From Thousands Of Bands, Four SXSW Discoveries | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

From Thousands Of Bands, Four SXSW Discoveries

Play associated audio

This week, more than 2,000 bands will perform live as part of the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas — and each will hope to stand out somehow. It's one thing to play SXSW, but another to generate excitement.

For the NPR Music team, attending SXSW means sifting and winnowing through hundreds upon hundreds of songs for weeks in advance, in an effort to better anticipate the festival's highlights. Each year, writer and editor Stephen Thompson assembles a mix called The Austin 100 — a 100-song playlist highlighting new discoveries from SXSW — and in 2012 that meant listening to more than 1,300 songs.

In an interview for weekends on All Things Considered, NPR's Guy Raz asked Thompson to distill that 1,300-song bundle down to just four discoveries — songs by artists he'd never heard before the process began.

Thompson's choices:

* Now, Now, "Dead Oaks" (from Threads)
A young trio from Minneapolis, Now, Now is led by two women (Cacie Dalager and Jess Abbott) with a remarkably sophisticated ear for irresistibly infectious pop-rock.

* Kishi Bashi, "Bright Whites" (from 151a)
A Kickstarter-funded solo project for a performer named K Ishibashi (a touring member of the band Of Montreal), Kishi Bashi plays homemade toy-box pop with Beatles-esque harmonies and a sense of grandeur.

* Chic Gamine, "Closer" (from City City)
A throwback to girl-group soul with a touch of Francophile pop, Chic Gamine features four Canadian women who take turns singing lead vocals. A Juno winner in its home country, the band sounds poised for a U.S. breakout.

* Silverbus, "Those Forgotten" (from Orange)
SXSW always offers a chance to indulge in something head-clearingly loud and grand, and the Taiwanese band Silverbus fits that bill. (See also: Deafheaven, The Calm Blue Sea.) With big guitars that get bigger as the songs progress, it's instrumental music that makes listeners want to shout along.

Visit npr.org/sxsw for NPR Music's full coverage of SXSW, including live broadcasts, videos, photos, podcasts and more from the festival.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

A Conversation With American Ballet Theatre's Misty Copeland (Rebroadcast)

Acclaimed ballerina Misty Copeland joined Diane to talk about her remarkable career and how she is challenging physical stereotypes that she says keep ballet stuck in the past.

NPR

Why The World Might Be Running Out Of Cocoa Farmers

West African cocoa farmers earn less than $1 a day. Those low wages could jeopardize the future of chocolate labor, as young farmers find better opportunities to earn a living, a new report warns.
WAMU 88.5

Danielle Allen: "Our Declaration" (Rebroadcast)

For the Fourth of July: A fresh reading of the Declaration of Independence, and how ideas of freedom and equality have been interpreted over the years.

NPR

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.