February 18, 2009

Go South By South West, Young Man

So, as has been reported by everyone and their mother, SXSW has announced their lineup and their schedule.  There are an unbelievable mumber of really great artists performing in a four day period, making even the most casual of indie music fans drool with anticipation.  Despite whatever SXSW qualms you might have, it remains the best place in the world to see great upcoming stars in informal and fun settings.

You can read up on the full SXSW lineup here, but I thought I'd highlight some of my favorites of the artists performing down in that southern festival of the music industry.  

First up we have the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an old fashioned carolina jug band that features fiddle, banjo, guitar, and actual jug.  These guys are amazing in concert and on record, and worth a spin if you like bluegrass in any form at all.  

Carolina Chocolate Drops - Cornbread and Butterbeans (YSI) (filesavr)

Next we have Sage Francis, possibly the most impressive (white) rapper I've ever heard.  His origins as a slam poet are evident throughout his tracks, and he never ceases to impress me with his lyricism.  Get into his debut, Personal Journalist, if you want to get your brain rocled.

Sage Francis - Conspiracy to Riot (YSI) (filesavr)

A third artist worth a minute is the humorously named Yak Ballz.  We saw him open up for Aesop Rock a few months ago, and his beats hit hard.  Tough to get past his name, but the tracks speak for themselves and show a lot of promise.

Yak Ballz - Dirt Empire (YSI) (filesavr)

Finally, a band by the name of John Wesley Harding and Eugene Mirman's Cabinet of Wonders is worth a listen.  Eugene Mirman is a comic who has been seen on shows like Flight of the Conchords, Premium Blend, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.  More than that, though, he's a pretty good musician, and he shows his chops here.  Definitely check out this song, and read this hilarious AV Club interview here if you have a couple minutes/a sense of humor.  Awesome all around.

John Wesley Harding and Eugene Mirman's Cabinet of Wonders - Oh! Pandora (YSI) (filesavr)

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