Reader, we'll be frank with you—we've got one foot out the door. For the first time ever—thanks to some very kind gifting from Ms. Katie Frichtel—we'll soon be headed to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest music festival. Hundreds of hours free shows, free beer, and free food. Some of which we really hope is vegan. If not...one can sustain oneself on beer and music, right? Before we leave town though, we wanted to share with you our top...however many bands we're über-pscyhed to see play this week, from the already profiled to the long-admired to the just formed 10 minutes ago but has a great following on Twitter. I know we're trending a little Brooklyn- and Canada-heavy...but what can you do? Those do seem to be where all the good stuff's coming from of late. Represent!Click individual tracks or start the player on the left side to play the entire playlist. And wish us luck on partying like we're not in our mid-thirties....
Purity Ring • Ungirthed — Dub-step-ish "future pop" from Canada; live shows feature a giant light-up suspended bass drum that singer, Megan James, ceremoniously strikes in time; definitely one of our favorite acts at last year's CMJ fest.
Milagres • Here to Stay — Brooklyn-based band signed sight-unseens by the venerable label, Kill Rock Stars; beautifully varied, original music.
Grimes • Genesis — AKA, Claire Boucher, singer and musician from the same, small, insanely talented circle that brought us Purity Ring and Born Gold/Gobble Gobble; eerily catchy "witch house"; past KoR profile here.
Oberhofer • HEART — Former bedroom pop genius from Washington state, relocated to Brooklyn and outfitted with a full band and coming highly anticipated full-length; superb, high-energy live shows and jangly, fresh, catchy-as-hell pop; read our interview with Brad Oberhofer from 2010 here.
Computer Magic • Electronic Fences — ANOTHER awesome bedroom pop savant form Brooklyn, this one venturing unerringly into the simple, enjoyable electro-pop realm; Computer Magic, AKA Danielle 'Danz' Johnson, crafts increasingly catchy songs that we're excited to see replicated live; 2011 KoR profile here.
Arkells f. Kathleen Edwards • Agent Zero — Brand new to us, but much-buzzed-about, these Ontario natives don't share much in terms of a sound with the prior Canadians on this list other than sheer awesomeness; much more straight rock sound nearing the inspiring howls of Springsteen himself, can't wait to see if their shows transit the emotiveness of their songs.
Miike Snow • Devil's Work — Okay, finally someone who's NOT from Brooklyn or Canada (AKA, Northern Brooklyn), three producers from Stockholm make up Miike Snow, an electronically based pop band that keeps traditional analog instrumentation key in their sound to give them some Ümph, as the Swedes say; we hear they've livened up their stage show and are eager to check them out.
The Big Pink • Stay Gold — Another band that bases their sound in electro-rock, The Big Pink brings their noisy hooks across the pond from England; their most recent release, Future This, presents a more cohesive, mature sound; previous profile here.
Lissy Trullie • It's Only You, Isn't It — Whether you consider her a model-esque musician or a musician-esque model, stop hatin' and admit it—she's got chops, and though some of her more retro-sounding stuff isn't exactly our bag, there's no denying that she can rock and croon with the best of her fellow New Yorkers; November 2011 profile here.
Of Monsters and Men • Little Talks — This six-piece from Reykjavik brings the folk-inspired rock sound to a beautifully new place with their sweeping choruses and chant-along rhythms; like a Björk-infused Head and the Heart; January's profile here.
Owen Pallett • Lewis Takes Off His Shirt — Another Canadian we've been a fan of for quite some time now, Pallett—who used to work under the video-game-loving moniker, Final Fantasy—fuses together somersaulting feats of violin mastery with glitchy electronics and full symphonics to create a wholly enjoyable, wholly unique sound; never seen him live but would love to catch his show in Austin.
Big Deal • Chair — We profiled the folky duo, Big Deal, just a could months ago, and can't wait to see them bring a dreamy, intimate atmosphere to the festival; hailing from England, this young lass + lad are sure to garner praise from old-school Ida fans like us.
Savoir Adore • Dreamers — Add this to the lists of bands we've heard much about but only recently started listening to, Brooklyn's (sorry) Savoir Adore weaves pop-rich songs with heavy melodies and dueling male-female vocals to get to very listener-friendly gestalt that'll please all but the most hardened music fan.
Sean Bones • Here Now — Our neighbor in the Cobble Hill area, Mr. Bones jams a pretty clearly reggae-inspired sound that, rather than being over the top, brings in just enough island rhythms and instrumentation to make his songs enjoyable...like a weekend jaunt to sunny southern beaches; it's a bit of a commute to check out some who lives mere blocks away, but his live shows are worth it.
Poliça • Dark Star — Minneapolis' Poliça brings some much-needed new soul to the festival, with slowly steady beats from their two drummers and soaring, smooth vocals from front-woman, Channy Leaneagh; much-talked about in their native Minnesota and oft-backed by members of Bon Iver, we're anxious to see if they live up to the hype; February profile here.
Now, Now • Little Talks — Waaaaaay back in 2009, when we still wrote music-meets-vegan-cooking features for the Discerning Brute, we compared this band from Minnesota—AKA, Mid-Western Brooklyn—to Massaman curry...for some reason; now featuring a more simplified name (used to be called Now, Now Every Children), the band still rocks out pop gems and we're excited to catch them live.
Jonquil • It's May Part — Oxford's Jonquil is fronted by Hugo Manuel, who's solo electro-bliss project, Chad Valley, was a runaway hit at last fall's CMJ fest; now both bands are playing SXSW and we intend on seeing them both, if at all humanly possible; Jonquil adds traditional rock instrumentation and calypso-like rhythms for a brit-pop, feel-good sound; last month's full profile here.
Young Prisms • Floating in Blue — San Francisco's Young Prism's bring created an unabashed retrospective of 90's style shoegazing and noise pop with their songs, and we're cool with that; their debut full-length came out in January on Kanine and this song straight up engulfs you in My Bloody Valentine nostalgia.
We Are Augustines • Chapel Song — Anyone who's followed this blog for any significant amount of time knows we're in absolute love with this band; Brooklyn's We Are Augustines channel stories of loss and longing through singer, Billy McCarthy's raspy, emotive voice and Eric Sanderson's solid song-writing; we've seen these guys many times but will do our best to see them again as many times as we can in Austin; last summer's write-up here.
The Twilight Sad • Another Bed — Scotland's ever-evolving The Twilight Sad started off their career with a discernible stylistic nods to mid-90's emo; now the band sounds more like Kraftwerk-inspired eletro outfit, but singer, James Graham's trademark heavy accent the propensity to reach crescendo still remain and make this band both unique and enjoyable for any fans of early electronic/industrial music.