Spinning Platters Picks Six (x2): Indie and Pop Acts to Watch at SXSW

by Marie Carney on March 9, 2011

The first new band to see on my list: Kitten.

I needed a picks six x’s 2 to settle the warring factions in my South By Southwest Brain this year, new vs old.  Who do I concentrate on?  The tried and true or the exciting and fresh?  This year, more than any other for me, is bringing out the artists that I grew up with; the ones that have helped shape my musical taste.  The fangirl in me is excited to follow these people around for five days to continue my personal worship.  The music journalist in me is excited to see some new acts that will hopefully blow my mind.  Whichever side ends up winning I am sure to have a wonderful time.

Up first, my six picks for newer artists who all I either haven’t seen, or I am desperate to see more of.

1.  Kitten – I saw them play one and a half songs at Lilith last summer and it was close to the best part of the whole festival.  Lead singer Chloe Chaidez was such an amazing and violent performer in the middle of the afternoon that I can’t wait to see what happens at night in a real club.

2.  Donald Glover/Childish Gambino – If you like Stand-up Comedy or witty Hip-Hop this is the show for you.  I’ve seen him before, but you can never get enough Donald Glover.  And I nominated his album Culdesac for album of the year in 2010 and still believe it is a travesty that it didn’t make the cut.  Shame on you fellow writers!  But don’t worry, you can redeem yourselves by coming to this show with me.

3.  B.O.B. –  Okay, so not new at all, but I’ve never seen him.  And his album puts a smile on my face everytime I hear it.  Of course, it is the guest appearences of Rivers Cuomo, Hayley Williams and Janelle Monae that really help it along, but this should still be an excellent set of pop hooks.  And the video below is really what I’m hoping with happen.  A girl can dream!

4. Dum Dum Girls – This is a band I know virtually nothing about, other than hearing one song and deciding that I have to see them.  Which is exactly what SXSW is about.  Getting excited about something for no particular reason!

5.  Fitz & the Tantrums – Though this band is a hometown band, I often find it more fun to see local bands in another town because of the completely different crowd reaction.  I also will be ready for a break from all the screaming guitars I’ll be listening to the rest of the time.  And I love a good chance to dance in SXSW.

6.  Smoosh – I saw them a couple years ago opening for… someone I don’t remember.  And I remember being vaguelly entertained.  Since then I’ve thoughoughly enjoyed lead singer/keyboardist Asy on the God Help the Girl album and am ready to give Smoosh another listen.  Plus I love young bands.  They’re so earnest and un-jaded.

Now, for the established bands that will more than likely be rocking my world.

1.  Bright Eyes –  What can I say?  Bright Eyes is still my favorite active band.  And I probably can’t say that for much longer if Conor Oberst is to be trusted.  So I will brave the crowds at the lake and sing along to every song like the psycho fangirl I can be.  And the new album is really good, like a cross between my favorite Bright Eyes records (Lifted and Digital Ash).

2.  The Dead Milkmen – Okay, so they’re not officially at South by, but they are playing a day party!  I never thought I would get to see this band, the first punk band I’ve ever loved.  Now if only they would play my favorite song of theirs…

3.  Wild Flag – Though I’ve never thought much of Sleater-Kinney (sorry Dakin) I fucking love Mary Timony.  I still listen to The Dirt of Luck by her band Helium fairly regularly and she continually proves to me that women can be tough rock and roll machines and still be women.  I just want to rock out then shake her hand and say thank you.

4.  Noah and the Whale – So, not really a band on the same level as those previously mentioned, but the last time I saw them was right when I discovered them, before I even knew the songs.  So now I’m excited to go back and scream and sing along.  Though I have a new album of material to learn first!

5.  Screeching Weasel – In 1998 I thought I was punk and I would listen to AFI’s first record Answer That and Stay Fashionable and Screeching Weasel’s Boogadaboogadaboogada over and over again.  Obviously I wasn’t really a punk, but I’m planning on pretending like I am again.  Though I think I’ll leave my creepers at home.

6.  Wallpaper –  We talk about Wallpaper a lot on Spinning Platters and there’s a reason for that.  Ricky Reed knows how to put on a SHOW.  And in the end that’s really all I’m looking for.


For the full South By Southwest schedule you can see it at sxsw.com.
Or keep your eye on Spinning Platters for more Picks Six.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marie Carney March 30, 2011 at 10:05 pm

If anyone is keeping score, I ended up only seeing three of the new acts on this list, and two old. Pretty sad all around, but I guess new wins!


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