Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 148
I’ve got a stacked set this evening, especially for this late in the SXSW game. A pop/rock blend dominates the top spots – highlights:
Lucius (10) - A mix of jangling indie rock, R&B and rambling pop, Lucius’ two-headed vocal attack owned the room that night. Their coordinated attire matched the tight, professional presence that is Lucius, a live sound that translated beautifully into their 2013 full-length Wildewoman.
Lucinda Williams (10) - A remastered edition of Lucinda Williams self-titled debut, celebrating 25 years of recorded history, recently found release, a nice time to take a bird’s eye view across her expansive catalog. For anyone new to Lucinda Williams, prepare to be awed by her unique and gritty take on the genre, unapologetically rocking out against back-porch folk and country, still fresh on Williams’ latest full-length, 2011’s Blessed.
Mahaut Mondino (7) - An intricately crafted pop-centric song, “Voodoo Me” uses bubbling bass beats and optimistic synth chords with sharp accuracy and a hint of electronic embellishment. On it’s own, “Voodoo Me” might seem like a run-of-the-mill pop R&B single, but a dig into some of Mondino’s collaborations and soundtrack work reveal a well-rounded artist ready to burst.
Mark McGuire (7) - McGuire’s music isn’t for a distracted ear, demanding a close listen among ambient waves to pull apart the storytelling arc throughout Along the Way. Synths, guitars and electronic sounds from the unknown drive the dramatic energy of tracks that are complete front-to-back.
Marmalakes (6) - Austin’s Marmalakes continues to jump off on record with 2013 single “Wells”, a presentation of down-turned power pop, slightly tilted breaths of indie rock groove. The melancholic manner in which Marmalakes approaches a normally punching genre gives them something unique, an adventure to keep an eye on for the future.
Marrow (6) - When the excellent Kids These Days disbanded about a year back, rapper Vic Mensa has since grappled the spotlight, deservedly so. Much of the rest of Kids These Days went on to form Marrow, whose single “She Chose You” and accompanying track “Mothers of Maladies” layer swirls of guitars and keyboard melodies with creative zeal and zest.
Major Major Major (5) - For a garage pop duo, Austin’s Major Major Major’s latest single “Scream Queen” has an ever-present dreamy nature – a surprising treat. Some of their earlier tracks expand on this concept, taking a fuzzy approach in a tight and focused manner.
Marie Miller (5) - Folk/pop artist Marie Miller is immediately accessible and inviting, clean and sound songwriting. This plays as a double-edged sword at SXSW, but Miller would have appeal to pop country ears.