Operation Every Band

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 131
 
So here’s the deal – we didn’t quite finish in time.  Here at OEB, we aren’t quitters, so the spreadsheet goes on for some post-SXSW recommendations to carry us into our next exciting phase coming very, very soon!  Highlights:
 
Bob Schneider (9) - While there probably isn’t a Bob Schneider metal album in our future (oh, but how there should be), the songs throughout his entire catalog, including 2013’s Burden Proof, seem to draw a consistent punch, even when the pace slows down introspectively.
The Black Cadillacs (7) - Their latest is 2012’s Run, a mix of barn-storming rock and quieter alt country material, a well-rounded representation of this tellingly tight outfit.  While this all sounds like a group of rootsy traditionalists, The Black Cadillacs’ songwriting takes as much from modern and indie rock as the porch-picking of the past.
Born Cages (7) - This is power pop with eight capital Ps - riffs, licks and melodies that should all be delivered with a fist in the air.  While this is noticeably over the top at times, Born Cages is infectious.
The Black Angels (6) – The Black Angels’ latest is Indigo Meadow, a thicker take on blues-rock than previous efforts.  The Austin band has hit just about every SXSW the past five years and it’s nice to see a continued evolution while holding on to those big-riff traditions The Black Angels are known for.
Bob Moses (6) – The production duo of Bob Moses roots their sound in trance beats and melodies, but they are able to transition that into dark pop, new wave songs, towing the line between dance and pop/rock music.  Their originals already have a sound that you would expect out of a remix, skipping the middleman into a solid mix of tracks on 2013’s Far From the Tree EP.
Bonzie (6) – Bonzie shows some strong potential throughout her dark folk debut Rift into the Secret of Things, a haunting record led by the under-twenty singer-songwriter’s introspective and complex vocals.  Be sure to stick around to the end of these tracks – Bonzie has a knack for loading dynamics into those last few seconds.
BettySoo (5) – BettySoo is a SXSW mainstay for the past four years, a sweetly voiced singer-songwriter with a quiet, straightforward nature.  Look for a bit of blues entrenched in BettySoo’s catalog, the place where she shines the brightest.
Bill Kirchen (5) – Rock and blues singer-songwriter Bill Kirchen is primarily highlighted by his guitar talent, steeped heavily in rockabilly traditions.  The veteran local’s 2013 Seeds and Stems holds up in it’s laid back charm, aided by a tenderly delivered Dylan cover.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (5) – Blackie and the Rodeo Kings have been at it a while, throwing back to traditional Americana from the mid-90s to this year’s offering South.  Their sound is laid back and acoustic in nature, an authentic tone that pulls from folk and pop songwriting forms.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 131

 

So here’s the deal – we didn’t quite finish in time.  Here at OEB, we aren’t quitters, so the spreadsheet goes on for some post-SXSW recommendations to carry us into our next exciting phase coming very, very soon!  Highlights:

 

Bob Schneider (9) - While there probably isn’t a Bob Schneider metal album in our future (oh, but how there should be), the songs throughout his entire catalog, including 2013’s Burden Proof, seem to draw a consistent punch, even when the pace slows down introspectively.

The Black Cadillacs (7) - Their latest is 2012’s Run, a mix of barn-storming rock and quieter alt country material, a well-rounded representation of this tellingly tight outfit.  While this all sounds like a group of rootsy traditionalists, The Black Cadillacs’ songwriting takes as much from modern and indie rock as the porch-picking of the past.

Born Cages (7) - This is power pop with eight capital Ps - riffs, licks and melodies that should all be delivered with a fist in the air.  While this is noticeably over the top at times, Born Cages is infectious.

The Black Angels (6) – The Black Angels’ latest is Indigo Meadow, a thicker take on blues-rock than previous efforts.  The Austin band has hit just about every SXSW the past five years and it’s nice to see a continued evolution while holding on to those big-riff traditions The Black Angels are known for.

Bob Moses (6) – The production duo of Bob Moses roots their sound in trance beats and melodies, but they are able to transition that into dark pop, new wave songs, towing the line between dance and pop/rock music.  Their originals already have a sound that you would expect out of a remix, skipping the middleman into a solid mix of tracks on 2013’s Far From the Tree EP.

Bonzie (6) – Bonzie shows some strong potential throughout her dark folk debut Rift into the Secret of Things, a haunting record led by the under-twenty singer-songwriter’s introspective and complex vocals.  Be sure to stick around to the end of these tracks – Bonzie has a knack for loading dynamics into those last few seconds.

BettySoo (5) – BettySoo is a SXSW mainstay for the past four years, a sweetly voiced singer-songwriter with a quiet, straightforward nature.  Look for a bit of blues entrenched in BettySoo’s catalog, the place where she shines the brightest.

Bill Kirchen (5) – Rock and blues singer-songwriter Bill Kirchen is primarily highlighted by his guitar talent, steeped heavily in rockabilly traditions.  The veteran local’s 2013 Seeds and Stems holds up in it’s laid back charm, aided by a tenderly delivered Dylan cover.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (5) – Blackie and the Rodeo Kings have been at it a while, throwing back to traditional Americana from the mid-90s to this year’s offering South.  Their sound is laid back and acoustic in nature, an authentic tone that pulls from folk and pop songwriting forms.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 129

It’s definitely a ‘rock’ set this Friday afternoon.  Two more days until Team OEB heads to Austin, get pumped!  Highlights:

The Beaches (8) - There are only a couple of singles to off of right now (“Little Pieces” and “Loner”), both of which feature multiple sections that break out of A-B-A norms.  It’s this deeper look into what rock/pop is that makes The Beaches stand out, even more impressive that most of them still have yet to finish high school.
BESTiE (8) - The tropicalia nature of a track like “Pineapple” somehow remains authentic even though BESTiE, in its purest sense, is so far away from those Caribbean roots.  BESTiE is catchy, but far from overbearing.
Bad Things (7) - Bad Things are coming out the gate with a huge sound, understanding the power of a hook-perfect chorus and modern rock drive.  It’s the bridging of radio-friendly pop-rock and more inventive tones that make Bad Things stand out, especially coming from a debut.
The 1975 (6) – Upbeat, electronic rock groovers The 1975 had a huge 2013, so expect big crowds who’ve become enamored with the band’s hooky pop music.  It’s a huge sound, so the growth in popularity really fits the mold of the band’s punching anthems.
Avid Dancer (6) – Avid Dancer’s premiere single is “Stop Playing With My Heart”, a spacey and airy ballad that is splendidly crafted with a hazy, jangled tone.  The way the track plays with ebbs and swells of rhythm is promising – looking forward to hearing more from this brand-new artist.
Bad Veins (6) – Cincinnati’s Bad Veins spelled out an interesting mix on their debut LP The Mess We’ve Made, opting for a combo of moody rock, electronic pop tones and liberal use of a string section.  It’s a bright sound overall – the type of modern rock that would fit well on Top 40 radio.
The Baptist Generals (6) – While it seems like The Baptist Generals are primed to end up as a rollicking garage rock band, the Denton-based unit instead pares back into experimental, acoustic/electric song structures.  Jackleg Devotional to the Heart, The Baptist Generals’ 2013 LP, is a patient, diverse collection of songs that are wholly introspective and sonically detailed.
Bend Sinister (6) – Bend Sinister sound is fairly fun and upbeat throughout 2012’s Small Fame, an organ-heavy indie rock record full of bright vocal theatrics.  There’s a bit of funk that takes hold in Bend Sinister’s jam-friendly format, one thing that’ll surely pop in their live sets.
8prn (5) – Canadian producer 8prn set an experimental, down-tempo tone with his music, chopping voice variations in the complex rhythms and manic melodies.  8prn’s ability to keep all of this contained is quite a feat, rarely overwhelming any sense.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 129


