SXSW Music Selections :: 1st round

In alphabetical order, I have chosen my first round picks for the SXSW music portion. I know it won’t be possible to see all of these bands plus the many more I will add in the coming weeks.  The complete band list can be viewed here. The genres listed below are fairly broad, but hopefully helpful. I am slowing listening to the 2nd and 3rd round bands and hope to have those up in a few days. Click on the band name to learn more about them. Let me know what you like! Enjoy!

Ambition Halifax Canada (hip-hop)
ANR Miami FL (indie rock)
Antoine Reverb Guadalajara Mexico (indie pop)
Avalanche City Auckland New Zealand (folk)
Balthazar Gent Belgium (alt pop) ***

Big Deal London UK-England (lo-fi)
Big Scary Melbourne Australia (folk rock)

Cloud Nothings – Cleveland OH (indie rock) **
Com Truise – Princeton NJ (electronic) ***

Fat Tony Houston TX (hip hop)

He’s My Brother She’s My Sister Los Angeles CA (folk, western swing) ***
Howler Minneapolis MN (surf rock)

il abanico Bogota COLOMBIA (rock)
Matthew Perryman Jones Nashville TN (singer-songwriter)
Jonquil Oxford UK-ENGLAND (pop rock)
Just A Band Nairobi KENYA  (electro pop)
Marit Larsen Oslo NORWAY (singer-songwriter)
Letting Up Despite Great Faults Los Angeles CA (shoegaze)

Marmalakes Austin TX (folk pop)

Motopony Seattle WA (indie pop)
Mujeres Barcelona SPAIN (garage)

Of Monsters and Men Reykjavík ICELAND (folk)

Parlovr Montreal CANADA (alt rock) ***

Molly Rankin Charlottetown PE (pop)

Rosie and Me Curitiba BRAZIL (folk)
Royal Canoe Winnipeg CANADA (indie pop)

Skewby Memphis TN (hip hop)
Skinny Lister London UK-ENGLAND (folk)

Thee Oh Sees San Francisco CA (garage rock) **

The Wedding Present Brighton UK-ENGLAND (brit pop) ***

**so fun/amazing that I want to see again

***been wanting to see this band live for a while

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Music Monday (SXSW edition): Shigeto

Shigeto

Local artist to: Brooklyn New York

RIYL: Samiyam, Electronic, Jazz

Artists take on pseudonyms for a multitude of reasons, but in Zach Saginaw’s case, those reasons run deeper than most. Zach records under the name Shigeto. It’s his middle name; it’s also his grandfather’s name, a tribute to the Japanese branch of Zach’s family tree. Shigeto also means “to grow bigger”—appropriate, given Zach’s premature birth-weight of less than a pound. Today, Shigeto stands for Zach’s vividly beautiful electronic music. Beat-driven but given to richly textured sound design, rhythmically fractured but melodically sumptuous, Shigeto’s music is a bridge between the past and present, bringing the artist face to face with a creative legacy that spans decades. source
Shigeto played the Ghostly International showcase at Bumbershoot a few months ago and we only caught a little. I hope to see more at SXSW 2012. Check back every Monday for a new band to check out at the next SXSW.

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Music Monday (SXSW edition): Parlovr

Parlovr

Local artist to: Montréal Canada

RIYL: pop rocks in your mouth, tank tops, the color magenta cut with yellow. fun stuffs. just listen.

A cheap Kmart guitar with its guts ripped out, a two-piece drum kit and a keyboard with a mind of its own would all be alone if they weren’t all thrown in the mess that PARLOVR got them in when they stumbled together in the wintry months of 2006. Reacting against the multi-instrumental, many-membered orchestral bands that crowded the local Montreal scene at the time, PARLOVR was started with the intention of blowing amps and streamlining pop melodies, bringing back the power-trio of the 90s with an off-the-wall twist. source
Parlovr is one of my picks for SXSW 2012. Check back every Monday for a new band to check out at the next SXSW.

