The madness has officially begun…everyone and their dog are currently on a RSVP rampage for the chaos that is going to be SXSW 2010. However, before I go into hibernation to prepare for my 14hr flight across the Pacific next week, I’m going to highlight some of the dopest acts out from NZ that are showcasing at SXSW this year.
These are my top NZ picks to catch at SXSW this year.
First up, Gin Wigmore. Much the same as Hollie Smith, this woman’s voice is undeniably powerful, unique and soulful. Her unique husky voice was enough to grab the attention of Perez Hilton (and myself) back in 2008 and he featured her on his site several times, so don’t be at all surprised if she ends up playing Perez’s (now infamous) SXSW party. The 23 year olds debut album Holy Smoke which was released late last year, has literally owned the charts here in NZ since. This here is her second single off Holy Smoke titled “I Do” where she shows off her awesome ukelele playing skills. Also check for another one of my Gin favourites, These Roses off her 2008 EP.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave these past 12 months, then you’ve bound to have heard of the homie David Dallas. After becoming a household name in NZ as one half of the group Frontline (of which they released this here, my favourite NZ hiphop track, period), he dropped his rap alias Con Psy, and released his debut solo album Something Awesome in August 2009. Since making his US debut at SXSW 09, Dave’s garnered an even bigger overseas following on the blogosphere, showcased at CMJ in NYC last year and received a shout out from Kanye on his blog. If you missed him last year, here’s your chance to redeem yourself. Here’s his latest video for my current Summer anthem and 3rd most played track on my iTunes, I Get the Feelin.
The first thing I’d have to say about Lawrence Arabia is, I’m completely obsessed. This is definitely one of those cases where the artist is far more well known overseas than at home. After being signed to prominent indie label, Bella Union (also home to Beach House, Fleet Foxes and Wavves), he has toured with Feist in North America, is a former band member of another NZ indie darling, The Brunettes, and is currently on his own European tour. His first album release outside of New Zealand, Chant Darling was released early last year to much critical acclaim. Lawrence Arabia’s hooks and harmonies are so infectious, I find myself listening to single songs of his on repeat for hours at a time, so if you’re a fan of “lo-fi” indie pop like myself, then you are in for a treat, because Lawrence Arabia does not disappoint. Below is his super-catchy second single off Chant Darling and personal favourite, Apple Pie Bed. Also check for his equally worhty first single, The Beautiful Young Crew.
Young Sid has come a long way since I first saw him perform with Tyree (who was calling himself Eeryt at the time) at a small park festival when I was 16. In 2007, Sid dropped his debut album The Truth, which I personally believe, continues to be slept on, and in 2009 he went double platinum as one third of the group Smashproof with their super-hit, Brother featuring Gin Wigmore. However, this year sees Sid return with his second solo album What Doesn’t Kill Me which is laced with production from Emile (of Kid Cudi fame) and an up and coming Australian duo, Twice As Nice. The Twice As Nice produced track, Made is definitely my favourite NZ release of this year so far.
The Ruby Suns
Oh how I have been waiting to show these guys off. The Ruby Suns are probably one of my favourite groups to come out of NZ ever! Another case of being known everywhere else BUT NZ, they are signed to major US indie label Sub Pop and are about to embark on an extensive US tour with my favourite 2010 artist, Toro Y Moi (DC, you’re included March 24th). Their 2008 album Sea Lion remains top of my list as one of the most slept on indie albums of the decade, with my personal favourites Kenya Dig it? and Tane Mahuta both coming off that album. Considering their latest album Fight Softly was only released yesterday, SXSW is going to be their first shows playing material off the new album. If you’re a fan of Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, and the like, The Ruby Suns are a MUST SEE at SXSW.
Be sure to check out the NZ showcase at SXSW on Thursday 18th March 6pm at Brush Park Square…the free drinks by 42 Below (which I must add is THE best vodka in the world) will be flowing, RSVP here and check it out.