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SXSW 2018 - 5 standout performances by NYC artists

No surprise, SXSW 2018 was busy. With over 2000 acts from 63 countries performing this year, Austin was jam-packed with industry professionals and music fans all week. Downtown was a human ocean in the wee hours, the crowds were rowdy at venues like Dirty Dog and tamer at the Central Presbyterian Church. I waited in line for many of our favorite NYC artists at venues that were filled to capacity hours before they were meant to go on (I'm looking at you, Anna McClellan). Here's a short recap of my favorite performances from this year's SXSW. 

Beshken's Ben Shirken adeptly took us far away from the noise of 6th street and into an ethereal world of eclectic dance music with a nifty setup and bassist/guitarist Ian White at Burnside's Tavern on Wednesday. 

Jukebox the Ghost is currently based out of NYC recording their fifth album Off To The Races at Studio G in Brooklyn. The band put on a stunning show at the StubHub Stage on Wednesday night, playing old songs such as "Girl" and "Somebody," and also debuting "Fred Astaire" and "Everybody's Lonely," two singles from their upcoming record. Their final song of the night was a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" that had everyone, sober and not-so-sober, singing along every word.

Soccer Mommy played songs from her acclaimed new album Clean in a great set at Cheer Up Charlie's on Friday, followed later that night at the same venue by Brooklyn's Topaz Jones, whose soulful, crowd-pleasing performance had us laughing and dancing alike. "Has anyone seen Stranger Things?" he asked, introducing his 2016 song "Winona."

Finally, my absolute favorite performance of this year's SXSW was Kitten's at Mohawk Outdoor (pictured above). Originally from LA, the band recently moved to NYC and enrolled local musicians BITS (Blu and Rex Detiger) in the live lineup. Kitten's frontwoman Chloe Chaidez was a delight to watch: an unusual burst of energy and incredibly agile gymnast, all without missing a note or a beat. She finished out the night with a 20-foot jump (more or less) into the audience and then sitting down at the drum kit, completely nailing the rhythm section of the last song and taking us all by surprise. -Geena Kloeppel

The 7 Best Electronic Records of 2017 by Emerging NYC Artists

With an appreciation for the jubilance of pop music and the willingness to explore new sounds that NYC is known for, in 2014 the city’s electronic musicians created music that could soundtrack all-night dance parties or pensive nights alone. Beshken captured that contrast best on For Time Is The Longest Distance Between Two People. The album migrates between spacious, simmering instrumental sections and buoyant, pulsing rave-ups. Overcoats played more heavily on thumping, dance-floor anthems with their debut album YOUNG, but lyrically the duo looked further than the party scene. Overcoats’ portrait of inner emotional struggles rivals the tact of many veteran pop songwriters. The electronic genre also took influence from the indie rock world. Guerilla Toss, featured on our cover this past fall, released GT Ultra, a mish-mash of post-punk, psychedelia, and electronica that’s near impossible to accurately categorize. Covering stuttering electronica in a dream pop-inspired haze, Blood CulturesHappy Birthday balanced the danceable with the moody. Perhaps not quite fitting into the electronic realm, Sneaks made a post-punky sophomore album using almost only a drum machine, bass guitar, and vocals to craft the expertly concise and individual It’s a Myth. To be fair, that album came out before Sneak’s Eva Moolchan moved to NYC, but since the band’s relocation we’ve proudly embraced them as our own. Belonging to the Electronic realm are also two NYC records we recently blogged about: Torres' dark and mysterious Three Futures and Standing on the Corner's avant-hip hop masterpiece, and recent Deli NYC Record of the Month, Red Burns. - Cameron Carr

Beshken releases “Force of Evil” music video

Beshken’s inventive chill wave-esque melodies on “Force of Evil” show off a virtuoso kind of buoyancy that can be felt in every stutter step backbeat. “Faceless,” his 2016 track with 20-year-old singer Gus Dapperton, might be even better. There’s a lightness and poignancy to Beshken’s arrangements that gels thrillingly with Dapperton’s dreamy vocals. -juan leon


Beshken's lush indie-influenced electronica

Last summer, 20 year old Ben Shirken lost his backpack in Rome — resulting in the loss of his laptop, hard drive, and lyrics he was working on. After roughly five years of inspiration, he had nothing to show for his work (there's a big ad for cloud backup  systems!). That’s when the jazz-guitarist-turned-producer began a new project, the For Time is the Longest Distance Between Two People EP (created under the stage name Beshken.) Single“Lightning By the Sea” (streaming below) is a dance-oriented ode to regrowth set to the beat of Beshken’s organic-sounding electronica. The full EP is scheduled to be released in later in the year. - Lilly Milman

We added this song to The Deli's playlist of Best electronic songs by emerging NYC artists - check it out!


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