Monday, March 19, 2012

Conquered by SXSW - Music Recommendations - Part One

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that SXSW 2012 was possibly my best SXSW experience to date. We managed to see a great amount of really amazingly talented bands.

On Friday, I did a quick post on Noah Gundersen, who was definitely the highlight of this year's festivities for me. Not only did he give me chills, he silenced a bar. I mean, straight up silenced a crowded mother fucking bar. People were sitting on the floor, beers forgotten, mouths agape, totally enraptured with his performance.

I'm kind of in love with this picture so I'm posting it again.

It blew my mind.

Though he might have been my favorite live show of the week, there were quite a few more who put on some fantastic shows and really brought all their talents and creativity to the forefront of their performances.

Of Monsters and Men - This band hails from Iceland and their indie/folk sound was both very original and very captivating. With dual vocals and great deal of instruments ranging from percussion and guitars to the glockenspiel, they're songs are full and heavy with emotion.

They're so good, I actually found myself dancing a little when they played Little Talks.

And I never dance.

Futurebirds - Not only are these guys tight and talented musicians (somehow that just sounds dirty to me but whatever), they also put on an incredibly energetic and lively show. There is something about watching a band who looks like they are truly enjoying themselves on stage that makes it that much more fun to see.

Steeped in a country-rock style, Futurebirds add some great reverb and distortion, bringing a whole new sound to a somewhat old-style kind of rock. Throw in some amazing three and four-part harmonies and a ton of energy and these guys captured the essence of what live music (or music in general) is really about.

I have seen Futurebirds at least four times now and strongly suggest you check them out. It'll be worth it.

Bass Drum of Death - Admittedly, when I was making my schedule for SXSW, this band caught my eye with their name. I had only heard one song before I saw them play at the Aquarium Drunkard show but I was insanely impressed with them.

They somehow manage to put together a gritty, garage-band punk-esque style with a mild surfer undertone and it's a great combination, full of fast beats and manic riffs, accompanied by some occasionally snarling vocals.

There you have it! For now, anyway. I'm still in the process of recuperating from a week-long party and trying to make sense of my drunken (and occasionally beer-soaked) notes. There will more reviews later on.

As always, if any of you went to SXSW, please let us know what you saw!! Or, if you just really like a band or musician, tell us about it in the comments. Let's spread the wealth!!


  1. As usual, your music recs are spot-on! I have only heard Of Monsters and Men (not counting SoA theme) so I'm looking forward to checking out some new stuff (I love me some nice harmonizing) - thanks bb! This doesn't make you being gone for a week ok, but at least there's some payoff lol...

    1. Get Of Monsters and Men!! They sounded great.

      And we all know how I feel about Noah Gundersen, lol.

  2. wowwwww. I mean.. wowwwwww. Can I go next year and just follow you around? You're like the sage who has brought back jewels and precious metals n shit! sxsw sounds entirely overwhelming for me but I KNOW i'd have a balllllllll!! loved all these vids you put up. LOVED Gunderson. That vid even inspired me cos I know I can shoot a video like that. Fell in love w beach music before i fell in love with punk so I love them two stoners too :). I gotta go film A F*cking Elaphant soon before they blow up crazy-like!
    ..and we gotta talk JJ. Sober up, willya ;)

    1. Hey, if you can shoot like that, go for it! It was a really awesome video. Glad you liked all the recs!

  3. I'm really liking the Futurebirds. They sound fresh and yes tight (always good in bands too) and yet I like them also because they take me back to my distant youth. Sort of Buffalo Springfield and Poco meet the Dead (the drummer's voice is very retro in the best way) ... and then they bring something all their own.

    1. I have to admit that Futurebirds are one of my favorites to listen to these days. And they're super nice guys, which makes it even better.

  4. I've actually heard of a couple of those bands! I feel almost a teensy weensy bit like a cool kid. Almost. So glad you had a great time this year, bb.

  5. Of Monsters and Men remind me subtly of Boston's Dropkick Murphy's. LUV those guys!

    I feel the same way about and energetic group. If they look like they enjoy what they do and have fun up on stage then the crowd feeds off that energy. I sang in a band for a few years before having kids and it was the most fun I've ever had. Miss it sooooo much.

    Ps: lovin the steel guitar in Futurebirds.

  6. Love Of Monsters and Men...they play them all the time on KEXP here in Seattle. Noah Gundersen is coming to Seattle in April...I may need to put that on my to-do list. Thanks JJ!

  7. Already like Monsters and Men. Futurebirds is the find here for me - I really like them. will have to check out more from them.


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