There are two universally accepted ways to do SXSW: 1) fastidious plan your festival experience to the letter 2) drift from showcase to showcase, bar to bar, with your gut as your guide. There’s no right way, although diehards of either method would claim otherwise and healthy mix of the two is essentially how you get the most out of the overwhelming options SX offers. And that’s what let me to discover Porter. The Guadalajara indie rock fivesome were the definite highlight of the Vans Mexico showcase I stumbled into with a couple friends on the first day of our SX festivities.
Porter have been around awhile (since the early aughts) with an EP, full length, and sophomore record on the horizon and if their latest single “Palapa” is anything to go off it’s going to be pretty delightful affair. “Palapa” builds a blanket of brief but riotous percussion before launching into angular guitar riffs while David Velasco’s stratospheric vocals weave serpentine patterns in their own right. Where so many of their lyrics are sung in Porter’s native Spanish, Porter are one of those rare bands able to circumvent the language barrier through virtue of their musical talents. The quintet have a distinct ability to develop intricate melodic shapes but also imbue them with a kaleidoscopic lushness which translates regardless of dialect.
While waiting for the promised US release of a batch of tunes from Aussie world pop troubadours Jinja Safari an exciting development occurred – Pepa Knight, the band’s chairman of world instruments, has gone and revealed a project all his own. While still in the vein of resplendent tropical-inspired pop, Knight’s single “Rahh!” is more than just another slice of Jinja Safari’s cacophonous, jubilant brand. “Rahh!” is lush and vibrant, belying the fact that it’s all the work one man; not quite bedroom pop but certainly not a full band affair. Knight’s single is full-bodied and fully realized – immersive and transportive in its effervescent plod, upward reaching and infectious – the perfect tune to jump start the encroaching summer swelter. Here’s hoping it’s not too long til Pepa Knight reveals what other tricks he has up his beguiling, fully developed sleeves.
After the blistering vocal gymnastics featured in Brooklyn experimental rock trio SoftSpot‘s “You/Yours”, they’ve decided to calm it down in the latest offering from the upcoming sophomore effort. “Black Room Blues”, the third track and our third taste of the forthcoming work, is perhaps the most phlegmatic; inward-seeking and dramatically so, pulling you in with crushing heaviness. All the while Sarah Kinlaw’s vocals rise above the tumult with effortless lucidity. “Black Room Blues” is like sinking in quicksand under a full desert moon, its methodical slow burn drawing you deeper and deeper down toward its darkly colored core.
SoftSpot’s sophomore full length MASS is out April 8th. You can pre-order the digital or limited edition 12″ via their Bandcamp here.
We previously shared “Good Laugh” from Wilmington bedroom pop artist Dyev. Here’s another track, “It’s Time They Know,” that matches that track’s frenetic energy, inventive percussion design and manic vocal layering.
Nothing official on the horizon from Dyev just yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
Fresh off of a scintillating SXSW, including an Austin debut performance at this year’s Floating Fest, Sylvan Esso are pressing the buttons on their machine in proper fashion by dropping a new video for lead single “Coffee”. The single is so catchy, they could’ve made a lyric video using Comic Sans and I still would’ve watched it only somewhat begrudgingly. Luckily they didn’t do the unthinkable and stuck to something more familiar roots, shooting a 50s sock hop meets hipster house party in their hometown of Durham, North Carolina. If SXSW was an education institution for higher learning with a study abroad program in Portland, this video showcases the house parties that would undoubtedly occur.