SXSW 2009: Vivian Girls and Wavves Mercifully Request More Reverb


Keep it comin’. Little more. Little more. OK, a lot more.

Vivian Girls/Wavves (Mohawk)
SXSW Thursday Afternoon, March 19

At last year’s Rhapsody fete here, luxe condos were going up across the street, workers perched on all the balconies, regarding us shiftless, sunburnt, taco-snarfing revelers with what I feel comfortable describing as disdain. This year the condos are done, with signs in the windows announcing “I’m Available!” and “Move In Today!” Hopefully next year it’s not a methadone clinic or an American Apparel.

We’re about out of things to say about the Vivian Girls, except this: They’re actually really good at what they do. I would not want to hear them without the monolith of reverb they sweetly request from the soundman at the onset of their 12:30 set, but with it they achieve the exact combination of shambolic nonchalance and melodic competence that swings them from “tolerable” to “surprisingly enjoyable” at a steady clip. It also helps if you bear witness to another half-assed lo-fi pop spectacle that’s like three-tenths as good: I can understand Wavves’ appeal in the abstract, or in some dingy basement or late-night makeshift Bushwick palace, but in the epiphany-bright Austin sunlight, drums/shaky guitar/shakier voice/aggressively aloof attitude ain’t cutting it. No ballads, please. No falsetto ballads especially.

Herd-mentality note: The wait outside Brooklyn Vegan’s day show today (Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Passion Pit) is crazy long, but the winner for craziest/most enthusiastic line at the moment goes to Emo’s, who is hosting fuckin’ the Devil Wears Prada. Try not to act surprised when Alternative Press is the last music magazine standing.