SXSW Wrap: The Music, Part 1

Cover of "Tripper"
Cover of Tripper

SXSW music is the best music festival out there, but it’s especially great if you want to catch new bands – either ones who’ve been on your radar or completely new sweetness. Sure, the big names play there too (Metallica & PJ Harvey to name a couple who reared their heads this last week in Austin, TX) but to us, it’s about finding new music, the next White Denim for you to completely flip your lid over.

That’s what drags me into the hot-boxes and sweaty corners of Austin in mid-March every year – that thirst for the true live music experience.

Two Sheds:

OK, I had to start with this one because it hurts the most. I’ve been rocking their debut EP since the kind folks at the Bay Bridged spun their feature podcast last year. Caitlin Gutenberger is simply an amazing songwriter and the songs are exquistely executed – a less pretentious Feist with subtle arrangements would sum them up.

But of course I had to go and miss BOTH of their SXSW performances – d’oh! – but my compadres who were there were suitably blown away. It still stings as I’ll likely never see them perform given I’m rarely in San Francisco. But still – Two Sheds. Ace.

Efterklang

I’d be turned on by SF’s own Gabe Leis about 18 months ago – Efterklang’s “Tripper” is both operatic, experimental and will soothe you like Calpol at the same time. The live show was unexpectedly upbeat but so, so spiky. Not to mention their super-Danish accents and accompanying mustaches. Good show!

Slareffenland

As I’d tweeted at the time, Copenhagen must be the new Belfast. A community centre about 10 blocks north of 6 street was the scene for HomeTapes’ “Friend Island” event – a truly intimate affair and was my first taste of Efterklang tour-mates Slareffenland.

Sweeping songs, brass, an amazing drummer and yes, more moustaches, were Slareffenland. Highlight of the festival by a mile – although what was with that gigantic beer keg/truck with no beer? Clearly, the Danish are big teases too…

More to come tomorrow!

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