Gone West


Just back from SXSW, the massive showcase festival in Austin, Texas, which features something daft like 2000 bands in five days, in scores of venues across the city.

Well, I say, “just” got back. I landed on Monday morning and have been waiting for the jet-lag to subside and the buzzing to quieten down (SXSW is all noise: the noise of bands trying to get heard; of label bosses plugging their new artists and barmen asking you whether you have a preference of which vodka you want).

But here’s five new things I thought were interesting or good.


Saw this band twice, once at the brilliantly named Beerland, and then Saturday afternoon at Sidewinder Outside, where the above picture comes from. A New York art-rock five piece, this is the first single from their forthcoming album and they play the UK in May. I think this is really powerful. They were great live as well.

There’s some videos and stuff here:



Oddly compelling post-punk from LA. Saw this band twice in two days before they left to continue their tour across America with Shopping. Try ‘Evolution Of A Friendship’ for starters from their current self-titled album


Annoyingly one of the artists I didn’t get to see, as she was playing across town, and clashed with someone else, but this I like a lot. Minimal electro-pop from the Merge label.



The most happy-go-lucky indie-rock I’ve liked in a while. Even at their most restrained, Vundabar are pretty upbeat. A trio, from Boston, they’ve just released an album called ‘Smell Smoke’.



One of the hot ticket acts of the week, with queues to see her everywhere. You can see why. The sound’s got a great nonchalance about it, with a really nice, natural voice. Hats off again to Matador Records again for picking this up.




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