Stone’s Top 10 Acts to Check At SXSW
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Yep, that time of year is already upon us. South By Southwest. And in 2011, it’s getting crazier (and more corporate) than ever. With Kanye, Snoop Dogg and (possibly Eminem) stealing the spotlight, you might not hear about the 10 artists below. However, if you’re in Austin or following from home I highly suggest that you
People are going crazy over James Blake but I could care less. I think that Jamie Woon is the real UK Soul crooner to check out. His latest release is flying beneath the surface, but hopefully things will change soon after this week.
To be honest, I wasn’t really impressed when I saw The XX last year in Austin. And when I met them in person I was kinda freaked out. However, Jamie has moved from behind the scenes to become a brand of his own. His … remix project is superb and his knoledge of UK Grime, Dubstep, and 2-Step is rather amazing for someone who is only 23 years old.
Another European soul group that is about to reach mainstream success is Little Dragon. Yukimi and company already have completed a successful sold-out East Coast tour and toured with Gorillaz in the past few months, and if they continue on this trek their first SXSW might be their most successful.
My first “oh snap!” moment of 2011 was seeing this video clip of Brooklyn’s Marques Toliver. I love music in it’s simplicity, because it shows true tallent, and Maques might be the most talented individual I’ve seen on the music scene in years.
I have problems with major label artists playing SXSW, only because it seems akin to LeBron James going back and playing for his High School team after a few years in the NBA. However, Miguel had one of the most progressive projects in R&B and it will be interesting to see how it will connect with a different audience in Austin.
Let’s face it. Odd Future is the future, whether you like it or not. The group of Southern California misfits have dominated the conversation in hip-hop lately and even if you can’t get down with their lyrics or demeanor you have to respect their swag. SXSW marks a big moment for them, as it’s one of the few opportunities to catch theses guys outside of the East or West coasts.
Yes, I’m partial to the Danish duo, but Quadron has captured the hearts of everyone in the urban alternative community and are set to break the mainstream. With opening dates set for the illustrious Raphael Saadiq, South by Southwest looks to be a breakout week for the soulsters. If you haven’t seen Quadron yet, then you must see them at SXSW. You will be in for a treat.
I find most of the XXL Freshman list to be unimpressive. And someone who wasn’t on that list managed to put out the best mixtape of the year (so far). Ohio’s Stalley is set for big things in 2011. With his everyman rhymes and small town influened producition, the beareded MC is a good reason to love hip-hop in 2010.
On the surface the Strokes are another band that probabaly shoudln’t be playing SXSW. (Same for the Foo Fighters). However, much has changed since their 2001 debut Is This It? Mainly, good guitar rock is few and far between, with most bands becomeing pop stars with guitars (Kings of Leon) or indie darling snooze fests (Arcade Fire. Yeah, I said it.) so there is no better place than Austin for a hopeful rock revival in 2011.
Toro Y Moi
I missed Toro last year unfortunately, and I kind of regret it. His album Causers of This was hands down my favorite listen of 2010. Fortunately his latest, Beneath the Pine is my favoire listen of 2011, and his reworked sound and live band should go over nicer than his solo shows in Austin last year.