The train is riding down to the station where I lived when I was a cool kid

I've been sorting through the list of bands playing at SXSW for a couple months now. With more than 2,000 of them playing and a schedule that seems to be constantly shifting, it can be a big job. What I've noticed from the weeks of listening, though, is how great almost all the bands are. Maybe my experience vetting bands for the MidPoint Music Festival had me bracing for worse acts, but it seems like I'd be happy to hear almost any band playing at SXSW. I'm sure we'll see how I really feel about that in a couple weeks.

With that in mind, I present the 10 bands I'm most excited to see at SXSW. My main caveats were that I wanted to choose acts I'd never seen play live before and to try and focus on smaller, newer acts*. So here they are in no particular order:

  • Admiral Fallow - Scottish and sad, they sound a little like Frightened Rabbit. These guys are right in my musical wheelhouse. They're also playing a Tuesday night showcase so hopefully they'll be one of the first bands I see.
  • The Civil Wars - A bluesy couple from Alabama, much like my friends Jeff and Meggan who'll be hanging out with us in Austin. Maybe that's why I want to see these guys so much.
  • Apex Manor - Colin Meloy mentioned this band in a tweet so I checked out the album. That's what kind of a sucker I am. Nice stuff, though, but I've only seen one show scheduled so far so it might be difficult to actually see them.
  • Jukebox the Ghost - A poor man's Ben Folds? Perhaps. Jukebox the Ghost is from DC and I've been a fan for a few years so even though they don't fall into my "new act" rule I really want to check them out.
  • Okkervil River - An Austin band with a couple albums under their belt and a much anticipated new release just around the corner. This might be the hardest show for me to get to what with all the crowds. I guess it will make me decide how much I really want to see them.
  • The Vaccines - There is a ton of buzz from this British band. Are they the next Arctic Monkeys? Does it matter? All I know is they rock and since their big song is only 85 seconds long, they shouldn't have to play for too long anyway.
  • Lars and The Hands of Light - I know like three words in Danish (two of them are mildly offensive) but I figure I can try them out on a Danish band. I just typed in Denmark in the SXSW schedule and these guys popped up. Turns out they sound pretty good, too. Score! (That's Danish for "score".)
  • Young the Giant - Loud and melodic, they're another band with a lot of buzz. They also seem to be playing about every day party in town so I should be able to catch at least one of their shows.
  • Noah and the Whale - I'm really not sure why I haven't heard of these guys before. They're right there in the dictionary under "Sad & British." I'm actually worried they might be too sad for me. Too sad! Is that possible?
  • Childish Gambino - Do you know Donald Glover? The black guy from Community? The one who started a Twitter campaign to be cast as Spiderman in the new movie? It turns out he raps, too, under the name Childish Gambino. No, he does serious rapping, not jokey, jokey rapping. I'm in no position to tell you if he's actually a good rapper, I just know I find it oddly compelling. I can't promise that I'll make it to his showcase, but I kind of hope I do.
You can hear tracks from most of my list (and more) over there on the right on my SXSW music player. 

*Bands that I still hope to see but haven't made my official top 10 include: Hayes Carll, Darren Hanlon, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Jessica Lea Mayfiled, The Answering Machine and The Head and The Heart.


Tony said...

Thanks for putting these up. I also enjoyed that Sharon Van Etten song. I see she is playing a pizza place in Denver next month, I may have to check her out.

Eileen said...

Yeah, the Sharon Van Etten album is good. She's definitely on my list, too.

Tony said...

I know you are off emusic but I thought you might find this of interest - http://17dots.com/2011/03/03/site-we-like-sched/

Eileen said...

Oh yeah, I've been all over the Sched site for weeks. It's crazy how much time you can spend planning a trip to SXSW.

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