Having essentially marinated in a stew of rock guitars for the past two days—not that that was a bad thing!—on day three of the 2015 South By Southwest Music Festival I decide to traverse as many genres as I possibly can. From a Korean doo-wop girl group to Long Beach rap, with some detours into neo-soul and freaky British electropop, my findings are stimulating and surprising through and through. I also spend a lot of time in churches, which yields gorgeous acoustics and some new favorite singer-songwriters. For the sake of attempting some modicum of coherence, I’ll group artists according to the broad genre traits that they share, though that’s not at all meant to undersell the distinctive qualities of each performance.
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On day two of the 2015 South By Southwest Music Festival, I make it my mission to check out bands I’ve heard tons of buzz about but haven’t seen live, bands who’ve either released very little music so far or who are famous elsewhere but haven’t gained tons of traction in America yet. Throughout the day and deep into the night, I’m blown away by every single band I see, so here’s hoping that the word gets out about all of this talent. Rather than narrating the day chronologically, I’ll start with the acts that left the heaviest impression on my consciousness and then proceed from there. These are bands that will—or, at the very least, should—blow up in 2015.
The Monday of South By Southwest’s week-long takeover of Austin is always a strange day, as the Interactive portion of the festival (read: network-happy tech entrepreneurs and designers) comes to an end while droves of decidedly less put-together fans descend in preparation for the Music festival, which starts on Tuesday. This means that eager, jumpy music obsessives end up rubbing shoulders with well-appointed Silicon Valley types, the latter becoming tipsy on fancy cocktails and dropping words like “disruption” and “synergy” that music fans were familiar with long before the ‘90s tech boom made them trendy. It’s an odd mix, but these encounters make for exactly the kind of serendipetous weirdness that distinguishes SXSW from other, more thematically cohesive festivals.
If it’s early March, it must be time for New Orleans funk rockers Galactic to hit the west coast. So it was once again as the band wrapped their 2015 winter tour with their annual San Diego-Los Angeles-San Francisco run. And why not? The vernal equinox season springs early in California, making it a strategic time for bands from back east to visit and enjoy the balmy climate.
Little Daylight‘s Hello Memory is one of the more memorable pop albums to come my way in 2014 and it is one I find myself listening to more often than other favorites from last year. Their electro-pop is effervescent, highly infectious and danceable. The Brooklyn trio were opening for Jukebox the Ghost, a relocated-to-Brooklyn trio, on a recent string of dates (some are still coming up) and both performed in Connecticut for an all ages show on the second to last night in a cold, cold February. Jukebox the Ghost‘s own brand of piano-pop has made them a rising star as of late. Their 2014 self-titled release was initially out on Yep Roc Records but the band has since been signed to Cherrytree Records (home to Sting and Feist amongst others) and are planning to re-release the album in the near future. Together, in the Hat Capital of the World, the two bands, along with Secret Someones (minus their drummer) gave the youthful audience a memorable show.
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