It’s Monday and I’m in Oklahoma on my way back. The road trip’s ugly cousin — car problems — has reared its head, but I’m on my way back to Omaha. Consider this a recap of what happened Friday and Saturday, the highlight of which I didn’t get to catch. A semi-secret Death From Above 1979 reunion show was easy for badgeholders to get into around 9:30 p.m. but impossible an hour later. After getting in around 8 p.m., I left once and then found myself out. Oh well. SXSW is about enjoying what you can, not fretting about what you missed. And what I enjoyed was a scintillating Black Angels set at Hotel San Jose. The Austin psych-rockers have just started making their best music and the performance hits all the brood and menace that this sort of stoner-shoegaze requires. OBN III’s also proved that you can elevate punk rock by a little garage punk slop and an exhilartingly bizarre front man. Orville Neely combined Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins and sweaty stand-up comedy as he worked through a short, sweet set at Beerland. This came less than 24 hours after I missed a Beerland patio set where he climbed fences, fell to the ground and harassed streetside ATM users. Good power-pop came cheaply, courtesy of Cheap Time and the Cheap Girls. Cheap Time did it with a snotty ’70s punk bravado that veers gratefully away from the Tennessee band’s garage rock peers, while Cheap Girls did it with a trip through the ’90s, playing its slacker guitar pop-punk like a modern Superchunk. King Tuff, the formerly bedroom-based project of Happy Birthday’s Kyle Thomas, is now a four-piece band that goes for classic rock glory with its messy power-pop. Pains of Being Pure at Heart also kept my heart aflame for them, as they played selections from their forthcoming Flood-produced LP, Belong . Live, new Pains is a lot like old Pains, with hushed vocals and chiming guitars. That’s all from Austin. Check out this week’s edition of The Reader for our full SXSW coverage.


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