SXSW 2012 Short List: A-J SXSW 2012 Short List: A-J

SXSW is just two short weeks away and, once again, there will be thousands of bands (and hundreds of thousands of “fans”) descending upon the sleepy little town of Austin, Texas. In order to help those planning on attending this annual bacchanal I’ve taken it upon myself to spend my first free weekend in forever compiling a short list of some of the bands I’ve actually heard of. Forgive me if some of my assessments are a little glib but I’d hate for you to waste your precious music experience watching Adam Duritz do anything. That being said, here’s A-J. Expect the rest of the alphabet shortly. Rock it.

3 Inches of Blood – Canadian metal with two singers (I think) that come off all New Wave of Rob Halford with the thrash and beards and…is that Steve O? No. No it’s not. I really hope this band is not a joke.

A-Trak – The world needs more white DJs.

Action Bronson – I see stickers for this cat all over my neighborhood. I’m not sure what I thought he’d sound like (hip hop) but I never imagined he’d be a bearded gourmand.

Alabama Shakes – Straight American southern blues rock with a plain Jane frontwoman who has one of the boldest, most authentically chilling voices to come along in a dog’s age. Reminds me of Janice without the junk.

Aleister X – Andrew W.K. has been hyping the fuck out of this guy for a while now. I think he’s British. Weirdo half-party electro rock? Might be awesome.

All Pigs Must Die – I have a hard time telling the difference between metal and hardcore now. This band is fast, loud, furious and – quite possibly – named after a Death in June song. I’m wrong about that aren’t I?

ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) – Pop pablum that sleeps at the feet of Jack Johnson and Dispatch. I am loath to call this music.

Amen Dunes – Disquieting bedroom psychedelic pop magnetism from the endless well of Sacred Bones. I anticipate their live experience to either be boring as sin or ear-splitting.

And So I Watch You From Afar – I wouldn’t know fuck all about this band if it weren’t for Lemon. Post rock fight songs for best friends to drink to. Instrumental.

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – I hate this band almost as much as I hate the Brian Jonestown Massacre and I resent the fact that they continue to exist.

Andrew Bird – Behold the whistle champion.

Andrew W.K. – He’s playing with a live band again and will, likely, perform the entirety of I Get Wet in Beauty Bar’s backyard. I’m calling riot.

Andy Suzuki & The Method – I don’t know who I thought this band was but I was mistaken. Not unpleasant singer songwriting just very much not for me.

Apache Dropout – Retro rawk for Oliver Stone.

The Apache Relay – More southern lovin’ with a touch of falsetto soul. For no readily apparent reason I have a hard time accepting (as I’m currently watching YouTube) that their singer is not a girl.

The Art – No.

B L A C K I E – Fucking FUCK YES!

B.o.B. – I thought Tyler the Creator was gonna kill this dude. Looks like somebody owes me a Pepsi.

Bad Rabbits – Their name sucks but I bet they really like Prince.

Balkan Beat Box – The funkier side of Gogol Bordello. They’re wicked popular in the quad.

Balaclavas – I wish Blank Dogs sounded more like this. I bet they do too.

Band of Skulls – Rock. Just rock. For some reason this band is pretty popular. Good for them.

Bare Wires – Saw this band last year and dug the fuck out of their taut sun rock. Check ‘em out.

Bass Drum of Death – I really wanted to not like this band on account of their name but I don’t know man. They’re pretty fucking righteous. All sweat and beer trash for the kids.

Beach Fossils – Really? We’re still doing this?

Bear Hands – A cross between The Shins and The New Radicals only not necessarily as anemic.

Bear in Heaven – I either sort of the know the drummer for this band or saw them play with Zola Jesus. I fucking hate the singer’s moustache.

Ben Kweller – What is this kid, twelve? How old was Silverchair when they came out? Twelve right? Fuck, I’m old.

Best Coast – I saw them once, got drunk and bought all of their 7”s. Guess I have a soft spot for fashionable boredom.

