Countdown to SXSW: Sorting Out an Eight Band Clash

by Gordon Elgart on March 4, 2015

Taking any excuse to put up an image from Clash of the Titans, the 1981 original.

Our editor will take any excuse to put up an image from Clash of the Titans, the 1981 original.

Watching bands get announced for SXSW is always fun. These giant lists, featuring hundreds of bands each, get released, and if you’ve heard of a handful of them before seeing the list, you deserve a prize. So what I do is start throwing the bands that sound promising into a giant playlist, and weed these thousand-or-so bands into a few dozen. Then I add them to My Schedule on the SXSW site, and as their showcases get announced, the website sorts them by time and date for me. Thanks, website! 

There’s always clashes, usually a 2-band or 3-band clash, and you sort these out by catching the bands at day parties, at Fader Fort, or by seeing a hometown show here in San Francisco. But this year SXSW is paying me back for missing last year. It’s given me an eight band clash on Wednesday night at 11:00PM. Let’s sort through the bands, and try to pick out who I’m going to see and why. If you are one of these bands, please email me gordon-at-spinningplatters-dot-com and tell me why I should pick you. If you’re a fan, leave a comment with your reasons why your favorite band is the one to see.

SXSW 8 Band Clash

Ivy Levan

I watch @Midnight with my wife, and they were making fun of her video for the song, “Biscuit.” They only showed a brief clip, and I went to watch the rest of the video, and then I couldn’t get the song out of my head! It turns out she’s some sort of up-and-coming it girl, and frankly, that’s a blind spot for me so I had never heard of her.  This will either be electroclash (boring) or a full band with horns (awesome). I wish someone could tell me in advance so I’d know what to do.

How many times is she playing an official showcase? One announced showcase at Maggie Mae’s with another one TBA

Likelihood of playing lots of day parties: More likely to be a featured artist at night parties, such as Perez Hilton’s party, but a Fader Fort appearance seems possible.

Likelihood of a hometown show: Not likely. My expectation would be that she would be opening an arena tour for a bigger pop artist.


The Danish band that brought us the classic And the Glass Handed Kites are returning this year with a brand new album, +/-, due to be released on April 24. Hearing “The Zookeeper’s Boy” again after all these years will be joyous. The new single, “Satellites,” fits perfectly with the rest of their catalog, with high bright vocals and just enough hints of prog to take me to my happy progger place.

How many times are they playing an official showcase? Twice: once on Wednesday night at Red 7, and again Thursday night at Clive Bar

Likelihood of playing lots of day parties: They’ve been announced on several, with several more to follow. Will be one of the easiest bands to see.

Likelihood of playing a hometown show: They’ve always played San Francisco before, so it would be expected to happen.


Japanese math rock. (But I can’t do Japanese math!) Instrumental wizardry comes from lots of places, and comes in all forms, and this is some of the most insane guitar and drum interplay you’ll ever hear. And then it’s contrasted with moments of quiet beauty. The only thing going against this group is that sometimes I stare slack-jawed at this sort of musicianship, and forget to enjoy myself.

How many times are they playing an official showcase? Just this one.

Likelihood of playing lots of day parties: You don’t see a lot of math rock at parties.

Likelihood of playing a hometown show: They toured the west coast last year, so I don’t expect to have another chance to see these guys in San Francisco.


This band might be for the kids. That’s who listens to this Warped Tour ready, out-of-control hard rock with screaming vocals, right? This band is signed to Roadrunner now, so you can bet they will be on every Warped Tour as long as they’re on the label.

How many times are they playing an official showcase? Only the one during this clash.

Likelihood of playing lots of day parties: Who wouldn’t want a band like this playing their party? I expect them to be booked quite a bit.

Likelihood of playing a hometown show: One has already been announced, April 1 at Slim’s.


It’s a band I’ve never heard of from a country I’ve never been to! They’re Slovakian, and they really, really sound like they idolize Stone Temple Pilots. They were on my starred list originally due to this, but I’ve found myself going back to their straight ahead rock sound a number of times.

How many times are they playing an official showcase? This is it.

Likelihood of playing lots of day parties: Find me people who love Slovakian STP soundalikes, and they will be booking this band.

Likelihood of playing a hometown show: I’m guessing it’s not very good.


This band sounds like a lot of other bands that are popular now, which is why I think they are likely to follow suit.  It’s a male/female synth heavy duo. There are a lot of these in the world, so you need to sift through a lot of crap to find one as good as this. There’s a lot of dark wave influence here. I worry that the audience will talk a lot during this set.

How many times are they playing an official showcase? Three, which probably removes them from consideration for this time slot.

Likelihood of playing lots of day parties: Anyone who is serving high end vodka will book them.

Likelihood of playing a hometown show: This band will definitely be making the rounds.

The Magnettes

Honestly, this is the kind of thing my friends like better than I do, but because this is Swedish, I give it plenty of bonus points. There are only two songs in the wild from this band, so even though one is excellent and the other is very good, it’s still a bit risky to give this band the clash victory.

How many times are they playing an official showcase? Only now.

Likelihood of playing lots of day parties: They travel light, so I bet they will be out there.

Likelihood of playing a hometown show: They seem too new for a full-on tour, so maybe in a year or two.

Matias Aguayo

Vocalist, DJ, music video master … clearly a renaissance man. Matias Aguayo is always interesting, whether on his own material or on guests spots on other people’s records. Is his set just a DJ set? Does he bring a band? Is it electroclash? Again, these are things I need to know!

How many times is he playing an official showcase? Like most people, only one.

Likelihood of playing lots of day parties: Based on the answer below, I doubt it.

Likelihood of playing a hometown show: 100%, but it’s the night after this, so I’ll still be in Austin.

Although you remember him from “Ice Cream” by Battles, and the not necessarily safe for work video that accompanied it:



Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marie Carney March 4, 2015 at 4:42 pm

As one of your friends I would like to vote for seeing Talkshow in this timeslot. To me they sound more like dark brit pop than STP, but maybe I’m just not up on my STP. I haven’t listened to them since the 90’s. Mostly I liked the singers weird Ian Curtis-esque drawl in the verse. I have listened to it three times in a row now.
Other things I will attend with you (if this counts for anything) are Ivy Levan (also crossing fingers for a band), The Magnettes, and maybe Marmozets. Anything else I’m going to something else. I can see why you want to see all of them though.

Maybe what we can do is go to Ivy Levan, see if they are setting up for a band, then if they aren’t go to Talkshow where we will four of the ten people there and have a great time. Though I usually prefer that at the 1 am timeslot.


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