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It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, which in the music industry means that the prospect of this year’s SXSW music festival is opening up on the horizon like a black hole, sucking the world’s indie acts in with its irresistible gravitational pull. Part of the fun of the fest is seeing who the fresh crop of newly anointed “it” bands will be; I’d be shocked if Young Prisms isn’t counted among that number.
For starters, they are a fiercely talented bunch and have a just-released debut LP to promote. Their ten-track debut, Friends For Now, was pressed by Kanine Records on January 18th and the band has an impressive slate of tour dates scheduled leading into and out of their Austin appearances, including opening gigs for acts including past OTM featured bands The Radio Dept. and Surfer Blood. Like the latter, Young Prisms also have the benefit of being spring chickens (the eldest member clocks in at a musty 24 years of age), a trait always seductive to music journalists and bloggers.
However, what is bound to garner the band gobs of adulation is their music itself, a thick blend of noisy late 1980s and early ’90s influences such as Sonic Youth and Swervedriver. “Sugar,” Friends for Now‘s third song, begins like an undertow pulling the listener out to sea; its churning guitars, distorted and delayed, are too strong to fight against, as is the military punch of the insistent snare drum hits. Then, a little over halfway through, the band unexpectedly throws itself into double-time. In a space without oxygen below the riptide, the Drop Nineteens are having a fist-fight with My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain–and it is heavy, ass-kicking splendor.