It’s definitely a ‘rock’ set this Friday afternoon. Two more days until Team OEB heads to Austin, get pumped! Highlights:


The Beaches (8) - There are only a couple of singles to off of right now (“Little Pieces” and “Loner”), both of which feature multiple sections that break out of A-B-A norms. It’s this deeper look into what rock/pop is that makes The Beaches stand out, even more impressive that most of them still have yet to finish high school.

BESTiE (8) - The tropicalia nature of a track like “Pineapple” somehow remains authentic even though BESTiE, in its purest sense, is so far away from those Caribbean roots. BESTiE is catchy, but far from overbearing.

Bad Things (7) - Bad Things are coming out the gate with a huge sound, understanding the power of a hook-perfect chorus and modern rock drive. It’s the bridging of radio-friendly pop-rock and more inventive tones that make Bad Things stand out, especially coming from a debut.

The 1975 (6) – Upbeat, electronic rock groovers The 1975 had a huge 2013, so expect big crowds who’ve become enamored with the band’s hooky pop music. It’s a huge sound, so the growth in popularity really fits the mold of the band’s punching anthems.

Avid Dancer (6) – Avid Dancer’s premiere single is “Stop Playing With My Heart”, a spacey and airy ballad that is splendidly crafted with a hazy, jangled tone. The way the track plays with ebbs and swells of rhythm is promising – looking forward to hearing more from this brand-new artist.

Bad Veins (6) – Cincinnati’s Bad Veins spelled out an interesting mix on their debut LP The Mess We’ve Made, opting for a combo of moody rock, electronic pop tones and liberal use of a string section. It’s a bright sound overall – the type of modern rock that would fit well on Top 40 radio.

The Baptist Generals (6) – While it seems like The Baptist Generals are primed to end up as a rollicking garage rock band, the Denton-based unit instead pares back into experimental, acoustic/electric song structures. Jackleg Devotional to the Heart, The Baptist Generals’ 2013 LP, is a patient, diverse collection of songs that are wholly introspective and sonically detailed.

Bend Sinister (6) – Bend Sinister sound is fairly fun and upbeat throughout 2012’s Small Fame, an organ-heavy indie rock record full of bright vocal theatrics. There’s a bit of funk that takes hold in Bend Sinister’s jam-friendly format, one thing that’ll surely pop in their live sets.

8prn (5) – Canadian producer 8prn set an experimental, down-tempo tone with his music, chopping voice variations in the complex rhythms and manic melodies. 8prn’s ability to keep all of this contained is quite a feat, rarely overwhelming any sense.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 126

So closes the alphabet for this long round - back to “A” tonight!  Highlights:

Young the Giant (8) - 2014’s Mind Over Matter is an exiting follow-up where the maturity and cohesion that has been established through relentless touring combines with a real sharp mind for treading the line of accessibility and depth.
The Young Folk (7) - There’s a strong orchestral folk influence that rode through 2011’s EP, but it’s the tight, Laurel Canyon rock tone that is set with “Way Home” that suddenly makes The Young Folk artists to keep a close eye on in 2014.
You Me & Apollo (6) – You Me & Apollo have an incredibly diverse sound, denying categorizations that envelop their whole catalog.  Lots of alt country, some experimental rock, Americana punk and breezy pop songs – that’s a bit of a start.  And this is just across an EP (titled “The EP”), a lead-in to a 2014, crowd-sourced full-length.
Zeds Dead (6) – Producer/DJ duo Zeds Dead is a bridge in a way, finding middle ground between in-your-face, American dubstep and the softer, patient nature of the form’s European roots.  There’s a good deal of output to work with here and it’s interesting how diverse Zeds Dead is able to get digging into soulful, sampled streams of the once-limiting genre.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 126


So closes the alphabet for this long round - back to “A” tonight! Highlights:


Young the Giant (8) - 2014’s Mind Over Matter is an exiting follow-up where the maturity and cohesion that has been established through relentless touring combines with a real sharp mind for treading the line of accessibility and depth.

The Young Folk (7) - There’s a strong orchestral folk influence that rode through 2011’s EP, but it’s the tight, Laurel Canyon rock tone that is set with “Way Home” that suddenly makes The Young Folk artists to keep a close eye on in 2014.

You Me & Apollo (6) – You Me & Apollo have an incredibly diverse sound, denying categorizations that envelop their whole catalog. Lots of alt country, some experimental rock, Americana punk and breezy pop songs – that’s a bit of a start. And this is just across an EP (titled “The EP”), a lead-in to a 2014, crowd-sourced full-length.

Zeds Dead (6) – Producer/DJ duo Zeds Dead is a bridge in a way, finding middle ground between in-your-face, American dubstep and the softer, patient nature of the form’s European roots. There’s a good deal of output to work with here and it’s interesting how diverse Zeds Dead is able to get digging into soulful, sampled streams of the once-limiting genre.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 125

In addition to expected fare of dense rock and folk majesty, today’s set includes a rare punk rock highlight with the emotionally heavy, Irish band Wounds.  Highlights:

