One of the bands that roused the most enthusiasm at SXSW this year was Britain's Fuck Buttons, a brave band with a braver name. You could feel the incipient buzz coming off them, a buzz that would lead Stereogum to name them their favorite band of the festival and that would act as a perfect lead-in to their elevation to Best New Music status in today's Pitchfork.
I've just started working with the group as part of my duties repping their record label All Tomorrow's Parties in the US, and I met the lovely and talented band members, Ben and Andy, just before their first official showcase on Thursday evening. On Friday and Saturday I had the pleasure of escorting them to a few of the half-dozen or so appearances they would make during the festival.
Now, Fuck Buttons are a band with roots in the harsh experimental noise scene -- they're a kind of UK-equivalent to Los Angeles's own noise/punk heroes No Age and Health. But even more than those bands, Fuck Buttons' chosen moniker seems like an effort to take the 80s outrage over band names like Butthole Surfers and one-up it for the age of ubiquitous online pornography. Color me surprised, then, when I noticed the scene in the picture above during their set at the Stereogum/Paste day party on Saturday afternoon. (You can see a bit of Andy in the lower right hand corner of the photo.)
You are looking at Dell's new effort to unseat Apple from their "hippest computer maker in the universe" perch, a campaign I'd first encountered this a week earlier at the
Plug Awards in New York ( the indie music equivalent of the Grammies). At least at the Plugs, though, Dell had the good sense not to place the, erm, blogger cage, so prominently as to make it obvious how little anyone actually wanted to use the damn thing. Now you name your band Fuck Buttons and you figure: that'll keep the wolves of commerce at bay, right? Well, welcome to the brave new world of indie rock.
I'll be honest, though, my surprise was tempered somewhat by the this scene which I witnessed a day earlier at a party they played sponsored by the marketing company / record label / magazine / online broadcaster, Vice.
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You can see band member Ben in the right side of the photo and, yes, that is an actual audience member transacting with an ATM during the band's performance -- perhaps exhibit #1 in why sponsors are likely to continue flocking to indie for some time to come.
Indie is more than willing to show them the money.
After the jump, less sponsors, more music!