After waking up slightly later than we planned, heading over to the convention center to pick up our badges — now it finally feels official! — and gorging on a poorly thought-out free pizza giveaway, the WSNxSW crew made our way to the Barracuda for The Onion/A.V. Club showcase on Monday afternoon. Here are some unbiased, purely professional opinions regarding the bands upon which we gazed:
The first of the many anticipated bland indie rock bands at SXSW opened up the showcase. There’s not much to say about this band, so let’s go back to the pizza giveaway. Like seriously, we were handed a flyer for their app and then we immediately gave that same flyer to the restaurant. I don’t even remember what the app was called. How on earth was that good for their business? I mean I’m not complaining — that meat lover’s slice tasted even better because it was free. But Silicon Valley types out there — come up with some better publicity stunts, I’m worried about you.
Car Seat Headrest
Originally started as Will Toledo’s bedroom Bandcamp project, the revamped Car Seat Headrest is a full band now, after accruing a substantial online cult following and signing with Matador Records. With an album of all new material coming later this year called “Teens of Denial,” there’s plenty of anticipation for Toledo and co. They lived up to the hype on Monday, playing mostly the lo-fi, garage rock cuts from the new album, but also taking suggestions of old favorites from the crowd. At a passionate fan’s request, they finished with “Stop Smoking”, a track from the 2013 album “Twin Fantasy” that features only the lyrics “Stop smoking / we love you / and we don’t want you to die.”
Into It. Over It.
One of — if not the — leaders of the late-2000s “emo revival” movement, Into It. Over It. is the brainchild of Evan Weiss. This was the first stop on their current U.S. tour, after releasing their third studio album “Standards” last Friday. The new songs, which Weiss wrote while secluded in a cabin in the woods, maintain his characteristically cryptic lyricism but also feature more fleshed-out instrumentation, including manic drumming and piano backing tracks. The small tweaks in their sound worked wonderfully during the set, the band’s first in years, and Weiss was clearly humbled by the warm reception both his old and new material received.
After sitting down for a while and getting dinner, we went back to the Mohawk for the second night in a row where Casual Strangers played some ethereal, instrumental tunes. Their style veers between the psychedelic rock of The Flaming Lips and Beach House-esque dream pop, although all instrumental. The highlight of the evening was when the singer in his comically soothing voice announced the next song was called “Cosmic Spaghetti”.
And that’s a wrap for Day Two! Tuesday is the first official day of SXSW Music so be sure to check back soon for recaps, interviews, and more. Follow our adventures in real time by adding @nyunews on Snapchat.