We were on this kid early and look at him now! Synth wiz/your favorite DJ named after a water sport takes a trippy spin on the perennial indie/hipster favorite Foster The People’s “Best Friend”. This official remix merges the smooth edges of the Aussie Wave Racer and the great hooks of Mark Foster and to create a whole new and quite unexpected spin on the track.
So you’ve prob heard Foster’s P.U.K. enough times this summer to make you P.U.K.E. but do give this new version of the smash hit reimagined by those kooky Kooks a spin. Cut today at BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge as part of their excellent covers series, The Kooks refashion the song a single guitar driven UK pop jam (not unlike their own sound lol). Hit that play button!
We arrived during Cults set, and caught a band often too overlooked on last year’s ‘best of’ lists. But not by everybody, “Go Outside” was recently re-released through Columbia. Judging by their set, and if we were gamblers (and a gentleman never tells), we’d bet pretty handsomely that you’ll be seeing a lot more action from Cults in 2011.
Cults – Go Outside
The Vaccines set was full of energy, fast-paced, and over before you knew what had happened. It says a lot when a band with a set full of short-running songs can so captivate their public (their first single runs only 1:24 long). With catchy hooks and melodies on songs like “Blow Up” and “If You Wanna”, they impressed a courtyard of eager listeners. “Wreckin’ Bar” killed. “Post Break Up Sex” had us popping around. The set was kinetic and fun. Pay attention, kids, cause The Vaccines are definitely a band to watch out for in 2011. And stay tuned for an exclusive b3sci interview with the band backstage after their set. And yes, the interview is about 50% talk about penises. C’mon what did you expect?
The Vaccines – Norgaard
Foster The People again played to make some noise. That’s sick set #2 we’d caught from them. 2-0, boys. Read about sick set #1 here.
If you know b3sci then you know that we are BIG fans of Raphael Saadiq, so suffice to say we were pretty excited to see his set next. We’d missed him at Stubb’s the night prior but left the performance at Cedar Street impressed nonetheless. Strongly rooted in jazz, blues, and R&B, Saadiq gave a performance that was funky and full of soul, mixing influences from greats like Chuck Berry and James Brown. Saadiq’s band was great. Consisting of a drummer, a bassist, two guitarists, a keyboardist, and two excellent backup singers, the Saadiq band provided a proper foundation for his sound. The pocket was tight, the harmonies were on point, and the vibe was right. Material wise, we heard a collection of new tracks from Saadiq’s forthcoming studio album, Stone Rollin’. What we heard was really really good. More of that 70’s soul inspired sound we’ve heard in singles “Good Man” and “Radio” with big beats and huge hooks.
Following a set from Friendly Fires, which I sadly missed, LA’s latest talk of the town Foster The People took to the stage.. or backyard tent. Fresh off the heels off of what’s likely to be LA’s best residency showing yet in 2011, this young multi-instrumentalist and multi-tasking collective proved not an ounce short of all the hype they’ve been showered with at this their first SXSW appearance. With only their Foster the People EP available to fans right now, and their single “Pumped Up Kicks” spreading like a wild fire in the blogosphere, the band proved to also be a live force to be reckoned with. Foster the People’s performance reminded me of early MGMT shows and records; the grooves, the dance party vibes. The band’s songs seemed to translate better in a live setting vs. on record, with Mark Foster’s lead vocals especially on point. How could we not love “Pumped Up Kicks” next level chorus hooks… it’s sound immediately familar (like all good pop songs) but yet unique to the band (like all great pop songs). Set highlight “Houdini”, sounded great and has equal hit potential. The best news is that every track the band played, be it even new or forthcoming material, held up without dull moment. Foster the People’s live show is definitely one to check on. It’s happy, it’s uptempo, it’s energy, it’s happening. Into it.
Foster the People – Houdini
Between the Foster set and the prep from Mount Kimbie, Local Natives set up shop inside the club for a special DJ set. They spun Mark Ronson. We sipped the free Sailor Jerry Rum. The party was flying high.
b3sci favorites Mount Kimbie took the backyard tent next with equipment poised on a… picnic bench! Kimbie were solid as expected. We caught their LA debut back in October which at the time came in tow with some sick visuals to back up the duo’s innovative brand of multi-instrumental experimental electro. As a sign of any great artist, strip that all down and the guys still kill it. Relying on great instincts with samples and overall live musical manipulation, the act’s brief but great set was a fitting auditory illustration of Kimbie’s sound. A sound palpable enough to more casual electro fans but challenging enough to keep interested the most serious fans of the genre.
Opening for Friendly Fires at The Roxy on Wednesday following one of LA’s best residency showings in recent memory, Foster The People are one of LA’s best new offerings. How great is that hook on “Pumped Up Kicks”? At least mid-day whistle worthy? Check out their new video for the track below and catch them at this year’s sold out Coachella Music & Arts Festival… OR listen to a signed vinyl of the single that we’ll be giving away to one lucky reader! Hit up our email with “old people try to figure out computers” in the subject header. We’ll pick our winner on Tuesday. Good luck!
