Every day of SXSW Music, Carter and Robin are going to share their schedules with each other and provide their insights to one another on their choices. Enjoy this unfiltered commentary.
Robin: Have you already formed an opinion on Maica Mia?
Carter: I have an opinion just based off their photo and the first sentence of their press bio.
Robin: The lack of modesty of the female member of the band – does that help form your opinion?
Carter: I like how the male dude is just checking her out.
Robin: Or maybe he’s looking at the same thing she’s looking at.
Carter: That’s possible.
Robin: If he had a huge boner underneath that thing that’s in his lap, combined with his look, that would make it extra funny.
Carter: I’m going to just think of it that way now.
Robin: So this music doesn’t grab as much, but I have to admit I’m tugged in by one of the guys having been in Godspeed, who I’ve seen before and liked.
Carter: I was looking forward to this more than I’m feeling now, if that makes sense.
Robin: Yeah, I guess you’re not going to go.
Carter: I like the idea of an experimental rock duo from Montreal. They look like my kind of people in the photo.
Robin: Yeah, how could it not conform to my expectations?!
Carter: No, it’s just a little slow, and it’s not very interesting.
Robin: Let’s listen to Alpha Consumer.
Carter: Oh hey! I know this song!
Robin: I saw this band a few years ago. They were pretty entertaining. The frontman was wearing a Peavey leather jacket. They just had something very Pavement-ian about them.
Carter: Is that like “Pynchonesque?”
Robin: It’s not as good as “Baywatchian.”
Carter: Fair enough.
Robin: They seem to have a really fun time on stage, like they’re not trying that hard, but they still play pretty well and the music was pretty good.
Carter: You’ve gotta have a really good drummer to pull off “Manic Depression” and this guy sounds like a really good drummer.
Robin: This drummer sweats a lot. Although, they’re from Chicago but when I saw them they were from Minneapolis so maybe it’s a different drummer. What do you think? Would you give them a try?
Carter: I would give this a try. Absolutely.
Robin: Let’s go to the Blouse now.
Carter: We’ve talked about them. I ran across these guys on a SXSW playlist on Spotify.
Robin: So it’s interesting to listen to this song, which is different from the one we listened to for the podcast because the guitar tone here instantly reminds me of that song. I realize it’s kind of distinctive. Sort of vaguely underwater-sounding and dense.
Carter: Yeah, this is very consistent in tone.
Robin: And her voice also, of course.
Carter: It’s interesting to me that they’re in the Psych Fest showcase.
Robin: Yeah, all you need is a weird guitar tone and some reverb on your vocals to be psychedelic these days.
Carter: It’s fine. I would probably watch a couple of songs of theirs and then head over to the next venue.
Robin: They sound a lot like so much garage rock that I really don’t like, but somehow it’s really groovy to me and it totally holds my interest.
Robin: So I don’t have an audio clip from the Lumophonic Creature Choir. Like I said, I’ve seen some of the best stuff at SX over the years at the Hideout. That does not mean that if I keep going to the Hideout that I’ll keep seeing amazing things, but I have some bias towards it. The Hideout and the Headhunters Patio are my key venues, so when I see something bizarre like this at the Hideout, I’m totally going to check it out.
Carter: I’m never going to go to Headhunters, in all likelihood, but I’m down for the Hideout.
Robin: You should go to Headhunters! It’s unbelievable how good it sounds.
Carter: None of that music interests me at all.
Robin: You would never think that this wooden, tiny venue that smells like urine would sound this good, but actually it is phenomenal.
Carter: I’ll trust you. I do have to say that this Lumophonic Creature Choir looks incredible. I may switch my plans to go see this. It looks amazing.
Robin: So Cody ChesnuTT, who is going to be at the Clive Bar. I don’t have an audio sample ready, but Brad Knox, my former BFF –
Carter: Former? What happened?
Robin: When we were getting to know each other on this one road trip, he made me listen to a bunch of The Headphone Masterpiece, which is Cody ChesnuTT’s seminal two-disc album. And I just hated it.
Carter: You hated it?!?
Robin: I thought it was so dumb.
Carter: I love that album.
Robin: I did not like it at all. And then I put on some of my music and Brad hated it and it was part of our getting to know each other.
Carter: Here I thought that we were going to be able to bond over something. I could sing all of “Look Good in Leather” right now, if you want.
Robin: That’s one difference between us. I’m a little more willing to see things that I don’t immediately like and broaden my horizons.
Carter: So he’s just on your list because of Brad?
Robin: Because I reacted pretty strongly negatively to him, but I’ll see him live and see what it’s all about and maybe I’ll change my mind.
