Photo: Gavin PaulHow does that old Texas adage go? Mess with the bull, get the horns? Er rather, let’s get Lebowski here – sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. Except let’s revert to cow. Point being: You can’t catch awesome new talent everywhere you go amidst a city that turns into the musical capital of the universe for a week. These Austin SXSW lands are democratic. And that makes for thousands of bands to choose from. But sometimes, you strike out.

Not that the first two bands we stumbled upon weren’t worthy of your SONGLYRICS attention. But catching a discernible lyric in a dive bar 10 feet from a sludge-rock crew called Slurr ain’t easy. Nor from their peers, Rebelations. Riff-rock, Black Sabbath bluesy gnar. But all we got was the name of a Slurr jam, “Natural Folly,” and a line from Rebelations going angsty on about “This is not what I asked for.” The townie in front giving us pointers on the Corvette BatMobile – another story.

When we did mow on some bear, it was pretty sweet, though. As our coverage will go all week, we’re hunting off-the-official SXSW grid here for bands that set up renegade shop outside of downtown, cherry-picking the best new artists/lyricists we find. All attributes that combined into one superjam for us at a party north of the University of Texas for a circus-like gang of hearts from Gainsville, Florida, who took over a theatre space in two veggie-oil powered busses to showcase themselves and their label, Elestial Sound Records. The name of their party, naturally: Elestial Sound.

Of all the magic turn-of-phrases we found, from the Swede-pop-ish delicacies of Hundred Waters, telling bittersweet tails of “sour berries and rotten cherries” to the “suspended in space” psych-synth jams of Euglossine to the Fugees-trip-hop assaults of MSNRA meditating on “hip-hop, one love, word is born,” a mustachioed veteran by the name of Levek - aka David Levesque – had us hypnotized the most. Like a more acid-washed version of Local Natives, painted golden soul with pattering conga fills, he commanded a swirling-choral hook around the eternal sentiment: “Gotta look on the bright side.” Which, upon catching Levesque post-show, was made further rad with the revelation that it’s about a prostitute, making lemons with lemonade. Dig on the bitter-sweet opening verse, a vid from day one’s adventures, and a few shots below. Catch y’all on day two!

Walk alone, deal in night
Hungry hearts are beating back home
So these hands are not my own

Photo: Kenton Morset

Outside the 04 Lounge

Photo: Gavin Paul

The Batmobile

Photo: Gavin Paul

Slurr @ 04Lounge

Photo: Gavin Paul

Total unofficial coverage.

Photo: Gavin Paul

MSNRA @ Elestial Sound

Photo: Gavin Paul

Art instillation at Elestial Sound

Photo: Gavin Paul

Hundred Waters @ Elestial Sound

Photo: Gavin Paul

Unofficial SXSW-ers.

Photo: Gavin Paul

Levek @ Elestial Sound