SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 122
One week and change away from the first notes of SXSW Music 2014. So, is it going to warm up anytime soon? Hightlights?
The Felice Brothers (9) - The Felice Brothers look to be ready for some sort of new release, which will be the first since 2011’s Celebration, Florida, sharing some studio photos and adding tour dates to their schedule week by week. For the uninitiated, The Felice Brothers are a mix of alt country and Americana roots, highlighted by their authenticity and whiskey-soaked, barroom vibe.
Terraplane Sun (9) - Terraplane Sun’s EP Friends quietly dropped some the catchiest indie pop tracks of the winter late last year. Gone are the psychedelic rock tones of 2010’s Coyote, replaced by bright piano and synth melodies, upbeat percussion and even a little R&B twist.
The Haden Triplets (7) - It’s doubtful there will be a review of The Haden Triplets that isn’t praising the rich harmonies that dominate their throwback country sound, so no need for me to be the first. It is pretty remarkable on record and surely this is going to kill live.
Woman’s Hour (7) – “Her Ghost” is expectedly creeping, holding back the 80s synth work that was surely tempting, instead relishing in some of the space between the notes. In fact, nothing here is overpowering, both “Her Ghost” and “I Need You” are largely ambient in nature and eschews big choruses for tender, building beauty.
GEMS (6) - GEMS are a dark, electro-pop duo, dream rock for deep into the night. This spaced-out vibe is carried well on GEMS’ 2013 EP, a four-track collection that feels like a singular piece, an ambient pop record full of hypnotizing melodies, as best shown on key track “Medusa”.
Kelis (6) – Former hip hop/pop star Kelis is flipping the script in 2014 with Food, Kelis’ sixth record, but her first as an R&B-soul singer. What a change – the early singles from Food have that horn-heavy, Motown vibe, but there are some nice electronic undertones as well to update Kelis’ rich sound.
Pony Bwoy (6) – Pony Bwoy’s 2013 debut is a really experimental affair, a combination of hip hop, R&B and post pop that is clear to not follow any preconceived conventions. This is one of the darkest hip hop records to spin through this year’s listening and could make for a cerebral and heady set.
Good Graeff (5) – Good Graeff a folk orchestra playing indie pop songs, an eclectic band that uses strings to take care of the drama, while the vocals take care of the hooks. The band sticks mostly to mid-tempo pop, less emotional and breezier than most strings-based folk bands.
Longfellow (5) – Longfellow follows in the dark folk traditions of a band like Midlake, mixing acoustic rock numbers with jangly guitar rock through their debut 2014 singles. It’s a good start and Longfellow drives with emotional punch that will suit folks looking for a softer midnight.
Los Misterios (5) – In what looks to be more of a jam session than a new-band showcase, Los Misterios are headlining Thursday night’s South By San Jose party. Should be a good one – Los Misterios features rock/jazz musicians David Garza, Brady Blades, Charlie Sexton and Brad Hauser.