SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 81:
After a couple days off, we’re back and ready for our biggest posting weekend of the year. Be on the lookout for an onslaught of recommendations over the next few days. Tonight, we have a killer set with three bands above a nine. Highlights:
Miike Snow (10): Miike Snow are not only complex and interesting, they’re also just a ton of fun to see.
The Milk Carton Kids (9): Two singer songwriters armed with acoustic guitars, The Milk Carton Kids have that special touch. It’s so damn tender.
Milo Greene (9): Milo Greene (it’s a band, not a person) combines strong vocal harmonies and a folk-rock mentality into really well crafted pop numbers.
Mike Farris (8): Beyond the blues, Farris has a soft spot for gospel, often using spiritual tracks as the baseboard for Americana and rock and roll.
Mike and the Moonpies (6): This is the kind of bar band you that can surprise. Mike and the Moonpies take traditional Austin country and turn it into an honest and heartfelt sound.
MilkDrive (6): Austin’s MilkDrive is pretty inventive considering how defined the bluegrass genre can be, moving from folk-pop songs to inventive instrumental passages seamlessly.
Miniature Tigers (6): At once blissful and danceable, Miniature Tigers has a really hypnotic sound while still being catchy.
Mirel Wagner (6): Wagner has a really great and distinctive tone, which she rides above minimal and dark acoustic guitar picking. Unfortunately all of her tracks sound strikingly similar, but it is a really engaging sound.
Mind the Gap (5): This indie rock/pop band from Los Angeles has a flair for the dramatic with their electronic-tinged sound.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 80:
The folksters are back at it again in this most recent set. Folk rock is the new black. Highlights:
Matt Corby (9): Corby recalls Jeff Buckley’s ability to connect emotional tones with precise vocal wizardry.
Matt Costa (7): Instead of going for an Americana vibe, Matt Costa’s roots come from California surf rock.
Meiko (7): Super positive, peppy pop music doesn’t normally spark an increased interest in me; however, I cannot deny her carefree, youthful spirit that draws me in, somehow making me listen to many of her songs on repeat until my head hurts.
Matthew Barber (6): Barber has a chameleon-like vocal tone, falling anywhere between Ryan Adams and Lyle Lovett. His music covers a wide range as well – traditional country to indie rock.
Mariah McManus (5): Los Angeles Mariah McManus is like the Taylor Swift of the Hotel Café circuit, a young songstress with a pop-country vibe.
The Mastersons (5): A husband/wife duo from Brooklyn via Texas, The Mastersons have a sentimental sound that is derived from alt country and indie rock forms.
Max Gomez (5): Gomez is a young singer-songwriter from New Mexico who has a simple yet effective approach – dense vocals and an acoustic guitar.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 79:
Around this time last year, we recommended The Civil Wars through our SXSW project and they just took home two Grammy Awards earlier this evening. Who will be in their shoes next year? Highlights:
M. Ward (10): Ward lets his roots ride on his sleeves, incorporating traditional Americana, classical folk and Fifties rock seamlessly into his expansive catalog.
The Lumineers (8): Without any percussion, the band builds energy through aggressive strumming and harmonies.
Lydia Loveless (7): Her music could be described as country punk rock, a rather interesting combination of musical genres.
Madi Diaz (7): Madi Diaz is the definition of indie pop, written with catchy hooks and lyrics filled with depth and soul.
Maren Parusel (5): This San Diego rock band draws from garage pop and even a little alt country for an energetic and driving sound.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 78:
Funk, rock, pop and folk artists receive our nod of approval in this latest set. Highlights:
Luluc (9): The vocalist, Zoe Randell, has a deep, rich, smooth-as-molasses voice that draws you into the beautiful story she sings.
Loquat (7): As much Feist as it is Coldplay, finding this middle ground between arena-ready rock and singer-songwriter territory that is relatively unexplored amongst the SXSW roster.
The Love Language (7): It’s a really mature package – songwriter Stuart McLamb has a real knack for atmospherics, whether through layered harmonies or one-second detours during a post-choruses.
Lowrider (7): The band is loaded with grooving bass lines and danceable rhythms, but they have a nice touch when they slow it down a notch like on “Hold On”.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real (5): If you’re looking to get your Allman Bros on at SXSW, Nelson will fit the bill with blistering guitar jams amid upbeat southern rock.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 76:
The ladies are again representing strong in this particularly strong set. Highlights:
Laura Gibson (9): Comforting and heartbreaking, Laura Gibson’s ultra-tender vocal delivery has as much emotional draw as any SXSW artist.
