To those who don’t feel like braving the crowds and chaos at South by Southwest in Austin: you’re not alone. Thanks to Parade of Flesh, a broad mix of artists make their way to Dallas this week for the annual Not So Fun Wknd, or #NSFWknd as it’s known.
The lineup this year features headlining acts such as Princess Nokia, Porches, Cro-Mags and The Coathangers. But it’s the slew of other smaller acts that are definitely worth arrving early to see, like L.A. trio SadGirl or post-punk band Omni.
Highlighted below is a handful artists to lend an ear to at NSFWknd. Find a full schedule here.
Think utopian sci-film Logan’s Run, accompanied by a soundtrack that’s filled with Moog synths and you have Computer Magic. Behind space-like production and dreamy vocals is Danielle Johnson, aka Danz. The sound of Computer Magic is one influenced by Danz’s early obsession with sci-films and growing up in the Catskills of New York. Computer Magic’s work has sustained a Space Odyssey theme from her earliest songs “Fences” and “End of Time” to her latest “Ordinary Life: Message from an A.I. Girlfriend.” Computer Magic will take the stage with The Gloomies and Sports at Club Dada. Recommended if you like: Young Galaxy, Still Corners, Labyrinth Ear.
A band for over a decade, Royal Thunder just wants their fans to know they are not a metal band. Despite having been on a predominantly metal label like Relapse the group’s latest album Wick, released on Spinefarm, maintains the band’s straightforward heavy rock sound and standards of quality set by all their preceding songs. Royal Thunder plays along with Pinkish Black and From Beyond at Three Links. Recommended tracks: “The Sinking Chair,” “Blue,” and “Parsonz Curse.”
This band’s name is actually a nod to the group’s lack of athleticism. Sports is, they say, “a band of wizards from Oklahoma.” Their first EP Naked All the Time set a downtempo, dream-pop sound that carried on to their first full-length, People Can’t Stop Chillin. Between songs like “You Are the Right One,” which borrows a well known guitar riff from Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” and “Whatever You Want” are plenty of funk-filled guitar riffs and reverb-soaked vocals. Sports plays Club Dada with openers The Gloomies and Computer Magic.
Of course, NSFWknd wouldn’t be NSFWknd without The Coathangers. The Atlanta-based punk rock group is almost a staple to the annual event that attendees look forward to every year. Expect nothing but a performance that goes right for the kill with sludgy guitar riffs, screaming, and loads of riotous humor. If you’ve still never seen The Coathangers perform, you can catch their headlining set at Club Dada. Maybe, you’ll even get to hear “Squeeki Tiki” complete with the live dog toy sample. Recommended tracks: “Down Down,” “Watch Your Back,” “Tonya Harding.”
You can tell Los Angeles-based SadGirl has a clear sense of aesthetics when it comes to their music. The group’s surf punk sound has drawn comparisons to 60s acts such as The Marketts, The Ronettes, and even The King himself. Frontman Misha Lindes refers to his younger sister Staz’s band The Paranoyds as a constant influence on the band’s sound. Especially with lo-fi, grungy songs like “Norma and Jessica” and “Little Queenie.” SadGirl will support The Coathangers Friday at Club Dada.
Surf Curse frontman Nick Rattigan stitches visual and musical pursuits together in his solo project Current Joys. The Nevada native has worked with Girlpool in the past, directing their music video for “1,2,3” and supporting them on tour along with other bands like Joyce Manor. Current Joys’ latest album A Different Age includes a self-directed music video for every track, which, although rare, is something a cinefile like Rattigan could pull off. The album is also a reflection of Rattigan’s relocations over the course of three years with each city influencing the album in its own way. Current Joys shares the bill with Public Access T.V. and Porches at Club Dada.
If you’re aren’t familiar with Drab Majesty, this interview with Deb Demure makes for a great starting point. A band since 2012, Drab Majesty’s most recent release The Demonstration is a new wave album that’s both melodic and dark. “Kissing the Ground” might be the most upbeat song on the album; it sounds like it belongs on an 80s coming-of-age or cult classic movie. On the other hand, “39 By Design” is an honest, bleak number that’ll have you swaying with everyone else in the crowd. Drab Majesty headlines at Three Links.
Omni is just the right amount of jittery that’s not too stressful to listen to and an absolute dance party live. Guitarist Frankie Broyles (formerly of Deerhunter) and singer and bassist Philip Frobos deliver a spiky syncopation of sharp bass plucks and snare hits that seems to give every note in their songs its own direction. Omni’s latest album Multi-Task maintains the similar restless sound from their preceding album Deluxe. Omni will support La Luz and Crumb at Club Dada. Recommended if you like: Television, Wire, and Ought.
Psychedelic pop group Crumb has been turning heads for all the right reasons. The band’s sound is an otherworldly, dreamy haze. Lila Ramani (guitar, vocals), Jesse Brotter (bass), Brian Aronow (keys,saxophone), and Jonathan Gilad (drums) first met at Tufts University where they were going to school. Crumb’s self-released EP Locket includes the single “Plants” and a wicked 360 music video for their self-titled song. The group will play a number of showcases at SXSW before heading to Dallas for their headlining set at Club Dada.