SXSW | 03.15.08 | Austin, TX - Day 4

Words & Images by: Kayceman

SXSW :: 03.14.08 :: Austin, TX

Friday was possibly the greatest single day of music to cross these ears at South by Southwest in all the years I've stumbled through Texas. Generally you see one great band, two average ones, a crappy one, then another good one, and so on. Yesterday, everything I saw was stellar; and for the sunlight hours, it all went down at Emo's.

Yeasayer :: SXSW :: 03.14
I happen to practice at the Church of Reverb Nation; therefore, number three had to be Seattle, Washington's Fleet Foxes. There's something rootsy and Americana about them but they also sound like the thick, moist Pacific Northwest moss that hangs from trees in the dense forest. The tight song structure, four-part harmonies and reverb drenched vocals wowed the crowd, causing roars of applause and undisguised praise to overwhelm singer-guitarist Robin Pecknold.

Holy fucking Bon Iver. Eyes closed with reverb pouring over my soul, this is where I hear the spirits. Taking a page from the world of acoustic My Morning Jacket (frontman Justin Vernon even looks a lil' like Jim James), "Skinny Love" and "Flume" had me on the verge on tears. With the huge, looped-out, feedback guitar meltdown to end the set, Bon Iver was second to no one... except maybe Yeasayer.

Yeasayer is some tribal, ancient, futuristic shit. Somehow both earthy and space age, these four cats are bridging some serious gaps. With hypnotic songs like "2080" and "Sunrise," this band is capable of appealing to the coolest hipster and the dreadiest hippie. Electronic drum pads, stacks of gear, fretless bass, Middle Eastern guitar progressions, walls of rock, samples out the ass, a convulsing David Byrne-esque frontman - Yeasayer is absolutely the real deal.

Today's honorable mention goes to two bands. First up is the darkest act I've seen in Austin: A Place To Bury Strangers. With almost no lights on stage, oceans of feedback and a My Bloody Valentine approach, this is one heavy band. Our second mention goes to Helio Sequence. Like the Black Keys earlier in the week, whenever two guys sound like four, you can't ignore them. This is dream-pop on overdrive. Go see Helio Sequence, you will not be disappointed.

Fleet Foxes :: SXSW :: 03.14
Continue reading for Day 2 coverage...

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