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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Breakfast Taco

posted by on March 11 at 11:37 AM


This morning’s taco contains…well, hell, I don’t have time to make anything fancy. Beans, cheese, and a bubble machine.

My planning for this year’s fest has been broken up thanks to last-minute work on other crap, but conveniently, SXSW has an automated calendar system so you can scroll through band names, then click your faves to create a personalized schedule (at least for the nighttime sets). This is how I happened upon Evangelista, the latest group starring Geraldine Fibber Carla Bozulich, and this morning, I realized they will perform at a venue called Spiro’s. NOOOO.

Spiro’s is best known as the lame dance club with a bubble machine on its roof—typically in Austin, you just walk past it on the way to Emo’s, making fun of the lineup of dudes in shiny shirts. This is the thing about SXSW that still catches out-of-towners off-guard; over half of the venues for SXSW are used solely for that week. Then they go back to their original state—pubs, unused buildings, and worst of all, badly designed dance clubs that were never meant for live music. On the flipside, of course, are venues like the Central Presbyterian Church. Yeah, it’s really a church, and its incomparable acoustics began hosting the devil’s music at SXSW only a coupl’a years ago. Last year, Shearwater took incredible advantage of the space and its grand piano; this year sees my fave SXSW sleeper from last year, Ola Podrida, take its stage Wednesday night, followed by the haunting sonic concern Castanets on Friday. As a bonus for those of you attending, this venue is easy peasy to get into, even if you don’t have a badge or wristband. Keep it highlighted.

Anyway, blah blah blah, Sean Nelson, blah blah blah. Those of you who are attending just want band picks, so here’s my preliminary list of sleepers and recommendations. For the sake of those who aren’t attending, I’ll bury the info in the jump (though you’ll miss out on a story about Sub Pop’s Baptist Generals, whose lead singer was foolish enough to send me new album info via Gmail chat the other day).

The Baptist Generals, who hail from Denton, TX, might actually be close to finishing their new record. Then again, lead singer Chris Flemmons said this to me all the way back in late 2005, so I’ve learned to take his claims with a grain of salt, but he’s never been this specific: “I’m four mixes from being done with the [record].” He won’t be handing out CD-Rs in Austin this year, sadly, but he is helming a dandy of a Denton-centric day party on Wednesday, and it’ll feature the BG’s first SXSW show in…boy, I don’t even remember. The band has been playing very bizarre sets in the past year and a half using toy amps, meaning that crowds pretty much have to sit within 2 feet of the quartet to hear anything, but the results have been spectacular…if you don’t believe me, watch this clip I recorded:

The rest of the BG’s day party is on par with anything else you’ll catch on Wednesday; North Texas up-and-comers MOM, Sarah Jaffe, and Record Hop (the latter of which just finished an album with Steve Albini, which isn’t super-unique, but still) are among the must-sees. Check out all the bands and so on at the NX35 site. Show is free.

Other Wednesday daytime picks:
The Austinist/Gothamist “Gonna Gonna Git Down” party at The Mohawk, featuring Shearwater and Phosphorescent;
The Gorilla Vs. Bear party at The Peacock, with Holy Fuck, Austin’s scathing-hot White Denim, and Dallas’ 8-bit-dance-hallsters Ghosthustler;’s party at The Creekside Lounge, with Division Day and Catfish Haven.

As far as nighttime showcases go…I don’t care about anything other than Autolux. Bias, much?

Vancouver’s own Carolyn Mark throws one of the best SXSW parties in town every single year. It’s at a tiny tiki bar called Headhunters, and the schedule always changes up until the last minute, but it’s where I’ve seen fest sleepers like ElliotBROOD, Sarah Harmer, Kelly Hogan, and way too many more twangy Canadians who act like they’ve never seen a margarita before. Pop in at some point on Thursday if you need a break from the throngs of hipsters.

Chicago venue Schuba’s relocates to the Yard Dog gallery on Thursday—hitch a ride with a friend to visit this out-of-the-way spot, if possible, as this homegrown art/sculpture wonderland is a treat even without bands like Okkervil River, Blitzen Trapper and Cool Kids playing in the ridiculously intimate patio. Aside: One of my best Texan friends stood next to Neil Young at a Yard Dog show for 10 minutes last year, and he still won’t shut up about it.

…I’m afraid this’ll have to be continued, as my flight leaves a lot sooner than I expected. But hey, a day and a half of recommendations is good, right?

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