[sxsw2012] Music to move to: A$AP Rocky, Spoek Mathambo, and Shlohmo highlight Thursday at South By

I've hit a wall here at SXSW. I'm sunburnt, my feet are fucking killing me, and I'm basically mainlining 5-hour Energy. If it weren't for the show-after-show onslaught of choice music, I'd probably be dwelling on it more. And if it weren't for today's similarly stacked docket keeping my eyelids propped, you'd probably just be reading a bunch of scrambled letters thanks to my head thudding on the keyboard.

Because I've got to jet to the big Vanya Records blowout in less than an hour, I'll stick to the highlights of what was a massive Thursday here in Texas. Off the top of my sweat-soaked head, I believe I caught 12 acts total yesterday. I don't want to write about all of them. You don't want to read about all of them.

- On the occasion of Earl's return to Odd Future, it's hard to not consider the shit-storm they unleashed on last year's SXSW. No one is coming close to touching that level of hype thus far this year (except for the Boss), but if anyone has the opportunity to, it seems as if it could be A$AP ROCKY. The Harlem-bred MC was already a big deal heading into the festival, breaking big in late 2011 and earning himself headline billing at many of the parties here. But what caught me most off guard about his daytime set at yesterday's mtvU Woodie Awards pre-party was how poised he appeared on-stage. He opened his set clutching the microphone, not unlike a legitimate rock star, and proceeded to get the crowd riled up via the precision with which he delivered his raps, never resorting to OFWG-like antics until the set's end when he stage dove into the crowd. As played out the word "swag" has gotten over the past year or so, I couldn't resist chanting along, mostly because he was swag as fuck in an ODB t-shirt and the freshest pair of Jordans I've seen down here so far. Bonus points for bringing out SCHOOLBOY Q, who happens to be my favorite up-and-coming hip-hop artist of the moment.

- Highlight of the entire fest to this point has to be yesterday's daytime Boiler Room session. The London-based crew have built quite the following off the back of their weekly parties, which they stream at the above linked site. For SXSW, they rented a house and tweeted out the address yesterday around noon time. Knowing I'm not likely headed to the UK anytime soon, the opportunity was too rich to pass up and I hiked it one-and-a-half miles out to the bumfuck outskirts of Austin. The party took place in the backyard of the swanky two story abode, they had a trash barrel full of Red Stripes, and the soundtrack was provided by way of the sunburnt psychadelia of SUN ARAW and the South African ripshit funk of SPOEK MATHAMBO. As informed by my esteemed music editor, the latter is playing T.T. the Bear's next Sunday, the 25th. I would go as far as to implore you to go check them out. The party's MC informed us it was only the third time they'd ever played together as a band, but you wouldn't know it judging by how intensely tight they sounded.

- Only at South By Southwest can one fulfill their dream of eating a taco wrapped in a Dorito while watching a living reggae legend, as was the case at the Hype Hotel last night. Free tacos, free vodka drinks, and JIMMY CLIFF, all thanks to Gorilla vs. Bear. The sexagenarian has earned his reputation for a reason and delivered a consummate performance. But seeing as the fest is more so about breaking new names, rather than honoring old ones, I have to give mention to SHLOHMO. This is the second time I've caught the LA-bred beat machine and I'm fairly convinced he makes his music with the sole purpose of making me happy. His live set incorporates so many things I love dearly in life -- the Weeknd, head-knocking drops, Based God -- and while it may have been at least partially due to the 15-or-so voka/Monster concoctions I'd consumed by the time he took to the stage around 2AM, I'd classify his set as the funnest I've yet to see.

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