We divided and we conquered. Team B3SCI took to the streets of Austin, TX this past March for the annual SXSW Music Conference. Among the seemingly infinite amount of shows we caught by bands from all over the planet, B3 was there with non-stop coverage including exclusive interviews, take-away performance sessions, and even our B3SCI Presents first ever SX-party! So check out from SXSW 2013 some of what you missed, you remember, and what you straight up forgot about with this firsthand look back:
Sunday, March 10th
Seryn @ Holy Mountain
I must confess that I had never heard of Seryn before SXSW. On Sunday night, after a long day of trekking about, I ended up walking into Holy Mountain. As I walked in, and took a gander at the surroundings, the bar was about half full and easily navigable. As I made my way in, the band began to play; I could feel the pulse of the kick drum as the sound waves of the low end penetrated the walls, the layered vocals came through with a bright passion, the accordion mixed with the guitar and bass and complemented the percussion, creating a powerful sound that instantly grabbed me. The growing attentive audience seemed to be in on something that I’ve been missing out on. Seryn has an appreciation for skilled musicianship, that can not be replaced by a programmed loop, and their thoughtfully crafted songs are more orchestral than folk-like. It’s not hard to become a fan of Seryn. By Desiree Autobee
Monday, March 11th
Poolside @ Mohawk
I’d say the best time to go to SXSW, and not feel pressure, is the day before the music portion is officially set to start. The place to be that Monday evening was Mohawk – it was a breeze to get in and it was slated with a really great lineup. The perfect band to compliment the calm before the SXSW storm was Poolside. With chill beats and solid bass lines, their songs are ripe for a groove or two. It seemed like the entire crowd sunk their bodies into each song, willingly giving up their control for the opportunity to be transported into the rhythmic world that Poolside has so expertly created. By Desiree Autobee
Vacationer @ Mohawk
If ever there was a way to escape a bad day or a general need to have a relaxing good time, I’d recommend seeing a Vacationer show. Their midnight slot at Mohawk on Monday night was packed and it set a great tone for the remainder of SXSW. Vacationer sounded just as good live as they do on the album. Kenny Vasoli does a great job as a frontman, translating Vacationer’s subtly subdued electro-pop sound into a performance that is every bit as energetic as the music is laid-back. Vasoli was genuinely appreciative of the crowd that night, mentioning the band had played SXSW the year before without much notoriety; extensive touring since then with bands along the likes of Tennis, Body Language, and Niki & The Dove, as well as music placements and coverage by the music community has catapulted Vacationer’s fan base – deservedly so. By Desiree Autobee
Tuesday, March 12th
Dan Croll @ Cheer Up Chalie’s
Dan Croll hit it out of the park Tuesday afternoon at Cheer Up Charlie’s. His electronic-fused singer/songwriter pop was truly infectious and took hold of the audience. He and his band played tight, sounding great in addition to being charming with banter in between songs. Croll has become a true professional in the short time that he’s made an impact on the music scene. By Desiree Autobee
Zak Waters @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
Zak Waters is a force to be reckoned with. From the moment go, he and his band made you almost forget it was the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday. Waters’ high energy matched the high danceability to his soulful music and the crowd couldn’t move from stage-one (previous performance) to stage-two (where he was) fast enough; Cheer Up Charlie’s turned into a midday dance party. I saw many bands play at SXSW, Zak Waters was a standout. By Desiree Autobee
Guards @ Empire Control Room
New York’s Guards have been creating a stir. They delivered a stellar set at the Empire Control Room on Tuesday despite crappy sound in a room that seems mostly perfect for hardcore punk or metal bands. In a live setting Guards have a straight forward, energetic, hard pop approach that supports consistently good songs. Their debut album is yet to drop, but last song of their set, “Ready to Go” is a single that is putting people on notice that this is a band to watch. By Bruce Rave
Young Girls @ BD Riley’s
Roaming about on 6th St., I followed my ears into BD Riley’s Irish Pub. The scene was a bit strange at first, as I walked in and felt as though I had interrupted a PTA dinner convention, but the music was in wonderful stark contrast to the visual before me, and sounded like it should have been coming from a sun-kissed Levi’s commercial (or similar,etc). It became easy to forget about the people around me and the chaos outside, and to focus on the warm, retro-garage pop being played. Young Girls aren’t young girls, rather they are a quartet of young men, and their music makes you want to take a sick day and head out to the beach. Song after song, they played their hearts out and created a hazy west-coast vibe in the middle of SXSW. This Texas band is one to watch. By Desiree Autobee
Wednesday, March 13th
Blondfire @ B3SCI PRESENTS @ MAGGIE MAE’S
Amidst non-stop touring in support of their numerous successful and recent releases, around noon, Blondfire kicked off the B3SCI Presents dayparty at Maggie Mae’s with a line out the door. Erica Driscoll took charge of her four-piece band, initiating the first daytime of SXSW music with a high energy output of hits and fan favorites like “Where The Kids Are,” “Waves” and “Trojans.”
NO CEREMONY /// NOC @ B3SCI PRESENTS @ MAGGIE MAE’S
For their first ever show in the United States NO CEREMONY /// delivered a stirring representation of ambient pop music without hesitation. The Manchester collective performed as a trio, and their electronic set up was accompanied with live vocals, guitars, bass and a variety of percussion. Stunning graphics displayed via mounted projector on stage with the band, accenting yet another layer of depth behind the elusive band. I went on to see /// NOC three more times during SXSW and thus are one of our favorite take-aways from the festival.
Ghost Beach @ B3SCI PRESENTS @ MAGGIE MAE’S
Having seen Ghost Beach perform before, I knew to expect a high energy, electro-pop blow out from the band at Maggie Mae’s for B3SCI’s showcase. The New York duo absolutely rocked the house and have since become a favorite of mine. Playing different songs from their self-titled EP and 2012 release Modern Tongues, Ghost Beach proved to be on the lips of a lot of people at SXSW. It also helps that they would go on to play 8 showcases during the conference. Worth noting, the band had recently taken an ad space in Times Square promoting a social experiment of theirs that asks artists if they are for or against piracy. It’s pretty cool, check it out here. By Brian Litwin
Phil Beaudreau took to the rooftop at Maggie Mae’s with Grammy Award winning producer Dawaun Parker for a first time ever live performance on Wednesday at SXSW. You wouldn’t have known it though. The LA based duo root back to Berklee U in Boston and they had a certain chemistry on stage. Performing early tracks surfaced from Beaudreau’s anticipated debut, Ether, like “This Is Why,” “Anyway,” and “Take It High,” in addition to unreleased material, the two worked the stage. The group’s collaboration of progressive urban beats and new school soul is a winning sound for pop in our books. You can check some footage of their performance here.
Gold Fields @ B3SCI PRESENTS @ MGGIE MAE’S
Gold Fields didn’t merely play the B3SCI Presents SXSW party, they stormed it. The energy of their live show surprises those who only know their Black Sunday album, which the band toned down to display their electronic nuances. Their set-closer “Moves” was the most dynamic single song I heard played all week in Austin, and many people were talking about this band’s live shows. By Bruce Rave
SKATERS @ B3SCI PRESENTS @ MAGGIE MAE’S
SKATERS seemed to have a lot to say in Austin this year. The band is hot off the heels of their “I Wanna Dance” single with some major press surrounding it. Live, the band is loud, tight and singer Michael Ian Cummings was as charismatic as dare we say.. Julian Casablancas. But more than anything, the self described plasma-punks delivered the goods. Not like your too-frequent NYC guitar band, SKATERS have a direct quality. A sound that’s to the point, one that will last well beyond most basements in Williamsburg. A recently announced national tour with Portugal. The Man might serve as some indication of this bands potential and future trajectory.
The 1975 @ B3SCI PRESENTS @ MAGGIE MAE’S
One of the most exciting acts of SXSW 2013 was Manchester’s The 1975. Being big fans of this band from their early days, it was surreal to see them headline the first ever B3SCI Presents SX-event. It became clear that The 1975 raise the bar when it comes to performing. With live shows a big part of their message, the band spared no expense showcasing their major festival ready material, intricate arrangements, explosive performance and impressive musicianship. Besides the musical inclination, there is a timelessly dramatic quality to their sound, offering elements that a diverse climate of fans can relate to. With their pleathera of jukebox ready tunes, and a capitivating live performance to boot, The 1975 were a standout of SXSW for many that we talked to. Keep an eye out for a debut album from the lads dropping later this 2013.
Trails & Ways @ B3SCI PRESENTS @ MAGGIE MAE’S
Passion & belief, the two things that, for us, define a lot of Trails & Ways live show… and really much anything about the Bay Area band’s trajectory up to now. The band’s connection to their (excellent) material and to their performance is really remarkable. A singular and unique mix of indie pop, Brazilian music and R&B; songs like single “Nunca” and the sunny yet literate “Border Crosser” come off in comparable quality to the records, but with that added art-as-experience (and aforementioned) belief and passion. Trails & Ways are a band that has to make (this) music and has to make records like this. To experience it is really very powerful.
