Music to Your Ears
Take your vitamins and go out. Quite a few of the bands you'll see padding out local lineups in the coming weeks are on their way to or from SXSW in Austin, and that means a concentrated froth of bigger, better, weirder touring acts than what usually rambles through town. You can't afford to stay home.
As for who's representing Albuquerque in Austin: An exact tally is hard to come by. Hardworking bands like The Dirty Novels will continue to suit up and play unofficial concerts at house parties, coffee shops and off-houred bars. The smart ones have already started sending out MySpace bulletins with details on where to find them. But officially, New Mexico is sending four acts to play Austin shows at the official SXSW showcase (all of which are 21+).
Wednesday, March 18: Alaska in Winter, 10 p.m., Volume (614 E Sixth Street)
Thursday, March 19: A Hawk And A Hacksaw, 10 p.m., Habana Bar (708 E Sixth Street)
Saturday, March 21: The Foxx, 11 p.m., Club 115 (115 San Jacinto)
Alaska in Winter (again), 11 p.m., Submerged (333 E. Second Street)
The Handsome Family, midnight, Habana Calle 6 (709 E. Sixth Street)
Of the four bands invited to play the showcase, The Foxx is the only one that lives and plays in Albuquerque full-time. Foxx head honcho Juliet Swango spoke with the Alibi about how her band got there.
How does being from Albuquerque set you apart?
Performing in Albuquerque has given The Foxx a detached sense of musical reality. You can easily lose sense of any relevance your music has on a national scale because Albuquerque has a modest music scene. However, the gift that detachment offers is that you can literally create a musical fantasy. You can play whatever the hell you want. So you can take your time writing whatever kind of music you want and can try out different musical ideas without risk of blowing it big-time. There's no ladder-climbing because there is simply no ladder, so it's impossible to lose. The Foxx has been granted the priceless opportunity to make fools of ourselves here, and that has fostered The Foxx's weirdness. For that reason, we're the perfect diplomats.
How does it feel to be a working band in a place like this?
It feels kind of lonely. I'm going to go ahead and be the asshole and say it: In my opinion, there are less than 10 good rock and roll bands here. That's not to critique musical ability—there are tons of excellent musicians here. But good bands? I can count about six, and the ones that actually perform [are] even fewer. This city could have a totally amazing music scene and has been ripe for the picking for about 15 or 20 years. Yet every year we lose a band or two rather than having a fresh crop of them. So it feels great to be able to be one of the bands that's still kicking, but it's bittersweet.
How long have you been trying to get onto the official showcase?
We've been trying for a shameful amount of time. Last year we got our first "maybe." It's a good thing we got in this year—don't really want to go from "maybe" back to "nope!" We went a few years ago unofficially, and it was fun as hell. Not necessarily always furthering the band, but a totally amazing experience. It's better than CMJ because Austin's way smaller than New York, and there's more of a spontaneous Western-style spirit about SXSW. (BBQ at this weird church at noon! Free beer! Ukrainian bands!) You can drink in the street; is there any other information you need?
Any must-dos while you're out there?
Drink in the street.
Tell me about the new songs you're going to give out.
We've got a handful of new songs recorded and a handful more yet to be recorded. We're going in 40 different directions, like we like. You got your honky-tonk, your disco; we're like a goddamn wedding band. I think we've been getting in touch with our dark side lately as well, which has been super fun! Without consciously trying to, it seems The Foxx is sinking deeper into the campy Baroquey mire from whence we slithered onto the rock and roll landscape (I just blew my mind). By which I mean, just come see us play, we don't talk good.