Quantcast
The prevailing rumor now seems to be that U2 will not be appearing in Austin, having presumably sufficiently saturated the music press with their slate of TV appearances.
JEFF LEVEN’S SXSW JOURNAL: DAY MINUS ONE
The Countdown Continues—Right Through St. Paddy’s Day
So I'm not yet in Austin, and while I tend to doubt the HITS-reading portion of the music industry wants to read about me packing, it seemed strange to have a day's gap in coverage, so it's time for a quick St. Patrick's Day dispatch.

In some ways it's better when St. Patrick's Day doesn't fall during SXSW, since in most years the convergence of the holiday and the festival mainly seems to have the effect of making the non-SXSW 6th St. crowd that extra bit more bustling and rowdy, and not necessarily in a fun way. While it's always cool to add the extra Irish zing to the day's music, at night the expanded crowd of drunk coeds with broken shoe heels and shamrock Mardi Gras beads and the guys who hassle them always makes the already tough navigation to and from Red River that little bit harder for lack of clear lanes for an accelerated airport style march-walk.

In any event, in lieu of green beer and tacos, my celebration came in the form of playing the Pogues' If I Should Fall From Grace With God in the office. Honestly, you'd be hard-pressed to find many more even and complete albums from that era. The immaculate "Fairytale of New York" remains my favorite Christmas song, which is a big deal, because I rarely like Christmas songs. I don't know whether it’s Jewish sour grapes or the enervating repetition inherent in the extra-long Christmas-music-in-mall-playing season, but I can basically count the Christmas music I like on one hand (Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown music, Wham's "Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart" and the Jimmy Eat World cover thereof, the Marah Christmas album and the aforementioned Pogues masterpiece—and that's basically it). But beyond this hallowed chestnut, the album also has the majestic "Thousands Are Sailing" (still a song I overly place on mixes), the rowdy "Fiesta" and the best Irish-Turkish song ever recorded in "Turkish Song of the Damned." Rough as it is, there's something warm and familiar about MacGowan's jagged voice (he does sound a little like Rolf the dog from the Muppets but in a really good way), and Steve Lillywhite's production work is amazing. While Lillywhite's press often comes from U2 and Dave Matthews, some of the real winners in his catalog are the slightly undersung ones—the first Guster album on Geffen, Big Country's The Crossing, some of his Marshall Crenshaw work, and, of course, this stunning Pogues perennial.

Speaking of Ireland and U2, though, the prevailing rumor now seems to be that they will not be appearing in Austin, having presumably sufficiently saturated the music press with their slate of TV appearances. Red herring? We'll find out.

Anyway, after this Guinness-tinged palate cleanser, I'll begin my proper SXSW coverage tomorrow. Away we go!

-J

PS: Yesterday, I forgot to mention another GREAT Georgia band: Gentlemen Jesse, whose Introducing is the best power pop record since the Exploding Hearts, which says a lot.

HITS LIST IS
IN THE MAIL
A not-so-subtle reminder to fill out that ballot. (10/15a)
NEAR TRUTHS: THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
The lives behind live music. (10/14a)
HARVEY MASON JR.:
THE HITS INTERVIEW
The Grammy chief takes our call. (10/14a)
RAINMAKERS 2020: COMING SOON
It will rain again this fall--we guarantee it. (10/13a)
STEVIE WONDER PARTNERS WITH REPUBLIC
First music in 15 years. (10/14a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)