SXSW 2019 – A Recap

Yet another SXSW is in the books and it’s time for the ATH crew to reminisce a little and offer some highlight from the week behind us. I think we’ve had enough time now to take a few deep breaths, collect our thoughts, and delve through tons of notes and photos. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll offer up awards to bands, venues and events worthy of such praise. It will be glorious. Hit the jump for a full recap with photos.

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David Bazan – Strange Negotiations

Rating: ★★★★☆

David Bazan has a long list of accomplishments and releases, be it with Pedro the Lion, one of his other bands, or alone. With this as his third full length under his own name, Bazan adds another notch to his belt of alternative indie rock achievements, and with it he brings the same in-depth songwriting and deep man voice as before.

For fans of this bloke, you’ll be pleased to hear that not much has changed sound wise; he didn’t feel any urge to suddenly mix things up with electronic beats. It’s classic Bazan, profound lyrics that delve into personal subjects, urging you to do the same as you listen. Records from this man have always been personal, and Strange Negotiations is no exception (not that you would want it any other way).  The album begins with “Wolves At The Door,” which kicks things off a little faster than one might except from this gentleman. You get more of a grasp of a pop tune as opposed to a deeply rooted and meditative slow jam that you would expect. Nevertheless, the implications of this man are not to be missed, especially when he plainly states, “You’re a goddamn fool and I love you.” It begins the motif of acceptance through faults and Strange Negotiations.

As you move down the track list, song after song strikes with the same deep resonance, none of which fall as too vague or intricate. Each and every song has aspects that push it up to Bazan’s level of intimacy, adding to your relationship with this man, as he confides in you his innermost sentiments and stories. Whilst doing this, he is able to build up such a relationship to the point where he can give some epigrams to his audience, but it doesn’t feel like he is preaching, but rather mentioning something to a close friend over a drink. On “People,” one of my favorites, Bazan nonchalantly iterates words of solemn truth like “When you love the truth enough you start to tell it all the time / when it gets you into trouble, you discover you don’t mind.” It’s the little lines like that, that increase my love for this man and his writing.

Much later on the album, when you reach the title track “Strange Negotiations,” it only feels right that it is a long, drawn out reflection. It feels like this whole album has been building up to this point, and at six minutes and ten seconds, you can let his voice sink into the recess of your mind, touching something, hopefully evoking some sort of emotional response. The finisher, “Won’t Let Go,” which is as slow and provocative as its predecessor, follows, to end on a serious note.

In all, Strange Negotiations is a ten song work of carefully crafted lyrics and melodies that are sure to strike companionship into those who choose to listen, if companionship with David Bazan had not already existed.


Download: David Bazan – Wolves At The Door [MP3]

New Music From David Bazan

We here at ATH love us some David Bazan so we tend to pay attention when the man drops new music our way.  This new track called “Wolves at the Door” is the opening number to Bazan’s latest album Strange Negotiations due out May 24th on Barsuk.  It really is a great pop song that highlights one of the most underrated songwriters in the indie game.  The guy’s good.


Download: David Bazan – Wolves At The Door [MP3]