THE BRITISH MISCREANT TAKES AUSTIN by karen edith millar
SO, my first trip to Austin and my first ever SXSW. As a gutsy young Brit and before having sampled the delights of the (now I realise, vastly inferior) Great Escape convention on the English south coast, I thought I had a vague idea of what to expect from a 5 day long stay in the live music capital of the world. I was wrong; and I’m still sporting the unidentified drunken injuries to prove it. So, what’s a gal to do when surrounded by more awesome live music than you can shake a stick at and tens of thousands of sassy boys? In my mind, eat all of the BBQ and Tex Mex I could find. A wonderful idea at the time, but one week passing (and you’re still trying to get the hot sauce stains out of your clothes and even looking at a pair of size 4 pants makes you want to kill yourself) makes me more than grateful that I managed to squeeze my fair share of amazing music into my hectic gastronomically-centric schedule. And a visit to Ironworks. For breakfast. I rock the trailer trash look well it seems. And so, I travel 5000 miles from London to soak up the scene and where’s the first place I end up? The British Embassy of course! (Eugh.) Between catching the end of Frank Turner’s packed out set and watching London band, Fin, perform (they weren’t very good) we even managed to squeeze in some covert stalking of Miscreant favourites, And So I Watch You From Afar; who, obviously, like me were taking solace from the scary Texan culture in a bar that almost felt like home. Later in the week I was lucky enough to have a side of stage view (away from the mosh pitting) of the Belfast band in action. Being a massive fan girl this was my fifth opportunity to see them live and they didn’t disappoint. The fact main man, Rory said he thought that The Miscreant ‘was really cool’ has only heightened my obsession. Soz. If I wasn’t retarded when it comes to using technology and in particular my iPhone, I’d put the video I have of them performing BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION on Facebook for y’all to see, but instead just take my word for it – it was awesome. The fact that I was the only ‘fucking hipster’ amongst a sea of longhaired 30- something males is probably a testament to this. As the week progressed I branched away from the familiar, seeing and hearing about innumerable amounts of talented new (and older) artists on the scene – SBTRKT and Dry The River were fabby, And some not so much - I’m looking at you, Cher Lloyd, who was in town thanks to the unshakeable plague that is Perez Hilton. If you haven’t heard about Lloyd, do a Google search and try not to lose all faith in the British music industry when you watch her video for debut single, ‘Swagger Jagger.’ We’re not all that bad, I swear. Just look at me.
TOP 5 BRITISH ARTISTS TO LOOK OUT FOR AFTER SXSW 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)
The Xcerts Dry The River Cashier No. 9 Benjamin Francis Lefwich Charlie Simpson
AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR by queen karen edith millar So, by now y’all are gonna know that I’m pretty obsessed with these guys. An ‘Across The Pond’ favourite if you will. Were they my highlight of my week in Austin? Aside from a pedicab driver called Alec, the answer is probably yes - so much for travelling almost halfway across the globe to broaden my musical horizons. “But why?” I hear you ask. What does this Northern Irish four-piece have over the multitude of other instrumental post rock set ups, that Texas itself plays host to many of? In short, it’s hard to put my finger on. I’ve never really been a big fan of heavy music; so aside from feeling a certain element of allegiance towards them from a shared hometown, I can never really totally explain to people what I love so much about this band I was obviously never the intended target market for. Their live show has a lot to answer for; never before have I witnessed lyric-less music get a crowd so riled – their show in Bat Bar was a testament to this, the audience chanting along to infectious riffs without a beat out of place. I myself was at the forefront of this, making no effort to appear cool and collect as “an industry professional”; only when the mosh pit began did I feel the need to extract myself from my prime spot at centre stage. ASIWYFA have maintained that quality that is nowadays so rare amongst up and coming bands of ensuring that their live performance is probably better than their studio recordings – it is music that not only needs to be listened to loud, but also preferably live, in a dive bar, with a house cocktail in hand. My tipple of choice this particular evening was a potent mixture of various fruit juices and bourbon christened a ‘Cheap Bang’. What can I say; I’m a classy gal. 7 Billion People Alive All At Once sums up a lot. Not only one of their best compositions in my opinion, but also a pretty good tagline for this band’s ability to make us feel a part of something in general. It’s difficult not to feel alive and part of a whole when this is played. Music really does speak louder than words; in some cases at least. Long live instrumental.
this issue is brought to you by baseball shirts.
