SXSW 2016: Sunflower Bean, Whitney And The Best Of Day Two
17 Mar 2016
Rockfeedback's sister company, the mighty Transgressive Records, report on all the unmissable action from SXSW 2016 and the bands you need to listen out for right now
It's Day Two of SXSW and things are already getting pretty damn exciting. Following a huge warm up day that pitted exciting new acts including Blaenavon and Julia Jacklin against more established crowd pleasers like, erm, President Obama, we're now into out second day and the stand-out shows are coming thick and fast...
VALLIS ALPS continue Australia's currently pioneering electronic spirit in the realm of dreamy drops and wistful, mournful lyrics. It's a lunchtime aperitif before mind-expanding SXSW 2015 breakouts SUNFLOWER BEAN annihilate our senses. Whereas our joyful discovery last year was based on raw, inarguable talent, this time it's clear where the last 12 months have made an impact: this is now one of the truly great rock performances on the planet, a tighter and tougher unit.
Twanging, psych guitar pickings, bulbous bass and fe/male vox entwine with galloping arrangements, which seamlessly change speed and ferocity at no notice. It's a damn riot. "Cool band!" someone shouts out at the front, understating the sublimity and sheer inventiveness of the display. Jacob Faber and Julia Cumming smile and shrug sweetly. The upcoming years will be kind to this trio - be bold, take risks, and one will prevail.
Holding tight to the "Keep Austin Weird" mantra are Providence punks DOWNTOWN BOYS. Self-described as a 'bilingual political dance sax punk party', they are, undoubtedly, all of the things they claim to be and offer an energetic early afternoon set at outdoor haven Cheer Up Charlie's.
If in need of an evening pick-me-up, however, one shouldn't look any further than Cali-boy, DAY WAVE. A killer live band sees the project move away from the bedroom-esque recordings we've all heard (and cherished) to date, and instead deliver what feels like it might just be the fully-realised sound. A strong contender for show of the day, with melodic earworms that will stick in your head for many more.
Dispelling any notion that unbridled innovation and good, old-fashioned songwriting must jostle for pride of place, Perth's METHYL ETHEL avoid controversy and effortlessly combine the two. Frontman Jake Webb is a truly intriguing presence, evoking the spirit of Tom Verlaine whilst playing beautiful chords - before goading his bandmates to extend the set closer's outro into a throbbing beast of a climax.
1am at Sidewinder - the new moniker for legendary Austin haunt, Red Eyed Fly - and WHITNEY begin a set that goes further to suggest they may be the most exciting new act of our time. Theirs is a sound that encompasses and artistically borrows from a run of the true greats, and 'No Woman' provides a real SXSW moment - a song that offers such empathy and relief that all in attendance find themselves singing along. A special time for a special band.