Seven Local Acts to See at SXSW Music
Even the most devoted Red River slaves might not have caught Soaked yet. The local fourpiece cranks out dreamy pop-rock that can max out your volume dial, but doesn't gig around town much. And they're OK with that, since they're ready to go national.
"I see Austin like the Beatles saw Liverpool," says drummer Oskar Mead. "It's our stomping grounds, but there's a whole world out there to explore."
Their lack of notoriety doesn't mean the band hasn't been busy. Melodic guitar licks and fuzzy reverb perked the ears of Matthew Melton (Bare Wires, Warm Soda), who took them into the studio. Last year, they signed with L.A. indie brand Burger Records for debut LP Don't Wanna Wake Up Today, which dropped Feb. 17. Digital and CD release get extra backing from San Antonio-based Yippee Ki Yay just before SXSW.
Sipping beers before their album release show at Cheer Up Charlies recently, the young band of Austinites – cobbled together from former schoolmates and work colleagues – laid out big plans to capitalize on the grassroots momentum of their upcoming West Coast tour.
"There's always going to be a small audience everywhere in the world," explains vocalist Maxx Eaton. "That's my goal for the band: to go global."
If they can get bodies in the door, that'll be easy enough. Soaked's earworm guitar hooks, guided by guitarist Jimmy Minter and Mead's big-band drumming, spikes the energy as Eaton's slacker vocals simultaneously temper it. There's something familiar about the sound, influenced equally by glammed-out Seventies guitar rock and gritty Nineties grunge.
The band tackles that complicated mix of genres by recording practices, then seeing what blooms out of the mistakes. If that sounds like a fraught process, it is.
"You guys are the most opinionated band I've ever been in," confesses bassist Anthony Sonnenberg.
"We want to take what happened in the past and make it better," says Mead. "If something's been happening the same way for the past 20 years, then you know what to do and what not to do."
For their West Coast tour, which logged 12 dates before swinging back for SXSW, the band planned on employing a distinctly millennial marketing scheme: social media. Soaked planned on creating what they describe as an SNL-style promo for each city, something they hoped would preview the infectious energy they demonstrate onstage.
"It's about having fun with your friends," nods Minter. "We want the audience to feel that."