Life is Beautiful Joins FLOOD Magazine for SXSW Showcase

In Listen, Read

Hinds | Photo by Alberto van Stokkum

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We hear your cries on social media: We’ll share the 2018 festival lineup soon (or sometime before September, at least). In the meantime, we’re taking a brief dip to Austin for SXSW.

On March 14, we join FLOOD Magazine for a showcase at Cedar Street Courtyard during the annual music festival and conference. The lineup includes indie-pop outfit Sunflower Bean, husband-and-wife duo In the Valley Below, veteran DJ and producer Cut Chemist, and four-girl garage-rock group Hinds. Closing the showcase is intergalactic headlining act Dr. Octagon.

The pioneering trio of rap surrealist Kool Keith, prolific producer Dan the Automator and scratch master DJ Q-Bert dropped their highly influential debut, Dr. Octagonecologyst, in 1996. Any rapper claiming to be “different” or an “alien” owes royalties to them and their wildly imaginative journal of a murderous, time-traveling gynecologist from Jupiter. While each member went on to individual acclaim—Keith with numerous solo acts under various personas, Automator behind the boards for Gorillaz’s self-titled debut and crafting the soundscapes for Deltron 3030, and Q-Bert becoming one of the world’s most heralded turntablists—2018 marks the first time they’ll drop a new record in 22 years. The follow-up, Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation, is slated for an April 6 release. New singles “Octagon Octagon” and “Area 54” carry the same gritty and futuristic sound and bizzare babblings that we’ve yearned for these last two decades.

For something more down-to-earth, Spanish quartet Hinds will perform their playful lo-fi gems at the showcase. It’s been two years since they broke out with their debut, Leave Me Alone. Against that album title’s wishes, fans have pestered them ever since for another record. Like the much-anticipated Dr. Octagon release, Hinds’ sophomore effort comes April 6. Recent single “The Club” reveals that little has changed. They’re just as catchy, pop-y and jangly as ever, and we’re ready for it.

Cut Chemist, who performed at Life is Beautiful in 2013 with Jurassic 5, also makes his long-awaited return on wax. He recently dropped Die Cut, his first solo album since 2006’s The Audience’s Listening. The 17-track project features appearances from J5’s Chali 2na, along with rap legend Biz Markie, underground hip-hop stalwart Myka 9 and the Postal Service producer Dntel. Maybe he’ll bring some friends with him.

When indie-pop twosome In the Valley Below steps onstage, it’ll be more of an anniversary than a concert. The now-married tag team of Jeffrey Jacob Mendel and Angela Gail Mattson reportedly went to SXSW as friends in 2011 and left as something more. They’ve made beautiful music ever since—quite literally. Have a toast to their union and shake a lil’ somethin’ to their danceable jams.

Sunflower Bean may be the youngest act on the bill, but they’re far from amateurs. With a critically acclaimed EP and LP under the dreamy New York trio’s belt, they return on March 23 with Twentytwo in Blue (the members are, in fact, all 22). The record highlights the members’ growth, both personal and political, highlighted on singles “Twentytwo” and “Crisis Fest.” On the latter, singer Julia Cumming cries: Reality’s one big sick show/ Every day’s a crisis fest. Roar it with her when they perform it live.

The showcase is free to enter with RSVP or a valid SXSW badge. To register, click here.