Discovering a new band at South by Southwest is a lot like making a new friend at camp. You’re BFFs for a week, but then you’re back to your regular friends when you return home. However, you seek each other out the next summer, and it’s like time stood still. This year in Austin, Australian singer-songwriter Woodes (Elle Graham) was my camp friend.
In her return to SXSW on Wednesday, Woodes performed many songs from her upcoming album, Forever After, at Australia House on Rainey Street. Having recently moved to Los Angeles, Woodes hiked a lot during COVID, which inspired her new music, including the uplifting title track. Not forgetting the past, she sang old favorites like “Dots” and the soulful “The Thaw.”
Girl Scout plays the Radio Day Stage
At the Radio Day Stage, Swedish indie rock quartet Girl Scout featured songs from its recently released debut EP, Real Life Human Garbage. The band’s first U.S. tour probably didn’t start well after realizing their guitars didn’t make it onto the plane. Friendly musicians lent them guitars that lead vocalist Emma Jansson admitted were superior and lamented returning them, especially when her guitar fell out of tune a few times. During one particular emergency tuning session, Emma enlisted lead guitarist Viktor Spasov to play some jazz, much to the crowd’s delight.
Girl Scout‘s mellow attitude and infectious energy were refreshing, and the band’s glee exuded in its music, such as on the beach rock throwback “All the Time and Everywhere” and the alt-indie punk single “Do You Remember Sally Moore?” I was actually a bit sad when the music stopped.
I had to look up avant-pop after seeing German quartet Hope at the International Day Stage. Wikipedia defines the genre as “experimental, new, and distinct from previous styles while retaining an immediate accessibility for the listener.” I’ve rarely heard music with such immediacy than on the aptly titled single “Fierce,” and I’m using “immediacy” as defined as “something immediate, as in importance.” There’s just an unsettling confidence in the band’s sound – give a listen to “Shame” and you’ll know what I mean.
Vök brings Indietronic to SXSW 2023
I’m omitting several other bands I saw whom I will revisit, but I want to end on a positive note that was the Icelandic indietronic band Vök at Driskill’s Victorian Room. I had to look up “indietronic” too: indie rock [combined] with elements of electronic music styles such as IDM, electro house, and glitch. Please don’t ask me what “glitch” is, but it was a complete dancefest as the quartet mixed new and old, from “Stadium” (2022’s Vök) to the hit single “Spend the Love” (2019’s In the Dark). All drunken nights should end like that.[Photos via Tan The Man]