Thursday 24 Apr

IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Songs of the South

Songs of the South

Which Okie acts at this year’s South by Southwest are poised for greatness in the years to come? Our SXSW correspondent picks five that are alive with pleasure.

Stephen Carradini March 27th, 2013

Year three of the Oklahoma Film & Music Office’s Buffalo Lounge at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, built on past successes by adding space and a slew of new bands to its proceedings.

The Kamals
Photo: Stephen Carradini
Taking place March 12-17, the event’s switch from the single-story Friends Bar to The 512, a two-story location, allowed for two stages without too much noise interference, which is almost always a problem at SXSW.

The open-air upstairs stage had a bit of peripheral sound invasion, but even during Samantha Crain’s set of gentle folk tunes, she played it for a joke. The Shawnee native claimed that all the excess drumming had been recorded into her new album, Kid Face, and that SXSW merely was providing accompaniment that already was there.


The biggest surprise for me was Tallows, an Oklahoma City quartet playing experimental indie pop. The band combined atmospheric electronic elements, vocal melodies and intricate instrumentals into a head-turning, unique amalgam.

Tallows juxtaposes intimate, delicate arrangements with zooming, towering rock moves. “Small Talk,” which found three members tapping out melodies on their fretboards, was an especially impressive turn.


Crain’s aforementioned set was a highlight, as she played new tunes and some old favorites. Her voice was in full form, and she wowed with her dramatic, absorbing melodies.

Her ability to turn a hectic event such as SXSW into a warm, friendly space is a testament to her songwriting prowess. This is a credit to her band as well, which moved the sound along without impeding her voice. It was a thoroughly enjoyable set, as I found myself head-bobbing, toe-tapping and singing along.

Desi and Cody’s set of country, folk and even a little bit of Western swing also carved out a unique space amid the festival’s hustle and bustle. Desirae Roses’ alto vocals are engaging from the first second, as she knows how to set a mood with the tone of her voice.

The Tulsa duo’s performance was incredibly tight, making the whole set feel stately, cohesive and not at all like a slapdash SXSW set. The striking vocals, appealing instrumentals and strong collaboration between both created tunes that were among the festival’s most memorable.

Tulsa’s The Del Toros played a particularly thundering set of rock, not watering their tunes down with any adjective modifiers. They came out with heavy riffs and rode them through the entire set.

In an era where rock songs almost always drop into a softer section for the chorus, it was exciting to hear a band continue the energy and passion through the choruses. Those riffs, however, proved the highlight: two guitars and a bass melded together into one freight train of a sound.

Oklahoma City’s The Kamals also leaned heavily on riffs. Their bluesy, hard-rock sound hearkened to ’60s and ’70s rock, but this is no simple retro band.

The barely contained fury with which they attacked their instrumental sections was amazing. In the middle of one particularly loud tune, lead singer Zak Kaczka also broke out quite possibly the most intimidating harmonica solo I’ve ever heard. The heavy, thrashy sound was gripping to hear and watch live.

Hey! Read This:
• Samantha Crain’s Kid Face album review      
SXSW 2013 preview     
SXSW 2013: Bowlsey / Desi and Cody / Brave   
SXSW 2013: Guardant / The Del Toros / The Kamals / Josh Sallee   
SXSW 2013: Horse Thief / Colourmusic   
SXSW 2013: OK Sweetheart / Defining Times / Samantha Crain   
SXSW 2013: Paperscissor     
SXSW 2013: Tallows   
SXSW 2013: Zach Winters / Parker Millsap  

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