Yellow Ostrich (9) - It’s amazing how patient Yellow Ostrich have gotten over the years, minimally building these track with more indie rock/pop power and instrumental soul than a vast majority of their SXSW peers this year.  The pace here is surprisingly slow and moody, a nice direction for a band that sounds like the musical equivalent of ‘growing up’ on Cosmos.
Withered Hand (8) - Horseshoe is led by the title-track, a continuation of the emotional, lyrical focus that resides in Withered Hand, but a noticeably cleaner sound, embracing the brightness of pop song-forms for the first time really.  This is downright joyful!
The Wood Brothers (8) - Their music is actually more inspired by the past than trying to recreate it, finding pop-leaning melodies that fit seamlessly into The Wood Brothers’ focus on harmonious focus on precise instrumentation.
Wounds (7) - Wounds debut is somber, angry and highly personal.  A punk rock record for sure, but that expected wall of energy is augmented by the cries of a band who has been in the lowest possible places imaginable.
Wiretree (6) – While Wiretree’s sound draws inspiration from 60s and 70s rock and roll, it’s their attention to detail that updates Wiretree’s music to today’s era.  There’s a basis of acoustic rock here, but look for Wiretree’s understated haze hanging over the whole of their latest Get Up.
Yellerkin (6) – Yellerkin taken on the softer, hazier sides of indie rock music on their debut EP, a folk-rock-infused sound that breaks down songs into distinct territories.  Check out the synth pop tones of “Leave Me Be” for a completely different spin on this same base sound.  It’s nice to see Yellerkin have such a horizontal battle plan on this eclectic introduction.
Yamantaka//Sonic Titan (5) – Yamantaka//Sonic Titan dropped their sophomore record UZU last year and there are a ton of unexpected pop forms that fall squarely in the experimental category.  These moments are worth a patience listen into the duo’s feedback-laden, post rock territory – the deeper sounds clearly pay the best dividends on this latest record.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 125


In addition to expected fare of dense rock and folk majesty, today’s set includes a rare punk rock highlight with the emotionally heavy, Irish band Wounds. Highlights:


Yellow Ostrich (9) - It’s amazing how patient Yellow Ostrich have gotten over the years, minimally building these track with more indie rock/pop power and instrumental soul than a vast majority of their SXSW peers this year. The pace here is surprisingly slow and moody, a nice direction for a band that sounds like the musical equivalent of ‘growing up’ on Cosmos.

Withered Hand (8) - Horseshoe is led by the title-track, a continuation of the emotional, lyrical focus that resides in Withered Hand, but a noticeably cleaner sound, embracing the brightness of pop song-forms for the first time really. This is downright joyful!

The Wood Brothers (8) - Their music is actually more inspired by the past than trying to recreate it, finding pop-leaning melodies that fit seamlessly into The Wood Brothers’ focus on harmonious focus on precise instrumentation.

Wounds (7) - Wounds debut is somber, angry and highly personal. A punk rock record for sure, but that expected wall of energy is augmented by the cries of a band who has been in the lowest possible places imaginable.

Wiretree (6) – While Wiretree’s sound draws inspiration from 60s and 70s rock and roll, it’s their attention to detail that updates Wiretree’s music to today’s era. There’s a basis of acoustic rock here, but look for Wiretree’s understated haze hanging over the whole of their latest Get Up.

Yellerkin (6) – Yellerkin taken on the softer, hazier sides of indie rock music on their debut EP, a folk-rock-infused sound that breaks down songs into distinct territories. Check out the synth pop tones of “Leave Me Be” for a completely different spin on this same base sound. It’s nice to see Yellerkin have such a horizontal battle plan on this eclectic introduction.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan (5) – Yamantaka//Sonic Titan dropped their sophomore record UZU last year and there are a ton of unexpected pop forms that fall squarely in the experimental category. These moments are worth a patience listen into the duo’s feedback-laden, post rock territory – the deeper sounds clearly pay the best dividends on this latest record.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 124

Countdown to SXSW Music: 7 days.  Highlights:

Chromeo (9) - For the veteran electro-funk duo (She’s In Control is a decade old now), the time is ripe for their disco and R&B-infused electronic funk.  The lead singles from the album, due this May, are sparkling slices of pop and are set to draw even more fans to their established sound.
Wheeler Brothers (7) - In short, Wheeler Brothers fit right in with the folk rock champions of the Americana revival the last few years.  While these songs draw from deep roots and traditions, the clean and precise production on the record makes them stand out as great pop tunes as well.
Wild Cub (7) - The marquee single for Wild Cub this year and last is “Thunder Clatter”, an excellently dense effort that works on pretty much all levels.  The jangled guitar lines, muffled organic and electronic percussion and open-arm vocal melodies – all pitched right down the middle.
Whiskey Folk Ramblers (6) – Luckily, Whiskey Folk Ramblers take care of their key descriptors right there in the their band name.  It’s authentic and soulful, best shown on 2013’s Western-influenced The Lonesome Underground.
Wick-it The Instigator (6) –  Wick-it, a producer and remix artist, has a nice way of enhancing tracks melodically rather than just finding a place to throw in a dance beat.  His diverse Soundcloud is worth a lengthy visit the hear Wick-it’s inventive flips from Timberlake and Jay-Z to a wild filter of Johnny Cash in a relatively tasteful recreation.
The Wild Feathers (6) – The Wild Feathers are a continuously solid folk rock band, making their 3rd consecutive trip to SXSW towing along their pop-Americana roots.  The band’s self-titled debut is slickly produced, mixing in Southern rock tendencies with twists of accessible pop-rock.
Wildflowers (6) – Wildflowers’ best attribute are those full harmonies, overlaid over a mix of bluegrass-rooted country and pop-rock themes.  It’s a wide range, but Wildflowers come across as forthright in either genre, singing and playing with purpose, energy and precision.
The Wet Secrets (5) – The Wet Secrets’ have shared a lone track, the bright, indie rock anthem “Sunshine”.  The Canadian band lives under a light layer of haze, smartly understating the sharp beams of pop hooks.  Update: The Wet Secrets released a full-length on their Bandcamp page – check out the rollicking Free Candy.
Whiskey Myers (5) – Whiskey Myers falls in a place between pop country and Southern rock, a polished mix highlighted by ripping guitar solos and red-dirt grit.  Their latest is Early Morning Shakes, a solid collection of accessible country to counterbalance the sugary nature of modern country radio.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 124


Countdown to SXSW Music: 7 days. Highlights:


Chromeo (9) - For the veteran electro-funk duo (She’s In Control is a decade old now), the time is ripe for their disco and R&B-infused electronic funk. The lead singles from the album, due this May, are sparkling slices of pop and are set to draw even more fans to their established sound.

Wheeler Brothers (7) - In short, Wheeler Brothers fit right in with the folk rock champions of the Americana revival the last few years. While these songs draw from deep roots and traditions, the clean and precise production on the record makes them stand out as great pop tunes as well.

Wild Cub (7) - The marquee single for Wild Cub this year and last is “Thunder Clatter”, an excellently dense effort that works on pretty much all levels. The jangled guitar lines, muffled organic and electronic percussion and open-arm vocal melodies – all pitched right down the middle.

Whiskey Folk Ramblers (6) – Luckily, Whiskey Folk Ramblers take care of their key descriptors right there in the their band name. It’s authentic and soulful, best shown on 2013’s Western-influenced The Lonesome Underground.

