SXSW 2010 Music Recommendations

Are you going to SXSW this year? Well, lucky you. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend this year (IndieMuse’s contributor, Nick, is going and will be keeping everyone up to date via IndieMuse and our twitter feed @musicfloss). I wanted to go ahead and include some bands that I highly recommend checking out if you do make it down to Austin. This list is far from complete, but with the overwhelming number of bands performing, we thought it would be a good idea to share some “IndieMuse approved” artists. A lot of these artists are more on the alternative folk side, but if you’re looking for “indie rock” music recs, check out Nick’s post. If we missed anyone, please include them (and a Myspace link) in the comments!

note: some of these artists are playing multiple days so check for venue, dates, and times.


Bowerbirds, Califone, The Veils, Fanfarlo, Frightened Rabbit, Born Ruffians, Joe Purdy, Princeton, Dustin O’Halloran.

(mp3) Bowerbirds – Northern Lights

(mp3) Joe Purdy – Wash Away (Reprise)


Midlake, Centro-matic, Miles Kurosky (Ex-Beulah), Rogue Wave, These United States, Le Loup, Avi Buffalo, Seabear, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Lissie, Cary Brothers Band of Horses, Broken Social Scene, and Amber Rubarth.

(mp3) These United States – Will it Ever

(mp3) Avi Buffalo – Where’s your Dirty Mind?


Dosh, Vandaveer, Twin Sister, Jail Guitar Doors (Documentary showing), Memory Tapes, Tape Deck Mountain, She & Him, Zeus, The Low Anthem, Metric, and Sebastien Schuller.

(mp3) Sebastien Schuller РBalan̤oire

(mp3) Vandaveer – However Many Takes it Takes


Forest City Lovers, Electric President, Pretty Lights, and Hey Marseilles.

(mp3) Electric President – Safe and Sound

(mp3) Hey Marseilles – To Travels and Trunks

Top 10 Albums of 2009

So, here is IndieMuse’s “Top Albums of 2009″ list. I know what you’re thinking… there’s only a few hours left in 2009 and we must have rushed to get this up last minute. The truth is, we wanted to make sure that we listened to every single album released in 2009 before publishing an official list. What if Wilco or another band released an amazing, secret album on December 31st? We couldn’t leave it up to chance.

10. Fanfarlo – Reservoir atlantic

I first came across Fanfarlo a few years back before they played SXSW, and was really impressed by their song “Fire Escape.” Their debut album is fantastic. Reminds me a lot of Clap Your Hands, but I like their arrangements more.

(mp3) Farfarlo – Harold T. Wilkins Or How To Wait For A Very Long TIme

(mp3) Fanfarlo – Finish Line

official site

9. Le Loup – Family hardly art

Le Loup brings to mind Animal Collective and Born Ruffians. They have a really cool worldly sound.

(mp3) Le Loup – Forgive me

official site

8. Grand Hallway – Promenade

Grand Hallway in an eight piece orchestral pop band from Seattle, Washington. I came across their music through one of the musicians in the band, Shenandoah Davis, whose solo music I really like. This album hasn’t received much exposure, but definitely deserves to be on more lists.

(mp3) Grand Hallway – Raindrops (Matsuri)

(mp3) Grand Hallway – Blessed Be, Honey Bee

official site

7. Passion Pit – Manners frenchkiss

I don’t usually listen to electronica, but I’ve always been a fan of Passion Pit. I wasn’t sure if the band would be able to live up to all the hype they were receiving from “Sleepyhead,” given they didn’t even have a debut out… but sure enough, they released a really solid album.
I know that some people think the band is over-hyped or even “untalented.” But you may be surprised to know that some members of the band, such as Ian Hultquist, have professional training from places like the Berklee College of Music. In other words, their success isn’t a fluke…

(mp3) Passion Pit – Sleepyhead

(mp3) Passion Pit – Little Secrets

official site

6. Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band sub pop

The Fruit Bats have been one of my favorite bands for a long time, and I can’t believe that they’re still such a big secret. Let’s just say that they are so catchy that The Shins stole frontman Eric Johnson away for a few years to play in their band. We loyal Fruit Bat fans had to wait four years for this release!  I also highly recommend their 2003 album, Mouthfuls.

(mp3) Fruit Bats -The Ruminant Band

(mp3) Fruit Bats – Being on Our Own

official site

5. Bombadil – Tarpits and Canyonlands ramseur records

This album is great. Again, it’s an example of a band that just lacks exposure. They should be on more lists.

