Richard Swift / Pink Mountaintops

SXSW live shot

Richard Swift / Pink Mountaintops

Emo's Annex, Saturday, March 18

Richard Swift just doesn't happen anymore. There are no more piano troubadours that meet the spontaneity and passion of Tom Waits. There are no more downtrodden musicians who write lyrics that actually mean something. Richard Swift, therefore, is an anomaly. "I am New York," the afro'd Los Angelean croons on "The Novelist," the opening glorification off last year's debut The Richard Swift Collection Vol. 1. Animated and vibrating at the helm of his electric baby grand, Swift led his band of misfits, the Sons of National Freedom, through modern ballads and systematic breakdowns. Swift's tunes came full force, climaxing in a combination of decades unlike anything the dance revolution has experienced: from Al Jolson to Nick Cave in a measure, to the Beatles and Nick Drake in a heartache. Swift is a pissed off carney working the Ferris wheel atop some random boardwalk: "Tonight is gonna be a lovely night, with everybody looking oh so nice, and I wish that I was never born." Second-to-last celebration "The Atlantic Ocean" is the perfect segue to Jagjaguwar's less serious Pink Mountaintops, who fixed a Sixties smorgasbord of tambourine and joy – no war songs here, just extravagance. Steve McBean's hippie clan is an image of collective, all smiles, bounce, and hair. Yet where Devendra Banhart goes south with patronizing glee, McBean's Toronto troupe brings everyone along for the ride on the Axis of Evol. Just another notch on the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar bedpost.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Thursday Interview
Thursday Interview

Nina Hernandez, March 20, 2015

Thursday Picks & Sleepers
Thursday Picks & Sleepers
SXSW Thursday handicapping by the blurb

March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Darcie Stevens
Phases & Stages
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
It's Blitz! (Record Review)

April 3, 2009

Spotlight: The Wooden Birds
Spotlight: The Wooden Birds
9pm, the Parish

March 20, 2009

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle