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Kemado's Lone-Star Invasion

South by Southwest, Austin, Texas, March 16-20.

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Kemado Records, a downtown label with a stable of intimidatingly hip New York acts, blew through Austin, Texas, last week and burned a New York brand on the weeklong South by Southwest festival, that celebrated sound-and-technology showcase for all things indie. The Kemado bands in attendance included the flashy rock band Diamond Nights, the super-trendy art-rock outfit Lansing-Dreiden, the messy screamers of Cheeseburger, and the haunting orchestral trio Tarantula. (Their labelmates in one of New York’s better-loved live acts, the Fever, were busy rehearsing for a tour and a new release.) The Kemado kids played to packed houses in Austin’s underground clubs, and Diamond Nights, the most promising of the bunch, were invited to play additional shows over the weekend. But the pièce de résistance for Kemado promoters was the party for the festival’s final night that they threw in conjunction with Vice Records: Three Kemado bands shared the stage with revered indie acts Bloc Party and the Go! Team. Celebrity attendees included Elijah Wood and Jared Leto. The bash peaked in a near riot as impatient would-be revelers tried to crash through the flimsy entrance gates. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the way Kemado intended to make a scene, but as cred-building, it couldn’t be beat.

Other SXSW Standouts:

Brooklyn’s own folk dynamo Langhorne Slim (Narnack) . . . alt-country Texan Micah P. Hinson (Overcoat) . . . Seattle’s joyous dance outfit U.S.E. (Sonic Boom) . . . Leeds’s Clash-like Kaiser Chiefs (Universal) . . . stoner instrumental act Dead Meadow (Matador) . . . electronica eccentrics Of Montreal (Polyvinyl) . . . Oslo’s confrontational postpunk duo Bonk (Racing Junior) . . . popmeisters the Magic Numbers (Heavenly).
—Jada Yuan


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