If you read a lot of music blogs you get the impression that next week everyone is heading to South by Southwest. (And putting on a day party.) Which isn't true. More don't than do, I think. But if you live in NYC you can reap the benefits of a lot of UK/European bands stopping on their way to or from the festival. The bands also tend to play normal length shows in New York, as opposed to 30-minute, wham-bam sets at SxSW. Add a trip to Hill Country or Fette Sau before one of these shows, and it will kind of be like you're in Austin. You can tell yourself that, at least.
March 7 | The Indelicates @ Don Hills CANCELED Jaunty, jangly UK indiepop that is not entirely different from the Beautiful South what with their trade-off boy and girl vocals and bile-fueled, razor-edge lyrics. I wish I liked the music more. Still, it's only $5 to get in, which is the least you're going to pay for anything at Don Hills that evening. And Indelicates come highly recommended from Song by Toad, reason enough to go.
They're saying the show's "postponed"... we'll see.
MP3: The Indelicates - Stars
March 7 | MSTRKRFT, LA Riots, Lazaro Casanova, The Bloody Beetroots @ Studio B
Super-hot dance night at Greenpoint's #1 former Polish disco. Canadians MSTRKRFT play here regularly enough, so the real draw are The Bloody Beetroots who are kind of Italy's answer to Justice (I said kind of...lay off!) and are some of the hottest remixers of the moment. Looks like their on first, which as Studio B means 2am.
MP3: The Bloody Beetroots - Butter
March 8 | Lightspeed Champion @ Union Pool
Devonte Hynes is a lot more talented than I ever gave him credit for when he was in Test Icicles. Lightspeed Champion's debut, Falling Off the Lavender Bridge, is choc-full of lovely melodies and harmonies, even if he's still got some problems in the lyrics and hair department. A lot of the album's charms come from Emmy the Great's backing vocals. Cross your fingers, it's feasible she could be there as she's playing here three days later. Union Pool, by the way, is a lovely little venue if you've never been.
MP3: Lightspeed Champion - Tell Me What It's Worth
March 8 | School of Language @ Cake Shop
David Brewis, late of Field Music, brings his more muscular solo project to one of my least favorite venues in New York. But I'll take it. I've written about SoL before. He's a great musician and songwriter and he's assembled a pretty good backing band for this US tour (Doug McCombs of Tortise and Ambulette's Ryan Rapsys). Really looking forward to this one.
MP3: School of Language - Poor Boy
March 10 + 11 | South @ Pianos
One of the more under-appreciated UK bands of the decade, South haven't had the best luck the last few years (mainly of the label variety) but if you ask me they've just gotten better with each album. Their last album, Adventures in the Underground Journey to the Stars, was one of 2006's lost gems. A new album, "You Are Here", is out in April and you can stream a couple tracks from it here. I've seen South a few times over the years (most recently at Union Hall in 2006) and they've always been good. They're playing two nights at the teeny Pianos -- don't miss it.
MP3: South - You Are One
March 11 | The Pigeon Detectives + Emmy the Great @ Bowery Ballroom
This now annual Rock Over London event was more enticing when it included the hotly-tipped and ridiculously named Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong. (Nothing will top ROL's 2006 show of Towers of London and The Rakes.) Ten bucks still seems like a lot to spend to see the affable but entirely unremarkable Pigeon Detectives, but it's probably worth it for opener Emmy the Great who is one of the more charming (and cute) performers you're likely to see this year. She has yet to play a New York venue appropriate to her low-key style (Pete's Candy store would be perfection) but she'll do fine on Bowery's stage.
MP3: Emmy the Great - 24 (you can also watch this performance on YouTube)
March 11 | Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip @ Mercury Lounge
You might actually want to just leave Bowery Ballroom after Emmy's done and head up to Mercury Lounge to catch the other Rock Over London event, this one featuring Dan le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip whose "Thou Shalt Always Kill" is kind of the hip hop version of "Formed a Band"... and just as brilliant. Here's the video:
MP3: Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - "Thou Shalt Always Kill"
London blog Music Like Dirt assures me Scroobius is well worth seeing live. See you there.
There are some shows after SxSW (Mostly on March 17) that I'll address in a separate post.
Photo swiped from Laughing Squid's Flickr.