Whether you’re going fresh faced and brimming with enthusiasm to Austin, Texas’s South By South West festival or returning as a hardened veteran, no two SXSWs are the same. With more music than this here Manchester girl can jab a forkful of beef brisket at, navigating a way through the endless lists of artists, day parties, official showcases, panel speakers, dive bars, boat parties, regular and not-so-regular venues, thousands of music industry ‘types’, not to mention the free food and booze will surely be a mind fuck in waiting. Any attempt at being organised is futile – from the moment wristbands or official badges are collected, a schedule is about as useful as a wheel on a walking stick. Not that I’m complaining; every square inch of the city is turned into a live music venue from outdoor patios and parking lots, to auto-parts garages, book stores and clothes shops, and for this one week a year, alongside another two weeks of film and interactive showcases, SXSW is why Austin becomes the most buzzing place on earth.

Returning for 2014, plenty of tastemaker blogs will host their own live music bills across numerous free RSVP day parties. Stereogum and Pitchfork are taking over the House Of Vans at Mohawk – a venue that, apart from having at least 3 bars, is like the Sooty and Sweep house consisting stairwells, platforms, balconies, and two stages. A stroll away Brooklyn Vegan will host the indoor/outdoor venue Red 7 whilst Crack In The Road are joining forces with The Hype Machine at The Hype Hotel. Any independent label worth its salt will have their own showcase – Sub Pop, Carpark, Modern Outsider, and Mexican Summer are all throwing their Stetsons into the day party ring by showcasing the very best of their own rosters; Turnstile Music has an awesome line up for their “We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives” party with Cate Le Bon, Perfume Genius and Christopher Owens playing in a local church. Meanwhile the record store parties boast killer line ups; Natural Child, Holy Wave and Summer Twins will play Burger RecordsBurgermania III event at Hotel Vegas whilst Austin’s own Waterloo Records has a mighty fine roll call of artists including Hospitality, Protomartyr, and Speedy Ortiz amongst others playing in the shop’s parking lot. Practically opposite, Whole Foods are throwing a party on their office HQ roof and other essential parties include Austin Psych Fest’s all day Levitation event, also at Hotel Vegas, and local newspaper The Austin Chronicle’s show at The Liberty. UK bands will also be making an appearance with the likes of Bipolar Sunshine, Drenge, Royal Blood, The Crookes, Thumpers and Wolf Alice performing when once again The British Embassy takes over Latitude 30 for their daytime and night-time parties.

The impossible question to answer is just who among the thousands of acts playing, will be the most talked about at 2014’s event? Allow Silent Radio to be your sore soles and damaged eardrums throughout the week as we bring you all the sights, smells and sounds of this year’s shindig, and what better place to start than looking forward to these little beauties…

1. Twin Peaks

Chicago has a lot to answer for. More likely to be named after a rude euphemism for every teenage boys’ fantasy than the Lynchian drama, Twin Peaks boast far more grit than city mates The Orwells. Bolstered by the wild youthful abandon of Fidlar or a more melodic Thee Oh Sees, for this band upbeat, anthemic, rapid-fire garage pop prevails. Cymbals are dented to within an inch of their life and echoey reverb takes hold. It’s big but not necessarily clever, and you know this bunch of guys are simply out to have a roaring time.

Twin Peaks Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter


Consisting three sisters and one other female, this Brooklyn band will have to work especially hard to fight off comparisons to other girl gangs. But if extraordinary second album The Way And The Colour is anything to go by TEEN is a band that holds their own. Fronted by singer-multi-instrumentalist and ex-Here We Go Magic member Teeny Lieberson, the band’s refreshing rhythmic femme pop falls on the right side of unusual with sweet vocal harmonies and squelching synth beats. It’s caught the attention of ace label Carpark (Toro Y Moi, Dan Deacon, Cloud Nothings, Young Magic), and you know you can always rely on them to deliver the goods.

TEEN Official | Facebook | Twitter

3. Spires

Hailing from New York City and touring pals of TOY, this band of non-related blood brothers are sure to cast a swirling cloud of droney psychedelia and sparkling guitar rhythms over the city of Austin. “I never want to come down… and it feels so good” they sing on recent Too Pure Single Club release ‘Candy Flip’. They’re not wrong. A cosmic veil of wonder, Spires sound like Temples if they did ‘baggy’ or as beautiful as The Beatles writing about Lucy the space snake charmer rather than her playing in the sky with diamonds.

