Ah, South by Southwest – What a glorious, messy, magical music festival. It’s held in Austin, Texas, but don’t let the big T deter you (sorry, Tejas). Austin is a funky town full of friendly folks, tattooed cyclists, glorious BBQ, breakfast tacos, a plethora of music fests, and a lot of innovative startups. Austin is a strange cross between Portland and San Francisco, with some hot sauce on top.
I attended my very first SXSW last year (not ashamed to admit I hadn’t been up until then; you gotta start somewhere), and while people love to exclaim that it’s “not what it used to be,” that it’s become “too corporate,” and it’s “way too big now,” all of these points are probably very valid, it has been around since 1987, after all. However, you can still have a good time. Why? Because more than 2,000+ bands flock to the city to play for everyone, each other, and everywhere. Plus, there are usually free tacos and beer. No complaints! You can also rock out to a Finnish goth band in a burger joint, see your guilty pleasure Danish bubblegum pop princess perform in laundry mat, mosh your way around a bridge at 3 am to the most hype-worthy of punk bands and meet a lot of interesting people. I did all of the above last year and it was perfect, despite the moans of what SXSW “used” to be.
This year? I opted to travel to Iceland and London instead and had merely 3 hours of vacation left by the time SXSW planning came about (a good 4-6 months in advance). Alas, it just wasn’t gonna happen. Am I moping? A bit, but that doesn’t mean I can’t jump on the SXSW bandwagon and write about the latest and greatest bands I hope those who are attending, have the chance to see. If you haven’t seen your Facebook and Twitter feeds blow up with SXSW updates yet, you will soon. The music portion of the fest is going on now (March 11-16th). So, whether you’re in the thick of the madness or listening from the sidelines, here are some of this year’s SXSW 2014 must-see (or listen to) bands.
p.s. Did you know that Coco Stereo is on da radio? You do now! “Cuckoo for Coco’s Pop Underground” airs on BFF.fm every Sunday, 11 am – noon PST. I played a special SXSW must-see bands edition last week. Here it is in all its gloriousness + a handful more I couldn’t cram in one hour.
Tei Shi – M&Ms
Black Atlass – Blossom
Cherry Glazerr – All My Friends
Quilt – Arctic Shark
Chance The Rapper – Cocoa Butter Kisses (ft. Vic Mensa & Twista)
Mutual Benefit – Golden Wake
FKA Twigs – Water Me
Glass Animals – Gooey
Sophie – Bipp (*update* It’s been discovered at South By that Sophie is a HE. Ah, the joys of SXSW)
Speedy Ortiz – Everything’s Bigger
Wet – Bad Idea
Cate Le Bon – Are You with Me Now?
Diane Coffee – Hymn
Hundred Waters – Cavity
Ex Hex – Hot and Cold
Must-See SXSW Bands Pt. 2:
Angel Olsen – High & Wild
Trust – Joyland
Sylvan Esso – Coffee
St. Vincent – Prince Johnny
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
Banks – Brain
Warpaint – Biggy
Julie Byrne – Young Wife
Kelela – Do it Again
No Joy – Hare Tarot Lies
Phox – Slow Motion
You know that late 80s jam, “Nothing Compares 2 U” written by Prince and sung by Sinéad O’Connor? Well, it perfectly conveys how I feel about Hundred Waters. Nothing compares to them. Their undeniable talent, riveting live performances and eclectic sound is unlike any other: Hauntingly beautiful, captivating, goose bump-inducing, and lead singer Nicole Miglis’s fragile voice is seemingly out of this world.
The Gainesville, Florida-hailing group, whose name is a play off of, and an ode to the influential European painter, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, started playing music together while students at the University of Florida. In October of 2011, they officially became Hundred Waters. Since then, the group has seen a whirlwind of success, and rightly so. After initially releasing their debut, self-titled album in February of 2012 via Elestial Sound, the group’s stunning and unique music wowed and wooed many. They were immediately picked up and signed to Skrillex’s label, OWSLA, who then re-released their album in September of 2012. They’ve since played festivals including CMJ, South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and have toured with the likes of Julia Holter, Grimes, Braids, The xx, etc.
In all of Hundred Water‘s glorious success, they’ve also still managed to continue writing and producing magnificence, as they announced today their forthcoming sophomore album is due out May 27th. And luckily, Hundred Waters hasn’t left us crying alone in a fancy restaurant along with Sinéad O’Connor. They’ve given us two brand new tracks: “Down from the Rafters” and “Cavity,” both of which are as captivating as ever. In an interview with NPR, Nicole Miglis stated that, “‘Cavity’ is like watering a field but so much it becomes muddy, or filling a bathtub with so much water it just floods the house.” Even their track descriptions are ethereal. Nothing compares to you, Hundred Waters. Enjoy:
Hundred Waters – Down from the Rafters
Hundred Waters – Cavity
The anticipation and chaos for this year’s SXSW music fest in Austin, Texas (March 12th-17th) continues to grow at great lengths. The amount of parties, new bands added, RSVPs, lineups and showcases consistently flow in at alarming rates; and it certainly isn’t over yet. The increasing excitement is contagious and overwhelming, especially when you envision just how much amazing music (and people; 60K to be exact) will embark upon the Tejas capital, and all at once.
To contribute to the ever-growing hype, here is a compilation of (40+) absolute must-see acts/bands at this year’s SXSW. Granted, no one’s ever gonna see ’em all (one can only hope!), so these top 6 absolute must-sees are ones you should seriously kick yourself if missed:
p.s. coco stereo will be representin’ in full force at SXSW, March 7th-16th – Let’s get our dance on together!