So the countdown has begun in earnest to my first SXSW. I know, right? How did it take me this long to go? In past years I’ve focused on festivals in other regions (UMS Denver, Noise Pop SF, Coachella, etc) and wound up without the money or wherewithal to trek to Texas.
This year, we change that.
Two weeks from Wednesday, I hop a plane to Austin. I couldn’t be more excited, or more overwhelmed. There will be a showcase that Fuel/Friends is helping to present (details forthcoming) and lots of great parties and showcases that I am anticipating. In addition, I’ll be helping out with an actual panel (!!), so come see me if you are attending the conference portion.
I downloaded two torrents full o’ music from SXSW Showcasing Artists and have been slowly working my way through them all weekend. Here are five from the bazillion that first caught my ear as artists that I will want to keep my wits about me for to try and make their shows. Even if you’re not going to Austin, have a listen to five I love:
The stream of music can be numbing after the first hundred, but this song just absolutely stopped me in my tracks, dead, heartworn. Web information tells me that Vijay Kishore is from Birmingham, England, but all I know is that the gorgeous falsetto and high lonesome drone of his voice sounds uncannily like an incarnation of Thom Yorke or Jeff Buckley, from an Indian gentleman with a shaved head. I have nothing else to say, except that I have chills. He’s playing a ton at SXSW, including an official showcase Thursday night at Creekside.
Wave and Water
Gordon Gano and the Ryan Brothers
Lead Violent Femme takes to the airwaves again with this song that could probably be on all your summer mixtapes. Over a barely-contained funky guitar line and shiny brass melodies that echo Cake, Gordon Gano brings that same dry delivery to his latest (catchy) creation. I didn’t know he was at it again, didn’t know he’d be at SXSW (late Thursday at the Parish Downstairs).
Baby Come On
This song makes me feel dizzily and joyously confused. I first heard it tonight when I was putting dishes away and lordy I think I nearly dropped a glass or two from the force of my spontaneous dancing. There’s yelling like those snappy street gangs in Broadway musicals, a huge marching drum beat, and melody for pogoing to. Elemeno P is from New Zealand and theirs will undoubtedly be a fabulously fun show (not sure when they’re playing yet).
Eager To Sail
Wine And Revolution
My experience with wine is often that it leads me into thick sleepiness, and distinctly not revolution, but this Austin band would like to encourage me otherwise. From listening to this selection, it seems as if they wish me to travel with them through a long line of good sounding influences, from the Kinks to Voxtrot, and have a lot of fun while I’m at it — to which I say, “okay.” Wine and Revolution is playing a handful of shows Wednesday and Friday.
I’ve read a lot about Malawian artist Esau Mwamwaya and the Radioclit DJ duo on Gorilla vs Bear over the last year or so, and always smile at the joyous African-inflected dance creations that they often release free into the world. This cut builds Southeast-African rhythms & words over music from Architecture in Helsinki. Radioclit preserves an earthy connection with their music while featuring folks like M.I.A. and Santogold on some fabulously sweaty-fun remixes. It’s where I’ll be midnight Thursday, in the Beauty Bar Backyard.
So…who’s on the early flight out of Denver Wednesday morning on Southwest?