Monday, March 20, 2006

SXSW X AUSTIN & BEYOND

Some interesting coverage of SXSW in its local paper, the Austin Statesman, and quite a few of their reports come under the "not as good as it used to be" heading.

That's in addition, of course, to the lukewarm reception the Arctic Monkeys got from them, in common with much of the US press:

Starting the show exactly like the debut album with title too long and pretentious to repeat, “The View from the Afternoon” and “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” got things off well. But then it was just one bundle of nothing after another.

But Austinites seemed a bit hacked off in other directions: mainly the lack of cheap entry for the people who live there and that the festival has jumped the shark as too many people chase too many bands through an insufficient infrastructure:

When they have to have overflow rooms with video screens for conference attendees to hear the main attractions at the conference, that’s out of hand. When you can’t drive from point A to point B — not because of the traffic and the 45 minutes it could take to traverse a 2-mile distance … in the afternoon … but because you can’t risk giving up the parking space you have and not finding another — that’s out of hand. It’s time to put a cap on registrations, folks. Last year was bad enough, and supposedly, the badges-sold figure was only around 8,000 then. We get that SXSW is a cool event everyone wants to attend … that’s why some of us are on our 11th Southby, or 13th or 19th or 20th. But when registrants can’t achieve what they came here for — enlightenment and entertainment — without major hassles all around, something needs to be fixed.

Elsewhere, Entertainment Tonight's Popwatch was taken with Vicky Pollard rapper Lady Sovereign, already calling her "sov":

Looking like a spunky hip-hop cartoon with her black and white track suit, cornrows, and sideways ponytail, Sov rolled through an already-impressive canon of U.K. hits.

The indiewire film blog cut out the cinema to go and see Morrissey, catching the Mozster's wry words after he wheeled out Girlfriend In A Coma:

"Just in case anyone was wondering, she never made it."

He knew it was serious.

Greg Kot, for the Chicago Tribune was also less than impressed with the Arctic Monkeys - Alex Turner's moaning about the photographers and set-up earning them a "get over it, kid" - but more interestingly, pulled a slightly icky quote from one of the panels:

"She had a bad complexion and small breasts when she came into my office and warbled a song," said one former record company executive, Michael Caplan, of Britney Spears. "I couldn't wait to get her out of my office."

The exec who eventually signed Spears, Jive Records' Jeff Fenster, said he based the decision not on a song in particular, but on a picture of the then-teenage Spears. She was sitting on a picnic blanket, wearing cutoffs and cuddling a puppy, Fenster said. "She looked like the sweet, All-American girl that you just wanted to defile and do bad things to, and that appealed to me."


Spears, of course, is currently in court arguing that the thought of her being in any way sexual would harm her career.

Oddly, Rolling Stone took to Dirty Pretty Things, but liked Towers of London more:

They have the hair of Motley Crue, the hygiene of Shane McGowan and rock that still leaves something to be desired. But when singer Donny Tourette wants your attention, man does he get it. He got ours by licking our face in the street outside Emo's like a dog. Thank goodness our rabies shots were up to date.

Blimey. To get even that much press in the UK, the band usually have to smash up a university.

Chromewaves attempted to see as much music as possible by avoiding the buzzed over bands:

But that said, I didn’t have as many of the revelatory new band moments at this year’s fest as last year. The artists I was most impressed by were the ones that I’d expected to be - there wasn’t really any backing into anything blind and lucking out into a life-altering experience. From the veteran end of things, Eric Bachmann, Rainer Maria and Centro-Matic provided some truly memorable highlights while Decoder Ring, Headlights, Band Of Horses, Serena Maneesh and Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s were tops in the rookie class.

Neko Case in happy company and daylight? Pitchfork wasn't sure that was going to work:

Everybody there seemed to know each other from the alt-country trenches, and Neko greeted friends and told inside jokes between songs during her laidback set. She looked so happy and relaxed, in corduroys with no makeup, that her pitch-black death ballads lost more than a bit of their bite. But it didn't matter at all; Neko Case was performing "Set Out Runnin" and "Furnace Room Lullaby" in front of me and maybe 50 other people in a cabin on a hill on a beautiful day in Texas. Her voice literally rang out over the peaks and valleys, the fields and streams. Pardon the sappiness, but that's magic.

The old rambling bit that counted as this year's keynote was delivered by Neil Young, which Billboard went to listen to:

"The one constant is not to let yourself get distracted" when a song is trying to find you, he said. Once you have an idea with music, Young continued, nothing else matters but that idea. "Your responsibility to the muse is to follow it ... shitcan your [other] plans ... There's nothing more important ... Commitments are one of the worst things for music making -- they're annoying."

Or else your band winds up working with Ian McNabb.

Hot Chip were a favourite with Dreams of Horses; Rock Insider sat up half the night building a Flickr gallery.

The name you should be mentioning, it seems to us from our perspective on the other side of the Atlantic, is Tapes N Tapes.


2 comments:

James said...

I just stumbled upon your blog for the first time and I have to say that I'm impressed. I'll be coming back.

Also, I'm planning an article on music blogging for a magazine that I'm writing for. I've been blogging myself for nearly a year now and I'm becoming increasingly cynical and disillusioned with what mp3 blogs have to offer.

I feel that a large percentage of blogs, especially the more popular ones, are pretty poorly written (present company excluded) and seem to be getting an undeservedly high opinion of themselves. Long story short, it's going to be equal parts damning and praising.

Aaaanyway, I wondered if I could ask you a few questions about it. My email address is norty.morty@gmail.com. Drop me a line if you're interested.

Cheers,

James

jacque said...

not the best filmmaking, but hopefully captured some of hot chip's energy:

http://lets-do-this.blogspot.com/

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