Entertainment Magazine

The Best of the Best of SXSW 2012

Posted on the 28 March 2012 by Thewildhoneypie

10best BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Now that we’re a full week out of the outrageous/incredible festival known as SXSW, those four days and nights of music seems more like a dream than a real experience. Despite this, it simply wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t look back a reflect. So here we are, deciding how to best culminate this year’s SXSW. What better way than to simply tell you the ten bands that really kicked our asses. The bands that floored us, shocked  us, and rocked us.

POLICA BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

photo 26142 0 4 550x366 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Photo credit: Paste Magazine via Tim Lampe

Put her on a stage and Channy, the petite lead singer of Minnesota band Poliça (pronounced “Police-a”) (@thisispolica) will own it. She combines the grace of a ballet dancer with her own sexy natural groove. The band’s non-linear music reflects these same qualities, dancing across the lines of jazz, rock and pop, and fusing them into a category all its own. The bass lines are brooding, and the synthesized horns and keys are trippy. The vocal melodies, though, are bright, leaving the songs sounding complex yet spirited. Channy’s voice is delicate, but there’s a pliancy in the way she handles the music’s phrasing and an edge to her sweetness that hints at the power of her pipes. Then, there are the two drummers. That’s right. Sitting side by side on individual drumkits. The range and versatility these guys find together is fascinating. At any given moment, they might create an electrifying power by playing the same part simultaneously, or, as though finishing each other’s sentences, they might trade off drum lines or move around one another, layering rhythm upon rhythm. Watch out for this band; once you get a taste of them, you’ll be longing for more. — Cassie Newman

of monster and men BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

6983817439 192f6d19dc BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Photo credit: KEXP via Brittney Bollay

These Icelanders know how to put musical contrasts to good effect. Of Monsters and Men’s (@monstersandmen) songs have an intriguing tension born out of crossing vocal lines that range from smooth and melodic to sharp and staccato and drowning washes of sound that transition into quiet moments of gentle intimacy. They find percussive accents in everything from the chords on the keyboard to their lyrics, repeating one syllable words like “Hey” and “Wait”. The singers, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar þórhallsson, create alluring vocal harmonies, incorporating the jazz elements of call and response, alternating lines of lyrics between them. The six members of the band have quiet personalities onstage; there is nothing extraneous in their performance or their songs. They, like their music, seem smart and self-aware, without taking it all too seriously, and audiences are loving them for it. — Cassie Newman

haim BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

haim sxsw 2012 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

The members of LA’s Haim (@haimtheband) may be sisters, but they’re certainly not a family band. In place of feel good vibes and an overly cheesy demeanor, these three front women, who share vocal duties whilst shredding their instruments, dominate the stage with incredible melodies, unique guitar rhythms, and banter in between songs that makes you want to grab a drink with them after the show. And let me be clear, this is a rock show in the truest sense. Having begun their careers playing classic rock songs with their parents at charity events and street fairs, they seem to have captured some of those band’s allure and charisma. Rooted in instrumental mastery, strong vocals, and a certain disregard for overly crafted appearances, the three sisters of Haim engage the audience because they themselves are completely engrossed in the music – they seem to live it, breathe it, and truly love it. Having opened for Julian Casablancas, Cold War Kids, and Group Love, their touring history is already pretty impressive, not to mention indicative of their dynamic presence on stage. — Lauren McKinney

reptar3 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

reptar7 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Photo credit: Eric Weiner

These Athens, Georgia badasses hit SXSW with a violent upper cut and stole nearly every show they played. At our party on Wednesday, they completely packed Side Bar and put on a flawless performance with more energy than I saw at the rest of the festival.  They’re pretty young guys, yet they’re able to control the audiences’s every move — in fact, lead singer/guitarist Graham Ulicny was even able to stand over a packed crowd and demand that they dance in unison. Ulicny’s vocals were about as distinct as any at the fest, a mix between tribal/jungle chant and baby talk, but their music is still incredibly easy to digest. Reptar (@reptarathens) came into the week as a buzz band, but left as a legitimate contender — perfect timing with their debut LP, Body Faucet, coming out on May 1st. — Eric Weiner

howler1 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

howler spin 550x366 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Photo Credit: Spin Magazine via Ian Witlen

