SXSW Thursday: From The Kitchen To The Rooftop

20 03 2009

Wracked with guilt I report that I actually got some sleep last night… Like seven hours. I’m sorry I know I should have been at a secret Janes Addiction show or something (actually they headlined The Playboy party… figures.) Man I was beat though. I think I had the vapors. I’m not sure what that is, but women in the 19th century always had the vapors. Feel free to compare me to a corset crushed Victorian woman if you must, but I needed to sleep. Now refreshed I am ready to take on the second half of South By Southwest.

Best I can I’ll piece together Thursday. It was busy, and time to watch March Madness was fleeting. Started the morning talking to newly minted Universal signees Paper Route. Nice lads who stood up straight and tall. They looked like a 15th seed. Maybe Belmont from their hometown of Nashville. Five honkys with a bit of heighth, but not enough hops to play for Memphis. Their music is a generous helping of modern pop. Look for their first full length at the end of April.

I hunkered down at The Omni lobby next. I stole glances at Texas A&M ignoring my bracket and beating BYU. The fog of defeat lifted quickly though as I chatted up Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards. The woman is an ace singer and guitar player, but in keeping with her Ohio roots, is as humble as they come. Don’t miss their latest record.

Theresa Andersson took Erika’s seat next. I can’t tell you how impressive The Swedish ex-pat is. Andersson recorded her entire latest album in her kitchen using pop bottles and wine glasses as instruments. Her story about Allen Toussaint playing keys on a track…. in her kitchen no less…. is priceless. I can’t wait to see her set at Antone’s tonight.

Caught part of R&B saviors Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears at The Cedar Street Courtyard. When I say R&B I don’t mean Luther Vandross style makin’ sweet love music. I’m talking horn section, funky, groove pounding James Brown sweaty sex music. Don’t miss em when they come your way.

Austin institution Waterloo Records is known for an endless selection and friendly staff… They’re also known for placing a keg of local brew Shiner Bock in the aisle next to the Merle Haggard records (ok I’m not sure about that, but it sounds good) and drawing up complimentary cups for the people. I was there to see Howe Gelb of Giant Sand doing an in store. I could have done without the free beer, but that would be crazy, it’s free beer. Gelb was just as I imagined him. Laid back, gracious, and a hell of a picker.

Kuroma was next at Opal Divine’s. The band is Hank Sullivant’s brainchild. Sullivant was in The Whigs and MGMT. In high school he was in a jam band with MGMT member Andrew VanWyngarden. Sullivant is happy to talk about the band, unlike Vanwyngarden who has disowned any connection.

Leeds, England singer/songwriter Paul Marshall was next on my calendar. I found Paul quite randomly while looking for artists to cover. Marshall almost quit music 18 months ago in frustration. After you hear him sing you’ll wonder why he’s not already a star. It’s only a matter of time. He has one of those voices that make the world stop spinning. Flat out brilliant. He’s a hell of a guitar player too. Remember that name, Paul Marshall.

Wandering east again I was able to catch just a whisp of whistling man of the people Andrew Bird. Duty called however. One of my favorite bands Lucero was showcasing at The Dirty Dog. Anyone who misses The Replacements would be well served to see Lucero. All their albums are great too. Just signed to Universal, lets hope their first major label album is as great as The Mats debut for Sire “Tim.”

Today…. A chat with The Flaming Lips road crew turned band Star Death & The White Dwarf. I’ll catch up with fellow Port Angeles, Washington escapees The Lonely H (I would be a fan even if they weren’t from my Godforsaken hometown.) Rapper Sage Francis and whoever he can round up from his essential Strange Famous label roster. The Spin Party and Echo & the Bunnymen part 2. Then it’s Star Death Live, Theresa Andersson, and Devo! (By the way I saw Devo wandering the halls at The Convention Center in their jumpsuits and red plastic hats yesterday. Yay!