Transmissions from the Planet Known as SXSW

Aka Austin. Now a corporate far cry from a sub-200 lb Daniel Johnston caught by MTV, SXSW now showcases bands as a vehicle not for labels to make money, but for those bands and their management to secure overseas tour deals and other distro options. Today’s NYTimes piece sums it up perfectly.

We can also sum it up from Friend Ex-Brooklyn Bill’s delivery of info and snapshots here, generous as he is for doing so. His first transmission for SLE, beginning with the Friday day parties:

Expect a Pitchfork “exclusive” some time in the next couple of weeks. Ireland’s Simple Kid is signing a US deal with Yep Roc. The details haven’t been fully worked out, but the deal is all but inked; we got in straight from the Kid (aka Ciaran McFeely) after his low-fi one man band set entertained us over a fry up at B.D. Riley’s Full Irish Breakfast. Everyone’s going to compare him to Beck. He even looks like him. Playing on his own, with an electronically generated backing band, we thought his sunny low-fi pop more reminiscent of the Trashcan Sinatras recorded in a bedsit on a four track. He’s supported acts like Travis, The Thrills and Suede, and fans of those bands will find him swell when the Yep Roc release hits shelves in about a month.

Onward to the Scottish Arts Council’s party at the Lava Lounge and a stellar set from The Hedrons (photo right). Their debut One More Won’t Kill Us won’t be available stateside until May, but if their live show is any indication, they’re worth waiting for: Drums like early Sleater Kinney, searing guitar, massive bass. There’s no sludge here, this is clean, the bastard love child of The Ramones, Patti Smith and The Runaways, and we’ll bet every penny in our wallet that you’ll find them at one of Iggy Pop’s sets this week. Loved, loved, loved them.

We have nothing to say about Jo Mango. She didn’t do much for us, so we took advantage of beer paid for by the Scottish taxpayers before worshipping at the altar of Emma Pollock. Late of the much admired Delgados, this was Pollock’s first ever show with a full band and she was, as usual, lovely. Her solo record is out from 4AD in September, and the material sounded much like the more straight ahead Delgado’s tracks. Very solid.

We really wanted to see The Fratellis, so we stuck around for Glasgow’s Twilight Sad. A set of angsty, arena ready anthems, guitars cascading through a wall of sound. Twilight Sad has worn out their copy of the Joshua Tree, but we’d have liked them better if they’d spent more time with their clear My Bloody Valentine influences. Still, worth a look.

The Fratellis bailed. And we are bummed. But we have a lead on an after party tonight where we should finally catch them.

Thanks Bill. As always, honest. And that’s why we can’t mention your badge’s source, but thanks, and you’re welcome.

Stay tuned for more, and with pics.