Flume @ Red 7
21 year old producer Harley Streten, has garnished a lot of attention in recent months. From releasing tracks that have exploded all over the internet and in turn making his self titled album Flume a platinum record in his home country of Australia, the hype behind him has been large. The line to see Flume at Red 7 was huge, and a lot fans waiting knew they weren’t going to get into one of the evening’s hotter showcases at the venue as well (CHVRCHES was playing just 30 minutes after in the larger patio area). Harley came out a bit slow, but things picked up quickly. He dropped familiar tracks to those who follow him like “Insane,” “On Top,” “Left Alone” and a crowd favorite “Holdin’ On”. By Brian Litwin
Autre Ne Veut @ Empire Auto Club
Arthur Ashin aka Autre Ne Veut has made waves with his new release Anxiety on Software Records. With a lot of hype comes a lot of expectations and at the Empire Auto Club Autre Ne Veut met all of them. Ripping through the album’s two singles “Counting” and “Play By Play,” he had the entire audience in awe. Though the experimental pop singer’s music is not very intense, the live performance is. Autre Ne Veut was all over the stage literally throwing himself into falsettos and dropping down to the ground with the heaviness of the lyrics. I can easily say that this was the best performance I saw at SXSW. By Brian Litwin
CHVRCHES @ Red 7
Of the last to be announced by SXSW, CHVRCHES (pronounced churches) might have won ‘the most buzz’ award at this years SXSW. The Glasgow three piece is an electropop group, consisting of Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty. The trio fulfilled much of the hype surrounding them at Red 7 that Thursday night. Having gained numerous fans online and the attention of indie all-stars Glassnote Records, CHRVCHES came out calm and collected. Bouncing between the select amount of songs they have, they had the Red 7 crowd grooving, playing hits like “Recover” and “The Mother We Share.” By Brian Litwin
Thursday, March 14th
SIR SLY @ HYPE HOTEL
Given the explosive success for bands like Foster the People following SXSW 2011, Sir Sly were high on my list of bands to see in Austin this year. Like the aforementioned, the trio are from Los Angeles and only had 3 songs out before the conference. The differences are though plenty still, and definitely in tone and image. Sir Sly have a darker sensibility to their pop music. Near equally as melodic, their live show is also more refined. Sir Sly delivered a solid set of new material proving that they too are ones to be watched out for in 2013.
HAERTS @ RED EYED FLY
There was little known about Haerts leading into SXSW 2013. With no pictures of the band available on line, and only one song, “Wings” (of which is great) available, the packed back patio at the Red Eyed Fly anxiously awaited the band’s set. And the multi-cultural collective based out of NYC Hearts delivered on expectations, doing so with a dynamic performance of new material. With enough contemporary elements to maintain a progressive sound in today’s musical ecosphere, my favorite elements of the band harkened at their classic rock roots, summoning CSNY, Fleetwood Mac, and Neil Yong to name a few.
MØ @ RED EYED FLY
MØ (pronounced meh I’m pretty sure…) was a favorite surprise of the week. Also, with only a few tracks released to her name, the Danish female indie popstar in the making took to stage with an attitude that beemed nothing short of confidence. Her music is almost as unique as her name and presence: high energy, tons of odd contortions, and really really good. Excited to see what the future holds for this young artist that definitely knows how to operate outside of the box.
Phosphorescent @ Willie Nelson’s Ranch
I had the incredible opportunity to get away from the chaos of SXSW and join some of the locals at Willie Nelson’s Luck, Texas ranch for the Heartbreaker Banquet showcase. Topping the bill for this small capacity outdoor venue were Jim James and Michael Kiwanuka. Though buzzing artist Phosphorescent is who caught my eye. The booze was free that day, the weather was incredible and the fans came by the mini-van full, making a perfect setting for the Matthew Houck lead group. It was more than appropriate for Phosphorescent to play at Willie Nelson’s Ranch considering his 2009 release was titled To Willie, and his most recent album Muchacho, is getting rave reviews. The single off Muchacho, “Song For Zula,” might just be one to see some radio play in 2013. By Brian Litwin
Toy @ Cedar Street Courtyard
This was the first-ever US gig for this Brit band. They had just arrived in Austin the late night before. Their single is “Motoring” and that is a perfect description of Toy’s live show, which literally motors along. They play tight and are capable of longer jams, for example their performance of tracks like “Kopter”. Toy anticipate an extensive US tour upon approval of longer-term visas. By Bruce Rave
The Neighbourhood @ ASOS Lounge
Having exploded as one of the most talked about bands of the past year The Neighbourhood came well equipped to their first ever SXSW. Cohesive is actually a good way of putting it. The Neighbourhood is a band without identity crisis. Their look is as dapper punk as their music is similarly pop. Indie rock with the lush overtones of the pacific coast crashed through The Neighbourhood’s set of most spectacular, alternative radio friendly songs. Much more to come from The Neighbourhood.
