SXSW Band To Watch: Mothers

Ahead of South By Southwest, Stereogum is highlighting a handful of our Band To Watch alumni who will be at this year’s festival. If you’re in Austin this week, now’s your chance to actually watch some Bands To Watch.

Mothers’ metaphorical mantelpiece got crowded quickly with laurels from us last year. After just two songs we named them a best new band and a BTW, and those first two tracks landed on best songs of the week.

Their debut single “No Crying In Baseball” sounded nothing like anything on their eventual debut full-length When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired, but it hinted at a mastery of emotion and exquisite instillation of feeling through sound. It’s a song about frontwoman Kristine Leschper embracing emotional hypersensitivity in a modern climate where the feels are everywhere and easier to share with an audience than ever before. What separates Leschper and the band is the deft distillation of such an array of strong feelings.

That emotional and sensory command is thoroughly laced through When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired. The gently picked guitars and delicate strings slice open the scab on the wounded opener “Too Small For Eyes.” The mix of shoegazed and pure strokes translate a quiet confidence through confessional candidness on “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t.” The deceptively groovy lines on “Copper Mines” create dissonance with the visceral vulnerability Leschper slowly delivers. Precise changes in tempo and temperament mirror the drain of feeling intense emotions, but also the energy and verve that can come from harnessing and channeling them effectively. Combined with Leschper’s unflinchingly honest lyrical laments and revelations, it’s a body of work that approaches the complexity of what it is to be human and be aware that the only thing we know for certain is that we may know nothing at all.

Given the heartfelt emotion of their music, the poignance of their recent visuals, and Leschper’s undeniable presence on the album, Mothers should play one hell of a live show. As it turns out, there aren’t many opportunities to see them at SXSW, but one of them is our unofficial SXSW extravaganza. Their full SXSW schedule is listed below. Hop on early, you won’t regret it.

03/14 Barracuda Club (The Onion/A.V. Club) – 10pm
03/16 Urban Outfitters – 12pm
03/16 Lamberts (C3) – 4PM
03/16 Clive Bar (Culture Collide) – 9PM
03/18 Do512 Lounge – 2PM
03/18 Hole In The Wall (Stereogum) – 3:45PM
03/18 Mohawk Outdoor (Middle West) – 10PM
03/18 The Side Bar (Austin in Athens) – 5:15PM
03/19 Cheer Up Charlies (Brooklyn Vegan) 5:15PM