SXSW Preview: Black Books

Published on November 10th, 2011

SXSW recently announced the first round of bands scheduled to perform during the 6 day music extravaganza. Among them are national acts including: Against Me, Thee Oh Sees and FEAR and also great local acts like: The Black and White Years, Marmalakes, My Education, Not in the Face, Speak, Love Inks and Black Books. For the full list of confirmed bands, check the SXSW website here. After seeing this list, I’m already starting to catch the South By fever and can’t wait ’til those fated days surrounding the Ides of March arrive. Last South by we were definitely blown away by performances from TV on the Radio, Odd Future and others from the selection of 2000+ bands that played at 90+ venues. But a crucial nugget of wisdom I gleaned from last year’s South By is that, to get the most out of the fest, you should do a little pre-planning and RSVPing to catch the bands you really want to see. We’ll be providing you full coverage during the fest and will try to keep you as up-to-date as possible through the Twitterverse. Also, we here at Ovrld want to let you know early which local bands you should check out during SXSW 2012.  Leading up to the festival, we’ll be previewing local acts that are guaranteed to rock your socks off. One band that has already secured  a position on my master 2012 SXSW planning spreadsheet is Black Books.

Playing self-described garage magic, the quintet creates epic soundscapes accompanied by reverbed vocals. Starting from the first notes off their debut EP An Introduction To… I was drawn in by their dreamy pop. The slow buildup of the lead song “The Big Idea” explodes into a synthesizer-infused chorus in which the lead singer bellows the lyrics “You can have anything you want” to perhaps a former significant other. Comparisons have been drawn to Sparklehorse, Grandaddy and other southern rock influenced dream pop outfits like My Morning Jacket, and I can definitely hear the similarities, but Black Books stand out on their own because of their excellent guitar work and instrumental balance. Check out “The Big Idea” below to hear a sample of their cinematic sound.

The quintet is currently working on their full length which is slotted for release this month. We’ll keep you guys informed about this and preview any tracks we can for you. To listen to more Black Books check out their Bandcamp page. You can download An Introduction To… for 4 dollars or grab up the awesomely green vinyl of the EP. Also, if you can’t wait until South By, catch them at the Hole In The Wall on November 19th for a show that will fill the tiny dive bar with huge soundscapes.

- Dan

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