SXSW Showcase reviews


North Door, Wednesday, March 13

The haters might say that California slowly stagnates. How many beaming, flowery, Golden State garage-pop bands can truly flourish? The Fresh & Onlys, Sonny & the Sunsets, White Fence – the songs are good, but can we remain nonjudgmental in the face of such redundancy? I thought about all of that, and then L.A.'s Allah-Las arrived on the North Door's stage and started to play. There's nothing too 'em, four square, softly grizzled white guys that look fished right out of the Eighties. They make warm, sneakily intricate garage rock, founded on the principle that a catchy chorus is never too cool. Even the instrumental "Sacred Sands" bobbed and weaved. Last year's self-titled effort earned its lumps for being perennially late to the party. What's a record to do in a scene with so many better-established darlings? Under these lights, even in the most overlooked of rock clubs, the enchantment came quick and easy. Sure, they're just casual mid-tempo pop songs, but plenty of bands have gotten famous off of casual mid-tempo pop songs. The Allah-Las looked like the least stressed-out band in Austin. The confidence pierced through all of the yearly SXSW excuses. It was good to see a real-life show in the midst of all the half-baked here-and-theres.

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