The revivalist garage sound seems to be infiltrating everything these days. For the past few years, it seems as though every other new band lists The Ramones as an influence to their fuzzed-out pop sound. Something about Howler (@howler_band), though, is a little different. Maybe it’s their brute adolescent force, maybe the solid crushing melodies, or maybe, the music is simply so great that it needs to be experienced over and over again. With shambling charisma and the cockiness of 17 year olds, Howler puts on an electric stage show that matches their speaker-blasting pop. They may be one in a long line of groups with a similar sound, but they lighting it up their own way. — Hannah Angst

barr brothers BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

BB6 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

I’ve seen The Barr Brothers (@thebarrbrothers) perform in a variety of settings, but nothing could have prepared me for their breathtaking, awe-inspiring set at St. David’s Cathedral during SXSW. Filled with gorgeous guitar picking, precise percussion, and wondrous harp, the band played one perfect song after another at the filled-to-the-brim cathedral.  For their final number, they asked their friends for some help and shared a spool of thread. Lead singer Brad Barr proceeded to pull the thread through his guitar while he played, creating a unique violin-like sound as the thread rubbed against the guitar strings. At the end of the number, he burned the strings, creating the perfect “pling” and “plong” noises to end their set. As a little bonus, check out the Buzzsession I did with them late last year.  You’re going to love it. — Eric Weiner

KISHI BASHI BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

kb3 550x366 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Photo credit: Lauren Keogh

In a very short period of time, this solo act has won us over completely, and rightfully so! On the Friday evening of SXSW, all those attending The Beehive were treated to a magical performance by Kishi Bashi (@kishi_bashi). In a live setting, his demeanour is both powerful and modest as he formulates a unique musical style with violin, beatbox and loop/effect pedals, carried by an emotional vocal delivery. Not to mention, his down-to-Earth banter and genuine gratefulness for the tightly packed audience was endearing. SXSW was just a stop on his current tour, which is taking him around the US — so if you couldn’t make it down to Austin, you can still catch Kishi Bashi in the early stages of his soon-to-be highly successful career. — Kim Dupuis

BAD RABBITS BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

20120316 Bad Rabbits Wild Honey Pie 4 550x366 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Photo credit: Lauren Keogh

Fun. There’s no better way to describe Bad Rabbits (@badrabbitsband). They’re just straight up fun. With a mix of disco, soul and funk, Bad Rabbits will make you smile, dance and keep singing their catchy songs for weeks afterwards. Seriously, someone who doesn’t start grooving to the immaculate tunes probably doesn’t have a heart. With a little choreographed dancing, a little sexiness and a lot of fire, this band puts on one of the most wildly fun shows you can go to. — Hannah Angst

CLOCK OPERA BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

20120317 Clock Opera Latitude 30 British Music Embassy 7 550x366 BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Photo credit: Lauren Keogh

One of my favorite new finds at SXSW was Clock Opera (@clockopera), a UK band with an enchanting presence and solid sound. Watching from the front row at Hype Machine’s Hype Hotel, I was quickly pulled into a trance of pop goodness. Their performance was a continual juxtaposition of sounds — an ebb and flow of gentleness and harshness, dark and light, highly raw yet also synthetic. On stage, the guys of Clock Opera conveyed a subtle fierceness that played into their musical style. Their debut album is soon to be released in the UK, and while the international release is TBA, we’ll make sure to keep you posted. — Kim Dupuis

AU BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

au live band BEST OF THE BEST OF SXSW 2012

Photo Credit: Consequence of Sound

While this amazing duo wasn’t very well known outside of certain circles coming into SXSW, the stellar performances they put on in Austin will definitely change that. The duo are absolutely scorching on their instruments, playing with dexterity and virtuosity that’s rarely seen in popular music these days. The sound they made was completely different from everything else I heard at SXSW — a mixture of melodic experimental pop and ear crushing noise that was exhilarating and listenable. AU (@autheband) not only make a brand of avant-guarde pop that sounds completely creative and new, but watching them create it live is an experience in itself. — Hannah Angst


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

Add a comment