SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 17
The North Texas ice has got OEB headquarters in lockdown today, which means lots of listening and new band recommendations over the next few days. Today’s extensive highlights, including another triplet of “9”s:
Arthur Beatrice (9) – Orlando Leopard takes influence from new wave and delivers his lyric in a dramatic baritone. Ella Girardot is all pop, looping around catchy hook after catchy hook in a sweet, depth-fueled melody.
Greta Svabo Bech (9) – Bech has the goods – a strong, sultry voice and a real touch for melody that steers clear of the obvious in what could be a set of throwaway pop tracks.
The Belle Game (9) - The mid-tempo, wall-of-harmonies approach will be comforting to any Grizzly Bear fans, an effect that creates an almost psychedelic wave over The Belle Game’s record.
James Bay (8) - Welcome James Bay to the pack, the softest troubadour of the bunch. Mostly armed with just an acoustic guitar, Bay’s approach on his debut EP, The Dark of the Morning, is to let the power of his voice and songs carry the load.
Andrew Belle (8) - It’s interesting - Andrew Belle’s latest LP Black Bear somehow presents the indie pop songwriter at once a dense sonic experimenter and a minimalist soul singer.
The Bambir (6) – Just the idea of combining modern rock elements on top traditional Armenian song forms sounds like a red flag, but The Bambir flip the script by subtly blending disparate influences to an intriguing effect.
The Baseball Project (6) – While it certainly has its novelty, seeing half of R.E.M., Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey (and sometimes Craig Finn) singing songs about baseball isn’t a bad way to pass an afternoon set. Volume 3 is on the way next spring, so look for a new batch of beer-soaked, blues-rock tunes as they run through SXSW next year.
Ballet School (5) – While Ballet School is a new trio from Berlin, this could secretly actually be the band Berlin with their new wave, 80s vibe combined with sugary sweet vocals. Throwback!
Richard Barone (5) - Richard Barone, frontman for the new wave band The Bongos, has been foreshadowing a reunion upcoming for 2014, so don’t be surprised if this set harkens back to Barone’s early 80s catalog.