Pivotal Punk at SXSW Music
Don't miss this gang of 10
By Tim Stegall, Fri., March 16, 2018
Tue. 13, Sidewinder Outside, 7:30pm; Fri. 16, Barracuda, 7:45pm
Going by the self-titled debut cassette this D.C.-based, mixed-race/-gender quartet issued in 2016, Bad Moves have spent a lifetime absorbing lessons by the Pixies and Superchunk. "Shitty Tomorrow" and "The Verge" bristle with power-pop and New Wave hooks flying from oblique angles, creating a modern, melodic punk with an art-school mind.
Tue. 13, Barracuda Backyard, 8:45pm
Three pissed-off women and one dude on guitar who appears perpetually hungover create the harshest feminist art-punk howl to emerge from Los Angeles since Hole's earliest 45s. 2017 debut LP Veil bursts with clangy guitars, motorik drums, and Kristine Nevrose's battery acid shriek. Think Kathleen Hanna joining Gang of Four.
Tue. 13, Sidewinder Outside, 11:10pm
Co-founder of pioneering Seventies punks the Bags, Alicia Armendariz remains L.A.'s original punk rock queen. Her 2011 memoir Violence Girl stared down body/identity issues as a Latina. Chicano folk through girl-group pop, 2016 debut Alice Bag spun a four-star art bark of outspoken societal reform through raw rock. Blueprint follows up this month.
Wed. 14, Hotel Vegas Patio, 9:30pm; Thu. 15, Latitude 30, 1am; Fri. 16, Barracuda Backyard, 12:10am
Media has tossed the garland "post-punk" around the necks of these Bristol barbarians because they share a hometown with the arty end of foundational punks the Pop Group. A sustained burst of verbal and musical bile characterizes Idles' debut LP Brutalism, the angriest British outburst this side of Sleaford Mods.
Wed. 14, Parish, 12mid; Thu. 15, Bungalow, 1am; Sat. 17, Clive Bar, 10pm
Broncho stormed out of Norman, Okla., with 2011's Can't Get Past the Lips, 10 sticks of roughneck-yet-melodic pop that suggested a crude midsouth Buzzcocks with a few Dick Dale records hidden behind their second-hand Crate amps. Now two years on from third LP Double Vanity, the guitars still have plenty of grit and the songs are as urgent, but a not-unwelcome, creeping slickness rings more New Wave.
Thu. 15, Lamberts, 12mid
"Nox" is short for Blawnox, the Pennsylvania micropolis home to this quartet. Three twentysomethings and 61-year-old slide guitarist Bob Powers create a Replacements-like power crunge out of frontman Zack Keim's Westerbergian compositions. Signed to garage king label Get Hip, Nox Boys are the freshest blast of delinquent raw power you'll hear this SXSW.
Fri. 16, Lamberts, 12mid; Sat. 17, Swan Dive, 9pm
There used to be an all-girl British band called We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It. These trash-rockin' Brooklyn feminists should turn that into an album title. Their raucous crunch-pop on 2017's You're Next EP sounds like a pissed-off Go-Go's following a night of bad sex and worse drugs.
Sat. 17, Hotel Vegas, 11:45pm
The days of 12 songs in 12 minutes ending in destroyed clubs and SWAT team visits are long gone, but going by freshly discharged 15-track Dwarves LP Take Back the Night, these veteran sociopaths still value speed, aggression, sleaze, and 1:30 song lengths. Blag Dahlia still couches depravity in humor and brutality in highly refined pop.
Sat. 17, Hotel Vegas, 12:30am
"We have no allegiance to 'punk' or 'garage rock' or anything like that," Cowboys vocalist Keith Harman told Noisey in 2016. "We're just trying to have fun and write good songs. And good songs come in all shapes and sizes." For these Bloomington, Ind., rough-housers, that means a certain cheap-beer-hangover belligerence blasted through broken amps.
Sat. 17, Townsend, 1am
Likely the most truly radical, subversive modern American punk band, the Kominas are the closest U.S. analog to Pussy Riot. These Pakistani-American, Muslim, Worcester, Mass., natives match Russia's imprisoned feminist fuck-you rockers' dissidency, but the insurgent message of "Sharia Law in the U.S.A." gains sharper teeth via their concise blend of Seventies punk, sampling, and their music heritage.