Wick-it The Instigator (6) – Wick-it, a producer and remix artist, has a nice way of enhancing tracks melodically rather than just finding a place to throw in a dance beat. His diverse Soundcloud is worth a lengthy visit the hear Wick-it’s inventive flips from Timberlake and Jay-Z to a wild filter of Johnny Cash in a relatively tasteful recreation.

The Wild Feathers (6) – The Wild Feathers are a continuously solid folk rock band, making their 3rd consecutive trip to SXSW towing along their pop-Americana roots. The band’s self-titled debut is slickly produced, mixing in Southern rock tendencies with twists of accessible pop-rock.

Wildflowers (6) – Wildflowers’ best attribute are those full harmonies, overlaid over a mix of bluegrass-rooted country and pop-rock themes. It’s a wide range, but Wildflowers come across as forthright in either genre, singing and playing with purpose, energy and precision.

The Wet Secrets (5) – The Wet Secrets’ have shared a lone track, the bright, indie rock anthem “Sunshine”. The Canadian band lives under a light layer of haze, smartly understating the sharp beams of pop hooks. Update: The Wet Secrets released a full-length on their Bandcamp page – check out the rollicking Free Candy.

Whiskey Myers (5) – Whiskey Myers falls in a place between pop country and Southern rock, a polished mix highlighted by ripping guitar solos and red-dirt grit. Their latest is Early Morning Shakes, a solid collection of accessible country to counterbalance the sugary nature of modern country radio.

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.

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.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 121

A quick one for y’all.  Highlights:

Cousin Marnie (7) - Accompanied by warbling, bass percussion, “Baby” build into a down-tempo monster, masterfully manipulating the sound only to overlay with a gospel-tinged vocal.  Pretty sick stuff and it’s hopefully the direction Cousin Marnie pushes towards in the future.
D.D Dumbo (6) – D.D Dumbo’s early singles are more experimental than pop or rock, using an Eastern-influenced guitar and vocal line over a basis of Americana blues.  Dumbo’s approach has the upmost patience, using few layers to get his point across through his rich vocals.
Cloud Nothings (5) – Cloud Nothings are set to release their anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed Attack on Memory next month, but a few previews tracks have already set a tone for what to expect.  Here and Nowhere Else is looking to be a continuation of Cloud Nothings’ bridge between noise rock and garage pop, produced with a precise, yet humble intonation.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 121


A quick one for y’all. Highlights:


Cousin Marnie (7) - Accompanied by warbling, bass percussion, “Baby” build into a down-tempo monster, masterfully manipulating the sound only to overlay with a gospel-tinged vocal. Pretty sick stuff and it’s hopefully the direction Cousin Marnie pushes towards in the future.

D.D Dumbo (6) – D.D Dumbo’s early singles are more experimental than pop or rock, using an Eastern-influenced guitar and vocal line over a basis of Americana blues. Dumbo’s approach has the upmost patience, using few layers to get his point across through his rich vocals.

Cloud Nothings (5) – Cloud Nothings are set to release their anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed Attack on Memory next month, but a few previews tracks have already set a tone for what to expect. Here and Nowhere Else is looking to be a continuation of Cloud Nothings’ bridge between noise rock and garage pop, produced with a precise, yet humble intonation.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 119

I have a mixed set this morning with four key artists/bands, ranging from folk to rock to electronic.  Highlights:

The Barr Brothers (9) - Right now, all we have is a few studio pics put up over the last month, but hopefully The Barr Brothers are prepping for a 2014 follow-up to their excellent 2011 self-titled debut.  The record has since been a staple in my collection since – it’s hard to match the honest, folk majesty that envelops the album.  Here’s to something new this year.
4e (8) - LA production duo 4e display a unique sound on their set of introductory singles, dark trance mixed with splices of funk and R&B.  Their songs really ride that middle ground between dance pop and cavernous electro-soul, not falling too far off the median peak.
Bear’s Den (7) – The electric side really works for Bear’s Den and the combination of big-against-small rounds out what has turned into something bigger and more detailed than anything before 2013.  I’ve picked out “Sahara” for a different view into Bear’s Den.  In what is perhaps their most experimental song, Bear’s Den also creates their most beautiful tone yet.
Bob Mould (7) - Sugar and Husker Du frontman Bob Mould is taking the stage solo at SXSW this year, backed by an alternative rock sound that is right in line with Mould’s earlier material.  Power pop disguised within feedback-driven licks and hooks, Mould has become a master craftsman that has not lost a beat with 2012’s Silver Age.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 119


I have a mixed set this morning with four key artists/bands, ranging from folk to rock to electronic. Highlights:


The Barr Brothers (9) - Right now, all we have is a few studio pics put up over the last month, but hopefully The Barr Brothers are prepping for a 2014 follow-up to their excellent 2011 self-titled debut. The record has since been a staple in my collection since – it’s hard to match the honest, folk majesty that envelops the album. Here’s to something new this year.

4e (8) - LA production duo 4e display a unique sound on their set of introductory singles, dark trance mixed with splices of funk and R&B. Their songs really ride that middle ground between dance pop and cavernous electro-soul, not falling too far off the median peak.

Bear’s Den (7) – The electric side really works for Bear’s Den and the combination of big-against-small rounds out what has turned into something bigger and more detailed than anything before 2013. I’ve picked out “Sahara” for a different view into Bear’s Den. In what is perhaps their most experimental song, Bear’s Den also creates their most beautiful tone yet.

Bob Mould (7) - Sugar and Husker Du frontman Bob Mould is taking the stage solo at SXSW this year, backed by an alternative rock sound that is right in line with Mould’s earlier material. Power pop disguised within feedback-driven licks and hooks, Mould has become a master craftsman that has not lost a beat with 2012’s Silver Age.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 116

I was treated to an excellent Saturday morning set through number 116 and am happy to share along recommendations both well-known and under the radar.  Highlights:

