sxsw in retrospect

I finally got a SXSW wristband this year and had four incredible days chock full o' music. It's Tuesday and I'm still a little fuzzy - but given yesterday's post, apparently alert enough to string sentences together.

I saw a lot of bands ranging from mainstream to indie, awesome to WTF. Here are the ones that left an impression on me the most.

BEST BEATS: Ladyhawke

Saw her at Stubb's Wednesday night and couldn't sit still. Most in the crowd weren't familiar with Ladyhawke, but by the end of her show they were dancing around to the 80s-esque tunes with the best of 'em. She didn't exactly engage the crowd, but with beats like the ones on her self-titled album, she doesn't need to. Ladyhawke's music is just plain fun and fabulous - and her "Dusk Till Dawn" video is hilarious. Listen to everything.

MOST UNIQUE: Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele

Dent May's songs make me feel like a 50s housewife throwing a tiki party in Hawaii. In a good way. Or, in the words of May himself, the band is "Tropical/French pop/Healing & Easy Listening." We almost missed his show at Antone's on Friday but I had to see this ukulele action in the flesh. My boyfriend is pretty much obsessed with Dent May now; we can't help but smile when we listen to him. Oh, and the drummer gets extra cool points for using a tambourine and a maraca instead of drum sticks. Listen to "Meet Me In The Garden."


Dan Keyes, the (very attractive) genius behind Young Love, knows how to work the crowd - or, more specifically, the ladies in the crowd. We went to two shows and for both he hopped off the stage to dance with his (adoring and subsequently flipping out) fans. The girl in front of me at Pangaea turned to the girl next to me and said, "Were you at his Volume show Wednesday? I recognize you!" I like artists that bring people together. Keyes dances and sings through his entire show, which is impressive because his songs are intense. Keep your eyes open for his new album on April 28th (the day after my birthday...cough, cough). Listen to "Discotech."


To catch their two shows we waited a total of four hours. I'm not a patient person but the funny thing is, I don't miss those four hours. It was worth it. The first show was a SXSW Live taping on set and the second was at Stubb's on Saturday - the perfect ending. Their self-titled 1997 album will always have a special place in my heart; "Jumper" made it into the set list and it was awesome. Stephan Jenkins doesn't take his success for granted and seems like an artist who genuinely appreciates his fans and music in equal parts. He even threw flowers out into the audience when he walked on stage. There's a reason they've been around for 12 years - and they'll be releasing another album soon. Listen to anything off their eponymous album, or "NonDairy Creamer."

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