My Laundry List
– First shout out goes to the good people at RV Sherpa, an Indiegogo-funded RV co-op campaign that I met totally by chance during SXSW Interactive. Thanks to them, I had a close (2 miles away) and affordable place to stay, along with the benefits of joining a community with a close-knit family feel.
– 8mm: Stumbled on these LA rock locals randomly at a pop-up party series, Spontaneous Speakeasy. Juliette and Sean Beaven played a beautiful acoustic set that kicked off my SXSW music week in an unlikely way: with slow, sultry melodies in a dim bar setting. The perfect remedy for the nonstop buzzing of the outside streets.
– A Tribe Called Red: Introduced to the trio after randomly walking into an all-Canadian-artists showcase. They mixed their tracks sequentially and cut indigenous tribal samples into an eclectic mix of hard-hitting hip hop, electro, and dubstep. Crazy sounds.
– Grand Analog: Canadian-based hip-hop ensemble. Think jazzy hip hop swing with live band instrumentation. MC/frontman Odario Williams proclaimed, “This is real hip hop,” and you know what? I believed every word of it.
– P Morris: The grimiest trap and hip-hop set I’ve heard. Perfect for the dark, dingy halls of the Empire Control Room. Was extra stoked to find out this dude is an LA local. Excited to catch him spin the next time he’s in town.
– Jamie Krasner (James K): Solo female artist who pushes the musical envelope through an experimental use of multi-layered vocals and sound samples. The result? A deep soundscape of seriously haunting melodies and floating, echoed vocals. Made me go “whoa.”
– Ian Isiah: An R&B vocalist with the soulful gusto of Aretha Franklin and the performance presence of Prince. Really loved seeing the genuine smiles of people in the audience while watching Ian perform. One of the most confident performers I’ve seen.
– Claire: My favorite stumbleupons of the SXSW week. Claire is a German synth-pop band with one of the most adorable leading ladies I’ve seen. Ponytail whips, quick and seamless genre switch ups, and spot-on instrumentation defined this performance for me. My absolute favorite performance all week.
– Parade of Lights: Was the perfect band to transition from Claire into The Kooks. LA locals as well, POL describe themselves as an alt-electro band. Their uplifting sound and clear vocals had a smile-inducing quality, perfectly reflective of their sunny SoCal roots. Also, total crush on their keyboardist.
– The Kooks: Not that The Kooks need an introduction, but it was awesome to finally catch these guys live as I’ve been a passing fan since college. Spot on with their sound quality, their energy prompted the first bit of floor flexing (from the crowd jumping) I’d felt in The Parish, an eclectic speakeasy concert hall residing on a second floor. Highlight: Meeting a frenetic female fan from Japan who knew every lyric to every song The Kooks played.
– Waveracer: I kid you not, I ran my ass across ten city blocks to catch Waveracer’s 4:30pm set, only to arrive 30 minutes late. Luckily, the day’s scheduling had been pushed back a bit and I was able to catch a majority of his frantic video game-inspired “future” trap/hip-hop sound. Totally worth the sore feet, and a huge ups to the good people at Nylon x DF for getting us into this show. The laid-back afternoon sets felt like a slice of LA.
– Supreme Cuts: An absolutely sick duo, their insane combination of hard-hitting glitch and soulful vocal samples defies genre and music definitions. Busy as hell on their huge tabletop of equipment (drum pads, MPC’s, etc.), they were just as entertaining to watch as they were to hear.
– Ryan Hemsworth: This set was actually a huge surprise to me. Low and slow was the name of the game with snappy bedroom music thrown in with body-swaying trap tunes. Recalling now that his set prompted this tweet:
– Amtrac: Steady, bouncy drums and a beautifully minimal mix of tech and deep house. Amtrac’s set was the perfect transition from half-step future swing music into an evening of heart-thumping house tunes.
– Tensnake + Cyril Hahn @ HypeMachine Hotel: The decision to see these two play came about on a day that I was running on fumes and could hardly stand up due to pain in my feet. Looking back, I’m incredibly happy that I decided to see them deliver their signature progressive disco/house sets. Both of these sets were headbob inducing and put my brain on a poolside lounge, even within the garage hall warehouse setting of Hype Hotel’s fantastic venue. Best part of Hype’s parties? Open bar and free tacos/burritos. Solid.