Single of the
As soon as we got into our hotel room, Karen immediately put on “Let Me Love You” and it was played about 300 times total during the week. I’m not exactly sure why, but if you were staying in the Hyatt Regency and heard two girls singing Mario, you now know why. 4
Nico Vega Revs Up Empire Automotive by mike thal
Singing into two mics at once, wearing a robe on stage, and jumping on a bass drum barefoot may seem pretty unique for an alternative rock band. However, all of these crazy events were common during Nico Vega’s SXSW showcase at Empire Automotive. Nico Vega is a three-piece alternative rock band hailing from Los Angeles, CA. Aside from their crazy stage antics, the vocal and visual presence of female vocalist, Aja Volkman, seems to set them apart. Her beautiful, yet harsh voice adds a different kind of appeal to the usual gruff male alternative rock band. In addition, Volkman’s idea of wearing a robe reminiscent of Obi-Wan Kenobi was unique, unexpected, yet pleasant nonetheless. From a musical perspective, Nico Vega has an interesting combination of sounds. Riffs from songs like “Beast” are reminiscent of 90s alternative rock, while guitar/synth combo in “Wooden Dolls” is more like today’s pop rock. This blending of genres and Volkman’s dynamic voice seem to be part of the reason for Nico Vega’s rising popularity. While their only release was a self-titled album in 2009, it’s clear that Nico Vega has quite the following. During the show, the audience was constantly singing lyrics at the top of their lungs and cheering for songs they recognized. The song “Gravity” received an ecstatic response from the audience within seconds of the band playing it. Then when the chorus hit, many of the fans (including myself) began singing along. Despite the general audience’s general reaction to the band, Nico Vega seemed to be holding back a bit. Perhaps they were tired from all the events going on South by Southwest. Whatever the reason may be, Nico Vega didn’t seem to be giving the show 100%. This was especially noted by Bandier Program junior, Anqi Jiang. Jiang saw Nico Vega live in Los Angeles in 2009 during the tour for their self-titled album. She explained to me that Nico Vega interacted with the audience much better during that show and that the entire band had a better stage presence overall. Overlooking these minor flaws in stage presence, Nico Vega still put on quite a show at SXSW. The band had interesting performance methods and the audience clearly enjoyed the music. Since I just got into Nico Vega, I’m still enjoying their self-titled album. But since the album came out three years ago, I hope they release a new one soon. For more information on Nico Vega, check out their website, Facebook, and Twitter. 5
top 5 favorite performances at SXSW 2012 by lamar stephens
5. Shigeto I had never heard of this guy before seeing him at SXSW, which is a shock because he hails from the east coast (Brooklyn, NY). I stumbled upon Shigeto’s live set while waiting for the next performer, and what an incredible surprise. It’s always interesting to see DJ/Producer types perform their beats and sounds on a mixing desk, but it’s also refreshing to see these performers incorporate live instruments to their mostly electronic set-up. It showcases how talented these musicians are and how versatile they can be as performers. Shigeto initiated his showcase with tracks from his recently released LP, Lineage (which I downloaded soon after). His sound consists of ambient-like, complex, yet mellow beats that incorporate various loops and manipulated samples. I immediately thought of Flying Lotus as he played on stage. Unlike the mellow sound of his LP, his live set included live drumming, adding more rawness to the music. Shigeto’s showcase instantly became one of my favorites because of his unique production style with the addition of live elements. 4. Wallpaper. Wallpaper’s live show evolved from one crazy producer to a wild party with a five-piece group. Their songs are fun and humorous with reckless lyrics about getting “#STUPiDFACEDD” and a bass-heavy music style. I was impressed with how they performed complete electronic-based, Top 40 music in the most unexpected way. The frontman, Ricky Reed, partied hard on stage accompanied by his ever-charismatic sidekick, Novena Carmel. Behind them were three high-energy drummers: one guy on a basic drum set, the second guy on what appeared to be a giant Djembe and other various tribal drums, and the third guy on a snare-symbol set. Needless to say, the noise level shook up the visceral organs a bit. My ears still ring from the hard pounding beats of Wallpaper. 3. Rubblebucket Things got weird. Things got loud. Things got colorful on Friday night in the Beauty Bar, where Rubblebucket performed their showcase. The eight members hit the stage with the three brass players/singers taking the front center. Filling up the stage behind them were a bass, drums, guitar, synthesizer and a gather of auxiliary percussion. Immediately after their instruments began playing, the crowd got moving. Rubblebucket played (and danced) through a set constructed by a unique Afro-beat, electronic, and psychedelic fusion. What was magical about this perfor-
mance was how ecstatic the crowd was for the band. The energy of the band matched the energy of the crowd, and it just spiraled into one big psychedelic party. Memorable moments of this performance are the giant clapping robots and the moment when the three brass players dove off of the stage and proceeded to solo in the crowd. 2. Thundercat Thundercat’s music is something that must come from a different time and/or place. The genre is almost indefinable, but he blends jazz with electronic and soul. The bassist/singer showed up on stage along with a guitarist, an insane drummer, and a keyboard player behind him. What was most impressive about this performance was the synchronization of the group. Thundercat’s music involves unusual time sigs and a number of tempo changes, but the group managed to keep up with every single beat. They stuck together on every change of tempo, every bass drop, every rhythm change, all of it! It was easy to pick out which audience members had previously heard Thundercat’s music or not, it’s not exactly easy to follow as a new listener. Those who had heard his music before were thoroughly satisfied by the end of this fantastic set. 1. SBTRKT I promised not to see SBTRKT while at SXSW because he would soon be coming to perform in Syracuse, but this was a DJ set, so I made an exception. This was at the Spotify/MSN party on the rooftop of a parking garage on Thursday night. I think the ambiance is what made this my favorite show. SBTRKT played some of his top hits along with other mixes while a HUGE projector displaying an image of his mask was seen against a building behind him. Happy people, good weather, great music, and great sound quality were the key ingredients to making this a memorable show for everyone. And of course, the fact that it took place on a rooftop- EPIC!
