March 11, 2012

my SXSW shortlist & top picks

In addition to apparently torrential rain at SXSW Interactive this week (which my hair is SUPER EXCITED ABOUT), the torrent of people are already flooding into the city in preparation for our annual music sleep-away camp.

The music portion starts on Wednesday, and I’ll be heading down tomorrow for my panel on Tuesday morning at 9:30m (Man vs Machine: New Music Discovery).

I always try to brace myself with a shortlist of bands that I’d like to try to see in all the wonderful madness; here are my personal picks for SXSW 2012, if you are culling through the listings too.



WATERS
The new band from Port O’Brien‘s Van Pierszalowski, whose last name I almost just spelled right without googling. This band is freshly melodic but also with enough grit and winsomely awkward rock to make me feel like I am back in high school, in the best possible way. Pretty sure Van also loves Pavement and Violent Femmes like I do.



Imagine Dragons
Because: stomp/clap.



You Won’t
I am overdue a full post about these guys, because I’m gaga over their debut album. Some days lately I just stream it on repeat, in anticipation of springtime exploding for real. Reminds me of Deer Tick sitting in front a dusty piano, in sunny Sunday morning church, in 1960.



Cold Specks
I wrote about this Canadian artist (on Arts & Crafts/Mute) in December and was thrilled over the sounds of the few clips I could find. I just listened to her full debut album last week and HO-LY CRAP; it was everything I’d hoped for. A formidable new talent, raw and perfect.



Frank Turner
One of my favorite albums of last year, I yelped in delight when I found out last week that England’s Frank Turner is going to be in Austin, and make me sweat and yell along and all will be right in Austin for an hour.



Sharon Van Etten
Her new album Tramp is devastating and smart, wry and rich, and almost too potent to listen to. All the best things.



Pickwick
My friends from Seattle should take over the world with their sweet soul music, even just based on the merits of Galen’s voice — before you even add in how fantastic the rest of the band is.



The Allah-Las
Produced by the dynamic Nick Waterhouse (and having a downright fantastic band name), these dudes make old-school, straight up surf music that should be exceedingly fun live.



Alabama Shakes
Because:



Of Monsters & Men
When I first wrote about this Icelandic band, I said “Imagine if Sigur Ros and Arcade Fire made babies, and sent them to live in that big house in Portland with Typhoon.” How could anyone NOT want to see that live?



Bahamas
Afie Jurvanen’s new record is this radiant, warmly glowing gem, and he’s playing at midnight in a church. Sold.



Let’s do this.

7 Comments »

  • If you see that Southeast Engine is playing, drop in. You will be glad you didn’t miss them.

    Bart Wang — March 11, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  • Oh, Frank Turner is SO, SO good live. Looking forward to seeing Of Monsters and Men and Bahamas here in Vancouver this month. Have so much fun at SXSW! Unbelievably jealous.

    Megan — March 11, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  • Heather I’m sure your eyes jumped right over a rap designation, but you really need to see Dessa of Doomtree. She is smart and witty and creative, and raps only in the sense that she gets to use way more words than in other genres. She just addressed a Nobel peace committee by invitation. Not homey in da crib stuff.

    tincanman2010 — March 11, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  • Imagine Dragons just got signed to Interscope, P.S. Okay, just meaning November 2011, but still. Maybe I just found out.

    As you were.

    Dainon — March 11, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

  • yes, a friend of mine likes Dessa – i didn’t realize she’d be there so i will try to take a listen! thanks-

    browneheather — March 11, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  • Nice choices!

    Josh N — March 12, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  • just another plug for my neighbor Lydia Loveless. She will be playing the KDHX showcase, the Hello Booking showcase and the Bloodshot party among others.

    dru — March 15, 2012 @ 11:42 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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