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The Ten Best Bands We Saw at SXSW 2024 (Pt. 2)

Yesterday we covered Part 1 of The Ten Best Bands We Saw at SXSW 2024, and today we’re finishing off our list. Over the course of four sleep-deprived days we saw 40+ bands perform live and there was an overflow of immense talent and exceptional music.

SXSW has always offered up an eclectic collection and music and bands that run the gamut of genres and this year didn’t disappoint. If there’s any that you think we missed, let us know in the comments below.

It is important to note that there were 100+ bands that pulled out this year to protest the festival sponsorship by the U.S. Army and some of the other organizations that were either funding or manufacturing weapons used by Israel against Palestine. A few of those artists played unofficial showcases but, many of them, including all 12 of the Irish bands slated to play, boycotted SXSW. What’s happening right now is a tragic situation. We do hope to catch these bands in the future.

HINDS

HINDS (Madrid) is a four-piece all-female Spanish indie rock band that formed back in 2011. They became a two-piece band during COVID, when the drummer and the bass player suddenly quit in 2022. The two founding members, Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote, decided to start over again. We caught them at the SX San Jose showcase, and they were as vibrant and as fun as ever. Their music is evolving but still has the brash hooks and a “Strokes inspired lo-fi” feel. For fans of Velvet Underground, the Black Lips, and The Pastels, you should check them out. (Here’s their new “Coffee” video, and “Garden” a bit of a throwback but a really fun live video.)

FAZI

FAZI (China) is a four-piece post-punk band that formed back in 2010 and has already established themselves in the alternative music scene with five full-length albums. They draw inspiration from Krautrock (blend of psychedelic rock with electronic music, improvisation, and hypnotic rhythms associated with German groups of the 1970s) and post-punk, and combine traditional oriental instruments and a fierce onstage presence for a unique sound and performance. We caught them at the “Friends from the East” Festival showcase, at Elysium, and their energy was dynamic. They sang in Mandarin, but kept the audience engaged with the universal language of rock music. (Check out “LIVE VIDEO,” and “Invisible Water” official live video, it’s mesmerizing.)

LAIR

LAIR (Indonesia) pronounced lah-eer, a local dialect for the Indonesian word of “birth,” is a soul/funk band from Jatiwangi, West Java. Jatiwangi is also the largest producer of clay roofing tiles, which seems irrelevant until you see them perform live. We caught the band at the WOMEX World Music Showcase at the Flamingo Cantina. Their guitars and basses were fashioned from glazed terracotta, drums made from large clay pots, and all the performers used roofing tiles as percussion instruments at various times during the performance. The music was unlike anything we had heard before. A lo-fi world-psych beat with lots of dancing, smiling, and singing, and the audience was immediately drawn in. This artist is tough to compare to another band, but, if you are a fan of world music and unique cultural rhythms, this is for you. (Check out “Nalar” official music video and “Nalar live.”)

Nabihah Iqbal

Nabihah Iqbal (England) is a London-born artist of Pakistani descent, formerly known as Throwing Shade, who studied at the University of Cambridge and has a prolific resume of work as a writer, singer, and a broadcaster. Her music is shoegaze, a little post-punk, some dream pop, ethereal with warm baselines. She lost all the music demos for her second album in a 2020 studio burglary and then spent COVID lockdown with family in Pakistan reworking the LP, Dreamer, from scratch. She went back to basics, playing an acoustic guitar and a harmonium. The result was a more intimate journey about her experience during lockdown. Since then, she has been commissioned to compose music for the Turner Prize; and has given guest lectures at the Royal College of Art while being on the Board of Trustees for London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. We caught her stunning performance at the Third Man Records and Cream showcase at the 13th Floor venue. For fans of M83, and even The Smiths, this is for you. (Check out the “Dreamer” official video, “Closer Lover” – for Audiotree Far Out, and one of her older songs from her first album, “Saw U Twice,” so good live.)

SNACKTIME

SNACKTIME (Philadelphia) is a horn-based seven-piece jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, punk, and R&B band that formed during COVID. They began by playing free shows in the city that brought people together and became a symbol of hope, positivity, and community. Now they are playing sold out shows and festivals while showcasing Philly’s musical history and culture. It was great to see them live at an official SXSW showcase at the Mohawk Outdoor stage. For fans of New Orleans funky brass music, such as Galactic, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and even the Blues Brothers, check out them out. (Watch “GOTTA GET FUNKY” and my personal fave, “TOGETHER.”

The list could easily go on and on, there were many performances we didn’t catch but really wish we had, but here’s a few:

Mogwai (Scottish post-rock legends; their new documentary from Antony Crook, Mogwai: If The Stars Had A Sound, follows the independent band’s trajectory from 1990 to now), Farmer’s Wife (Austin-based alt-rock troupe band voted Best New Act at the recent Austin Music Awards), Font (another Austin-based band with art rock mixing post-punk guitars, dual drummers, and industrial synth), J Noa (teenage Dominican rapper that has already received a Latin Grammy nomination for “Autodidacta,” the title track off her 2023 Sony Music-singed debut), Bar Italia (mega-buzzy London-based trio with well-deserved post-punk hype), Bubble Tea and Cigarettes (L.A. based dream pop with whispered vocals and fuzzy guitars), Snooper (which has been described as Nashville’s “funnest band” by many, with a fast and furious sound somewhere between New Wave and psych punk), Gel (New Jersey hardcore band), and finally, legendary funk bassist, singer, and producer, Bootsy Collins (in town to promote his anti-violence initiative, “Funk Not Fight,” and a new song and album of the same name). But the good news, is that many of the bands that play SXSW are often on tour, or will be touring so, there will be opportunities to catch them.

For those of you now inspired to attend SXSW next year, mark your calendar for March 7-15, 2025. The best time to plan your trip is the fall/winter of this year. Securing your flight and lodging well ahead of time is the best way to go.

Damaged City Festival 2019 | Photos | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

Damaged City Festival 2019 | Photos | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

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