From KCRW DJ Anne Litt:
SXSW inspires me every year. Here are my 2011 highlights. If you are a music lover and you are looking for a way to maximize that love, you owe it to yourself to go just once.
- Best live performance – James Vincent McMorrow. He’s an Irish singer-songwriter who elevates his craft with precision, purity, poetry and energy. He was mesmerizing – not to mention the nicest guy in the world. “From the Woods!!” and “If I Had A Boat” are epic.
- A great surprise to stumble upon – Fredrik. They are a Swedish band who rock. They are trippy and a bit dark and their song “Inventress of Ill (and Everything) sold me.
- The loudest band, that ended up being good – Monogold. The Brooklyn band managed to blow out my eardrums while playing some snappy tunes. Check out “Spirit Or Something” from The Softest Glow.
- The tightest band at SXSW – Foster The People. It’s as if these 5 guys have been holed up together in the studio for 6 months and haven’t left. I was stunned at how many people knew the words to every song. Everyone was dancing together and singing along. “Helena Beat” is the jam.
- Most unexpected cool live show – The Dears. The record is interestingly eclectic and I wasn’t sure how it would translate live. It did and the crowd went crazy for them. Fortunately, I got there early. The line was wrapped around the block when I left.
- Best track performed. Period. – The Kills – “The Last Goodbye.” When The Kills performed this song live on MBE, I was lucky enough to be sitting in the studio with them about 6 feet away. When Alison Mossheart started singing this song, as happy as I am in my current life and love, I couldn’t help but be swept into past loves lost. I had to look at my lap so that I wouldn’t cry.
In non-music, here are some highlights.
- Rob Pate, owner of Cedar Street dazzled me with a cocktail he calls “Corpse #2.” I’m sure you get the picture. I closed out my SXSW by dropping by Cedar Street, to see a bit of Generationals and sip one last “Corpse #2.” The flight Saturday morning was grim.
- Being part of MBE as we broadcast live from Austin. Jason and I spent two mornings in a phone booth of a studio making our best attempt to have you feel part of the excitement of Austin. I hope it worked. Check out The Kills and Raphael Saadiq’s live performances.
- The people of Austin are the best, nicest people in the world. I thank them for sharing their city with us last week.
Until next year. I’m still going through new music from down in Texas and look forward to sharing some more with you this weekend!
— Anne Litt