SXSW 08: A Little Music Preview

And Then There’s The Music…
After 5 days of Film and Interactive screenings, panels and assorted mischief, there’s music. Last year my feet hurt so badly I could barely walk in the mornings. I was under the impression that it was simply a matter of me being too old to pogo (mosh, skank, slam) but it turned out to be Plantar Fasciitis, which has now gone, so this year, I’m in the pit! (Yeah….right.)
The latest big news to come out of the SXSW camp? R.E.M., baby! They will be playing in support of their upcoming album Accelerate which, as its name implies, is apparently chock full of rock-pop goodness. That alone should be a reason to do the Snoopy Happy Dance for R.E.M. fans who are less than thrilled with their recent “adult contemporary” sound, but wait! There’s more:
Also confirmed this year:

The artist behind one of my top 10 CDs of the year (coming soon, I promise) Nicole Atkins & The Sea (also one of Rolling Stone’s top 10 artists to watch, for what it’s worth) is playing SXSW and I couldn’t be more chuffed. I am planning on seeing her on the 25th of this month at the Bowery Ballroom and don’t look at me funny if I cry during “The Way It Is,” which just happens to be the best, most heartfelt and emotionally crippling song of 2007.
Another band appearing also happens to be in my top 10, that being The Cribs. Straight outta Sheffield (erm, Wakefield, actually), this English trio’s 2007 release Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever has been cited by Rolling Stone thusly: “Finally, the Cribs deliver the tour de force they had in them…”) and says: “There’s absolutely nothing indecisive (or indeed shit) about this album. It’s swaggering, full-throttle, full-throated genius.” Amen! I’ve been a fan for a few years and they put on a damn good show. You’ll thank me for turning you on to them.
Then there are rumors a go-go and Austinist has a hell of a good list that includes both officially announced bands including The Breeders (Hey Tully, here’s our chance to ask the Deal sisters if they’ll star in that remake we were talking about), Daniel Lanois, The Kills and My Morning Jacket and rumors like The Raveonettes. Apparently Darryl Hal is playing sans John Oates. I kinda hated Hall & Oates but I am curious as to whether this is one of those late-career “brilliant comeback” ideas or just….pain.
My wishlist for SXSW Music fest 2008? (Complete with odds based on absolutely nothing. So if I’m wrong, don’t bother pointing it out. I know I am posting completely out of my arse.)
Madness. Seriously, think about it. The band plays tours once, twice each year in the UK and packs auditoriums. When they’ve played the US, they do very well. They’re iconic and young enough not to be a joke AND they continue to put out good music. Seriously, check out out. SW5 is a great tune. The thing is, they haven’t played Stateside in yonks. Odds? 1000-1
Siouxsie Sioux. Conveniently, she’s ending a tour about 2 1/2 weeks before SXSW and her debut solo CD, Mantaray, has been critically lauded by myself and others. 5-1
The Wombats. One of my “discoveries” from SXSW 2007, the ‘Bats have been tearing up the music scene in the UK and I was at their first ever NYC gig last August. They played a few shows in Austin last year (I caught them at the Liverpool showcase) but could come back this year complete with buzz! Some more pix of the ‘Bats? Looks like they’re free from March 9th (Sydney) to the 17th (New York). Oh yeah! 5-2
Here’s a vid of the Wombats performing their traditional opening number in MYC last summer:

Kaiser Chiefs. Again, one of the acts of 2007 and one that didn’t play South By in 2007. Of course if you included everyone that fit that bill you’d have to include Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Of Montreal, Rilo Kiley (although I think we’ve heard the last from them, alas), and Rufus Wainwright among others. And why not, I ask you! KC: 10-1, the rest? 50-1 Rilo Kiley, 1000-1.
How about White Rabbits? The were in Austin in 2007, but I missed them, so they should play again! One of my favorite CDs from 2007 (I saw them open for The Cribs) and a great story. The band all live together in a loft in Bushwick. 7 of them sleep in one room. Somehow I think their growing success might indicate that they don’t need to do that anymore. 5-2.
Kate Nash. I might be the last music fanatic on earth to have heard of her, but what I’ve heard is fantastic. You might be quick to slap “Lily Allen redux” on her, but listen to a few of her tunes, first. Not only that, but as much as I love Lily, Kate playes instruments, too! The one’s kind of a no-brainer. 2-1.
Here’s Kate performing her first single, “Foundations” on Jooles Holand’s show:

Bring on the BBQ, baby!

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