Bestial Mouths – Skinny kids in expensive t-shirts playing the kind of acerbic tribal German gloom that could only come out of Los Angeles. Of course I’ll go see them. Once a goth, always a goth.

The Big Pink – I actually think I own this record. Looks like 4AD is back on the post-punk track and thank fuck for that.

The Big Sleep – Kinda fun. Kinda ponderous. Mostly ponderous. They’ve been around a lot longer than I thought.

Big Star Third Concert – Alex Chilton R.I.P.

The Black Belles – Didn’t Stephen Colbert do a record with these chicks? Jack White loves them which means you probably will too.

Black Cobra – METAL!

The Black Ryder – Australian sex psych for high school kilns. I’d make out to it.


Bleeding Rainbow – Formerly Reading Rainbow. Currently radical.

Blitzen Trapper – What the world needs now is another folk singer like I need a hole in my head.

Blue Sky Black Death – Not Black Tape for a Blue Girl but still superbly gloomy.

Bomba Estero – Afrocolombian dance music. Come feel the Latin loooooove.

Bonaparte – Equal parts awesome and infuriating. Jad Fair lost Where the Wild Things Are. There’s no way this isn’t madness live.

Braid – Awesome band with a shitty new EP.

Breathe Carolina – Wait. What? No, seriously. What the fuck is this shit? I hate it so much I might actually rip my dick off.

Built to Spill – Everyone and their uncle will be at this show.

Busdriver – I may or may not have seen Busdriver open for the Streets forever ago. Frantic hip hop weirdness Mike Patton can masturbate to.

Cadence Weapon – I don’t listen to enough hip hop.

The Calm Blue Sea – More post rock from Texas. Not as good as Explosions in the Sky but I don’t know that I ever need to hear that band again.

Cancer Bats – Riffy, screamy punkassfuck. Pretty damn badass.

Capital Cities – Pretty goddamn listenable dance music. Poppier sons of LCD Soundsystem.

Cassettes Won’t Listen – Eh. I often wonder why polymaths always end up playing electronic music.

Caveman – My new coworker is shit hot for this band. Sounds like a Lexus commercial to me.

Cecil Otter – I just plain don’t like white people.

Ceremony – THIS is the band that’s going to save punk rock.

Chain Gang of 1974 – Delightfully earnest 80s electric pop. This is NOT the band Ian Svenious is in. You probably know this already. I didn’t.

Cheap Girls – This band would actually be pretty great, straight indie rock if the singer didn’t sound so fucking bored.

Chelsea Wolfe – Oooooooooooooooooooooh, spooky. Why isn’t she playing a cello?

Chuck Ragan – The dreamy muscled singer of Hot Water Music playing hard-hearted acoustic.

Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Listening to this harmless pop/punk/shout band has me yearning for a midlife crisis.

Citizen Cope – I always think this is Julian Cope. It’s not.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Wasn’t this band supposed to be the next big thing at some point? Are they? They sure whine a lot for dancing.

Class Actress – I really like saying this band’s name in my head. Hyper-sexualized electronica. What I hoped Glass Candy would end up sounding like after Ida No left the Shattered Theater.

Cloud Nothings – The next big thing. Wipers worship played through the auspice of a considerably less bitchy Steve Albini.

The Coathangers – This band is either totally fucking badass grrrl rock that takes me straight back to the days I drooled at the feet of L7 or cutesy retro garage blah band. Either way I’m crushing.

Com Truise – I don’t know. Ask Luke.

Corrosion of Conformity – Aaaaaaaahhhhh SHIT! Looks like thrash school is back in session.

Counting Crows – Not even if I was fourteen and fat again.

Craft Spells – I wish this was Cast Spells but instead it’s a pretty engaging channeling for Bernard Summer. Bring your girlfriend.

Crocodiles – Dudes from Some Girls and Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower playing the Jesus and Mary Chain only not hating each other, the music or their fans. I like it way more than I care to admit.

Crooked Fingers – Erich Bachmann drops the bombast and adds a whole assload of sad.

Crystal Antlers – The only “Crystal” band playing SXSW? Shocking!

