Operation Every Band

SXSW/Coachella Crossover – Sunday Artists

Our Coachella coverage continues through this week and next as we ramp up to covering Weekend Two of Coachella 2014.  Here’s the last entry of the SXSW/Coachella crossover.  Thirteen artists from Sunday’s schedule, top to bottom, have garnered previous OEB accolades through their SXSW appearances the past few years.  Check them out:

Disclosure

Little Dragon

Chance the Rapper

The Naked and Famous

STRFKR

Frank Turner

Daughter

Poolside

Surfer Blood

James Vincent McMorrow

Ratking

Anna Lunoe

Bicep

SXSW/Coachella Crossover – Saturday Artists

Our Coachella coverage continues through this week and next as we ramp up to covering Weekend Two of Coachella 2014.  Here’s a continuation of the SXSW/Coachella crossover to transition to the big stages and tents of Indio.  Saturday features a bunch of great highlights proving the strength of Coachella’s mid- and lower-card. 

Foster the People

Nas

The Head and the Heart

City and Colour

Temples

Warpaint

Washed Out

Banks

Foxygen

Laura Mvula

Blood Orange

Young & Sick

Syd Arthur

SXSW/Coachella Crossover – Friday Artists

It should be no surprise that there is plenty of SXSW/Coachella crossover, so we’ll begin our Coachella coverage linking out the most recent OEB SXSW reviews by day to get your planning started.  Here are all of our Friday artists that we’ve highlighted as Top Recs over the past couple of years.

Ellie Goulding

Chromeo

HAIM

Bastille

Flume

Aloe Blacc

Grouplove

MS MR

ZZ Ward

Waxahatchee

Tom Odell

Wye Oak

The Preatures

OEB SXSW Favorite Set – Aloe Blacc

 

Operation Every Band is taking this week to share thoughts on our 10 favorite SXSW sets chronologically.  Enjoy!

 

Aloe Blacc may have been one of the busiest performers at this year’s SXSW. The OEB team caught up with Blacc for his fourteenth set of the conference at the Universal Music Group’s SXSW Showcase, Thursday afternoon at the Palm Door on 6th. Even after thirteen shows earlier in the week Blacc gave one of the most lively and engaged performances we caught. Blacc had the audience singing along with recent hits The Man and Wake Me Up as well as I Need a Dollar from his previous album. Rounding out Aloe’s soulful sound was the polished full band supporting him. He encouraged audience participation throughout the set having fans hug each other during You Make Me Smile and ended the set encouraging anyone in the crowd with the urge to dance to shake it on a Soul Train dance line down the middle of the crowded tent. The positive energy the band put out made the set one of the most enjoyable acts of the week. Catch Aloe Blacc at this year’s Coachella over the next two weekends or on his nationwide tour this summer, it will be one of the most fun shows you see all year, guaranteed.

OEB SXSW Favorite Set – Cody ChesnuTT


Operation Every Band is taking this week to share thoughts on our 10 favorite SXSW sets chronologically.  Enjoy!


Prior to SXSW Cody ChesnuTT was one of the artists I was most excited about seeing live. The Operation Every Band team caught him Thursday night at the Filter+Tumblr on Rainey St. showcase at Clive Bar.

The show opened with the beautiful pop singer-songwriter Jetta, followed by a quiet, intimate acoustic set courtesy of Kurt Vile. As ChesnuTT took the stage, it was evident from the first note of That’s Still Mama, he and his talented band were going to treat us to a special show. Even in the packed venue it felt like he made a connection with each member of the audience. The powerful vibe created by the band, reverberated through the dancing crowd as ChesnuTT bounced around the stage with his guitar, and leaned into the lyrics of his soulful songs. The performance was non-stop energy with the band hitting the highlights of the new album Landing On a Hundred, as well as songs from the recently released B-sides, including Gunpowder on the Letter (by the body of my best friend), which he wrote with Austin native Gary Clark Jr. In a truly stellar set, ‘Til I Met Thee, which OEB highlighted earlier in the year, stood out as a personal favorite.

It was a remarkable performance, which felt how I imagine seeing Sam Cooke in his prime must have felt.

For fans of soul music, I recommend making it a priority to go out and see Cody ChesnuTT and his band when they swing through your town. I know I won’t miss him if he comes to Dallas. 

OEB SXSW Favorite Set – Until the Ribbon Breaks

 

Operation Every Band is taking this week to share thoughts on our 10 favorite SXSW sets chronologically.  Enjoy!

 

After catching a few songs from current hit-makers American Authors, we moved to the indoor stage of Palm Door on 6th to one of the sparser crowds of the week, but so it goes with the relevant competitive atmosphere that naturally plays out at SXSW.  The opening notes of “Perspective” rang out, a recent discovery and a late OEB favorite, prompting us to front-of-stage, immediately locking into Until the Ribbon Breaks’ dark and introspective sound.  Their whole performance reflected this inward nature, the trio staring at a series of synths and pads like musical surgeons rather than turning their electronic beats to fist-raising bangers.  In fact, Until the Ribbon Breaks was the most percussive set of the week, less through drum solos and more in terms of electronic prompts.  By programming sounds into button-driven equipment, it allowed Until the Ribbon Breaks to achieve a highly organic sound, transforming equipment into instruments. 

