With the same enthusiasm as a kid going to Disneyland, I arrived earlier today in Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest (SXSW). An annual interactive, film and music conference and festival, SXSW started in 1987 as a music fest with only 700 registrants. These days, with added interactive and film components, SXSW draws tens of thousands of attendees.
Over the last several years, the interactive division has grown dramatically in size and influence, but sorry, techies, as far as I'm concerned, SXSW is all about the music.
A mecca for artists and music heads, more than 1,500 bands play a variety of venues, backyard parties, record stores or wherever they can amplify. Bands relish the opportunity to be on a coveted showcase at the famed festival. Every year, a handful of San Diego bands are represented and make the pilgrimage from the coast to the live music capital of the world, and this year is no exception. A SXSW veteran, I have never seen so many San Diego artists on the official roster.
Here's a preview of some of the SD acts performing at SXSW 2010 this week :
Rafter's latest LP, Animal Feelings (Asthmatic Kitty), is a Technicolor pop blowout that recalls Nintendo composer Koji Kondo leading a fantasy super-jam with Cody Chesnutt, Justin Timberlake and the Tom Tom Club.
2. STEVE POLTZ
Poltz goes back to his birthplace of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and meets the Canadian award-winning songwriter, producer and performer Joel Plaskett. The two form a strong bond and record Poltz's newest album Dreamhouse. Recorded analog on 16 track 2-inch tape, they make Poltz's finest offering yet.
Ghost is the debut album from Tape Deck Mountain, a project of San Diego native, Travis Trevisan. After being laid off from his job almost a year ago, Trevisan took full advantage of his free time in crafting Tape Deck's collection of slacker-fuzzed lullabies.
With an uncanny ability to make intimate song styles feel big in scope, San Diego favorites Transfer have made a career of heightening the senses, embellishing timeless rock aesthetics with rousing harmonies and sweeping, reverb-drenched guitars.
For more than a decade, this hard-hitting five-piece has whipped Southern California audiences into a frenzy with its seamless mix of blues, rock and soul. Lady Dottie and the Diamonds just took Spain by storm Last November and returned to hit the studio for their second full-length Recording.
The Nervous Wreckords were formed in 2009 by Brian Karscig of Louis XIV and Anthony Saffery, a producer and member of the UK band Cornershop.
7. DIRTY SWEET
Dirty Sweet found an immediate audience of rock-loving fans just months after their inception, and British magazine NME referred to the group as, “getting ready to go mega with their skuzzy, ass-shaking rawk n’ roll”.
8. DELTA SPIRIT
A hybrid of rock and soul, Delta Spirit incorporates the multi-instrumentalism of its members and the passionate vocal delivery of Matt Vasquez to produce an amazing live show.