The Cult – No fucking way. Really? I guess Skrillex must have taken over Ian Astbury’s role as Jim Morrison in the Doors.

Cults – Everybody loves them and I don’t get it. Feel like I said something similar last year.

Cymbals Eat Guitars – The appearance of Doug Marsch at this year’s festivities may severely distract from the heroics of the best band to play indie guitar gods since Dinosaur Jr.’s reformation.

Danny Brown – I see Danny Brown and I think Big Freedia and I just want that gin in my system.

Darkest Hour – When my friend Becky got married I had a long talk with a dude from Vice about the cooption of Swedish death metal. Darkest Hour was mentioned a lot. Actually, it was much less a conversation and much more a dissertation. I drank politely.

Dash Rip Rock – Holy fuck. How long has Dash Rip Rock been around?

Dax Riggs – The man behind Acid Bath (‘member them?) has been doing the American gothic thing for years now. Hear he’s pretty bitchin’ live.

Deafheaven – Brooklyn Vegan loves this band.

Death by Stereo – Saw this band open for Boy Sets Fire and Sick of it All in Denver way back when Justin was still my friend. I had altitude sickness and ground heads with the singer while screaming like a lunatic.

Delicate Steve – What the fuck does that name even mean?

Delta Spirit – This band reminds me of a considerably less incredible Walkmen. No offense to them. They’re pretty damn okay and will be playing like crazy.

Dinosaur Feathers – There’s nothing wrong with a little smart pop.

Diplo – Party.

Dirty Ghosts – I was JUST listening to this band’s new album trying to decide whether it was great or infuriating. I’m on the fence. Let’s hope a live session will help me choose my way.

Doomtree – See Cecil Otter.

The Drums – I can listen to this band for about 10 seconds before I’m forced to punch myself in the face.

Duran – I can’t wait to read on TMZ how Simon Le Bon sued your ass.

Dying Fetus – Lots of notes. Lots of growling. Headaches. Moshing.

DZ Deathrays – Hard-drinking underaged Australian punk duo. Yeah. This is gonna be awesome.

E.D. Sedgwick – What, did the Factory take action against stealing the name of a foxy corpse? I think this is a band of drag queens. I thought it was. Just the singer? Life used to be so much simpler.

Ear Pwr – You’re right to doubt my commitment to Sparkle Motion…and vowels, sometimes, too.

Electric Eel Shock – Japan plays the maximum rock and roll with the four stick naked drumming man. YES!

Emperor X – Dangerously close to being new bicycle rock. Kinda nervous but strangely engaging. Literate politicos playing their fucking balls off. Also pretty. Might be genuinely great.

Eternal Summers – Another band I thought was another band but that band plays weirdo drummy psych. This band’s on Kanine and play the kind of breezy indie pop I never ever ever want to listen to.

The Ettes – This band used to be pretty great until they started to play like they were on Third Man. What can’t I blame Jack White for?

Eve 6 – Um. What?

Fake Problems – I think I might have found my new guilty pleasure.

Family of the Year – These guys played our showcase last year and were pretty fucking great. They’re in that Advil commercial. Super nice. Their manager kinda looks like my first lay.

Fanfarlo – I feel like I’ve been reading this name for years. Arcade Fire, Devotchka, etc. I could see this band meaning the world to someone.

Fat Tony – Houston MC who I caught at Fun Fun Fun Fest. Not bad at all, really.


Fiona Apple – Ben’s totally going to make it with music’s best kept anorexic. I just hope I get it on tape. CHA-CHING!

Flosstradamus – Still? Sure. Why not?

Forever the Sickest Kids – Artie played a bill with them a few years back before Ryan Starr snatched his ass up. He couldn’t finish a sentence describing them without laughing and ruefully shaking his head. Awful. Haircuts.

The Fresh and Onlys – For some reason I imagine the Young Fresh Fellows sound like this. They don’t. Do they? Kinda like Peter Murphy on a sunny day fronting REM.

