SXSW Tip Sheet 2008, NYC Edition: Firewater


Tod, poring over the SXSW listings.

Yes, Firewater frontman Tod A has indulged in a long, globe-trotting sabbatical these last few years—“for reasons of mental health,” the band’s official site explains. “Following the re-election of George W. Bush (and other assorted tragedies), Tod took a protracted leave of absence from an idiot-run America, the cut-throat music business, and the Western world in general.” You’ll be happy to know he has since returned to all three. Firewater is a longtime world-punk favorite—former members went on to join the gypsy revolution portended by Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box. Tod’s take on the sound is just as exuberant but profoundly seedy, hard-nosed, and sardonic—he’s not hopeless, exactly, but it takes a lot to cheer him up back here in idiot-run America. Firewater’s latest, The Golden Hour, doesn’t look to be out yet but is currently streaming on their MySpace, once again perfectly balancing the catchy and the cynical. As an alternate title, we suggest Fiddler Beaten to Death on the Roof.