Well folks, I did it. I went to my very first SXSW this year. I got into Austin on Wednesday night & stayed until Saturday night. I saw roughly 20 - 25 shows, walked about 10+ miles per day, spoke on a panel about the revival of mixtapes in the digital age, and ate a whole lot of BBQ & tacos. It ruled.
I threw together a Spotify playlist of my favorites from the week - included 2 songs from each artist, most of whom I saw play and the rest of whom I heard were great. Two of my absolute top picks from the week (Haim & Purity Ring) are NOT on Spotify, unfortunately, but I’m including some videos & linkage below.
Here are my top 5:
3 sisters on guitars and bass + a drummer, from LA. Best show of the week, hands down… They all sing beautifully, and they sing beautifully TOGETHER. I’ve been told that family members harmonize with each other best because of the genetic similarities in vocal chords, etc… Pretty much confirmed that theory. Saw them @ Karma Lounge. You can download their EP for free on their website.
2) PURITY RING
I caught them late on my first night in town. They’re from Canada. The singer has a beautiful voice & the producer manipulates her singing in real-time, pitching it up and down, chopping it up, etc… really cool. They also had this amazing light rig - basically, any time the producer would strike one of several orbs, they would light up and produce a sound… the effect overall was as if he was playing light! Again, really cool.
Here’s an unofficial video for “Belispeak”
3) ANR (Awesome New Republic)
I’ve been a fan of these guys for ages, ever since I heard their record “Stay Kids” from last year. They’re from Miami - brilliant songwriters, a little bit of blue eyed soul, lots of sweet synths… just a great band, all around. Saw them play twice - first @ Karma Lounge & then @ Valhalla.
Video for “Stay Kids” (wait til the song builds up - it’s heavy)
Saw these guys at the IFC venue on 6th st. They’re from Athens, GA, and they bring it hard. Show was packed, tons of energy, tons of fun.
Video for “Blastoff”:
5) KOPECKY FAMILY BAND
Saw these guys at Stubbs BBQ. Really really great band from Nashiville, TN. Rock band + cellos, xylophones, pedal steel, trombones, and excellent harmonies. Gave me some Arcade Fire vibes, in a good way.
Video for “Birds”