“DRUNK” ON ED SHEERAN by laura dumitru If there’s one thing that I have to remind myself of every year when I go to SXSW, it’s that nothing will ever go as planned. Sure, the panels will more or less run as scheduled, and so will the shows, but your plan of who you want to see when and where isn’t going to work out 100% of the time. But, if you’re willing to roll with that reality, beautiful things can happen. For example, you might find yourself standing next to some guys from the American Greetings greeting card company who were sent there as a part of their job. No, I’m not kidding. Now really, who would have thought that a greeting card company would send the people who produce the music for their musical cards to SXSW? Not me. But the really great thing that happens when you find yourself doing something you didn’t plan on, is that you stumble upon an artist that completely takes your breath away and makes you forget that it’s 1:30am and your head is pounding and all you want to do is go to bed. That exact experience happened to me on Day 2 at SXSW this year, and I’m not going to forget it anytime soon. I was at Antone’s, a great venue in Austin, listening to the sweet sounds of Honeyhoney’s midnight set. When they were done, my only goal was to meet my dad at the car, go back to my grandpa’s house, and crash. But my dad sent me a text, giving me the option of going to the venue he was at, or going to the car and waiting an hour and a half for him to be done, because Ed Sheeran was up next and he is, and I quote, “s’posed to be really hot in the UK.” Well, I had this little internal struggle with myself for a few minutes before I decided, “I’m not at SXSW to sleep, I’m here to see music!” and I went to see Ed Sheeran. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever made a better decision than that one. I have absolutely no idea how popular Ed Sheeran is in the UK. Someone told me that he’s routinely in the Top 10 and that he’s a big deal, and I really hope that’s true because he deserves it. The sheer volume of music he created on stage just from his own voice and his acoustic guitar, was amazing and captivating. He is a truly impressive singer/songwriter who can beatbox and rap, too, combining genres in a way that I personally haven’t seen in recent history. For one guy with a little guitar, two microphones, and a loop pedal, his stage presence was impressive and he had every person in that room at the Hilton Garden Inn hanging on his every word and wishing he would never stop. To my complete and utter disappointment, he had to stop eventually, so I’m making do with the two EPs I purchased from iTunes, and YouTube videos. In terms of songs of his to fall in love with, I recommend “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” and “The A-Team.” If you can’t remember his name, just remember that he’s “the ginger with the little guitar” (his words, not mine), and if you happen to stumble across him like I did, I promise you’ll fall in love. ...And just in case you need more convincing, the video for “Drunk,” the featured clip on his YouTube channel, stars a beer-drinking cat. Seriously, how can you resist?! 8
Good Old War @ SXSW by sarah shelton
I must say, there’s something about small, intimate shows that just can’t be beat. It gives a connection between the artist and the fans that is unlike any other. Good Old War, a three piece indie folk band out of Pennsylvania, came to SXSW and delivered everything a fan like myself could hope for at their official showcase last Friday. Only two weeks had passed since the release of their third record Come Back as Rain, and for the two weeks prior to my arrival at SXSW, it was all I had been listening to. In my humble opinion, it is their best record yet; they have evolved from a folk barbershop trio sound into a big room, Mumford and Sons-esque sound. I guess you could say I was rather looking forward to their performance. The event took place in the Presbyterian Church on 8th Street in Austin, which proved to be a more than perfect venue for this performance. Luckily, out of sheer excitement for the performance I was about to see, I arrived early to the church, and just in time to catch most of the lovely Ingrid Michaelson’s set. She played to a full house and absolutely tore it apart with her soothing vocals and catchy melodies. Complete with comical stage banter, her diverse set appealed to even the most stubborn of music fans. The song that stood out to me the most was the one that she chose to close her set with: a unique cover of R.E.M.’s “Nightswimming”, which she did completely a capella with a loop pedal and staggered loops of her own voice. She received a standing ovation. And then it was time for the boys of Good Old War to take the stage: Tim on the drum set, Dan and Keith on guitars, and all three of them with microphones. They wasted no time in living up to the sound I had grown to expect from these well-versed musicians. Their threepart harmonies were spot on and beautiful, and their synchronization as a band was unbeatable. They just love singing, love