The Austin Chronicle

MOJO Recommends

The best British music at SXSW as selected by 'MOJO' editor-in-chief, Phil Alexander

March 14, 2008, Music

Fuck Buttons

Prague, 10pm

At first we thought their name had to be linked to some off-colour Cinderella gag. Then we found out it was simply that Fuck Buttons had named themselves after "a coupling of words we found amusing at the time." Despite this relative disappointment, there's no denying that the duo of Ben Power and Andy Hung is one of the most invigorating outfits to emerge from the UK scene in the last few years.

Formed in 2004, Bristol, where Hung and Power were university students, the pair have created a euphoric sound blessed with classic melodies masked by an avalanche of distortion in a manner that Suicide's Alan Vega would be distinctly proud of.

"The melodies arrived subconsciously," explains Hung, admitting that the band's initial instinct was simply to make the most confrontational music imaginable. "It all came together on this drone song, 'Race You to My Bedroom.' Ben started adding melody on top.

"That's become our sound."

While Fuck Buttons are prone to resorting to Suicide's age-old trick of beating their audience into submission with the use of relentlessly repetitive beats, their actual sonic influences are far from anchored in the Lower East Side.

"Ben was into Black Flag and Bad Religion," continues Hung, "and I was listening to a lot of stuff on Warp and Leaf. It's quite simple on paper. A logical connection between those two sounds."

The band's debut, Street Horrrsing, recently released on the ATP/R label in the UK, is a 49-minute exercise in epic electronic Sturm und Drang, with five of the six tracks clocking in at more than seven minutes. For all the album's ferocity, it's live where Fuck Buttons allow themselves full rein.

"We still practice in our front room," admits Hung. "And we can only play at low level, so it's all about playing live, where we can finally hear what we've written."

While they're unlikely to ever get played on the radio (their name alone has seen to that), Fuck Buttons' inaugural American assault is guaranteed to serve up shows of relentless and euphoric noise. Catch them tonight, or see them at the MOJO Bootleg BBQ at the Mean Eyed Cat on Saturday, March 15, which begins at noon. Either way, see them you must.

Four more 'MOJO' Brit picks:

Dizzee Rascal, SXSW Live (the Bat Bar), Austin Convention Center, 4pm

Laura Marling, Ninety Proof Lounge, 10pm

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Ninety Proof Lounge, 12mid

The Rascals, Wave Rooftop, 1am

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