SXSW 2009: Let’s hear it for the ladies in the house

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As it happens, in addition to An Horse and the She Creatures, many of my favorite discoveries at SXSW 2009 have had a strong female presence. Here are some more I’ve yet to mention.

* Yelle

This French singer, a.k.a. Julie Budet, made her debut in 2007 with the “Pop Up” album (only issued in the U.S. last year), but she’s best appreciated live, where the infectious energy of her electronic dance-pop is simply undeniable. Not for nothing is her stage name a feminized version of the acronym for “You Enjoy Life.”

* St. Vincent

In a not dissimilar vein but hailing from Dallas and a bit more cinematic in scope, Annie Clark isn’t quite as impressive live as she is on album, including the new “Actor.” But this former member of the Polyphonic Spree is nonetheless an indie chanteuse to watch.

* Suzanna Choffel

Hard-to-pigeonhole singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen in Austin, but Choffel, a big winner at the local music awards Wednesday, impressed me more than any I’ve heard here with a unique sound equal parts Beat poetry, smoky soul grooves and indie-pop eccentricity. Think Feist meets Erykah Badu, with a hint of Tex-Mex seasoning.


* The Vivian Girls

This Brooklyn trio’s self-titled debut was one of my favorite records of 2008, and if their live show is a bit, um, unpolished, that only makes the aggression and unstoppable D.I.Y. attitude all the more inspiring. The Vivian Girls are one of the most anticipated acts performing at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.


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