Carter: I will say that Rainey Street on Thursday night is going to be nuts. I scheduled everything around avoiding Rainey Street Thursday.
Robin: The next band I don’t have a clip for either, but…OFF!. They’re some sort of punk, quasi-super group featuring Keith Morris, who was the lead singer of Black Flag and later the Circle Jerks, but more importantly, Mario Rubalcaba on drums, who I think is one of the best drummers out there right now. He’s another Southern California guy. He played in Hot Snakes and he plays in a band called Earthless. Hot Snakes plays two or three-minute-long punk songs, and Earthless puts out a record that has a song on each side. He’s super hard-hitting, super technical with a small kit, just fucking awesome.
Carter: I’ve heard about OFF!, but I haven’t actually checked them out yet.
Robin: I’ll watch a badly shot video of Hot Snakes playing just to watch Mario. He’s just so so so good.
Carter: A really good drummer is so good to watch live. I think drums are the best instrument to watch live anyway because there’s so much visual stuff going on, and if someone is really amazing at it…I just love a good drummer in a live setting.
Robin: So let’s listen to The Black Watch.
Carter: Is this a trap?
Robin: No, this is a classic example of what happens during SXSW, I think, which is where you see a band that you really like live and you go back and listen to the records and you’re like, “What the fuck?” This is not something I would listen to at all.
Carter: This is totally not something you would listen to.
Robin: It sounds like a really boring, timid, almost fey New Wave band.
Carter: See, I think this sounds like an absolutely, delightful, wonderful little jangle pop band.
Carter: I like this! Reading that one of them is from the Chills makes a lot of sense, because it has that 80s jangle rock vibe going on. I definitely like this.
Robin: When I saw this, what really grabbed me is that their guitarist, Steven Schayer, is really, really good and really fun to watch. It was weird then to hear their studio stuff, which is more polished. I don’t think I’d ever listen to this song again. But I kind of want to go back and see them again, and see if the gig is up, or if I actually like them and what grabbed me the first time still does.
Carter: Every year, The AV Club comes out with its list of the worst band names of the year. Thus:Owls was one of my absolute favorite band names on that list last year. To be honest, I’ve never heard them before, but they fit with my theme because they’re from Montreal and Sweden.
Robin: You know, I don’t usually choose to see bands based on winning a contest for worst band name.
Carter: I’m just really intrigued. I have to see what this band is that’s called “Thus:Owls.” It doesn’t make any sense. Who puts a colon in the middle of the name?!?
Robin: You’d probably be into Will.I.Am also, I suppose.
Carter: It doesn’t sound like super-engaging music, but I’m going to swing by and give them a chance. But this might be very disappointing.
Carter: Now we’re going from a “colon” to an “O with a slash through it” for Mø. This woman is Danish and she got on my radar a couple of years ago. She’s just a really smart pop songstress.
Robin: This sounds really boring and shitty. Are any of these actual instruments? Will there be anything to see?
Carter: Does that matter?
Robin: When I’m going to see a show, it actually does matter if there are actual instruments. There’d better be something else going on besides some chick standing there singing.
Carter: I just like the music. Plus it’s going to be in the Empire Control Room, which is one of my favorite venues in town.
Robin: I’ve seen nothing but bad music there.
Carter: Clearly, we’re not going to be crossing paths very much during SX. From there, I’m going to walk right across the street to Holy Mountain for We Were Promised Jetpacks.
Robin: Isn’t this that shitty Scottish band?
Carter: This is that great Scottish band. They sort of remind me of the Joy Formidable, who are Welsh, but I think We Were Promised Jetpacks actually writes good hooks and melodies. They catch me a bit more.
Robin: Something about the chord progression reminds me of really bad 90s emo. Did he just go “I’ll die for you, I’ll die for you, I’ll die for you?”
Robin: Basically this is like a Dashboard Confessional song with a full band.
Carter: People can feel emotions in songs that aren’t Dashboard Confessional songs! Open up your heart, Robin!
Robin: It’s pretty bad.
Maica Mai @ St. David’s Bethel Hall - 7pm
Alpha Consumer @ The North Door - 8pm
Thus:Owls @ St. David’s Bethel Hall - 9pm
Blouse @ Hotel Vegas Patio - 9:45pm
Lumiphonic Creature Choir @ The Hideout - 10pm
Cody ChesnuTT @ Clive Bar - 11pm
Mø @ Empire Control Room - 11:30pm
OFF! @ The Main - Midnight
The Black Watch @ Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn - 1am
We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Holy Mountain Backyard - 1am
-Carter Delloro and Robin Sinhababu