Before I take any trip to Austin and SXSW, I always take more than a few days to peruse the schedule and check out a few of the hundreds of names on the roster and read their bios.
Some years there are more bands with "wolf" and "space" in their monikers than usual, and some years there are random exclamation points! that seem to make! no sense other than to annoy! copy editors who are already sick of reading about SXSW.
RIP Steaming Wolf Penis. I hardly knew ye.
Anyhow, the worst offenders this year seem to be the people behind the SXSW band bios. Some missives are straightforward histories of these up-and-comers journeying to Austin to seek music-blog fame and licensing fortune, while others are meandering pieces of hilarity that seem to use descriptive terms pulled out of a fedora.
Speaking of fedoras, way too many bands this year have members sporting them in promo shots. You think you look like the Specials' Terry Hall, but all I see is shame. You ain't Tom Waits, guy in Americana-ska band from Minnesota.
The worst one this year was San Francisco act The Soft Moon's wondrous, blowhard 466-word ode to "darkness, claustrophobia and dread" about a project that "was never intended for the public's ears," yet somehow miraculously broke out of music jail and made its way to us anyway. Thank heavens.
The thing is, I like The Soft Moon. I like "vintage darkwave," and I sure as hell enjoy "snapping drums and flange-warped tones."
In fact, The Soft Moon is coming to Fitzgerald's in Houston tonight (Tuesday), with Maserati, Psychic Twin, Field Report and Prince Rama. You should all go. But I really hate their SXSW bio, "a loner's cry buried in soil and metal shavings" and all.
And it's not like I have never been guilty of writing sanctimonious bullshit like the Soft Moon SXSW bio myself. Those who live in houses made of positive ICP and Taylor Swift reviews shouldn't throw stones, I guess.
But at least I never wrote "the animal need to not be alone in the dark, to be heard by another living thing" and got paid for it. Or while not on trucker speed, anyway.
Here are some of the most overused words and terms in SXSW's 2013 artist bios. I'm sure I'm missing a few, but you get the idea.
"Raucousness" Just say you like cocaine. It's 2013, it's okay. You can just say it is an act.
"Nasty" You probably aren't "nasty"; you just got into Iggy & the Stooges two summers ago when the last emo guy in your band quit and you could finally write that song about convertibles you had always wanted to.
"Untamed" Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus are "untamed," so it's not that cool anymore to say you are, too.
"Swathed" Ohhhhhh, someone is a reader!!!
"Masculine" Just say that you play directly from the bottom of your nut sack. Don't be PC.