No, I'm not going to SxSW. Thanks for asking. I do love Austin and I had a ball the last time I was there, but times are tough in the blogging industry...
But today I'm writing you a little list of what I would be doing should some handsome benefactor decide they'd like to pay for me to attend the truly insane music industry event, just in case some of you are going to see sick bands and not just stick cocaine up your nose and try and meet one of the cast members of Girls.
Full rundown below, but if I had to choose five acts to see, they'd be as follows:
Garage goodness: Mikal Cronin
Pretty pop: Haim
Hellishly hot hip hop: Joey Bada$$ & Pro Era
Legend of the game: Billy Joe Shaver
OMG! NBT! (Oh my God! Next big thing!): The Orwells
WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH
Game face on, the next half a week is either going to break you or make you very happy. You have to be strong. You know that Shannon Noll song Lift? Put it on your iPod now, you'll need it at 1am Friday.
1pm: Hurray For The Riff Raff @ Austin Convention Center – lovely, sedate start courtesy of country singer Alynda lee Segarra – aka Hurray For The Riff Raff. You'll need to be here to pick up your pass anyway, probably. Listen: Born To Win (Part One).
1.30pm: Gurf Morlix @ Threadgills – Former Lucinda Williams collaborator and now great solo artist (sadly he and Lucinda don't talk anymore).
2.30pm: Anne McCue @ The Dogwood/Molotov – Haven't seen McCue in years, but she used to be one our finest country artists before she moved to the US. I'm sure she's still great.
4pm: Jaill @ Trailer Space Records – One of a number of cool garage-cum-indie-rock bands that popped up a few years ago. Latest record is good, but not quite as good as the 2010's That's How We Burn. Here's Everyone's Hip from that record, thanks to Sub Pop.
5.30pm: The Skatalites @ The Ginger Man Pub – legendary group with only one founding member but he right attitude when it comes to keeping the spirit of Jamaican ska alive. Here's some proof from just a couple of months ago.
6.15pm: Bernie Worrell Orchestra @ The Ginger Man Pub – I just spent hundreds of dollars to see the 2013 incarnation of Parliament-Funkadelic. The least you can do is see the masterful synth genius in action. For me. Please.
6.55pm: Billy Joe Shaver @ The Dogwood/Molotov – A legend of Texan outlaw country music. He's never coming to Australia and, frankly, seeing him in Texas would be fucking sick. Here's an old classic.
9pm: Billy Bragg @ St David's Historic Sanctuary – Apparently his new record is great and hopefully he'll say something funny about the music industry.
10pm: Audacity @ Holy Mountain Backyard – Hopefully you're drunk by now. These guys are one of the best garage bands getting around at the moment. Great hooks and probably all sorts of messy, loud and great live.
11.15pm: Natural Child @ Trailer Space Records – Sick classic rock. Might be the best band of 2013, but won't get popular. They have a song called B$G P$MP$N, what more do you need? My absolute number one pick for SxSW this year.
Midnight: Menahan Street Band @ Moody Theatre – Daptone soulsters deliver slick dancing music. Some of the best players around.
12.30am: CHVRCHES @ Red 7 Patio – I reckon they'll be out here soon, but just in case they're not you oughta check this Scottish electro outfit. As you'll soon find out, I have a soft spot for this dark, slick, lady pop. I fucking love it. LOVE IT.
1am: Angel Haze @ Cedar Street Courtyard – Bound to be a popular show, this New York lady will be out here for the Movement Festival, but a 1am show is going to be loose as all hell. One of the best young hip hop stars going around – and that's sayin' something. Grab Werkin' Girls here, courtesy of Consequence Of Sound.
GO TO BED
THURSDAY 14 MARCH
If you can get into Guero's on South Congress, go and smash a whole bunch of Mexican food and a margarita if you can stomach it. Spend the day walking around, avoiding flyers and CDs and see some bands. Find some new ones, tell me about them. I'm not holding your hand the whole way.
5pm: The Thermals @ Bar 96 – I love this band and I can't figure out why they've never come to Australia. They were booked once but the festival they were doing went kaput. Spewin'. Oh, they're thrashy power-pop with super great lyrics.
6pm: RATKING @ Waterloo Records – Four piece New York hip hop outfit that every prick will be trying to see or sign or book or hang out with or whatever. Had a good EP out through XL Recordings last year... might give you a bit of an idea as to the kind of crowd that'll be there...
9pm Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale @ Antone's – Antone's is a pretty legendary club and these are two pretty legendary country dudes. You're in Texas now, kid.
11.10pm: Useless Eaters @ Metal & Lace Lounge – Very fucking good garage rock outta Nashville, put together by Seth Sutton and his band. Hopefully one that's so loud you'll need earplugs and devoid of any industry types – but you never know… Hot girls have liked garage rock for a while now, after all.
Midnight: Telekinesis @ The Parish – Power-pop for pussies. I'm not completely sold on Telekinesis yet, but his songs have moments of genius.