Little Scream (8): Her debut record, The Golden Record, is an exercise in diversity, experimenting in ambient pop (“The Lamb”) and distorted, industrial rock (“Cannons”).
Longital (8): Since writing about bands like Longital is very new to me, all I can say is that it sounds like sexy, mellow, world techno rock.
Lily & the Parlour Tricks (7): There’s a classic element to the band, from 50’s pop to 60’s psych-rock. It’s good to have roots and Lily & the Parlour Tricks’ go deep.
Lauren Shera (6): Granted, it is a little hard to follow Laura Gibson on the roster, but Shera makes due with her minimal folk sound and strong voice.
Lera Lynn (6): Part boozy barroom rock, part sentimental alt country, Lera Lynn drives a strong lyric with her headstrong delivery.
Le Blorr (5): Short for the “Bastard Lovechild Of Rock and Roll”, Le Blorr is a psychedelic rock band with a pretty diverse sound, from dense soundscapes to some upbeat hooks.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 73:
I cleaned up the spreadsheet a bit today and drew out a set of odds and ends from all four of our reviewers. Here are today’s diverse highlights:
Justin Townes Earle (10): He has a real touch with storytelling, weaving relatable and emotional tales of love, loss and happiness.
Jukebox the Ghost (9): There is such joy that comes off Jukebox the Ghost’s music that it’s hard not to jump out of your seat and flail around like a little kid.
Peter Gregson (8): Some of Gregson’s pieces have no destination, no recurring theme, no melody, or climax—elements we associate with classical music (or music of any kind, for that matter).
Joy Kills Sorrow (6): Joy Kills Sorrow is a Boston-based folk outfit with a strong female vocalist singing over soft, traditional bluegrass instrumentation.
Julia Nunes (6): Nunes has built a significant Youtube following with her inventive cover songs, but she’s a pretty good songwriter as well with a quirky and distinctive voice.
Ear Pwr (5): Ear Pwr is a synthesizer pop duo from the cozy college North Carolina college town of Asheville.
Jonti (5): Jonti produces fuzzy, spacebeat, dream tracks on the experimental endof the spectrum for Stones Throw, a lable best known for hip hop. JDilla RIP.
Junebug Spade (5): Oklahoma City’s Junebug Spade drop heavy blues-based riffs into a psychedelic sludge of pop and rock layers.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 72:
We keep on going with the J’s tonight with our latest SXSW set. Highlights:
Joe Pug (10): Joe Pug oozes honesty. His clever wordplay comes from heartbreak and joy, passion and apathy.
JMSN (7): The Los Angeles artist, born Christian Berishaj, uses downtempo, dubstep and hip hop beats and electronic layering to create dark and sexy grooves.
John Doe (5): Best known from his work with Los Angeles punk band X, John Doe is an acoustic troubadour now with a strong Americana catalog.
Johnny Saito (5): With 2,000+ bands, we’re sure to hear at least one of everything, so Johnny Saito is staking claim of the Japanese bluegrass market. Competitors be warned!
Jon Lindsay (5): Lindsay’s dreamy pop (though not dream pop) has a light an airy vibe while keeping enough bounce as to not fall into sleepy territory.
Jordie Lane (5): Lane is an Australian folkster with a soft and weathered voice accompanied by gentle fingerpicking – pastoral and rootsy vibe.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 71:
Our next set has a slew of highlights including a couple of jazzy additions. Highlights:
Jeff Lofton (10): Jeff Lofton, a talented composer, bandleader and musician from Austin, seems to almost channel Miles Davis, frequently confusing the listener into believing they’re listening to a long lost album from the jazz king himself.
Jill Barber (8): With music so romantically retro and a voice something reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald, Barber’s style definitely takes one back to an earlier time in American musical history.
J. Irvin Dally (7): It isn’t overbearing, but J. Irvin Dally takes some microelements of psychedelic rock and intersperses them throughout his laid back, folk rock tunes.
J.D. McPherson (6): A revival of 50’s rock is on McPherson’s mind, even his recording sound makes him feel like a dusty old record taken off the bottom shelf. Soulful!
Jake Newton (6): Newton’s little pop songs are reminiscent of The Weepies, combining soft and emotional vocals over minimal acoustic guitar chording.
Jennifer Castle (6): Castle is distinguished by her dark, yet airy vocals as she glides above minimal folk instrumentation.
