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All words: Brittany Martin

At core, South by Southwest is about discovering new music and while Wednesday was amazing for seeing some bigger, more established artists I already love, Thursday was rich in newer artists.

San Fermin were my favorite new band of 2013, but I never caught them live, so when I saw they were playing Brooklyn Vegan’s daytime event (headlining an overall very strong lineup), I was so set on getting in to see them that I stuck out a pretty long queue. Once inside, I was rewarded excellently for my patience with a performance by Sylvan Esso.


I don’t know what rock I had been living under, but this was my first exposure to the North Carolina duo, and I was immediately taken. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn are an adorable pair with great energy and seemed to be having more genuine fun playing their set than any other artist I have seen this week (SXSW is notoriously exhausting and challenging for artists, so it’s not that I blame others–it just makes these two all the more exceptional). Their combo of beautiful female vocals and upbeat, smart electronic backing reminded me a bit of MØ (who is also great and would, in fact, be caught just across the street later that night). As far as I was concerned, after seeing them, my afternoon was made.

Another strong new-to-me band on Thursday was Brooklyn’s Team Spirit who played at the VICE Records event at The Main. Going around a festival like this–particularly with a partner like Known Rocker Stephanie Breijo–has reminded me just how out of touch I am with your rock music. Music with big guitars and actual, non-programmed drums, and totally earnest denim vests. Fronted by the multi-instrumentalist/singer Ayad Al Adhamy, formerly of Passion Pit, Team Spirit managed to keep my attention with their garage-y rock’s amalgam of retro influences.

Oh, and also a Lady Gaga happened. We weren’t there, though, because we would never post a relationship status on Facebook, even as part of a ‘really rad social media brand experience.’

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