KTEP - El Paso, Texas

All Songs Considered

Late Night Dispatches From SXSW

Mar 14, 2018

The annual SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas can be overwhelming. With thousands of bands performing over five days across the city, there's no way to see everything, but there's always a great opportunity to discover a great musician you've never heard before. That's one of the reasons that at the end of each night during SXSW, members of our team in Austin gather and discuss the best of what they saw and heard that day.

The members of Wax Chattels introduce "In My Mouth" as "our homage to Auckland's best dive bar." If that's the case, this dive bar has been shattered, battered and fried into a post-punk surrender. No survivors, just a fluorescent strip dangling from the ceiling, flickering the remnants of a crazed brawl.

Soul music savant Leon Bridges has announced a new album, Good Thing, and with it, two new tracks.

On the 2017 debut Jump Ship, No Thank You frontwoman Kaytee Della Monica offered the kind of millennial snark heard from the edge of a cigarette with lyrics like "Still listen to Nimrod when I'm getting high / I'm twenty something, I'm doing just fine."

Two weeks ago, we reached out to Haley Heynderickx, a three-time Tiny Desk Contest entrant and Slingshot artist, about writing for the Tiny Desk Contest newsletter. "The Tiny Desk Contest changed my life," she said, so we asked her to tell that story in her own words:

Hello everyone!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! At least it is for avid music fans like us and anyone else attending the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The annual endurance challenge gets underway this week, with thousands of bands from around the world — and many more fans — converging on the city for a seemingly endless bender of live performances — shows both big and small that last all day, every day, into the wee hours of the morning, with music pouring out of every club, restaurant, street corner and alleyway for miles.

"Worthy." That's the word that singer-songwriter India.Arie had projected behind her when she performed at this year's Grammy Awards ceremony, before the telecast. The timing couldn't have been more apt.

Editor's note: This song and its title contain explicit language.

Vince Staples possesses a particular kind of black genius so shrewd, humorous and antagonistic that it can be hard to translate his POV into confectionary pop. Thankfully, he's immune to oversimplification. Instead, the Long Beach native has spent most of his career since his 2015 Def Jam debut (Summertime '06) applying an almost experimental approach to hip-hop that has drawn acclaim, but also plenty of naysayers critical of his creative complexity.

Disney's latest summer reading list adaptation A Wrinkle in Time is being hailed and expected to set the box office aflurry. A big-screen (and big-budget) adaptation of the 1962 novel by Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time follows a young girl through inter-dimensional time and space to find her missing father. It's a coming-of-age story bundled in a sci-fi odyssey, tied up with a $100 million bow.

I'd missed half the set. There was a long line outside around the corner for the headliner, a group of pretty boys who make pretty boy pop-rock. (That's not a knock, just not what I came for.) When I finally made my way into the venue, members of The Aces were just starting to play "Just Like That." It wasn't the boisterous hit, but captured an essence of the group: a band formed in the members' tweens and the confidence and camaraderie that comes with their longevity.

We toil with what's ahead, but know what's possible, what's futile and how it can distort — even control — our everyday. It is exhausting and forgets those who just need need to be in the present.

The latest video from Malian singer and guitarist Fatoumata Diawara, for the song "Nterini," opens with a simple but stark reminder: "In a world of seven billion people, one billion are migrants." The Pew Research Center puts the number at a quarter of a billion — a figure that's still shockingly high.

"When I give these books away," serpentwithfeet wonders, "will my ink betray me?" His opening isn't a worry. These songs will be given away — serpentwithfeet's only concern is that his books will be greeted with the same genuine intentions that inspired them to travel in the first place: "Boy, whoever reads about how much I adore you... I hope my words bring them something new."

This is a complex and fascinating conversation with Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine about the latest version of the band's legendary 1991 album, Loveless. It's also about the group's future.

We have some questions about Neko Case's first solo album in 5 years, Hell-On. Is the hyphen some kind of slang for our current hell on Earth? Per that wild album artwork, are haberdasheries going to update their stock with hats made out of lit cigarettes? Can human hair really emit such a dark and ominous plume?

Harrison Lipton is a Brooklyn singer and producer with a limited digital paper trail. There was the 2014 collaborative Bandcamp loosie with Dayspired that ambled through the mood music Rhye once perfected on Woman. Then there was Lipton's appearance on songs from electronic music producers Mister Lies and Giraffage.

Getting noticed as a musician can be an uphill challenge. There are numerous factors at play: practice, natural ability, accessibility, market saturation, etc. I've spent my artistic career working to open doors for emerging artists while recognizing established musicians who haven't had the chance to be celebrated.

The Tiny Desk Contest is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be seen and heard, and I'm so excited to be a part of such an amazing platform. As I'm watching your videos, here are three areas that I'll be focusing on:

Hawthonn's mystic drones seem to come from an ancient astral plane. Formed in 2014, the experimental duo from Leeds explores the metaphysical — dreams and ghosts — through music that seems to both wander through and embody the foggy English countryside.

Look, it's gonna be a tough week. Maybe you stayed up late watching the Oscars and you're already underslept; maybe there's a lot going on at work right now; and certainly, if nothing else, whatever transpires in the news will accumulate so quickly, you won't believe that only four days have passed by the time we get to Friday.

Trap over Saturday Night Live as Migos appear as last night's musical guest.

Riddles, the third album by Ed Schrader's Music Beat, is a fascinating piece of work that is both ugly and beautiful, often at the same time. The beauty of this music is in the trance-inducing pulse that drives it; a chaos of pulsing, incessant rhythms.The sound is reminiscent of two bands that captured my musical world around 1978 — the aggressively minimalist electronics-and-poetry duo Suicide and the dark, futuristic sounds of Pere Ubu's Dub Housing.