Spires Facebook | Twitter

4. Boogarins

We never quite knew what Brazilian psych rock was until now. Winners of the god awful band name stakes, but brilliantly skilled in smart, warm meandering psychedelia, Fernando Almeida and Benke Ferraz operate well out of their own time. You won’t understand a word on recently released debut album As Plantas Que Curam but when the music is this fresh, plus the fact they’ve been handpicked by The Black Angels’ Christian Bland to play Austin’s Psych Fest next month, they’re sure to be a sight not to be missed.

Boogarins Official | Facebook | Twitter

5. Angel Olsen

Signed to the awesome Jagjaguwar label, Angel is a folk-rock songwriter from St. Louis, Missouri who first toured as a backing singer and guitarist with Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Now it’s her time to shine. In spite of her girl-next-door looks, Olsen knows how to pack a punch with gritty guitar lines, emotive vocals recalling a younger, edgier Loretta Lynn and the vitriol of Giant Drag’s Annie Hardy. This girl means business and when she’s good, she’s very, very good. When she’s bad, she’s horribly good.

Angel Olsen Official | Facebook | Twitter

6. Perfect Pussy

Read any reviews of the Syracuse, New York band so far and you’ll find them alongside the terms ‘noisy’, ‘punk’ and ‘girl’. Aside from packing the ear defenders, expect this boys and girl band to put on one hell of a live show; on touring, singer Meredith Graves recently said the key is to “fuck embarrassment” so they certainly won’t be ones to hold back. Originally formed as a fake band for a film scene starring John Cussack, fans of the shouty and shambolic riot grrrl aesthetic will love Perfect Pussy. And if their Captured Tracks release Say Yes To Love is anything to go by we’ll be yelping with unbridled energy like a lunatic on a Lucozade drip all the way from First to Sixth Street and back.

Perfect Pussy Bandcamp | Facebook

7. Ezra Furman

With squelchy sax sounds, Spector drum rhythms, distinctive raspy vocals and moving from 50s rockabilly to punk, country and lurid 70s glam, this Oakland resident isn’t your usually pigeonholeable guitar-cradling songwriter. Many will already be familiar through Furman’s previous stint leading Boston outfit The Harpoons, this time around he enlists regular touring band ‘The Boy-Friends’ to only add weight to his brilliantly deranged, vintage yet thoroughly modern garage pop sound. Recalling the traits of song writing genius as held by the likes of Billy Bragg, Neil Young, and Brendan Benson, Furman is a master of impassioned lyrics and musical reinvention.

Ezra Furman Official | Facebook | Twitter

8. Fat White Family

When NME’s Mark Beaumont recently described one of FWF as “a devil-like gap-toothed 25-year-old Gollum of a man” it’d be anyone’s guess that this band would be ugly. But ‘ugly’ doesn’t quite capture the slew of brash bluesy filth this five-piece are capable of throwing up. Mixing garage with twanging surf guitar punk recalling 60s American GI band The Monks, breakfast Tacos will be seen in reverse, birds will migrate, everything will get destroyed. A band like this need to be witnessed – and it’d only be right. Anyone referring to SX as a “disgusting industry hoedown” yet still has the balls to set up an online kick starter asking fans to fund the transatlantic trip can only be worth a watch.

Fat White Family Facebook Soundcloud

Other notable mentions: Woman’s Hour, Mutual Benefit, La Femme, Speedy Oritz, Protomartyr, The Big Ups, Odonis Odonis, Potty Mouth, Jungle, Radkey, Ski Lodge, GHXST, The Districts, Hospitality, MØ, Young Fathers, Mozes And The Firstborn, Residual Kid, Tobias Jesso Jr, The Coachwhips, Peter Matthew Bauer, The Pizza Underground….

Want to hear more about SXSW 2014 as it happens? Follow @silent_radio and @lisajayne81 on twitter, or check back [here] to read Lisa’s daily SXSW 2014 blog…

Lisa Durrant

Manchester resident for 13 years. Scribe for The Fly magazine and various others, 10 years. Record packer at Piccadilly Records, 1 year. National music publicist for In House Press representing the likes of Charles Bradley, Toro Y Moi, and Dan Deacon to name a few, 6 years. Founder and chief writer of Just The Type providing words for musicians, 1 year. Half marathons run, 2. Music lover, a lifetime.