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sxsw

SXSW/Lollapalooza 2014 Crossover Artists – OEB’s Friday Picks
 
As OEB continues to slowly evolve this summer, next week takes us west on I-90 from Newport, sights set to Chicago, Illinois.  Lollapalooza takes over Grant Park next week, August 1-3, bringing along key 2014 artists in pop, rock and dance music.  
Over twenty-five (!!) artists at Lollapalooza this year also received top marks as part of Operation Every Band–SXSW 2014.  Eight of those are set to perform Friday, including a conflict between Roadkill Buzz Choir and San Fermin fifteen minutes into the festival.  Decisions…  
 
12:00 - Roadkill Buzz Choir – The Grove
12:15 - San Fermin - Palladia
1:00 – Temples– Bud Light
1:45 – Lucius - Palladia
3:30 – Warpaint – Lake Shore
3:45 – Hozier - Palladia
7:15 - The Kooks – The Grove

8:45 – Phantogram – The Grove

SXSW/Lollapalooza 2014 Crossover Artists – OEB’s Friday Picks

 

As OEB continues to slowly evolve this summer, next week takes us west on I-90 from Newport, sights set to Chicago, Illinois.  Lollapalooza takes over Grant Park next week, August 1-3, bringing along key 2014 artists in pop, rock and dance music. 

Over twenty-five (!!) artists at Lollapalooza this year also received top marks as part of Operation Every Band–SXSW 2014.  Eight of those are set to perform Friday, including a conflict between Roadkill Buzz Choir and San Fermin fifteen minutes into the festival.  Decisions… 

 

12:00 - Roadkill Buzz Choir – The Grove

12:15 - San Fermin - Palladia

1:00 – Temples– Bud Light

1:45 – Lucius - Palladia

3:30 – Warpaint – Lake Shore

3:45 – Hozier - Palladia

7:15 - The Kooks – The Grove

8:45 – Phantogram – The Grove

Polica – “I Need $” // “So Leave”

 

Pairs Well With…Gayngs, Phantogram, Bat For Lashes

 

After catching up with Polica at SXSW 2012, the Minneapolis space-rock band has followed up with the form-fitting Shulamith, a record both weirder and more accessible than the band’s splendid debut, released just a year prior.  The quick buffering of the band’s catalog is great proof of Channy Casselle and friends’ powerful songwriting ability.  Two drummers, a bassist and electronic atmospherics make up the palette of Polica’s foundation, a deep, sexy and salient territory.  This is what psychedelia sounds like in 2014 and we are all better for it.

2012 Review: Representing the electronic pop corner of the Gayngs gang, Polica is getting ready to release their debut LP early next year.  Polica features Channy Casselle, formally of roots band Roma di Luna alongside a bassist and two percussionists.  The bass carries the two tracks released earlier this year with interesting electronic dynamics adding color and a sense of space.  “Dark Star” features auto-tune turned up to “Bon Iver” to add a little more mystery to their already deep sound.  Though we’ve only gotten a taste, I buy what Polica is selling and can’t wait to see what these guys are all about in 2012.

The Pollies – “Good For Nothing” (live)

 

Pairs Well With…The Head and the Heart, Deer Tick, Alabama Shakes

 

So, it looks like The Pollies have been laying low since last summer with SXSW being one of the only shows on the Muscle Shoals band’s agenda.  The good news is that time was spent in the studio – hopefully a follow-up to the band’s solid debut Where the Lies Begin.  For now, check out what had us hopeful last year:

2013 Review: Muscle Shoals, Alabama is one of the best hotbeds of musical talents going right now.  Out of the fray comes The Pollies, a band that must have spent some time studying at the Wilco song camp last year while recording their debut record Where The Lies Begin.  Opening with a salvo of vocal harmonies that bleeds into waves of understated feedback, “Good For Nothing” is quite a revelatory introduction.  Where The Pollies break away from their Chicago brethren is the Southern grit that infuses the record, whiskey-soaked vocals holding the notes for a half-second longer than expected, almost unwilling loosen their grip.  Most of these songs come from a rootsy, Americana place, led by acoustic guitar and a healthy share of kick drum.  While The Pollies’ style invites them into a crowded alt country field at SXSW, I could see these upstarts catching some waves next week in Austin.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 152
 
I wrapped up my bottom-half Newport Folk recommendations this afternoon, so what better time for a Post-SXSW breather before Lollapalooza takes over OEB’s coverage for a week.  Highlights:
 
