Category Archives: SXSW

CASTLES MADE OF PAPER, NOT SAND: Alice Phoebe Lou

The South African artist was a standout performer at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, and we were privileged to talk to her about her colorful career to date.

BY ROBIN E. COOK

Alice Phoebe Lou’s journey has taken her from her native South Africa to the streets of Berlin, and from fire dancing to making music. Lou embraced the life of a street performer and the people she met while maintaining full control of her music. Her latest album, Paper Castles (self-released, like all her music; check out her official website or her Facebook page) is a collection of wistful indie pop that sounds like a soundtrack for sweet dreams. As Consequences of Sound says, “If you’re looking for an album to listen to while pretending you’re in an indie flick, Paper Castles is the one.”

What brought you to Berlin?

I traveled around Europe for six months, dancing on the street for money with fire.  And that was actually my bread and butter. That was how I managed to travel and do the things that I was doing and eventually I kind of landed up in Berlin. I was 18 years old and I was learning some kind of songs and there was just this amazing street music community there and I just fell in love with that kind of lifestyle and decided to just move to Berlin and pursue the street music life.

 

Growing up in South Africa, what was the type of music that you listen to? You had piano lessons, right?

Yeah, I had a few piano lessons. My mum plays a few instruments. My parents both had a really extensive record collection spanning all sorts of genres with a lot of very amazing female fronted bands, very strong female presence as well. And I kind of listened to just about everything.

 

I wanted to know about the fire dancing aspect. How did you become involved in that?

I was a dancer for a lot of my life. That was actually my main focus for a lot of my life, dance and theater. And eventually, I was 16, I had two months’ break from school and I asked my mom if I could go to Europe. And so, I went to Paris because my aunt lived there. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do more circus performance and things a bit outside of dancing, using my dancing background.  So eventually I bought a pair of these kind of fire dancing chains, and I just met a bunch of circus folk in Paris. Paris is very hard city, kind of hard environment. And these were the people that seemed the happiest even though they had very little and they were just making money from passers-by and tourists. And they just taught me the art and the trade of street performance and the psychology behind it and how to how to get your audience to come and feel comfortable and want to be involved and have a good time. And that’s something that really, really influenced where I am today because it started this trajectory of playing on the street and eventually doing what I’m doing now.

 

In Berlin are there a lot of street performers there as well, a community there?

Absolutely, a really nice community, because in a lot of places the street performance scene can be very competitive. And Berlin has quite a welcoming and wholesome community in that regard and that was something that really drew me in, is this idea that you’re sharing the streets with not only other street performers, but homeless people, people who are begging, drug dealers, whoever. And everyone is equal and everyone has a chance and you give everyone their fair kind of moment to use the streets as their performance or entrepreneurial space.

One thing I wonder about Paris and Berlin: which city would you say is more open to expats?

I would say Berlin, definitely. Also, Germany has taken in the most refugees of anywhere in Europe and that comes with a set of problems, of course. There’s not enough space for everyone everywhere. But Berlin and Germany have been incredibly inviting in that sense, and there’s a lot of amazing refugee integration programs and so not just as an expat or as someone that just has the privilege to be able to move somewhere, but for people that really need a new home, like refugees, Berlin has been an incredible place. I have a lot of Syrian friends, and there’s an amazing community of people that have come there for different reasons, but are using it for the same reason.

 

Germany also, it seems, really learned their lesson after World War II.

I think that it’s all about the history and teaching history and really, really making children and young adults aware of the history in order to not let it repeat itself, which I think is something that is a lot of countries could learn a lot about, especially the country I’m from. Basically, apartheid ended 25 years ago. It’s basically the other day, and there’s the sense of just kind of brushing it under the carpet and saying, “Okay. We’re at ground zero now. We all have equal opportunity and let’s just move on with our lives.” And that is not the case, and so learning about your history, learning about how not to let it repeat itself and how to get educate the youth about what went wrong to get us to those kind of places, is definitely something Germany learned a lot about.

 

Growing up in South Africa. how were you educated as a child about that period?

