Week in Pop: SXSW Edition

Sjimon Gompers

Last week’s Austin Imposition brought us 'Posers out from all corners of the globe for the big music industry hoe down that is SXSW. We had the time of our lives, copping Lone Stars, breakfast tacos, chicken waffle tacos, all the promotional shwag we could stomach as we RSVP’d ourselves beyond human logic, reason and specific capabilities. Being two places at once is the hardest thing to do, especially when bouncing between East and West 6th Street or South and North Congress. But now that the dust and tumble weeds have settled, we lick our wounds, wonder to each other what it all meant and begin to ponder who was the most relevant, why the most irrelevant acts are part of the big laminate only-showcases, and so on.

Amid the overtaxed itineraries and cavalcade of events, I can only begin to piece to together the week in a series of journalistic aphorisms. So without further ado I present to you the week in SXSW pop, in chronological order. 



Saturday

– Sort through the list of SXSW online fliers



-Make a tentative schedule for SXSW



-RSVP for 57 showcases/day parties



– Barely control my anticipation for Duran Duran, etc.

Sunday

-Receive some 100+ spam in my inbox from said RSVPs and third party hanger-on solicitors.



– Realize I should probably return the favor and RSVP some friends for some those aforementioned showcases/parties.



– Receive mass scorn from friends whose inboxes become stuffed with copious amounts of spam all under the “Re: You are on the list!” rubric.



Monday

– Pack a single backpack in record time and hop a BART to SFO en route to Austin, TX.


– Layover in LBC, one day before Nate Dogg will leave this world from the town he helped mythologize.

– Arrive safe in Austin, get picked up in a buddy’s pickup, take a brief tour of the downtown, Eastern and Southern districts.



– Pick up my first 12 pack of Lone Star, feel an intense inner brewing of a red state patriotism I have never known.



– Catch Ringo Deathstarr at Red 7, ears still ringing, probably the loudest show of the week gauging from the shared responses of peers along with our collective ear drum blowout.



– Watch the center of downtown 6th Street getting blocked off in preparation for the 200,000-some guest-listing-mongers who will troll out for the big sponsor-saturated maelstrom of festivals.



Tuesday

– Begin to realize I'm in over my head with an impossible schedule.



– Become reacquainted with the necessities of hydration.



– Begin to miss showcases of interest due to conflicting events, disparate locations constraints, etc.

– Indulge in some Ben and Jerry’s and the new, um, Ice Tea Sparks (sans the taurine but still packed with the same lethal levels of high fructose god-knows-what) at the Ice Cream Man Day Party at Club De Ville. Notable mentions go out to Hacienda, Malajube, R.I.C.H. A.U.C.O.I.N. and J. Roddy Waltson and the Business. 



– Wait for about an hour and a half to pick up my stupid Fader Fort wristband.

– Miss out on the One Pulse Artists Group South By East Side at the Thunderbird Coffee Manor.

– Eat what proves to be some gastronomically lethal sweet potato fries



– Wash down sweet potato fries with ice cold Lone Stars

– Accidently sit on and break an old wooden chair at my South Austin crash pad.

– Totally miss out on my RSVP at the Art 12 Party at Beauty Bar.



– End up at the Scoot Inn to catch Thee Oh Sees, hang out with fellow Bay Area folks Exrays.



– Go to bed in agony from eating little save for said sweet potato fries, listening to the moans of roommate going through the motions of food borne illness.



Wednesday

– Nurse myself to good health with breakfast tacos and drip coffee at the Irie Bean cafe.

– Drive into downtown in aforementioned pickup to the Blind Pig for a recording of Jezebel Jones and Her Wicked Ways, featuring Potholder on the ukulele for Balyconytv.

– Headed over the Parish for Navigational Society/Good Danny's Day Party where I caught Marmalakes and Brass Bed doing the rock n’ roll thing.

– Checked out some real local country-folk heroes at Opa’s Second Annual Radiothon in South Austin. Mandy Rowden, Dale Watson (think the second coming of the Man in Black), Slaid Cleaves and Reckless Kelly. Chatted it up with locals, made some new friends and experienced some of that genuine southern hospitality.



– My phone battery dies and at this point I realize I am in dire need of shower and a good disco nap. Apologies to Terrorbird/Forcfield’s showcase at Red 7, Freebird’s A-TX Kick Off at Antone’s, Paste’s party at The Stage on Sixth, Altered Zones At ND at 501 Studios and everywhere else I wanted to be.



– Caught YelaWolf at the 'Fort, he amazes the crowd with that machine gun rapid consonant punctuated delivery while mad sponsors rain the crowd with shwag excess beyond belief.

– Night One of the Imposition, props to Blissed Out, Tearist, Janka Nabay, Pictureplane, a cancelled guest who will go unnamed and Das Racist who brought the Longbranch down, hanging off air condition pipes and jestering their way through some boss choruses and chants. You had never seen so much upbeat energy from anyone at 2-whatever in the morning. Impose for the win.

Thursday

– Death Match ruled pretty hard at the Scoot Inn, we had the Body, Flight, Liturgy, The Death Set, Zoroaster, Hunx & His Punx, Weedeater, JEFF the Brotherhood Trash Talk and a half-pipe setup that kept the local paramedics busy.

– Hung around the Hardly Art Fag Party at Shangri La, caught Unnatural Helpers and spotted Katy Goodman and decided to see if I could get an interview. However, there appeared to be at least 3, 4, no, 5 Kickball Katy Goodman decoys at the venue, eluding me in a Saddam Hussein “shock and awe”-era fashion.