Jesse Malin (6): Malin mixes in grunge rock, garage pop and alt country all with a gritty punk rock attitude. Solid all around artist.
Jacob Atbello (5): Atbello has a pretty engaging voice that rides nicely over his band’s lightly gritty, power pop/rock sound.
Jillian Edwards (5): The light and wispy Jillian Edwards is a pop singer-songwriter with mainstream accessibility.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 70:
Closing out the weekend with another Kevin/Alison duel set. Highlights:
Ingrid Michaelson (7): Michaelson can be considered a mainstream artist at this point, but she’s worth highlighting on the strength of her songwriting and her ability to stay near the edges of the pop music scene.
Ivan & Alyosha (7): Through catchy melodies and beautiful harmonies, Wilson and Carbary toy with the idea between divinity and disbelief, believers and nonbelievers.
Ian Kelly (5): This Canadian singer-songwriter plays pleasant and laid back acoustic rock, focusing around nice little pop songs.
Imagine Dragons (5): Imagine Dragons dabble in electronic pop and mainstream rock with the constant being their emotional vocal delivery.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 68:
We have two reviewers again taking care of this split set featuring three bands that have us pretty excited for Austin. Highlights:
Hey Marseilles (9): Hey Marseilles can draw favorable comparison to The Decemberists, creating traditional sounding songs that maintain a pop sensibility.
Hurray for the Riff Raff (9): Her voice is much like that of Jolie Holland, as she produces truly beautiful, country folk tunes.
Husky (8): In a way, the band sounds like a laid back Local Natives, working in dynamic and pulsing rhythms over an acoustic folk landscape.
Honeyhoney (6): Honeyhoney is a country rock band that falls as much into the pop territory of Sugarland as their rootsy peers like Gillian Welch.
Holcombe Waller (5): This Portland singer-songwriter focuses his songs on his wispy vocal melodies amid minimal folk accompaniment.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 67:
It’s late on a Saturday and the Operation Every Band crew is hard at work with this exciting duel set from Kevin and Alison. Highlights:
The Heavy (9): The band draws from blues-rock that wouldn’t be out of place on a Black Keys record and vocalist Kelvin Swaby adds an engaging James Brown swagger.
Hands (8): Combining the organic and digital side of music is a brave task, which is a sign of the great deal of potential for this young band.
Hands & Teeth (8): Their songs go in all sorts of different directions, from the dark burner “Sound of Hamilton” to the punk energy of “Hunting Season”.
Hans Chew (8): His sound is formed from a mish mash of American culture, creating heartfelt and catchy down home country blues.
Haroula Rose (6): Rose is a Los Angeles folk singer-songwriter with a pleasant sound, nothing too adventurous but a nice listen.
Haim (5): A trio of sisters fronts this Los Angeles-based rock band that deliver energetic and inventive jams that explore the darker sides of rock music.
Hellbound Glory (5): This laid-back country band from Reno has a nice gritty tone, like a bar band you can write home about.
Henry Wagons (5): Another country band, this one from Australia. Henry Wagons emulates Johnny Cash era country with an over-the-top presence.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 20:
Today’s set puts us over the 200 mark as we continue to dig into the third round. Highlights:
Inch Chua (7): Inch Chua seamlessly mixes acoustic pop with electronica into her flirty and beautiful signature sound.
A Classic Education (6): An Italian indie rock band embracing a little post-rock and a nod of pop in a sound that remains strong through their hazy production.
Clock Opera (6): Like an electronic rock and punk infused The National, London’s Clock Opera is carried by soaring and dramatic vocals.
SXSW 2012 Spreadsheet 18:
Operation Every Band’s best half, Alison McStravick, jumps in on the action with our first team set. It’s a doozy too! Highlights:
The Calm Blue Sea (9): Mountains of feedback can envelop their sound, but the heart of The Calm Blue Seas lies in the patient and emotional melodies that ride underneath.
Built to Spill (8): The band draws favorable comparison to Dinosaur Jr. with their Nineties-rooted sound, but Built to Spill tends to go for intricate jammy territory that has yielded a strong live reputation.
BOY (7): “Little Numbers” is one of the catchiest tracks I’ve heard so far through the SXSW project, appropriately opening with handclaps that embody the spirit of BOY’s music.
Brother and Bones (5): London’s Brother and Bones are a folk-based band that jumps between harder and dramatic rock and Mumford-like textured Americana.
Busby Marou (5): an Australian folk duo with a smooth and peaceful sound and mainstream pop-focused songwriting.