“That isn’t smog, it’s smug! You can have smug in the atmosphere, and you know what that leads to? Global laming! … The perfect storm of self-satisfaction.” – South Park
Yes, there’s something unspeakably smug about SXSW, and all the hipster-haters out there are fantasising about nuking the site from orbit (“it’s the only way to be sure”) – but there are also some fine tunes to be heard this year. Whether you’re an eager trend-chaser trying to find the “hottest new tips for 2012”, or just a bit bored of what’s on your MP3 player, some of these bands are actually any good, including these.
Grimes – Oblivion
Ethereal, glassy electro-pop that should appeal to fans of Oh Land.
Blouse – Videotapes
Fuzzy indie pop with shades of early Lush and MBV. Sounds like it should have come out on 4AD circa 1990.
Purity Ring – Ungirthed
The music is brittle electro with just a nod towards dubstep. The vocal, I want to say Bjork and I want to say Oh Land, but that’s because of the slight clipped edge to Megan James’s voice that makes her sound a bit Scandinavian.
US Girls – The Island Song
If you stranded one of the Ronettes on a desert island, left her to shout herself hoarse for a while and just generally give up on life, she might sound like this. It’s the sweet sound of despair.
Gazelle Twin – Men Like Gods
The whole Zola Jesus electro-goth thing is really big right now, and this is more of that. Elizabeth Walling is from Brighton, so she gets extra props from me.
ANR – The Endless Field of Mercury
The duo from Miami are electro-indie in a similar vein to MGMT, but with a great handle on how to write proper pop. I love the percussion on this.