If SXSW wanted to just belly up and corporate explode in a bazooka confetti spray of Gaga emblazoned Doritos, really, y’all can go and do that festival peoples, ‘cause the energy of Joe Local’s bedroom will forever be the mantra of whatever scrap of discovery is left in this town come March every year.
Arkansas hearts SW/MM/NG may have gotten their fair share of blogosphere love from The Wild Honey Pie to Spin already, but watching their friends strip their lead singer down to his skivvies belting Real Estate-super reverb surf pop cruise mantras about just some of your dreams coming true at the right time and the barista who served me coffee earlier that day skin-tight jean shimmy around the breezeway can put a smile on the most unhappiest of faces for days:
Sure, being in that tiny space was like head-butting an amp trying to try and discern what singer Brian Kupillas was going on about in the muffled space of a 10×10 room, but sacrifices must be made for the vibes, of which these dudes clobber aforementioned Real Estate over the head with. Triple harmonies, deep ocean-sprayed hooks, a token slap of angst about that silly thing called love – they ride the jam waves well into one-liner epiphanies that may not be Wordsworth-ian, but do some Lady “Time” healing just right:
Catching drummer Joel Paul out in the yard after the band took down the last of their shark and fish mosaics covering the windows, Paul went on about all the new cuts they debuted throughout the evening with names like “Cross Country” and “Won’t Shy Away,” handed us some graffiti splattered CDRs and proceeded to pack up for the next living room.
‘Why do they use backslashes in their name,’ I asked a friend later, he replying, “Some art-rock dweebs in the UK already called ‘Swimming‘ made them take their ‘i’s out.” There’s probably a metaphor in there somewhere. Especially as SW/MM/NG were official showcasing artists this year. But maybe a better question for the sake of this “official” bashing piece, is ‘Where’s the best place to swim?’