Sensory Overload

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Howdy, folks. Today we introduce Sensory Overload, a new companion column for my blog of the same name. Most weeks you can expect an extra page of local music content to supplement our ramped-up coverage online.

This week, however, I've been blogging about my trip to Austin for South by Southwest. So to kick this off, I thought I'd run down my top 10 favorite SXSW performances.

10. Crystal Antlers: Relentless percussion, ominous organ sounds and monster-heavy bass riffs nearly drowned out the guitars. But an ideal mix wasn't necessary to appreciate the pummeling dispensed by this band's hardcore psychedelia.

9. Rafter: Book this band for your next family reunion.

8. Max Tundra: The British electro-pop geek will recreate his one-man spectacle April 29 at Skully's.

7. Outer Spacist: Columbus' psychedelic faux-Mormons were right at home in a venue that felt more like a garage.

6. Deer Tick: On stage, their twangy balladry transformed into rambunctious bar rock, proving these songs are strong at any volume.

5. WAVVES: Several ultra-hip Columbus bands waged verbal war on lo-fi wunderkind Nathan Williams. Psychedelic Horseshit wore "WAVVES SUXX" T-shirts, and The Unholy Two's Chris Lutzko heckled Williams from a balcony. I can't fathom why; the kid's tossed-off tunes are shambolic pop perfection.

4. The Low Lows: This massive Austin ensemble put an authentic spin on Spiritualized's massive, mournful Southern gospel psychedelia.

3. RTFO Bandwagon: Check this week's Headliners column for more on why this unusual Columbus ensemble rules.

2. Akron/Family: Calling this music "freak folk" sells it short. Building from simple chord changes and slinky riffs to mechanized beats and tribal chants, the trio combined every conceivable genre into one glorious frenzy.

1. Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Common, Erykah Badu and more: Rap fans are used to swallowing the rotten fruit of ego trips gone bad. But as prideful as Kanye is, he prides himself most on putting on a stellar show.

For more SXSW coverage, click to the Sensory Overload blog at