SLUG Slides Through SXSW

Photo: Joshua Joye

Last month was the time of year for another SLUG romp-down to the huge music festival South by Southwest (SXSW) for its 28th year of taking over the Music Capital of the World: Austin, Texas. SLUG caught some prolific, emerging and downright obscure acts to bring back home to the Beehive State. Read further for the lowdown on the good (or bad) stuff that stood out for our audiophile ears!

Animals as Leaders
The Dirty Dog Bar 03.14
MetalSucks Showcase
Animals as Leaders = Russian Circles + Ratatat + jazz

Once After the Burial finished their set at The Dirty Dog Bar on 6th Street, half the crowd exited the venue to the drunk pit that made up a SXSW Friday night in Austin. This purge left one of the most respectful crowds I saw during the SXSW festival, standing around in anticipation for Animals As Leaders to set up their equipment. Time stretched itself out until, finally, the band was found onstage setting up their instruments and were ready for the night at 1 a.m. AAL’s guitarists equip themselves with two eight-string guitars, Tosin Abasi manipulating one and Javier Reyes handling the other. Matt Garstka anchors the band on drums. Abasi lent their set humble, soft words, and at lightning speed, the band kicked off into a fury of extremely fast and unique guitar playing with a range of interworked techniques—sweeping, tapping and adaptations of classical combined with thumb slapping, hammer-ons and palm mutes, to name a few, applied to the eight-string with machine-like accuracy. A symphony of progressive metal found its way to a crowd of silent, attentive followers trying to keep up with the intense instrumentation. Mirroring the crowd’s composure, the band’s onstage dynamics included minimal movement in playing their instruments—no exaggerated, repeated, vomiting lurches, no jumping around. Any stage antics were channeled into composing multiple melodies layered on top of each other, and outlandish riffs while using techniques to make up for not having a bass player. Anybody into music from jazz to hardcore and metal should take the chance to at least listen, if not see a live preformance of AAL live. Check out their new album, released March 25 from Sumerian Records. –Joshua Joye

Buck Biloxi and the Fucks
Hotel Vegas 03.15
Burgermania III
Buck Biloxi and the Fucks = Ramones + Dead Boys x Daniel Johnston

Buck Biloxi and the Fucks lived up to their name with a smart-ass demeanor in their lyrics and during their set. Photo: AHB
Buck Biloxi and the Fucks lived up to their name with a smart-ass demeanor in their lyrics and during their set. Photo: AHB

I stumbled upon the New Orleans–based Buck Biloxi and the Fucks while attending Burger Records’ third showcase at SXSW. Right away, I could tell these guys (and one gal on drums) were going to give us one great show. They plugged into the backline, quickly sound-checked and launched into a lo-fi punk set with charmingly snotty lyrics: “I don’t understand a thing that you people say and think/You’re just a bunch of dumb-ass robots thinking you’re so interesting—who gives a fuck?” Buck Biloxi is a master know-it-all, singing thoughts we’re all guilty of thinking, but don’t dare say. “I want you to shut the hell up for me/You sure have a lot to say—why don’t you just go away?” Buck Biloxi and the Fucks hate a lot of stuff in the most endearing way. Most songs clock in at a little over one minute—just long enough to learn the words to, but not long enough to sing them. After spending five days waiting in long lines behind drunken dudes wearing vintage day-glow parkas, I felt happy bopping to their bratty, sassy punk on my last night in Austin. Stumbling upon acts like Buck Biloxi and the Fucks is the reason why SXSW continues to remain on my yearly to-do list. Now, if we could just get them out here to play a house party in Salt Lake City … –Angela H. Brown