I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Austin, TX for the South By Southwest Music Festival, where I walked 35+ miles over the course of 4 days (thanks for keeping track, Fitbit!) and nights of non-stop music. 

In addition to catching Philly's Marian Hill - here were my 3 favorite performances...which all happened to start with the letter "S":

Sylvan Esso:  

A duo from Durham, North Carolina.  Sure, you could call them "electronic", considering there are zero actual instruments on stage, but everything about what they feels organic and spontaneous and real. And made me dance.  

Their sophomore album, that it feels like I've been waiting a ZILLION years for, is called What Now and will be out on 4/28...and they're playing Union Transfer in May - must see.   Check out the video for their new single Die Young + the always swoon-worthy Coffee from their debut album.  

sylvanesso.com for more


SOHN:

I arrived early to see another performance (by Future Islands, who were fantastic), and knew almost nothing about SOHN,  but his performance was one of those amazing surprises...smacked me right in the face....like WHOA,  why didn't anyone tell me about this awesomeness before?!  It was, in a word: sexy. And smooth. And powerful. Ok, that was three words, but close enough.

He's British singer/songwriter/producer/wizard, that's also sort of in the electronic-y vein, and just released a new album called RENNEN. If you're looking for me I'll be over here obsessing over this one for the next couple months.  Oh, h'll be in Philly on March 29th at Union Transfer.  

Check out video of his live performance of "Hard Liquor" from SXSW below (Credit: Youtube user Rick Dalberg)

sohnmusic.com for more



Spoon:

A hometown band from Austin, it feelt like Spoon kind of owned the whole festival -  they curated and played 3 straight nights at a venue called The Main,  and I caught the show on Thursday night/Friday morning, which happened right as the new album Hot Thoughts was being released into the world...and what a way to celebrate.  They only played for about an hour -  but they could have played for 4 hours and it wouldn’t have been enough for me (or for all of their stand out songs -  they've released nine albums over the last 2 decades).  For me, this show was like a re-discovery of a band that I've enjoyed for a long time....I left that show reminded that there are few bands who are so dialed in and such experts at their craft . “Hot Thoughts” was a stone cold groove live.  I'm short and it was packed - so wasn't able to get any good quality video, but check out their live performance of Hot Thoughts from a recent Jimmy Kimmel Live! performance below, and as a bonus, one of my favorite songs from the last album - Let Me Be Mine.

spoontheband.com for more

I was lucky enough to run into Britt Daniel + Jim Eno from the band while I was in Austin, too.  (We're total bffs now, lol!)

Other notably awesome performances I caught include:  Ron Gallo, Little Hurricane and Still Corners.