So, I didn't plan to be up until 4 a.m. filing photos, which didn't load overnight, so I woke up bright and early and re-filed them for that last-minute Pitchfork assignment. I'm guessing there are a ton of people on network in the wee hours trying to file their stories/media"¦that, or too many people are watching porn. Either way, I'm up five hours later and it's Thursday, time for our SXSW POOLS SESSIONS!!!! After weeks of Andrew Gill and I planning this day, it has finally arrived! Thanks to La Quinta Hotel Capitol for letting us usurp their pool for these sessions. First thing about this plan that worried me was coordinating nine artists to be interviewed and to play a song or two in half-hour segments. If one arrives late, the rest goes by the wayside. Amazingly, our first band, Pretty Good Dance Moves, arrives an HOUR EARLY. Yay to timely artists, boo to me not having hit the shower yet. These sessions ended up running more smoothly than the rest of SXSW, which says a lot about the talent who came together to make this happen in the midst of all their multiple show schedules. Since you'll be able to watch all the sessions here on the blog (and you should watch: we had inspired, and completely exclusive performances), I thought I'd share some of what you didn't see and preview some of the ones that aren't up yet. It'll be like VH1's "Behind the Music," only without any drugs or alcohol (but perhaps including a few hangovers).‚ I can't speak for Andrew, but I can say this whole day comprised some of the most special performances I caught at SXSW 2010. It was like having our own private pool concert in the Austin sun and it ruled. Thanks to all of the artists for participating. Pretty Good Dance Moves played their first-ever live acoustic song for us. The group is electronica-based, so they worked hard to mine their back catalog for a song to offer up at our SXSW Pool Sessions. They practiced in their van for another hour before they performed, and as you can see, they pulled it off swimmingly.
Literally living on the road in his car, the by-way-of-Elgin, IL roaming troubadour Paleo stopped in for a couple songs. He spent a full year, from 2006-2007, writing a new song every day and dubbed the project "The Song Diary." Tune in to see his performance and interview to find out about his cassette-only releases as well as some other future work coming out soon. He says he's looking for happiness, and brought a purple ball, which made him happy today.
Ezra Furman is no stranger to us. This talent hails from Evanston, and he and I chatted about his debut, Banging Down the Doors, for Eight-Forty-Eight. Two years and another album later, he has a number one hit in Austria ("Take Off Your Sunglasses"), embarked on making 200 personalized songs for fans, and is scouting for a label. Tune in for the interview and a couple tunes, one of which was my fave from his last album, Inside the Human Body.
Alex White simply rocks, as does her brother Francis. The two have been in separate bands for a while, but the siblings released their eponymous White Mystery full-length album two days ago. What you didn't see is the duo hanging out to watch the performances prior to theirs and share their buttons (some with clips of their own hair inside). These were our only acoustic performances played on an electric guitar.
The last time I spent time with Joe Pug we were riding around in a van all over Chicago while he taped private shows for fans. The story ran on Eight Forty-Eight. Flash forward and he has released another EP. His friends in Skybox just released a new album as well. Managed by the same guy, the artists are friends and they grab the mic to interview each other before their performances.
Horse Feathers may not have a Chicago connection, but they do have a beautiful sound. Justin Ringle was joined by a brand-new band for his achingly gorgeous song performances. Horse Feathers' third full length, Thistled Spring, will be released in April on Kill Rock Stars.
Austalian-bred Via Tania now lives in Chicago, but spends portions of the year in her native land. She recently shot a video for the song she performed for us, "Fields," in Australia and in other Chicago-related news, she is being booked by the Windy City's own Windish Agency. I interviewed her in-depth for an Eight Forty-Eight preview of her show at Schubas on April 2nd. Tune in next week to Eight Forty-Eight to check it out. She'll be playing with Iceland's Seabear, who were a part of my Iceland coverage for Eight Forty-Eight (I love them, and Iceland). Unfortunately, I missed Seabear during their U.S. debut at SxSW, but I'll see them here. Anni Rossi is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist living in Humboldt Park (after growing up in Minneapolis and living in Los Angeles). She has a new album planned for the spring, of which Andrew and I received a private preview of the song "Candyland" from it where she plays her viola like a guitar. It was awesome. You can see her equally beautiful performance of "Wheelpusher," from her album released last year, Rockwell.
Stay tuned here to see all of these performances as well as more interviews from our SxSW Pool Sessions.