Laura Stevenson and The Cans
It’s amazing how little exaggeration is needed to make a statement like, “When you get out of a cab in Williamsburg, Brooklyn they damned near hand you a guitar.” That former warehouse district is teeming, I mean teeming like insects hatching, with musicians. There have to be at least 200 musical actssolos, duos, quartets and the restnow residing in Billyburg. Of course this influx of beautiful artisansI call the J train, the only subway line from Manhattan to Williamsburg, “The Fashion Train,” because all the riders are shrewishly examining each other’s purses, shoes, etc. etc. etc.has caused rents to shoot up so Bed Sty may become the new Williamsburg before too long. Meanwhile, when I go to SXSW every year I proudly count all the Brooklyn bands that made it through the increasingly difficult selection process for SXSW. This year there were perhaps less than last year but still more than any other city. On Saturday night at SWXSW 2011 I happen to walk in on one, Laura Stevenson and The Cans that was excellent. Laura can genuinely sing, the original material which tends to start slow and build to a climax in nearly every tune, is wellplayed and solidly crafted. Her seven piece band, who’ve obviously been on the road honing the stuff down, work in a indie rock, alt country, punk rock vein. Several pieces of interesting percussion instruments headed by a small xylophone add interest. At SXSW in what is essentially a sea of indie rock bands, Laura and her band really stood out. Her latest record, Sit Resist comes out in April on New Jersey’s Don Giovanni Records.