Peace @ The Mohawk
The Birmingham, UK band Peace are still very new to the rock and roll limelight. They have a compelling, slightly dark, slightly off kilter style and look that totally works. Peace had some tight songs such as “Wraith” and “Bloodshake,” but also stretched out on a dark jam every now and then. Peace are psychedlic Brit rockers for the radar. By Bruce Rave
Palma Violets @ The Mohawk
These UK newbies showed that their pre-album NME hype was well deserved. Palma Violets had NME’s #1 track of 2012 with “Best Of Friends”. This band has an onstage confidence that would lead us to believe they’d been topping the charts for 5 years. They completely nailed “Best Of Friends” live, while the entire set hammered us with consistency, power, and intensity. By Bruce Rave
Disclosure @ 1100 Warehouse
The Disclosure duo, consisting of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, was a must see at this year’s SXSW. Everyone was at this show, industry players, fans, bloggers and even fellow DJ duo Bondax. The set was pure fire, blasting their singles “Latch” and “White Noise” and at the same time infusing live elements like drums, vocals and bass. People didn’t care that it was well past midnight for the beginning of their set, and that the venue was far removed from the more congested 6th street. They all came to see one the top draws of the whole festival, and Disclosure didn’t disappoint. By Brian Litwin
JAKE BUGG @ HYPE HOTEL
Jake Bugg took to arms with just his acoustic guitar at the Hype Hotel for a brief set late Thursday night. Possibly because things were delayed, and it was something like 2am, but the young lad from Knottingham brought his mod folk song sensibility to the eager crowd. The writing wisdom of the 18 years old Bugg is pretty incredible, combining influences from Dylan to Ashcroft. Only a microphone and a guitar is all Jake Bugg will ever need.
Friday, March 15th
Alpine @ Red 7
The debut LP from Alpine was released in their native Australia last year. It’s not often that a band can make a quality album from beginning to finish, but Alpine has done just that. The band apply that same level of craftsmanship to their live performance as well. During one of their SXSW shows at Red 7 on Friday, I noticed a few fans up front (myself included), the band played to a mostly fresh crowd, as the troves poured in during their set. Each song Alpine played built upon the previous, gaining momentum and energy as the set went on, turning a room full of unsuspecting ears into a room full of grooving SX-goers. Alpine have a unique formula for blending rock, pop, vocal and synth elements, seemingly creating new song forms altogether. Frontwomen Phoebe Baker and Lou James artfully combined demureness with high energy, for a dynamic performance that the band and the audience came alive from. By Desiree Autobee
Merchandise @ Red 7
Punks turned Artful Punks, Merchandise most definitely brought the Punk to SXSW. They rather fortuitously (or not, depending on your perspective) also brought pieces and parts of the more updated elements of their sound to their brief late afternoon set at Red 7. Aside from the weirdness (read hilariousness) of the band members accents sounding EXACTLY like some of my family from Tampa, FL., Merchandise’s performance was loud, noisy, fast and really really good.
Different Sleep @ Hudon’s on Fifth
If you read B3SCI, then you know that Different Sleep’s name pops up on the frequent. There is good reason for that. For being a sophomore in college, Rafa Alvarez amazes us constantly with his downtempo, chillers. I got a chance to chat with him and catch his set at Hudson’s on 5th. His set was dope and expect to hear my exclusive interview with him on the streets of Austin via B3SCI sometime soon. By Brian Litwin
San Cisco @ Maggie Mae’s
Keeping it in the British Commonwealth, Australia’s San Cisco has improved exponentially every time I’ve seen them perform. This very young band scoarched an onlooking crowd with tightness and energy at Maggie Mae’s on Friday. Highlights included “Awkward” and “Rocket Ships” from their Awkward EP. With talented 19 year old singer Jordi Davieson at the helm, San Cisco are proving themselves highly popular with the young girls, and they also did very well playing just before The Vaccines at a show that I had caught in LA not too long ago. By Bruce Rave
Beware of Darkness @ Blackheart
Beware of Darkness is a young LA trio that rocks hard. For a power trio this band is inventive. Think Zeppelin meets early Bowie. Like many of these more promising bands, they have yet to release an album, but their song “Howl” is a winning single. Frontman Kyle Nicolaides shows major star potential. By Bruce Rave
BONDAX @ LA ZONA ROSA
Things got down really quick at La Zona Rosa when UK DJ duo Bondax, George Townsend and Adam Kaye, took over the decks. At this venue near the river, fans got to experience what the UK has been digging for quite some time. Switching between who was at the helm, George opened the set with Moon Boots’ remix of “Gold,” which set the party off right. Throwing in some deep house and smooth samples and closing the set with the original version of “Gold,” Bondax really put their foot down on Austin. Review By Brian Litwin
Savages @ 1100 Warehouse
We’ve heard “Husbands” a lot. It’s one of those “buzz singles” that’s not easy to miss. “Husbands, husbands, husbands”, it’s all right and ok; the single plays fine enough. The walloping we got with the London band’s 1100 Warehouse set, though, was a complete surprise, and most definitely one of the strongest sets we experienced during the whole of SXSW. Heavy, and in the best sort of highly focused, highly compressed, highly syncopated kind of way; Savages live set deviates tremendously from their records. And most notably, the instinctiveness of crop-cut singer Jehnny Beth, and the quietness, rage and laser intensity through which her performance and vocal is really special, and easily one of Savages’ best assets.
