SXSW 2009: Makin’ WAVVES Down In Sunny Austin

My first show of South by Southwest 2009 personified everything SXSW is about – fresh-faced up-and-coming hyped-up bands putting themselves out for the zeitgeist to pass judgment on. This year, one of the lucky few (or unlucky) is San Diego’s twenty-two year-old Nathan Willliams, aka WAVVES. He’s an artist, who after playing only a handful of shows in his hometown, had already been raved about on blogs worldwide. He was even name checked in an ABC News/Pitchfork report before he even had a record properly put out to the masses.

WAVVES play a brand of lo-fi garage punk that’s been bubbling up everywhere these past few years. Last year’s SXSW with No Age, Psychedelic Horses*** and Tyvek are two other great examples. All of whom are again on the ground in Austin playing tons of gigs this week.

WAVVES are the next, pardon the pun, wave of this sound. But all these bands don’t really sound alike – it’s just the DIY ethic that ties them together. Recording their music themselves without the help of studio experts in bedrooms, basements, lofts and warehouses really sets themselves apart from the more produced sounds you’re used to hearing on the radio.

The San Diego duo are considered the surf-punk side of DIY. Although Nathan Williams himself has pointed out, it’s just a media-driven catch-all term that was never something he thought was necessarily true.

So take a listen to WAVVES – decide for yourself what you think. Pay attention to what happens when our interview takes an unexpected turn in the hot Austin sun.


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MTV News will be all over the South by Southwest festival this week, with blogs, articles and video on all the gigs, the artists and the scene!