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Music Monday (SXSW edition): Fenster

Fenster

Local artist to: Berlin Germany

RIYL: Chamber Pop, Miranda Sykes, Sin Fang

Fenster makes de-constructed pop music. Their lyrics are often carefully constructed dream narratives, finding inspiration in the world of ghosts, graveyards. trains, religious imagery, and broken machinery. In their music, they build songs around errors, blending melodic chords with broken beats or minimal percussion. Their instruments range from banjo to synth to inanimate objects, using slamming doors and city soundscapes. source
Fenster is signed to Morr Music, which is one of my favorite labels and they are one of my picks for SXSW 2012. Check back every Monday for a new band to check out at the next SXSW.

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Music Monday (SXSW edition): Motopony

Motopony

Local artist to: Seattle Washington

RIYL: José González, Iron & Wine, indie pop, folk rock, acoustic

Often, the combination of two opposites makes for a harmony previously unknown, a sum greater than its parts. Motopony is the embodiment of this notion – a band built on a bedrock of contrasts and the gorgeous alchemy of seemingly conflicted sounds, and the feelings mapped over them. Guided by soulful machines Daniel Blue and Buddy Ross along with guitarist Brantley Cady and drummer Forrest Mauvais, there is a warm efficiency to the hard-soul/glitch-folk contained on the quartet’s self-titled debut. continued here..

Check back every monday for a new band to check out at SXSW 2012.

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Best Live Shows of 2011

2011 was packed with some amazing shows and great discoveries and one of the best yet! I am looking forward to the music of 2012 and attending new locales. What were your favorite live shows of the year?

10 :: Deadmau5 @ Outside Lands Music Festival – San Francisco CA

9 :: Phosphorescent @ Tractor Tavern – Seattle WA

8 :: Explosions in the Sky @ The Crocodile – Seattle WA

7 :: Head and the Heart @ Capitol Hill Block Party – Seattle WA

6 :: Battles @ Crocodile – Seattle WA

5 :: Grouplove @ Prophet Bar – Dallas TX

4 :: Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy & Admiral Radley) w/ Midlake @ Good Records‘ Record Store Day party – Dallas TX

3 :: Baths @ Lovejoy’s (SXSW) – Austin TX :: video here

2 :: The Seedy Seeds @ High Dive – Seattle WA :: video here

1 :: Beirut @ Outside Lands Music Festival – San Francisco CA

shirtless, sheetless, and…

if you live in new york or connecticut and like good music, then watch this short video. those who can decipher the “subliminal” advertising will be awarded nothing except the chance to see these amazingly entertaining fellows, known as WHY?, live in a nearby city. a few months back the us tour was cancelled due to yoni breaking his hand so here’s hoping yoni and josiah make it back to the northwest soon.

best songs of 2011: part two

here is part two of my top songs of 2011. did you miss part one?

 

grouplove – itchin on a photograph 

2011 has been the ‘year of grouplove.’ as of tomorrow night, i will have seen this band five times live this year so chances are high they will appear on my top live shows list of 2011. they were my top choice to check out at sxsw and since march they have gained so much momentum and have recently played on the letterman show. it was difficult to choose a favorite grouplove song, for i also like tongue tied and lovely cup. funny thing…i’m in the video for lovely cup which was all filmed during sxsw.

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high highs – open season

i am anxiously awaiting for more music from the high highs. currently they have a ‘4-track album’ but last time i checked that was called an ep. anyhoo, a close eye will be on the high highs for the next year.

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the joy formidable – whirring

ritzy bryan’s voice is a combination of innocence and bad-assery…i love this song and am kicking myself for missing the joy formidable live.

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oh land – son of a gun

nanna øland fabricius has an amazing voice and is absolutely gorgeous! oh land is basically a danish version of nelly furtado and kylie minogue combined. she has really good dance moves too for she was a former ballerina.

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sin fang – because of the blood

sindri már sigfússon (of seabear) has been working on his solo project, sin fang, for several years now. the latest release, summer echoes, is absolutely beautiful and a bit more experimental than seabear’s folk sound. i love the simplicity and creativity of sindri’s videos. so lovely!

