Every SXSW, a few bands extract themselves from the extravagant parties and industry elbow-rubbing in Austin and trickle into San Antonio for one evening. Otherwise, our humble city sees relatively no touring bands of the indie-rock persuasion, considering the lack of reliable venues and the local metal-loving stigma that frightens indie rockers everywhere.
On March 14 at Strutters, it is, ex-Murder City Devils, ex-VSS and the Slaves, ex-Unsane, and ex-B-Side Project. It will be an all out ex-fest — and not the kind where ladies vengefully roast weenies while rehashing the inadequacies of lovers past. Like relationships whose passions flicker and fade, whose connection is threatened by jealously and drug addiction, rock musicians are also known to bicker, break-up, and get back together.
I'm sure many San Antonians mourned the death of the Murder City Devils, as they were revered as the new Black Sabbath and everyone and his mama had a T-shirt. But quit your crying, because a mere week after their demise was announced, three members of the band regrouped with a new name, Dead Low Tide, and new self-run label, Ill Eagle Records. Dead Low Tide retains the same aggressive and bitter intensity of Murder City Devils with Spencer Moody's signature throaty screams and self-destructive lyrics. The defining difference in sound is the extraction of Leslie Hardy's permeating organs, and the quickening and deepening of tempo, which can be attributed to the inclusion of godheadSilo's Mike Kunka on bass.
Power piano trio Pleasure Forever's former set-up, the Slaves, didn't enjoy the same fame as Murder City Devils, but share the same emphasis on recklessness and self-indulgence. Pleasure Forever's self-titled summer release resonates with hedonism and decadence, both musically and lyrically. The trio presents itself as a three-ring cabaret with a sound that can be as dark and dirty as a flickering 16mm porn film. At times the sound is balls-out glam rock, severe and convicted, with swelling guitars, primitive percussion, and wailing, swaggering vocals. Then suddenly, it's sullen with surges of churning saloon-style piano that segue into twinkling waltzes. The prevailing characteristic is lead vocalist and pianist Andrew Rothbard's voice, which creaks and whines like old floorboards.
Cutthroats 9 is a continuation of Matador records only metal band, Unsane. These out-of-towners will be joined by local get-up White Heat, formerly known has the B-Side Project. The boys have given themselves a complete makeover, trading in their sonic art-rock appeal for straight-ahead garage rock simplicity. ♦
DEAD LOW TIDE, PLEASURE FOREVER, CUTTHROATS 9, WHITE HEAT
Thursday, March 14
2718 N. St. Mary's