SXSW Buzz Bands

SXSW 2008

OK, maybe “buzz” is my word not theirs, but when I sifted through what people were writing about post-SXSW ’08, this is what I came up with.

According to Jon Pareles of the New York Times:

…[S]ome of my favorite bands at the festival were those that made their impact on the spot. Times New Viking merged guitar-rock and the keyboard drive of German rock; the Dodos, from San Francisco, worked up to manic propulsion with hard-strummed acoustic guitar and plinking toy piano. Atlas Sound filled a club with guitar drone; then one member proffered an amplifier to audience members for knob-turning and extra feedback.

There were also gentler performers, like Laura Marling, a British teenager who writes folky, haunted songs, and Hanne Hukkelberg, a Norwegian songwriter who sang (in English) about the forces of nature in complex, odd-meter songs that sometimes had a tuba for their foundation. []

According to

While there was no single buzz artist as there has been in past years, there were a number of artists whose shows had people talking. In addition to a number of artists we’ve already covered in trendcentral”” Wale, Kid Sister, and Santogold“” these are a few of the SXSW performers we think you’ll be hearing more about:

Duffy: The next Amy Winehouse? This young Welsh soul singer has been compared to ’60s chanteuses like Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield.

Yael Naim: Best known for her song “New Souls” featured in a MacBook Air commercial, this French singer-songwriter showed audiences she’s more than just a one hit wonder.

The Ting Tings: This co-ed Manchester drums/guitar duo, already crowned with “Next Big Thing” status by the NME, had crowds dancing with their laptop-accented indie pop.

The Dodos: Another two-person act, San Francisco band The Dodos wowed festivalgoers with their freak folk sound reminiscent of Animal Collective.

Yeasayer: Hailing from Brooklyn, these Pitchfork favorites have been wowing critics with their genre-bending tribal rhythm-accented take on the Talking Heads.

The Cool Kids: Self-proclaimed the “black version of the Beastie Boys”, this ’80s obsessed Chicago hip-hop duo has been building its fanbase through YouTube videos for the past few months. Fortunately, their live show lived up to their cyber presence.

MGMT: Pronounced “management”, these Brooklyn-based electro indie poppers first won the love of the bloggerazzi through an opening slot with similar-sounding band Of Montreal. Produced by Dave Fridmann, their debut album, Oracular Spectacular, has Fridmann’s trademark space rock sound heard in The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. []

According to NPR’s Stephen Thompson:
Paddy Casey, Kimya Dawson, Jandek, Tulsa, X, Shearwater, and Luke Doucet.

Perhaps the most endearing performance I saw at SXSW this year came right at the end of the festival, as Canadian singer-songwriter Luke Doucet assembled a huge cast of guest vocalists to come up and sing his songs. It turns out he was battling a rough case of laryngitis — an emcee called him “Mute Doucet” — so someone used an overhead projector to beam his hand-written lyrics against the wall on the side of the stage. The resulting Luke Doucet Karaoke was enormously good-natured and infectiously sweet, with Doucet playing guitar and grinning infectiously the entire time. He wasn’t the only one doing so. [All Songs Considered BlogStephen Thompson]

According to NPR’s Bob Boilen:
Laura Gibson, Sera Cahoone, Two Gallants, Tokyo Police Club, Jaymay, Tough Alliance, Lightspeed Champion, She & Him, Bon Iver, The Dodos, and Let’s Go Sailing.

One of my missions was to hear the band Fanfarlo. Out of the 788 bands’ worth of music I listened to before I left for Austin, this was the unknown band that made the music I loved most. [All Songs Considered BlogBob Boilen]

According to NPR’s Carrie Brownstein:
Bon Iver, Times New Viking.

Listen to the All Songs Considered SXSW wrap-up podcast over here.

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