FIDLAR @ FILTER CLIVE BAR
I can’t think of a better place for FIDLAR to have played late Friday night than FIlter’s Clive Bar on Rainy Street. The house party vibe is all set. It’s a house, the band is in the back yard, the beer was flowing everywhere, you could barely move an inch in any direction and the band tore the roof off (if there was one). A rock and roll band for another generation of musical youths, FIDLAR bring the party wherever they go. See this band live.
Charlotte Church @ VEVO Control Room
Yes, that Charlotte Church. The PBS “Girl With The Golden Voice of an Angel” turned trashbag pop star/tabloid pariah’s return to music ran through SXSW and a performance at the oddly named VEVO Control Room. Well… the set, the material, the performance were all phenomenal (really phenomenal). The notion that Ms. Church can sing has never really been questioned and the vocal she gave during this show was truly something special. Charlotte’s new Bjork meets Earth Mother meets Portishead meets ? sound, and the structure of her songs, really gives her the ability and opportunity to perform and showcase the outstanding quality of her singing. It’s almost as if singing in a pop format is something that she’s only now first realizing.
Ryan Hemsworth @ 512
We made it rain Pokemon cards in the club. Though beat dropper/rainman Ryan Hemsworth didn’t repeat that deluging down of Charizards & Bulbasaurs for the crowded 512 Rooftop, the Halifax native did well to translate to a live setting his realer than Real Deal Holyfield mix of electro booty rap mixes and Legend of Zelda-referencing space bass jams.
Rudimental @ Hype Hotel
You could spot all the real Britons assembled at Hype Hotel for electronic/R&B crossover act Rudimental’s late night set by who knew how to dance to drum & bass and who didn’t. Moving in time with a drum & bass rhythm is something that has alluded us Americans for what seems like millennia. Rudimental, who went 9-deep on stage, did well enough to keep all the Solange (next act on stage) kids checked into the Hype Hotel engaged and interested in material they were likely hearing for the first time. The energetic 30-40 minute set was definitely highlighted by the big energy (these Brits work on stage) performance of new single “Waiting All Night” and the impressive vocal of singer Ella Eyre.
SATURDAY, MARCH 16TH
Blue Hawaii @ HYPE HOTEL
Riding a wave of chill infused daytime disco, Blue Hawaii are at the front of a movement that is only becoming more popular. The male/female duo did an exempilary job of delivering their material in a live setting. Their combination of live sampling manipulation and vocal performance was both exciting and intriguing in a live setting.
Shlohmo, Mount Kimbie, Baauer @ 1100 Warehouse
Things got down right dirty at the 1100 Warehouse for the Ray Ban – Boiler Room sponsored party on the last night of SXSW. With a lineup such as the one that the Boiler Room had curated, things were bound to get weird and possibly blow up in everyone’s faces. Chief Keef was supposed to be a main draw for the show, but knowing his history and legal issues, he did not show up. The reason is still up in the air, but really, who cares. Before things even got started, you could tell the production team and people from the Boiler Room looked worried at potential technical difficulties bound to happen. Unfortunately, this was the overall theme.
Hitting the stage first was the young LA based, oddball producer Shlohmo. With all that was going on at the venue and with visuals all over the walls, Shlohmo’s beats were a perfect soundtrack to the night. Flipping through different mixes, the crowd already excited just by being in the Warehouse started really feeling it. Joining Shlohmo on stage for a track were The Underachievers, sharing only one mic.
Lunice then hit the decks, throwing together a monster set, making way for Mount Kimbie. The London duo of Dominic Maker and Kai Campos had been ‘the’ electronic act in 2010. On this night, with again all the technical issues, they played some old tunes and some new tunes. The Austin audience started to feel their unique and “post-dubstep” sounds. For their only performance at SXSW this year, they definitely made it worth it.
The smoothest set out of all of them was Baauer’s and RL Grime’s back to back. The bass was extra heavy and as the decks switched back and forth, the crowd got rowdier and rowdier. Harry Rodrigues, Baauer, and Henry Steinway, RL Grime, are both young, talented bass engineers who have incredible futures in front of them. Of course, Baauer has seen more fame with the viral craze of his hit “Harlem Shake,” while RL Grime has made a nice name for himself in the music community as well.
