March 7, 2006Hype is such an ugly word
Sooner or later, my discussion of SXSW would fall upon those two dreaded words: “hype” and “backlash.” So let’s get ‘em out of the way now. We all know the drill. A new band generates excitement, and their admirers absurdly overpraise them. Their detractors, in response, absurdly overcriticize them.
Fortunately for those of us in the middle, these opinions balance out and we eventually reach some sort of consensus. The merits of the following acts, however, are still open to fierce, nerdy debate, and lots of festival-goers will be looking to form their own expert opinions on each.
A better bet than either is Art Brut, a hilarious crew of British three-chord ranters lead by the wiry Eddie Argos, whose hype I’ve done a bit to cultivate myself.
I'm impressed that CYHSY have put a new twist on two old indie rock trends not much in fashion these days--geeky David Byrne-style vocals and on the driving, flat Velvet Underground rave-up. The support of online indie-rock boosters Pitchfork ensured that the backlash would be just as intense as the praise, though. Dr. Dog, who smartly tweak the pleasant feel of 70s pop-rock, were lauded in the New York Times before most folks in their native Philly had caught on to them. I hope everyone hasn't forgotten them already.
More Brits elsewhere: Songstress KT Tunstall will loop her guitar stylings to perform as a full-fledged one-woman band, and the mopey chic Cure fans in Editors will endeavor to prove that 80s new wave is an inexhaustible well of musical influence. The Boy Least Likely To, meanwhile are fey, weedy lads with childlike obsessions and cute tunes to match.
So that’s it for the headline-grabbers. I’m sure I overlooked a few, so feel free to remind me (or argue with me) in the comments.
Oh, and it’ll be a helluva hassle to get into any of these shows, but that’s a subject for another day.Posted by Keith Harris at 12:11 PM