Oh, South by Southwest. Our feet are still a little bit swollen and we’re not sure we ever want to see another breakfast taco again, but the Paste team caught a lot of great music this week, spanning old favorites like Austin hometown heroes The Black Angels and new finds like St. Paul & the Broken Bones.
Photographer and Austin local Kristen Blanton spent the week snapping photos of our favorite sets, adding visuals to the soundtrack of new bands that are sure to litter our playlists in the coming months. Read up on our newest finds below, and check out Blanton’s photos in the gallery by clicking above.
Tuesday night started off with brother-sister duo Wardell. Theo and Sasha Spielberg might come from Hollywoods finest, but they don’t rely too heavily on their last name. Together their kinetic ‘80s girl-pop sound is infused with Sasha ringing in sultry vocals. Top it off with those school-girl dance moves Sasha gets down to, and you really have yourself a show. —Kristen Blanton
At 12:45 Kurt Vile made way to one of East Austin’s local bars, Gypsy Lounge. He took to the stage with just a chair and acoustic guitar. Slouched over with his wildly hair covering all visible portions of his face he played a solo set for 30 minutes. Vile’s haunting vocals rang through the open air night like the sight of an abandoned mother ghost ship. —Kristen Blanton
Avi Buffalo finished out Tuesday night, starting his set at 1:15 a.m. After a minor wardrobe malfunction that left the crowd screaming, “Your zipper – zip up your pants!” frontman Avi played it calm and delivered crowd favorite, “What’s it in For?” —Kristen Blanton
Pure Bathing Culture
Glittering, ethereal vocals atop synthy vibes and addictive beats made Pure Bathing Culture an unsurprising but well-deserved favorite for many last week. The band’s recent full-length Moon Tides, released in August of last year via Partisan, leaves us anxious to see where this band goes next.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones at The Tap Room
When frontman Paul Janeway sat down for an interview at our Interactive party, he told us that being asked to sing Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” at the premiere of the Muscle Shoals documentary when the legendary soulman was unavailable was the greatest honor of his life. It was also an extremely good call—Janeway’s got a phenomenal set of pipes, and they were in top form on Wednesday night at The Tap Room. We wouldn’t be surprised if in a few decades some young singer is tapped to cover one of his songs. —Bonnie Stiernberg
The Black Angels
If we hadn’t been intrigued by Psych Fest founders and Austin locals The Black Angels before their kickass stripped-down session at Shaky Knees last year, catching a live set from these guys did the trick. It seems like their psychedelic vibes and palpable energy is poised to continue to spread far beyond the Lonestar State.
We came into SXSW expecting big things from SKATERS, the New York band we can’t seem to stop talking about, and the group delivered. Playing several shows each day while maintaining the kind of energy to keep crowds talking, SKATERS made the kind of impression at the conference to which most bands aspire.