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.
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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.
I first saw Sleater-Kinney open for all-male band Pearl Jam back in 2003. Their rock was raucous, rough and impressive. I was fortunate enough to see them twice more before they disbanded in 2005. It’s hard to believe, but in the decade since then, there wasn’t any act who filled the hole left by Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss. So, at the end of 2014, it was very exciting to hear that the original line-up were returning with a new album No Cities to Love and a tour to support it. Fortunately, they don’t sound like they were gone at all.
“The new songs are as gnarled and brazen as the rest of Sleater-Kinney’s catalog. They also reflect how 10 years have passed between Sleater-Kinney albums, as lyrics take on current economic insecurities (“Bury Our Friends” declares, “We live on dread in our own gilded age”) and ponder the band’s own future. “No one here is taking notice/No outline will ever hold us,” the band vows in “A New Wave.” During Sleater-Kinney’s absence, Ms. Brownstein found a new audience as a writer and star in the comedy series “Portlandia,” but Sleater-Kinney doesn’t play for laughs.”
// Notes from the Road
"Radio 104.5's birthday show featured great bands and might have been the unofficial start of summer festival season in the Northeast.READ the article