SWXS 2009: A Biased Top-Five Recap, and How The Artists Therein Will Soon Tangibly Impact Your Life


Well that’s over with. To complete my spiritual journey, I will now both provide my top-five greatest moments (Metallica excluded) and explore how non-SXSW revelers might enjoy their music, immediately or in the immediate future.

1. Ms. Janelle Monáe, of course. Her deeply, defiantly weird dystopian-diva routine is way more exhilarating live than on her Metropolis: The Chase Suite EP, wherein the lovesick-android-on-the-lam shtick gets a little distracting. More Suites are planned soon, though, and power-r&b smash-in-the-making “Tightrope” is a monster, so. See her on tour this summer opening for No Doubt, of all people, including stops at PNC Bank Arts Center June 26 and Nikon at Jones Beach Theater June 27.

2. Still Flyin’. Bay Area ska, absurdly catchy, absurdly vibrant, just generally absurd. At Union Hall April 3. They will bring spring with them if it has not yet arrived.

3. The Thermals. Still the best power-pop-punk band in business. In Texas at least frontman Hutch Harris was taken with performing shirtless, in tiny shorts, with “SLUT” written across his stomach. At Bowery Ballroom May 8-9.

4. Obits. This particular blog’s crush/obsession with these surly-garage titans continues. Celebrating the release of the expertly grouchy I Blame You Friday night (March 27) at Bell House.

5. Micachu and the Shapes. Cheating here, as I didn’t actually see this bizarre, inventive London crew in TX myself, but only because they’re here the next three nights: Cake Shop tonight, Death by Audio Tuesday, Cake Shop Wednesday. Jewellery is the best, most bewildering art-pop record of 2009 yet.