SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 89
There’s a thread of emotional, electronic pop in the latest OEB set. Highlights:
RAJ (9) – RAJ’s music lies under a cloak of mystery, musically pairing experimental bass tones and emotional guitar/piano chords for an already heartbreaking tone on latest single “Let Me Love You”. RAJ’s painstaking vocal shares his story with a natural honesty, a necessary counterbalance to the coldness of his music.
RAC (8) - This year we’ve got perhaps RAC’s strongest effort-to-date, Kele/MNDR-assisted “Let Go”. This type of low-key pop music is perfect for an indie-minded crowd that SXSW tends to draw and I imagine RAC will be all-in on originals given the catapulting success recently.
Pure Bathing Culture (7) - Since our last check-in on Pure Bathing Culture, the dreamy Portland pop band released their debut LP, the down-tempo, hazy Moon Tides. The songs on Moon Tides seem to knowingly string together at a consistent pace and aura.
Quiet Kids (7) - “The War” washes out through a circular chorus, ebbing percussion through shoegaze waves. The strongest of the bunch is “Run Along”, a song that replaces those waves with a more precise tone.
Quaker City Night Hawks (6) – Ain’t nothing wrong with some blues-soaked Southern rock and Fort Worth’s Quaker City Night Hawks just plain deliver. Watch out for when the band slows it down into psych rock territory like on the Zeppelin-like “Prize To Find”.
R. Ring (Kelley Deal & Mike Montgomery) (5) - Led by Sonic Youth’s Kelley Deal, R. Ring, a collaboration with Mike Montgomery continues in the band’s alt rock traditions. With more pop and less noise, R. Ring has a weathered feel that is equally dark and inviting.
RAMS’ Pocket Radio (5) – RAMS’ Pocket Radio is a progressive piano-pop artist in the tradition of Ben Folds, but with a bit of an indie rock slant. Beton, RAMS’ 2013 debut LP, is nicely cohesive while dipping into tons of different pop/rock corners to positive-leaning, mixed results.