FEATURE: SXSW '11: Wednesday / Thursday Playlist


This year marks the 25th anniversary of Austin’s internationally infamous music conference, South By Southwest. With a prodigious number of bands to choose from, even the veteran concert-goer is liable to be overwhelmed. To help, here is a schedule of some of the most promising bands performing this year. Check them out now—next time you see them, it could be the arena tour.


  • Yuck – Georgia (0:00 – 3:35)
    8:15pm, Stubbs
    Noise rock has been reincarnated and its name is Yuck.  Fitting, right?  Drenched in distortion and dreamy hooks, they sound like a college radio broadcast that’s been trapped in a temporal vortex for 20 years and only now spun out onto the world.  Plus, the drummer has an afro, which is nice.  Should be a mean live show.

  • James Blake – Limit To Your Love (3:35 – 6:53)
    9:15pm, Stubbs
    Minimal, amazing.

  • Geographer – Kites (6:53 – 11:11)
    10:00pm at The Windish Agency House @ ND
    A melodic electro-pop trio from San Francisco, Geographer spins songs layered with synths and backed by cello.  They sold out their recent headlining show at Noise Pop, and for good reason.

  • The Vaccines – If You Wanna (11:11 – 14:07)
    10:00pm at Club De Ville
    Brit rock riffs from the 60s and Brit rock attitude from the 70s find modern traction in British rock band The Vaccines.  They play heartfelt songs about girls and other girls.  Timeless subject matter, really.  They could pass as being from any decade, but they happen to be from this one.

  • Braids – Lemonade (14:07 – 20:47)
    11:00pm at Beauty Bar/ Palm Door
    Shimmering pastoral sounds from Montreal.  Formerly known as The Neighborhood Council (and receiving national attention as openers for Deerhunter), the band re-christened themselves Braids and began work on their album, Native Speaker.  Released recently to positive reviews, this week marks an early chance to see them perform the songs stateside.


  • tUnE-yArDs – Bizness (20:47 – 25:07)
    5:30pm at 2011 Lawn Party at SXSW
    Bizarre vocals, percussion and capitalization: that’s what tUnE-yArDs brings to the yard.  Don’t be fooled by their innocent intros—the crazy comes on quick.  If their live show matches the intensity of their recordings, it will be a wild ride.

  • Cults – Go Outside (25:07 – 28:27)
    9:00pm at Central Presbyterian Church
    Like catchy déjà vu, or the memory of a dream, Cults writes songs that, on first listen, you feel like you’ve heard before.  You haven’t, though, and neither have I.  But that can all be fixed on Thursday night.

  • Diamond Rings – Wait and See (28:27 – 32:02)
    10:30pm at Beauty Bar Backyard
    Imagine tight 80s glam rock with some swagger and you’ll have an idea of what to expect from Diamond Rings.  The band is the brainchild of John O’Regan, who composes the music and plays all the instruments.  His songs are catchy as hell, and if the music videos are any indication, his stage show will be a thing to witness.

  • Cloud Nothings – Understand At All (32:02 – 34:37)
    12:05am at 512 Rooftop
    Low fidelity, high distortion, high energy—hailing from Cleveland, Cloud Nothings play music that sounds like a pawn shop amp burning in a garage. Originally a solo project of frontman Dylan Baldi, the lineup has expanded for live performances to include his high school buddies.  Expect energy.

  • Pictureplane – Goth Star (34:37 – 38:05)
    12:15am at Beauty Bar
    Hypnotic electronic landscapes layered under choppy vocals and fractured sounds, and not nearly as goth as the song title suggests, Pictureplane is the stage name of Colorado musician Travis Egedy. He has been reciving critical attention recently with the release of his latest album, entitled Dark Rift.  Check it out if weird, trancy vibes sound like a good way to end up the night.  Or to kick it off, depending.

SXSW '11 Wednesday/Thursday Playlist

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