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Listen Now: Smith Westerns in Concert

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SXSW 2010: Smith Westerns, Live In Concert

SXSW 2010: Smith Westerns, Live In Concert

Listen Now: Smith Westerns in Concert

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/124112782/124862358" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Photo Gallery: Smith Westerns, Live In Concert

Set List

  • My Heart
  • Boyz Are Fine
  • Girl In Love
  • Tonight
  • The Glam Goddess
  • Smile
  • All Are Young
  • Be My Girl

The Smith Westerns brought their brand of gritty garage rock to our SXSW day party at The Parish on March 18. Channeling Mark Bolan in both vocals and punchy guitar licks, they were a lot tighter than you might expect from such a new band. The members, mostly teenagers, brought a youthful feel and a good sense of humor to the stage, saying "that was our ballad" after one particularly messy rock number. Smith Westerns thrashed around on stage with ramshackle equipment and what Bob Boilen cited as "the best hair in rock".

The scratchy aesthetic of Smith Westerns could be interpreted as a carefully honed, deliberate attempt to put a new twist on some of the greatest rock 'n' roll innovators of the 1970s. But really, it's much simpler than that. Smith Westerns' members don't have a long or complicated history; in fact, they've only been making music for a few years. Garage-based wunderkinds, they've got an incredible faculty for making cranked-up, T. Rex-inspired glam jams that rock.

Based in Chicago but emerging almost out of nowhere, Smith Western's members — all still in their teens — have already released their debut, self-titled album, and toured with fellow garage-rock prodigies such as Girls, Nobunny and even the late Jay Reatard. Make no mistake: These songs are, without a doubt, the guttural outpourings of raucous adolescents. But Smith Westerns' members have talent well beyond their years, as well as an undeniable gift for writing rousing, sneakily infectious rock.

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