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SXSW Presents: Special Explosion

It's been nearly a decade since dreamo (that's dream-pop and emo, in case you were wondering) act Special Explosion erupted onto the scene, and we couldn't be more happy to have them after all these years. They take out the whininess typically associated with emo music. Instead, they keep all of that emotion and channel it through tender indie rock with lucid atmospheres and textures.

Even during a time when the world around them, in a musical and real life sense, was unreliable and confusing, Special Explosion maintained their collective head, supported by their four pairs of shoulders. With many releases behind them, their late 2017 album To Infinity can be considered debut, as far as full-length records are concerned. It provides 10 tracks worth of their adept instrumentation, recalling earlier days of Death Cab for Cutie and Sufjan Stevens but always sounding like their own.

They're the kind of band you see and fall in love with, over and over again, and that's part of what makes them so special.





SXSW Presents: Smokey Brights

 *photo by Yunkin Keophoma

The 70s was a good era for music. To today's generation, much of that decade is considered to have produced nothing but solid gold oldies. But for matrimonial duo Smokey Brights, it's the era they've used as channelled inspiration for their sonic release. They're like a sift through milk crates full of records, each one touching on a different aspect of rock history. 

With a psychedelic flair that encompasses both funky and groovy notes, Smokey Brights have used their new EP, Come to Terms (Freakout Records), to express a list of grievances to come to terms with. Of them, heartbreak, shady politics and empty conversations are all examined within the four tracks on Come to Terms, softened by rousing crystalline rock sounds. It's entirely too easily to get caught up in Smokey Brights' textures and whether you're fervently listening to the lyrics or dazedly zoning out to their resonance, it's an all around enlivening experience.





SXSW Presents: SISTERS

 *photo by Stanton J. Stephens

They may not be sisters or even siblings for that matter, but SISTERS have that type of likeminded connection that makes for great, danceable pop music. Much like the indie club bangers of the mid 2000's, SISTERS know the exact formula to make people move.

On their latest release, titled Wait Don't Wait, the duo employ synths, baritone sax and flute on top of the usual guitar and drum combo in creating their joyous tunes. Some lean heavily on jazz chords while others have grubby basslines that make your shoulders bounce. Whenever everything is combined, there's an album full of melodious bangers that can up any mood and get any party started.

If you're looking to dance while at SXSW, take every chance you get to see SISTERS.





Shoegazer

Time: 
20:00
Band name: 
Vákoum
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/vakoum.music/
Venue name: 
Tractor Tavern
Band email: 
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The Complex Dialect make their very prog debut

 *photo by Hanna Stevens

With sounds and lyrical content as indicative as their moniker implies, The Complex Dialect blend jazz, blues, hip-hop and rock in the makings of their progressive tunes. Their atmospheres are indeed complex, yet, incredibly easy to get lost in. For a band comprised of eight members that makes total sense, as each contributing element help make The Complex Dialect one of the more dynamic newer acts to hit the scene. Their debut album Change shows that.

With Change, the band has tried to symbolize the problems and solutions in our current state of the world. Each song hones in on subjects fraught but true with society (like police brutality and capitalistic slavery), meant to spark internal and external debate and reflection through music. The Complex Dialect contend their intention is to hearten the dispirited, stating that "We look for non-conventional solutions to conventional problems. We strive to be the change we want to see in the world."

Feel the change and listen to one of the album's tracks "Look For A Friend For The End Of The World" below.

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