Polica (9) - Two drummers, a bassist and electronic atmospherics make up the palette of Polica’s foundation, a deep, sexy and salient territory.  This is what psychedelia sounds like in 2014 and we are all better for it.
The Pollies (7) - Where The Pollies break away from their Chicago brethren is the Southern grit that infuses the record, whiskey-soaked vocals holding the notes for a half-second longer than expected, almost unwilling loosen their grip.  Most of these songs come from a rootsy, Americana place, led by acoustic guitar and a healthy share of kick drum.
Parquet Courts (6) – The rambunctious punk rock grooves of Parquet Courts are loosely dismembered on the band’s latest, 2014’s Sunbathing Animal.  The twists of feedback give Parquet Courts a classic, analog sound, vaguely experimental and oddly catchy.
Polytype (6) – Electronic pop artist Polytype lives within a mysterious air, best displayed on single “Cyclone”.  The circular nature of the title applies to the winds of harmony that builds in this patient R&B track.

Peking Duk (5) – Australian producer Peking Duk deals in builds and drops, but there is an increased level of detail in his big-tent dance music.  In another way, deep, technical minutia isn’t need for sing-a-longs and big beats.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 152

 

I wrapped up my bottom-half Newport Folk recommendations this afternoon, so what better time for a Post-SXSW breather before Lollapalooza takes over OEB’s coverage for a week.  Highlights:

 

Polica (9) - Two drummers, a bassist and electronic atmospherics make up the palette of Polica’s foundation, a deep, sexy and salient territory.  This is what psychedelia sounds like in 2014 and we are all better for it.

The Pollies (7) - Where The Pollies break away from their Chicago brethren is the Southern grit that infuses the record, whiskey-soaked vocals holding the notes for a half-second longer than expected, almost unwilling loosen their grip.  Most of these songs come from a rootsy, Americana place, led by acoustic guitar and a healthy share of kick drum.

Parquet Courts (6) – The rambunctious punk rock grooves of Parquet Courts are loosely dismembered on the band’s latest, 2014’s Sunbathing Animal.  The twists of feedback give Parquet Courts a classic, analog sound, vaguely experimental and oddly catchy.

Polytype (6) – Electronic pop artist Polytype lives within a mysterious air, best displayed on single “Cyclone”.  The circular nature of the title applies to the winds of harmony that builds in this patient R&B track.

Peking Duk (5) – Australian producer Peking Duk deals in builds and drops, but there is an increased level of detail in his big-tent dance music.  In another way, deep, technical minutia isn’t need for sing-a-longs and big beats.

Obey City – “Take It Back”

 

Pairs Well With…Trippy Turtle, Flume, Cashmere Cat

 

Brooklyn electronic artist Obey City’s sound is dance music by form, but the details and layering demand a listen beyond a late night lounge.  Funk-fueled rhythms are spliced and diced, falling off the beat unexpectedly.  That anticipation pulls like a rubber band, tensely laying an undercurrent of mystery and grace.  Hip hop and R&B both find homes in Obey City’s originals, down-tempo twists and turns with an artist’s precision.  Above all, Obey City’s mostly wordless music has soul.  For digital creations, the warmth is admirable and a quality that keeps me digging for more songs he has gotten his hands on.  In addition to a handful of loose singles, Obey City has three EPs out, two solo and the latest, 2014’s Shochu Sounds, a collaboration with Japanese electronic artist Seiho.

Panama – “Always”

 

Pairs Well With…The Temper Trap, Miike Snow, The Naked and Famous

 

While the upbeat pop hooks of tracks like “Always” are the initial draw, the Australian band’s tracks are deeper than surface beats and melodies.  Mid-tempo dance beats are complimented by droned-down synths on tracks like “How We Feel” and “It’s Not Over”, shading the light within Panama’s music.  EDM elements are sampled at will through Panama’s pop filter – this band is accessible to both an indie and club crowd.  More shine than soul, Panama avoids being too distant through new wave bass lines and specks of electronic experimentation - little things that connect created music to a natural ear.  “Always” is definitely the standout amongst Panama’s ten or so recorded tracks, an anthem that could close any set, any day.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 151
 
I’m sneaking one in this Sunday evening to spotlight a pair of electronic-based artists who find warmth in a many times cold genre.  Highlights:
 
Obey City (8) - Funk-fueled rhythms are spliced and diced, falling off the beat unexpectedly.  That anticipation pulls like a rubber band, tensely laying an undercurrent of mystery and grace.
Panama (8) - Mid-tempo dance beats are complimented by droned-down synths on tracks like “How We Feel” and “It’s Not Over”, shading the light within Panama’s music.  EDM elements are sampled at will through Panama’s pop filter – this band is accessible to both an indie and club crowd.
OWSLA All Stars (6) – This one is a little hard to rate, but reports called out some OEB favorites like Hundred Waters and What So Not showcased at OWSLA’s SXSW event.  Skrillex’s label is on a hot run in 2014 and hopefully the collaborative nature of the OWSLA All Stars leads to some mixed multi-artist studio tracks.

