← back to Blog Archive

The halfway day. By now you have had three days in a row of the only real meal being breakfast. You have gone to bed every day after 2am, but got up early to make sure you get express ticket passes for the hardest to get into shows later that day. And. You are once again ready to hit the day parties starting around 11am. It is also when you start to think that the week is heading to a close and there are still loads of bands on your must see list. So, onwards you plunge.

Will any non UK/North America acts make it onto the list? Shocking lack of international diversity so far.



Nothing better than a wall of noise and shouty voices to start a day. They Say: With their captivating and visceral live performances this post-punk 6 piece has quickly established a reputation as ‘one of NYC’s hottest guitar wielding prospects’ said the NME. I Say: Another one I agree with NME on, in both our best of the week lists.

Paul Jacobs

Back to another hotbed of indie music, Montreal. They Say: From deep emotional melodies to freak out jams, folk pop ballads to synth laced rock and roll epics, along with his hand drawn artwork and animated music videos, Jacobs’ truly creates a world of his own. I Say: Especially impressive as this is his side band. He is a permanent member of the wonderful Pottery too.

Velvet Starlings

You can imagine what their sound would be like from the name. They Say: Velvet Starlings is a 60s infused garage rock ‘n’ roll band hailing from Los Angeles and the beach cities of Southern California. Velvet Starlings is becoming a staple in the blossoming neo psychedelic garage rock scene on the West Coast with their own take on neo-60’s-garage - best described as beach-fuzz-psych with a big cheeky nod to the UK Invasion. I Say: Yup, a band who wish they had been born in the fifties.

Paisley Fields

Large representation of queer acts this year, always great to see in the capital of good ole’ boy Texas. They Say: Fields' writes country music. His songs are tender and authentic, but also pretty good with a joke. They’re mindful of tradition, but deeply informed by his singular background -- as a teenage Midwestern church pianist, a Manhattan piano bar survivor, and a touring member of pioneering queer country outfit, Lavender Country. The stories are his, but the feeling they convey -- love, loneliness, lust, and so on -- are, hopefully, still universal. I Say: Lovely story telling and best eyebrows of the week.


It happened, a band from somewhere else. Australia. They Say: Long established as one of Australia's premier songwriting and touring outfits, Wanderers have stepped into a new creative domain in recent years. Bringing together influences from across decades of soul, rock and pop luminaries; channeling in with contemporary flair and songwriting skill, the group have fashioned for themselves a sonic identity that is refreshingly new. I Say: They own a lot of Prince records. Every year there a few acts you see who you think could become absolutely huge if they get a break or two. Interested to see if SXSW launches this pop outfit.

Working Men’s Club

The Ws definitely have it this year. They Say: Songs created in the shadow of terror and loss, but that crackle and pop with defiance, wrestled into being over one of the most extra-ordinary years in recent history. Ideas born of pandemic and isolation, but that demand sharing and then celebration. A statement of desperation, but also of intent. Of two-fingers anger, and two-footed celebration.The records are made for agitating and dancing, for heart and soul, for here, now and tomorrow. I Say: I take my hat off for that write up. A piece of prose.

La Paloma

Yes,come on down Spain.They Say: La Paloma are a four-piece noise-pop band based in Madrid. They manage to find the perfect balance between noise and melody, crudely musicalizing feelings such as apathy, disinterest and nostalgia for what has not been yet lived; airing up their own conflicts and those of an entire generation. I Say: More noisy, engaging three minute tunes.


Having, in my imagination, been in Austin for over three days it would have been surprising to get to this point without seeing a band from Austin. Here you go. They Say: The sounds of alexalone will usher you into warm, fuzzy, lonely spaces, then shock you alive with pulsing energy. It isn’t merely about the sound, it is an exercise in world building, and a portrait of the artist cradling and nurturing their emotions as they create, navigating labyrinths of pain as they search for exits, and hoping for a haven where they can survey the damage and regroup. I Say: I love it when the band go to extreme efforts to present themselves so well. Great crashing guitar sound.

Dead Horses.

SXSW intimate Americana shows are some of the best. They Say: Dead Horses isn’t a band in the conventional sense. Rather, it’s an intimate, folk-inspired conversation between two close friends. At its core, theyweave together a vibrant patchwork of classic and contemporary influences that span trad roots, indie- folk, and other experimental musical idioms. I Say: It is just nice and not in a couldn’t care less way.

Hot Garbage.