This is how you do electronic music live.  The warmth of sound, from the instrumental breakdown that replaced Homeboy Sandman’s verse in “Perspective” through set highlight “Goldfish” (from the just released The Other Ones EP), was so unique and elevated Until the Ribbon Breaks up towards the top of our SXSW highlights.  By the end of their set, the place was packed (I assume the masses shifted after American Authors wrapped up), nice timing as the energy had subtly built to a peak in Until the Ribbon Breaks most recognized track “Pressure”.  If the band’s recorded material peaks your ears at all, take note of when Until the Ribbon Breaks hits your town this year – an electronic band that needs to heard in-person to truly experience what these guys are up to.  Hopefully some new dates are forthcoming…

OEB SXSW Favorite Set – Jeremy Messersmith

 

Operation Every Band is taking this week to share thoughts on our 10 favorite SXSW sets chronologically.  Enjoy!

 

Our SXSW this year seemed focused on diversity and experimentation, genre-hopping at will to artists that had an intriguing and special draw through our research.  Jeremy Messersmith’s set at Palm Door on Sixth Thursday afternoon was actually quite the opposite, aurally refreshing and a chance to be immersed full-on into a stunning singer-songwriter set.  Messersmith’s band was spot-on, bringing a real performance vibe to the whole affair, a step up from jamming a couple of songs as expected at a quickie SXSW day party.  It was the most lyrical showcase we caught at SXSW, coming across as a storytelling roundtable above all.  Messersmith spent the majority of the set within his 2014 release Heart Murmurs including standouts “Tourniquet”, “Ghost” and the tongue-in-cheek gem “I Want To Be Your One Night Stand”.  While the full-band tracks were the highlight of the set, they served as bookends for a solo acoustic showcase that stripped Messersmith’s music to a pure lyrical vehicle, some of the most tender and honest sounds amongst our whole SXSW journey.  Jeremy Messersmith is ready for a larger audience and a brighter spotlight, so hop on board his extensive international tour scheduled in full thorough this summer.

Bob Schneider – “Swimming in the Sea”

 

When you hear ‘veteran singer-songwriter’, it’s easy to imagine a laid-back, acoustic troubadour, so that makes Bob Schneider’s authentic rock tone hit that much harder.  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.  Schneider is consistently evolving too – check the auto-tuned vocals and electronic beat that backs the inventive “John Lennon”.  I put all of this first because it’s a given for most Austinites and SXSW visitors are already well aware that Schneider is a killer songwriter, consistently putting lyrical content first to rich and giving results.  Really like what you hear?  You can check out a marathon, 12-hour (!) Bob Schneider set on April 26 at the Saxon Pub.  That should do. 

The Black Cadillacs – “Run Run” (live)

 

Pairs Well With…JJ Grey & Mofro, The Sheepdogs, The Revivalists

 

While The Black Cadillacs aren’t going to wow with experimental dissentions, this Knoxville unit plays some damn killer blues-rock music.  There’s definitely a jam nature in their tone, so surely their live sets pop more than on record (I hooked up a live track here), a good sign for The Black Cadillacs’ future.  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.  This amount of pure power without the feedback turned to ten is impressive, making The Black Cadillacs ones to keep an eye on through 2014.

Born Cages – “Don’t Look Back”

 

Pairs Well With…OK Go, Death Cab For Cutie, The Mowgli’s

 

If there’s one thing that Born Cages is able to prove right off the bat on their debut The Sidelines EP is a sharp knack for pop hook.  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.  “Don’t Look Back” is the marquee track, one that is aided by a little bit of fuzz to help counteract the uber-poppiness throughout the song.  “Caiti” and “Metaphor” are a bit cleaner and a little too forthright for these ears, but there are some sweet moments, especially in the latter’s chorus and balls-to-the-wall guitar solo.  These aren’t quite at a level where an eruption in their stature in happening in the next few days, they are damn close, making the upcoming promise of a full-length intriguing to hear what’s next from Born Cages.

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.

OEB SXSW Favorite Set – Sylvan Esso

 

Operation Every Band is taking this week to share thoughts on our 10 favorite SXSW sets chronologically.  Enjoy!

