In which our intrepid reporter finds out SXSW really is as exhausting as everyone says it is, but rallies to attend more shows.
By day three, I had personally confirmed what we’ve all been told: SXSW kicks your ass. I managed to drag myself downtown before noon only by promising myself a cup of coffee at Mellow Johnny’s, where Wye Oak was playing a 12pm set.
The band was already playing as I bought my coffee, but I couldn’t tell if they were playing an old song or a new one. Like mr. Gnome, Wye Oak hasn’t changed their sound very much between albums #3 and #4. Jenn Wasner has switched from electric guitar to electric bass, and Andy Stack has added an electronic drum-pad to his kit, but at SXSW they were quite recognizably the same band. Wasner even managed to make her bass sound light and silvery at times, which was the most unexpected thing to jump out at me from their performance.
Ultimately this is unsurprising, considering the lyric-based character of Wye Oak’s previous records. Now as before, listeners should expect to make the music into a contemplative experience in order to really … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
Rainy Day Saints
Kicking off the show around 10:30 p.m. (contrary to the 8 p.m. start time listed on the Grog Shop website. Though I’m getting to the point where I actually like the Grog Shop, their concept of time continues to mystify me) was local opener Rainy Day Saints. Playing straight-ahead, classic Cleveland-style rock with a modern influence, the band suffered from a muddy sound mix in which Marianne Friend’s saxophone and harmony vocals all but disappeared, and it was difficult to tell if any of the songs were good or not. Still, the band seemed to enjoy themselves, so there’s that.
While the Wye Oak recordings I have heard have been a little mellow for me, the word around the internet was that skeptics should catch the Baltimore duo live before locking in an opinion, and this advice proved … Continue reading