With an estimated 150,000 people descending on Austin for the 23rd annual South by Southwest Music & Film Festival next week, the music industry at least won’t look as anemic as record sales suggest. From March 17-21, the Texas capital will become ground zero for undiscovered music in an era of no secrets.
Louisville musicians and the city of Austin are old friends. Austin is a regular tour stop for My Morning Jacket, SXSW vets many times over. As well, Parlour, Dead Child, Shedding, Joe Manning, Follow The Train and The Glasspack are all alums.
This year’s contingent is looking for greater exposure, but not necessarily in the form of a record deal. Wax Fang, who’s making its third trip to the festival, already has one, having signed to California-based Absolutely Kosher for its follow-up to 2007’s La La Land, and gearing up for an appearance at the Pavement-curated festival All Tomorrows’ Parties in England this May.
SXSW virgins Lucky Pineapple scored a deal last year when The Bubble Has Burst In Sky City was re-released nationally by SonaBLAST! Records, and the ensemble has seen traction in television, with spots on MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” chart love at college radio stations, and rotation of its video “Moment In An Empty Street” on Fuse. In addition, Austin-bound Louisville rockers Broadfield Marchers found a home for its third record, Displayed in Reflections, on New York-based Rainbow Quartz.
SXSW will provide an opportunity for Lexington-born cellist Ben Sollee and singer-songwriter Daniel Martin Moore to build on the momentum created by Dear Companion, their mountaintop ode that last week put them on one of radio’s biggest stages, WXPN’s “World Café” in Philadelphia.
Some performers, though, will be searching for higher ground in Austin: party animals OK Deejays make their festival debut. Cheyenne Mize, who toured with Bonnie “Prince” Billy last spring and is now out with Sollee and Moore, pushes her self-released EP, Before Lately.
In the end, though, all the musicians flocking to Austin will be looking for the same simple outcome — to play good shows and have a good time. Now pass the Shiner Bock.