This week has been a short reprieve on the listening front over at Operation Every Band as the team just finished off with the bands from the second batch of announced showcases. I’m hoping SXSW Music will launch the third and largest band list in the near future, but until then I’m taking a chance to listen back and reflect on some trends in the rock, folk and pop categories.
The folk-rock genre continues to be one of the strongest and most well-represented groupings at SXSW, with many acts taking on the quiet and rambunctious corners of the field. In terms of pop music, artists have generally gotten more dark and experimental with their sound. Even Charlotte Church, an artist who once lived in the widest range of appeal, is now exploring introverted, grey ballads. The futuristic take on R&B that Frank Ocean has so well captured is also an important tenet of 2013, infiltrating the sound of so many young, experimental artists. The last observation is the growing number of bands fronted by female artists, best represented by recent BBC darlings Haim.
These early trends are normally not only an indication of what we’ll be hearing at SXSW, but also the music community in 2013 in general. I’ll be sure to keep a close ear as the project continues – we still don’t at least half the artists who will be showcasing down in Austin.