Victoria Hesketh | Contributing Writer | 1,196 day ago

Need A Spotify Update? Here Was The Music That Everyone Was Talking About At SXSW

The Debrief: Victoria - AKA Little Boots - went to SXSW to find out which bands we should be listening to...

I am currently slumped on my sofa in a post 'South By' jetlagged daze along with half of the world's music industry. While a week gorging myself of some of the best charred meat and tacos you could ever imagine is nothing any human should ever moan about, I find myself for the first time in my life genuinely craving kale - a day I thought would never come. 

You've probably already heard the headlines - Lady Gaga had someone vomit on her for Doritos, Tyler the Creator got arrested for apparently starting a riot, and more seriously there was a tragic car accident that killed 2 people and injured many more. 

Having ducked out the last few years it was slightly startling to see how insanely corporate the music industry’s favourite schmoozefest has become. What was once a carnival of unknown blogs cramming 75 bands into a the backyard-cum-bbq-cum-makeshift-venue has somehow morphed into a bombardment of ill-conceived hashtags and branded 'happenings' featuring A-list megastars swapping their dignity for kajillions in the name of a bag of crisps or an energy drink you’ve never heard of.  It felt like watching bands basically became a competitive sport for 5 days, where whoever checks off the most 'buzz acts' and blags the best queue jumps whilst downing as much Lone Star as humanly possible comes out tops.

Between playing live and DJing a few parties and being hugely slowed down by stupidly only packing massive heels I wasn’t really even close to being a contender, but for what its worth here’s the best of what I managed to see/hear/smell:


One band always seems to come out with the crown of 'most buzzed' from the week. Last year, was Haim and this year Jungle have the best chance of being THAT band. Having just signed to the currently fairly faultless XL, they also have amazing press shots and a video with a baby breakdancer in it. What more could you wish for? 



I’m slightly biased as am officially the biggest Sophie fan ever - and he played with me at London’s Heaven last year. But watching him play his glitchy hyper dance pop to confused American wobble-craving hipsters was something to behold. If you missed last year’s huge underground single Bipp last year check it out and watch out for more tunes like the super catchy Lemonade coming later this year. One of the most exciting producers of the moment. Period.



You are going to love these girls. Two Scottish babes who more than know their way around a song and are happy to bash it out on just drums and guitar, with lead singer/ guitarist Stina’s distinctly sweet vocals cutting through, offset by drummer Shona’s punchy beats and lyrics like ‘I WILL HATE YOU FOREVER’! Think all your favourite 90s girly punk fantasies rolled into one, plus they look good enough to eat and could probably drink you under the table any day.



It's nearly summer! Well not quite, but these guys will fool into thinking it is whatever the weather. If you’re a fan of warm dreamy upbeat electronic dance pop like Classixx/ Chromeo/ Cut Copy then this is for you. Although I would have guessed he was from Sydney via LA, Roosevelt is actually from Berlin, which gives the hazy glow a nice little edge, and has released a single last year on the super hip Greco Roman label. One to watch when the sun eventually starts peaking through…



I’ve been banging on about these guys for ages ever since I heard a demo of the soaring melodic lead single Heartbeat Overdrive, which came out on their debut album via Bella Union last year. Also from Berlin (via Nothern Ireland, interestinglu), they fall somewhere between Cyndi Lauper-esque 80s power-pop, shoe-gaze and lo-fi RnB, with ghostly looking singer Rosie’s icy acrobatic vocals providing unstoppable hooks. Although I actually manage to miss them in Austin, I heard their name muttered in several of the taco stand queues, which is always a good sign.  



So I’m not gonna lie, this is NOT my kind of music. At all. Its VERY noisey. BUT… everyone was talking about them, I first heard of them last year via a demo CASSETTE they had made (the first 25 seconds I could wince through sounded pretty incredible, in a pretty unlistenable to my pop ears way). The singer Meredith is a total badass babe and apparently the first copies of vinyl for their album contains some of her BLOOD in the acetate recipe. So they definitely get a mention for just being generally hardcore. 



This is not a very new one but if you haven’t heard of Kelela yet you will be doing very soon. Ok so I admit I heard her play over the side of a wall as I got distracted by someone giving out organic ice lollies, but from where I was standing it sounded bloody good so it must have been even better if you were in front of the stage. The production on her mix tape Cut 4 Me out last year was by far some of the most stand out of  of the new twisted RnB scene, plus she has really really cool hair.



Being a massive nerd and hanging out for longer than is cool at the Moog showcase (they had free moog sweatbands!! and balloons!), I did catch a really new band called Silk Rodeo who I kind of fell in love with. Think a doomy slowed down Club Tropicana vocaled by Phil Oakley with a Xanax'd up Gorgio Moroder on production duties, fronted by two dudes in excellent matching 80s shirts caged by a million analogue synths. Maybe an acquired taste, but I was digging it. 


Kelis has a new album out (!), it is called Food (!!), loads of the songs are about food because she got annoyed with the music industry and took some time out and retrained as a chef, as you do. To promote it she not only played a bunch of gigs but ran a food truck around SXSW. The menu was posted on flyers everywhere and looked amaaaazing but proved impossible to track down, so we will just have to fantasise about how good her Jerk Ribs tasted and listen to the song instead. Also she has a cooking show and range of condiments coming out. Talk about brand diversification.   


So these guys have been around for a few albums, but I have to say although I’ve heard their name forever I’ve never properly listened to them until I saw them live at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase and it was simply amazing. A properly great live band with a cool-as-fuck singer. If you haven't listened do so now, or even better just go and see them live somewhere and I dare you not to get a total girl crush on Yumiki Nagano. 


Follow Victoria on Twitter @Littleboots


Tags: Introducing..., SXSW