Music » Music Stories & Interviews

Dispatches from SXSW 2016 - Thursday, March 17

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Chairlift - FACEBOOK
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Chairlift played at YouTube Music at the Coppertank, a place with thankfully great air conditioning considering the carefully curated close quarters (I finally got into that one building that always has that line around the block! Six SXSWs and I finally get to see what's inside the building … it's another bar, but the drinks were free, so yay?) YouTube has a separate app for music, appropriately titled YouTube Music. This is not their separate pay app, YouTube Red, that can play over the other apps on one's phone. No, this one plays music continuously and creates playlists and other things an algorithm will do to supplant the radio. It also looks cool when playing on multiple touchscreen televisions, but I doubt I could recreate such an experience on my already obsolete but still pretty cool (never offend your phone, it hears these things and that's when they start to act up on you) Motorola Nexus 6.


Chairlift's 9:30pm set reminds me why this group is a secret big deal. Many SouthBys ago, steampunk big band leader Darcy James Argue told me to check them out. He knows the saxophonist, because weirdo awesome steampunk big band leaders based in Brooklyn would know the saxophonist for the very legit synthpop act. They're legit because this is a synthpop sound with a bit more musicality to it. They have a cool little draw that they've been building for a few years now to continually explore their ever-present depth. They can explore the breakdowns in their songs because they're kind of equipped to do so, unlike most other bands in this genre, or even composed like this. They're new material from earlier this year is just as grooving as their past releases and the crowd of music badgeholders responded accordingly. They can make turns that sound almost like Busta Rhymes' "Lay Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See." Then make bridges that evoke "damn" upon reflex. They're the band that may make you dance more than any other time all day, though free old fashioneds, sponsored by the YouTube Music app, help.



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