12 Breakthrough Austin Bands at SXSW Music


This fuzzy rock fourpiece is the first to admit – they’re better live

Photo by John Anderson

12 Breakthrough Austin Bands at SXSW Music

Make sure the first time you listen to Dryspell is live.

"The songs are all written how they would be played live," explains singer Hunter Thompson. "It makes our recordings suffer, but our live show better."

"It's a good thing we play all the time," chuckles bassist Sam Jacobson.

The local fourpiece, comprised of Thompson, Jacobson, Chad Doriocourt on guitar, and Hugh Vu on drums, began as the frontman's vehicle for unearthing demos buried idly in his mind. After meeting at an EP release for Thompson's previous project, Comforter, they decided to throw in together and fuzzy rock tunes ensued. Last year's Financer EP emits post-punk groove over catchy guitar hooks pushed along by Vu's drum pulses and rounded out by Thompson's rugged vocals.

Latest EP More, released March 1 and recorded to tape, retains Dyspell's foundational elements but floats in simpler, more wistful waters.

"Let the record show this EP is not that new," chuckles Thompson. "We wrote it three years ago, recorded it two and a half years ago, then shelved it primarily because I wasn't that into it. There's qualities to the songs I think are nice and I enjoy memories of writing them and playing them, but the whole process of recording them was low budget. It was the cheapest option, our friend Daniel McNeil recorded it, and we've played them live the same way ever since."

While Thompson takes songwriting duties on this project, his day job remains building up Kentucky rockers White Reaper.

While Thompson takes songwriting duties on this project, his day job remains building up Kentucky rockers White Reaper. The rest of the band maintains other projects as well. Doriocourt and Jacobson occupy synthy-beach rocker Tamarron, and Vu lives in playful rock trio Loafer.

"We all write songs very differently, we all play songs very differently, we're all influenced very differently," says Vu. "It's actually really cool to be in these projects where you get to hear someone who's the driving force behind the songs. They think about things in a totally new way and force you to have a new perspective on how you're playing things."

"All of us just really like playing music," bottom-lines Thompson.

"With each other!" quips Doriocourt.


SXSW showcase: Sat. 17, Sidewinder inside, 1am

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SXSW Music 2018, Dryspell, Hunter Thompson, Sam Jacobson, Chad Doriocourt, Hugh Vu, Financer, Tamarron, White Reaper, Loafer

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