Against Me! (9) - The music is based around punching power pop, but this is a storyteller’s album, lyrically heavy and wildly personal.  Laura Jane Grace has emerged a confident, bare artist from her transgender chapters the last few years and it’s impressive how that is able to be translated to music without any loss of bite or pop-rock sensibility.
The Hold Steady (9) - The Hold Steady’s ambition to make a “big rock record” is good news, proven with one the slickest power-tracks in the band’s catalog, “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You”.  “Spinners” is more classic in nature for The Hold Steady, a nice balance to what should be an especially exciting showcase this year.
Eagulls (8) - Not quite punk, not quite new wave, but definitely finding influence from artists within that range, Eagulls have a way of putting together thick instrumentation and magnetized reverb in a way that sound wildly natural.  This is psychedelic rock devoid of any trippiness, instead taking it into something that is sharp, grated and seamless.
Story of a Running Wolf (8) – Story of a Running Wolf’s marquee single “Stratospheric” is a really simple notion, introducing overlaying synth melodies and percussion that are all individually in a tight pocket.  Like a musical feng shui, Story of a Running Wolf puts all of these 80s-inspired, bedroom keyboard lines in exactly the right place.
Cardiknox (6) – Electro-pop duo Cardiknox’s introductory singles are synthy treats, thickening the sonic stew with guitar lines and 80s pop electronics.  These are tight, little indie pop numbers, but it’s the breaks and bridges that step things up a notch.
Deap Vally (6) – Deap Vally’s form of rock and roll is ultra-thick, every note erupting with intensity.  These licks are based in blues, but there’s more Sonic Youth here than BB King.  The female duo’s debut Sistrionix is just pure power.
Desperate Sound System (6) – Did you know that Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey from Pulp are spinning a SXSW showcase this year?  Desperate Sound System is their moniker and unfortunately there isn’t much information about what kind of records they plan on pulling out.  Cocker is in town to speak on songwriting on Wednesday afternoon at the Convention Center.
Los Encantados (5) – Los Encantados proves a wide range across 2012’s EP collection The Same Damned Soul, shifting from patient acoustic ballads to jangled indie rock across nine tracks.  They really break above a breezy, mid-tempo attitude, a good, relaxing set for a SXSW afternoon.
Albert Hammond, Jr. (5) – The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. dropped a new EP last year, AHJ, a showcase of a noticeably smaller sound, infusing some synth work into his guitar-led songwriting.  This pocket-sized music feels purposeful, a chance to get a little more introspective than Hammond’s day job.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 116


I was treated to an excellent Saturday morning set through number 116 and am happy to share along recommendations both well-known and under the radar. Highlights:


Against Me! (9) - The music is based around punching power pop, but this is a storyteller’s album, lyrically heavy and wildly personal. Laura Jane Grace has emerged a confident, bare artist from her transgender chapters the last few years and it’s impressive how that is able to be translated to music without any loss of bite or pop-rock sensibility.

The Hold Steady (9) - The Hold Steady’s ambition to make a “big rock record” is good news, proven with one the slickest power-tracks in the band’s catalog, “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You”. “Spinners” is more classic in nature for The Hold Steady, a nice balance to what should be an especially exciting showcase this year.

Eagulls (8) - Not quite punk, not quite new wave, but definitely finding influence from artists within that range, Eagulls have a way of putting together thick instrumentation and magnetized reverb in a way that sound wildly natural. This is psychedelic rock devoid of any trippiness, instead taking it into something that is sharp, grated and seamless.

Story of a Running Wolf (8) – Story of a Running Wolf’s marquee single “Stratospheric” is a really simple notion, introducing overlaying synth melodies and percussion that are all individually in a tight pocket. Like a musical feng shui, Story of a Running Wolf puts all of these 80s-inspired, bedroom keyboard lines in exactly the right place.

Cardiknox (6) – Electro-pop duo Cardiknox’s introductory singles are synthy treats, thickening the sonic stew with guitar lines and 80s pop electronics. These are tight, little indie pop numbers, but it’s the breaks and bridges that step things up a notch.

Deap Vally (6) – Deap Vally’s form of rock and roll is ultra-thick, every note erupting with intensity. These licks are based in blues, but there’s more Sonic Youth here than BB King. The female duo’s debut Sistrionix is just pure power.

Desperate Sound System (6) – Did you know that Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey from Pulp are spinning a SXSW showcase this year? Desperate Sound System is their moniker and unfortunately there isn’t much information about what kind of records they plan on pulling out. Cocker is in town to speak on songwriting on Wednesday afternoon at the Convention Center.

Los Encantados (5) – Los Encantados proves a wide range across 2012’s EP collection The Same Damned Soul, shifting from patient acoustic ballads to jangled indie rock across nine tracks. They really break above a breezy, mid-tempo attitude, a good, relaxing set for a SXSW afternoon.

Albert Hammond, Jr. (5) – The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. dropped a new EP last year, AHJ, a showcase of a noticeably smaller sound, infusing some synth work into his guitar-led songwriting. This pocket-sized music feels purposeful, a chance to get a little more introspective than Hammond’s day job.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 115

It’s a big night at OEB HQ this Friday evening, putting the finishing touches on our printed OEB SXSW 2014 Grids.  Hope y’all enjoy!  Highlights:

Willie Nelson (10) - Pairs Well With…Everything.
Tokyo Police Club (9) - Forcefield is previewed by the electronic rock/power pop meld of “Tunnel Vision” and the dreamy-upbeat hopscotcher “Hot Tonight”.  The noticeable element here is how much more polished and pop-centric these tracks are compared to Tokyo Police Club’s earlier records, incredibly solid efforts in their own right.
Ikonika (8) - Inhabiting the spaces between dance, trance and lounge, Ikonika takes a patient approach to her productions and mixes.  While she is lauded for dubstep contributions, there’s as much pure pop and synthy melodies to make Ikonika feel like both a contemporary and throwback artist, a hard feat to pull off so consistently.
Imagine Dragons (8) - Personally, I was sold with that Grammy’s performance with Kendrick Lamar, so I’ve opened up a bit after being bludgeoned with Imagine Dragons over the past year or so.  That aside, there is some forward-thinking elements in Imagine Dragons’ percussive-heavy, modern pop sound that is relatively unique, bridging the gap between hard and soft in a seesawing fashion.
Young Summer (8) - Young Summer’s Fever Dream EP is an eclectic introduction, focused around ambient indie pop along with majestic, dramatic melodies that ride right along her crawling rhythms.  The highlights here are “Waves That Rolled You Under”, a soft-pop, R&B joint that is like an indie Sade and the pulsing pop-rock groove of the EP’s title track.
Oh Honey (7) - Oh Honey sounds like beams of sunshine, brightly pulling in a folk rock tone into full-on pop craziness.  That joyful, communal sound is so addictive, nailing harmonies and melodies all over the place.
Greylag (6) – Greylag’s 2012 EP is damn solid for a debut, seven slices of Americana, twisting in folk and rock amongst some sweet vocal melodies too.  Greylag has a debut LP coming out soon that is worth keeping an eye out for given the band’s accessible roots.
The Wind and the Wave (6) – The Wind and the Wave are an emerging blues rock band with a fresh, honest sound on their debut single “Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise ‘em High”.  There’s an airiness to The Wind and the Wave’s music, a surprising turn on rocking riffs.
Hudson (5) – Hudson dual singles “Golden Lights” and “Time Off” have an amalgam of influences that converge into a unique mix.  Modern rock, indie pop and even a little folk make their way in for an expectedly busy, but ambitious musical salutation.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 115


It’s a big night at OEB HQ this Friday evening, putting the finishing touches on our printed OEB SXSW 2014 Grids. Hope y’all enjoy! Highlights:


Willie Nelson (10) - Pairs Well With…Everything.

