Music Radar: SXSW Issue

The bands you need to see, watch, and listen to this month



Space Is Still The Place

March 10

Bright Light Social Hour has a new sound and a new outlook on its sophomore effort, Space Is Still The Place. Breaking away from their party-rock reputation, the members of BLSH explored writing and recording political-laden songs this go-around. The result is what the Austin four-piece calls “Future South.” Essentially, it’s a little bit country and a little bit rock & roll. It also reflects the new themes in their music.

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Spotify

Future South speaks to the band wanting and believing that, with global communication, the South can break away from its conservative history and become an active part of a changing world. Curtis Roush told The Huffington Post, “With our generation… we’re more dedicated to justice than any of our predecessors. The South can be a place of radical change; a role to play in pushing the political and cultural conversation of the country forward.”

Space Is Still The Place is about dreaming of what’s possible. It also serves as an escape when you need a break from the stresses of everyday life. Dive into the group’s world and imagine what could be.


Sound and Color

April 21

Holy smokes. Alabama Shakes has returned with as much power and soul on its sophomore effort, Sound and Color, as its spectacular 2012 debut, Boys and Girls. What makes Alabama Shakes so irresistible and commanding? Brittany Howard pours every ounce of her being into every single note, and the band plays with just as much palpable emotion.

Take the lead single “Don’t Wanna Fight,” which hits right in the chest the moment Brittany Howard roars, “My life / your life / don’t cross them lines.”

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Spotify

The anger, the frustration and, finally, the exhaustion radiates through, enveloping the listener in the song’s emotional turmoil.

Feel all the sounds and colors when their album drops April 21 via ATO Records.


Our Own House

Feb. 24

The synth-pop darlings of MisterWives deliver a dynamic dose of spirited anthems on debut effort Our Own House. Lead vocalist Mandy Lee sings of new beginnings on the title track, and conversely, of failing relationships on the haunting “Coffins.”

With women’s rights and equality gaining new momentum as of late, we find Lee joining in on the conversation with the anthem “Not Your Way.” Standing up for personal choice and expression, she sings,

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Spotify

“It’s not your way, not going to obey, this is my body and you don’t have a say. This is my own life, not growing up to be a trophy wife.”

Other standouts are the bombastic “Hurricane” and the trumpeting “Best I Can Do.” Get out your dancing shoes and get ready to feel the rhythm.


“Infinite Cities”

“The concept is inspired by the band’s life on the road and is shot from the perspective of drummer Joseph Mirasole, who lives with bipolar II.”

“Infinite Cities” is the lead single off Bright Light Social Hour’s sophomore release, Space Is Still The Place, out March 10.

Filmed near Lake Travis, the video shows the band stumbling upon a strange land where native dwellers greet and welcome them. The concept is inspired by the band’s life on the road and is shot from the perspective of drummer Joseph Mirasole, who lives with bipolar II. It captures the displacement the guys are prone to feeling while being far from familiar comforts and loved ones.

A dreamy, psych rock track, the single speaks to finding inner peace within oneself and feeling a sense of home with the people around you, no matter how many miles away you are from your bed.


“’Satellites’ marks the return of the comforting sounds fans know and love.”

Dreamy Danish rockers Mew resurface after a six-year hiatus with “Satellites,” the lead single off their upcoming sixth release, +- (that’s “plus, minus”).

“Satellites” marks the return of the comforting sounds fans know and love from Mew and Jonas Bjerre’s unmistakable, mystical voice. The cosmic video shows the band performing in front of glistening stage lights that look like star constellations.

If you’re just being introduced to Mew for the first time, I strongly recommend sifting through their discography before +- drops on April 24. Until then, you can catch the boys at SXSW this March.

“Ticket Home”

“’Ticket Home’ is a brooding ballad that transports listeners to another era.”

The Bones of J.R. Jones will have you feelin’ the blues. The singer’s warm, analog sound is complete with a rich, haunting voice—one you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the reserved singer.

“Ticket Home” is a brooding ballad that transports listeners to another era. Singing about the devil and redemption, Jones cries, “I swear I ain’t a criminal, just a man who needs a miracle.”

The foreboding video follows Jones as he searches for salvation while spiritual symbolism appears throughout. Think snakes, baptisms and more. If you’ve ever watched the True Blood opening, you’ll notice some parallels.


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