SXSW Backbeat: Mayer Hawthorne Previews New Album, Parquet Courts, Big Freedia Close Out the Week

L-R: Found Magazine's Davy Rothbart and Mayer Hawthorne in Austin

On Saturday, Austin's W Hotel, Nylon, and dF hosted a listening party and brunch on the terrace for soul crooner Mayer Hawthorne's forthcoming, as-yet-untitled album due sometime this summer. Red Touch Media was also on-hand in their Music Lounge to dispense free music and movie downloads and giveaways of Gibson guitars.

Hawthorne, whose real name is Andrew Cohen, introduced a few songs produced by Pharrell and rising R&B producer Oak, who has also worked with Chris Brown, Lloyd, and Kelly Rowland. "This is the first record I didn't produce by myself," Cohen said. "Working with all these great producers made me a better producer."


On the terrace at the W Hotel

He continued, "Originally, I worked with someone who asked me to scrap all the 7th chords on the album, which for all you non-music folks is what gives it that jazzy sound. So I stopped working with him and put 7th chords in all my songs."

Also in attendance was filmmaker and Found Magazine founder Davy Rothbart, who grew up with Cohen in Ann Arbor. He ventured to say that the material on many of Hawthorne's new songs, which seemed to center on his high school experiences, were probably true. "Drew wears his heart on his sleeve," he said. "He and [manager Jackson Perry] definitely have some wild stories from those days."


Parquet Courts rock Red 7

After the food coma wore off a few hours later, it was time to head over to the Relapse Records/Chaos in Tejas party at Red 7, with a diverse lineup including Big Freedia, Florida punk revivalists Merchandise, and Brooklyn's Parquet Courts. For most, it was a welcome last show of the festival.

"This was really hard," Parquet Courts vocalist and guitarist Andrew Savage confessed after their set. "It was our fourth show today, and we literally ran here on foot from our last one." And it wasn't over yet: before he stepped out for some fresh air, Savage said he and his band were headed to Dallas the next day before bringing their bracing punk rock to London.