Now that it drags out over 10 days, following coverage of Austin’s SXSW megafestival from afar has sort of seemed like war correspondence, describing a compressed arc of nervous excitement, confusion, blood, fatigue, and a deep longing to return home. A victim of its own wild success over the past 10 or 15 years, even as the music business itself keeps on its incredible shrinking industry course, South By now seems defined as a magnet for any brand with money to spend to get their logo into a few hundred smartphone photos, even if they are partially blocked by Prince. So much of the discussion seemed disgruntled this year (for example…), that we’re not really that mad that we stayed put, and we’re sure that even after a whirlwind of excitement, the bands of the world are relieved to get back to wherever it is they are from.
Ha, but not so fast, bands of the world! New York City remains the one place that bands hoping to take off need to come all year round, and hey, as long as you’re in the U.S. anyway, how about another quick set or three? Here are 5 passport-packin’ acts that land in New York this week, thus returning our smug assurance that we are still in the cultural center of the globe. Phew.
London’s dark and bruising punk band Savages have been the must-see act of whatever music festival they’ve been asked to play for the past year or two. They’ve just finally finished a debut record, and are ready to just rip a headlining set to pieces. A proper soundcheck! All the time they need! Expect them sharp and ready.
Playing: Bowery Ballroom tonight, Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow
This gang of Chilean space-cowboys has local ties, recently putting out their latest album, II, on Brooklyn’s own Sacred Bones Records. Krautrock has now permeated indie music to the point that the a motorik drone might pop up at any time with little shock, these guys get much closer to the pure, cosmic vein of the original vintage than dabblers could. Extra points because New York is not actually closer to Chile than Texas is.
Playing: Muchmore’s tomorrow night, Death By Audio Wednesday night
There’s been a strong buzz around this Knife-ish Glasgow band since their first, faceless single was posted online last year, that’s only increased as they get ready to release their debut EP next week. And hey, from the video above, it turns out that a Scottish accent makes their name a lot less awkward to say out loud.
Playing: Mercury Lounge tonight (twice!), DJing at 285 Kent tomorrow night
Disturbingly young brothers from Leeds, England, Howard and Guy Lawrence make dance music that’s slick and soulful beyond their years. More poppy than than dubby, they’re quite useful as an entry-point into the sometimes insular-seeming world of UK bass music.
Playing: Music Hall of Williamsburg Wednesday night, Bowery Ballroom Thursday night
Sweet indie-pop from sunny Australia that hits the overlap between melodic and melancholic in that way that’s particularly evergreen. They are an odd choice to start off the neuvo-indie R&B double feature of Sky Ferreira and How to Dress Well on Thursday night, but it’ll probably make more cohesive sense than about a billion day parties in Texas did.
Playing: Music Hall of Williamsburg Thursday night (w/ Sky Ferreira and How to Dress Well)