SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 42
It’s back to the top of the spreadsheet as I start to dig through the third round of SXSW artists. Tonight is anchored by a duo of arena-minded rock bands and a couple of synth pop acts. Highlights:
American Authors (9) - “Best Day of My Life” was the song that really broke through and it is no surprise – crazy catchy with an appeal to rock, folk, pop and “any” listeners.
Priscilla Ahn (8) - That was then, and now is an Ahn who has turned the spotlight inward, experimenting with off-kilter electronic tones with the dark, new single “Diana”.
Air Review (7) - For a relatively young band, Air Review came off with a mature air, exploring minimal melodies with a surprising pop flair. To find density in simplicity is a challenge many bands face, but Air Review steps up to the challenge with a composer’s ear.
Alpha Rev (7) - At it’s heart, Alpha Rev is a folk rock band, but they’ve turned the switch even further this time around to a sound that is built more for an arena than a campfire.
Lisa Alma (5) – Synth-pop songstress Lisa Alma keeps things pretty minimal on her debut LP and new single “Magic Power”, relying on chill beats, a couple of sonic tricks and a baseline of soft piano melodies. The whole is pretty melancholy, a cradling notion that should make for a hypnotic, but pop-focused set.
Dave Alvin (5) – Former The Blasters and X guitarist Dave Alvin has been steeped in blues and Americana as a solo artist for the past 25 years. His latest, 2011’s Eleven Eleven, has Alvin in full storytelling mode, speak-singing amid a flurry of 12-bar jams.
American Aquarium (5) – American Aquarium’s latest Burn. Flicker. Die. covers a ton of territory – blues, soul, bluegrass, rock, country. It’s just solid through and through, a good sign for an engaging SXSW set.
Keren Ann (5) – Songwriter Keren Ann is representing Israel at SXSW 2014, a diverse artist hat stays mostly in ballad territory, but 2011’s record 101 covers that territory from angles such as folk, orchestral pop and even some synth-pop like on key track “My Name is Trouble” and the experimental countdown of the title track.