SXSW Showcase Artist Spotlight Series #2
While gloomy and dreamy typically don’t go so well together, Portland, Oregon’s Floating Room pieces together moody basslines and electronic elements to create an intimate soundscape perfect for quiet moments of reflection. Their debut record, Sunless, could be interpreted as a nod to their hometown in the Pacific Northwest, or as a way to unite the somber and vulnerable tracks. Floating Room’ storytelling ability is only one reason to love them. Maya Stoner and Kyle Bates piece together their stories of melancholy as well as inspiration, all set to a backdrop of experimental lo-fi gloom. My personal favorite track, “Sick Day”, is a fuzzy bedroom-pop dream with singer Kyle Bates crooning about saying too much. It is this kind of track that lets you know how special a band is: not even two minutes, this song expresses so much vulnerability and regret. “Netsuki” and “Sunroom” provide short, instrumental pauses between the heavy bass and lyrical subjects on the rest of the record. The former being a drone-heavy slowburner, while “Sunroom” is almost hypnotic, with bells and effects-heavy acoustic. While the band hasn't released much since 2016, Floating Room has performed with Strange Ranger, Helvetia, and Jay Som over the past few years. This March, they will be going on a mini tour of the West Coast with Alien Boy, stopping at our very own SXSW showcase!
Named one of Stereogum’s top 40 emerging bands of 2017, and received an overwhelmingly positive review by Pitchfork, there aren’t many bands like Club Night out there. Club Night calls the Bay Area, and particularly Oakland home, and their roots are reflected in the gritty and industrial sound of their music. Signed to Tiny Engines, Club Night released their 5-track Hell Ya last year, and is said to be working on another record to be put out soon. Each track on Hell Ya is so chaotic and hazy, yet cathartic nonetheless. Intertwining aspects of math rock, experimental, and indie punk, Club Night have created a record that completely explodes with positive energy and soaring momentum. Each member of the band is an important figure in the Oakland DIY scene, bringing experience from Radiator Hospital, CARE, Twin Steps, and Our Brother the Native together. Punchy, noisy, and endlessly dynamic, Club Night absolutely owns their weirdness and their ability to embrace their originality.
“It is traditional? Am I a fake?” Avery Springer earnestly asks on Hall Beach, one of the five tracks off of the band’s LP “Strictly Speaking”. Springer and the rest of Retirement Party somehow manages to perfectly incorporate sentiments of angst and existentialism into an otherwise bouncy and up-beat record. Having just been signed to Counter Intuitive Records (where Kississippi, Nervous Dater, Prince Daddy & the Hyena, and Strange Ranger all call home), Retirement Party is emerging as a fresh face in the DIY pop punk scene. Their debut release, Strictly Speaking runs in the same emo-infused vein as Mom Jeans and Pet Symmetry, but with their own Chicago flare. Springer also has her own solo project, Elton John Cena, where she takes all of the same levels of honesty and self-doubt and interprets them in more acoustic and slower tracks. These Midwest emo darlings are currently set to tour as support for Prince Daddy and the Hyena throughout late March, but not before making an appearance at SXSW.