The Best of SXSW Music: Thursday 3/15/2012
Nick Rallo Oh nothing, just a guy in a wolf mask playing "Happy Birthday" on the violin
A.Dd+ - Kiss & Fly I was at the Audible Treats showcase at Kiss & Fly to see Dallas' own A.Dd+, who had the entire crowd screaming their name by set's end. Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy facilitated that reaction somewhat by ending the set in the crowd, rapping to each other. They've got the perfect complementary flow, and when they trade verses, they actually look at each other with an intensity rarely seen in rap duos nowadays, gauging where the other might be going. They just got off tour with Detroit's Black Milk, so they've no doubt gotten a chance to refine their delivery. The energy of the set made me stick around for Brooklyn trio Flatbush Zombies, who endured some technical difficulties, but thankfully got to perform their hit "Thug Waffle." Bay area rapper Moe Green followed suit, but the surprise of the night was Georgia Anne Muldrow, an L.A. emcee who's just as comfortable with rap as jazz and soul, a beat poet who eschews formal verse/chorus/verse in favor of mantra and message. Her voice is an instrument in itself. Madlib produced her upcoming album, Seeds, and I can't wait to hear the fruits of that interstellar collaboration. - Audra Schroeder
The Naked Cowboy Talks Politics Earlier in the week we looked down from the balcony of a Sixth Street bar, only to see someone dressed like the Naked Cowboy! Now, we'd seen a lot of folks working for tips looking hot and ridiculous, but this was extra special. "Great SXSW first night!" we tweeted. "Saw a naked cowboy impersonator." Low and behold, we quickly received a reply.
Tomorrow? We did him once better and commenced the interview right then, over Twitter. Of course, we only had one question: "Who are you voting for?" His answer finally arrived two days later. We read it with great anticipation, but sadly it said exactly what we'd expected: "Anybody but Obama!" -- Ben Westhoff
Youth Lagoon - Club De Ville It felt like the reward for a long day of marching through trash-strewn Austin streets, hunting for exciting new things and finding relatively few of them: Long after their scheduled 1 a.m. start time, the two members of Youth Lagoon situated themselves atop the wooden stage of Club DeVille and let off a gorgeous set of melancholy bedroom pop, underpinned by ribbons of throbbing bass. The combination of warm, sad keyboard melodies, electric guitar adornments, and the low-end rumble of electronic beats made for a music you could think, feel, and move to. From the first drop, the drunker members of the audience started slowly gyrating, while a larger portion simply stood, nodding and swaying, watching principal member Trevor Powers pour his plaintive stories into the microphone. Thin, vulnerable, and a little raspy, it was striking how similar Powers' unadorned live voice sounded to the processed version heard on the band's 2011 breakout debut, The Year of Hibernation. With its laconic beats and lonely vocals, Youth Lagoon seems to have picked up where the XX's debut left off, or made a more satisfying version of what James Blake is doing, albeit with fewer overt dubstep nods. Either way, this was late-night music at its best. -- Ian S. Port
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