As it is every year around this time of year, the music party that needs no introduction is upon us. For SXSW 2013, in addition to our own annual psych and dance-oriented house party (this year's is called FEEL YOU and comes with a handy-dandy mixtape), we've gone through and written up our top picks for official bands as well as our top unofficial showcases! Read on!
Youth Lagoon Trevor Powers' vocals remind me of Daniel Johnson both the physical sound and the earnest lyrics. Then he takes these simple melodies and opens them up inside lush, shimmering layers of live and electronic instruments. RACHEL HAYS
--- YOUTH LAGOON - WONDROUS BUGHOUSE ALBUM REVIEW 03/13 - 10:40pm @ Stubb's (NPR Showcase) 03/14 - 5:00pm @ 1100 Warehouse (Pitchfork Party) 03/15 - 4:00pm @ Hype Hotel (Stereogum Range Life) 03/15 - 5:30pm @ Red Eyed Fly (After the Gold Rush) 03/15 - 12:00am @ Club de Ville (Paradigm Showcase)

 

Poolside The band basically spells out relaxation with their name choice. Their music videos and album art reiterate that fact; the video for their song "Slow Down" is perfectly California cool. - JUDY NELSON
--- POOLSIDE FESTIVAL LIVE SHOW REVIEW MON, MAR 11 - 8:00pm @ The Mohawk (Transmission Entertainment Showcase, 912 Red River) MAR 13 - 5:20pm @ Cheer Up Charlie's (Spaceland Showcase, 1104 E 6th St.) MAR 13 - 9:30pm @ The Tap Room (School Night Showcase) MAR 13 - 1:30am @ Red 7 (Windish Showcase, 611 East 7th St.) MAR 14 - 1:35pm @ Flamingo Cantina (Under The Radar Showcase, 515 E 6th St.) MAR 14 - 6:00pm @ Sonos House (606 E 3rd St.) MAR 15 - 4:00pm @ Red Eyed Fly (Another Planet Entertainment Showcase) MAR 16 - 4:00pm @ Lustre Pearl (97 Rainey St.)

 

Flying Lotus Years ago, I was at SXSW and dying from crippling food poisoning. I was at the Warp Records showcase, more or less ready to die, when Flying Lotus took the stage and revived me. One-man electronic shows aren't always compelling, but with his tricked out beats, spastic visuals, and just general mythology, Flying Lotus is one of the best electronic solo acts to see. VIVIAN HUA
03/12 - 12:00am @ AMOA Arthouse at Jones Center (Plus an unannounced surprise performance!)

 

Youth Lagoon Wondrous Bughouse Fat Possum Around the time Trevor Powers was set to release his first record for free, before Fat Possum or any other record label came calling -- or rather, begging -- there was an insatiable desire for home-recorded dream pop. Atlas Sound, Wild Nothing, Real Estate... the list goes on and on, an endless wealth of nostalgic-tinted, lo-fi recordings that fans, websites, and magazines couldn't get enough of. As a result, Youth Lagoon's initial rise always felt forced, and his debut nothing out of the ordinary, a collection of expected music. But now, as time has passed and tastes have shifted, Powers' brand of estranged psych ambiance somehow stands alone. And he wouldn't have it any other way. In talking about his debut, The Year of Hibernation, Powers consistently brought up the fact that his music is dictated by what haunts him, not by any contrived sense of nostalgia, no matter how retro or en vogue his songs may sound. The ability to escape the misappropriation of The Year of Hibernation proved vastly important in the growth of Youth Lagoon, but Wondrous Bughouse ushers in a new era for the ambitious musician.
ALBUM REVIEW CONTINUES BELOW
SUMMARY: "Instead of the mostly personal stories Powers was so insistent on telling throughout The Year of Hibernation -- an exercise no doubt necessary for his overall maturation -- Wondrous Bughouse is a much more outward-facing record."

 

Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party is upon us again for 2012, bringing some major acts from beyond and local Pacific Northwest acts into the same sweaty and crowded outdoors spaces! See below for the full daily run-down of what you ought to look out for.

 

WRITE-UPS BY KATIE NGUYEN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED
FRIDAY, JULY 20

 

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Youth Lagoon

6:30 PM • MAIN STAGE He is a pioneer of dream pop -- and come this Friday, Trevor Powers will have the entire Capitol Hill Block Party crowd in a mesmerized daze. His 2011 debut album The Year of Hibernation was named one of the best albums of the year from various outlets, leaving me with no doubt in my mind that his performance won't blow all of us away. Youth Lagoon is sure to be one of the most anticipated performances at this year's event. SEE ALSO: YOUTH LAGOON - "MONTANA" MUSIC VIDEO

 

SATURDAY, JULY 21

 

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Beat Connection

4:45 PM • MAIN STAGE It looks like the organizers of CHBP were impressed with Beat Connection last year on the Vera Stage, because this year's festival has them graduating onto the main stage. With their hit single "The Palace Garden, 4am" and the release of their latest LP, Beat Connection are making all of the right moves in building a successful musical career for themselves. This year's main stage performance will surely bring the electronic dance party. SEE ALSO: BEAT CONNECTION @ REDEFINE MAGAZINE'S UNOFFICIAL 2012 HOUSE PARTY + BEAT CONNECTION - "THINK/FEEL MP3" DOWNLOAD

 

SUNDAY, JULY 22

 

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Phantogram

6:10 PM • MAIN STAGE It would not be a music festival season if Phantogram were not included on a bill or two or three. To watch the band’s musical career over the last few years has been incredible. Their 2009 debut album Eyelid Movies received rave reviews and that was no different for their follow-up LP Nightlife, which was released earlier this year. Both Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter mesh so well together that their performances always turn out seamless. They are definitely a band worth checking out this year; I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Tyler T. Williams directs this cinematic epic for Youth Lagoon's "Montana," perhaps capturing a snippet from the life and mind of Youth Lagoon's Trevor Powers. Says Powers: "My whole life I've dealt with extreme anxiety. Not anxiety about passing a test or somewhat normal things, but weird.. bizarre things. Things that...