music, love life, and it showed. Halfway through the set, the boys stopped playing, put down their instruments, and stepped off the front of the stage together. Keith clapped his hands together and said to the crowd, “You know, the sound in here is amazing, so we’re just going to do some acoustic stuff. Hope that’s alright.” The audience cheered, leapt off their pews, and made a circle on the group around them as they began to sing and play with nothing but their voices and one acoustic guitar. Everyone sang, clapped, and danced along to this beautiful, intimate performance. When it was time for them to wrap up, the crowd cheered and chanted, “One more song, one more song!” to which, of course, they complied. The entire crowd was on their feet by the end, showing their appreciation for a performance by a band that more than deserved it. This was, by far, my favorite show of SXSW. If you missed it, be sure to catch them on tour right now at a city near you – you certainly won’t be disappointed. 10
My 30 Year Boyfriend by tori cote I think there’s a time in everyone’s life when they go through a phase. Maybe for a little bit you were really into Tripp pants, or perhaps you would only eat green foods. Girls go through a lot of style phases, but I know for the majority of my friends, they also go through boy phases. A boy phase is when you are attracted to a selected male stereotype, and try to pursue said potential lover. I myself have gone through many boy phases. I’ve dated/ been with the know-it-all, the british guy, everyone’s best friend, the bad guy, etc. None of them really last all that long, because there just a ‘phase’. But hey, I’m a twenty year old girl in college, don’t judge me. At SXSW, I did not expect to fall in love. Okay I actually didn’t fall in love because I was working the door for a venue the majority of it, but I came kinda close. You see, I was working the door with these two other guys. One was a big asian dude who got ‘loveless’ tattooed across his knuckles after his divorce, and the other was some skinny white guy in all black. Being as I have always had a soft spot for skinny white guys in black, I gravitated toward the latter. He looked like he was definitely older than me, but I didn’t really care because ... well, because I don’t really care about anything. We talked about a few things, like shows, shitty tattoos, pizza, etc. Nothing really that exciting or out of the ordinary. Still, I decided I was in love around the 5th hour at the door. I soon started to realize that my love was reciprocated after some casual flirting and some seriously suggestive comments. I was feelin it, he was feelin it, life was great. That is, life was great until I found out he was thirty. He said it around hour eight, and kind of did it in an under hand way. All of my co-workers were shocked. My boss was freaked out because she knew he was flirting with me, the twenty year old. (keep that hush hush, my boyfriend thinks I’m over 21). I should have known it though, he told me he used to own bars and moved to Austin to open more. He said he was only working the door because he heard that the venue needed help. He seemed to know a lot about life. I know nothing. I make mistakes. I was kind of crushed to be honest. We exchanged numbers and he told me to call him before I moved to Texas, but still. Our love was never going to be the same with the age gap. Maybe I’ll call him, maybe I won’t. God only knows what I’ll be up to in a month. Actually, god only knows what I’ll be up to after a week. I’m young and free and careless, a few things I’m not willing to give up for my thirty year old boyfriend. I’ll always hold a special place for him in my heart, but I’m not sure if things are going to work out. SXSW always teaches me a lot every year, but for the first time, it taught me not to take my hoes in different area codes that seriously. Because, well, they might be thirty. 11
thank you to everyone who made sxsw amazing. all my love, the miscreant
ADVENTURES IN AUSTIN by sir andrew mcclain
Early in the morning on Thursday, March 15, Ben Zuerlein and I left Conway, Arkansas and headed down towards Austin, Texas. The trunk of my white Honda Civic was filled with our luggage and a load of provisions for Miss Miscreant and Queen Karen Millar, because we’d be crashing the temporary Miscreant Headquarters in Austin, Texas. You see, there’s a popular myth outside of Texas that you have to have money and credentials to experience South By Southwest, and while I certainly dream of experiencing Austin in March with both those things one day, this marks the second year I’ve made the trip to dip my toes into the insanity with no wristbands or badges to speak of. Austin becomes a bum’s paradise during South By, and Ben and I intended to milk it for all we could. Granted, we could have done some better planning, but we don’t believe in regrets, either. We spent our fair share of hours deliriously wandering the streets, bar hopping and soaking in the madness. Our first show we made it to was Of Montreal at the Scottish Rite Theater, which was