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SXSW: David Malitz's 10 must-see bands

Hunx and His PunxHunx and His Punx is far from a gimmick, playing instantly memorable garage-pop gems. (Courtesy of Hunx and His Punx)

By David Malitz

It's SXSW time. This is the week pretty much everybody you know who plays music, writes about music, has a job somehow relating to music or just really likes music will be down in Austin drinking lots of free beer, listening to an obscene number of bands and communicating with people standing directly next to them by typing to them with an @ symbol. That's how it goes.

I treat SXSW as half vacation and half scouting trip. The ability to see dozens upon dozens of bands all within a few blocks of each other, for basically 15-18 hours a day is amazing, especially for someone with a well-documented obsession with live music. To me, it's still the best way to tell if a band is legit or not. Plus, almost every set is 30 minutes or less, so you get the best of what each band has to offer. If you can't deliver a solid half hour that's pretty damning.

Below are 10 bands I'm most excited to see. Left off this list: bands that I have seen/will see on their way through D.C. this month, bands I've seen multiple times. (Well, except one.) You can follow us on Twitter - we'll be updating the official Click Track account, but for more frequent and unfiltered tweets (some will be about basketball, I'm sorry) follow David Malitz and Chris Richards on our personal accounts.

Carsick Cars - Chinese trio became my favorite discovery of 2009 by sounding like a 1989 collaboration between The Clean and Sonic Youth.

"You Can Listen You Can Talk" - Carsick Cars

Drunkdriver - Unhinged, in-your-face, swinging from the rafters, bone-crushing sludge punk that comes for your soul.

"It Never Happened" - Drunkdriver

Frankie Rose and the Outs - Indie drummer du jour (former Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts, current Dum Dum Girls) fronts her own band that plays brisk yet dreamy tunes.

"Thee Only One" - Frankie Rose & the Outs

Hunx and His Punx - The title of the band's debut LP - "Gay Singles" - pretty much says it all. Each song is a bubblegum, handclapping sock-hop hit that would make FOX News anchors terribly uncomfortable.

"You Don't Like Rock and Roll (And I Don't Like You" - Hunx and His Punx

Titus Andronicus - Has there been a bigger, better album this year than "The Monitor"? Can't wait to see if the Jersey Boys can recreate its massiveness in a live setting.

"A More Perfect Union" - Titus Andronicus

Spider Bags - Ragged country-rock better than all other ragged country-rock out there. Their "Waking Up Drunk" may as well serve as the festival theme song. Also, Titus Andronicus's favorite band - guest appearances?

"Waking Up Drunk" - Spider Bags

Home Blitz - Overlooked indie rock, part 1: You could call it slapdash but it's more just overexcited, pop-savant stuff cloaked in an appropriate level of distortion.

"Don't Talk to Me" - Home Blitz

The Mantles - Overlooked indie rock, part 2: The perfect mix of jangle, fuzz and casual melodies. Like the best lost college rock band of the '80s.

"Don't Lie" - The Mantles

Neon Blud - Described to me as an unlikely cross between former D.C. girl garage-pop band the Rondelles and the aforementioned Drunkdriver. Shockingly enough, the band's upcoming 7" on Fan Death Records sounds exactly like that unholy combo. Jagged hooks poke through layers of noise and it rules.

"Neon Anxiety" - Neon Blud

Maryland Terps - A rare appearance by this great electro-noise-improv band. Nah - just gotta find a bar at Friday 10 p.m. that will have a TV showing Gary, Greivis and my boy Jordan Williams taking it to the Houston Cougars. Bonus points if that bar is also hosting an electro-noise-improv band.

"Maryland Victory Song"

By David Malitz  |  March 17, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  SXSW  | Tags: Carsick Cars, Drunkdriver, Frankie Rose, Home Blitz, Hunx and His Punx, Neon Blud, Spider Bags, The Mantles, Titus Andronicus  
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Next: Please explain to me ... Drive-By Truckers


Surprised you didn't link to that last band's cover of "Rock and Roll Part 2." It's available on YouTube, at least.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | March 17, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Check out Titus Andronicus. I put them up once, and they'll be back next month. Unfortunately, we'll be up in Lancaster for some shows, the back to C-ville for Against Me! on the 18th!

Would like to check out Spider Bags though.

Posted by: MzFitz | March 17, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

One would never know from Malitz' post that SxSW involves more than just indie-rock. I understand that these are just "his 10 must-see bands" but I guess we'll have to wait for a Chris Richards post to hear about other types of bands and musicians that are down there.

Posted by: outsider8 | March 18, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

carsick cars-- guitars like Band of Susans from a while back. Like that.

drunkdriver track doesn't work. neither does maryland terps. i am on google chrome.

Posted by: saracooper | March 18, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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