Paper Diamond (5) – Beat maker and EDM collaborator Paper Diamond’s long EP Paragon is fairly minimal for a dance record, letting disco synths and thick bass lines carry the artist’s poppin’ take on House/R&B.  Down-tempo trance plays a big part in the record as well, especially succeeding when the beat dissipates.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 151

 

I’m sneaking one in this Sunday evening to spotlight a pair of electronic-based artists who find warmth in a many times cold genre.  Highlights:

 

Obey City (8) - Funk-fueled rhythms are spliced and diced, falling off the beat unexpectedly.  That anticipation pulls like a rubber band, tensely laying an undercurrent of mystery and grace.

Panama (8) - Mid-tempo dance beats are complimented by droned-down synths on tracks like “How We Feel” and “It’s Not Over”, shading the light within Panama’s music.  EDM elements are sampled at will through Panama’s pop filter – this band is accessible to both an indie and club crowd.

OWSLA All Stars (6) – This one is a little hard to rate, but reports called out some OEB favorites like Hundred Waters and What So Not showcased at OWSLA’s SXSW event.  Skrillex’s label is on a hot run in 2014 and hopefully the collaborative nature of the OWSLA All Stars leads to some mixed multi-artist studio tracks.

Paper Diamond (5) – Beat maker and EDM collaborator Paper Diamond’s long EP Paragon is fairly minimal for a dance record, letting disco synths and thick bass lines carry the artist’s poppin’ take on House/R&B.  Down-tempo trance plays a big part in the record as well, especially succeeding when the beat dissipates.

SXSW/Newport Folk Festival 2014 Crossover Artists – OEB’s Top Picks

 

Operation Every Band’s virtual summer tour continues along next weekend with a trip up the coast to Newport, Rhode Island.  The Newport Folk Festival started in 1959 and is storied in musical history.  Dylan, Baez, Seeger, Cash – these names graced Newport’s early rosters, making the seaside Fort Adams State Park hallowed ground when it comes to acoustic (and electric, once controversially) troubadours and ramblers.  In 2014, the legacy continues strong with key sets from some of today’s best singer-songwriters including Ryan Adams, Jack White and Jeff Tweedy.  The lineup is complemented with highlight veterans like Mavis Staples, Robert Hunter and Jimmy Cliff, a weekend that consistently delivers greatness.

 

For OEB, the bottom-half of this year’s lineup is where we’ll be focusing our energy this week.  As always, it begins with a list of artists that showcased at SXSW this year and drew top scores from the OEB crew.  The week will continue with more recommendations, worth a listen whether you are going to Newport this year or just are looking for some new bands to dig into this summer.

 

Friday

12:50 - Mandolin Orange – Quad Stage

1:50 – Phox – Quad Stage

2:05 - The Devil Makes Three – Fort Stage

2:40 - Noah Gundersen – Harbor Stage

 

Saturday

11:00 - Willie Watson – Harbor Stage

11:05 - The Haden Triplets – Quad Stage

3:40 – Lucius – Harbor Stage

5:30 - Kurt Vile and the Violators – Quad Stage

 

Sunday

11:10 - Leif Vollebekk – Quad Stage

11:30 - Ages and Ages – Fort Stage

2:45  - Hurray for the Riff Raff – Quad Stage

2:55 – Hozier – Harbor Stage

MS MR – “Fantasy”

 

Pairs Well With…Oh Land, Adele, Florence & The Machine

 

Since our review last year, MS MR has become kind of a big deal, pulling main stage gigs at major festivals across the world this summer.  Debut LP Secondhand Rapture is wickedly dense for a greyly toned indie pop record.  Minor-key catchiness is such a nuanced art form, one that MS MR just nails in a fiercely unique way. 

2013 Review: For a pop introduction, Ms Mr’s four-song EP Candy Bar Creep Show displays more grey than sunshine.  Drama, fear and confidence all take turns throughout the NYC duo’s debut.  The standout here is the vocal work of Lizzy Plapinger.  Her tone falls somewhere between Florence Welch and Polica, both in volume and inflection.  It makes those big runs that much more powerful after taking most of a track from a perspective of restraint.  Musically, the starting point is minimal electronic pop, but Ms Mr add all sorts of aural flourishes, from the snaps and harmonies of “Dark Doo Wop” and the sweeping strings of breakout track “Hurricane”.  Even if Ms Mr don’t have a full-length in store for 2013 (news is scarce from their camp), expect a crowded showcase as these four excellent tracks gain traction on their own.

Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich+Fussible – “Radio Borderland”

 

Pairs Well With…Mexican Institute of Sound, Kinky, Grupo Fantasma

 

As part of the Nortec Collective, Bostich+Fussible fuse Northern Mexican traditions and techno elements in their own uniquely coined blend.  Their latest is the Grammy-nominated Bulevar 2000, a complete record that is consistently exploratory, but always grounded.  The international appeal here is obvious – Bostich+Fussible switch back and forth between English and Spanish vocals just as easily as they shift around worldly bases and forms.  While Bulevar 2000 is a dance record by nature, Bostich and Fussible avoid predictable house beats, instead incorporating melodies and practices of EDM into their rootsy traditions.  For anyone stuck on mariachi when your mind turns to Mexican music, give Bostich+Fussible a long spin for a new world of possibilities. 

Naïve Thieves – “Anxiete”

 

Pairs Well With…Vampire Weekend, The Fratellis, Cayucas

 

Naïve Thieves’ just-released full-length Vamonos combines sunset surf-rock with urban melancholy.  Loose, but not necessarily laid back, Naïve Thieves find a nice pocket to work through their already matured sound.  Look out for the African melodies and percussion that find their way into Vamonos, a nice way to break out of rock paradigms by shifting influences around the world.  There are hints of garage punk, albeit filtered through a wide lens, that elevate Naïve Thieves to a band aiming for something unique rather than just attitude and feel.  By breaking genre conventions, Naive Thieves’ songwriting allows these songs to pop, which they most likely would do in a live setting as well.

New Madrid – “Manners”

 

Pairs Well With…Futurebirds, Deer Tick, My Morning Jacket

 

New Madrid has turned to a deeper sound on their recent seven-track effort Sunswimmer, twisting a grunge underbelly through the Athens-based band’s Southern folk-rock roots.  The near-ambient launch of opener “All Around the Locust” opens up the expanse of Sunswimmer early, slowing down in the back-end like a breath slowly let out over time.  New Madrid is in the midst of a nationwide tour that carries them all the way through September, so look for the feedback knob to be turned up a bit more this time around as they continue to evolve strongly.   

Athens’ New Madrid follows along in the shoes many of their Southern rock peers in the band’s rootsy style, though there are some hints of surf rock and even a little ambience into their country-fried, dream rock sound.  There is a warming distance on the recording of their debut LP Yardboat, allowing the band to explore some unique, pop melodies instead of just turning the face-melting meter up to ten. This muted approach yields a tempered patience, which allows New Madrid to really stretch out like on the spaced out epic “Sand Mountain” or the layered ebbs and flows of the ten-minute “Pond”.  Set up New Madrid for a SXSW breather set that’ll still carry a full sense of drama, but some of the nicest slow grooves you’ll hear that day.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 150
 
One-fifty!  This evening’s set is extra packed with four bands shaking our radars.  Mexico, New York, California and Georgia are represented with a mix of rock, pop and World styles.  Highlights:
 
MS MR (9) - Debut LP Secondhand Rapture is wickedly dense for a greyly toned indie pop record.  Minor-key catchiness is such a nuanced art form, one that MS MR just nails in a fiercely unique way.
Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich+Fussible (8) – The international appeal here is obvious – Bostich+Fussible switch back and forth between English and Spanish vocals just as easily as they shift around worldly bases and forms.  While Bulevar 2000 is a dance record by nature, Bostich and Fussible avoid predictable house beats, instead incorporating melodies and practices of EDM into their rootsy traditions.
Naïve Thieves (7) - Loose, but not necessarily laid back, Naïve Thieves find a nice pocket to work through their already matured sound.  Look out for the African melodies and percussion that find their way into Vamonos, a nice way to break out of rock paradigms by shifting influences around the world.
New Madrid (7) - New Madrid has turned to a deeper sound on their recent seven-track effort Sunswimmer, twisting a grunge underbelly through the Athens-based band’s Southern folk-rock roots.  The near-ambient launch of opener “All Around the Locust” opens up the expanse of Sunswimmer early, slowing down in the back-end like a breath slowly let out over time.
Monogold (6) - Shoegaze/indie pop band Monogold hasn’t released any new music in over three years, interesting in that their dreamy, percussive sound has since become a popular song form in SXSW circles.  As expected, full-length The Softest Glow has aged well as something equally inventive and inviting.
Nightmare and the Cat (6) – Twee melodies and hovering electronic pop make up the meat of Nightmare and the Cat’s latest EP Simple, though tracks like “Goodbye So Many Times” and “Alvarado” drive some more punch and drama in their increasingly sharpening sound.
Myrryrs (5) – Nashville beatmaker/producer Myrryrs generally sticks to hip hop beats and down-tempo R&B through his released originals.  Combining a lounge atmosphere with percussive punch is a pleasant mix, one that hypnotizes with focus.

