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I am getting requests for one combined Spotify playlist. I will compile and send this in my third and final Imaginary SXSW 2020 review. But right now it is only…….

Day Three Wednesday

Zen Bamboo

Another francophile band, also from Montreal, starts the new imaginary day. Their stated principle is to create songs that speak simultaneously to the brain, the reproductive organs, and the heart. I think we will all have some of that.


The Sherlocks

A favourite pastime every SXSW is to spot which band is trying to be the new something. So here from Bolton in England is a bunch who fancy being the new Killers.


School of X

Eksskole was Copenhagen’s anti-establishment art school from the 1960s, now the basis of this Danish band’s name and inspiration for their songs. Indie band SXSW typical good noise.



A glittery supernova from Winnipeg brings a touch of mellow to the proceedings



London three piece who like Grace Jones, Patti Smith and LCD Soundsystem. Just off a tour with HMLTD


Pat Dam Smith

Belfast Pat says no sooner have your ears adjusted to his dark than they are blinded by the light. One of my favourite songs that I found exploring SXSW this year.



To another favourite, from Pittsburgh, and a fellow Saxophone player (did I mention I am taking Saxophone lessons). Feralcat is an artist, saxophonist, composer, alias and conceptual departure from what you think about when you hear the saxophone. The music is equal parts prog rock, jazz fusion and art rock. As I couldn’t be Andy Mackay in Roxy Music, I will be this guy with my sax instead. You are welcome.


Paisley Fields

A member of pioneering queer country outfit, Lavender Country, listen to the lyrics closely, the song is not what you think.



This would definitely have been the most tattooed person at SXSW this year. Check out the video where at one point she has at east five tattoo artists Workington her as she sings. Great band.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-ozktCpop0&feature=emb_logo https://open.spotify.com/track/0FOtDyR1nTN9vMQs0jVGeU?si=i3zx7OoySDS10ZqfdQeqaQ

Christian Lee Hutson

Co writer of two of Better Oblivion Community Centre’s songs on their debut album, Christian then had Phoebe Bridgers produce his own album. Two peas in a pod.



Time to blast it open with Madrid’s best punk band, who sound a bit like early Against Me in Spanish.



Keeping the intensity level turned up to 11, Spinal Tap style, here are Maneka, with their own bend of Afro Punk. He was Raised in the DC area to a black father and a mother of Chinese and Pakistani descent, went through Hip hop fandom before finding his big brother’s Sonic Youth records. This is the outcome. Be aware there is maybe the longest fade out of all time on this. You can watch Parasite and it will still be fading out.


Eloise mp3

You read that right, Eloise mp3, from Colchester in England. Possible the only artist you will ever hear say her sound was shaped by films like Labyrinth and Natural Born Killers ( I kid you not). Back to my SXSW game, this is this years wanna be Billy Eilish, who was formerly a wanna be Lana Del Ray and so on. Good though.


Thigh Master

They might be from Brisbane,Australia, but they are the closest thing I have heard in years to the eighties Flying Nun sound. Special.



Another SXSW game. Seeing kids of famous rock stars try their luck in music. Here is the son of Lol Tolhurst, drummer of The Cure in their early, and only, good years. His band, from San Francisco is pretty good. It has the distinctive drum sound of his dad, although Gray Tolhurst (cursed with the stars naming kids in poor taste thing) is actually guitarist and singer.


Hammered Satin.

An LA band with average age of, oh lets be kind, 53, aside from the one person who is under 20, a female guitarist, of course. This is obviously a pisstake. I mean the name alone. They sound like Sweet from 1972. They do it well though. Like everything from 1973 onwards never happened.


Sebastian Plano

From the ridiculous to the sublime. And from LA back to Berlin, to hear this composer mixing classical with electronic. The way to end a long SXSW day, I imagine at Central Presbyterian Church at 1am. A grand finish.


And that would have been exactly halfway through SXSW 2020 with another day of 17 mostly brilliant acts. I would also be halfway consuming the odd g and t or three. Just to be sociable.

Day Four Thursday


Try to pronounce that one. Here is Nashville’s lo fi power pop king.


Lake South

Well, the National Library of New Zealand says this of one of their own - "Nostalgic, elegiac synth-pop meditations on what it means to be a 20/30-something in modern Aotearoa.”. Anyone who tries to include bits of Heart Of Glass’ synth line is ok by me.


Garden Centre

Yet another great band from little England, this time the not a metropolis of Todmorden. For those of you who love Martha and ONSIND, this is cut from the same bedroom band cloth.


The Hormones

You don’t hear of too many all female punk bands from China, so here is a really good one for you.


Strange Ranger.

This Philadelphia handpicked the wrong time to share their theory exploring closeness :(. It goes like this “Trying to close the distance between yourself and another person and wondering how much can really be done about that gap,” Eiger says. “​Sometimes you don't want to be close with others but you feel guilty, and sometimes you do but you can't.” Wait till Boris Johnson hears about this.



Part of the appeal of SXSW is to see folk who are huge in their own country but in tiny venues up close and personal and sometimes with hardly anyone else in the audience. I am not saying that would be the case with Neoma but as one of Ecuador’s and South America’s rising pop stars, it would have been good to see her.


Die Heiterkeit

I love this band, saw them last year. Another from the Berlin indie scene. Proudly sticking to German language and sounding special.


Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

This Cardiff, Wales, band would have been jousting with HMLTD and Walt Disco as the most hyped UK bands this year. They say they are offering a fresh look at the classic rock model…and it comes dressed in denim.


Art D’Ecco

Variously described as sounding like a cross between Marc Bolan and Joy Division, or Tubeway Army ( his own press blurb), this Canadian glam rocker goes completely against the grain of SXSW by offering the song by which we should be introduced to him as a cover song. A cover!! You don’t do that at SXSW. But he did. Not only that It is a cover of a pop rock song fro the early seventies by Scottish band Nazareth. But as it is special, he is let off, just.


Cadence Weapon.

My annual token hip hop/rap token, apologies for my narrow taste. I always find at least one outrageously good act in this genre. This song should huge. Canada again.


The Underground Youth

Following the theme of the last act (song was called Night Service) I must say, Jesus!!! What are they putting in the water over in Berlin. Another top notch find, this time a driving psychedelic punk noise.



Keeping the 4AD vibe going here are Vancouver's addictively dancey ACTORS


Marble Arch

Obviously coming from….Paris and sounding ever so much like the first New Order guitar sound but nothing is original is it, so as this non existent Day Four draws to a close, they would have been a great midnight band.


Mal Blum

The last band of day four from Brooklyn.The indie music web site Stereogum says they are “punk’s greatest hidden treasure”. See if you agree


Only fourteen bands would have been seen today, I traditionally slow down and walk less around about this tie in the week, so trying to keep it real…….

One more update to follow including my fake best ten bands I saw at SXSW 2020.