Delta Spirit started out literally banging on trashcans. The band popped up in 2008 with the song “Trashcan,” built around a simple percussive riff that the members drunkenly bashed out one night. Delta Spirit has since gotten grander in sound and scope, but there’s still something Southern about their music. Despite hailing from California–and mostly based in Brooklyn these days–the group is more beer joint than beach party. Live at the Four Seasons last week, frontman Matt Vasquez (who recently moved back to Austin, his childhood roots) introduced a honky-tonk version of “Trashcan.” Download it and watch video of their performance below.
Ibeyi is the Yoruba word for “twins,” and the twins behind the band Ibeyi have an almost-supernatural musical bond. Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz are the daughters of Anga Diaz, noted percussionist with the Buena Vista Social Club. Their mother also took them to see Yoruba choirs in their native France, and both Cuban and French influences pop up on their self-titled debut. The Diaz twins also have a love for electronic and hip-hop, but live at the Four Seasons, they used their most powerful instrument: their harmonizing vocals. Ibeyi pulled off an a cappella version of “River,” transforming the beat-heavy original into a religious-like chant. Watch video of their performance and download “River” below.
Matthew E. White founded Spacebomb as a full-service musical entity. The Richmond, VA-based collective writes, records, produces, and releases its own music, just like the vertically-integrated labels of the ’60s and ’70s. Comparisons are drawn to Stax and Motown–especially given Spacebomb’s smooth soul sound–but White says he looked more towards New Orleans and reggae records. Spacebomb’s recordings–like that of Natalie Prass–do feel a little more Southern: laid-back, content to groove while still delivering a hook that sneaks up on you.
Matthew E. White’s own songs proudly fly the Spacebomb flag. His second album, Fresh Blood, is a big, sprawling ode to love in all its many forms, recalling equal parts Al Green and Randy Newman. The crowd at the Four Seasons last week showed him plenty of love bright and early–download a live version of “Fruit Trees” below.
It’s common to call rappers storytellers given their narrative-like lyrics, but the adjective rings especially true for recent SXSW artist Kate Tempest. The British musician is a published poet as well as an MC, and the songs on her debut album, Everybody Down, feel like interconnected short stories. Her flow is conversational, of course, but her attention to detail is what really stands out.
“Lonely Daze” continues the tale of Pete and Becky (Becky is first introduced on “Marshall Law”), two regular kids whose intertwined story feels exceptional in Tempest’s hands. It’s the account of young lovers, too scared to make their move but trying to anyway. The final verse is the gut punch: “He stands there awkward / His eyes are as loud as the bass / And she can recognize something in his face / She scribbles down her number / Lingering glance / And lets herself think / Maybe this could be her chance.” There’s a whole emotional universe in her words, and it’s all set to a danceable beat.
Photo by Tobias Centerwall
This week the Song of the Day spotlights SXSW 2015 artists. Check back every day for a free download and show information.
Without any songs or even an idea for their sound, Amason booked a tour. In those do-or-die circumstances, the Swedish band came together and established its own identity. Cobbled together from disparate parts–members come from Dungen, Miike Snow, and Idiot Wind–Amason first debuted with a self-titled EP in 2013. After a few more years of tinkering, they finally released their first LP, Sky City, earlier this year.
Amason’s influences feel familiar, taking folk, pop, and psychedelia and putting them all in a blender. But the group arrives at a different endpoint than most bands, allowing their songs to unfold in surprising ways. “Älgen” opens the record with a motorik groove that gives way to Amanda Bergman’s soaring vocals. It’s the sound of a range of parts coming together for a spectacular whole. Download “Älgen” below and catch Amason at SXSW 2015.
Friday, March 20: Home Slice Pizza, 3:20 p.m. (free)
Friday, March 20: Cedar Street Courtyard, 11 a.m. (free, RSVP here)
Saturday, March 21: Central Presbyterian Church, 12 a.m. (official showcase)