SXSW is almost coming to a close, but the music doesn’t have to stop here. We put together a list of records you can buy from the VMP store now to take home select sounds from the many, many artists performing at the festival this week. Read below to learn more and shop the full collection of SXSW-related titles here.
Debuts, Old and New
Foyer Red and mui zyu both released their debut albums, Yarn the Hours Away and Rotten Bun For An Eggless Century, early this year. Foyer Red is an art rock outfit from New York — including singer/clarinetist Elana Riordan, drummer Marco Ocampo, singer/guitarist Mitch Myers, guitarist Kristina Moore and bassist Eric Jaso — and mui zyu is the project of Chinese-British artist Eva Liu.
Although they came out before 2023, these two debuts are still available in the VMP store: singer-songwriter and cartoonist Joanna Sternberg’s Then I Try Some More and Louisiana folk artist Renée Reed’s self-titled album.
Lastly, bringing back a debut record that was the VMP Hip-Hop Record of the Month in July 2018, you can still get a copy of Open Mike Eagle’s Unapologetic Art Rap. In an interview with VMP at the time of the release, the rapper reflected on his debut and his mindset, saying, “Making psychological mountains for myself to climb… not really into that,” Eagle says. “A clutter of my own making… it’s not my hang.”
Plus One Debut of Sorts
Bartees Strange released Farm to Table in 2022, his debut album on 4AD, making him labelmates with his heroes The National (Strange’s first release was a National covers EP called Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy). Learn more about the record in our review, and get to know Bartees in this interview with VMP; read it to hear about everything from his DIY perspective to his wildest ambitions, in his own words.
Far From Sophomore Slumps
On Neon Blue, Hedley explores early 1990s country with a modern flare, departing from the ’50s and ’60s feel of his debut. In a press release, Hedley explained, “There was a hard fork around 1996 or ‘97, when country veered off into pop territory. Neon Blue asks, 'What if that fork never happened? What if country kept on sounding like country?'”
Barbara is a record filled with love and loss. In an interview with VMP, Barrie explained, “I was very wary of feeling disingenuous and talking about vulnerability and making sure that it didn’t feel like I was just using [my situation]. I was afraid of sacrificing privacy … the currency of offering up little tidbits about your life in music.” (Read the full interview for more insight on how she navigated that balance.)
Good Things Come in Threes
Coincidentally, the majority of the albums in this SXSW-related collection are third studio albums: R&B rising star Baby Rose’s Through and Through, Austin-native musician Carson McHone’s Still Life, electronic duo Overcoats’ Winner, indie darling Indigo De Souza’s All of This Will End and folk-pop singer-songwriter Esther Rose’s How Many Times. (Learn more about Rose in her 2021 interview with VMP here.)
…And to Those Who Wait
Two bands performing at SXSW this year, Divino Niño and The Deslondes, made fans wait three and five years (respectively) for their latest albums, but it was definitely worth it. You can still get a copy of Divino Niño’s Last Spa on Earth and The Deslondes’ Ways and Means now.
In an interview with VMP late last year, Divino Niño explained the title for their fourth album: “‘We were in a Wisconsin cabin in the middle of the pandemic … it was so cold and snowing the whole time,’ recalls vocalist/guitarist Camilo Medina. They were ‘drinking and making music until 4 a.m.’ every day, he says, ‘Then JV started playing some spa-like keyboards … and Guillermo blurted out, “The last spa on Earth.” It felt so apocalyptic what we were experiencing in that cabin, like the last moment.’”
Shop the full SXSW-related collection here.