– Apologies to the Prefix Day Party, that free Hangover Breakfast at the Kung Fu Saloon, Bass Invasion Party, Midriff Records/ Liberty and Union Recording Co. Day Party, Wanda Jackson, Human Resources, The Strokes and Twin Shadow, Under the Radar’s Magazine Party. I really wanted to be there but you know how these schedule things go.

– Wiz Khalifa did hype his upcoming March 29 release of Rolling Papers during his headlining set at the Fader Fiat Fort. The SXSW audience was entertained by past and future Khalifa classics like “Wakin' Bakin'” and “Black and Yellow”. It was probably the most hot-boxed the tent ever got all week.


– Hung around the beginning of ForceField PR’s Shangri La showcase. Caught a re-showing of Hunx.

– Gorged on some fried chicken inside a waffle posing as a chicken waffle taco. It was delicious; I survived with minimal to no indigestion.

– Waited in line in at Lovejoys at about 6:40pm to catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The packed venue and impressive pop punk performance had me second guessing my harsh judgments on their overplayed radio singles.

– Saw a bit of Woodsman’s set at the Night Two of the Imposition before I had to jet over to Venue 222 for some field work.

– Night Two of the Imposition Rules

– Wild time as a press VIP at Venue 222 featuring Killa Kyleon, Dom Kennedy, Fiend & Cornerboy P, Smoke DZA, Big Krit and Curren$y. It went from being backstage with the performers, to being moved the eff out of the joint. It was an honor all the same.

Friday

– Gorged on bean and cheese breakfast tacos at Casita Taco.

– Figured out the Austin Capitol Metro Transit system to get back downtown in the early noon.

– Caught Edwyn Collins looking dapper and singing “Falling and Laughing” at the Offline Festival on Stage 1, Dum Dum Girls on Stage 2, made my way to Stage 3 only to be disappointed to find that it was only an emergency exit and that there was in fact no Stage 3.

– Missed out on all three days of the Filter Dickies Day Parties at the Lustre Pearl, not to mention my RSVPs at the Glitter Taco Smooch Party, the First Annual Matchbox showcase, the Best Little Big Fest in Texas, Ramble Creek Day Party, the Tee Pee Records Showcase, the BrooklynVegan Day Party and too many more to name.

– The Sailor Jerry Trouble in Mind Showcase was fun, I recall filling up on much needed water shwag.

– Smith Westerns, Odd Future, Matt and Kim (joined by Erykah Badu on drum duties for “Lessons Learned”) doing the damn thing at the ‘Fort. The complimentary Bulleit, Bushmills and Budweiser tall-boys flowed like tap water and were launched back and forth between fans and performers during the Odd Future set.

– Missed my RSVP for the Trail of the Dead secret show at the Frenchie Smith/1 Percent show at Guero's Oak Garden but I heard that AYWKUBTTOD was a hoot.

– Imposition shook the leaves off the Longbranch on Night Three with entertaining sets by Idiot Glee, Gobble Gobble, Braids, Baths, Cloud Nothings, Juliana Barwick, Weekend No Joy and DJ Pendu.

– Somewhere amidst the last call chaos, ended up at north at Brave New Books for Pictureplane, Puro Instinct djing with SFV Acid and Todd Pendu, followed by performances from Holograms, Tearist, Friends, Sweat and a Weird Magic set at sunrise.

– End up talking with the Haunted Graffiti’s Tim Koh outside Brave New Books. I expressed my appreciation for his bass and we expressed our tired yet shared longing to return to California. I asked him;

ME: So uh, where’s Rosenberg?
TIM: He’s at the hotel.
ME: Shit. I don’t blame him.
TIM: So what’s going in there? (Motioning toward the subterranean entrance of Brave New Books)
ME: Some sets, some DJs, everyone’s out of their minds.
TIM: I see. (Looks at the book store entrance with hesitation)
ME: When do you return to LA?
TIM: Tomorrow.
ME: Me too, I think I’ve had enough fun.

We both stood exhausted looking at the bookstore entrance. I bid Tim safe travel and made the long walk back down to South Austin circa 4:30 in the morning.

Saturday

– With 40 minutes of sleep I say my goodbyes to Austin, make it in time for final boarding on an 8am flight back to SFO.

– Arrive safely home.

– Take an afternoon nap.

– Sort it all out.

– Night Four of the Imposition at the Longbranch; Impose wins.

Aside from SXSW, I got turned on to this project from Neil Guesser of Girls Names called Sea Pinks, who just played a gig together at the Menagerie in Belfast with San Francisco’s Nodzzz and the Mantles. The personnel in the band seems to be a rotating arra They have an EP called Peripheral Vision available now through CASS FLICK.

Sea Pinks – Peripheral Vision by Noise/Racket

Be sure to check out the ‘Pinks’ visions of grandeur with “Evening, Dreaming of Empire”

Sea Pinks – Evening, Dreaming of Empire by abeano

But that’s not all, they also got a video for “Peripheral Vision” that features that creepy Paris Hilton night vision effect that feels more indie rock Blair Witch Project aesthetic than sex tape fare.

Times New Viking recently made the leap from the cassette-tech recording chic to proper studio digs (namely Columbus Discount Recording and Musicol) to record their album Dancer Equired for Merge Records due April 26. Don’t get me wrong, we all are clinging to our copies of Dig Yourself, Rip it Off and that Pyschedelic Horse Shit split 7-inch. But this new direction provides an opportunity to hear what TNV can do with a little bit of studio empowerment.To commemorate this occasion of aural metamorphosis, TNV present us with a little glimpse into their world in the following video, “Hello, we are Times New Viking from Columbus, Ohio.” You will feel as if they have adopted you as their van groupie, and you are now taking rides in the snow, sharing lunch dates and listening/or making some

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