Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: SXSW Edition

PPjennyowenyoungsThis week features more grand events than just the start of the NCAA Tournament. Wednesday marked the start of Austin, Texas’s famous South By Southwest (SXSW) festival. Call it March Madness for music lovers. While you won’t be able to roam Sixth Street to check these acts out in person, through the magic of the Interwebs you can still enjoy some of the best about-to-break-big musicians in the biz. Here’s a snap shot of some of our favorites.

This week features more grand events than just the start of the NCAA Tournament. Wednesday marked the start of Austin, Texas’s famous South By Southwest (SXSW) festival. Call it March Madness for music lovers. While you won’t be able to roam Sixth Street to check these acts out in person, through the magic of the Interwebs you can still enjoy some of the best about-to-break-big musicians in the biz. Here’s a snap shot of some of our favorites.

Jenny Owen Youngs

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Jenny Owen Youngs (Courtesy Photo)

Youngs stands out because I’ve spent the last half hour misspelling (Owens Young) then retyping her name, but even moreso because of her sincere, girl-next-door vocal stylings and shoot-from-the-heart lyrics. Based in Brooklyn, the songstress debuted her self-released first album in 2005 and built on her early success by authoring follow-up effort Transmitter Failure last May. With easy-on-the-ears instrumentation and you-deserve-better poetry (“I hang in the corners like a ghost / you know I live to be seen through,” she croons on “Here is a Heart.”). It’s easy to see why she’s winning over audiences and critics alike. You may know her from early release “F–k was I” featured on “Weeds,” but if you don’t you can check her out at myspace.com/jennyowenyoungs.

The Morning Benders — The indie pop foursome hit the scene in 2008 and has since spent time opening shows for some very celebrated acts (Death Cab For Cutie, The Kooks, MGMT, Yo La Tengo). With a quirky, anti-Top 40 style the Berkley, California encamped Benders channel a fearless approach to songwriting into one-of-a-kind work, like the remixed night at the drive-in sound of “Excuses” off newest album Big Echo. In my opinion they give off a bit of a Beatles-meet-Cold War Kids vibe, but you can see if you agree at myspace.com/themorningbenders.

Here We Go Magic — Fronted by former Manhattan muralist Luke Temple, this six-person ensemble just rolled through the District on March 13. My apologies for not alerting you earlier, though we did print an earlier piece on Temple about this time last year. Signed to Secretly Canadian, Temple and his merry band continue to make beautiful music together — definitely give Thom Yorke-esque “Tunnelvision” a good listen. These electro-folkers put a fun new spin on a sound Paul Simon once made popular. It’s definitely worth a visit to myspace.com/herewego magic to check them out.

 

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Here We Go Magic (Photo: Tell All Your Friends PR)

 

Spoon —  There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of this Austin outfit, as they’ve been adored by both indie and mainstream publications for their recent releases Gimme Fiction, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and 2010’s Transference. But if you haven’t, here’s the part where we prep you for the band’s date on March 22nd at 9:30 Club. From the vibrant stylings of the studio production-rich “The Underdog” to the stripped down and dirty grunge of Fiction’s “The Beast And Dragon, Adored,” to the trippy “Was It You?” there’s no territory the band has explored where it’s failed. And considering their sweeping sound palate, that’s pretty impressive. What I like best about their MySpace page is that you can sample a selection of their songs dating back to some of their earliest work. You can visit it here: myspace.com/spoon.

While these four stand out, this is a tiny drop in the vast musical ocean that will sweep over the Lonestar State’s capital this week. For a closer look at the scores of songwriters, search for yourself at SXSW.com.