Well, my parents were both documentary filmmakers and the work that they were doing mainly in the eighties was documenting what was happening during apartheid. And so, they were working for news agencies in different parts of the world. My dad was risking his life, basically going into the townships, filming the things that were happening there, getting beaten by police, getting thrown in jail. So, he really experienced it first-hand. And therefore, we were able to get a very realistic impression of what had happened and where we were going. And it wasn’t the sense of “okay, it’s over now, we’re all equal.” ‘Cause that’s just that’s a very sugar-coated lie that really doesn’t make progress. It just it just keeps the divide, and South Africa still a very racially segregated place. It’s still got a lot to work through. And so, this kind of brush-under-the-carpets attitude just does not help anyone.

I wondered also you’ve been releasing music yourself. Is that something you want to continue to do?

Absolutely.  I don’t think that it’s for everyone. I think some artists really want a label to be able to do business aspects of their music and just to make the music and I totally respect and understand that. But for me personally, I’m somebody who likes the business side of things. I like knowing about those things. I like educating myself and therefore being able to individualize the music industry to me and what I need from it. And it’s something that feels very empowering to me and it’s something that I want to continue and eventually open my own label then and do these kinds of things and be able to find my own place, because at the end of the day, if you don’t like something or if something is not working for you, you need to make your own version of its and you need to find a way to do it your own way.

 

FLYING HIGH: Jealous of the Birds

One of the most promising young artists at this year’s SXSW was Naomi Hamilton. But why is she Jealous of the Birds?

BY ROBIN E. COOK

Wisdom Teeth is the new EP from Jealous of the Birds, a.k.a. Naomi Hamilton. The brainy singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland launched her music career while she was a university student in Belfast (she now has a master’s degree). Hamilton’s love of words is on full display, complementing her cool, brisk vocals. In addition to writing and singing, she’s launched “Jealous of the Bops,” a YouTube series about her favorite albums, with two albums reviewed per episode (e.g., Carole King and Cat Power). And as this interview shows, her interests extend far beyond music as well.

I understand you have a degree in English and creative writing. Which came first–that or the music? Definitely the writing. I’ve been writing since I was like 13 years old, poetry.  I’ve been doing that for much longer than music. And I started writing songs maybe when I was like eighteen. I just started kind of in my first year of my degree playing gigs and releasing music and stuff. So, it’s definitely literature first.

Your lyrics definitely are very erudite. Are there any lyricists who really influenced you? I think I started with maybe Bob Dylan. When I was thirteen or fourteen, I got into the folk movement and stuff. That’s what I really saw that lyrics should be a big part of music. And then when I got into my later teens, I got into, like, grunge: Nirvana, Neutral Milk Hotel, Elliott Smith and some like that. And Paul Simon stuff like that. So, it’s really important to me as a writer as well.

Aside from the lyrics, how else do you apply your English and writing background to the music?  I think it’s  more the analytical side of me to kind of parse different experiences. And also kind of the discipline of writing. ‘Cause I wrote a big dissertation and stuff. I’d gotten into the habit of journaling and carrying a notebook with me. So that helps, just kind of collect material for songs. 

Tell me a bit about you know, your first venture into making music. Were you a little bit nervous about that at the beginning? With my first gig, I couldn’t even stand up. I stayed seated and played solo. I played solo for about a year before we got about a band together. So, it’s definitely something that, I’ve gradually gotten better at. And it’s improved to me and I really enjoy it more.

One thing I noticed, you’ve been doing a YouTube series, “Jealous of the Bops.” Can you tell me a little bit about went for the inspiration for that came from? I’ve always really been into podcasts and video as a very intimate medium. A lot of artists kind of collate their own playlists on Spotify. So, I wanted to make it a bit more personal by making a video series of it. All the songs that I pick on Spotify are kind of parts of those together. And I pick two albums that I really like and talk about them and the process behind them.  I like to pick a classic album with a contemporary of one just for more contrast, ‘cause my listening tastes are pretty diverse.

It sounds like you’ve also read some music reviews and criticism as well. Is that the case? Really, I think it comes more from my English background. Writing essays and stuff comes kind of naturally to me, to be able to analyze the music I’m hearing. And also as a musician I’m always looking out for different techniques for recording and putting songs together. So that kind of becomes a factor.

What about today’s music scene in Belfast in Northern Ireland? I know people think of artists like the Undertones for instance and similar artists.  Today is actually very strong. There’s a big, strong sense of community back in Belfast. It definitely has its pockets of punk and rock and stuff like that, but it’s very much indie. And songwriting is kind of a big thrust back home. And a lot of support for each other, following each other’s gigs between Belfast and Derry.

