Article: SXSW 2009 ARTIST ALERT: Tinted Windows

By | March 22, 2009

“I never thought the future of rock ‘n’ roll would be in the hands of the dude from Hanson.”

This is an actual quote from an enthusiastic random stranger rocking out next to me Friday in the front row at the Fader Fort party, where the Taylor Hanson-fronted super-est of all supergroups, Tinted Windows, made their SXSW debut.

The powerpop combo–emphasis on “power,” as in star power–is rounded out by former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Fountains Of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, and cigar-chomping Cheap Trick drumming god Bun E. Carlos. So it’s hard to imagine why anyone would assume Tinted Windows wouldn’t be, like, the best band EVER, with a lineup like that.

It’s clearly the Hanson factor that makes people so skeptical. I’m extremely certain that if James, Adam, and Bun had formed a new band with, say, Julian from the Strokes, every SXSW scenester would be wetting their skinny jeans with excitement over such a prospect.

But if those naysayers had bothered to follow Hanson’s post-“Mmmbop” (read: post-childhood) career, they’d know Taylor’s vocal style and pop pedigree are ideally suited to his new project. And all the doubters at the Fader Fort did finally realize this, once they saw Tinted Windows tear through an exhilarating set of perfect skinny-tie pop that ended, most thrillingly, with a cover of the Buzzcocks’ “I Don’t Mind.”

That anonymous guy in the front row was right: Tinted Windows just might save rock ‘n’ roll in 2009. Hey, stranger things have happened.

Anyway, as TW prepared to set out on their rock-saving mission on the Fader stage, they convened with me in the Fort’s “Bloggers’ Lounge” right before their set. There we discussed all the public confusion surrounding their unexpected formation, and how they’re winning over all those cynics with their awesome music (and awesome “Rock After Dark” viral video, as seen below).

Here’s what they had to say, while all around us bloggers typed and tweeted furiously:



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