Thursday, March 12, 2015

SXSW 2015 - BANDS TO WATCH

There's excitement in the air as SXSW is upon us once again.  With today's up-and-coming bands descending to Austin next week, I'm sure you've read all the 'Must See" lists out there by now but if you crave for another list of bands to see at this year's SXSW, I've compiled a list of bands definitely worth checking out this year.  In no particular order, here is my list:


MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS

Aka: Marina Diamandis is my favorite artist at this years' festival.  I just love this woman!! LOVE HER!

Marina has grown as an artist and it shows in her music.  Not only does she write her own songs which is unheard of in the pop world today, she has transformed herself from pop-princess with a lush production to an artist who has matured and found her voice  which shows through her stripped-down and more lyrically vulnerable songs. 




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WOLF ALICE

This UK band are currently on their first headlining tour of the U.S. after being named on the prestigious BBC Sound of 2015 which highlights the best new artists for the year ahead.  Wolf Alice reminds me of early 90s alternative, echoing the sugary sounds of Letters to Cleo, Belly with the moody, grungy melodies of Temple of the Dog.  They play loud and their passion-packed sets pack quite a wallop.   But they're more than a fast and loud band.  Their new songs, which they've been previewing during their live shows off their upcoming debut album, shows that they've become more ambitious, playing around with melody and different musical genres. “It’s 100 percent not a grunge record. It’s a much braver record than that,” lead singer Ellie Rowsell recently told NME.



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THE TING TINGS
pic via Facebook.com/TheTingTings
The English duo, consisting of Katie White and Jules De Martino just released their third studio album Super Critical was released in January to critical praise

The Ting Tings made a big impact in the music industry when they released We Started Nothing in 2008.   We Started Nothing was certified multi-platinum and  peaked at No. 1 on the UK charts with the help of their hit songs "That's Not My Name," "Great DJ" and "Shut Up and Let Me Go."    




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COURTNEY BARNETT
photo via Facebook.com/CourtneyBarnettMusic
There's a reason Courtney is showing up on everyone's SXSW "Must See" list.   Her songs make you want to head bang one minute (Pedestrian at Best) and sway to her hypnotizing slacker-rock the next (History Eraser).  Just make it a priority to check her out not once, but two or three times!  



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MEG MAC


Australia's most buzzworthy breakout artist, Meg Mac in not on a lot of people's radar stateside just yet.   She just signed with US label 300 and is scheduled to make her U.S. debut at this years' SXSW ahead of her release of her debut EP on April 7th.  She's been the talk of the music scene in her hometown in Sydney. Although unknown yet here in the states, Meg Mac has been selling out her tour across Australia.   Other than being nominated for Rolling Stone's "Best New Artist" award, the 24 year-old was named one of Marie Claire's Artists to Watch in 2015 and won Triple J's Unearthed Artist award last year. 





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KATE TEMPEST
pic via Facebook.com/katetempest
Something about UK's Kate Tempest songs that makes me want to listen to more.  Tempest has a knack for writing raw and vulnerable lyrics that fly off the page.   Poet by day, hip-hop singer by night, Tempest will surely make you a believer of the spoken word. 





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SOAK

pic via facebook.com/Soak0fficial
When you hear Soak's emotionally charged melodies you get that feeling that no matter how dark and bleak it gets, her songs have a flicker of hope, like that far-off, distant light at the end of the tunnel.  

This Irish singer/songwriter whose real name is Bridie Monds-Watson was singled out to be included in BBC Sounds' Top 15 artists to watch in 2015.  This annual poll has also  predicted the success of Sam Smith, Haim, Ellie Goulding and Adele (to name a few) way before the mainstream media started writing about them.  That's quite a feat for an 18 year old.  And a panel of music critics, DJs and broadcasters can't be wrong.  




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HALSEY

This 20 year-old has  already sold out her upcoming headlining tour which includes major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and New York  and she will go on tour with Imagine Dragons this summer.  She's accomplished all this after releasing her debut EP Room 93 last October and with an album reportedly due this summer, it's best to catch her now so you can  brag to your friends that you've seen her play live before Taylor Swift starts hanging out with her and begins to tweet pictures of the both of them on yachts.   