Do you feel sometimes you have to be in a certain frame of mind to write songs? Oh, for sure, yeah. And I also kind of dabble in other arts, mediums and stuff, between like photography and painting. So usually if one of them is kind of, I’m in a bit of a block with it, I’ll move over to a different art form. They kind of help each other in that way. So yeah, for songwriting, I try to keep it pretty consistent so that there’s not gaps in between activity. And that’s going well so far. 

AROUND SXSW ’19 IN 80 BANDS: WOMEN RAPPERS RULE THE FEST

Pictured above: proud non-stadium fillers at SXSW (L-R) Broken Social Scene, Get Up Kids, Deerhunter – and much more. Our BLURT man on the ground charts the REAL heroes.

TEXT/PHOTOS BY JASON GROSS

You either love or hate SXSW, and having spent my 20th year there, I know which side I’m on. Stll, I’m grateful that 2019 didn’t see any huge, stadium-filling acts (which previously were Prince, Bruce, Gaga, Jay-Z) crowding out the literal and figurative turf in downtown Austin this March. The biggest acts this time were Deerhunter, Get Up Kids, De La Soul and Broken Social Scene- I saw ‘em all except De La (which I regret) and they were great but I gotta say that the crush of the crowds at those shows made me grateful to see the smaller, lesser-known acts. These up-and-coming performers make up the bulk of the fest and provide the real fun and beauty of discovery there.

Let the likes of Coachella and Glastonbury have the stars and crowds, even if Sixth Street in Austin has its own crowds (it was a good thing that spring break didn’t coincide with SXSW this time, keeping many U of T students from cluttering up the area). Plus, it wouldn’t be South By without some kind of incident, this time, a few shootings over the final weekend near the East side and the music proceedings, though seemingly not festival related.

Otherwise, we out-of-towners enjoy Austin’s compact concentration of clubs in the downtown area for easy access, the (usually) warm weather and the feast of BBQ and Tex-Mex food that awaits you there. Even then, the promo events around there meant that you could dine on a budget, getting freebies from Reeperbahn’s burger fest, Uber Eats’ pop-up of rotating food dishes and Wisconsin Cheese’s 3000 lbs. of pressed curds in their Cheeselandia fest to clog up your arteries as quickly as a plate of ribs.

(below: Cheeselandia’s delights)

(As a side note, I gotta say that NYC made me appreciate Austin clubs all the more when I compare their entry ways. ATX clubs still check IDs, what’s in your bag, etc.,  but they are so much more courteous about that. At a recent Market Hotel show in Brooklyn, the security guys obviously didn’t want to be there and treated you like garbage as a result. I did find it interesting that at the rap showcases at ATX, though, there were extra layers of security, including security wands and pat-downs.)

Even at a wide-ranging music fest, I’m still an indie rock fan at heart but I wish I could have seen more techno (which there was a good amount of), jazz and classical (which there were bits of here and there), at least for some variety. Still, there was plenty of styles to dive into otherwise, in six days, I managed to see about 80 shows (again which is easily when the clubs are mostly in one area). Rap had some impressive gents there with De La, plus the Beastie Boys doing a keynote panel on their new movie. But the most impressive music overall at the fest were really the female MC’s, proving that proving that Cardi and the unfairly maligned Nicki are only the tip of the iceberg. At SX ‘19, there were great sets, plus plenty of variety and quality from Ace Tee, Devmo, Leikeli47, Quanna, Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, all chronicled below.

(below: a last look at Sixth Street as the fest/confab was ending)

***

For my SXSW roundup here, I cover three dozen acts that I can gladly vouch for, plus nine more to investigate further (only saw glimpses of ‘em) and on top of that, 17 more acts I couldn’t catch but wish I did (there’s so much to see at SX that you can never see all the good stuff), plus links to hear more music from all of the performers. Maybe it’s interesting that many of the best acts I found at SX ’19 were women, but then again, they’re putting out the best albums recently, so why not? I even found time to see three music documentaries, though even there, I wish I could see more.

Anyone wanna help with a cloning machine so that we all can have our full fill of music at SXSW 2020? And a note to the SX show programmers: things went peachy this year without any huge headliners, so don’t ruin a good thing next time.