(mp3) Bombadil – Honeymoon

(mp3) Bombadil – So Many Ways To Die

official site

4. Various Artists – Dark Was The Night 4ad

This album is on my list for several reasons. First, the music is all great. Second, it’s one of the first compilations out there that doesn’t blow. Every now and then you’ll see a compilation or tribute album that has some big names on it, but after a quick listen, it feels more like a marketing stunt than passion project. That is not the case with Dark Was The Night. The National’s Dessner brothers put a ton of time into making this compilation and got musicians such as Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, and pretty much every other established indie artist to produce exclusive, top quality content. And lastly, all the proceeds from the album go to the Red Hot Organization, an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS.

(mp3) Arcade Fire – Lenin

(mp3) Beirut – Mimizan

official site

3. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion domino

(mp3) Animal Collective – My Girls

(mp3) Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes

official site

2. The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You atlantic

Some fans of the Avett Brothers think this album was overproduced. I think it’s really good.

(mp3) The Avett Brothers –  I and Love And You

(mp3) The Avett Brothers -  Laundry Room

official site

1. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast fat possum

Noble Beast was pretty much all I wanted to listen to for the first few months after its release. Mysterious Production of Eggs is still my favorite album of Bird’s (what’s up with the blue album art in Google?), but Noble Beast doesn’t fall too far behind. This album would probably be higher up on a lot of “Best of the Year” lists had it been released later in the year. People tend to have stronger feelings for more recent things.

(mp3) Andrew Bird – Masterswarm

(mp3) Andrew Bird – Effigy
official site

Roundup: Wilco

(Photo Credit: Doug Mason)

(Photo Credit: Doug Mason)

After this year’s Bonnaroo I can safely say that YES, Wilco is a touring band at its prime. The recently released Ashes of American Flags tour DVD gave me new insight into the workings of a group that, in my opinion, has overcome considerable struggle and years of obscurity to finally be standing strong at the peak of their art. After previewing the stream, Wilco (The Album) felt empty without Tweedy’s anxiety and experimental energy–it’s what defined masterpieces like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born. Nonetheless, there are new, beautiful aspects of the band that shine bright this time around–in addition, the new album is also considerably different from Sky Blue Sky. In my obsession of what I consider to currently be “The Great American Band,” I’ve stumbled on a few blog-gems that I will share with you, leading up to the release of Wilco (The Album). First, here’s a few minutes of Wilco (at Bonnaroo ’09) courtesy of Billboard Music.


Recently, The LAist published an extremely insightful interview with Wilco guitarist (and “Guitar God”) Nels Cline. In the article, Nels is approached about the new Wilco album, due out in a week or so. He answers questions about Wilco’s songwriting process as well as thoughts on his own project, The Nels Cline Trio–an avant-garde jazz group. If for no other reason than to learn about a true artist and a dying breed, check out the article. There’s also a fantastic video of Nels’ part on “Handshake Drugs” as well as a link to Nels Cline’s list of his Top 200 Guitarists.

OneThirtyBPM wrote a post a month or so ago that covers all you’ll need to prepare for new Wilco, complete with track lyrics and live versions of many of the songs on Wilco (The Album). After listening to their new songs live, it is fantastic to see how they are adapted for the stage and it’s even more interesting to see how they’ve already improved on songs that haven’t even been released yet. It’s definitely a more time-consuming post, but it’s worth it. ZIP file included.

Finally, just a quick note on the June 30th release of Wilco (The Album), if you order from Wilco World before the album comes out you get a full 256kbs download on release in addition to the physical media. Also, if you pre-order, you can download the track “You Never Know” right away. This track, incedentally, is also going to 7″ for a limited time in honor of Vinyl Saturday (from the creators of Record Store Day). The 7″ will include “You Never Know” as well as “Unlikely Japan,” an unreleased Sky Blue Sky track–a precursor to “Impossible Germany.” Since we all love nerding out on b-sides and rarities… this is welcome. More info on that at Nonesuch Records.

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Don’t Worry, I’ll be posting Wilco’s show from Bonnaroo 2009 soon!

To end, I leave you with a Glenn Kotche interview by Nashville’s Lightning 100 fm. Kinda hard to hear, but it’s funny… just not ha ha funny.