One of the most interesting aspects of the SXSW Festival, which came to a close last month, happens in the weeks following it’s finish. As much fun and buzz as it no doubt is at the time, it’s ultimately a massive industry showcase for new artists, so the real interest should be about who emerges as eventual winners once the Texan smoke has dissipated.
The obvious choice is Odd Future – or Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, to give them their ridiculous full name – an extraordinary Los Angeles collective, (occasionally up to 10 members strong), that have been busy putting the street back into the genre of hip hop, successfully wrestling it back from the NYC millionaires. Trouble makers, skateboarding teenagers, controversial lyricists, anti-establishment warriors – there’s many faces to this team, all wonderfully headed up by Tyler The Creator. He’s been fronting with just about everyone, including the packed crowds, being the motor behind their exceptionally rapid rise to their stratospheric buzz. Having performed dozens of rammed SXSW showcases they emerge as perhaps the most talked about group in the world.
Yet behind this uncontrollable whirlwind are many other SXSW success stories and none more so than with the solo artist, Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes. Among a handful of enchanting Austin parties, she was perhaps most noted for her performance at the Gorilla vs Bear blog showcase last month (see part of that set below) and the subsequent online coverage flew around almost every blog in existence in recent weeks.
Inescapable coverage will no doubt propel her onwards, yet she’s not exactly new to us all. She released her debut album, Halfaxa, last year, introducing us to her melancholic dreamscapes. She creates abstract, ethereal songs, all taken out of focus by her intangible, high-pitched, almost classical vocals. It’s partly threatening, like that sensation of a ghost being in the room, but also comforting as you fall under her hypnotic charms.
She has paired up with fellow Montreal artist D’Eon and they plan to release a split EP, called Darkbloom, around April 12th on Arbutus Records. With the storm that’s veering wildly around the blogs we now fully expect the mini-album to be under close scrutiny in the wider media. With Claire it particularly shows her off in a more accessible light and even though we don’t see this style of music getting playlisted for the Chris Moyles show, it should give her even more momentum among the serious critics.
Next up it’s the UK’s turn to host it’s new music marathons, as the Camden Crawl is swiftly followed by the three day beach party that is Brighton’s Great Escape Festival. The latter is on our home turf, so expect a truckload of daily coverage, culminating in The Recommender vs Drowned In Sound showcase after party at Audio on the Friday – yes you heard that right! More details will follow in due course, but among the multitude of awesome artists on show you will get a chance to catch Grimes perform in at least two showcases during the weekend. The real trick will be whether she can once again emerge out of another festival as one of the winners. If bloggers were in fact bookies, she will no doubt be where the smart money goes. (MB)
GRIMES – VANESSA
GRIMES – DEVON
GRIMES – CRYSTAL BALL