Friday night was my last night of SXSW. I'd seen a great collection of bands: Crystal Castles, Santogold, MGMT, Land of Talk, and Cloud Cult. And with 10 minutes before my rendezvous with my Austin fixer, Vic, and his trusty van, I ducked into Bourbon Rocks for one last band. The place was crowded, but I was able to sidle up stage right.
Four guys who look like members of 'Up On Cripple Creek'-era The Band seem to be in another universe, summoning the folk-rock ghosts of Laurel Canyon. This is not music that will rudely spill out onto Sixth Street outside. This is haunting, old-Americana stuff. Four-part harmonies, a mandolin, and a frontman who prefers to sit. I only catch two songs, but they're both remarkable -- even soothing -- and I can't help thinking this was the perfect way to end the weekend.
Before the last song,
I catch the name on a list of set times outside: Fleet Foxes. I hustle down to the interstate bridge in time to catch a glimpse of Vic's trademark white van. (He's owned two, and buried one.) As we pull away, with a drive-thru trip to Whataburger in our sights, I'm yammering about this band with great vocal harmonies I just saw.
Later, I discover that Pitchfork went wild last month (8.7) for their tour EP, Sun Giant. And, Billboard reports that they were signed to Sub Pop last month (I saw them at a Sub Pop showcase, as it turns out). A full-length is due in June. Looking forward to it.