For seven of the last eight years, I’ve made the annual trek down to Austin to participate in what many call “Geek Spring Break”. True, SXSWi (South by Southwest Interactive) brings just about what you’d expect from the name to attend: Web developers, Startup employees, and a lot of people who send very, very boring Tweets. Yet I still find ways to enjoy myself amongst the masses who are desperate to pitch you their “Geo-Facebook-Like Twitter but BETTER!” idea ad nauseum; namely, hanging out with a small group of people who also react similarly to the above-referenced pitch (shudder!), taking mid-day field trips to places FAR from the convention center, and of course, staying for the music portion. Because that’s when the vibe shifts; computer bags and internet company t-shirts are replaced by guitar cases and skinny black jeans. AND I CAN BREATHE AGAIN.
This year was no exception, and despite my jaded, old-school initial belief that this might be the last SXSW I attended (was afraid there would be too much noise vs. signal, and that it would be too overwhelming and packed; I didn’t find either of these save for the suggestion that they limit the number of panels and up the quality) I will most likely return next year for another ten days where I consume Emergen-C in excess to counteract the three hours of sleep I received each night.
But oh, it’s worth it. I got to see some AMAZING bands (I bolded the names of the bands I ended up seeing) and right before I left I put together a Pre-SXSW Mix with the hopes to get it up prior to leaving. Only I didn’t get it up in time…throwing an event for 3000 people kind of got in the way. I actually wasn’t loving the mix before I left, but after three days of nonstop, back-to-back awesome music (hearing many of these bands!) I listened again upon my return and it resonates with me a ton more. So, enjoy.
1. The Loneliness and the Scream – Frightened Rabbit
2. Wide Eyes – Local Natives
3. The First Song – Band of Horses
4. Can’t Lose – We Are Scientists
5. Ultimate Satisfaction – Bear in Heaven
6. Ring Ring – Sleigh Bells
7. Thieves – She & Him
8. Harold T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time – Fanfarlo
9. That Western Skyline – Dawes
10. The High Road – Broken Bells
11. The Great Estates – Freelance Whales
12. Bear – The Antlers
13. A Far Cry – We Were Promised Jetpacks
14. Islands – The xx
15. If Only It Were True – The Walkmen
16. Say Hello – Stars of Track & Field