OK after a number of fairly bland self descriptors we are getting a few crackers now. They Say: Toronto-based psych outfit, Hot Garbage, melts within their unique sonic foundry, shiny metallic melodies, unearthed within rugged rhythms from the regions of krautrock and post-punk, then carbonized within sus-alloyed arrangements, that eventually emit heavy streams of gaseous neo-psychedelia. Though highly volatile, these four rock isotopes present the atmosphere with optimal levels of radioactivity. Fans of volcanic rock and reverb-heavy dust clouds will want to expose their senses to the highly-flammable contents. I Say: As Jeff Bridges famously said whilst narrating the Heroes of Rock N Roll tv documentary - “RockNRoll, Phew!” And. Another kraut-rock mention.

Mikey Erg

Lets strip it back down. They Say: Mikey Erg has played on A LOT of records. He has also toured extensively for the better part of two decades in literally countless bands. Mikey has now fostered a solo project that has kept him super busy performing Billy Bragg-style – just a mic and an electric guitar – all over the world. I Say: Cracking ramshackle sound.


The airport must have reopened today!!! To Bologna, Italy. They Say: They created a striking, full blown manifesto, where their early post-punk nuances are heightened by an extremely poetic and compelling vision that encapsulates words, imagery and noise. Propulsive rhythms, a modern spin on kiwi-pop and a weird combination of dark punk, noise rock and flower pop are still the foundation of their sound but it’s the combination of bandleaders Mickey and Cecilia’s voices that creates an eerie effortless sense of familiarity. It’s no wonder they’ve known each other since they were young kids. I Say: Italian band, singing in English, and with the requisite angst ridden vocals and a slight steal of the Love Will Tear Us riff. Nice one.

Ian Sweet

An entry for catchiest song of SXSW 2022. They Say: Jilian Medford, better known by her stage name Ian Sweet, is an American indie rock musician from Los Angeles, California. For Medford, reciting mantras - leaning into the repetition, retraining your brain, and learning new realities is a way to fight through her anxieties. Mesmeric and kaleidoscopic, shimmering with electrified unease, there songs are both an exercise in self-forgiveness and an eventual understanding of unresolved trauma. I Say: Light pop with sweary words hits a spot.

Caleb De Casper

Now this would have been one to see. They Say: From the horror cabaret and glam rock of his past to his current dark synth pop sound, Austin performer Caleb De Casper always brings a stunning in-your-face theatricality to his music and live shows. The classically trained pianist and vocalist stalks the stage in evening gowns, bondage wear, Victorian collars and the ever-present fishnets and heels, confidently declaring that masculinity comes in many different forms. The performance art aspect of this “Rocky Horror-esque piano dramatist and vocal contortionist” (Austin Chronicle) is the bleeding heart of De Casper’s music. In Austin, De Casper found the space to flourish as a queer artist that he never found in North Carolina and immediately set to work proving wrong the former NC piano teacher who once told him, "As a gay songwriter, the world will never accept your voice or point of view”. I Say: Sounds as much fun as they look.

Aeon Station

SXSW is often a launch path for solo projects from well know bands. Here is the bass player from Wrens. They Say: Aeon Station’s Observatory is an epic statement more than a decade in the making, with miles of timeless melodies and the kind of overpowering songwriting that will reaffirm your belief in life itself. Longtime Wrens member Kevin Whelan’s new project draws heavily from the perseverance of the soul, resulting in rock music possessing an infectious and inspiring sonic uplift. I Say: Spectacular sound.


We close the day with a Dublin band. They Say: They gracefully yet potently merges psych rock with touches of post-rock-esque soundscapes, pulsing krautrock, all of which is driven by demented organ wig outs, engulfing waves of heavily textured guitar and a crisp rhythm section. I Say: A fine ear bursting way to end the day, but let’s hear what their drummer says. Their Drummer Says: “Repetition is definitely the key to Melts,” says Gaz Earle. “It’s about just keeping it simple and driving and fucking stomping.”

So, sixteen acts, the international crowd arrived, from Australia, Italy and Spain. We had performance artists, melodic Americana, in yer face punk, a bunch of psychedelic noise merchants and a few wee pop gems. Would have been a day and a half. Band of the day, well it would have been a toss up between Aeon Station and Alexalone.

Only two days left :(

Here is the playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7d4uRd8fxUAEFa27hL4rdz?si=a9e1a67b11fd4ecd