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SXSW 2014 Wrap-up: 5 Favorite Acts

Photo: Photos by Jaime Monzon, License: N/A

Photos by Jaime Monzon

Perfect Pussy

Photo: , License: N/A

Sun Kil Moon

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Parquet Courts

Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon)
Anyone who says rock ‘n’ roll is a young man’s game is a fool, or hasn’t listened to Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon. The 47-year-old singer has amassed a grueling history of personal loss and sexual past, all of which he draws upon in his work. Experiencing Benji, Mark’s sixth and best album as Sun Kil Moon, is a compelling and tearful experience. Though the specter of death looms on each track, the aggregate result ends up more cathartic than ominous. Benji finds Kozelek making sense of the violence and death in life, observing the beauty in each vivid detail.

Perfect Pussy
Each year at SXSW, there’s an act that wins the unofficial workhorse award, hustling their gear from venue to venue all week for gigs from secret shows to SXSW showcases. In 2014, Perfect Pussy won the prize, with no close contenders. On Friday evening, at the band’s show on a bridge over Ladybird Lake, the bassist threw his four-string into the water’s depths, either sick of his SXSW fate or because it was the most punk thing he possibly could have done.

Decibels above any other set we’d seen this week, it took all of one blisteringly fast song at their Saturday set to blow the speakers. It’s brutally loud, violently fast hardcore in the league of ’80s D.C. punk and LA’s SST label. Frontwoman Meredith Graves transformed from a polite punk to a vicious aura of positive energy as soon as the blast beats began. Though the language is unintelligible, when referenced on the internet, it’s quite strong and quite brilliant. On their recordings and in a live setting, Perfect Pussy attests to the power of five musicians giving their all to their art.

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