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SXSW Music Face-Off MP3s Round 1: School of Seven Bells vs. Monokino

SXSW Music Face-Off MP3s Round 1: School of Seven Bells vs. Monokino

Okay, SXSW starts Friday, and the music portion of the event begins next Wednesday. The other day, a friend asked which bands I was excited to check out, and my response was… “I dunno.” I’ve been so spoiled by working at SXSW, that I knew immediately the handful of acts worth checking out. When you work in the offices, you get a daily preview of which artists are the ones to track. Now that I’m attending as a civilian, I’m gonna have to slice and dice the schedule like the masses. So, to help preview some of the artists play the fest as well as explore some of the scheduling conflicts, I’m gonna start a daily installment of the SXSW Music Face-Off. There are nearly 2,000 artists performing at SXSW, in over 50 venues throughout only five nights. How do you decide who to see? Thankfully, the SXSW Web site helps you out with samples of songs by the up-and-coming artists. For the first round of the SXSW Music Face-Off, let’s examine Wednesday, March 18, at 12:00 a.m.

In this corner, we have School of Seven Bells, a Brooklyn trio comprised of members from Secret Machines and On Air! Library. The band plays in this slot, at Buffalo Billiards on 6th Street (home to many legendary SXSW shows, see: Fraz Ferdinand and The Go! Team). Check out an MP3 of their song “Half Asleep.” It floats, it rollicks, it’s catchy. It’s tempting. Now, in the other corner, for the same March 18 slot, we have Monokino, a Dutch/Chinese trio that blends Depeche Mode synths with more streamlined dance-pop and vocals that recall Placebo. They’re playing, at the same time, over at Elysium (a good several blocks walk from Buffalo Billiards). Check out an MP3 of their song “New Kid.” And, now you see, two different acts that both sound pretty good. Decisions, decisions…

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