The first full day of SXSW is done, and Jesse Richman had a hell of a day covering the the grounds, shows, and more for POZ. Check out a great round-up of POZ’s first SXSW day with crowded showcases, Tegan And Sara, Twin Falls, and much more below!
At SXSW, things never quite go as planned.
Waterloo Records is an Austin institution, a long-standing vinyl-lovers paradise that dates back to the days when vinyl was the medium of choice for everyone — by default. And while their store is a good 20-minute walk from the rest of the SXSW action, they’ve made a tradition of free day parties that are always worth the hike. On today’s bill, two favorites of ours: Tegan & Sara and Twenty One Pilots.
Of course, there was one minor miscalculation in my plan. Tegan & Sara were scheduled for 2 p.m. and Twenty One Pilots for 4. In between, at 3? Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The hip-hop hit-makers — at SXSW fresh off an appearance on Saturday Night Live — drew by far the largest crowd I’ve seen for a day party to date. It was impossible to get inside the fenced-off Waterloo Records parking lot and it was equally impossible to cut through the thicket of fans on the sidewalk around three sides of the lot, for that matter. There was a crowd of people five deep, on the opposite side of busy Lamar Drive, listening in. There were folks on a Whole Foods rooftop diagonal across the street and at least a hundred yards away. There were a few brave diehards standing on the tops of cars, just trying to get a peak at whatever wonders might be hiding behind those fences. (Tip to those folks: it’s just some musicians, I promise!)
I managed to hear half of Tegan & Sara’s set while wandering the scene in a daze — fortunately, they sounded great, their harmonies spot-on, their band album-perfect. Their newest LP, Heartthrob, trades their traditional indie rock sound for electronic pop melodies, and the bright blips seem like they were crafted specifically to be heard in the bright afternoon Austin sunshine; it was an enjoyable set, even if I couldn’t see the Quin twins.
Still, there was no way I was going to stick it out through Macklemore’s set, not when Twenty One Pilots are playing a grip of additional sets this week. My backup plan was a day party sponsored by our affable hosts here at PropertyOfZack, the fine folks at Tumblr. Unfortunately, that proved a disaster for the exact opposite reason. I discovered to find a band playing to a ginormous empty, fenced-off lot. Like, literally empty. I took a peak around the side of the lot, looking for a poster or something that might identify the mystery band, and was immediately told by a security guard that I needed to vacate the alleyway. No wonder the place was entirely devoid of festivalgoers.
I never did catch the band’s name, settling instead for a power pop showcase (I might be the old man here at POZ, but I had a good ten or twenty years on anyone else at reclusive Clevelanders Shoes’ set of bouncy, Fountains Of Wayne-esque pop-rock) and a burger with a friend. It wasn’t in the plan, but if you’re doing SXSW right, no plan is the plan, ultimately.
It’s the weekend again, so PropertyOfZack is back with a brand new Team Recommendations Playlist! Each weekend, different members of our team recommend both old and new songs for our viewers to listen to and enjoy. Check out our Team Playlist and listen to the songs on Spotify while reading everyone’s thoughts!
A$AP Rocky - F***in’ Problems (feat. Drake, Kendrick Lamar, & 2 Chainz)
There is something infectiously glorious about the new single off of A$AP Rocky’s official debut album, Long. Live. A$AP. Perhaps it has something to do with the Harlem MC’s dawdling delivery that is both sultry and hood. Or maybe it is the killer guest spot by one, Mr. Kendrick Lamar (if you still have yet to listen to Lamar’s 2012 album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, you need to get your music listening habits in order). No, those aren’t the butter on this biscuit. Despite both Rocky’s superb drawl and Lamar’s familiar awesomeness the reason for “F***in’ Problem“‘s virtuosity has to be credited to 2 Chainz. Only 2 Chainz. - Michael Meeze (@mikemeeze)
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get
Because ’90s ska-punk was (and still is) awesome, and don’t you forget it. - Erik van Rheenen (@TheRealVandyMan)
Polar Bear Club - Religion On The Radio
Saw them at Warped this summer and were great live. And this album rules. This song is great, and “3/4 Tango” is another masterpiece. Glad my brother got me into this band. - Mike Sheffey (@SheffeyzTweetz)
Twenty One Pilots- Car Radio
This band kind of just came out of nowhere and after they signed to Fueled By Ramen they were popping up everywhere. I kept seeing things about them so I finally decided to check their new album out and it’s seriously good. Their music isn’t really for everyone and I can definitely see a lot of people hating on it but I can’t see anyone hating this song. The synth line in the middle is perfect and the passion in Tyler Joseph’s vocals near the end make the song one huge jam. Don’t be surprised if you turn on MTV or your local radio station and hear Twenty One Pilots. Also it’s always nice to see awesome bands come out of Ohio! - Justin Graci (JustinHMGraci)
Kendrick Lamar- Poetic Justice (feat. Drake)
I really dig Kendrick Lamar. His lyrics are well-written, clever and punny. The beat is also off the chain. You can get it, you can get it, you can get it…who doesn’t want to hear that? Oh, and did I forget to mention that I’m a huge fan of Drizzy? Well, I am and he’s a beast on this track so download it ASAP. - Sydney Gore (@sydegee)
I Fight Dragons- My Way
I Fight Dragons offers a fresh take on pop rock by incorporating brand new tunes created on old Nintendo equipment. And if that wasn’t cool enough, they use Nintendo controllers as part of their live show. This particular track is one of my favorites from their full-length debut, KABOOM!. It features explosive chiptune melodies, fun and bouncy clapping, and a defiant, me-against-the-world attitude. If you missed them on last summer’s Warped, do yourself a favor and check them out now. - Becky Kovach (@beckystrz)
Kevin Devine - Cotton Crush
I couldn’t help but pick a Kevin Devine song this weekend to celebrate his massively successful Kickstarter campaign that is still under a week old and has hit over $85,000 in funding. This is also a great Kevin Devine song. If you don’t know Kevin Devine, listen to it. - Zack Zarrillo (@zzarrillo)
Bryan Greenberg - You Can Run (feat. Kid Cudi)
I just really love this guys voice. The acoustic guitar in it is great as well. I was surprised at how well Kid Cudi was able to mesh in with this song. If you want a good, relaxing jam to listen to, give this a try. - Deanna Chapman (@deechapman21)
Gatsby’s American Dream - Theatre
Last night I went to see Matt Pryor and James Dewees play a bunch of old Get Up Kids and Reggie & The Full Effect songs together, and between sets DJ Tom ‘WashedUpEmo’ Mullen dropped this classic on the PA. Of all the bands of that mid-2000s emo boom that have since gone bust, Gatsby’s are the one I miss the most. They teased us with a brief reunion two years ago, but things have been quiet in their camp ever since, and that’s a shame. Volcano remains a landmark album for the scene, regardless of how many people remember anymore. - Jesse Richman (@jrichmanesq)
Justin Timberlake - Suit & Tie
After years of clamoring we finally have been rewarded for our patience. JT is back and with help from Jay-Z. Now this combination a few years ago would have peaked my attention more however JT’s return, while appreciated reeks of Robin Thicke Lite. Hopefully this single is the weakest link of the new JT album. - Hobbes (@waitrewindthat)