Friday Playlist: SXSW and Beyond

Good news, everyone, the Friday Playlist is back!  Today's edition features mostly bands I heard about this year at SXSW, with some old favorites thrown in for good measure.  Enjoy!

  1. TUnE-yArDs - "Gangsta"
    Despite the monstrously inappropriate use of mixed-case letters in their name, this world-music-meets-hip-hop-meets-a-bunch-of-other-stuff album from musician Merrill Garbus is really incredible, and is everything the last Dirty Projectors album should have been.  She also recently produced and penned a few songs for the latest Thao Nguyen album, which (in my not-so-humble opinion) has made Thao more interesting than ever.

  2. Beach House - "Used To Be"
    This album came out last year, but I finally got around to listening to it a couple weeks ago and was struck at how Beach House put out the perfect Walkmen album.  It's really beautiful but never boring.  Excellent.

  3. Shad - "Rose Garden"
    Shad, or Shadrach Kabango as his parents called him, is a Canadian rapper who played at SXSW this year to much acclaim.  This whole album is great, and this song in particular showcases his lyrical prowess, flow, and ear for a good sample.

  4. Yuck - "Get Away"
    Another SXSW darling, this London group has been getting a lot of press lately as a band who obviously worships the sound of the 90s, despite seemingly being way too young to have actually been cognizant of music during the actual 90s.  My cynical prediction is that you won't be hearing about them for very much longer, but it's a fun album if you were around for the real thing.

  5. Gold Panda - "Quitters Raga"
    This is a cut off of Companion, a digital-only download of tracks released prior to this SXSW star's Lucky Shiner.  But it's still a cool song.

  6. Superhumanoids - "Cranial Contest"
    Hailing from LA's Echo Park, Superhumanoids got a lot of press at SXSW this year, and they deserve most of it.  Their sound borrows pretty heavily from the late 80s/early 90s, but they turn those influences into some cool lo-fi pop songs that stick with you.  They show a few sides on this EP, and I like that they haven't decided on one yet, it makes for a more interesting sound.

  7. Braids - "Lemonade"
    I know it's simplistic to call Braids "Animal Collective with a female singer," but I'm going to do it anyway.  Not all the songs on this album hold true to that description, but enough do that I feel OK with it.

  8. Destroyer - "Kaputt"
    Ah, Destroyer.  The thinking man's Steely Dan.  Who else could make an album full of songs about girls and cocaine sound so goddamn square?

  9. Paul Simon - "Dazzling Blue"
    Amazingly, Paul Simon's voice still seems to be serving him as well as his songcraft and his gift for lyrical poetry.  I really liked a lot of his new album, but I don't recommend listening to it on a long drive that you start at 7:00 AM (like I did).
Thanks for listening!  As always, please let me know what you thought in the comments.