Tokyo Police Club (9) - Forcefield is previewed by the electronic rock/power pop meld of “Tunnel Vision” and the dreamy-upbeat hopscotcher “Hot Tonight”. The noticeable element here is how much more polished and pop-centric these tracks are compared to Tokyo Police Club’s earlier records, incredibly solid efforts in their own right.

Ikonika (8) - Inhabiting the spaces between dance, trance and lounge, Ikonika takes a patient approach to her productions and mixes. While she is lauded for dubstep contributions, there’s as much pure pop and synthy melodies to make Ikonika feel like both a contemporary and throwback artist, a hard feat to pull off so consistently.

Imagine Dragons (8) - Personally, I was sold with that Grammy’s performance with Kendrick Lamar, so I’ve opened up a bit after being bludgeoned with Imagine Dragons over the past year or so. That aside, there is some forward-thinking elements in Imagine Dragons’ percussive-heavy, modern pop sound that is relatively unique, bridging the gap between hard and soft in a seesawing fashion.

Young Summer (8) - Young Summer’s Fever Dream EP is an eclectic introduction, focused around ambient indie pop along with majestic, dramatic melodies that ride right along her crawling rhythms. The highlights here are “Waves That Rolled You Under”, a soft-pop, R&B joint that is like an indie Sade and the pulsing pop-rock groove of the EP’s title track.

Oh Honey (7) - Oh Honey sounds like beams of sunshine, brightly pulling in a folk rock tone into full-on pop craziness. That joyful, communal sound is so addictive, nailing harmonies and melodies all over the place.

Greylag (6) – Greylag’s 2012 EP is damn solid for a debut, seven slices of Americana, twisting in folk and rock amongst some sweet vocal melodies too. Greylag has a debut LP coming out soon that is worth keeping an eye out for given the band’s accessible roots.

The Wind and the Wave (6) – The Wind and the Wave are an emerging blues rock band with a fresh, honest sound on their debut single “Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise ‘em High”. There’s an airiness to The Wind and the Wave’s music, a surprising turn on rocking riffs.

Hudson (5) – Hudson dual singles “Golden Lights” and “Time Off” have an amalgam of influences that converge into a unique mix. Modern rock, indie pop and even a little folk make their way in for an expectedly busy, but ambitious musical salutation.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 113

You may notice the sets being all over the place in the next couple days as we pick and choose gaps to ensure our SXSW OEB Grids are in tip top shape for assembly this weekend.  Excited!  Highlights:

Coldplay (10) - This emerging British band really has a keen sound going for them.  I hope they make it - SXSW could be just the springboard they need to finally launch into the mainstream.
BANKS (8) – She’s an easy call for ‘buzzy SXSW artist’ in a couple weeks and it’s worth taking some time to fawn over her hypnotic, emotional tone.  This is a genre that has suddenly erupted with artists and is a big part of pop music this year – the darkness is setting in for sure.
Caught A Ghost (8) - This is an interesting mix – soul rock twisted with experimental indie pop.  Caught A Ghost sound wholly unique, one of the toughest designations in the scope of OEB’s mission.
girl pilot (Sahara Smith) (8) - Austin singer-songwriter Sahara Smith is in the midst of a transformation, now going by girl pilot with a follow up to 2010’s country-folk rock debut Myth of the Heart due this year.  There’s little to go off at this point, but this stripped down take on new song “Ocean Creatures” is five minutes well spent, showing a more introspective and emotional performer – the last minute or so gets pretty wild.
Addison Groove (5) – Dubstep comes correct in Addison Groove, a producer/DJ with strong dance elements but also a willingness to experiment both with rhythm and inventive sampling.
Basic Vacation (5) – Basic Vacation’s 2013 debut EP is a mix of modern rock and super-upbeat pop, highly optimistic and brightly produced.  There are feelings of empowerment that don’t quit through these twenty minutes, rarely pulling back past 10.
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis (5) – Two Americana artists joining forces is an easy mix, one that Robison and Willis create with the upmost comfortability.  This is easy listening for the bluegrass or country crowd and the duo will be repping their hometown of Austin with loose precision at SXSW again this year.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 113


You may notice the sets being all over the place in the next couple days as we pick and choose gaps to ensure our SXSW OEB Grids are in tip top shape for assembly this weekend. Excited! Highlights:


Coldplay (10) - This emerging British band really has a keen sound going for them. I hope they make it - SXSW could be just the springboard they need to finally launch into the mainstream.

BANKS (8) – She’s an easy call for ‘buzzy SXSW artist’ in a couple weeks and it’s worth taking some time to fawn over her hypnotic, emotional tone. This is a genre that has suddenly erupted with artists and is a big part of pop music this year – the darkness is setting in for sure.

Caught A Ghost (8) - This is an interesting mix – soul rock twisted with experimental indie pop. Caught A Ghost sound wholly unique, one of the toughest designations in the scope of OEB’s mission.

girl pilot (Sahara Smith) (8) - Austin singer-songwriter Sahara Smith is in the midst of a transformation, now going by girl pilot with a follow up to 2010’s country-folk rock debut Myth of the Heart due this year. There’s little to go off at this point, but this stripped down take on new song “Ocean Creatures” is five minutes well spent, showing a more introspective and emotional performer – the last minute or so gets pretty wild.

Addison Groove (5) – Dubstep comes correct in Addison Groove, a producer/DJ with strong dance elements but also a willingness to experiment both with rhythm and inventive sampling.

Basic Vacation (5) – Basic Vacation’s 2013 debut EP is a mix of modern rock and super-upbeat pop, highly optimistic and brightly produced. There are feelings of empowerment that don’t quit through these twenty minutes, rarely pulling back past 10.

Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis (5) – Two Americana artists joining forces is an easy mix, one that Robison and Willis create with the upmost comfortability. This is easy listening for the bluegrass or country crowd and the duo will be repping their hometown of Austin with loose precision at SXSW again this year.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 112

Today’s top SXSW recommendations come with a little more experience then most, all supporting acclaimed sophomore records this year.  Highlights:

Warpaint (9) - I still have a soft spot for the dark, layered melodies of Warpaint’s earlier material, but they’ve flipped the script by the time we get to 2013’s self-titled record, replacing the melodic haze with precision and even includes some hypnotic, electronic pop moments.
Washed Out (8) - Washed Out is a meld of experimental melodies, then put together in an aesthetic both entrancing and pretty.  A listen through Paracosm shows an even more introverted artist, swimming in a haze of sound rather than forcing in the least.
Weekend (7) - These are less songs than they are grooves, whether they be ambient electro pop or thick, alt rock drones.  The further out Weekend get, the better they sound, twisting new wave melodies into spaced-out wonderment.
Waylayers (6) – Electronic rock trio Waylayers take a Coldplay-like sound, but mix in some light club beats to drive their emotional, rock sound forward.  There’s definitely some ambition here, so Waylayers could totally take off further on stage than on record.
We Are the City (5) – Experimental pop band We Are the City eschew any rules in their song structures, melodies and complex percussion elements.  In fact, they are as much as jazz band as a rock one, challenging the listener to open up wide to connect to the off-kilter 2013 record Violent.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 112


Today’s top SXSW recommendations come with a little more experience then most, all supporting acclaimed sophomore records this year. Highlights:


Warpaint (9) - I still have a soft spot for the dark, layered melodies of Warpaint’s earlier material, but they’ve flipped the script by the time we get to 2013’s self-titled record, replacing the melodic haze with precision and even includes some hypnotic, electronic pop moments.