NY Night Train Soul Clap and Dance Off (5) - Jonathan Toubin is a New York City specialty.  The DJ’s homegrown party, Soul Clap and Dance-Off, has become a monthly Brooklyn institution.  Audiences get lost in the groovy dance tracks that hiss and snap off vinyl 45s.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 150

 

One-fifty!  This evening’s set is extra packed with four bands shaking our radars.  Mexico, New York, California and Georgia are represented with a mix of rock, pop and World styles.  Highlights:

 

MS MR (9) - Debut LP Secondhand Rapture is wickedly dense for a greyly toned indie pop record.  Minor-key catchiness is such a nuanced art form, one that MS MR just nails in a fiercely unique way.

Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich+Fussible (8) – The international appeal here is obvious – Bostich+Fussible switch back and forth between English and Spanish vocals just as easily as they shift around worldly bases and forms.  While Bulevar 2000 is a dance record by nature, Bostich and Fussible avoid predictable house beats, instead incorporating melodies and practices of EDM into their rootsy traditions.

Naïve Thieves (7) - Loose, but not necessarily laid back, Naïve Thieves find a nice pocket to work through their already matured sound.  Look out for the African melodies and percussion that find their way into Vamonos, a nice way to break out of rock paradigms by shifting influences around the world.

New Madrid (7) - New Madrid has turned to a deeper sound on their recent seven-track effort Sunswimmer, twisting a grunge underbelly through the Athens-based band’s Southern folk-rock roots.  The near-ambient launch of opener “All Around the Locust” opens up the expanse of Sunswimmer early, slowing down in the back-end like a breath slowly let out over time.

Monogold (6) - Shoegaze/indie pop band Monogold hasn’t released any new music in over three years, interesting in that their dreamy, percussive sound has since become a popular song form in SXSW circles.  As expected, full-length The Softest Glow has aged well as something equally inventive and inviting.

Nightmare and the Cat (6) – Twee melodies and hovering electronic pop make up the meat of Nightmare and the Cat’s latest EP Simple, though tracks like “Goodbye So Many Times” and “Alvarado” drive some more punch and drama in their increasingly sharpening sound.

Myrryrs (5) – Nashville beatmaker/producer Myrryrs generally sticks to hip hop beats and down-tempo R&B through his released originals.  Combining a lounge atmosphere with percussive punch is a pleasant mix, one that hypnotizes with focus.

NY Night Train Soul Clap and Dance Off (5) - Jonathan Toubin is a New York City specialty.  The DJ’s homegrown party, Soul Clap and Dance-Off, has become a monthly Brooklyn institution.  Audiences get lost in the groovy dance tracks that hiss and snap off vinyl 45s.

These Guys Reviewed Every Band At SXSW 2014 So You Don't Have To

Operation Every Band Spotlighted in Australia

 

All the more impressive considering Operation Every Band tackled the herculean task with a small and (obviously) super-dedicated team of four, compiling the results of the 2,285 artists they saw (that’s an average of over 570 gigs per reviewer) into a huge A-Z ratings compendium, simply called ‘The Spreadsheet‘, described as “an all-encompassing look at the SXSW roster with descriptions and micro-reviews along with our subjective rating.”

 

Take a look, it’s pretty inspiring. Think of it as the ultimate buzz band guide to your new favourite act.

 

Aw shucks!

Milezo – “Kiss You All”

 

Pairs Well With…Kurt Vile and the Violators, Real Estate, Spoon

 

When a new band really dents my radar, I tend to do a little digging to see if I’m not the only one buzzing about them across the interwebs.  To my surprise, Milezo seems to be unknown on a national scale, criminally underrated considering their inventive 2013 full-length Pathways.  The foundation of Milezo’s sound is focused, psychedelic rock, but this is more on the side of a singer-songwriter record than a blues-jam vehicle.  Milezo takes a lot from the 70s forefathers (lots of Beatles and Jefferson Airplane here), but that’s countered in perfect harmony against the quartet’s youthful, passionate delivery.  It isn’t just a couple songs that win over on Pathways, rather the whole record has something to offer.  Diversely bouncing between deep space and punchy pop, Milezo is a complete package already.  Milezo has a few festivals on the plate this month, but so far they’ve been mostly sticking to local Austin haunts.  Hopefully Milezo is a band that builds some momentum over the years, so tell your friends if Pathways has you excited as well.