Can't-Miss Austin Bands at SXSW


Post-punk funk!

Photo by David Brendan Hall

"My parents introduced me to the Clash and the Ramones and stuff like that," begins Rhys Woodruff, 23, drummer/singer of 5-year-old power punks Borzoi, his tale dovetailing nicely with those of bandmates Taylor Browne, bass, and guitarist/vocalist Zach Wood. "Then I went to college and was hanging out with Taylor and Zach. In one week, I was shown the Fall, the Birthday Party, Mission of Burma, and the Urinals. I didn't know these bands existed.

"But we also really like pop music," he adds.

"We used to be just noise," offers Browne, 26. "Then we all got really obsessed with David Bowie's Low. That record is really pop, but it's like, 'Fuck! How much can you do within this framework?'"

"Or early Brian Eno records," interjects Wood, 28, also the bassist for Leche.

"Then we'd listen to James Brown records," says Browne. "This got us wondering how you can have this angry, Birthday Party-style punk, but with a really centered kind of pop rhythm. That's what we love."

Unleashed last fall on Matador Records maven Gerard Cosloy’s homegrown 12XU Records, debut full-length A Prayer for War remains a hostile, violent affair.

All that's audible in Borzoi. Unleashed last fall on Matador Records maven Gerard Cosloy's homegrown 12XU Records, debut full-length A Prayer for War remains a hostile, violent affair. Two preceding singles and EP Surrender the Farm didn't capture the trio's hyperkinetic live assault. It took rising local producer Ian Rundell (Spray Paint, Xetas, Exhalants) to imprint Borzoi's post-punk mosh onto tape.

The underlying funk germinated when Browne and Woodruff met in Fairview, and once the trio's jams and art-punk listening sessions started cohering toward what we now know as Borzoi – named for a breed of Russian wolfhound on a T-shirt owned by Wood – their racket crafted an opposition to the modern psychedelia so beloved by millennial Austin.

"This is how you should progress in any form of art," says Woodruff. "You should react to what's come before, and like or dislike it, then build on that. Which is what's unfortunate about this country – people don't do that.

"They just find a sound and stick with it. We don't know who the fuck we are, but we know we don't want to be that."


SXSW showcase: Sat. 16, Hotel Vegas @ Volstead, 12:15am

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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  

Patty Griffin on Her Battle With Breast Cancer and New Album
Patty Griffin on Her Battle With Breast Cancer and New Album
Local songwriter rises through the fire

Doug Freeman, March 29, 2019

Nardwuar Gifts Quin NFN a Copy of the <i>Chronicle</i> in New Video
Nardwuar Gifts Quin NFN a Copy of the Chronicle in New Video
“They had it everywhere. My momma was loving it.”

Kevin Curtin, March 26, 2019

More by Tim Stegall
From Revolution to Entertainment in <i>We Are Fugazi From Washington, D.C.</i>
From Revolution to Entertainment in We Are Fugazi From Washington, D.C.
Chronicle writer Joe Gross goes documentarian for the hardcore pioneers

Dec. 8, 2023

The Riverboat Gamblers' <i>Something to Crow About</i> Turns 20
The Riverboat Gamblers' Something to Crow About Turns 20
The album that made Austin's apex punks earns anniversary vinyl remaster

Aug. 11, 2023


Borzoi, SXSW Music 2019, 12XU, Gerard Cosloy, Matador Records, Ian Rundell

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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