Yesterday was day two of the music portion of SXSW and Cool Hunting hit seven different venues to see eight different bands in just over seven hours, which was just about the standard pace necessary to keep up with the 1,300 bands scheduled to play—not to mention all the non-SXSW events. First on the list was Eliot Lipp (pictured above), a 25-year old rising electronic artist out of Los Angeles who mixes cinematic swells with funk-influenced beats. Watching Lipp bent over his laptop, filling the typically all-black interior of the rock venue the Elysium with soaring down-tempo sounds felt a little out of place, but was welcomed by a blissed out-looking audience nonetheless.
Still on a quest for bands less stereotypically SXSW, we headed to The Parish to catch the last half of Smoosh (pictured after the jump).
If there’s one thing indie rock usually steers clear of, it’s gimmicks, but then last year along came Smoosh, a pair of Seattle-based sisters, 13 year-old vocalist and keyboardist Asya and Chloe, 11, on drums, whose tight set of pop-inflected songs belies their age and the hype. Apparently, it’s more than just fans who are seeing beyond the early buzz the Death Cab for Cutie-mentored band generated in 2005; they were signed to Barsuk just last week.
Smoosh stayed to watch the next set by The Long Winters, but we made our way to the recently-opened Austin branch of the Beauty Bar to check out a set by Norwegian pop darling Annie at an I Heart Comics party where we were lucky enough to catch both her breakout hits, Chewing Gum and Heartbeat.
Smoosh stayed to watch the next set by The Long Winters, but we made our way to the recently-opened Austin branch of the Beauty Bar to check out a set by Norwegian pop darling Annie at an I Heart Comics party where we were lucky enough to catch both her breakout hits, Chewing Gum and Heartbeat. From there, we found Los Angeles’ two-person Xiu Xiu (pictured above), another electro-fueled band but with a dark, avant-garde feel, playing in Emo’s Annex.
Realizing The Refugee All Stars (pictured below) were playing around the corner at Carribean Nights, we ducked in to find a room full of people dancing to reggae-influenced Afro beats played by the group of refugees from Sierra Leone. (A wrenching documentary by the same name tells the story of the band forming from the ruins of the recent rebel uprising in Sierra Leone and is also screening as part of the festival.)
After a quick break sitting on the sidewalk and watching the crowds pass by, we headed early to Eternal in anticipation of a packed house to see one of the most talked about bands of 2005, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (pictured below). After a set by Britain’s Dirty Pretty Things—only remarkable for the near fight caused by time constraints forcing the miffed band members off stage—Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s five members took to the stage, looking only slightly embarrassed after BBC Radio 1 made their pep rally-type introduction. Without any ado, the Brooklyn art-rockers launched into a sweaty, passionate set, playing a couple new songs and favorites like "Yellow Country Teeth" to a crowd of adoring, bouncing fans.
With our last reserves of energy, we made our way to the Karma Lounge for the Tigerbeat6 after party where we watched a hyperactive, bass-heavy DJ set by Drop The Lime and one half of the Syrup Girls. Skipping the rest of the line-up (one of us was passing out in their seat), we went home to rest up for the rest of the weekend—it was, after all, only day two and we’ve got the rest of the 1,292 bands to see.