Austin playlist, pt. 1

For the past few years, SXSW has been something of a distant dream for me. Sure I’ve always wanted to go, but instead of making it out there myself, I kept experiencing it vicariously through other people’s stories.

But after much deliberation, I finally decided to spring for the airfare this year. Yes, in four days I’ll be in Austin.

In preparation for the trip down, I’ve been combing through tons of songs from the festival’s bevy of artists. Thanks to a friend, I managed to get my hands on over 900 mp3s. The list is an odd collection of hip-hop, electronica, garage rock, punk, singer-songwriters, world music, indie-rock, orchestral pop, and yes – even death metal, emo, and country music. Listening to it all in iTunes, you never really know what you’re going to get from one track to the next. It sounds something like this:

Of course, there’s good stuff in there. The trick is finding it. So far, I’m just on the G’s, but I have to say, I think my short list is shaping up to be much more promising than the anything I’ve made for CMJ. SXSW draws not only far more bands than CMJ, but from what I can tell, a more diverse array. For once, they’re not all from New York.

Here are some artists I hope to check out:

Bearsuit, an art-rock pop punk group from Norwich, UK.

Bearsuit (photo courtesy of artist)

“Please Don’t Take Him Back” by Bearsuit:

Bell Gardens, a couple of friends who stay up late at night talking and playing music  over many late nights talking and playing music “loosely based on a sense of ‘pop’ from another time.”

Bell Garden (photo courtesy of artist)

“Through the Rain” by Bell Garden:

Alessi’s Ark, a British singer-songwriter with an lovely voice who left school at age 16 in order to pursue music.

Alessi's Ark (photo courtesy of artist)

“The Robot” by Alessi’s Ark:

Dog Day, a gloomy pop duo from Nova Scotia.

Dog Day (photo courtesy of artist)

“Part Girl” by Dog Day:

Family of the Year, a sunny six-piece folk-pop outfit from LA.

Family of the Year (photo courtesy of the artist)

“Chugjug” by Family of the Year:


Stay tuned for more picks!



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"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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