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Parcels Push the Envelope on Disco Hooks

 Aussies, Austinites, and enough funk bass lines to light up Studio 54 in its prime,  Parcels brought peak positivity to the Mohawk on Monday night. Daft Punk-produced and brimming with youthful exuberance, Parcels is riding a wave of musical momentum on their first American tour. The Aussie male quintet’s sound emanates from around a core sample of Beegees and KC and the Sunshine band melodies with the effervescence of contemporary synthpop and nu-disco. A cappella harmonies, great hair and a synthesized audio elixir guaranteed to make audiences dance – Parcels brought the goods from down under.

Getting the ball rolling with the slow-build of “Comedown”, Parcels introduced themselves to the crowd, and then promptly launched into the Chic-esque hit “Lightenup”. Patrick Hetherington and Jules Crommelin sat front and center onstage, orchestrating boyish smiles and head nods while crooning with soulful dexterity. “Gamesofluck” dropped suave synths over a disco-laden sea of funk with catchy vocals that accentuated the groove masterpiece.

A mid-set a cappella rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” unveiled the remarkable singing talents of the entire quintet before getting back to the dance electronica at hand. “Tieduprightnow” brought chucking guitars and jazz flutes into a tropical nirvana that had the audience twisting like Uma in Pulp Fiction, while “Everyroad” took its time to build through spoken word and rising harmonies for an orgasmic pinnacle of the Italo-disco variety.

Even during some of the more introspective tracks, the Mohawk audience was vibing along, giving the band spontaneous applause and involuntary hand claps. The sheepish grins of the quintet and genuine surprise on hearing roars of approval, exposed a band that had yet to be calloused over with expectation and road weariness.  Ending the night with their discovery song “Overnight” along with “Iknowhowifeel” and “Withorwithout” left a ravenous audience standing around for more music, long after the band had left the stage.

 

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Vision Arcade Lay Down Southern Feel-Good Rock Riffs

 A psych inspired quartet that doesn't mind embracing a Southern styled grit, Vision Arcade channels a blend of Audioslave, the Black Keys and Rival Sons. The young rock group has already scored shows at venues such as the Mohawk, Come and Take It Live!, and Emos but the release of their debut single "Afterglow", soon to be accompanied by a music video, will continue to raise their profile. The band purveys 70's influenced alt-rock with bluesy undertones and the four piece consisting of Max Robison, Rory Kendall, Connor Torres and Evan Brock are on a steady track to a larger fan base.


 

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The Most Memorable Five Moments From SXSW 2019

 Amyl and the Sniffers Doing Drugs Onstage

Lead singer, Amy Taylor, smashed her mouth on her mic at the Thrasher showcase, so she was already bleeding midway through her raucous set when she announced onstage  “I heard there was a guy in Austin who makes his own poppers and calls it Double Scorpion”  On cue, a guy in the front row holds up a bottle of poppers and invites her to sniff, and then the entire band proceeds to put down their instruments to line up and do poppers, delaying their set until they got a whiff, and then returned to said instruments and launched into the next song.

 

City Morgue Causes Bizarro Mayhem

Zillakami, one half of City Morgue, was arrested when he landed in Austin on an outstanding warrant. However, he also nearly incited a riot revving up the crowd at City Morgue’s Thrasher showcase. Moshing and stage diving left numerous fans bleeding, yet still smiling, while a dystopian crowd slammed into each other gleefully raging to the morbid trap-metal. When a fan is moshing around while holding a chucky doll, you know the scene is apocalyptic.

 

Otoboke Beaver Bull Rides A Fan

 An all-female punk band from Kyoto that attacks the crowd with their music, literally attacked a crowd member at their showcase at the Main. Their aggressive music stylings and fast-paced delivery bubbled over to where guitarist, Yoyoyoshie, jumped on to a large fan in the front row and literally rode the fan around while shredding her guitar. The fan who had the guitarist’s legs wrapped around his head seemed to be more than fine with what had happened to him.

 

Band Survivor at Dozen St.

Some cringe worthy band turmoil took place at the unofficial showcases at Dozen St. bar on the East side. Band names will be withheld to save them the embarrassment but midway through a set, a bandleader informed his guitarist that his guitar was out of tune and instructed him to tune it. The guitarist was unable to tune his own guitar and literally walked out of the venue trying to find someone to tune his guitar. Upon not being able to tune it, the lead singer told the poor guitarist to leave the stage and that he was fired. Ouch!  I was also informed by a house bartender of another firing, where a guitarist who had been playing out of key their entire show was given a lesson onstage by the lead singer, guiding his hands to the appropriate frets, until he gave up and fired the guitarist.   SXSW-harshed on two counts!

 

David Fricke Makes An Appearance

If you are a music journalist, a Rolling Stone magazine fan, or just haven’t had your head in the sand for the last fifty years – you would know the name David Fricke.  The former Rolling Stone editor and music review god suddenly materialized at the Brazilian music showcase at Lucille and jammed out to psychedelic vibes of Boogarins. The absolute legend was hanging out with Austin Chronicle cronys, Raoul Hernandez and Michael Toland. The guy who gave Cobain’s last interview, shined a light on 70’s punk and guided the world’s best rock magazine through its golden years was head nodding to the music just like the rest of us.

