Summer SXSW Playlist 2013

Summer SXSW Playlist 2013

South By Southwest is an awesome music festival that takes place in Austin. Hundreds of musicians, scholars, and technology bad-asses come down to Central Texas and share what’s happening in the bestest of ways. It’s an all around good time.

I have never had the time, patience, or desire to attend South By Southwest, even when I lived in Austin.

Mostly because I don’t handle massive crowds well. I don’t like waiting in long lines. And being smooshed against a wall does not always constitute a “rad music experience” for me. This, I know, is not true for everyone. This, you should know, is not always true for me. I’ve been to punk shows. 1 I have done music festivals. 2 And I really enjoy music.

When our good friends at The (Unofficial) South By Southwest Torrents posted this year’s showcasing artists, I got excited. I downloaded all 1210 songs in April, filling  my MP3 player with all the glory and none of the sadness. I hit shuffle and waited to see what popped up.

Over the course of three months, I put aside the songs that most intrigued me. That added some zest to my drives and long bike-rides. The songs I found myself humming to most of all. And I made a playlist. What few people have happened to be in my car have heard these songs.

“What is this?”

“Oh, some playlist I put together.”

“It’s good.”

“Thanks. All South By Southwest stuff.”

Over the months, some of the folks have asked me to send them track names. I haven’t. So here  I am, making up for it all, by giving you the songs that make me happy from my Summer SXSW Playlist 2013.

  1. Television – Absolutely my favorite. I sing this all the time. The chorus makes me happy, soothes my face, and does that magic thing music does when it makes you think everything is going to be okay because this song said so. Plus, any song with the line “And when I’m finally old enough to learn to play the game, / Oh the dinosaurs will roam the earth, and resume their bloody reign” deserves all the accolades.
  2. Tale of You & Me – “You ever think about both our mouths ’round the barrel of a gun? Make it fast, won’t feel a thing.” Ah, yes, songs about relationships. I can relate. “And you wonder why I burn you down” always gets to me. As does the coda at the end, with its delightful mantra. So worth a listen. Plus, some wicked fiddle action.
  3. Black Mr. Rogers – Just fun. I dare you to not whistle by the end of this song.
  4. CAIRO BLUES – Pre-war St. Louis Blues musician Henry Spaulding wrote a song called “Cairo Blues” in 1929.  Leif Vollebekk took some of the lines from Spaulding’s original, updated them, and maintained some of the original flavor (the pronunciation of “Cairo” as “Cay-row” is one of them). And again, the writing is lovely. “I should have never lent you that 45, I guess my lesson is not to lend / There’s a big needle over the line and for a time you have a friend / But stone cold silence in the room means the record is at its end / You’re turning it over so many times  / It’s never going back into its sleeve again  / There’s two sides to every story but it seems like you’ve got ten  / When I get no letters, it’s the Cairo blues you send.”
  5. Look At Me – Narcissism and superficiality are okay when you set them to a wicked dance beat. “Don’t you want to be me?” Uh… no. But I’ll move my body like you.
  6. Bones – This song makes me cry. It hits a little too close to home. A little too close to much of what I’ve been through. Gives me the shivers.
  7. Shut Up – Mostly I like the way he screams “SHUT UP.” Plus, he gives plenty of deference to his steel guitar player. How can that be wrong?
  8. Wearin’ Out – You’re quickly discovering my love of strange electronica.
  9. Galileo (Someone Like You) – Plenty of musicians have covered this song (including Josh Groban), but here’s the original. I love the idea of Galileo being so overwhelmed by love, he becomes the double rainbow guy from YouTube. “Who puts the rainbow in the sky?” Science, obviously… but maybe it’s love?
  10. Borrale – I’m a sucker for mantras set to a electronic beat, obviously. But this is just good. I dare you not to dance.
  11. Run Around – This song gives us an interesting perspective. “You want answers? Sorry. I have none. But it’s your fault for hanging out with me.” Well then.
  12. Wishing Well – I sing this often. It’s catchy. It’s got a nice little repetitive rhythm. Easy to learn, sex positive, and just sensual to sing. “Oh, can I put a penny in your wishing well, wishing well?”
  13. Cumbio – Campo’s website on Campo’s music: “The project mixes indie pop, electro, folk and rock with tango, cumbia and 50´s and 60’s latin music, blending them into an updated and sophisticated pop context, with tracks performed in both English and Spanish.”  Um, this is amazing.  It’s electro-cumbia in English. I get very excited every time I listen to it. Seriously. If you only listen to one song on this playlist, listen to “Television.” If you listen to two, then this should definitely be the second.
  14. bananas –  An all female group of booty-shakers. Seriously, that’s what they call themselves. Yes. A thousand times yes. And I believe it. This is just booty-shaking beats interlaced with crazy vocals. I can’t help but admire the hell out of this. And then I start shaking my (imaginary) booty, all over the place. Shut up, Gwen Stefani, this beat is BANANAS!
  15. Right Now – I play this song before and after poetry slams now. I’m ready for the WIN!
  16. L’Amour – Just a good love song. In french. Which makes me feel sophisticated.
  17. Victory of Flying – It’s blues, sung by a woman with pipes. Serious pipes. I have this dream where my friend and singer-of-songs Lori Beth wails on this in front of an audience, blowing them away with the hurricane that is her voice. In the meantime, I will settle for the professionals.

That’s it! Enjoy! Exclaim! 3

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