News: 3/17/2011  

SXSW : Portlandia, Smith Westerns

Flew in late Tuesday night to experience the hub of the music universe for a few short long days in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest. With my plans to catch some of the best acts from San Diego (some making their SXSW debut) when they come to Austin later in this week including TV Girl, Writer, Cuckoo Chaos, Lesands and Heavy Hawaii, I headed out to drop in on a few national and international acts in the meantime.

On Tuesday night caught a young Canadian experimental solo artist Grimes, who channels electronic and pop styles from before her birth in 1988. Her virtuosic singing and tribal beats and loops transported the growing crowd. Next up on the same stage was a thundering and raucous set from Brighton, England’s indie-rockers, Esben and the Witch, recent Matador signees touring behind the recent release of their debut record Violet Cries (playing The Casbah this Monday, 03.21).

Esben And The Witch
Wednesday I caught a daytime set by new indie supergroup Mister Heavenly featuring members of Modest Mouse, Man Man, and Islands and some bass player named Michael Cera. In attendance was none other than ex-Sleater Kinney guitarist turned sketch comedy star, Carrie Brownstein, from IFC’s new hit Portlandia. I promptly went star struck and walked straight up and to her with lots of “we’re not worthy”-isms etc, major south-by faux-pas, creeped her right out in seconds flat. Ended the day with killer sets by James Blake, Smith Westerns and Small Black.

Smith Westerns

Small Black

Words and photos by Andy Martin.

Tags: Austin, Texas, SXSW, Small Black, Andy Martin, Smith Westerns, Portlandia, Grimes, Esben The Witch

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