Year after year, the SXSW Music festival never disappoints, and 2016 features some of the world’s biggest acts and a list of over 2,000 artists: From big-name stars like Missy Elliott to organizational showcases, like the one organized by Pakistan’s Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education — there’s sure to be something you’ll like.
The list can be overwhelming. All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton teamed up with NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson and Saidah Blount to listen to over 1,800 of the performers and give 17 of their favorites.
“We have some of the best emerging bands from France with a real potential to break worldwide,” Bloom said. “There was no underlying theme except to pick the creme de la creme.” Bloom’s not kidding — the bands run the gamut from indie rock to electropop, folk to electronica and more.
Topping our lineup is Fakear, part of the new generation of French electronic music. Fakear combines the history of French electronica and the influence of Jean Michel Jarre with the cutting edge of the electronic scene. Fakear is widely loved at home — their mini-album Sauvage went Top 10 in the French charts. I got to witness festival attendees I imagine new to elcontrica drop potato salad to enjoy him spinning–definitely looking forward to his 1am show.
In the US and UK, Fakear’s latest album will come out on Ninja Tune, and Panthéon/Mercury/Universal in the rest of the world.
3/15 @ French Tech Lunch, Brush Square Park, 409 E 5th St
3/15 @ France Rocks Showcase, Trinity Hall, Old School, 401 E 6th St (1AM)
Daniel Antopolsky’s life sounds like a movie, and it is — The Sheriff of Mars is slated to be finished later this year. In the 1970s he rejected stardom for a more spiritual life and eventually became a country farmer in Bordeaux. Even though he’s played music for 40 years, he didn’t start recording music until he was 65. Antropolosky offers up Blues, Folk, Rock and lots of American flavor.
3/19 @ The Hideout, 617 Congress Ave – Austin, TX
Elida Almeida’s autobiographical first album, Ora doci Ora margos (Sweet Times Bitter Times) traffics in poignancy. In Almeida’s own words:
“Joana” portrays the conversation I had with my mother the day she discovered I was pregnant. I was 16, at school, it changed my life and that of my family. But now it’s okay, the baby is a nice little boy. Even if she was very angry at the time, my mother was very supportive in the end. And I decided to make the song as I know this happens to many young girls: You can have bitter times in your lives, but once you have lived them, sweet times will come.
3/16 @ Russian House, 307 E 5th St – Austin, TX (12AM – 12:40AM)
3/17 @ Womex Showcase, Flamingo Cantina, 515 E 6th St – Austin, TX (10PM)
We interviewed Stéphane Merlin to tell us about his work. “I think ‘The Keys’ is the best song to introduce my work,” says Merlin. “Through the light, through the faces, the video talks about all of the themes of the album: Freedom, escape and fantasy. I think videos are really important nowadays. You must illustrate your emotions.” As for “The Keys” itself he says, “I created this song to make me feel free and make me give fantasies and dreams.”
Julien Decoret and Kansas City-born Krystle Warren worked on variety of music collaborations with acts like Hercules & the Love Affair, Nouvelle Vague, Hugh Coltman, and Rufus Wainwright. Soon after, they formed Joon Moon, making music that’s a lovely mix of pop and soul.
Their newest single is Call Me.
LYS are playing SXSW for their third year! We spoke to Nicolas Veron, the only consistent member, where to start for those unfamiliar with LYS — and he said “Stay,” and we agree. Veron added, “that song represents the evolution of our sound — more positive, more attractive and more original.”
3/17 @ France Rocks Showcase, Central Presbyterian Church – 200 E 8th St (9PM)
Indolore makes interesting, introspective indie-folk music not unlike Nick Drake or Elliott Smith. His newest EP, Positive Girls, is out now on Bandcamp. Why does he make music? Indolore told us, “I make music to feel better, to ease my soul, to cure my own anxiety and hopefully others’!” His single “Go” asks the musical question “Do you really want me to go?” No, Indolore, we don’t.
3/15 @ Sedo Village, 503 East Cesar Chavez St – Austin, TX (4PM)
3/17 @ France Rocks Showcase, Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E 8th St – Austin, TX (8PM)
3/20 @ Spring Fling Music Festival, Giddy Ups, 12010 Manchaca Road – Austin, TX (1PM)
Hooka Hey is a natural fit for Austin with its raw feelings and blues-based tribal beats. When asked about coming to SXSW, band member Hugo de Saint-Quentin said, “I came to Austin in the first place for its music scene. It’s a great place for our heavy bluesy rock-n-roll sound. Plus, there are so many great talents in this town and so many opportunities to play. But then I decided to stay because it’s such a nice place to live.” When we asked where we should start with Hooka Hey, de Saint-Quentin recommended “Hush Me,” which “has a Middle Eastern feel to it with a spooky vibe. Good song for belly dancing.” He then added “The video is pretty badass.”
3/15 @ France Rocks Showcase, Trinity Hall, 401 E 6th St – Austin, TX (8PM)
3/17 @ Hole in the Wall, 2538 Guadalupe St – Austin, TX (afternoon)
3/18 @ Hotel Vegas, 1500 E 6th St – Austin, TX (12PM)
3/18 @ Future of Music, Shiner’s Saloon, 422 Congress Ave – Austin, TX (12PM)
3/19 @ Tip Cow / 113 Main, Cheers Rooftop, 416 E 6th St – Austin, TX (4PM)
THE BLIND SUNS
Feel the Baltic Waves, let’s sail away…The Blind Suns is a indie-rock power trio. Romain Lejeune, the band’s guitarist said their song “Rockerfeller” mixes “Surf Music, Dream Pop with indie lo-fi sounds.” He also added, “That song is a good example of our recipe. We also love playing catchy — even sometimes sweet — melodies with darker lyrics. People can dance or lay on their back staring at the clouds listening to our songs, their choice!”
3/17 @ Levitation Party, Hotel Vegas, 1500 E 6th St – Austin, TX
3/18 @ BD Riley’s, 204 E 6th St – Austin, TX (10-10:40PM)
Scarecrow is a powerful crossover of blues and hiphop. Scarecrow have been touring non-stop for the past six years — 500 gigs in 15 countries, and that means this labor of love is likely coming to a city near you very soon. Scarecrow’s incredibly versatile; they can veer from 1980s sounds to songs that feel like Gospel.
“Ain’t Got No Choice” is the best introduction to the group. And you can’t rush perfection; according to band member Antibiotik Daw (a.k.a Adrien Pelissie), this one song took almost two years to finish. Good thing they stuck with it — it’s worth it!
3/15 @ Next Big Thing Showcase (5PM)
3/16 @ Esther’s Follies, 525 E 6th St (1AM)
3/17 @ France Rocks Showcase, Central Presbyterian Church – 200 E 8th St (10PM)
3/18 @ Balcony TV Showcase (1PM)
3/19 @ Sofar Sound Showcase (2 :30PM)
3/19 @ Rock the Rooftop (5PM)