Yes, some people do listen to less famous bands at SXSW. Here were my favorites

6th Street around 9pm. Madness already, I think this was Thursday night.

6th Street around 9pm. Madness already, I think this was Thursday night.

As every media outlet has been writing for years, SXSW is a big bloated corporate monster that had some standard organizational problems this year, but it didn’t stop me from seeing 50 bands, there are problems every year. Years of attending and deep, former drunk knowledge of 6th Street from my college days helped me out immensely (miss you, nasty ole’ Treasure Island), as I bobbed and weaved through crowds and skipped the big elaborate shows to see bands I’d never seen before. I flew in Monday night to catch the tail end of Interactive, but mostly because I love watching the change in people as you move from Tuesday into Wednesday; blazers, jeans and Google Glass quickly turn into black skinny jeans, black t-shirts, and black hotpants. The streets were packed, but once you got inside most venues it was really roomy thanks to fire marshal capacity levels, and the bands were always happy to chat. Out of all those bands, these were the ones that stood out the most to me, and I can’t wait to watch their future career trajectories.

Mozes and the Firstborn

Mozes and the Firstborn


Mozes and the Firstborn: My favorite parties of the festival were definitely the Netherlands showcases at Bar96. Polite people, loud authentic garage rock and a food trailer inside made me keep coming back to them. I’ve been listening to Mozes and the Firstborn’s latest album a lot lately and expected them to be good- they ended up blowing me away. Walking a fine line between control and chaos, this Dutch garage band had top notch showmanship, a big crunchy sound with catchy hooks, and most of all skills. I do my best to dance and make other people know it’s ok to move, sometimes it works out to awesome photos like the one above of him pointing at me. They were one of the first bands I saw, and made a lot of the garage rock bands I saw after them seem like a bunch of fakers.

Skaters

Skaters


SKATERS: As you can see, photos of shows at night turn out pretty bland and boring with the same official SXSW banner behind them, so I mainly just shot photos during day shows. When I walked into the SKATERS show and saw some mega-hot rocker babes, I knew they were going to be good, and probably good looking. Right on both counts, this New York punk group had some of the catchiest melodies like an East Coast Rancid, and their cool, confident energy was so addictive that a rowdy mosh pit was going through most of the set, much to the chagrin of the young ladies that pushed their way to the front row then quickly were spit out to the sides.

Temples at Radio Day Stage

Temples at Radio Day Stage


Temples: Temples were one of the bands I was most excited to see, and they didn’t disappoint. Calm and confident on stage, their sound is gorgeous and full live, and people were singing along to every word. In a week filled with throwback 60’s psych acts, they were the most polished and the sweetest. Very composed.

Anna Fox Rochinski from Quilt

Anna Fox Rochinski from Quilt


Quilt: Gorgeous psych-pop out of New England, I walked myself out to East Austin to attend the Austin Psych Fest showcase to see them since they aren’t hitting up Denver this tour. They really got much wilder live than I expected, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off the calmly beautiful Anna Fox Rochinski (loving the black/navy/brown combo). Unfortunately, their tour van was just totaled, so if anyone has an extra dollar to help a band finish their tour, it’s more than appreciated by the band and the fans:

http://quiltmusic.org/quiltmusic/HOME.html

Birth of Joy

Birth of Joy


Birth of Joy: Amsterdam’s Birth of Joy played a blistering set that caused me to text a friend I just saw “come back here now!!” When I wrote about their newest single I thought it sounded Doors-esque. Seeing them live did nothing to change that opinion, and that’s a great thing. Entertaining as hell, rowdy, psychedelic fun in nothing but music set without a moment to breathe. Less pomp than the Doors, more down to earth, straight up melt your face rock.

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Got just under two minutes?

Dances

Listen to Dances new single “Rat” today off their debut EP coming out this spring on Black Bell Records. One minute and 41 seconds of reckless, jangly, melodic fury. In their press release it says they are influenced by 60’s psych and 90’s alternative, I didn’t have to read further. Sold. The NY trio will be playing the Sailor Jerry party at SXSW on 3.13, won’t be missing that one.

Natural Child release silky smooth “Out in the Country” single today

naturalchild

With influences like J.J. Cale, Canned Heat and Waylon Jennings, Nashville’s Natural Child create a sound that is a cross of classic country, southern soul R&B and psych rock. Today they released my favorite track off their new album, “Out in the Country”, a smooth as silk song layered with gorgeous swirling guitar lines and delicately funky keys. They just announced a tour with the Black Lips after their SXSW performances, listen to the new song below and check out their tour dates for a show near you. Their new album Dancin’ With Wolves comes out Feb. 25th on Burger Records:

