Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas – along with thousands of other music professionals, bands, DJs, bloggers, managers, producers, A&R executives, techies and even the casual music fan- for one of the worlds most important music festivals:
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST (SXSW 2012)
I ended up catching about 40 bands and DJs throughout the week, which included nightly artist showcases and some amazing day parties hosted by the likes of Spotify, Filter Magazine, Fader, Rolling Stone, Spin, Dickies, Hype Machine and even good ol’ Perez Hilton.
When It was all said and done, and the dust had settled and my ears had stopped ringing, I was able to come up with the Top 15 Best NEW Bands I saw @ SXSW 2012! enjoy
Live 105 Music Director
From the venerable independent label Domino Records, home to Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and Animal Collective, comes the third musical alias of one multi-talented British musician Dev Hynes, whom you may also know from previous projects Test Icicles and Lightspeed Champion. Catch the SF live debut of BLOOD ORANGE at Popscene/Rickshaw stop on Thursday, April 12
Actually caught two fantastic performances from Icelandic indie-folk six piece OF MONSTERS AND MEN in Austin last week, and the band triumphantly sold-out the Independent this past Thursday AND will quite possibly return very soon this summer to maybe perform at a very cool radio festival :)
Channeling the spirit of the underground Bristol, England music scene circa 1994, i.e. MASSIVE ATTACK and PORTISHEAD, POLICA actually hail from Minneapolis and are the creators of some incredible haunting, dark and ethereal electronic sounds. Its like trip hop for 2012 and beyond
From the storied French dance music scene, where a band called DAFT PUNK resides, comes an uber-precocious 17-year old producer by the name of Madeon who absolutely DESTROYED The Parrish at SXSW 2012. One of the best parties I attended in fact. Madeon has already done remixes for the likes of YELLE, KILLERS, DEADMAU5 and for fellow Frenchmen MARTIN SOLVEIG
Coincidentally, the very first band I saw this year at SXSW, at the Hype Machine/Syndicate Conflict Of Interest party where I DJed, actually ended up being one of the overall best performances of the entire music festival. OBERHOFER, named after front man Brad Oberhofer, are a kick ass new energetic indie rock 4-piece that musically land somewhere in-between a VAMPIRE WEEKEND and SURFER BLOOD. The band were recently singed to Glassnote records by the same label executive who inked MUMFORD AND SONS, PHOENIX and TEMPER TRAP
Yes, the girl from that Gotye video, but she’s actually been recording her own music for quite sometime now, releasing her debut album in her native country of New Zealand VOWS back in August of 2011 (which went platinum in Australia!) Her spunky live set at the Perez Hilton party was good times for all and she’s poised to blow up big-time in the states. She’s also worked with the Aussie electro-act MIAMI HORROR and prog rockers AS TALL AS LIONS
F*cking SO good live, wow! These Cleveland angular noise-pop-punks sound like if you took my entire 1991-1995 indie rock vinyl collection, through into a blender, and served at a Pitchfork bloggers convention. you MUST see this band live when then return this summer. Oh, and they also just got picked up by local management team Zeitgeist (DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, SHE & HIM, THE HEAD AND THE HEART) and signed to Mom and Pop Records, too (SLEIGH BELLS, ANDREW BIRD, ANIMAL KINGDOM)
One of the best hangout spots at SXSW each year is at the ridiculously cool FADER FORT and this year was no exception and the party where I saw the trippy electronic-psychedelic British group DJANGO DJANGO put on a terrific show. For fans of BETA STATE, THE ENGINEERS, MGMT, FIELD MUSIC, DANDY WARHOLS, SPIRITUALIZED…
The pride and joy of Rohnert Park California took SXSW 2012 by storm! This North Bay hardcore outfit, who reverently pay homage to such punk rock progenitors as MINOR THREAT, 7 SECONDS, UK SUBS and BLACK FLAG, exploded onto the scene a few years ago after being embraced by Bay Area mentors AFI. Their new album ZOO, singed to the incredibly reputable Matador Records (SONIC YOUTH, PAVEMENT, INTERPOL) has restored my faith in punk rock and in fact, has me yearning to break out my old ass Powell-Peralta board and start skating half-pipes once again like I did back in High School
New Australian synthpop kids had all the jaded music industry f*cks freaking out and turned their SXSW showcase into a damn sweaty indie-disco dance party. Just singed in the states to EMI Records by the former head of iTunes who left his Bay Area post last year to do A&R for a traditional record label. I could see GOLD FIELDS touring the states in 2012 with a PASSION PIT or even a HOT CHIP
If you’re in the market for a good ol’ fashioned crush tape anthem to put on your next mixtape then let me suggest the utterly beautiful ‘Medicine’ which you can find on this new UK band’s brand new EP ‘The Wild Youth.’ for fans of FLORENCE + THE MACHINE, BROADCAST, DOE EYE, ST. VINCENT
Label mates with RADIOHEAD and OTHER LIVES, on the TBD Record Label, comes a brand new Bay Area project featuring ex-frontman of the now defunct Oakland band PORT O’BRIEN! WATERS debut album OUT IN THE LIGHT is chalk full of catchy lo-fi melodies and would fit snugly next to your BUILT TO SPILL and BRIGHT EYES cassette tapes… The perfect road trip to Coachella 2012 Soundtrack!
Caught this relatively new experimental-electro-pop Brooklyn concoction opening up for chillwave hero’s WASHED OUT at some random day party in Austin, and despite consuming a bloody mary or three, I was really BLOWN away by their set! Their brand new album ‘Mixed Emotions’ is already one of my faves of 2012, released on the True Panther Independent label (GIRLS, LEMONADE, DELOREAN) and I’m really hoping to bring them to the Bay Area soon so you, too, can see how wonderful they are…
Being the hopeless anglophile that I am I’ve come to us SXSW each year as my own personal British band smorgasbord, since SO many amazing up-and-coming UK acts make the trek across to pond to Texas, and this year was no exception! One of the many new Brit acts I caught was London 5-piece DRY THE RIVER. The oxymoron about this group of blokes is that though they’re covered with tattoos and love American punk rock bands like FUGAZI and NOFX, their music is akin to the likes of folky-faves MUMFORD AND SONS, FLEET FOXES and BAND OF HORSES.
15. FUTURE UNLIMITED
Its like my iPod malfunctioned and took all my old ’80s PET SHOP BOYS and OMD new wave tracks and accidentally merged them with my new electronic DJ playlists. Though this new ambient-synthpop group sound like their either from London or Berlin but they are in-fact from Nashville, Tennessee!