We managed to survive SXSW and the launch of the site thanks in part to some of the good-ass music below. Hopefully you’ll enjoy some of what we enjoyed this month.
1. BLXPLTN “Train” (Austin)
Maybe definitely the most exciting band in Austin right now, BLXPLTN is a fierce electro-punk trio that sounds like a mad scientist amalgamation of Big Black and the Bad Brains. Get in ahead of the curve.
2. Future Death “Basements” (Austin)
A bracing, unpredictable quartet, Future Death combines the playful experimentation of Deerhoof with a deceptively sweet melodic core.
3. Acid Reign “Gadgets (ft. Lyricon)” (LA)
LA-based freak rap entity Acid Reign are successors to Company Flow’s anything goes weirdness, filtered through smart hooks and on “Gadgets” a uniquely bit-happy production aesthetic.
4. Clouder “Telepathic Lines” (NYC)
A surprise standout at SXSW this year, Clouder are a New York group that sounds exactly like a New York group, but in all the right ways, with elements of the Walkmen colliding with a Feelies jangle and a New York Dolls kind of brattiness.
5. Iska Dhaaf “Everybody Knows” (Seattle)
An interestingly timeless cocktail of surf rock guitar and post-punk rhythm, Iska Dhaaf are an exceptionally tight duo who aren’t afraid to throw in some sharp melodic hooks as they pillage and plunder from a breakneck array of influences.
6. Taken by Savages “Hawaiian Thigh” (NYC/Austin)
A new project combining Joseph Ziemba (half of the Like Young and founder of Bleeding Skull) and novelist Annie Choi, Taken by Savages pull from atypical ’90s influences like the Breeders and Enon for a deliciously simple, heavily rhythmic sound.
7. The Cell Phones “Lyrical” (Chicago)
The Chicago-based trio the Cell Phones don’t sound like much of anything else around right now, though they feature traces of spazz-punk shouldabeens like Thunderbirds are Now! and Test Icicles, if those groups had featured a vocalist who could go toe to toe with Andrea Zollo and Corin Tucker.
8. Wildcat Apollo “KC Zombie” (NYC/Austin)
Masterful implementers of shoegaze textures and clever arrangements, Wildcat Apollo are a promising band of New York expats who now call Austin home.
9. Weeknight “Dark Light” (NYC)
Dark without seeming cheesy, sexy without trying too hard, Weeknight are an exceptional duo we described earlier this week as “a New York synth scene take on the Raveonettes,” but that’s barely scratching the surface of what they have to offer.
10. Marie Davidson “Esthetique privee” (Montreal)
A French-Canadian songwriter who’s more Kate Bush than Grimes, Marie Davidson has the kind of voice and sound that gets in your head and refuses to stop haunting your dreams.
11. Trevor the Trashman “Billionaire Prince God (ft. Green Sllime and Mohdalsoul)” (Chicago)
I could tell you all about how Trevor the Trashman is a seamless hybrid of Odd Future horror synth shenanigans and the new wave of more ambient tinged dark rap coming out of Seattle right now, but all you need to know to dig this track is that it features the lines “Banksy versus Basquiat/you know I’m choosin’ Basquiat”
12. Bike for Three! “Successful with Heavy Losses” (Canada/Belgium)
The crazed alliance between Buck 65 and Joëlle Phuong Minh Lê, Bike for Three! fits in with the incredible crop of artists calling Fake Four home, which is to say this ethereal hip-hop duo fits in with no one else.
13. Amatorski “Soldier” (Belgium)
More than any other trip-hop group currently operating at the moment, Amatorski get both the sound and the mood of Portishead’s discography without coming across as just a pretender. They’re big in Belgium but still haven’t quite caught on stateside, which is a shame, so you should help rectify that.