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Best Songs of 2011: Part One

these lists are often difficult to compile, but this year it was quite easy to find the top songs. some of the artists chosen are old favorites while some bands are discoveries as recent as a month ago. i could probably list 20 or more, but more than ten seems a bit overkill. i love reading other music lists to check out stellar stuff that i might have missed in the last year. largehearted boy does a fantastic job at compiling some of the best end-of-year music lists on the web.

in alphabetical order, these are my choices for best singles of 2011. what are some of your favorites?

astronautalis – contrails (featuring tegan quin of tegan & sara)

astronautalis (aka andy bothwell) is a touring machine and has made an interesting progression with all of his album releases from his electro/rock/spoken word beginnings to his current alt hip-hop sound. i’ve been a fan for years since his days as a resident of north texas (he has since lived in seattle and now local to minneapolis). and can say his fourth full-length album, this is our science, is incredible from start to finish. check him out live if you have the chance. i took some friends to see him at sxsw and they were incredibly impressed.

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bad lamps – never know the difference

this is a catchy song with an interesting video… so interesting that it was all over reddit so naturally the song got some notice. bad lamps are a dude duo with just four songs under their belt, aka the soultronic ep. hopefully they will release more in the near future.

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beirut – santa fe

zach condon continues to pop out amazing albums one after the other. the most recent album, the rip tide, has the same balkan sound we all love about beirut while adding a bit more pop. i’ve been a fan of beirut since 2006’s gulag orkestar and finally got to see zach live for the first time a few months ago. i guess that is what happens when touring is mostly spent overseas and that hiatus when beirut’s future was in question. one of my favorite songs of all time will always be postcards from italy.

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dom – living in america

i don’t know much about dom but i stumbled upon this song somewhere on the interwebs and i like them. a lot. dom reminds me a bit of css.

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the drums – money

i dare you to listen to this track from the drums and tell me you don’t like it. the band’s second album, portamento, was just released a few months ago and already this song is in heavy rotation, especially on kexp. the album is fantastic!

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check back tomorrow for part two!

also coming this month…best music festival, best live shows and best beers list!

Music Monday (SXSW edition): Balthazar

balthazar

local artist to: ghent belgium

riyl: millionaire, the van jets, das pop

balthazar are an alternative pop band, with rock, electro and hiphop influences. they were formed in 2004 in kortrijk-belgium and anticipated their first album with gigs all over europe and a tour in south africa. their debut album “applause” was released march 2010, and both the album as well as their live performances were received with much critical acclaim. source
balthazar is one of my picks for sxsw 2012. check back every monday for a new band to check out at the next sxsw.

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Music Monday: Calhoun

calhoun

local artist to: fort worth, texas

riyl: blind pilot, pete yorn, doug burr, cataldo, alt-folk-rock

calhoun’s music has been described as catchy, irresistible, gorgeous, melodic, sorta poppy, sorta rootsy, sorta rockin’, and, in general, really splendid music. you can call it what you will, but lead singer tim locke says, “we’re just a pop band.” then he laughingly concedes a nod to the root-rock and alt-country influences that others hear in the band’s music. “well, let’s say we’re just a pop band with a pedal steel thrown in occasionally.” source   

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Music Monday: Walls

walls

local artist to: manchester, england & vasto, italy

riyl: four tet, delorean, drum machines, synth!

check out walls opening for battles this wednesday at neptune theatre in seattle.

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declare independence

over the years i have never been a björk fan, especially back in high school when everyone was freaking out about her. i’m guessing it was her obscure sound at the time and everyone was on the verge of breaking out of the cliques to be more unique. i was listening to mostly rock and some punk back in those days. but recently, i have fallen in love with several icelandic bands and artists. so naturally, i am coming full circle and giving björk another listen. i do like her now. go figure.

although, i have always liked it’s oh so quiet:

Music Monday: Cataldo

cataldo

local artist to: seattle washington

riyl: indie folk rock, ben gibbard, hey marseilles, alexander

cataldo is the recording project of eric anderson. an increasingly consistent though persistently shifty group of musician pals joins him live and in the studio. their music is generally of the “indie” variety–meaning pop/rock/folk which hopefully seems like it was composed by a hard worker with a mild taste for adventure. source

          

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Music Monday: The Robot Heart

the robot heart

local artist to: brighton uk

riyl: tunng, low, tim and sam’s tim and the sam band, indie folk

this video makes me want to visit brighton again. such a lovely seaside town!

i just love colorful animated videos.

pretty little song that reminds me of one of my fave bands, tunng.

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