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HINDS
pic via facebook.com/hindsband
Just when this all-girl band from Spain was gaining momentum and built critical praise from fans and music critics with their surf/garage rock, they were forced to change their names from Deers to Hinds due to another band of the same name.  No matter.  The name may have changed but the music and attitude stayed the same.  NME tapped Hinds as the artist to watch in 2015 calling them "Europe's most exciting new band" and now they're heading to SXSW sandwiched between stops in New York and Southern California.   





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RYN WEAVER
pic via facebook.com/RynWeaver
One single tweet made an unknown singer, Ryn Weaver, the hottest singer in the world late last year.  It was from Charli XCX and she tweeted out Ryn Weaver's new song "OctaHate."   Soon after, the song rocketed to No. 1 on Billboard's Emerging Artists Charts and was shared and championed by other artists like Paramore's Hayley Williams and Jessie Ware.  

She made nearly every music publication's "Artist to Watch" list after the release of her catchy single "OctaHate" and backed by a team that includes Charli XCX, super producer/writer Benny Blanco and Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos, Weaver is set to take the reigns of being the next super-star, pop artist with an upcoming debut album.




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TOVE LO


She was just announced as a feature performer at Perez Hilton's Annual 'One Night in Austin' SXSW event.  Known for her brutally honest lyrics, Tove Lo has confessed lyrically in the past to ''seeing it all..going to sex clubs..getting high all the time and being too easy."

In her new song "Talking Body" Tove Lo doesn't want to play games and waste time speaking to someone to try and get to know them. The only compatibility she's concerned with is how great the sex is because, as she says, "If you love me right. We fuck for life."  The only talking going on is the language of love which, as we all know, is the universal language - Body Talking.

Her song which is off her debut album Queen of the Clouds which dropped in September has a video to accompany the dark and smoky dance beat  where we see Tove Lo going club to club, hooking up with a wanted criminal.  See how it all ends below.  




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ELLIPHANT

Singer Elliphant is the latest musical sensation to come out of the Swedish pop scene.  Influenced by London's urban music environment, Elliphant (aka: Ellinor Olovsdotter) fused those urban sounds with her dance/ dubsteb background to create a sound all her own. And it's those imaginative and catchy melodies in songs like "Can't Hear It" that  has brought the attention from Diplo, Dr. Luke and even Skrillex who all, have since worked and written songs with her. Her tunes like her live shows are filled with attitude while strutting in your face unabashedly.   




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ALVVAYS

Canadian alt-rockers Alvvays' rock ballad "Archie, Marry Me"  is swoony and vintage.  It's off their debut album which dropped last year which also includes reverb-flooding melodies makes you feel like you’re sunbathing in their warmth of alt-punk guitars and slacker-esque harmonies.  And there’s something about lead singer’s Molly Rankin’s bouncy vocals that's soothing to your soul.



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WAXAHATCHEE


Waxahatchee's (aka: Katie Crutchfield) buzzing guitar songs border on melancholy-folk-pop which bleeds emotional and a deep.  And it's in that vulnerability that she shines in its simplicity.  




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SCREAMING FEMALES

The New Jersey trio just released their 6th studio album Rose Mountain and has NPR's First Listen proclaiming, “these songs channel the spirit of punk, but also the density of heavy rock that's had the fat cut out.”

The New Jersey trio who has been featured on Spin Magazine and Rolling Stone will put on a show for the ages, bringing their garage-punk wailings to Stubb's day show on March 20th.  

Tormenting Smashing Pumpkins-esque melodies sewn with sharp, Van Halen-like riffs, pint-sized front-woman Marissa Paternoster screams and thrashes without abandon.  But although it seems like they're raising anarchy onstage it's Screaming Females' sense of control that impresses most, like a well trained knife juggler, you cant' take your eyes off them - sooner or later they may draw blood.





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CATHEDRALS

That tremor you're feeling is from this San Francisco duo, Brodie Jenkins and Johnny Hwin,  and they've been shaking up the music scene in the bay area since they released their debut EP last September.  Their synth-pop singles "Harlem" and "Want My Love" has been generating a lot of buzz in the blogosphere.  Their songs does so much with its sheer simplicity before soaring into a wall of ethereal soundscapes.  Hauntingly beautiful and layered with lead singer Brodie Jenkins' powerful and sultry vocals, their melodies are as colorful as sunlight shining through a stained glass window.  Recently, it was announced that Cathedrals were 1 of 10 new artists picked for Spotify's Emerge program, whose previous winners include Bastille, Atlas Genius and Macklemore.





