Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

SXSW 2012: Team OTR have seen 67 bands already

My highlights from Wednesday, a day spent cycling around downtown and east Austin like a blue-arsed fly and making pals with the local cops on bikes. Yo Brad, I said I’d mention you and all your folks back home in …

Thu, Mar 15, 2012, 15:00


My highlights from Wednesday, a day spent cycling around downtown and east Austin like a blue-arsed fly and making pals with the local cops on bikes. Yo Brad, I said I’d mention you and all your folks back home in Kilkee.

Alabama Shakes: the day stage at the Austin Convention Centre is a weird beast. For years, it was a small stage in a small cafe. You’d have a band playing while people sat around munching their lunch. For a band, this was probably the equivalent of a lunchtime show in a regional college in Dundalk or Waterford. The smell of garlic and chilli hung heavy in the air. This year, the day stage is in a room the size of Vicar Street, which is a good thing as Alabama Shakes pulled the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at any of these convention centre shows. The word and the buzz is out and the band didn’t disappoint. Vintage soulful rock with these great mighty hooks. A magnetic frontwoman with a brilliant voice in Brittany Howard. Tunes which make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. They played this room like they were to the manor born. The real deal, folks, the real deal.

Polica: fronted by Channy Casselle, featuring musicians who’ve done time with Gayngs and coming with a heavyweight Bon Iver recommendation, there was a lot of heat around the Minnesota band coming into this week, heat Polica converted into a lot of goodwill with shows like yesterday’s humdinger at the Red Eyed Fly. What they’re going to win you over with are sparkling, dynamic, thumping electronic-pop tunes with lashings of emotional heart and soul. A big ol’ SXSW hit. And now officially, my favourite new band with two drummers.

No: yeah, it’s impossible to find them on Google unless you know what you’re looking for. Hailing from Echo Park in Los Angeles, No are going to slay you with widescreen big music anthems, ace hooks, brilliant melodies and just a great sense of “hell, yeah”. One for fans of The National and Local Natives.

Pujol: we’re huge fans of Pujol’s ramshackle “Mayday” anthem and their live set was wall to wall with similar beasts taken down from the dusty garage rock shelf and given a whole new lease of life. They’re playing a rake of shows this week, which is always a good sign (and always a chance to catch them again)

Trust: Toronto’s Trust are all about dramatic, moody, cold-as-ice synth-rock but they don’t forget that you also need tunes. They’d look great on a bill opening for Factory Floor and New Order.

Young Magic: we were already huge fans of the Australians-in-Brooklyn’s “Melt” debut album before we saw them and we’re completely smitten now. Hypnotic, alluring, fantastical psych-rock which goes all the way from ethereal to boomtastic in the space of a few songs. Let them cast a spell on you.

The Men: another band I’ve fallen for via their albums, seeing them live was akin to having a ton of your favourite hardcore bands from the past going buckwild right in front of your eyes. Huge shards of hardcore punk rock guitars, catchy-as-hell tunes and a bit of a straight-edge swagger in the mix. Hit!

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