South By Southwest

SXSW Review: Smokey Angle Shades, Latitude, March 17

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Austin – Every SXSW, the UK bring over a bunch of bands in order to introduce them to America. Monday night was the start of the UK night series at Latitude. It was a miserable rainy night in Austin, which I guess all the Ex-pats would dub “a pretty normal night in England”. Having been to all sorts of drunken debacle the previous few nights, I decide a nice night in one spot listening to music and not talking to anyone would be ideal. The night started off with a band called Smokey Angle Shades, a London based band featuring also Irish and German band members. I woulda called the band Sauerkraut, Spaghetti and Sausages..but that’s why I’m here and they are there.

I have never heard of this band before tonight and they immediately began to make a mark, mainly because they all looked a bit hippie-ish and were all wearing hats. Not the dapper English hats that Pete Doherty rocks, but country-ish hats. i would even say lead vocalist Fred had some inspiration from one Jack Sparrow. The band performed a 40 minute set consisting of harmonizing vocals with a sound reminiscent of Fleet Foxes/My Morning Jacket/Early Kings of Leons in that it sounds a bit like countryish rock. You know, the kind of stuff people with beards would listen to.

All in all, an enjoyable set. Harmonizing vocals are always nice, especially when it’s done properly and I liked the vocals/country rock vibe. Especially at a music festival in Texas.

SXSW Review: Gym Class Heroes, The Phoenix, March 12

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Austin – Unexpectedly, my first concert of South By Southwest came on the first night I was there…for SXSW Interactive. For those of you who have never been to South By Southwest Interactive, here’s a quick rundown – There are panels that run from 9:30 to 5:00 pm, but most people go from 11:00 to 3:00, where most of the meaty panels take place At 3:00, open bar starts. By open bar, I mean, once it hits 3:00 in the afternoon, depending on which parties you go to (all sponsored by companies like Google, Microsoft, Mashable, Can I has Cheezburger, etc) you can pretty much drink and eat for free the rest of the night. It just happens that one of the parties I went to was a Ustream party hosted by Pete Wentz and it featured a band called Gym Class Heroes.

I’ll be honest and admit I had absolutely no clue who Gym Class Heroes is. I had a sneaking suspicion that they were some emo band since the night was hosted by Pete Wentz (who is about 4 feet tall and wears sunglasses in a dark room). Not wanting to go in blind, I asked facebook people who they were, and replies were:

V: Bad emo/”punk” band. like fall out boy.
P: Actually, they’re even worse than that … it’s like fall out boy with rappin

You would think this would help, but i’ve never heard Fall Out Boy either. So I was expecting some sort of shitty emo rap band. All instincts told me to leave, but hey, this is South By Southwest. If there was ever a time to be open minded about music, now would be it. Also, there was a lot of free alcohol. So I stayed.

The overall show was kinda meh. I mean, I didn’t love it and I didn’t get offended. It wasn’t super good but also wasn’t super crappy. If anything, they played a lot more chilled set then I had imagined, given I had heard they were of the emo-rap variety. The chilled out rock-rap set they played could almost be on VH1, and maybe some older people will listen to it and then hear the rap and think they have some edge to it or something. The lead singer was pretty energetic and worked hard to get the crowd going, doing a lot of call and responses. I guess its not hard to get a crowd going when it’s an open bar party and people have been drinking for 8 hours already. At one point, he got everyone to stick their hands in the air and then turned it into a middle finger, in an act of defiance or something. I wonder if he knew that most people attending this party were white collar workers all working for giant corporations that sent them to a conference to have fun on their dime. Can’t really hate the establishment when you think about it. Points for effort though.

All in all, it was okay, nothing good, nothing bad. I guess that’s what passes for #4 on Billboard these days.

Oh yah, the picture is of Jamie Lynn Sigler/Meadow Soprano who was also at the party. Had a really hard time resisting asking her where turtle was.

SXSW Primer – Neon Indian

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Toronto – Neon Indian‘s Pyschic Chasm was a surprise hit last year. It’s laid back, playful vibe eventually got the album compared to other chillwave contemporaries (Toro Y Moi comes to mind). Now Neon Indian is back with a new single, called Sleep Paralysist and you can download it at http://www.greenlabelsound.com . Apparently, that label is created by Mountain Dew…whodda thunk? I think this act would be a great 3:00 afternoon show, as you are sitting in the sun enjoying a mojito.

Neon Indian is everywhere at SXSW. Just walk into a bar randomly and there’s a chance he’ll be playing there, but if you want to be specific, check out the Green Label Sound show at Club De Ville on Friday.

SXSW Primers – Bands A to Z

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, South By Southwest | 1 Comment

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Toronto – Here is an A to Z list of bands playing at SXSW. I’ve even been kind enough to link each band to their respective myspace/website so you can check them out*. Apologies if I missed any letters, English isn’t my first language.

Antlers – I might see these guys again, although it’d be weird to see their depressing music in the clear afternoon light

Broken Bells – Danger Mouse + The guy from the Shins? Yes please. Will this album only kind of change Natalie Portman’s life?

Chew Lips – English dance-pop act has Josh blowing his load with each single they release. Might check them out.

Dr. Dog – Lo-fi folk band keeps on churning out consistently good albums. New album Shame drops sometime in April

Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now! – I had no idea Eddie Argos (of Art Brut) had a new band. It has to be great. In Argos I trust.

Fanfarlo -They cancelled their show in Toronto in December. I now get to see this London band at a warmer venue. Awesome. Luna is an amazing track.

Gay Witch Abortion – I have never heard of this band, but look at that band name.

Holy Fuck – This time, when I see them, I won’t confuse this Toronto electronic act with Polaris winning Toronto hardcore band Fucked Up

Imaad Wasif – 24 Terrorist character or Canadian born Indian singer songwriter? Check out his show and decide.

Jj – Where did these Swedes come from? From Africa to Malaga was such a good chill tune, but their new album sounds more or less the same.

Kyle Lee – Is this a Chinese Texan hip hop artist? I don’t know, but he has an Asian last name so here’s hoping.

Local Natives – They impressed many people last year, a breakout album later, these guys are ready to rule Earth.

Marina and the Diamonds – I wrote about them already, but she’ll be very good live.

Neon Indian – Hipster ratio will be off the charts for this HRO fan favorite.

Orquestra Contemporânea De Olinda – Brazillian worldly music. Gotta check out some worldly stuff for Mark

Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Shoegazey throwback band played about a billion shows last year, I didn’t catch them then. I won’t make the same mistake again. Maybe.

Quest for Fire – No idea who they are but they are the first band with the letter Q in it I see. Clever marketing yo.

Russian Futurists – Had a blast seeing them at Wavelengths despite short set. Should have equal blast at SXSW despite short set.

Spoon – Austin’s favourite band open SXSW at Stubbs with what undoubtedly will be a great performance.

Toro Y Moi – One of the first big discoveries of 2010, this dude will bring some chilled tunes to Austin.

Ume – Frank from Chromewaves really enjoys this bands live set. Who am I to argue.

VV Brown – Wonderfully talented retro pop sounding VV Brown will bring what is surely a great set to SXSW.

Walkmen – 7 or 8 years later, I still love the song The Rat

Xx – They continually seem to have bad luck, hope these guys make it to SXSW

You Say Party! We Say Die! – BC band looks to build on the success of XXXX here in Austin. Laura Palmer’s Prom..what a song

Zeus - Arts and Craft band is about to hit the stratusphere with their debut (?) album.

*(it’s also really good for search engines)