Short of stealing Toto's Grammy, Nick Hennies has accomplished everything possible musically: earning a UT masters in percussion, forging experimental atmospheres with The Weird Weeds, screaming make-out anthems in WyldPrty, even exploring underground tunnel acoustics with a snare drum. Now, he's here to guide you through the maze of up-and-comers performing at the free first-annual ACL-alternative Ditch the Fest Fest. His tune-age picks:
No Mas Bodas: Carousel
Serenaded over a stuttering drum machine, vampiric cello melody, and sinister guitars, this number's off the not-yet-released follow-up to No Mas' debut Erotic Stories From the Space Capsule (apparently, "Natasha Henstridge" was trademarked).
Ringo Deathstarr: Every Time
Buzzy shoe-gazers R.Deathstarr soar through waves of distortion, moving from Cure-like vocals to a minimal pulsing synth outro that's so calm and quiet...it's a trap!
Silent Land Time Machine: Everything Goes to Sh*t
The mysterious one-man band's 8-minute opus builds layers of strummed acoustic guitar, accordion, strings, found-sound percussion, and murmured chanting into a fevered cacophony before stripping away the elements into a cathartic drop -- also what happens every time you go to sh*t.
The Weird Weeds: Baby
Dramatic bowed guitar tones drift over stand-up bass as the Weeds sing about dropping a child on the ground, feeding it garbage, and leaving it out in the rain, though Shirley Manson did say this would make it happy.
Follow That Bird: The Ghosts That Wake You
Frontwoman Lauren Green howls over frenetic drumming and aggressive guitar work that treads the line between garage, surf, and hard rock -- also something that can really make you wish you'd left your surfboard in the garage.
Spells: King Shivers (live demo)
From the dude behind Moth!Fight!, King Shivers evolves from a brooding echo into fuzzed out haunting instrumental chamber music, ending with a simple xylophone melody and a bit of reverbed stage banter, "That's DJ music" -- though if he has to constantly listen to xylophones, clearly Dennis Johnson's in hell.
Amplified Heat: Bi-Polar
Over a blistering ascending guitar riff, smoking rockers Heat speed through a 3-minute romp about lack of self control and easing ones' mind by means of medication, though surprisingly their prescription is not...more cowbell.
Death is Not a Joyride: Lost Signals
Psych-heads DiNaJ take you on a space-shifting post-rock journey that culminates in a bombast of orchestra, swirling siren-like guitar distortion, and other hood-rat stuff you can do with your friends.