This party, on paper, was one for the ages, and it was, but all the issues it had hampered the overall success of it a bit. Skream closed out the show with a set, and this video [above] kind of says it all… Review By Brian Litwin
HAIM @ STUBBS
One of the most exciting acts that I’d seen come out of SXSW 2012 was Haim. Low and behold, a year later, and the sisters lead group were packing the house at one of SXSW’s largest capacity venues. Haim have done justice to their hype. There songs are anthemic and have the perfect new wave of pop, indie production and classic rock sensibility. Speaking of classic rock – ehemmm, Fleetwood Mac, the collective even shamelessly, and appropriately, covered them during their set. Haim delivered the perfect cap to a SXSW festival that had been most insightful and musically rewarding.
*See below for more pictures and a mix of tunes from our favorite artists at SXSW this year!
Kids These Days @ Hype Hotel
MS MR @ Hype Hotel
TOY @ Latitude 30
Citizens! @ Tap Room
NO CEREMONY /// @ B3SCI Presents. Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room
Ahhhhh, somebody get Ursh a b3sci Spotify playlist or something. As tired as you are, your Mom is, and probably your Grandma too is of “Pumped Up Kicks”, this cover of the ubiquitous Foster the People single just cut by Usher inside Radio 1’s live lounge is kinda awesome. That, and URIV cuts it sharp on the bass in the vid! Looking 4 Myself is in stores now.
Although we’ve come to the end of the road, still Adele we can’t let you go. We’ve reached 2011’s closing hour and now it is time: b3sci presents it’s Top 50 Albums of 2011. No one’s even come close to having the year Adele’s had. The most albums sold in a single year since 2004, two of the biggest singles of the year, etc, a truly international breakthrough both commercially and critically on a level we haven’t seen in a long time. Adele, our girl, the crown is yours. 21 is b3sci’s Album of the year.
So where the fuck is Adele on many of these respected-indie-press-dude best of lists? That period between Nov 2010 when “Rolling in the Deep” first broke and the lead up to the album’s release in late January, Adele ruled the blogosphere, the fold was united. Then “RITD” got overplayed to the point of absurdity, your mom bought the record, probably your grandma bought it too; those bros that listen to Foo Fighters and Deadmau5 started bumping “Someone Like You” out their trunk. Soon, the “wrong people” liked 21 and Adele’s brief moment atop the indiesphere was over. Right.
Thanks for reading this year, y’all. We’ve got some big plans for 2012. Stay tuned. Much love.
2011, it’s been real! To kick off our b3sci 2011 year end coverage, we start with Top 10 albums lists from each of b3science’s seven contributors. (We’ll detail our overall site picks in the next few days). 2011.
01. Drake – Take Care
02. The Weeknd – House of Balloons
03. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
04. Metronomy – The English Riviera
05. A$AP Rocky – Live Love A$AP
06. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
07. James Blake – James Blake
08. Kendrick Lamar – Section.80
09. SBTRKT – SBTRKT
10. Active Child – You Are All I See
01. WU LYF – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
02. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From…
03. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne
04. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
05. Low Roar – Low Roar
06. The Weeknd – House of Balloons
07. Wye Oak – Civilian
08. Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
09. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
10. Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
01. WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
02. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
03. Giraffage – Comfort
04. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From..
05. Washed Out – Within and Without
06. James Blake – James Blake
07. The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
08. The Postelles – The Postelles
09. Harrison Hudson – American Thunder
10. Caveman – CoCo Beware
01. James Blake – James Blake
02. A$AP Rocky – Live Love A$AP
03. Wale – Ambition
04. Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
05. Harrison Hudson – American Thunder
06. Fiore – Fiore
07. Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm
08. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
09. Mike Higbee – Secret Life
10. Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves – Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves
Let’s be honest. I probably didn’t listen to ten complete LPs this year that I would somehow deem “best” – it just isn’t in me anymore, maybe. I did, however, have enough musical bests paired with actual full records I loved to complete a top ten. Let’s review my 2011 faves: there are ten, they are not ranked.
tUnE – yArDs, W H O K I L L (4AD)
If someone forced me to name my best record of the year, I’d bet this would be it. While I’ll never get over the late 90s stylization of her musical pseudonym, Merrill Garbus made songs that said things I wanted to hear couched in melodies and harmonies that push me from Africa to doo-wop to “America.” There is true joy in the music she makes, even if she’s talking about eating disorders or inner-city violence. High up on the “things I danced to alone in my room” list of this year.
While I’d consider turntable.fm mostly dead in my day to day life, it ruled my world for a few weeks over the summer. I heard more great stuff I know I would’ve never come upon on my own, but I guarantee you it wasn’t in dubstep rooms. I spent time chatting and playing jams with friends I wouldn’t see for months. Turntable gave me all of the plus factors of a 1996 chatroom backed with a way better soundtrack than I would’ve had then. Spotify swooped in a few weeks later, and now I find myself listening to nearly anything I want at any time while creating playlists with friends throughout the day. Not as immediate as turntable, but somehow less of a time suck. I don’t love the ads, but I know I can get rid of them if I want.