Washed Out (8) - Washed Out is a meld of experimental melodies, then put together in an aesthetic both entrancing and pretty. A listen through Paracosm shows an even more introverted artist, swimming in a haze of sound rather than forcing in the least.

Weekend (7) - These are less songs than they are grooves, whether they be ambient electro pop or thick, alt rock drones. The further out Weekend get, the better they sound, twisting new wave melodies into spaced-out wonderment.

Waylayers (6) – Electronic rock trio Waylayers take a Coldplay-like sound, but mix in some light club beats to drive their emotional, rock sound forward. There’s definitely some ambition here, so Waylayers could totally take off further on stage than on record.

We Are the City (5) – Experimental pop band We Are the City eschew any rules in their song structures, melodies and complex percussion elements. In fact, they are as much as jazz band as a rock one, challenging the listener to open up wide to connect to the off-kilter 2013 record Violent.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 110

Five bands jumped above the surface for some top recommendations this evening.  Highlights:

Wanda Jackson (8) - Wanda Jackson fills in the “legend” category at SXSW, having been a mainstay on country circuit since the mid-Fifties.  If Jackson is a little bit country, she’s a whole lot of rock and roll.
Vikesh Kapoor (7) - Vikesh Kapoor debuted last year with a folk-ballad concept album, following the story of the struggling workingman in a specific, yet timeless tale.  This level of historical reflection is where it is suited best with Vikesh Kapoor – armed with the light strum or fingerpicking of an acoustic guitar and an emotionally rich voice.
Vintage Trouble (7) - While the band spends much of the time right in the pocket, it’s hard to argue these guys have gotten really, really good at what they do.  Latest single “Gracefully” is a great example – slowing it down lets the band’s soul shine even more.
Vinyl Thief (7) - Vinyl Thief has found a solid electronic rock sound on their debut EP Stop Motion, a mix of fresh pop anthems and melancholic tomes.  The former is where they sound best, highlighted by piano-assisted, marquee single “Smooth”.
Walker Lukens & The Side Arms (7) - Lukens’ 2013 LP Devoted goes back and forth amongst soul, rock and experimental pop.  There’s a ton of influences here, contemporary and classic, a solid mix for the Austin-based artist.
von Grey (6) – Though folk-based, von Grey is definitely a pop band, employing melodies and inflections are more urban party than rural farm.  There are some modern rock elements in the female quartet’s music too, a sure twist on the traditions of the genre.
Wakey!Wakey! (6) – Wakey!Wakey! has turned up the electronic rock tone his latest EP Irresistible, a pop-centered record that is pretty extroverted compared to his pulsing debut.  It’s an interesting change in direction towards a full-length due sometime this year.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 110


Five bands jumped above the surface for some top recommendations this evening. Highlights:


Wanda Jackson (8) - Wanda Jackson fills in the “legend” category at SXSW, having been a mainstay on country circuit since the mid-Fifties. If Jackson is a little bit country, she’s a whole lot of rock and roll.

Vikesh Kapoor (7) - Vikesh Kapoor debuted last year with a folk-ballad concept album, following the story of the struggling workingman in a specific, yet timeless tale. This level of historical reflection is where it is suited best with Vikesh Kapoor – armed with the light strum or fingerpicking of an acoustic guitar and an emotionally rich voice.

Vintage Trouble (7) - While the band spends much of the time right in the pocket, it’s hard to argue these guys have gotten really, really good at what they do. Latest single “Gracefully” is a great example – slowing it down lets the band’s soul shine even more.

Vinyl Thief (7) - Vinyl Thief has found a solid electronic rock sound on their debut EP Stop Motion, a mix of fresh pop anthems and melancholic tomes. The former is where they sound best, highlighted by piano-assisted, marquee single “Smooth”.

Walker Lukens & The Side Arms (7) - Lukens’ 2013 LP Devoted goes back and forth amongst soul, rock and experimental pop. There’s a ton of influences here, contemporary and classic, a solid mix for the Austin-based artist.

von Grey (6) – Though folk-based, von Grey is definitely a pop band, employing melodies and inflections are more urban party than rural farm. There are some modern rock elements in the female quartet’s music too, a sure twist on the traditions of the genre.

Wakey!Wakey! (6) – Wakey!Wakey! has turned up the electronic rock tone his latest EP Irresistible, a pop-centered record that is pretty extroverted compared to his pulsing debut. It’s an interesting change in direction towards a full-length due sometime this year.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 109

This afternoon’s set has an electronic pop slant, featuring some of the best in this fruitful genre in 2014.  Highlights:

Until the Ribbon Breaks (9) - There’s still some beautiful pop hooks here (spot the chorus of “2025”, the creeping, hip hop-infused verse of “Perspective”), but Until the Ribbon plays with vocal manipulation (“Romeo”), Trap beats and even an emotional ballad (“Back To The Stars”).  The diversity is key for an introductory EP, but Until the Ribbon Break truly comes across as comfortable, bringing styles to them instead of the other way around.
Vancouver Sleep Clinic (8) - Dual singles “Vapour” and “Collapse” are highly atmospheric, using soft electronic tones and a striking falsetto to form these minimal songs.  In the right environment, Vancouver Sleep Clinic could really make an impact, so hopefully his subtly comes across well in a couple weeks at SXSW.
Vic and Gab (7) - Vic and Gab are sisters, a telling note when their voices and instruments join in harmony.  The whole comes together as a complete package, cementing Vic and Gab’s surf pop style with an adding mixture of surprising emotional awareness.
Vertical Scratchers (6) – One thing that is easy to appreciate is how Vertical Scratchers get right to point.  This new guitar-drum duo mostly eschews blues-rock for punchy pop-rock songs that rarely break the two-minute mark.  There’s some punk and slow jams on their exciting 2014 debut, an open-arms, wide range.
The Ugly Beats (5) - A staple of SXSW, Austin’s The Ugly Beats have a 60s rock nature to their sound, filtered through a lo fi, psychedelic lens.  These guys are just solid through and through, nailing down to power pop melodies amongst their throwback structures.
Via Audio (5) – There haven’t been any tracks released from Via Audio’s upcoming LP Natural Language, but the band has built up a track record of rock, electronic-based and even some folk numbers.  This eclectic nature should translate to a complete SXSW full of new Via Audio songs.
Victory (5) – Victory is an eclectic blues-pop singer-songwriter who combines minimal songwriting with feedback-fueled guitar licks.  This combo of pop and blues is best when Victory turns the dial up as high as it can go, bringing a freight train of blues hooks throughout his ten-track catalog.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 109


