Around the Web: The sounds of South by Southwest, Part 3

Salon Staff
March 18, 2006 5:15AM (UTC)

Whatever it might seem, SXSW isn't only about indie rock. Today we highlight some hopefuls who stray beyond the white-boys-with-guitars template:

Radiohead meets hip-hop is a pretty lazy-sounding description, but one that's actually apt for the music of Texan DJ Jester the Filipino Fist. "Oh God Kill Me" is a song made up of slow-building guitars layered upon scratches and surreal voice-mail message samples to form an inventive, haunting mash-up of rock and hip-hop of the kind last heard on DJ Shadow's first album.


Spank Rock breaks the unwritten rule of underground hip-hop: While mainstream rappers may be entertaining and charismatic personalities (see Ludacris), left-field artists should be serious musicians whose lyrical content reflects a youth spent digging through dusty record crates rather than partying hard. "Sweet Talk" is a lewd, rude call to the dance floor that boasts both ingenious production and a ferocious sense of fun.

While British rock acts from the Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys have a tradition of being embraced by American audiences, it's a different story altogether for hip-hop. Still, if anyone is going to break through the glass ceiling of rap, it might be a young rapper from London called Sway. After building a reputation through homemade tapes and the underground circuit, the rapper won the MOBO (music of black origin) award for best hip-hop act while still unsigned. His debut "This Is My Demo" has just been released, and this cut, "Little Derek," incorporates such unique elements as pigeon noises and a harpsichord into a lovely, summery blast of U.K. g-funk.

Seven-piece Australian electronic outfit Decoder Ring have apparently won awards for their film scores -- not hard to imagine after hearing "Fractions," which sounds like it should accompany a euphoric late-night taxi ride through the neon-lit streets of Sydney in some antipodean remake of "Lost in Translation."

Brooklyn laptop rapper MC Lars is so nose-bleedingly current that he's invented his own social subset. If this track is to be believed, being a member of the "iGeneration" involves doing some primitive, old-school rapping about the Internet over cheap and cheerful hip-hop beats.

-- Matt Glazebrook


Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff


Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •