SXSW Spreadsheet 51 - another monster of a set…5 bands at a “7” or over! Highlights:
Fang Island - an indie pop/rock band from Brooklyn with an interesting sound. Fang Island brings the experimental edge to their music, incorporating etheral harmonies on top of electronic soundscapes while still keeping the framework of a pop song. Fang Island also moves into heavier indie rock territory, with distorted guitars and powerful drumming. The way the cover a whole spectrum of sound in a 3 minute song is truly impressive. Lastly, their music has a joyful and epic feeling, a tough feat with their dense style. Fang Island will be supporting their 2010 self-titled debut LP at SXSW this March.
Fast Romantics - a poppy indie rock band from Calgary. Fast Romantics wear an obvious influence on their sleeve in Elvis Costello. Their lead vocalist incorporates a very similar singing style and tone as Elvis, and the music even has the same upbeat 70s rock vibe that he is so famous for. They do also add an updated sound though, with shimmering guitar lines and some electronic elements added into their music. The band has only released one LP and a recent EP, so it’ll be interesting to see where they take their sound in the future.
Fitz and the Tantrums - soulful indie rock from Los Angeles. Fitz and the Tantrums are an interesting hybrid band, incorporating old school soul, but also veering into heavier indie rock material. It all comes together beautifully creating a groovy yet edgy atmosphere. Singer Michael Fitzpatrick has a great voice, smoothly crooning and howling track by track. They have a large band, featuring a rocking horn section, so I imagine their live show brings some major heat. SXSW needs more bands that make you groove that aren’t behind a set of turntables, so Fitz and the Tantrums would be a welcome addition to any showcase.
Fences - a melancholy indie rock band from Seattle. Fences has a similar vibe to Death Cab for Cutie by combining sad lyrics with driving and upbeat indie rock, yet sometimes moving into more heartfelt acoustic material. They add some electronic flourishes as a nice effect to give their music a little more texture. They’re a good band if you want to dip into your depressive side but still bop your head a little bit.
Final Flash - an indie rock band from Montreal with a spacey folk vibe. You’d be surprised how many bands incorporate a new wave influence moody sound on the SXSW roster, but Final Flash separates themselves by bringing an anthemic energy to their songs. They seem to have an Arcade Fire influence to their music, but there is less instrumentation but still a large sound. In a way, Final Flash have an arena-ready sound, but they keep it restrained to a degree to not come across overly bombastic.
Floating Action - a young folk rock band Black Mountain, NC with some neat songs.
The Fervor - slow folk rock songs with gritty female vocals from Louisville.
Flogging Molly - energetic Irish music combining punk and rock elements with traditional music from Los Angeles.