Arguably the world’s hottest spot to find music’s ‘Next Big Thing’, the world renowned SXSW music industry conference finds thousands of bands flocking to Austin, Texas each year, but attempting to catch every single artist playing a gig or showcase at the event is an impossible folly.
But try telling that to the amazingly dedicated team at Operation Every Band, whose mission statement is “to listen and review every artist” on the SXSW roster.
No easy feat to be sure, with over 2,000 artists playing multiple gigs over SXSW 2014’s 10 days of live music last March; to quote the music blog, “for anyone who cares to do the math, that’s a lot of listening and writing.”
But Operation Every Band didn’t just make it along to thousands of shows this year, they reviewed each and every one they attended, from the smallest of showcases – trying to catch 2014’s ‘next big thing’ – to the biggest, like Coldplay’s surprise Ghost Stories preview. …compiling the results of the 2,285 artists they saw (that’s an average of over 570 gigs per reviewer) into a huge A-Z ratings compendium.
All the more impressive considering Operation Every Band tackled the herculean task with a small and (obviously) super-dedicated team of four, compiling the results of the 2,285 artists they saw (that’s an average of over 570 gigs per reviewer) into a huge A-Z ratings compendium, simply called ‘The Spreadsheet‘, described as “an all-encompassing look at the SXSW roster with descriptions and micro-reviews along with our subjective rating.”
Take a look, it’s pretty inspiring. Think of it as the ultimate buzz band guide to your new favourite act.
As if all that wasn’t already worthy of a hearty round of applause, it’s not even the first time that OEB has managed this enormous task, having already had three years’ practise cataloguing SXSW’s huge roster of bands, as The Spreadsheet reveals, helping the team develop a few short rules for legitimate inclusion:.
Every artist gets a two-track minimum. Even you, John Mayer. If we like what we hear, we’ll keep going. In the spreadsheet, we’ll put three words or phrases best describing the qualities of what we’re hearing. Lastly, the reviewer will give a totally subjective rating based on one criterion – how much would I want to see this artist at SXSW? The scale is “tough” in order to keep a sense of comparison, so keep in mind that anything about a “4” is something we genuinely enjoyed.
Every artist that scores a 7/10 (“very interested… potential greatness”) or above on The Spreadsheet earns a full write-up on the OEB blog, which “is where the real heavy lifting” begins, a job that can take months.
Given that they covered nearly all of the record-breaking number of 55 Aussie acts at SXSW 2014, you can expect some Down Under love from OEB for the likes of ARIA-winning folkies Boy & Bear, ‘Riptide’ hit-maker Vance Joy, and Melbourne songbird Gossling in the future – who all scored the requisite 7 up ranking. Plus, they’ve just given a lovely plug to the AMP-winning Big Scary for their appearance at this year’s Sasquatch! Festival.
That’s right, even when they’re not presumably scoffing coffee and scurrying around Texas to catalogue SXSW, Operation Every Band also tackle the massive Sasquatch! and Coachella music festivals. Someone get this team a medal!
View Operation Every Band’s The Spreadsheet here and view their list of scores for Aussie artists below.
SXSW 2014 Australian Lineup
Angus and Julia Stone – 6/10 Popularity: 10
Boy and Bear – 10/10 Popularity: 9
Chela – 4/10 Popularity: 8
The Chevelles – 4/10 Popularity: 5
The Creases – 3/10 Popularity: 3
The Delta Riggs – 4/10 Popularity: 4
Dog Trumpet – 3/10 Popularity: 2
Dune Rats – 6/10 Poularity: 7
DZ Deathrays – 4/10 Popularity: 7
Favored Nations – 5/10 Poularity: 7
Gang of Youths – 6/10 Popularity: 2
Glass Towers – 6/10 Popularity: 6
Gossling – 8/10 Popularity: 6
The Griswolds – 7/10 Popularity: 6
The Growl – 5/10 Popularity: 4
High Tension – 2/10 Popularity: 4
The John Steel Singers – 4/10 Popularity: 5
Josef Salvat – 9/10 Popularity: 6
The Jungle Giants – 8/10 Popularity: 7
King Parrot – 2/10 Popularity: 6
Kirin J Callinan – 3/10 Popularity: 5
The Kite String Tangle – N/A
Lime Cordiale – 8/10 Popularity: 4
Mia Dyson – 8/10 Popularity: 4
Miami Horror – 6/10 Popularity: 9
Money For Rope – 4/10 Popularity: 4
Mt Warning – 8/10 Popularity: 4
Oh Mercy – 4/10 Popularity: 7
Owl Eyes – 6/10 Popularity: 7
People of Letters – 3/10 Popularity: 2
The Preatures – 8/10 Popularity: 8
Reptiles – 3/10 Popularity: 1
Thief – 5/10 Popularity: 2
Touch Sensitive – 7/10 Popularity: 7
Vance Joy – 8/10 Popularity: 9
Vancouver Sleep Clinic – 8/10 Popularity: 6
Wave Racer – 4/10 Popularity: 5
Wax Motif – 3/10 Popularity: 2
What So Not – 9/10 Popularity: 6