Post-SXSW memories of balls and gutters.

Trying to navigate the streets during SXSW feels a bit like being in a game of pinball. You shoot out of a club in search of the next club, trying to avoid the hordes, the trash, the vomit, the lines, Bushwick Bill. Sometimes you end up in the gutter, and other times you get a whole bunch of extra balls. Ya know?

In other words, there were a few more unexpected surprises from this whole draining, exhilarating fest:

The Muslims: Four fresh young things who looked as button-up as those Vampire Weekend dudes but are from San Diego, have every Modern Lovers record, and write way catchier songs.

Indian Jewelry: They've filled out as a fivepiece with an extra drummer and guitarist and, as a friend remarked, they're also the “new Thrill Kill Kult." And that’s not an insult!

The Columbus Discount Records showcase: Columbus, Ohio, is seriously going off. The Guinea Worms were bred for Midwest skuzz rock, and singer/guitarist Will Foster kind of reminds me of Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock. El Jesus de Magico brewed up some excellent, serpentine early 1990s noise rock.

Shining: A prog-metal band from Norway that uses a electronic wind instrument sounds iffy on paper, but live this quintet slayed, closing their set with a cover of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man.”

Dokkebi Q: Sadly, their Thursday night set was cut short, but the duo’s 20 minutes of dancehall/dub/noise was like taking a bong hit in space.

Torche: They played the Longbranch and the windows were shaking. One of the best metal bands around right now.

Los Llamarada: What looked to be five Mexican teenagers, including a female guitar player with braces, playing caustic, screamy no wave punk en Espanol.

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SXSW, Muslims, Shining, Dokkebi Q, Indian Jewelry, Guinea Worms, El Jesus de Magico, Torche

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