 

The mark of note for our favorite sets is what artists really stick with you through the following day, a tough feat following the first full day of SXSW Music.  It’s been three weeks, and I still have Sylvan Esso’s ultra-engaging set ringing through my brain.  The duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn cast some sort of musical spell Wednesday night at Holy Mountain, mashing genre traditions together into something strikingly unique.  While lead singles “Coffee” and “Hey Mami” present Sylvan Esso as down-tempo and experimental, they flipped expectations by pulsing intense energy off the stage.  That soft hip hop/R&B hook in “Coffee”? It hit like a banger instead of living in recorded ambience, pushed forward by the incredible frontwoman that is Amelia Meath.  Slithering across the front of stage in a manner equally casual and sensual, quirky and confident, Meath had insane star quality seldom seen in these types of experimental waters.  Musically, Sylvan Esso can be best categorized into indie R&B, but there’s some unique percussive influences that were first introduced in “Hey Mami”, another song that twisted live into a dark and piercing groove.  The rest of the set previewed the duo’s forthcoming debut (due this May), but Sylvan Esso closed out their SXSW showcase right where they started, taking on Sanborn’s reworked version of Mountain Man’s (Meath’s other musical outlet) “Play It Right” - the birth of this exciting new band ended up proving the perfect closer for a ten-out-of-ten performance.   

OEB SXSW Favorite Set – Zeale

 

Operation Every Band is taking this week to share thoughts on our 10 favorite SXSW sets chronologically.  Enjoy!

 

Sometimes an act forces their way onto your radar when you catch their live show. Probably the most surprising set of this year’s SXSW for the OEB crew was Austin rapper Zeale. What seemed like a one-off set in the middle of the solid Middle West/Paradigm indie rock showcase at Holy Mountain Wednesday night became one of the best hip hop acts we caught this year. Zeale stepped to the mic and instantly won the passive audience over with his high energy and polished delivery. He was able to connect with each member of the crowd, high-fiving the front of the crowd throughout his set and drawing in the back of the room with his clever one liners and word choices. His beats include a mash up of elements from indie rock, EDM, and thumping hip hop beats under solid smooth rapping. Standout tracks included “Memoriez” which pulled on heartstrings, bringing the crowd in close and the energy built from there with his building track “Iconical” and the energetic “Whomp!”. While the song titles from the rest of Zeale’s high energy set escape me, the presence he performed with and the strength of his writing stuck. Zeale did what every artist attempts to do at SXSW, he connected with and made a new fan. I look forward to hearing new music from the rising star and it’s cool to add another rapper to the list of favorite Texas rappers.

OEB SXSW Favorite Set – Jungle

 

Operation Every Band is taking this week to share thoughts on our 10 favorite SXSW sets chronologically.  Enjoy!

Our exploration of emerging artists continued on SXSW Wednesday at Red Eyed Fly with the unveiling of Jungle, a British pop-R&B band that is coming out swinging in 2014, even before a proper debut has been released.  While many new bands start out with an eclectic mix as they tread clean-slate ground with eyes open towards a foundational sound, Jungle knows exactly what they are doing from note one.  Songs like recent single “Busy Earnin”, a highlight of the early part of Jungle’s mid-afternoon set, were all groove, a thread that continued through the climatic closer “Platoon”, a track that transformed from a hypnotic haze on record to a commanding funk groove on stage.  The near-capacity crowd was in-the-know from the opening sample of “The Heat” – Jungle definitely had the air of a “SXSW Buzz Band” and the accolade is well deserved.  This is dance music that has an incredibly wide appeal, while still keeping a sense of artistry through experimental, electronic tones encapsulated within Jungle’s general air of mystery.  Even the wind-shields on the microphones acted as a barrier between artist and audience, allowing the music to be the sole connecting factor from front to back of house.  While a listen through Jungle’s limited catalog presents a stone-chill groove, Jungle’s emphatic energy on stage makes them ones to catch live at any chance in the coming year.

OEB SXSW Favorite Set – Moses Sumney

 

Operation Every Band is taking this week to share thoughts on our 10 favorite SXSW sets chronologically.  Enjoy!

 

Note: This video is taken from Moses Sumney’s Austin Convention Center set a few hours after the show we caught

 

It can go either way when you pair a quiet, introspective singer-songwriter with a rock & pop day party, but with emerging SXSW artist Moses Sumney at Red Eyed Fly Wednesday, the result was a quickly-hushed crowd that crept up closer to stage’s edge song-by-song – a ‘timeslot’ turned into a concert.  Sumney started his set just with minimal fingerpicking, allowing his rich tenor to become the musical focus at square one.  “Dwell in the Dark” and “Alchemy” established a foundation of sparse patience, reminiscent of a solo Jeff Buckley set in its combination of loose, yet complex melodies.  The midpoint of Moses Sumney’s early afternoon showcase shifted to more experimental tones through a cover of Majical Cloudz’ “Childhood’s End”, a left-field pick from a left-field artist.  By the closing “Everlasting Sigh”, Sumney had shifted into a rhythmic, looping scientist, incorporating percussive elements that went full-on Tune-Yards at a point.  As the crowd took over the handclap rhythms, Sumney built the energy of the fifty-odd crowd to a boil, climaxing a set that told a story front-to-back, a rare feat shortly past 1:00 on a Wednesday afternoon.  Sumney only has a few songs to peruse on Soundcloud, so get in early on what is an easy call for a breakout sometime in the near future.