Freshkills – I can’t remember who I saw this band open for but I liked them enough to be their LP on the spot. Post punk nerves thrown up by punks with respectable day jobs.

fun. – This band name could only be worse if the period was replaced by a question mark. I bet they’re a hit with the teen RomCom set.

Future of the Left – Holy shit. I just spit out my beer. I’m fucking seeing this band and if you give two flying fucks about the sanctity of spite in rock and roll you fucking better well too or I’ll cut you so deep I…I…YARG!

Ganglians – I got this record imagining it wouldn’t be awful. It was. Thin and sheepish lo-fi. Maybe they bring it live. I doubt it.

Gay Witch Abortion – If I’m not mistaken this is the only “active” band on Amphetamine Reptile that isn’t The Melvins. Bad times are here to stay.

Giant Sand – There is no WAY this is still a band.

Girl in a Coma – No “friend”? Fuck Morissey.

Good Old War – Popaltcountryfolk. Okay. Not a priority but totally okay.

Grant Hart – Bob Mould’s ex-boyfriend will reluctantly play the Husker Du songs that didn’t change your life.

Grimes – I was actually disappointed that I missed them at Fun Fun Fun since they play a sort of breathy weirdo fashion electronica that I would like to know a little better for reasons that escape me at the moment.

Guadalupe Plata – Saw these guys last year. They slayed. Man plays a fucking bathtub string bass. Spanish blues, baby.

GZA – I do love me some Bobby Digital.

Heartless Bastards – Now that my mother is comfortable with drinking I should really get her listening to this band.

Hellogoodbye – I remember wanting to really like Hellogoodbye when their posters were all over Tower Records. I’m not sure what stopped me.

Hey Marseilles – Another band with too many members and a whole lot of sentimentality but they do have a song with a fuckton of handclaps which I am a big, big fan of because I (heart) fun so fuck off.

High on Fire – None is more metal than High on Fire. NONE! MATT PIKE WILL DESTROY YOUR CHILDREN WITH ASPS!!!

Hospitality – There is something about the simple, shrugging cuteness of this band that makes me feel like I have gone insane.

Houses – Sure. Why not? Name your fucking band Houses. It’s better than Tennis or those fucktards in Yacht.

Hull – I don’t think I’ve heard a band this relentlessly pissed since I almost shit myself at my first Neurosis gig.

Imaginary Cities – When did ladies start singing like they had a broken nose and a cleft palette? Man, I hate that shit. That being said this band plays incredibly pretty music that should be best enjoyed smoking cigarettes on your floor so…very…alone.

Imperial Teen – Another no shit. In all the years of their existence, I have never actually listened to them but I always imagined they sounded like a far better informed Rentals. Am I right? They have a new record out, somehow.

Indian Jewelry – Spacey, druggy, loud. If this band were the least bit threatening it would totally be my kind of psych.

Ingrid Michaelson – I have no idea why I know who the fuck this woman is.

Japanther – Oh, Japanther. I used to want to be friends with you. Then I thought you were dicks. Then I was swooning again. Then you took time out of your set to talk about art school. F.

The Jealous Sound – I don’t really care for this band’s new record but I’m really happy that people are slowly giving a damn about the man who gave us Knapsack and the glorious emotives of “Anxious Arms.”

Jesse Malin – Green Door was a long time ago and D Generation always sucked.

The Jesus and Mary Chain – You know what? No. Fuck this band. They hate the music they play. They hate the people that listen to it. They hate performing. They hate their fans. Fuck them. British pricks capitalizing on a new generation stealing their volumous shit.

Jimmy Cliff – How is this man not dead?

Job for a Cowboy – I feel like this band is a bad punchline in certain metal circles. I don’t really have an opinion. I have one of their records but I never choose to listen to it.

John C. Reilly – I don’t know either. Is he going to do a whole set as Dewey Cox or does he really have a yen to play like a marauding troubadour?

John Doe – The man from X still has it.

John Mayer – Why the fuck is John Mayer playing SXSW? Anyone? ANYONE? Fine. I’ll just fucking ask Jessica Simpson.

John Townes Earle – Does anyone else think this dude looks like Jimmy Fallon?

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