If you ever are given an opportunity to go to SXSW, you should jump at it. For an indie music lover, downtown Austin is heaven for those 5 days in March. There really isn’t quite anything like it, with close to 100 separate venues hosting showcases starting at noon and ending in the wee hours the next day. I tried to take advantage of my trip, managing to see over 40 bands over the festival in venues ranging from a 2500 person amphitheater to a tiny backyard courtyard behind a bar. Needless to say, this list has quite a few tracks that I was able to hear live sprinkled with a few other surprises. I hope you enjoy.
Below the track list, I have links to the iTunes Ping playlist, Amazon, Rdio, and other playlists if you prefer to listen to them that way.
Clicking on a song name should bring you to YouTube or other page where you can listen to the song online for free, or just check out the embedded videos. Enjoy!
|I was fortunate to see this band and Wild Flag close out a SXSW showcase, and Baltimore duo Wye Oak definitely was a pleasant surprise.
|2.||TV On the Radio||Will Do||Nine Types of Light|
|Here’s the first single of the upcoming album due on April 12th from Brooklyn’s genre-bending indie rock group. You can see the official video on YouTube (embedding restricted).
|3.||The Weeknd||What You Need||House of Balloons|
|Mysterious duo gives us a downright sexy track on their self-released digital EP available for free download on their site.
|4.||The Head and the Heart||Lost In My Mind||The Head and the Heart|
|Seattle favorites Head and the Heart was all over SXSW playing to packed houses with their version of Americana. Not sure why Seattle has become such a hotbed of alt-folk and alt-country, but this sextet is looking like it’s ready for a wider audience.
|5.||Yuck||Get Away||Yuck (Bonus Track Version)|
|Yuck was a nice surprise opening a big SXSW showcase as Stubb’s (outdoor amphitheater) with a rocking set to start out the evening. This UK-based group features 3 Londoners, a drummer from New Jersey, and a bassist from Hiroshima.
|6.||Parts & Labor||Outnumbered||Constant Future|
|Here’s a standout track off of the new album from this experimental noise rock group out of Brooklyn. Song streamable on MySpace.|
|7.||James Blake||Limit to Your Love||James Blake|
|London’s James Blake brings us his spare vocals over echoing dubstep tracks. See him live if you get a chance. This track alternates between a simple piano backdrop and a vibrating track that will shake your sternum.
|8.||Papercuts||Do You Really Wanna Know||Fading Parade|
|Here’s an indie pop track from the latest release off of Papercuts latest album (first on Sub Pop). This San Francisco group is built around singer/producer Jason Quevar.
|9.||Smith Westerns||Weekend||Dye It Blonde|
|This foursome out of the north side of Chicago (including two brothers) also made a splash at SXSW this year giving us their mix of britpop meets noise pop. Official video only streamable on YouTube, so here’s an acoustic performance for you to see instead.|
|10.||The Dodos||Sleep||No Color|
|Another San Francisco indie rock band that I saw at SXSW. Here’s one of my favorite tracks from their fourth LP, streamable from The Hype Machine.|
Continue on to number 11 – 20.