Mon. April 14 – Richmond, VA @ The National *
Tue. April 15 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat *
Thu. April 17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
Fri. April 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
Sat. April 19 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
Mon. April 21 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre *
Tue. April 22 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre *
Thu. April 24 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick *
Fri. April 25 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom *
Sat. April 26 – Chicago, IL @ Logan Square Auditorium *
Sun. April 27 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club *
Mon. April 28 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room *
Tue. April 29 – St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird *
Wed. April 30 – Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room *
Sat. May 3 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia *

* w/ Black Lips

Tweens “Be Mean” is a perfect mix of bratty and sweet

Tweens

Cincinatti’s Tweens got a sweet break when Shake It Records owner Jim Blaze recommended them to Kim Deal of The Breeders as an opening act, and their perfect bratty garage pop sound influenced by Bay Area punks ended up keeping them around for the whole tour. Bridget Battle has a clarity in both her voice and lyrics that makes their music so easy to listen to, and the rough garage production is a nice yin to her Juliana Hatfield-crossed-with-The-Donnas like vocals’ yang. This spring they will be touring with Waxahatchee and Murder City Devils, but I’m most pumped to check them out at SXSW. Listen to “Be Mean” below, love the last little push of awesomeness at the end.

Feb. 03 MOTR Pub – Cincinnati, OH*
Feb. 07 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA^
Feb. 08 Webster Hall New York, NY^
Feb. 09 The Fillmore – Silver Spring, MD^
Mar. 06 The End – Freakin’ Weekend V Nashville, TN
Mar. 07 Savannah Stopover – Savannah, GA
Mar. 10 LogOn Cafe – Beaumont, TX
Mar. 12-15 SXSW – Austin, TX
Mar. 17 Low Key Arts – Hot Springs, AR
Mar. 29-Jun. 1 Nelsonville Music Festival – Nelsonville, OH

* w/ Waxahatchee
^ w/ Murder City Devils

Bands to check out at SXSW p.1

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Since I am a detailed person and a bit of a nut, I enjoy listening to every single band that is being showcased at SXSW before I attend (if you’d like a link to the detailed spreadsheet, follow the blog and I will put up a post when it’s ready close to three weeks prior with calendar). I’ve picked out the best for those that just don’t have the time for this daunting task, and will continue to through the festival, got my flights and vrbo booked, just need new ankle boots. These are my favorite groups out of Group 2 (with Group 1 to come because I accidentally did it backwards).

The Apache Relay- Nashville- Americana folk rock with mano and harp and Edward Sharpeish melodies and singalongs

Black Pistol Fire- Austin- TX rock/garage/blues goodness

Bobby Jealousy- Austin- big, bright happy pop

Brass Bed- Lafayette- reverbed out indie rock

Bully- Nashville- Juliana Hatfield-esque indie rock

Crying Nut- S. Korea- loud, crashing melodic pop punk done right

The Growl- Perth, Australia- sexy garage rock

Hurray for the RiffRaff- New Orleans- gorgeous female vocals, zydeco folk

La Femme- France- plain hot stuff

The Parrots- Spain- garage rock

Quiet Company- Austin- upbeat indie pop

Rey Pila- Mexico City- Scissor Sisters-like disco pop

September Girls- Dublin- grungy but pretty garage pop

So So Glos- Brooklyn- power pop twangy guitar goods

Spires- Brooklyn- jangly psych pop

Streets of Laredo- Brooklyn- fast paced folk rock

Troker- Mexico- funk with some killer organ and horns

Want to see a video of a song about crop circles that should be viral?

Thanks to a wonderful poster at the witty and always-friendly Phish messageboard Phantasy Tour, this video was brought to our attention when the original poster ran into this guy at a recent Railroad Earth show. The musician, Gregg Brown had a cardboard sign that said “youtube: Crop Circle Song”, and when you do exactly that you get this precious treat from the internet. At first it comes off as something you would see on public access; I didn’t know if it was a joke or someone being completely sincere, this repetitive droning sound under lyrics about the meaning of crop circles (aren’t they hoaxes?). I kept listening because the music is trancey and pleasing, and his voice is actually nice and melodious, pleasantly asking “Are they harbingers of world change? These secrets in the fieeeeeeelds”. Eventually I realized I was on my fifth listen in a row and took a break. You tell me. Is this greatness? Is this horrible? Kinda leaning on the former. Whatever it, this man deserves to be seen, and if anyone has more information of him, I would love to hear it. I don’t know what to call this other than “something else”. Get this man to sxsw, this is exactly what people want there:

He definitely read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Crop-Circles-Harbingers-World-Change/dp/0946551898

And buy the single for a dollar here. I have already listened to this five time today, it’s worth the dollar:

http://www.amazon.com/Crop-Circle-Song/dp/B001NG9Y4S

Habibi- “I Got the Moves”

habibi

Brooklyn girl group Habibi‘s new single is a little cloudpuff of a song, the smooth 60’s garagepop sound sweet but not too syrupy. Their name means “my love” in Arabic, and their sound is feminine and sexy. Hope they make it out to SXSW again this year. Listen here: