The Best Band We Saw At SXSW, Day 1: Hinds

The music portion of South by Southwest 2016 (also known as the part with fewer tech bros) takes place between Tuesday, March 15, and Sunday, March 20. Every day, we’ll name our favorite band we caught in Austin, Texas.

Before Hinds took the stage at the Hype Hotel, as part of DIY’s official showcase, a member from fellow buzz band Bleached manned the turntables, spinning The Kinks, The Ramones, and most appropriately, KISS. The last two songs she played were “Mother’s Little Helper” by The Rolling Stones and Hot Chocolate’s movie-montage classic “You Sexy Thing.” It was quite the tonal shift, going from a deeply sarcastic ode to diazepam to the light-weight soul of miraculous seduction. But it worked strangely well as an opening for Hinds, who mix genuine rock ‘n’ roll chops with a welcome, pleasing exuberance.

Hinds, comprised of vocalists-guitarists Ana Perrote and Carlotta Cosials, bassist Ade Martin, and drummer Amber Grimbergen, is a charismatic indie band from Madrid, Spain. They’ve been around since 2011 (Hinds was originally Deers, but they had to change the name because a “Canadian lawyer” representing Dears threatened a lawsuit), but took off in 2014 and 2015, with the release of catchy garage-pop singles like “Castigadas en el Granero.” Now, they’re playing approximately 47 gigs this week during SXSW, and will be soundtracking PBR barbecues throughout the summer.

They have breakout potential written all over them. Hinds’ songs are bouncy and jaunty in a way that should make fans of Beat Happening happy, with an indie shagginess that led them to call themselves the “four-way version of Mac DeMarco”). As we wrote when we highlighted the group’s new album, Leave Me Alone, “There’s a palpable urgency here.” That’s especially true live, where ponytails bob with the beat and the group’s sun-soaked mix of garage rock and lo-fi pop shines even in the dark (think Best Coast, but with more complex lyrics).

Hinds’ grooving, messy energy is infectious (“Pop is about perfection,” Cosials told the Guardian, but “we’re the opposite”); the Hype Hotel felt like an intimate affair, despite all the beer and car branding surrounding the crowd. They have the rare ability to make a large venue seem small, so be sure to catch them when you can. It’s the best party you’ll go to all year.

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