BEST BANDS/PERFORMERS SEEN

Ace Tee (March 17th, Main II)- When you think of a German rapper, a sultry black woman probably doesn’t come to mind but it should. “Bist Du Down?” was her international smash and represents her sound well. She doesn’t overwhelm onstage but that’s not the point as she’s got an alluring persona to match the music.

Amyl & the Sniffers (March 14, Hotel Vegas)- These old school style punks from Aussie are signed to Rough Trade, assuring their cool credentials. Amy Taylor looks like a cute little blonde girl on first blush but she’s comfortable diving into a crowd, moshing there and coming out with a bloody knee like nothing happened.

Anteros (March 11, Latitude 30)- Though Brit singer Laura Hayden doesn’t quite command the stage like Garbage’s Shirley Manson, she and the boys have their catchy dance pop down well enough that I was happy to see them twice. Their big glossy sound really does suck you in and grab you.

Black Pumas (March 15, Austin Convention Center)- These Austinites call themselves ‘psychedelic soul’ but it’s more of the later (70’s style) than the former, which is fine, and singer Eric Burton knows how to work up a crowd. Also, how you can not love their large-sized feline mascot/name-sake?

BLXPLTN (March 16, 720 Club)- Black electro-punk with a heavy dose of lefty politics. They’re as loud and rowdy as you’d hope they’d be live. Hopefully coming to an Afropunk stage soon.

Combo Chimbita (March 14, Hotel Vegas)- I’d seen them at Globalfest in NYC in January and was floored then and found that this loud psychedelic Columbian quartet was even louder at an outdoor stage for a day show. Singer Carolina Oliveros is mesmerizing with her outfits, her voice and her stage presence. She really has it all.

The Comet Is Coming (March 13, St. David’s)- With lineage from two other great UK groups (Sons of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down), TCIC is about jazz & rock & prog & techno via sax/keys/drums. Compelling stuff for sure and as another audience member noted, their fiery music really does sound like the band’s name. They’re shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize and I’m rooting for them.

Control Top (March 12, Cheer Up Charlie’s)- This Philly punk trio has a nice, sleazy sound to it thanks to their striking yeller Ali Taylor and the slashing guitar riffs of Al Creedon. No wonder they’re touring with Laura Jane Grace.

 

DEVMO (March 16, Mohawk)- Though she hails from the LA area, she raps more like Eminem in a fast-clipped style than a G-funk Cali style (though Dr. Dre did bring up M from the start). Plus, she could hold her own with a beatboxer that she invited onstage.

Drinking Boys and Girls Choir (March 14, Valhalla)- A Korean skate-punk trio that’s as fast and furious as you’d hope or expect. The sound is more hardcore than your typical mall punk band but slightly sweetened by bassist Meena’s grrl-y vocals. I almost wished I learned Korean so I could pick up on some of the political lyrics.

Ehiorobo (March 16, Scratchouse) After seeing a few acts that tried to push R&B into avant territory but couldn’t quite pull off the trick, it was a relief and revelation to see this wonderful weirdo from the wilds of New Jersey. With his broken, off-kilter beats matched by broken, oft-kilter lyrics, he’s someone you want to watch to see which strange pathways he takes.

eX-Girl (March 16, Elysium)- This trio, which technically comes from Japan but they claim to hail from the planet Kero Kero, has been around since 1997 though they still sound fresh in their bizarre rock/pop style- even when they came out doing a ceremonials dance to Kraftwerk. They’re less punk now but you can still see why Jello Biafra and Mike Patton were boosters. Wish they featured more of their sock-puppet frog (monster?) mascot though.

Gurr (March 12, Cheer Up Charlie’s)- This German girl duo recently did a Xmas song with Eddie Argos (Art Brut) and you can see why- they’re also a scraggly, lovable indie rock ensemble. Hilarious that they also told us ‘good morning’ at 12:30PM for their day show, which probably WAS wake-up time for most of the SXSW crowd.

Haiku Hands (March 16, Barracuda)- This Aussie girl dance trio sounds silly/goofy/fun on record and they translate it well on stage, via masks, streamers, dance move, good cheer. “Dare You Not To Dance” is a well-named statement of principle too.

