20 new bands we found in Austin, Texas

The an­nual South by South­west mu­sic fes­ti­val in Austin is one of the world’s pre­mier show­cases for up-and-com­ing bands. Jim Car­roll re­ports from Texas on the 2008 acts that got feet tap­ping, heads bang­ing and la­bel guys lick­ing their lips

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -


OU come to South By South­west (SXSW) to binge-gig. The world’s most ex­cit­ing mu­sic fes­ti­val means four days and nights of bands, bands and more bands play­ing ev­ery con­ceiv­able – and of­ten lu­di­crously in­con­ceiv­able – venue all over Austin, Texas. Over 1,700 acts turned up last week to play their hearts out, a new record for the 22-year-old fest.

Yet SXSW is os­ten­si­bly more than just about live bands. It’s also one of the big-hit­ters on the mu­sic in­dus­try con­fer­ence cir­cuit. By day, the con­ven­tion cen­tre hosted in­ter­views with Lou Reed, Daryl Hall, Steve Re­ich, Mick Jones and leg­endary tal­ent scout Sey­mour Stein, as well as dis­cus­sion pan­els on the state of the mu­sic in­dus­try. Th­ese cov­ered ev­ery­thing from 360 deals (where record la­bels take a share of all a band’s rev­enue streams) and in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­vals, to us­ing blogs to plug your band, get­ting your mu­sic onto TV shows and how to make sure you don’t sign away your pub­lish­ing rights to a shys­ter.

This year, though, there was a no­tably lack­lus­tre at­mos­phere at both the pan­els and the trade show, where mu­sic com­pa­nies go to buy and sell goods and ser­vices. While hot weather may have been partly to blame, the sub­dued mood was prob­a­bly as much due to cur­rent in­dus­try woes (fewer record la­bel reps present, for ex­am­ple) as it was a re­flec­tion of how SXSW is now more about the live shows all over town than the in­dus­try chin­wags.

So this year, all the ac­tion hap­pened on­stage. You could have spent ev­ery minute of ev­ery day watch­ing bands, with pit stops for huevos rancheros (clas­sic Mex­i­can break­fast) at Las Man­i­tas, tacos at Guero’s or chilli from the Texan Chilli Par­lour to keep you go­ing.

Over the course of SXSW, this writer saw about 80 bands in all. Here are 20 acts who made me go “wow”.

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