1am: Black Lips @ Cedar Street Courtyard – Okay, there's a lot of good stuff on right now (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Carsick Cars, Surfer Blood, The Mavericks) but Black Lips have a bunch of new songs and you need to hear how they sound. If you don't know them then… Oh I just don't know.
1.20am: Joey Bada$$ & Pro Era @ The North Door – Just hope that everyone got too tired and left early, because this will be a tough gig to get into. The Pro Era crew are a bunch of New York kids who are making the best hip hop at the moment. Number one.
FRIDAY 15 MARCH
2pm: Richard Thompson @ Waterloo Records – Think sleeping in and bumming around til evening is more important than British folk legend Richard Thompson? Fuck you.
3pm: Ducktails @ Clive Bar – Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile's best music come through Ducktails. Nice slacker pop.
5.15pm: Haim @ Red Eyed Fly – I mentioned earlier I love this slick female pop stuff and the hooks of Haim are dyn-o-mite. Kinda like if Phoenix weren't terrible. Or if Hall & Oates and Iva Davies wrote songs for Warpaint, who had taken some designer drugs.
6pm: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell @ Waterloo Records – If you can be bothered going all the way back to Waterloo, these two Americana legends will deliver you something truly special.
7pm: North Mississippi Allstars @ Hotel San Jose – Dickinson boys doing good, modern Southern rock that kicks arse live.
8pm: Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys @ Hotel San Jose – An absolute legend of Texan music who is still releasing killer records. He's an amazing songwriter and probably a demon of a performer. You can stream his latest record through Jimmy Fallon's site, of all places.
10pm: FIDLAR @ Clive Bar – Fuck it dog, life's a risk. There'll be plenty at this show and they'll be wild as hell. FIDLAR's record is bloody good (if not a little contrived) garage rock and this will be a mad show.
11pm: Andrew W.K. @ Clive Bar – Hey, you're here already, and at this stage you probably need someone to tell you that you need to party more. Grab a big tin of Lone Star, spray it all over yourself and convince yourself you're gonna live forever.
Midnight: Steve Earle @ The Parish – Once again, this is a guy who knows Texas better than most. New songs and a show on familiar turf – see him again.
1am: Palma Violets @ Club de Ville – At 1am these guys might be a bit tough to handle – their record doesn't exactly suggest a great live show, but they'll be interesting if nothing else and every prick is gonna be talking about them.
SATURDAY 16 MARCH
Not far to go, sunshine, but we're not at the finish line yet.
Midday: The Zombies @ Waterloo Records – I have no idea how this is gonna go, but you'll kick yourself if you don't at least give it a crack.
1pm: Mikal Cronin @ Waterloo Records – Cronin is fantastic. He's perhaps best known over here for working with Ty Segall, but his occasionally fierce, often very sweet brand of garage pop stands up on its own just fine, thank you very much. He's got an LP out through Merge later this year and he'll get real popular.
2.30pm: Murder By Death @ Broken Spoke – Probably lumped into that “folk that punks like” scene a bit more than they deserve, these guys are dark as hell but pretty at the same time. Might make you a bit emotional. Their scheduled Aussie tour got all fucked up, so be nice to them and maybe they'll book another one. Their latest LP is streaming here.
3.30pm: Caitlin Rose @ Broken Spoke - A big fat can of Lone Star in hand while 25-year-old Nashville singer Caitlin Rose breaks my heart into pieces. Yes, please.
4pm: Foxygen @ Hotel San Jose – You probably already know about them. Hopefully the live show has that weirdness that makes their kinda derivative record so intriguing.
6pm: Thee Oh Sees @ Clive Bar – Their just-completed Australian shows saw them in better form than we've ever seen them. Psyched out garage goodness.
8pm: Dawes @ Hotel San Jose – Roots rockers who put out a real pretty record in 2011 and I reckon are just gonna get better and better. Wilco kinda steez.
9pm: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires @ BD Riley's – Retro rock in that kinda Alabama Shakes, Kings Of Leon, Black Keys kinda vein, which I actually kinda hate, but their There's A Bomb In Gilead album had something gritty that hooked me.
10pm: Jacuzzi Boys @ Scoot Inn – Catchy as all get out '60s influenced garage rock. They stand out from the (massive) garage pack more than most.
11.10pm: ESG @ The Main – I didn't get to see them when they were out, so not sure if they're good live these days, I bet they are. Apparently they're breaking up so you'd be silly to miss them.
12am: The Dynamites & Charles Walker @ Bar 96 – Young soul band with an older gentleman out the front who has performed with plenty of the greats. One last dance?
1am: The Orwells @ Latitude 30: Their songs are good but they're young so they probably suck live. Why not end the showcases with that band who are supposed to be the next big thing?
If you're in Austin next week, have an amazing time. If you've not been before, there's no real way to prepare you for what you're about to go through. Just embrace it.
Also, there are new shows announced all the time and secret shows happening all over the place so keep your ear to the ground.
This week's new sets include the return of UK's Foals plus local acts Last Dinosaurs, The Snowdroppers and The Paper Kites.