Hash Redactor (March 14, Beerland)- This Memphis quartet has cast-offs from Ex-Cult & Nots but probably makes better post-punk revival/art-punk music than either of those groups. Plus, singer Alec McIntyre has the best buggy-eyed stare since Richard Hell.

Christy Hays (March 15, Friends)- This country/folk/rock singer boasts no pop pretensions and there’s a wonderful yearning in her voice and lyrics.

Lonnie Holley (March 14, Austin Convention Center)- A unique talent for sure, technically he’s a grisled soul ala Gil-Scott Heron but has a deep spiritual edge to match his political side- see “I Woke Up in a Fucked-Up America” for proof. Nice that he had his fellow Alabaman Lee Bains III to back him up on guitar too.

Durand Jones & the Indications (March 14, Stubbs) Last year at SXSW, this Midwest soul-man appeared as a promising talent. This year, he’s got an impressive new album (American Love Call), a bigger sound and plenty confidence to help move bigger crowds. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a strong band featuring drummer Aaron Frazer who easily hits those high notes and can take the lead now and then too.

Juiceboxxx (March 15, Barracuda Outside)- This unhinged wild midwesterner (think Jay Reatard) mostly goes for dirty garage rock/punk with some rap thrown in but thankfully he ain’t nu metal. He was just as convincing bouncing around the stage as he was standing on overturned garbage can in the middle of the crowd or rolling on the beer-soaked ground.

Kokoko! (March 12, The Main)- Though their publicist denies it, you have to wonder if this Kinshasa group has any connection to their fellow Congo homies Konono No. 1 who also use pots/pans/bottles and electrified scraps. Either way, they’re two great bands, kinship or no kinship, but live, Kokoko! has the edge with their instrument switching and crowd-revving act.

Kyan (March 13, CU29)- You really have to scratch your head when a wonderful, honey-voiced soul Brit like this isn’t conquering the US yet. Armed only with a keyboard and a violin player, his low-key dreamy vibe sounded big.

Leikeli47 (March 13, Cedar Street Courtyard)- Decked out in her signature robber-mask outfit, this diminutive Brooklyn MC worked the audience better than any other performer I saw at SXSW this year, not only taking her act into the crowd but also bringing some of them on stage to vogue beside her. When I was up front at the stage edge, she was even thoughtful enough to tell me that her raucous “Girl Blunts” didn’t mean that I couldn’t enjoy the fun too. How many other rappers would do that for you?

Madam X (March 15, Scratchouse)- One of the great things about the fest is running across something good that you didn’t even know about before, including this UK DJ and label head. I almost missed the act I was planning to see otherwise because her bumping, jacked rhythms, which covered everything from big beat to techno to dubstep, had our small crowd going for a while.

Megan Thee Stallion (March 14, Cheer Up Charlie’s)- With her self-assurance, stride and moves that would wear out a pole dancer, you wouldn’t know that this Houston rapper has only been putting out music for two years now. Decked out in a Kiss T-shirt, she was only on stage for 15 minutes but she made it seem like so much longer than that.

My Education (March 12, Barracuda)- This seven-man prog outfit leads with a violinist but they know how to get loud and almost sound rowdy at times- think early Mahavishnu Orchestra and Wetton/Bruford-era King Crimson. I almost wished that I stayed around for their Soundmass set where they team up with Utah improv group Theta Naught.

J.S. Ondara (March 14, Austin Convention Center) What bowls you over about this Kenyan artist right away is his beautiful, ethereal voice, highlighted when he performed solo with just a guitar to back him up.

Otoboke Beaver (March 12, The Main)- Don’t let the flowery outfits fool you- these Japanese girls are screaming punks who know how to use their feminine wiles in a fun, ironic way.

The Pinheads (March 14, BD Riley’s)- “Are they always so extroverted?” I asked their manager as this Aussie punk/garage band almost wrecked the stage area and were threatened by the club owner to get tossed out of there. “No, they’re usually wilder in a bigger club,” she said, making me wonder if they flattened the whole East Austin area a few days later when they played Hotel Vegas.

Quanna (March 17, Palm Door on Sixth)- Masterminding a 16-women line-up for a single night, this NY/Georgia rapper sounds more like the latter than former- Dirty South for sure. Generous enough to keep her own set short to let her other performers shine, it made me wish I’d seen more of her showcase for the evening.

