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Huw's musings from SXSW - Day 3

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Huw Stephens Huw Stephens | 09:19 UK time, Monday, 22 March 2010

It's the third instalment of Huw's new discoveries at South by Southwest music festival...

It's Thursday at SXSW and the heat is on. The day starts at Lovejoys, a proper Texan bar with a low-slung ceiling, slow-turning fans and selling only their own home-brewed beer. Le Loup are first on and sound like a fizzing Fleet Foxes: all beards and big melodies. They're good, but the band I'm here to see, Beach Fossils, are even better.

Beach Fossils at the Guess I'm Floating showcase

There's a lot of good Brooklyn bands out here this year and Beach Fossils, along with Bear in Heaven and Freelance Whales, sit on top of the list. Their frantic style onstage and rather poppy guitar tunes make for a lively show. They've a lot of energy on display - their drummer stood up throughout - and are destined for big things.

The blog that's hosting this gig, I Guess I'm Floating, kind of sums up a lot of the best things from SXSW this year. There seems to be a luxurious, carefree, chilled vibe to a lot of the music, from the likes of Washed Out to the blissed-out strumming of Real Estate (more about both later). Not a bad thing at all!

Next I went to another new music blog gig, which Gorilla vs Bear and New York label Mexican Summer were co-hosting. With an ear for the new underground, fresh artwork and a real emphasis on quality releases - heavyweight vinyl is a speciality - their reputation has made them one of the finest US labels out there. As the Dum Dum Girls play, I interviewed Keith and Andreas from the label for this week's show, so you'll hear about the label then.

Huw Stephens and Vic Galloway at La La's in Austin

Unicorn Kid, Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks are doing big things over in the States and again the Scottish are out in force at SXSW. Over at one of their two showcases I caught some of Broken Records, who continue to melt hearts with a ferocious and captivating set. I kidnap BBC Radio 1's Vic Galloway and promise to take him to a bar where it's Christmas every day. La La's is the place and it is indeed decorated like Chrimbo every day of the year. It's the perfect place to hear Vic's hot tips for SXSW, which you can hear on the show on Wednesday at 9pm.

I've fallen for Yacht's music recently. They're a duo from Portland, Oregon (I like it how you can't just say "Portland") with two albums to their name. Let's not beat around the bush here; they're a better Eurythmics, with added dance moves, LCD-esque space rock tunes and excellent Disney-like lyrics that are fun and don't make a lot of sense.

Although I like most of their counterparts (Girls, Magic Kids especially), the Smith Westerns over at the NME showcase leave me a bit cold, which is quite a feat in the Texan heat.

To warm things up, the aforementioned Real Estate take me to a better place with their proper happy-go-lucky attitude. They're as loose and ethereal as they are groovy and gorgeous. By contrast, Washed Out manages to confuse me. His songs are good, his singing pleasant and the vibe in the club nice, but he seems to be pressing play and that's it. But when his friends Small Black join him on stage, the pace picks up and the place is soon alive with sweat, with arms aloft to full on (and I mean FULL ON) 80s tunes.

Tomorrow Happens Here is the SXSW motto for 2010, but it seems the past is still very present, too.

More posts from SXSW 2010:

Bethan's SXSW Photo Diary - Day 2 (Bethan Elfyn)

Huw's musings from SXSW - Day 2 (Huw Stephens)

Bethan's SXSW Photo Diary - Day 1 (Bethan Elfyn)

Huw's musings from SXSW - Day 1 (Huw Stephens)

Bethan's SXSW Photo Diary - Day Zero (Bethan Elfyn)

South by Southwest, here we come... (Bethan Elfyn)

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