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
Get ready to trip out. Boston hailing psych-dream-pop-folk rockers, Quilt have released two new trippy tracks: “Tired and Buttered,” and “Arctic Shark.” Both tracks can be found on Quilt‘s forthcoming sophomore album Held in Splendor.
Since Quilt emerged in music scene back in 2009, and released a debut LP in 2011, Anna Fox Rochinski, Shane Butler, and John Andrews have continuously succeeded in ‘patching’ together a magnificent conglomerate of equally upbeat, rockin’, spacey, catchy and dreamy sounds. The results are splendidly out of this world.
Quilt – Tired & Buttered
Quilt – Arctic Shark
This week I saw Quilt and Young Magic play at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. I was oddly surprised there was little-to-no line when I arrived, ‘cus tickets were being sold at the door only and um…. these bands are pretty fuckin’ electrifying. Regardless, I walked in, bought a Red Stripe (it’s cheap!) and Quilt immediately hit the stage. Rockin’, psychedelic, trancey folktronica and dream-pop trip hop thus commenced:
Quilt, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boston psych-mantric blues-folkers consist of Anna Fox Rochinsk, Shane Butler, and John Andrews. The trio announced it was their first time in California, and the audience gladly accepted their right of passage to the West Coast via an amazing stage presence. Their sound possesses a psychedelic, 60s hippy rock nostalgia and they certainly know how to jam; They’re a must see if you like to rock. Listen to their entire self-titled LP on bandcamp here or Spotify here.
Quilt – Young Gold
Quilt – Cowboys in the Void
Young Magic consists three Australian and/or Indonesian ex-pat nomads (Isaac Emmanuel, Michael Italia & Melati Malay – also of New Moods ) now living it up in NYC. Their sound is a mix of dreamy shoegaze, electro-experimental “trip-hop.” Their set involved theatrical drumming and bad Egyptian film footage. I dig! Listen to their entire LP Melt on Spotify here.
I have a un/healthy addiction to You with Air. It’s repetition, sweet beat and haunting vocals put you in a trance of experimental music bliss.
Young Magic – You With Air
Young Magic – Sparkly
Doldrums – Egypt (Young Magic Redux)
Purity Ring – Grandloves (feat. Young Magic)