SXSW 2013 - Friday

The latest from Austin, Texas...

Fatima Al Qadiri – The Madison

A quick flit over to The Madison for one of Clash’s favourite emergent artists of 2012, this Kuwaiti born, but New York dwelling producer was firmly, and tautly serving up ghetto buzz in a lively club. Having popped up on a rave radars with slick, politicised tracks such as ‘Desert Strike’, we were keen to soak in a DJ set to triangulate some of her contemporary currents.

The end game was deep, shattered rap, a chopped up collage of lyrics deployed at machine gun tempo. Fatima likes to play with motifs, with east versus west, war and politics strong themes in her small catalogue of tracks… And after tonight, add in lots of dancing and whooping from Texan bass heads too.

Cashmere Cat – Republic Bar

Almost next door a similar tone of partying was going on, albeit with a bigger crowd, waving bigger glo-sticks than us Brits ever had. Whilst America is, (as discussed all week) falling head over heels with dance music, 30 years late, they’ve over compensated for the three decades of rock detours by gazumping the common spotted Euro glo-stick by about 10 inches. No wonder all those fluffy raverettes are having so much fun.

Into this psychedelic cauldron tumbles Cashmere Cat, a Norwegian whose grafting together of trap music, Glasgow’s expansive synth workouts a la Rustie and strange rhythmic structures was proving to be deadly effective.  He relishes a dippy break, hurling in fragments of R&B alongside hip hop memories, shards of faulty pop and prototype breaks - CashmereCat provides never ending gutters of promise. Whilst direct comparisons to Rustie are unavoidable this bass kitten is more direct, less cerebral and more packaged for the dancefloor rather than strange galaxies bizarrely connected to Scotland’s seething dance scene.

Sleigh Bells – The New Myspace House

Watch a video clip of Sleigh Bells' SXSW performance

So if you hadn’t heard Justin Timberlake has planted his throbbing libido in the decaying corpse of Myspace. And his plan seems to be working. Going off the rammed, visceral, kinetic and thriving mass of bodies twisting to Sleigh Bells acerbic rock, things are looking up for the former white elephant of social networks.

Dwarfed by two huge stacks of Marshall Amps, they’d managed to completely hide their drummer / programmer. With Jason Boyer and Derek E. Miller prowling with their duelling guitars, Alexis was livid on stage, bouncing off the dense crowd, her actions hitting fractals across the splash of LCD screens broadcasting the mayhem. Packing the punchiest sound system we’ve heard this week weaponised by banks of strobes it was the perfect setting for this viscous rock band to showcase. Hammering out well heeled classics such as ‘Rill Rill’ and ‘Treats’ they lacked for absolutely nothing. This was hard, angry energising rock music at its most optimised. Possibly the most impressive return of a perennial fave for Clash.

Flying Lotus – Myspace House

Headlining Mr Timberlake’s house party was LA beat alchemist Flylo. Happily trapped between two gauze screens his astral-rave-hop was as cosmic as his inter stellar projections. Seeping out his own jazz tinged new beats alongside huge hits from Ninja Tune’s Two Fingers it was his usual polyrhythmic fling around the far outskirts of experimental music. Puncturing his set with the odd informal little chat, or informational tease rarely has mankind been more in control of his machines, creative direction and streamlined ego.

The fast answer to queries on Flylo’s success tonight was that he absolutely smashed it. He even slinked out at the end to showcase his new found love of rapping, replete in a vest proclaiming ‘sex, drugs and rap’ – his new ‘Captain Murphy’ project which we’ll no doubt hear much more of very soon. Just please don’t stop delivering such next level DJ sets please Flylo. We devour them everytime.

Words by Matthew Bennett

Savages @ Warehouse 1100

We've spent the week pondering how some music doesn't travel well to the states. It was refreshing to see that the hunger for anarchic riffs, squealing guitars and punk rock sensibilities are lit and burning on both sides of the Atlantic.

A British band were the bringer of this, gracing the stage after a riotous set from Pissed Jeans, with their own ruckus; ready to take over. The beautifully androgynous Camille Berthomier led her obsidian quartet out, four modern riot grrrls, now known; Savages.
 
A thinned crowd at Warehouse 1100 gradually began to heave. Partly because Savages were thunderous from the off, opening with a meaty rendition of 'City's Full', and... partly because their drummer stands up throughout the performance, pounding her kit like war drums, and the way in which her hair flails chaotically in the background is truly mesmerising.
 
The set was like witnessing the most joyous anger management class. No matter how slow and calm some of their songs began (those Krautrock derived bass lines that smack so respectfully of Joy Division), they were always four bars from exploding.
 
With some recognisable music industry faces in the crowd, and a rumoured album for early summer, these stateside performances are quickly turning Savages from an East London secret to a... imagine if I said West Side Story? Imagine it. I'm not going to.
 
Words by Joe Zadeh

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