This afternoon’s set has an electronic pop slant, featuring some of the best in this fruitful genre in 2014. Highlights:


Until the Ribbon Breaks (9) - There’s still some beautiful pop hooks here (spot the chorus of “2025”, the creeping, hip hop-infused verse of “Perspective”), but Until the Ribbon plays with vocal manipulation (“Romeo”), Trap beats and even an emotional ballad (“Back To The Stars”). The diversity is key for an introductory EP, but Until the Ribbon Break truly comes across as comfortable, bringing styles to them instead of the other way around.

Vancouver Sleep Clinic (8) - Dual singles “Vapour” and “Collapse” are highly atmospheric, using soft electronic tones and a striking falsetto to form these minimal songs. In the right environment, Vancouver Sleep Clinic could really make an impact, so hopefully his subtly comes across well in a couple weeks at SXSW.

Vic and Gab (7) - Vic and Gab are sisters, a telling note when their voices and instruments join in harmony. The whole comes together as a complete package, cementing Vic and Gab’s surf pop style with an adding mixture of surprising emotional awareness.

Vertical Scratchers (6) – One thing that is easy to appreciate is how Vertical Scratchers get right to point. This new guitar-drum duo mostly eschews blues-rock for punchy pop-rock songs that rarely break the two-minute mark. There’s some punk and slow jams on their exciting 2014 debut, an open-arms, wide range.

The Ugly Beats (5) - A staple of SXSW, Austin’s The Ugly Beats have a 60s rock nature to their sound, filtered through a lo fi, psychedelic lens. These guys are just solid through and through, nailing down to power pop melodies amongst their throwback structures.

Via Audio (5) – There haven’t been any tracks released from Via Audio’s upcoming LP Natural Language, but the band has built up a track record of rock, electronic-based and even some folk numbers. This eclectic nature should translate to a complete SXSW full of new Via Audio songs.

Victory (5) – Victory is an eclectic blues-pop singer-songwriter who combines minimal songwriting with feedback-fueled guitar licks. This combo of pop and blues is best when Victory turns the dial up as high as it can go, bringing a freight train of blues hooks throughout his ten-track catalog.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 108

Tonight’s (1st) set is full of surprises including a couple of exciting artists that are relatively little known and something called TWRK that I actually really enjoyed!  Highlights:

Tei Shi (9) - This isn’t just some knob-turning experimentation; rather Tei Shi has creating a diverse mix of detailed, exciting and gorgeous pop songs.  Mostly devoid of percussion, the beats Tei Shi does wrap into the mix become that much more powerful, even getting emotion out of the low end.
Twinsmith (8) – Dense rock newcomers Twinsmith have a really familiar sound on their eponymous debut and follow-up single “Honestly”, nicely interplaying guitar lines and percussion for a really well rounded and engaging listen.  There’s some throwback to 90s alt rock for sure, but the patient nature that Twinsmith employs takes them far out of radio power pop.
TWRK (7) - TWRK is Benzi and eSenTRIK, two artists taking on the most fun corners of hip hop, mixing recognition and nostalgia with forward-thinking rhythms and a mix of their signature melody play.  This shit’s got energy, breaks upon breaks and a creeping style, back-and-forth in a conversation tone.
Tomas Barfod (6) – Tomas Barfod shuffles the line between accessibility and experimentation, able to shift unexpectedly between the two. Berfod is best when paired with a vocalist, letting a pop melody be a foundation for him to subtly play with the space around the center.
 Two Cow Garage (6) – Gritty Ohio rockers Two Cow Garage return to SXSW with their mix of emotional alt country and driving power pop.  The range should make a strong live set from this veteran outfit, delivering the goods in a variety of genres.
Thief (5) – Thief is an electronic R&B artists form Australia, employing a soulful croon along light beats and a generally spacey vibe.  The single “Closer” is the standout of the bunch, mixing a scurrying synth melody with processed horns for a nice little pop tune.
Turboweekend (5) – Danish electronic rock band Turboweekend mostly plays it right down the middle, mixing rock and dance beats into a dramatic, new wave-inspired sound.  They are set to release their fourth record this year, so expect a tight set from this now-veteran outfit.

SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 108


Tonight’s (1st) set is full of surprises including a couple of exciting artists that are relatively little known and something called TWRK that I actually really enjoyed! Highlights:


Tei Shi (9) - This isn’t just some knob-turning experimentation; rather Tei Shi has creating a diverse mix of detailed, exciting and gorgeous pop songs. Mostly devoid of percussion, the beats Tei Shi does wrap into the mix become that much more powerful, even getting emotion out of the low end.

Twinsmith (8) – Dense rock newcomers Twinsmith have a really familiar sound on their eponymous debut and follow-up single “Honestly”, nicely interplaying guitar lines and percussion for a really well rounded and engaging listen. There’s some throwback to 90s alt rock for sure, but the patient nature that Twinsmith employs takes them far out of radio power pop.

TWRK (7) - TWRK is Benzi and eSenTRIK, two artists taking on the most fun corners of hip hop, mixing recognition and nostalgia with forward-thinking rhythms and a mix of their signature melody play. This shit’s got energy, breaks upon breaks and a creeping style, back-and-forth in a conversation tone.

Tomas Barfod (6) – Tomas Barfod shuffles the line between accessibility and experimentation, able to shift unexpectedly between the two. Berfod is best when paired with a vocalist, letting a pop melody be a foundation for him to subtly play with the space around the center.

Two Cow Garage (6) – Gritty Ohio rockers Two Cow Garage return to SXSW with their mix of emotional alt country and driving power pop. The range should make a strong live set from this veteran outfit, delivering the goods in a variety of genres.

Thief (5) – Thief is an electronic R&B artists form Australia, employing a soulful croon along light beats and a generally spacey vibe. The single “Closer” is the standout of the bunch, mixing a scurrying synth melody with processed horns for a nice little pop tune.

Turboweekend (5) – Danish electronic rock band Turboweekend mostly plays it right down the middle, mixing rock and dance beats into a dramatic, new wave-inspired sound. They are set to release their fourth record this year, so expect a tight set from this now-veteran outfit.