm open to suggestions!
Best All Around: Mi Madres. It's hard to claim one favorite, but if I had to, this would be it. The owners are pleasant, they make their own tortillas, the cheese melts but isn't to Velveeta-y, the hot sauce is spicy, and the beans aren't watery and have just enough smokey flavor. I'd recommend the '#0' - eggs, bacon, potatoes and cheese in a grilled flour tortilla. They also do migas really well.
Best South Side: Maria's Taco Xpress or Habanero's
Best East Side sit down with the locals: Joe's Bakery (look at their bacon - it's battered and fried)
Best East Side with Hipsters/College Kids: Tie - El Chilito and Juan in a Million
Best 24 hour option: La Mexicana
Best Super Cheap option: Tamale House #3
Best Gringo-Style: Tie -Torchy's and Tacodeli
South Side: Maudie's, Matt's El Rancho, Habaneros, or La Feria
Healthy (meaning you can get black beans): Curra's or El Chile
Never been, but never heard anything but rave reviews: Taqueria Chalapa
Casino el Camino
Best Coffee Shop:
East Side: Clementine
Downtown: Little City
South Side: Jo's Hot Coffee
Old Stand by's: Beerland, Longbranch, Scoot Inn, Side Bar
New: Shangri-La, Rio Rita, Good Knight
East Side: East Side Pies
South Side: Home Slice
SXSW music player
imeem has a Compilation of 2009 Bands playlist
Paul's sxsw Artist's Catalog
SXSW is free
and I like to check out what's being tagged "SXSW" on delicious