a Masonic temple of some sort. Ben and I are both pretty casual fans of Of Montreal’s recorded material, but Ben, a resident of Oxford, Mississippi, has become a fan of their live show as a separate experience after seeing them twice there. It was a free show and admittance was based only on capacity, but it felt weirdly exclusive once we got into the old building. It was probably just the dim lighting. It seemed like everyone should have been wearing masks. There was a band playing what seemed to be an effort at recreating old Detroit techno by way of punk rock. I gave them an A for effort and weird projected visuals. As the guy at the soundboard played a brief DJ set (as best he could while wearing a full-body bear suit) Of Montreal took the stage, which was weirdly deep, narrow, and square-shaped. Ben and I speculated about the weird Masonic rituals that had been performed on that stage. Everyone in Of Montreal looks like real-life Muppets. Aside from a large band, Of Montreal tours with a cast of people in black bodysuits, wedding dresses and pig masks that perform sensual and psychedelic interpretive dance behind lead singer/static member Kevin Barnes. Afterwards, Ben told me that sometimes their aspect of the performance corresponds to each song in a specific way. I had failed to make this connection. I also failed to see the need to justify the presence of a woman on stage wearing only white underwear, a cape, and a horned mask while two men in lycra bodysuits spin her around. That’s just classic American performance art, as far as I’m concerned. I gave them an A++ for costumes, energy, and the guy in the black bodysuit with the red sequined face that crowdsurfed and sexually harassed me probably. Back at the Miscreant Headquarters, there was a bathtub full of ice and Pabst (for Queen Karen Millar, who is, among other things, Queen of Blue Ribbons). Himanshu and Victor from Das Racist were staying in the same hotel and Ben and I met them out on the patio, (the exact length of this meeting will remain undisclosed, so you’re free to imagine, dear reader, a long and thought-provoking conversation between Heems and myself about how white people are “mad corny” because “they love Frappucinos so much,” while Ben and Victor bond over both being half Cuban) and later I browsed Himanshu’s iTunes on the hotel’s wireless network (he’s not much of a completist, but has an enormous chunk of Elliot Smith’s discog-
raphy. It also appears that he downloaded both Bon Iver albums illegally, but purchased the Beastie Boys’ “Paul’s Boutique” from iTunes). South By Southwest is like a Texas-sized Russian nesting doll of reasons to drink. The festival itself provides plenty of reasons to drink, (and plenty of opportunities to drink for free) but the final weekend of the festival annually coincides with two other great pillars of American drinking culture known as “Spring Break” and “St. Patrick’s Day,” which turns Austin’s 6th Street into a hip, Texan Mardi Gras, complete with some guy bear-hugging a telephone pole with his legs askew, determined not to fall over, and people who aren’t homeless but are sleeping in alleys anyway. With hopes of getting festive enough to sleep in the bushes by the Colorado River, (Miss Miscreant may or may not have done this) Ben and I Googled “free beer” and ended up at the Dirty Dog Tavern on 6th. Ben’s fellow Oxonians, Bass Drum of Death were playing there for a showcase hosted by Reverb, and it was nasty as hell, y’all. Those three guys play some mean garage rock, and they work hard. We had seen them the previous month at Proud Larry’s in Oxford, and missed them twice in the previous two days in Austin. Portland’s tiny orchestra known as Typhoon played next. It’s conceivable that several of their members had to sit this one out on the bench because I counted 13 of them and not one inch of wasted space on the Dirty Dog’s tiny stage. They put on a great show, if a little over-the-top. They sound like Nate Ruess from The Format/fun. tried to make a Decemberists album and it turned out surprisingly well. Ben and I staggered around and argued like gentlemen and suddenly found ourselves leaving the Fader Fort, and buying a sausage wrap for $2 from some fellow through the chain link fence of his East Austin backyard. This is what the South By experience is about and if anyone tells you otherwise, “that person is a goddamn hater and you need them out of your life.” Later that night, Ben and I ended up on South Congress at Jo’s Coffee to see Built to Spill. In case you’re unfamiliar, Built to Spill are a bunch of old bros who pioneered the sound that Death Cab for Cutie later adopted and ran with. This is ironic because frontman Doug Martsch never sounded like Ben Gibbard in the 90’s, but now totally does. The Sunday that wraps up the week is always the worst. It’s like the day after Christmas, but with more collective hangovers. Still, you gotta get on your feet, check out of the hotel, eat some tacos for breakfast and say a tearful goodbye as Austin slowly stops being the most magical place on earth until next year.
