There's no festival quite like South By Southwest. For four days a year, anyone with even the slightest feigned work-ties to Planet Pop descends upon the Live Music Capital Of The World.
Every March, Austin, Texas is transformed into a carnage-ridden view of all that's to come. Enjoy our pick of the best...
For more on SXSW, including video interviews with the buzziest bands, head to the Radar blog.
Heart-breakingly hypnotic choral-psych sect
Brace yourself. The girl that got you into Nirvana, the sixth form college ‘one that got away’, and the studious cousin you never told anyone you fancied have formed an unholy alliance of eternal charm to torment you forever.
They consolidated their bonds via ritualistic slumber parties, gorging on a diet of early Cocteau Twins dream-pop, the muddy bass twang of grunge and the sassy, honeyed mantras of R&B in order to write songs about toying with your heart for sport.
If you’re able to envisage something even half as terrifyingly perfect as this, then you’re close to understanding the magnetic appeal of Los Angeles’ party-psych girl gang Warpaint.
Peering out from beneath matted, never-been-to-bed hair, the four enchanted babes that make up the band cut stark figures in yeehawing BBQ-land. With their choral ghostscapes, high-fiving gang mentality and sincere exuberance, Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa are the beautiful sore thumbs of this year’s SXSW.
“We started the band in a really naive way,” says Emily of their genesis three years ago. “Sometimes we’d just jam on the same four chords for days until something more solid emerged, but we knew it would, we always knew we were different and special and so we persisted.”
Everything about Warpaint feels organic and unforced. “I met Theresa at choir when I was 11,” says Emily of their fittingly serene first encounter.
“I immediately knew we’d be friends. Likewise Stella, our new drummer, has only just joined the band but it felt perfect immediately. The more we play, the more we feel like our ideas communicate themselves in an unspoken, natural way.”
If a meeting at a choir-club doesn’t seem like the most punk rock of genesis stories for a band that have emerged from The Smell – LA’s notorious nerve-centre of debauchery and regular haunt of No Age, Mika Miko et al – then that’s because, well, it’s not.
Like all truly important bands, Warpaint explode these clichés. Intermittently emerging from plaintive moods into harder rocking, they play expansive, lushly-harmonic psych-rock songs with enough time-changes to satisfy even the most beardy prog-rock bong-tokers.
This is experimental music that yearns to get its party on.
“I think it was an advantage to us that we weren’t the most technically proficient when we were starting out. It would have left no room for playfulness, for silliness, and that would suck. ’Cos look at us. We’re the world’s biggest goofs,” offers Emily, looking as demure as ever.
Band will play four shows later this year
Dawes, Ethan Johns, Cass McCombs will also play the event in North Dorset
- Feb 28, 2013
The follow-up to 2010's 'The Fool' is on its way
- Feb 11, 2013
Reminiscent of early Cat Power
- Mar 13, 2012
Warpaint, Spector, Alex Winston
- Sep 19, 2011
O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 21st February
- Mar 2, 2011