Math-rockers play Austin; lo-fi lies low

Francisco Marin

Marnie Stern hits up the Mohawk

In November 2008, the beautiful Marnie Stern and her band received a hefty speeding ticket while on tour and couldn’t afford to pay it. Their solution was to set up a kissing booth at a San Francisco show, charging $3 for cheek kisses, $10 for lip kisses and a whopping $100 for a French kiss. Apparently the mood at the kissing booth was one of nervous tension among the men too timid to make a move, although there were a few takers.

Fortunately, Stern and her retinue have dug themselves out of that hole by now and will play at the Mohawk tomorrow evening at 9 p.m. with experimental math-rockers Tera Melos and Austin’s own Zorch. But be on the lookout for a kissing booth, just in case. Tickets are $8 at or $10 at the door.

The death of lo-fi

“The ravages of age — and the Internet — [has] pushed lo-fi into the 99-cent ‘Buy It Now’ eBay bin,” said Jared Phillips, guitarist for the lo-fi indie rock band Times New Viking in a recent article in Vice magazine. “Now lo-fi’s the new slap bracelet. Max headroom. Moon shoes. JNCO jeans.”

It’s surprising to hear Jared Phillips mourn the death of the genre, considering his band and many others in the past decade have pushed to make its presence known. Times New Viking along with bands such as Psychedelic Horseshit and Wavves are part of a subgenre of lo-fi known as “shitgaze;” the genre’s proponents play traditional indie rock songs but in an abrasive way, maxing out amplifiers’ capabilities and distorting the sound to the point where it sounds like psychedelic noise. Shitgaze became popular in the past decade because of its affordability and ease; using sub-par equipment and shoddy recording techniques is appealing to bands on a budget.

But Phillips’ claim doesn’t bode well for many of the lo-fi bands in Austin. His solution? Get out while you can or record music correctly. He recommends recording properly, buying the best gear money can buy and practicing proper maintenance. Or if all else fails, “Watch the Grammys and learn, dumb-ass.” Read the full article from Vice at