SONGS ON REPEAT AFTER SXSW by jeanette, the miscreant “Bible Belt (Field Recording)” // Dry The River A while ago, Dry The River visited Watch Listen Tell to perform their song “Bible Belt.” One of the guitars was broken, so they had to play a stripped down version of it; thus, providing good things come from what you least expect. This is one of the most beautiful WTL videos, and certainly my favorite from up-and-comers, Dry The River. Check the recording out on their recent EP, Weights & Measures. “Petition” // Tennis I was that girl who leaned over the stage and asked Alaina for their set list. Tennis was one of my must-sees while in Austin, and they certainly made it worthwhile. “Petition” is my favorite song off the new album, and, without missing a beat, the band started used it to kick off their set at Red 7. Carson Daly and I are in agreement; Tennis fucking rocks. “Little Broken Hearts” // Norah Jones This is the title track off of Norah Jones’ new album, out May 1. I got in the front to watch her play through the new abum in its entirety. It was lovely, as was she. Can’t wait for the new release! “Fall Of ‘82” // The Shins I didn’t get to see the Shins while in Austin, but they were certainly a crowd favorite. Everyone was buzzing about the new album, and were excited to see what kind of album the band would deliver after months and years of waiting. “Fall Of ‘82” is my person favorite track off Port Of Morrow. “Immaculate” // Shearwater Shearwater really pulled out all the stops when I saw them a few weeks ago with Sharon Van Etten. I had the chance to see them again at the Radio Day Stage in the convention center. They were inclredible, as I expected. “Immaculate” is still my favorite off Animal Joy. “Fit Against the Country” // Horse Feathers Horse Feathers was another one of my must-sees, and they proved to be my favorite act I saw the whole week. This is their new single from their forthcoming album Cynic’s New Year, out on April 17 on Kill Rock Stars. They played through much of the Cynics, but were sure to play my favorite track of theirs “Curs In The Weeds.” “Circle Drive” // Field Report I got to see Field Report right before Horse Feathers. They played a magnificent song, and I was totally drawn to one song in particular that I wrote down the lyrics to. When I went to their website, I couldn’t figure out which song I had fallen so head over heels for. The only clue I could find was under their Contact page. The text on the page simply reads, “To reduce uncertainty, text your inquiry to 414-215-9956.” So, I texted them, and I asked what the name of the song was. They thanked me and told me to look for “Circle Drive” on their upcoming album.
SXSW FILM: V/H/S
A found-footage horror anthology that made found-footage horror not so shitty by kyle kuchta
All right, found footage horror hasn’t been too shitty, but it’s getting there. So much so that when I heard there was a found footage horror anthology, I got nervous. Anthologies have gotten a bad rap, mainly because the directors can’t direct, or the writers don’t know how to write a cohesive story (cohesive? Is that the word I’m looking for? Fuck it, maybe I shouldn’t even be writing.). But two things sold me on this: 1) It’s called V/H/S. Like, one of my all time favorite things are VHS tapes. And the wraparound story (the story that connects all the shorts) is about a group of people rummaging through VHS tapes. Story of my life. But not really because they were at the house of a dead man. And 2) All the directors are up and coming and/or well-respected in the horror community. I’m gonna go ahead and break this sucker down for all of you by segment. “Tape Fifty-Six” by Adam Wingard This is the wraparound story, based on small-time criminals trying to make some money making amateur videos and committing other crimes. The group is commissioned to break into this man’s house and retrieve a VHS tape. They show up at the house, and the man is dead. This story provides a creepy homebase for the rest of the segments in V/H/S, but doesn’t let it’s own story get pushed aside or overshadowed by the other films. “Amateur Night” by David Bruckner Bruckner immediately breaks the rules of found footage by not having a character using a handheld camera, but using spy glasses. Brilliance, and it’s only the first segment. “Amateur Night” follows a group of bro-y guys as they go out to the bars looking for pussy. A kind of generic cautionary tale about picking up strange women at bars, but shit gets REAL. Bruckner directed one of my favorite films The Signal, and I drew a lot of similari18
ties to the shooting style. Also, the lead actress was AMAZING. “Second Honeymoon” by Ti West Ti West, director of The Innkeepers and House of the Devil presents a vacation tape of a couple’s second honeymoon (go figure). But, now I’m thinking about it, and what makes V/H/S so great is that shit consistently gets real. Don’t go to motels, don’t leave your cameras out, don’t trust people. Ti West easily made one of the more eerie and uncomfortable shorts I’ve ever seen. Absolutely creepy and hard to watch, without the use of much violence or gore. “The Strange Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” by Joe Swanberg Probably my favorite short of V/H/S. Told entirely through Skype (or something like Skype), the ending of this short is mind blowing. Rarely do I have my jaw actually drop, but it did. Not to mention IT’S TOLD THROUGH SKYPE, another one of those found footage rules, broken. “Tuesday the 17th” by Glenn McQuaid A pretty general “killer in the woods” type story, I didn’t expect a lot from this short at the beginning. I’ve never been a huge fan of slasher flicks or things of the sort. But this one had a bit of flair that mad the very end of