[FEATURE POST] Our SXSW picks for Free People
We were lucky enough to meet the very lovely Julia and Jana of Free People during their visit to Austin for SXSW. The ladies kindly asked us to write a guest post for their blog about our highlights of the festival, which is now live on their site! Head here to read it, complete with an introduction from Julia, or keep reading below.
Streets of Laredo:
This Brookyln by-way-of New Zealand band is one our favorites of 2014 thus far. We first met the band while at CMJ in New York this past October. Their music has a little bit of everything -- folk, rock, Americana, foot-stomping blues, beautiful harmonies. If you ask us, there's not much you won't like. Luckily we had the chance to see this beautiful bunch of people perform twice during SX; both performances making it to the top of this year's list. If you like Lord Huron infused with a mix of international flavor, alight here.
An old high school friend, one San Francisco gig and showcase slot later... and you have our introduction to LA-based band, Jesus Sons. These guys are rock and roll through and through, after making the sea change from SF to LA, these boys have been making quite the name for themselves. We had the pleasure of hosting them at our showcase this SX which further fueled our love and friendship with them. Their live performances are everything you'd expect: spontaneous, fuzzy and psychedelic. Yes please.
The Eastern Sea:
Before music week even began, we headed to The Empire Control Room to meet our Austin team member, Lillian. Just as we arrived, Austin-based band, The Eastern Sea had just started playing. Their impressive set made a lasting impression and was one of our festival highlights. The band uses an eclectic mix of instruments to create an exotic and soothing wall of sound. Sometimes the most unexpected and spontaneous of discoveries end up being the best.
Where do we begin, other than by saying that Moses' prophetic name lends itself to describing his musical talents. LA-based Moses Sumney uses a looping station, his angelic vocals and minimal instrumentation to create an almost unworldly sound -- somewhere comfortably wedged between folk, tropicali and soul. Each performance he gives seems to be based off of the vibe of the crowd, making for a unique and intimate performance. No wonder KCRW, Solange and we here at WW are continually mesmerized by this guy.
After masterfully weaseling our way into Hype Hotel, we were rewarded with an amazing set by Wolf Alice. Hard work really does pay off because while Wolf Alice has been on our radar since their debut single "Fluffy," it wasn't until stumbling upon them live that solidified our absolute infatuation. Can you blame us? It's impossible not to fall in love with this band of dashing rockstars and their British accents. And vocals? On point. Sultry stares? Check. Plus so many bonus points for bringing back that grungy, poppy-rock (rocky-pop?) because god help us if we ever get sick of guitar swathes, swirling reverbs and feedback pedal artistry.
Perhaps we are being biased because this talented bunch of musicians played our own showcase, and are from Nicola's hometown on Sydney's Northern Beaches, but this Aussie quartet are incredibly talented regardless. Their music has a distinctly southern bluesy-rock sound, which is so different to most of the talent coming out of Australia, it's refreshing. Front-man Ed has the voice of an angel, Jake on lead guitar is so humble he'll hate us for mentioning his dad was in INXS, Josie on bass is one of the most badass female musicians around, and Rob on drums is a kindhearted soul who you'd be surprised to hear such a thumping beat come out of. In their own words - "Move. Shake. Heartbreak."
Young & Sick:
Here is a new band crush that grew out of a beautiful friendship and a late-afternoon picnic in Austin's Zilker park. Our lovely friend Sarah had been introduced to this Holland-born, LA-based 'music and art project' by a friend of hers, and decided to pass this on to us. Not only are Nick's vocals as smooth as… red wine? melted chocolate? but he also creates all the artwork for the band/project; having previously done album artwork for a host of well-known bands and had his t-shirt designs sold at Urban Outfitters. This guy is the whole package. Drool.