While I cannot be in Austin this year, NTSIB friend Joy is, and she has graciously agreed to be a roving reporter. Below is her first dispatch. If you want to follow her adventures live, you may do so on Twitter and Instagram.
This year, I am pleased to be NTSIB’s correspondent-at-large in Austin. It’s my first South By Southwest, and I have thrown myself directly into the deep end. Swim along with me here on the blog, with live updates on Twitter!
Since SXSW can be an impenetrably overwhelming mess of day parties, showcases, special sessions, and free shows, I’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff according to my own personal preferences. In reverse order, here are my most-anticipated acts of 2014.
7. Deap Vally
They’re loud. They’re crass. They’re women. And they crochet. This Los Angeles duo has found success in the UK and is on the verge of making it big in America. NTSIB friend Geordie McElroy describes them as “two-thirds of a girl gang” who should be “basically every teen girl’s role models”, and I am inclined to agree. Enjoy a sample of their balls-to-the-wall sound with “Hobo Playa”, off their single End of the World.
Deap Vally plays South By Southwest:
Mar 14, 11pm @ Old School at Trinity Hall
6. Wye Oak
If you have ever listened to this Baltimore duo’s music and thought, “Where is the driving bass line?”, they seem to have read your mind. Their upcoming release, Shriek (out 4/29), will see guitarist Jenn Wazner switching exclusively to electric bass and the band’s music shifting accordingly. Until we hear the results, let’s tide ourselves over on the standout track of their 2011 release, Civilian.
Wye Oak plays South By Southwest:
Mar 12, 4pm @ Hype Hotel
Mar 13, 10am @ Four Seasons
Mar 13, 11:45pm @ The Parish
Mar 14, 12pm @ Mellow Johnny’s
Mar 14, 4pm @ The Blackheart
Mar 15, TBA @ Red 7
5. mr. Gnome
Another duo, this time from Cleveland, mr. Gnome has long been a NTSIB favorite. Their music, at times a frantic rush of paranoia while at others a sweet hymn to the void, should be heard rather than described. They are also hard at work at a still-secretive fourth album, due later this year. As a retrospective, here is a live session featuring songs from their previous releases.
mr. Gnome will play South By Southwest:
Mar 10, 7pm @ Clive Bar [FREE SHOW]
Mar 12, 3pm @ Cheer Up Charlie’s [FREE SHOW]
Mar 12, 11:30pm @ Javelina’s
Mar 13, 7pm @ Rowdy Saloon
Mar 14, 5:45pm @ The Tiniest Bar in Texas
Jessica Lea Mayfield, the darling of Kent, Ohio (as well as an act NTSIB has been following since her first release), is preparing to drop her fourth record: Make My Head Sing … (4/15). Over the course of her career, this young guitarist’s tone has shifted from gorgeous minimalist folk to country-influenced dance pop to grunge-inspired noise rock. A sincere, down-to-earth performer, she says she calls her dog on the phone every day of tour — just to chat. Here she is performing “Our Hearts Are Wrong”, from 2011’s Tell Me.
Jessica Lea Mayfield plays South By Southwest:
Mar 12, 2:50pm @ Weather Up Bar
Mar 12, 5pm @ Cheer Up Charlie’s [FREE SHOW]
Mar 13, 12am @ Lambert’s
3. Kan Wakan
If you follow any of my social media presences, you have probably noticed that I am quickly becoming a Kan Wakan superfan. This up-and-coming Los Angeles band creates lush music that is like fancy dessert for the ears. Kristianne Bautista’s voice is incredibly, effortlessly deep and rich; her backing band provides intricately orchestrated but not overpowering accompaniment. Watch them play “Forever Found”, off their EP of the same name, and wait for their first full-length to arrive this spring.
Kan Wakan plays South By Southwest:
Mar 12, 1:55pm @ Red 7
Mar 12, 5:40pm @ Palm Park
Mar 13, 12:30pm @ Palm Door on 6th
Mar 13, 11pm @ Lambert’s
Mar 15, 10am @ Brazos Hall
Mar 15, 2:30pm @ Cedar St Courtyard
Paleotrees wouldn’t be Paleotrees — and wouldn’t have met NTSIB — without these guys. This famously raucous five-piece ensemble from Upstate New York has undergone several lineup changes and numerous shifts in musical direction over their career, but they have never lost their freewheeling charm. They do what they want, and we just come along for the ride. Here they play a song off their compilation God Bless You, Amigo.
The Felice Brothers play South By Southwest:
Mar 11, 9:45pm @ Cedar St Courtyard
Mar 13, 12:30pm @ Weather Up
Mar 13, 10:50pm @ Mohawk
Mar 14, 4pm @ The Gatsby
They will also participate in Willie Nelson’s Heartbreaker Banquet, during but apart from SXSW, on March 13 at Willie’s private ranch. (Set time: 3:30PM)
1. Doe Paoro
Doe Paoro, from Brooklyn, is a force to behold. The woman has a compelling, engaging stage presence and a positively terrific voice. Justin Vernon apparently agrees with me about her latent star power, since he sings on her upcoming release Ink On The Walls. Recorded this winter in Vernon’s studio and produced by S.Carey, the album will drop this April; “Walking Backwards”, below, is its lead single .
Doe Paoro plays South By Southwest:
Mar 12, 8:30pm @ Banger’s
Mar 12, 10:15pm @ Holy Mountain
Mar 13, 2pm @ Do512 Lounge
… and I am honored to be part of her crew for some if not all of these shows.
So, Austin: stop by when you can, and I hope to see you there!
– Joy @ Paleotrees
[A version of this list also appears on paleotrees.tumblr.com.]