it incredibly unnerving, but exciting. “10/31/98” by Radio Silence Fucking insane. A haunted house story, I was concerned it was going to be way too much like Eddie Murphy’s “The Haunted Mansion.” All right, that’s a lie. I didn’t think it was going to be anything like that. But could you imagine if it was? But seriously, this one blew my fucking MIND. The payoff (besides the end of “Tape Fifty Six”) of this short is incredible. This one FELT like a home movie, as did “Second Honeymoon” and “Tuesday the 17th.” There wasn’t a lot of questioning whether or not this was “real or fake,” you just kind of took it at face value; as a 1998 Halloween home movie. Honestly, easily one of the most refreshing horror films I’ve seen in a while. I’m so glad this is existent and gets to be seen. As a “filmmaker,” or at least someone in school for film, I had always been afraid of making anything horror related because I love it so much, and I’d be afraid of tainting some aspect of it. But this film made me think otherwise. It made me think I could pay my homage to the genre somehow, someway, just like these folks did in V/H/S. Maybe one day I’ll make a short. But until then, fucking V/H/S is incredible. 19
#SHITSAIDATSXSW - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Does anyone have an iPhone charger? It’s a phone for your phone! You need to put on some underpants and we’ll go downstairs. Are you wearing pants? Can you see that I’m actually wearing pants? Hold on, I need to check in on Foursquare. GRAB THAT CHEVY! Please take my band’s CD? Please come to my band’s show? Please take my band’s tape? Can I have your set list? That pedicab driver has a nice bottom. Is it an open bar? Are they carding there? BBQ? Let’s just go to Death Metal Pizza. Are you guys eating AGAIN? I LOVE Lana Del Rey! I can’t stand Lana Del Rey! It could have been a lot worse… Is your shirt on inside out? Is that man wearing a skirt? That man is wearing a skirt. I’m never leaving Austin.
SXSW:LOUD AND CLEAR by grant margolin As I am sitting writing this final SXSW recap, I look out over the Syracuse University skyline. To my left: the Hall of Languages; to my right: Crouse College. I admit this is a big change of scenery, weather (ironically sunnier), and even pace, for that matter. Since SXSW, things have slowed down, and enabled me to reflect on this past week. South By Southwest Music, 2012 was a pivotal moment in the industry this year. In just under a week we have seen Bruce Springsteen making history, heard Norah Jones’ new album, saw the virtuosity of Gary Clark Jr., the polished grit of the Alabama Shakes, and one of my personal favorites, the Punch Brothers. If you have been keeping up with Loud and Clear’s coverage of SXSW 2012 (if you haven’t, I highly suggest that you do), you know that the majority of the posts are centered around the performance aspect of the festival. But South By is much more than that. It is a music conference. And, as such, it enables the collective music industry to meet, discuss, innovate, create, impress, brainstorm, and showcase for/about the future. While walking around the tradeshow, it is not uncommon to see applications, products, services, and the like that are 6-12 months from entering the eyes of most consumers. That is what is incredible for an attendee such as myself. I get to see trends, enjoy music, and listen to industry leaders discussing things which will undoubtedly propel the industry forward as a whole. After some reflection, I’ve put together a list of what I consider to be the top 10 industry trends of SXSW 2012: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
The power of promotion and fan engagement on geolocation and micro-blogging platforms Media consolidation Copyright termination and transfer Innovative brand partnerships Subscription as the new standard The power of social networking as a method of D2F engagement The power of crowd funding as fan engagement The emergence and solidification (and possibly acceptance) of an updated industry model The prediction of a sales bump for 2012 (statistics have confirmed this, check out the RIAA’s reports) The power of connection
These ten movements, in my opinion, are the trends which we will really see emerge and develop over the course of the year. At SXSW 2012, we have seen brands such as American Express integrate with geolocation applications such as Four Square and Twitter to extend promotional discounts to members. We have seen industry leaders discuss the potential successes and pitfalls of consolidation in the marketplace. There’s been brand integration with artists in an orgnic nature that’s helped drive artist sponsorship and create ancillary revenue streams. Social networking has become dynamic, open, and a proof-positive method of fan engagement. Crowd funding, as founder and CEO of Rocket Hub Brian Meece states, “is a method for fan engagement and interaction.” An updated industry model, and a possible acceptance of the subscription standard (proof positive with some labels opting in to emerging services). A sales bump for 2012 may serve as a morale booster for the music industry. Most importantly, the power of connection (with aid of emerging technologies) enabled artists to interface with fans and for industry leaders to connect, all of which has brought our world closer together. South By Southwest Music 2012 has been a truly awesome experience. I have met many individuals over the week that are innovating, creating, and achieving great success. I have explored and analyzed the current issues, which face the industry, asking industry leaders on their take and clarification of some dubious issues. But, most importantly, I’ve experienced the state of music in 2012. As they say: “it’s all about the music.”
CLOSING STATEMENTS by miss ashley aron
After a wonderfully awful day of travel, I’m finally back at school. Looking back on my crazy week in Austin, I have to say that South by Southwest was one hell of an experience. It’s quite overwhelming, being thrown into a conference that takes over an entire major city with only your hotel reservation, receipt for your bus pass, a suitcase, and a couple of room mates who are all in your same shoes. However, it was a lot of learning as I went along and that’s always an adventure in itself. Here’s my advice for people who plan on attending SXSW in the future: • PLAN AS FAR AHEAD AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN! Book your hotel, buy your shuttle pass, arrange your rooming situation, plan out which bands you want to see, and everything else as early as you find out the information. Hotels fill up crazy fast; there are hotels within shuttle distance but there are also hotels right downtown near the convention center, so you gotta be quick about it! • Try and pick a variety of panels and performers. By all means, you should go to panels that touch upon topics you’re interested in and bands that you already love, but if you’re with other people, maybe check out a panel or two of their choice. Someone in my program gave me excellent advice that no matter who you see, you’ll learn something, and they were 100% right. Be open-minded, and you might just be surprised at a talented new performer or interesting aspect of the industry you never really got into. • Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t pack any shoes you wouldn’t wanna walk three straight miles in…because you probably will walk more than that in a day.
• Business cards are always a good idea. You never know who you’re gonna run into, be it a major record label owner or another college student who’s interested in the same stuff you are or a band you’d love to have play in your town. If not, at least keep a pen handy so you can exchange contact info. • Be prepared for some late nights. The music goes on pretty much all night - some sets start AT 1 am. Remember that the shuttles don’t make rounds past 3 am so make sure that if you’re taking it back to your hotel to be back at the shuttle stop before then! Cabs can be MAD expensive…don’t know about rickshaws, but the shuttle is something you already paid for, so you might as well not waste more money. • Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t over 21. A LOT of events will be 21+ [and almost every eatery on 6th Street, since they’re mostly bars] so make sure you confirm ahead of time that the venue you’re walking six blocks to won’t turn you away at the door. • Always have a game plan, even if you don’t 100% stick with it. Start by having everyone in your group exchange numbers, know who has the room key, where you’re gonna meet for dinner that night, etc. Discuss over breakfast who’s planning on going where for what panels and what time you’re gonna start heading out to nighttime showcases. In a mass of people like SXSW, it’s super easy to get lost. If you’re going to a show by yourself, stay with the crowds - every shuttle driver I had told me Austin is a safe city so long as you stay in a populated area. • Always be ready to go with the flow! You might decide to join a friend for a folk rock band you’ve never heard of or go to a music licensing panel even though you’ve never learned anything about it, and that’s totally cool. There are also other expos there, like music gear expos and poster shows and even a little fashion expo I had no idea about until the last day I was there. Also, don’t get sucked into super pricey food stands in the convention center, there are plenty of little taco trucks or burger stands around town that make for a great dinner before or after a late night show. I hope this blog was of some help to you guys, I had a BLAST this past week. I learned so much from the panels, met a lot of extremely unique and interesting people - both speakers and fellow registrants - and saw a ton of great up & coming artists of all genres. Hopefully I’ll see you again next year, SXSW! 23
WANT MORE MISCREANT? This was my third year going to SXSW, and it was incredible. Each year I experience more and more without fail, and I strongly recommend that you all get down to Austin at some point, even if it isn’t during the convention. It’s a beautiful town full of amazing people. Again, thank you to everyone who sumbitted, thank you to Karen, and thank you to Andrew and Ben! Y’all made this year very special. Now, my miscreants, we have another special issue coming up, then back to basics over the summer, so send your work to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Love, jeanette
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