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[walshed out] Texas 2-step: Five electronic acts to look out for @ SXSW



There's no denying that SXSW is a rock festival, what with all the gee-tars and it being in Texas and all. But as is the path of most things music related nowadays, a shift towards electronic soundscapes is palpable. Your favorite blogs are starting to review 12-inches. The staunchest of traditional rock clubs are hosting dance nights. And at festivals, acts once designated for after-hours mania are moving up the fliers, invading headliner territory. So it goes.

And while SXSW hasn't squandered all of its indie-cred by delving into Electric Daisy Carnival depths, there's exists a real sense of shared billing this year amongst acts that rock and acts that inspire a little movement throughout the lower half of your body.

With that in mind, I've compiled an annex to Michael Marotta's rather excellent curatorial efforts found within the pages this week's publication. My list follows similar criteria, opting to focus on acts that while currently known by some, will surely be the focus of every "RaveGeneration@SXSW" scare story that'll grace the innards of glossies abound in the coming weeks. I decided that a couple of the larger names are already beyond the need of recognition (MATTHEW DEAR, SBTRKT, NICOLAS JAAR), and also to omit the acts who are merely DJing (JACKMASTER, DJ HARVEY, ONEMAN) as opposed to those who will be providing some variation of a "live" performance -- in spite of my general indifference towards ever differentiating the two.

Before getting to the names, I noticed a common tie amongst my five selections: they're all from right here in God's country, the good ol' US of A. Not all that surprising considering the overall homegrown aesthetic of the fest. But when in contrast to the dominating Euro presence at a festival like Ultra, with umlauts and tildes nearly blanketing the poster, there's something to be said. Something I hope to delve further into with my wrap coverage upon my return.

I'm taking off tomorrow, hanging in Dallas for a couple days, and then moseying my way down to Austin on Tuesday. I'll be armed with an arsenal of technological advancements to assist me in my coverage -- a flipcam, my laptop, cellphone, etc.etc. -- so expect a lot of it -- blog posts, video, tweets, etc.etc. Keep an eye to the blog (phx.com/blogs), our tumblr (sxsw12.tumblr.com), and my twitter account (@michael_c_walsh).

And so without much further adieu: Walshed Out's Five Acts You Should See At SXSW Who May Or May Not Use "Real Instruments" But Never In The Traditional Sense And Sometimes Use Laptops Much To The Chagrin Of David Grohl.



BLONDES
FROM: Oberlin College
MUSIC HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS: "dreamy, handmade house"
MUSIC ACTUALLY SOUNDS LIKE: Fucking in the bathroom at a rave
WORTH YOUR EFFORT BECAUSE: You can listen to their debut self-titled dozens of times (I have) and not remember a single thing about it (I can't). Not because their music is best enjoyed in a passive manner or anything like that. But because it's so damn trance inducing. It'll be interesting to see how their hypnogaze beats play at a festival where making a statement during your allotted stage-time seems like something you should do.
WHERE THEY AT: I'm going to make a push to catch them at the Dummy XO showcase on Wednesday night where they'll be shutting down shop alongside such personal faves as Nguzunguzu and Korallreven. They'll also be at the Icee Hot party on Saturday, which looks pretty brolic in its own right.



MACHINEDRUM
FROM: Eden, NC
MUSIC HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS: "A dizzying tapestry of rave, Chicago footwork, jungle, hip-hop and soulful pop"
MUSIC ACTUALLY SOUNDS LIKE: A 16-bit drill to the forehead, but under the guidance of a steady hand, like that of Tim "The Tool-man" Taylor
WORTH YOUR EFFORT BECAUSE: No one is making music quite like him at the moment. Restraint and precision are traits often found in electronic music, sometimes to a fault. But rarely so when packaged alongside the frenetic drum wallop like that served up by Travis Stewart.
WHERE HE AT: SBTRKT is teaming up with buzzy UK label Young Turks to present a party on Saturday night called SBTURKS (see what they did there). Details are scarce at the moment, but it's supposedly going down at the Madison, and the lineup is currently slated as SBTRKT, Oneman, and Machinedrum, so I'll be there.



OCTO OCTA
FROM: New Hampshire
MUSIC HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS: "hipster house" (!!!)
MUSIC ACTUALLY SOUNDS LIKE: Heaven
WORTH YOUR EFFORT BECAUSE: 100% Silk, the primary label home of Mr. Octa and Ital, has garnered the above descriptor (which I'd rather not reference again) presumably because they wear tight pants and possess the rather remarkable ability to get those wearing tight pants to dance (???). The truly tragic thing about labeling though, as is most always the case with labeling, is that there isn't much differentiating Michael Morrison's brand of house from much of the forward-thinking house music being offered up by the more ‘mainstream' types. All fight the same fight: taking peak time in the club to new peaks.
WHERE HE AT: As of this moment, his only confirmed appearance is at the official showcase of Halo Cyan Records, going down Wednesday night at Barcelona. As already mentioned, I'm going to make a push for the Dummy XO showcase the same night, so that is currently presiding as my back up. But when your backup exists as a party featuring Chrissy Murderbot, xxxy, and a godforsaken legend like John Tejada, you know you're probably at SXSW.



PICTUREPLANE
FROM: Denver, CO
MUSIC HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS: "frayed, ear-bleeding take on 1990s diva-house and electro"
MUSIC ACTUALLY SOUNDS LIKE: A porno soundtrack, except with dolphins and unicorns staring in place of actual humans
WORTH YOUR EFFORT BECAUSE: He embodies rave culture in the least pretentious way possible. Clearly there's been an stylistic revival in that realm recently, with all the kidz and their day-glo and their ecstasy and whatnot. But Pictureplane wears cut-off black gloves. And preaches the virtues of chakra. And performs with leather clad dancers flanking his side. Obviously aesthetic does not make the music, but it is refreshing to see someone willing to fully embody the way of life -- and it is a way of life -- instead of merely trying to peddle it on unsuspectings. Also, his twitter is >>>
WHERE HE AT: I'm going to make my way to the Slow Motion + 120 Minutes day party on Thursday. The juxtaposition of seeing a bunch of artists best served in pitch-black, all going in during the daylight hours is too much to pass on: Light Asylum, White Ring, Nguzunguzu, Pictureplane. And they're promising lights, fog, and lasers, so there's that.



TEENGIRL FANTASY
FROM: Oberlin College, again
MUSIC HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS: "haze&b"
MUSIC ACTUALLY SOUNDS LIKE: A John Hughes soundtrack... ON ACID
WORTH YOUR EFFORT BECAUSE: They're the best thing going in electronic music today. The past year has seen a real rush of acts attempting to intentionally dull down their house offerings for the purpose of sounding retro and authentic. Well, Teengirl Fantasy already perfected that, and that was two years ago. 7AM was the album, and "Cheaters" was the lead single. Both went woefully under-the-radar, unrecognized and undervalued by many, but both are something I listen still listen to on a damn-near daily basis.
WHERE THEY AT: I'm going to claw tooth-and-nail to get into Tuesday's Pitchfork Interactive showcase simply because it's the first day and it affords the opportunity to cross the most names off my list of acts I'm trying to catch while in Texas: Sun Araw, Light Asylum, Trust, Schoolboy Q, Matthew Dear, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire. But I'm not going to fret if I can't gain entry into the sure-to-be hostile Mohawk, as Teengirl are also playing Fader Fort and a grip of other partiez throughout the week.

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