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HOLYCHILD


Featured by Buzzbands LA as a band to watch, Holychild turned heads with their single "Happy With Me," set to marching beats and anthem-like choruses.  With bouncy popness with real messages, this duo consisting of Nistico and Louie Diller are no fluke.  The EP Mindspeak isn't just an album which is forgotten once the summer is over.  Based on electrifying performances alone, Holychild are here to stay.





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CHARLOTTE OC

CHARLOTTE OC
The UK's newest import is soulful songstress-songwriter Charlotte OC with a powerful voice  and melodies that's dipped in a little goth and a little pop. Her newest EP Strange is full of haunting yet beautiful melodies that will prove to you why she's been tapped by music tastemakers like BBC as the next breakout artist.   




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WELL HUNG HEART
Well Hung Heart pic via SXSW.com
Forged in blood and sweat, their punk/blues and rock concoction will awaken the bad girl (or boy) inside of you.  

This duo consisting of  Greta Valenti and Robin Davey  are the hardest working band in Los Angeles, going out each night playing hard and loud and leaving their hearts and souls onstage.  With a loyal fanbase from both sides of the Atlantic,  Well Hung Heart can go from blistering rock one second and quickly transition to moody ballad the next.   There's a reason they took home Best Live Band Showcase Award at last years' OC Music Awards.



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ZELLA DAY

Enter Zella Day, the LA-transplant with her whimsical folk/pop melodies that conjures images of  fruitful rains on barren landscapes that, in one minute can be cracked dry, and the next, sprouting with bright, lush poppies.  Her songs are simple yet complex but it's her voice that, like someone taking you by the hand and leading the way, draws you into her world.  Listen to her singles "Sweet Ophelia" and "1965" to be transported into her world.



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VÉRITÉ
pic via www.facebook.com/veriteohverite
VÉRITÉ made a grand arrival in the music world when her debut single "Strange Enough" instantly became the #1 most viral on Twitter and crowned her as the #1 artist on Hype Machine. Her second single, "Weekend", matched those accolades on Hype Machine and Twitter, and built up to her debut EP, "Echo", which has collectively racked up 3,500,000+ streams online since its release just a few months ago. She has been featured by Buzzfeed, Refinery29, NYLON, Idolator, and countless other taste-makers including The Line of Best Fit who called her a "rising pop star ready to make her mark", and Neon Gold who said she is "steps towards pop royalty". VÉRITÉ will be releasing a follow up EP surrounding both a US and UK tour in spring/summer 2015. 






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BEGINNERS

Feeling sad and down?  Just listen to "Who Knows," the bubbly-pop single from Beginners with its colorful arrangements and infectious chorus that will turn that frown upside down.  But seriously, this one song alone was enough to make me want to hear more from this LA band.  

Based on their debut EP, released last year, which gained immediate recognition from Rolling Stone, The Gaurdian, Neon Gold Records and Huffington Post, Beginners were able to go on tour and support bands like Walk The Moon, Tove Lo, Yacht and Mr. Little Jeans.  






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DEAD SARA

This is a must-see show.  From what I see, Dead Sara only has one show scheduled  - and it's a day show on the rooftop of Maggie Mae's on March 18th.   Currently, they're in the middle of their own headlining tour.  And since they have shows in Dallas and Houston days before, it looks like they're making a quickstop in Austin before continuing their tour in Columbia, Missouri three days later.  Two years ago, Dead Sara was also in the middle of another tour supporting Muse and performed one night at SXSW before taking their tour bus for a 15 hour trip to Phoenix for a performance the very next day.  Even with their grueling schedule, fans need not worry.  Dead Sara always performs at 110 percent, just like all their shows leaving fans fulfilled and exhausted just as exhausted as lead singer Emily Armstrong who performed with blood, sweat and tears, leaving everything on stage

On March 31, Dead Sara are planning on releasing their new album Pleasure to Meet You.  It's the follow-up to their 2012 breakout self-debut album that showcased their fierce and blistering guitars in rock-anthems like "Lemon Scent" and "Weatherman."  


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