Unofficial Guide to South By Southwest 2015 has ended
Unfortunately, we won’t be offering a 2016 guide. Please use Do512 + Official SXSW

11,217 official + unofficial events during SXSW
(last updated March 23, 2015). Our goal is to be the most complete guide. Anything missing?
Official details at sxsw.com. South by Southwest, SXSW, and related marks and logos are trademarks of SXSW, LLC., used with permission. Follow @sched + @SouthByFreeNOMS

avatar for Young Statues

Young Statues

Young Statues are what occurs when the right elements combine to create a naturally occurring chemical reaction. For lead singer and songwriter Carmen Cirignano, those elements include friends, chance encounters and turning life’s unexpected turns into an intimate sound that is equally inviting to all those who hear it.

Their story began in the winter of 2010 when Cirignano and a group of friends holed up inside of the Chase Park Transduction Studio in Athens, Georgia amidst an impromptu road trip. At the time, it wasn’t entirely obvious that Cirignano’s travels would inspire something permanent and meaningful in the long run, but upon returning home, the promise he heard in those songs led to the assembly of Young Statues with lifetime friends throughout the Philadelphia music scene in bassist Tom Ryan and drummer Daniel Bogan. Together, they would loyally bare the finger prints of these sessions through introspective lyrics entwined around earnest indie rock when they released their eponymous debut in 2011. Guitarist Matt Weber would join the group on 2013’s Ace Enders-produced Age Isn’t Ours EP, this time maturing their style into sophisticated indie-pop that spoke well beyond their years.

Four years after that chance journey to Athens changed everything, Young Statues have returned to Chase Park Transduction Studio to record their sophomore full-length, The Flatlands Are Your Friend. This time, they entered it with a plan to challenge themselves as artists more so than ever before. “Part of the motivation behind coming down here to do this is that we had nothing else to focus on while we were here. There aren’t any distractions," says Cirignano.

The result of this self-imposed solitude is a stunning duality in which the band expand on their roaring intricacies and have made their richest collection of music yet. Andy LeMaster, a name synonymous with recording classics from Saddle Creek Records, alongside Athens scene studio staple Drew Vandenberg, worked with the four-piece to develop their best performances. A bare bones assembly of instruments recorded with all bodies in the same room were tracked and mixed to tape, leaving the album free of unnatural production tricks and gimmicks. You would not be able to guess it in the way keyboards swell, cymbals crash or how Cirignano’s vocals dim seamlessly into the dark textured instruments, complimentary to the lyrical themes throughout.

Allusions to the dark side of American life in modern times permeate the record's core until its last breath. Album opener "Natives" spirals out of sync with gravity through spindling fingerpicks and a wash of atmospheric synthesizers mimicking the path toward self-destruction filled with hopeless figures and the weight of the world sinking you deeper into the void. "Run The River Dry" is a guitar-driven battle between life and death circling around the drain cycle of drug abuse. It leads into the lush composures of "Don't Fight The Mirage" and the haunting epic "Got The Knife," which concludes with an anthemic tale of "the personal barriers that can strangle the life out of a relationship as we struggle to toe the line in compromise." "Further Away" is both a lavish and brooding love song featuring beautifully arranged synthesizers and keyboards until the band collectively cracks the night sky wide open.

Throughout it’s entirety, the album seems to be cleansing one’s self of their past ghosts. "The flag we wave has burnt away," sings Cirignano on "Flatlands Pt. 2", a reference to how everything we do defines who we are and fabricates the metaphorical flag we wave. In this moment, the demons are exorcised through the crack of a lighter meeting the open air and sparking a flame that catches the flag’s corner. Life begins anew, just as Young Statues do as artists through their dark prism catharsis, The Flatlands Are Your Friend.

My Bands Sessions

Friday, March 20



Saturday, March 21