PJ Harvey, Let England Shake (Island/Vagrant)
Overwrought concept albums can be a drag. (Confessional: I am a long-time PJ Harvey fan, guilty of knowing all of the words to “Rid of Me” by heart at a very young age.) If someone had told me a concept album by Harvey about England, bloodshed and warfare would be one of my favorite releases this year, I might have been a bit perplexed. The melodies, language, and instrumentation around this record, however, do more to transport listeners rather than alienate them. “Inaccessible” is a word often used to describe records, and I could see how some of Harvey’s records may be that way. This, however, works magic.
Jay-Z & Kanye West, “Why I Love You” (Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/Def Jam)
I know this record is on everyone else’s list, and that’s fine, but only one of its tracks got repeat plays with me. The production on Watch The Throne is amazing, I can’t deny it, but nearly nothing about that record sticks for me. I revisited it months after it leaked and I still couldn’t get into it as a whole. Jay-Z and Kanye West are two of my all-time favorites and I thought this record would be my dream. It wasn’t. “Why I Love You”, though, is a jam. Great sample, great chorus, okay-enough rapping.
Iceage, New Brigade (What’s Your Rupture?)
There will never be a time in life that I don’t like channeling my inner teenage dude. I know he’s there, just waiting for me to listen to the Stooges for another few hours or cackle while watching episodes of Beavis & Butt-head. 24-ish minutes of gothy punk energy (the longest track at 3:08), Iceage are my Ramones for 2011.
Drake, Take Care (Young Money/Cash Money)
I can’t stop playing this record. Merrill Garbus and Drake might have to duke it out. I thought Thank Me Later was lackluster – too much bravado and cameo, not enough actual persona. With Take Care, though, I feel like Drake is getting back to a place where he’s comfortable: an introspective, lonely look in the mirror at fame and alienation from where he thought he was a few years ago to now. On hip-hop records I’m usually disappointed if they’re not full of bangers but this one tempers enough production with the same amount of restraint.
Willie Mae Rock Camp & Kelly Clarkson, “Since U Been Gone” (RCA)
Over the summer, I volunteered for the first time at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in Brooklyn. I spent an exhausting and fulfilling week making sure a bunch of 8 & 9 year olds made it to their instrument class, ate their lunches, and sort-of listened during workshops about the blues, gender, and other topics regarding women in music. Every counselor had her musical kryptonite and everyone very quickly found out Kelly’s jam was mine. I danced & sang to it all week when it played during various end-of-day dance parties, and one of the campers and I shared it as our best memory of the week from songwriting class. At the showcase wrapping up camp, the volunteer band played it as their song for soundcheck. I belted it just as I had every other day.
Party of Helicopters at Death By Audio, Williamsburg, February 13, 2011
I got my knees slammed into the stage all night long at this show, with terrible bruises to show the next day, but it was well worth it. They are my favorite band from my most formative years, the one whose album art my body will carry to my grave; every opportunity to relive that time while seeing them live is worth it. Even though they’ll never play “A New Kind of Power” for me no matter how many times I request it, I don’t care. I love them. Forever.
Björk, Biophilia (One Little Indian/Polydor)
There was a time growing up that I spent most hours lying on the floor in my room listening to records. Bjork was always a part of this ritual, and listening to this record sends me back to that time in my life (I am full of memories this year). “Crystalline” is a perfect hybrid of Telegram-style remixes and Vespertine vocals. “Cosmogony” hearkens back to the antics of Medulla. Everything is nostalgic, but everything is new. The David Attenborough-narrated companion iPhone app is an excellent companion if you can’t make up your own visuals in your mind.
Sharon Van Etten, “Serpents” (Jagjaguwar)
Seeing her play this live last Tuesday only further got me stoked for her record next year. Her voice is the most haunting to me, and this is that quality at its finest. Percussion and expansion of her sound into what it is on this track alone (I hear you, Aaron Dessner) bode well for the rest of Tramp. Can’t wait.
01. The Kills – Blood Pressures
02. Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys
03. The Airborne Toxic Event – All At Once
04. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect…
05. Foster The People – Torches
06. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
07. The Black Keys – El Camino
08. Sleeper Agent – Celabrasion
09. The Rapture – In The Grace Of Your Love
10. The Wombats – This Modern Glitch
11. Honorable mention to My Morning Jacket and Teddybears
01. Alex Clare – The Lateness of the Hour
02. Nero – Welcome Reality
03. Thievery Corporation – Culture of Fear
04. SBTRKT – SBTRKT
05. Tyler, the Creator – Goblin
06. Bassnectar – Divergent Spectrum
07. Dave Nada – Blow Your Head Presents: Moombahton
08. James Blake – James Blake
09. M83 – Hurry up, We’re Dreaming
10. Crookers – Dr. Gonzo