SXSW Part 3

SXSW Part 3 So it was definitely the year of the female singer at SXSW 2007. Lily Allen was sassy and backed by a horn section. White dudes hooting on tenors, always a good time. The person I was with turned to me about halfway through and said, "I like this but I can’t tell you why." I took that to be a good sign.

Then there was Amy Winehouse. A total throwback, kind of a modern day version of Ronnie Spector, she's a deep–voiced, tough chick with a keen retro sense, a well developed sense of humor and a killer live act. While the music is a dead ringer for girl group fare from the 1950's and 1960's, the beats come from the present. Look for my full length review in June's Stereophile. Winehouse's new record, Back to Blackis a mind-changer for everyone still hooked on, "They don’t make records like that anymore." She was perhaps the most surprising act I saw this year and exactly the kind of thing that recharges my batteries.

Speaking of Weiss, and her new record Dangerous Game on New York's great Norton label, she was one of the buzz bands of Austin. And although her voice was pretty ragged, she knocked out a room full of critics and music geeks, all of whom (were well&3150oiled) and gleefully singing along with the Shangri–Las' big hit, "Leader of the Pack."

One disturbing trend this year is that publicists were dropping like flies. Jim Flammia, the publicity chieftain of Mercury offshoot Lost Highways, was stricken, on Sixth Street, on Friday night with gallstones. He ended up at Brackenridge Hospital full of morphine. Equally bad was poor Randy Haecker, a dear friend of mine, who ended up with an intestinal virus that gave his skin a bluish/greenish tinge. Damn, that boy was seriously friggin' ill. He swears it had nothing to do with dodgy Mexican food. He may still be in Austin at this point trying to regain his strength.