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5 Bands We 'Discovered' At SXSW 2019

  If you had already been onto one of these five bands, that’s great, feel free to hipster shame me online or in person since your music radar supersedes my own. However, if you haven’t gotten down with any of these beautiful gems, then I beseech you to bathe in the purifying waters of SXSW discovery. The music from these bands will undoubtedly supplement your music playlists like an anabolic into the gluteus maximus. 

Memory Keepers (Austin, TX) Fuzzy, scuzzy and psychedelic with a strong undertow of addictive melodies, Memory Keepers is a local band that has flow stealthily under the radar yet clearly has the goods to emerge as a force.  Literally the first band to play on a 30 band bill at Hotel Vegas for the Side One Track One vs. Austin Town Hall showcase, Memory Keepers played an amazing set that impressed the eight people present.

 

Castlecomer (Sydney, Australia) First appearing like a burned out and haggard arrangement of Aussie musicians nursing a hangover, Castlecomer ended up being a daytime highlight at the Aussie house.  Power pop with winding guitars and a pulsing rhythm section, Castlecomer emanated charisma and a livewire energy that started a dance party in an unlikely place.

 

Drama (Chicago, IL) Heaven is waiting until 1am at an obscure SXSW venue and then getting hit with the best performance of SXSW 2019.  DRAMA is a soul electronica duo that I knew I would like within 30 seconds of their first song, but ended up worshipping by the end of their set.  Had every other note of music at SXSW been terrible, this set would have made the hell week well worth it.

                                                                                                                                       

Haiku Hands (Melbourne, Australia) Brash and bawdy with afrobeat rhythms cascading around Spice Girls-esque delivery, Haiku Hands brings in your face power pop with some feminine thunder from down under (meaning Australia). A high energy stage presence with dance-laden beats gave this trio an extra glossy sheen at the Do512 showcase at Barracuda.

 

 

 

Bixiga 70 (Sao Paulo, Brazil)  A 9-member group crammed onto a tiny stage at Lucille on Rainey for the Brazilian showcase ended up being one of the most bombastic and funkadelic performances at SXSW.  Afro-Brazilian dance and an empowered horns section brought an urban and unfiltered energy which caused a pseudo-samba dance party bursting with posi-vibes.

 

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Ten Bands Keeping Rock Alive at SXSW 2019

 Hundreds of rocks bands are disembarking at Bergstrom airport, and like the huddled masses at Ellis Island, they are yearning to breathe the air that is a non-existent SXSW record deal. As a rock fan, it's a bit overwhelming to know that there are so many bands in town that you know nothing about, but still hold the possibility that one could be your new favorite band - the FOMO is strong in this regard. Luckily, we've gone ahead and sifted through the sands for you, so that you can enjoy these gems we've found without the audial self-flagellation that we've inflicted on ourselves.  Here are ten rock bands that are worth a trip into Downtown Austin for.

 

Mute Swan 

 

 Swirling guitar hooks, off-kilter drumming, Yo La Tengo-y backing vocals, Mute Swan feels like a less jittery Of Montreal or an extension of Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips. Their up-to-the-moment, artful psych lifts you to a dream-space desert and wraps you up in reverb and reassurances.

 

Stuyedeyed 

 

Irrepressible, loud, direct, fuzzed out — Stuyedeyed are an unhinged skull rattling atop a spine, snapping to intensity and directing your attention to our reality, right now.

 

Dan Luke & The Raid 


 

Though the four members all hail from the same scene and town, they bring diverse influences to Dan Luke’s sound. Shultz’s roots are primarily in foundational rock and punk—"things like the Velvet Underground and Jefferson Airplane and the Mamas and the Papas,” he says, “and then Television and Talking Heads and the Germs and the Dead Boys, all the way up to the Strokes.” 

  

Bizou 

 

Bizou is the sum of it's parts: propulsive post-punk bass + wall of sheeny shoegaze guitars + shifting scales of synths + the propulsive rhythms of darkwave -- all fused together with dreamy vocals ala' Curve, Cranes, Garbage or PJ Harvey.



Giungla 

 

Giungla is Italian artist Ema Drei. Bringing together atmospheric electronics with Ema's guitar work, in turns artfully angular then brashly anthemic and with her passionate vocals - her music is riotous exuberant indie-pop. as dazzling, tricky and bursting with life as the 'Jungle' she named herself after.

 

Morabeza Tobacco 

 

Gustav and Vanilla met when he saw her DJing at an underground club in Norrköping and was blown away by her set. Introductions were made, songs were swapped online and they decided that their shared musical taste made collaboration seem a worthwhile endeavor.

 

Beshken 

 

Beshken effortlessly coalesces elements of indie, experimental dance, ambient, psychedelia and dream-pop. 

 

Rev Rev Rev 

 

Rev Rev Rev remetabolize shoegaze and psych rock elements in a loud, woozy, fuzz-driven sound. 

 

 

Saint Pe 

 

After 10 years of touring the world in Atlanta’s legendary Black Lips,  guitarist and vocalist Ian Saint Pé needed a change. As he put it, “The only thing you can’t change is time, So it was time that changed me. I loved the Black Lips, but I needed to enjoy new environments. So I got a brand new bag: Saint Pé.“

 

Warmduscher 

 

Warmduscher are a group of miscreants, known only by aliases, but we know Saul Adamczewski (Fat White Family) is the main instigator. Ardent fans, Iggy Pop and Marc Riley have only gleaming praise to heap on the band, and in return, Warmduscher have blessed them both with immortality. 

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