Rico Nasty (March 12, The Main)- Yes, this Maryland rapper (like Quanna, she’s another NY transplant) proudly lives up to her name, nasty as she wants to be with plenty of style/fashion sense to boot.

Sego (March 12, Maggie Mae’s) I thought that Spencer Petersen just made funny indie rock at first- their new album is Sego Sucks and on Facebook posts, they address ‘Friends/Foes.’ Now, he’s trying his hand at writing anthems and he’s definitely onto something, gathering momentum while he’s at it.

The Seratones (March 15, Cheer Up Charlie’s)- It wasn’t the pink tutu she sported or the cold that she was valiantly trying to fight off that won me over to singer A.J. Haynes- it was her infectious enthusiasm that she radiated in front of her soul-rock ensemble.

Spacewalker (March 16, Speakeasy Kabaret)- She’s Afro-future, decked out in an outfit that would do Sun Ra proud and her one-woman laptop/drum machine band was all she needed to get her funky, freaky vibe across.

Symphonic Cinema (March 11, Edwin’s)- It was a little disappointing not to see any live music here but mastermind/director Lucas van Woerkum was there to do live film edits (where he’d sometimes slow down or freeze the film) for his video of Ravel “Daphnis et Chloe” featuring a steamy long-term love affair of a ginger-haired lady. He plans/hopes to play with an orchestra on his next trip to the States, which would be quite a sight to see as he’s already made himself the toast of Europe.

Tierra Whack (March 13, Container Bar)- OK, she’s not exactly an unknown quantity and she’s easily one of the most hyped-up recent acts but she still deserves more attention on top of that- she’s inventive, unique and even a little frustrating as many great artists are. Her 2018 debut (Whack World) was a conceptually brilliant album/video/suite copping from the Ramones (and the Residents’ Commercial Album) in the brevity playbook while dodging boasts and F-bombs. Live, she can surf on the wild enthusiasm of the crowd with just her freaky green skull shirt and her DJ but it’ll be fascinating to see where she takes her music in longer form and how she works that out into a more elaborate show, which she’ll definitely have.

Tiggs Da Author (March 12, Scratchouse)- Easily, the best name of any performer at the fest this year, technically, he’s UK rap but not ‘grime’ per se- more on the R&B tip, with 2017’s “Work It Out” an irresistibly, catchy hit and ‘16’s “Georgia” another ear-worm contender.

XXX (March 14, Fader Fort) – Not to be confused with punk legends X or the dreamy UK pop of the XX, this Korean rap duo made up for their delayed show the night before with this day show- rapper Kim Ximya was in good voice but could have had more stage presence though DJ/producer FRNK was on point with his schizzy, off-beat beats and sounds. Makes you wonder what will XXXX be like.

Yola (March 13, Central Presbyterian Church)- Not to be confused with Yo La Tengo, this Brit soul sister has Dan Auerbach producing her and her huge voice and joy make you think that she’s destined to be a name you’ll keep hearing. And her country connections run deeper than the cowboy band she appeared with- it’s definitely part of her sound and spirit. And if YLT was smart, they’d back her up or at least boost her.

VIDEOS:

DevMo (above). Go to YouTube and watch videos of DevMo, Haiku Hands, eX-Girl, Juiceboxxx, Amyl & the Sniffers, the Pinheads, Kokoko! and Otoboke Beaver playing the fest.

Briefly Saw But Needed To See More Of…

Eden Archer:

Algobabez– UK techno imagined by tech coders (and sounds like it)

