SXSW 2011 Preview and Picks
We’re cutting it close, I know, but it’s just that time of year. If you’re already down in Austin for SXSW, we’ll see you soon! Devo LT and JudyJams will be running around trying to catch as much music (and as many delicious tacos) as possible. Some of the bands that we are looking forward to:
1. Wooden Birds
Probably one of the best shows that I saw in 2010, The Wooden Birds are an Austin based band containing members of the much loved, now defunct American Analog Set. This is a softer, more sentimental incarnation with Andrew Kenny at the helm. When they played Mercury Lounge in New York in September,they performed highlights from their beautiful debut Magnolia. They previewed some of the songs from their new album, Two Matchsticks, out this June and it sounded fantastic. Can’t wait to see them live in their hometown. They are playing four shows, two of which are free: Sunday 3/13 @ Club DeVille, Found Footage Festival, 8:30 *free show, Thursday 3/17 @ Homeslice, 2:15 *free show, Thursday 3/17 @ Red Eyed Fly, Barsuk Showcase, 10pm, Saturday 3/19 @ The Hilton, KUT performance.
2. James Blake
Having made a rather large splash in the indie-electronica scene over the past year, his position was cemented (and lamented by some) when Pitchfork gave him the thumbs up on his self-titled debut. The album is subtle yet moving on headphones or even stereo; I’m quite curious to see how it will translate live. He is playing three shows at SXSW, the first at Stubbs tomorrow (Wednesday March 16th), the second on Thursday March 17th at Central Presbyterian Church, the third on Friday March 18th at French Legation.
After putting out a few albums here and there, most notably in 2009 on Woodsist, The Fresh and Onlys have made a big impact at the end of last year withPlay It Strange (on In the Red). Their cheerful pop sensibilities recall the 60’s surf rock era, with less edge. It’s been one of my favorites from the last few months. They are all over SXSW this week, so it would be hard to miss them: Wednesday March 16th, Windish Agency Showcase @ 501 Studios, Thursday March 17th, Pitchfork Showcase @ East Side Drive In, Friday March 18th, Dickies/Filter Showcase, Saturday March 19th, Mess With Texas show @ East Side Drive In
Seattle tripped-out hip hop group on the rise. One of the only hip hop acts to be signed to Sub Pop, the group is made up principally of Palaceer Lazaro, a member of Digable Planets, who controls the vibe with his cool, calm, and utterly entrancing lyrical abilities. Combined with a Middle Eastern bounce to the beats, it is not hard to recognize why they have the indie-music world aflutter. They will be playing three times at SXSW: Thursday March 17th, Pitchfork #Offline Festival @ East Side Drive In, Friday March 18th, Gorilla Vs Bear SXSW Day party @ Klub Krucial, Friday March 18th, Sub Pop SXSW Showcase @ Red 7 Patio
5. Wild Flag
A super group of sorts (at least in my mind), seeing Wild Flag was one of my favorite music moments of 2011 so far. Made up of Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein, formerly of Sleater-Kinney (among others), Mary Timony of Helium (and others) and Rebecca Cole of The Minders, they rock very hard in the best possible. These women are such talented musicians, and their powers combined, especially when each of them have such special voices, makes nothing less than magic. Album out sometime this year on Merge. See them if you can! They are playing only one show, on Sunday March 20th at Brofest.
6. Grass Widow
Of the slew of all-girl pop groups that came out in the past year, Grass Widow is one of my favorites. Their debut LP Past Time came out on Kill Rock Stars at the end of the summer, and it was a highlight of my Fall. They are playing about seven shows at SXSW, so if you try, it would be hard to miss them: Wednesday 3.16 1:15pm Beauty Bar w/Ty Segall, Thursday 3/16 6:15pm International Tapes @ Cheer Up Charlie’s, Friday 3.17 4:30PM Night of Rage w/Weird TV, The Carrots, Yellow Fever, more, Thursday 3.17 10:30pm Panache SXSW Showcase w/Thee Oh Sees, Bare Wires, and more Red 7 (Inside Stage), Friday 3.18 3:00PM Other Music Showcase W/!!!, Cults French Legation Museum, Saturday 3.19, Volar Records Party – Nerves Cover Day! Trailer Space w/Hunx & His Punx, Davila 666, Shannon and the Clams, Ratas Del Vaticano, more.
Needless to say, there are so many bands playing that you won’t be disappointed just to stroll around and catch whatever is playing on Red River or 6th Street. Check the Austin Chronicle and Do512.com for a more complete list of events!