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IHEARTCOMIX and Sub Pop in the SXSW Spotlight

Mar 20, 2009 By Evan Rytlewski
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For the dancing set, one of the annual SXSW highlights is the Beauty Bar showcase for IHEARTCOMIX, a loose collective of performers with varying notions of party music. Theirs is some of the brightest, most inclusive electronic music around, unrestrained by genre conventions. With his geeky demeanor and adenoidal singing, Totally Michael, a Bloomington, IN, crowd mover is typical of the IHEARTCOMIX roster, but Philadelphia’s The Death Set, for all their posse and their love of big, thumping beats, are really more of a punk band than anything else. Between club cuts, the group broke into a loud cover of Operation Ivy’s “Bomb Shell” and closed with Nirvana’s “Spank Thru.”

Meanwhile, Sub Pop hosted a very different showcase of its own at the Radio Room, highlighting the disparity between the new and old sounds of Sub Pop. On the traditionalist side of the spectrum was No Age, the guitar-and-drum duo that opened with a raw, breathless 20-minute set that channeled ’80s and ’90s underground rock (their guitarist even wore a thick flannel shirt, nodding to a certain seminal Sub Pop grunge band that helped popularize them).

But two decades after the Seattle grunge explosion, Sub Pop Records is enamored with a new mistress: folk. The label now flaunts a quiet roster of Iron and Wine, Lonely Dear, and Fleet Foxes, and Thursday’s showcase was dominated by quieter songwriters, like Vetiver and Daniel Martin Moore. As if to create as much contrast as possible between No Age, The Baptist Generals followed up with an acoustic, un-miked set. Chris Flemmons sang his stories in his penetrating, Jeff Magnum-like voice while the crowd sat silently on the floor. It’s hard to believe they’re on the label that once hosted Tad.

Often lost in the sea of day parties and night shows are the more industry-minded events at the Austin Convetion Center, which earlier in the afternoon had hosted very formal performances from Justin Townes Earle and Haley Bonar, a wide-eyed Minnesotan with sad-but-not-too-sad, gently twangy songs about dependent relationships and domestic angst.



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star ebooks
May 7th 2010
9:16am

I loved the music very much.  It was the brightest and most inclusive electronic music around ,unrestrained by genre conventions.  SXSW was really a great fun for the people like me.  The above description gives a clear idea how much people might have enjoyed in the event.  Every participant had his own unique idea to present the art in his own style. Crowd there, was really happy .

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