Eden Archer – Country girl from Florida who proudly plucks a dulcimer

Black Belt Eagle Scout– proud Native American with slow-burn indie sound

Blushh– indie grrl with tunes

Yves Jarvis– experimental soul/pop

Denise le Menice– Aussie punk gone pop

John The Martyr– NYC blues/soul combo

Pip Blom– Brooding indie girls from the Netherlands

Tetractys– music series of Austin composers, premiering new pieces

Missed ‘Em and Wish I Hadn’t…

Liana Banks– Queens rapper flirts with R&B/pop

Black Taffy– avant/hip-hop DJ/composer

Borzoi– Aussie indie/post-punk revival

Catastrophe– theatrical pop chanteuse

Cimafunk– Cuban funk

Nick Leng– Floaty pop via South Africa

Lien– Ambient Belgian DJ

Mavi Phoenix– Femme dance pop

Mourning Blkstar– spiritual soul

Nonconnah– ambient/shoegaze duo

Clemm Rishad– Northwest rap with gospel leanings

Shigeto– abstract techno

Trampoline Team– grrl punk from the Big Easy

Stefan Wesolowski– avant/drone composer

Vacationer– R&B/pop with retro flourishes

Yoshi Vintage– Flint femme rapper with a dreamy side

Yung Baby Tate– Sensual Georgia rap

MOVIES

Martin Phillipps & Creem director Scott Crawford

  • Boy Howdy! The Story of Creem Magazine: For those of us who grew up on the fabled rock mag, this was a such a pleasure to see. Featuring vintage footage plus storied tales of the battles among owner/publisher Barry Kramer, editor Dave Marsh and scribe deity Lester Bangs and a staff that insisted on living a rock star life style themselves, all of which couldn’t last.
  • The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps: The story of a Kiwi legend who crafted beautiful, haunting songs and couldn’t keep a hold of a band for more than a year or two until now, plus his long-term struggle with drugs, drink and hepatitis and a museum exhibit that he scraped together from his home artifacts. Nice that MP himself was there for the screening, along with several SXSW shows for the Chills.
  • The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash: Based on mid-90’s interviews with the Man in Black, we hear the warts ’n’ all story of his life with some blanks filled in by his kids and his famous musical fans. It’s funny, touching and eye-opening too, especially when we hear about how the death of his brother and his work in the Army affected the rest of his life and career.
  • Carmen Street Guitars and I Am Richard Pryor: Didn’t actually see either of them but I’m kicking myself for that since the film people at the fest were raving about CSG as a great music-geek, NYC-history doc and who wouldn’t wanna see a movie about Pryor? FYI, The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story had some buzz to it also but you might need a strong stomach to watch as it seems to be along the lines of the recent R. Kelly and Michael Jackson series.

Exclusive: Watch Blurt’s SXSW 2018 Fragile Rock Video Interview

Guarantee: no Muppets were harmed during the filming of this interview.

By Robin E. Cook

Jim Henson, in his wildest fever dreams, could never have imagined the intra-band dramas of Austin’s Fragile Rock Band. Then again, he wasn’t around to witness the rise of emo. For their SXSW show, the band wore their hearts on their felt sleeves while singing songs about Ms. Pac-Man and frontman Milo S.’s new crush, the actress Fairuza Balk. Milo was conspicuously absent for the interview the afternoon before the show, but the rest of the band proved quite lively.

SXSW 2018: The Blurt Photo Gallery

Our gal on the ground survived yet another week of Austin madness and even got a few pics in the process. Pictured above: Nikki Lane during her SXSW showcase.

By Sadie Claire

MARCH 9

A Quiet Place Movie Premiere: Emily Blunt & John Krasinski

American Animals Movie Premiere: Blake Jenner / Bart Layton

MARCH 10

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky

MARCH 11

Balloons cast: director Dave Franco plus Abbi Jacobsen

MARCH 12

This Is Us cast: Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley

MARCH 13

Actor/Director Ethan Hawke

MARCH 14

Hearts Beat Loud premiere: Brett Haley, Nick Offerman

Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Mohawk

MARCH 15

Paradox movie premiere: Daryl Hannah & Neil Young

Chico Chico at the Elephant Room

MARCH 16

Joshua Burnside at BD Rileys

Keith Urban

Lo Moon at Radio Day Stage

Neuman at Sounds From Spain

Common Deer at Swan Dive

Shane Cooley & the Midnight Girls at Rachael Ray’s Feedback House

Blaze Movie premiere and concert at Paramount Theater: (top to bottom) Ethan Hawke, Ben Dickey, Gurf Morlix, Joe Ely, Alynda Segarra, JT Van Zandt, Nikki Lane

MARCH 17

Mint Field at Antones

Francobollo at British Music Embassy – Latitude 30

Otzeki at British Music Embassy – Latitude 30

Jaimee Harris at the Driskill Hotel Victorian Room

Jourdan Thibodeaux et Les Ros Et Ailleurs at Antones

Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble at Antones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Sadie Claire at the Sadie Clair Photographer Flickr page.