Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ten Favorite SXSW Discoveries: Part One

There is almost nothing to complain about when it comes to South By South West, only that there is not nearly enough time to see it all. Though I far from accomplished this, I made a pretty valiant effort and discovered enough new music to make it to SXSW 2012. If you were not able to attend as many shows as you would have liked, perhaps this list of my Ten Favorite SXSW Discoveries will relieve some of the pain. I always try to mix it up, and this the best of the best, so you are sure to find something that toots your flute. I introduce you to part one of my three part series, and would love to hear about your favorites from the week.

Marz Lovejoy

Photo via Marz Lovejoy

Like most attendees of the Village Voice/ Frank 151 SXSW Party, my designs were on Wu-Tang and Erykah Badu, but as I walked home, all I could think about was Marz Lovejoy. At 19 years old, Lovejoy may well have been the youngest person on stage that evening, but that did not stop her from tarring up the Austin Music Hall. Her unique beats, reminiscent of the grime sounds of MIA and Dizzee Rascal, lend themselves to strikingly syncopated rhymes like little else that comes out of this country. In late 2010 she released her freshman record, “This Little Light Of Mine”, featuring an extended mix of “Sticky” which she closed her Villiage Voice set with. I highly recommend it. She is all over Youtube where you can watch her model, free-style, perform live, and the video for “Love Bullet Gun”. Oh yeah, and she has been modeling for 14 years, and is ridiculously beautiful.


Photo via Dominique Imani Kaplowitz

With parking lots serving as official venues, it should come as no surprise that Homeslice Pizza hosted their own unofficial party, “Music by the Slice”. It was there that I stumbled upon Shad as he opened for Aesop Rock. Sweat dripping from his forehead he brought the audience to their feet with energy matched only by his precision, he even busted out a guitar during the set. Rather than sporting a gold chain and eschewing the virtues of the street life, the Montreal MC rocked a black wooden Africa necklace and rapped that young people should be “sent to school for possession rather than jail”. DJ Tedo provided phenomenal backbeats, equal in excellence to Shad’s rhymes. I recognized references to Nas, Talib Kweli, Jay Electronica, Jay-Z and Kanye West during the set, and am sure I missed a few. Though his tone is quite similar to that of Jay-Z, it is certainly not identical, and Shad opts for faster runs and more progressive subject matter. Check out his video for “Rose Garden” on Youtube, and try to catch him next time he makes it through the Lone Star State. I promise that it will be well worth the wait.

Wakey! Wakey!

Photo via Erin Park

At the Do512 Lounge we were treated to a solo performance by Wakey! Wakey! front man Michael Grubbs. Virtuosic piano and choirboy vocals filled the room and sent shivers through the shoulders of everyone in it. Reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright and Elton John, there is not a vibrato in all of indie rock more perfect than Grubbs’. As he crooned, “So tell me why we’re talking when we dance so good”, we were transported to his living room where he told his favorite stories and deepest secrets. Grubbs’ between song banter genuinely put the icing on the cake. Charismatic, funny, intimate, and beyond talented, the redheaded New Yorker certainly won my heart, and I am sure that of many others. The Do512 Lounge Sessions video will be available soon, and in the mean time check out the Wakey! Wakey! music video for "Light Outside".

- April Kaplowitz