Friday, March 10, 2017

SXSW 2017 Aspirational Preview


Second Time Around

I'll be heading to Austin for my second year of South By Southwest this coming Monday. The list that follows includes officially showcasing artists whom I've rarely or never seen and whom I'm going to do my darndest to check out while I'm there.

This is on top of the list of favorites like Beach Slang, Sharkmuffin, Fruit & Flowers, High Waisted, Ex-Girlfriends, The Off White, Priests, Downtown Boys, Bash & Pop, Outer Spaces, Jackal Onasis, Stove, Ovlov, Potty Mouth, The Blind Shake, Pujol, Ringo Deathstarr, Spoon, White Reaper, and more.

I'm also going to try and leave room for new discoveries and for general hang time with friends like Little Dickman Records who will be down there for another year of Dickman Does Austin.

And, and, and... ...I'm going to try and be less of a fan and more of a journalist while I'm in Austin. I'll endeavor to bring you some interviews and other cool stuff, so keep your eyes on the CoolDad Music Instagram and YouTube Channel to see if I manage to live up to that promise.

If you'd like a more extensive list of bands I'd like to see in Austin, you can check out the Spotify playlist I posted last week.

Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz

Snow and illness prevented me from attending Crutchfield's recent shows in Jersey City and Brooklyn, but South By Southwest is here to give me some more opportunities. Crutchfield's Tourist in This Town is still in heavy rotation for me. It's a collection of gems that showcases Crutchfield's evolution as a songwriter as well as producer Jeff Zeigler's facility with analog synths.

Aye Nako

Aye Nako's Silver Haze is due in April. If early single "Particle Mace" and recently-released "Spare Me" are any indication, then the album promises to be a collection of scorching, 90s-inflected rock. Through, at times, swaying and, at other times, jagged indie punk, the Brooklyn queer-punk quartet forcefully give voice to those often marginalized in popular music.


Brooklyn DIY five-piece, Baked, live somewhere in that space where shoegaze, noise rock, slow core, and country meet. Oh, you aren't familiar with that space? Take a listen to the band's most recent release, Farnham, and you'll become well-acquainted.

Big Thief

Some people whose opinions I really respect have been telling me for a while now how great Big Thief's Masterpiece is. I'm going to take their advice and do my best to check this band out in Austin. The title track from that album is titled appropriately, btw.

Charly Bliss

OK. OK. I know I've mentioned this Brooklyn band a few times in the last few weeks. I've still never seen them, though. Their combination of heavy 90s rock and bubblegum pop is right in my wheelhouse.

Chastity Belt

I've never listened to as much of Chastity Belt as I should have given my affinity for songs like "Time to Go Home" and "Cool Slut." There's this combination of shoegazy psychedelia and straight-up pop that I just find cool. The Seattle via Walla Walla quartet have a new record coming in June, and recent single "Different Now" is another winner. I'm going to make it a point to check them out in Austin.


A brief, dark encounter with this LA shoegaze band when CoolMom and I visited New Orleans last year was all it took to get me hooked. I went to the show on the recommendation of Chris and Amy Dickman; and it ended up being a highlight of the trip for me. I'm glad I get another chance to check these guys out.

A Giant Dog

I had my chance to see A Giant Dog at South By Southwest last year, and I blew it. Not this time. This Austin-based band really grew on me as I spent time with their gritty and glammy Pile. I hear their live show is really something to see.

Go Fever

I've been receiving a ton of email submissions in advance of SXSW, and it's honestly been pretty overwhelming. This Austin band stood out to me, though. The sound of Go Fever's s/t LP reminded me a bit of another Austin band, Tele Novella, with whom I became obsessed last year. Go Fever trades some of that band's retro surf for more new wavy pop, and Australian ex-pat Acey Monaro's big voice gives everything an extra punch.


Yet another band I missed at last year's festival. Queer pop punks PWR BTTM are just frigging fun, and I won't make the same mistake again.


If I remember correctly, Sammus was the first act I caught during The New Alternative Music Festival. Ithaca, NY's Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo made the huge Convention Hall seem small during a set in which she rapped about both self-doubt and self-confidence, about feeling marginalized and taking power back.


I caught the tail-end, like maybe part of the last song, of Vagabon's set at September's New Alternative Music Festival in Convention Hall. Since then, the project of Laetitia Tamko released Infinite Worlds. Singles "Fear & Force" and "The Embers" are both standouts, and I firmly resolve to catch a set from Vagabon and to spend more time with the album.

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