Last year, we brought a lineup of musicians to Portland that spanned genres — indie electronica, rap-rock mashups, singer-songwriter folk and nerdcore hip-hop. Their music was eclectic, but they all used the Internet to build their careers independently, without sacrificing creative or financial control over their work.
Today, we couldn’t be more excited to share this year’s XOXO Music lineup, four indie artists at the intersection of art and tech.
Since the mid-1990s, Toronto singer-songwriter Jim Guthrie became a staple of the Canadian indie rock scene, releasing a dozen solo albums and performing as a member of Islands, Royal City and Human Highway. His recent career led him to the indie game scene, scoring the soundtracks to the Sundance Award-winning Indie Game: The Movie, and the IGF Award-winning Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.
Earlier this year, Guthrie released Takes Time, his first solo album in a decade, which was met with critical acclaim and longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. Jim Guthrie will be performing with his six-member band.
Jonathan Coulton quit his day job as a software developer in 2005 to become a full-time musician, starting with a risky experiment to record a new song every week for a year. The result, Thing A Week, launched his independent career. He’s responsible for some of geek culture’s greatest anthems — “Code Monkey”, “Re: Your Brains”, and the closing themes for Portal and Portal 2. His most recent album, Artificial Heart, reached #1 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers Chart followed by an extensive tour with They Might Be Giants.
This year, Coulton was embroiled in controversy when the producers of Glee borrowed his “Baby Got Back” arrangement wholesale for the show without attribution. In April, Coulton collaborated with writer and filmmaker Greg Pak for the enormously successful Code Monkey Save World, a graphic novel based on his song lyrics, which raised $340,000 on Kickstarter in April.
Jonathan Coulton will perform with his band at XOXO Music, in addition to speaking at the conference on Saturday.
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and filmmaker Jack Conte may be best known as one-half of Pomplamoose, the indie-pop duo that racked up over 80 million views for their “VideoSongs” on YouTube — videos that show every step of the recording process without lip-syncing or dubs.
As a solo artist, Conte’s released five albums that fuse electronic, dance and pop. His most recent EP’s out now on Patreon, the new funding platform he co-founded for independent artists like him, who release material online frequently for free. Conte will perform solo, and speak about his projects at the conference on Sunday.
Anamanaguchi is bringing chiptunes to the mainstream, making emotional punk, pop and dance music using hacked Nintendos and Game Boys alongside a full band. The NYC-based “hacker boy band” built their career releasing songs and remixes online for free, which led to scoring the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World game soundtrack and appearances on the Rock Band and bit.trip.runner soundtracks.
In May, Anamanaguchi started a Kickstarter project to self-release Endless Fantasy, their second album. They blew past their $50,000 goal, raising over $277,000 from 7,253 fans, the third most-funded music project in Kickstarter history. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, leading to an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in June. Prepare to dance your 8-bit asses off.