Gold Fields, Haim and more...
The annual Aussie BBQ is always a good place to discover who’s new. Last year’s favorite were Melbourne’s Voltaire Twins. This year, we’re raving about Gold Fields, another band from the west whose blend of new wave, tribal percussion conjures up Cut Copy or Faith-era Cure, kicked off this week with an absolute knock out of a set, blowing up the Daily Motion party before several dozen delighted partygoers. Gold Fields will be appearing on back-to-back nights. (Buffalo Billiards, Friday, 9pm), (Maggie Mae’s Rooftop, Saturday, 10pm).
8. Sky Ferreira
Sky has been the subject of considerable old-school buzz, owing to her major label placement, with fans left to wonder what is up with an album that was shelved, and then some personnel changes. What’s undeniable is her voice, even as she experiments with different looks which in the latest incarnation, may draw some comparisons to a young Debbie Harry. Sky took some tentative steps at CMJ. At the Daily Motion her new look saw her singing backed by a full band, and she will be making a major appearance on Saturday (Stubbs, Saturday, 10pm).
9. Icona Pop
This Swedish duo are fast becoming a global sensation, in a few short months building upon a smash appearance at CMJ with their international dance hit “I Love It”, which features co-writer and fellow buzz artists Charli XCX, who joined them on stage at their first SXSW set on Tuesday night. “I Love It” looks to be the 2013 answer to the Ting Ting’s “That’s Not My Name”, a girl power anthem featured in the pop culture phenomenon Girls. While Icona Pop may have reached the finite limit of sets in a week, Charli XCX will be appearing Saturday night at Austin Music Hall, where she will focus on her material, revealing a darker, more indie side than her pop hit.
10. Blue Hawaii
The land of smoked meats and poutine has been the hot hand of late in the indie world, the likes of Merrill Garbus and Tuneyards, Purity Ring and Grimes fast becoming the next big exports after Arcade Fire shook up the free world with their Grammy land grab. Arbutus Records, the local Montreal record label which helped launch Grimes, is the home of Blue Hawaii and a host of other young and talented artists who typify the sense of shared community found in Montreal. Whatever they put in the water of Montreal’s Mile End community, we’ll have here. The duo of Raphaelle Standell-Preston (also behind Braids) and Alexander Cowan have amazing chemistry, and put together summery, shimmering sounds on their latest, Untogether that sets a stunning counter-point to a place that’s likely still pretty icy now. Catch Raphaelle in both her projects at the Arbutus Records showcase Friday (Swan Dive, 11pm; Braids, 1am).
11. A Tribe Called Red
EDM artists and mixologits are enjoying a major renaissance, transforming the indie world with their mashup culture, given the interchangeability of LCD Soundsystem, Girl Talk, and the Hood Internet. Indie dance fans, get ready for the next thing to consider, Pow Wow Step, club music that integrates dancehall, hip-hop, and electronica with relentless pow wow beats. The Tribe Called Red collective, hailing from Ottawa, showcase their pioneering ability to mesh styles, as well as a wicked take on pop culture by mashing up video clips of their favorite Indian stereotypes as seen in old Westerns, cartoons, and shoot them ups, and tracks titled “Red Skin Girl” and “Native Puppy Love”. Check them out this weekend (Speakeasy, Friday, 1am; Townhouse, Saturday, 10pm).
The Toronto trio wielded unyielding intensity throughout their 2012 release, and as a live act, pack a ferocity which their Sub Pop bio accurately likens to the legacy of Shellac and Jesus Lizard. Having honed their craft at a succession of basement shows and alternative venues, the band are poised to break out in 2013. Check out this clip of the band from CMJ, and then check them out this weekend or on tour. (Bar 96, Friday, 10:30 pm).
A year ago, sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim played a buzzed about set on the second floor of a restaurant. This week will be a crash course in adapting to the demands of their meteoric rise, which they share in the family, as the girls love to banter about being best friends (aww.) The band finished a breakthrough gig at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (first headline show, first sellout, first time they were asked to encore). by having their parents join them on stage. The band’s set typically includes a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s blues classic “Oh Well”, an opportunity for the girls to demonstrate their musicianship and appreciation for rock standards. Haim played a number of raucous sets this week, including an appearance at the mtvU Woodies festival. Expect to see a starmaking turn this weekend at one of their biggest gigs to date. (Stubbs, Saturday, 11pm).
14. Chance the Rapper
Last year saw Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky emerge from the mix tape world with highly acclaimed releases that showcased the depth of talent percolating in the underground. This year, Chance the Rapper represents another in a wave of artists that are shaking up the music world, with irressibtiblly inventive arrangements that careen, with a wicked, at times stream of consciousness sense of humor grounded in Chance’s Sweet Home Chicago roots. Here’s hoping that his mixtape Acid Rap, and his single “Juice” continue to streak of ambitious releases that make it onto year end top ten lists. If by chance, you happen to be anywhere near Suite 101, say 10:15 on a Saturday night, check out Chance the Rapper (Suite 101, Saturday, 10pm).