This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.


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Listen to Pass Away

Pomegranates are a band from Cincinnati that began as a project between two friends, Jacob Merritt and Isaac Karns, eventually growing into a four-piece with Joey Cook and, most recently, Curt Kiser. Over a span of four years, the band released four albums, which drew the attention of independent radio stations like KEXP, WOXY, and KCRW, and critical praise from the likes of the NY Times, AP, and Spin magazine for the band’s very sudden and prodigious growth in sound.

What is that sound? If the world could lean in and hear the sound of a pomegranate slowly opening up to the world, this is probably something close to what it would sound like. On songs like “Beachcomber” and “Everybody, Come Outside!,” guitars and keyboards shimmer and shine, but never in the lazy, hazy ways of so many bands today.

Jacob Merritt’s propulsive drumming keeps a nimble pace; while Joey Cook’s clear tenor and Isaac Karn’s more forceful vocals bounce off of each other atop the mix. Time signatures leap in and out and jewelled tangents appear around every corner, but the songs always retain an upbeat and compact sentiment that belongs in the same sentence with The Beach Boys, Spoon, and French Kicks, the latter two with whom the band has already toured.

Having notched off those tours, as well as further legs with Islands and Blitzen Trapper, the band recorded their third LP, One of Us, with TJ Lipple at The Monastery in Cincinnati. Having cited inspirations like Spiritualized and Talking Heads for their work so far, the band’s new “psychedelic dream rock” album looks to push further down experimental roads, with descriptors like “textured,” “unusual,” and “challenging” entering the conversation.


“The group’s grasp on the finer points of cooking up melodies and honeycombs far surpasses their years… They are songs that will challenge you, make you swoon and also make peer out longingly to the twinkling stars up above on a clear-lit night.” – Daytrotter

“A youthful, open-eared quartet enlivened with a kick-ass record collection, ceiling-less imagination, ragged guitars, and songwriting chops for days.” – Spin

It’s just about summer, so it goes without saying that you’ll be pulling out Pomegranates‘ sublimely beautiful Everybody, Come Outside! (Right? Right!). At least that’s what we’ll be doing — that album, an MOKB favorite in 2009, was shimmering, summery dream-pop at its finest, all inflatable grooves, thick, sweet melodies and juicy guitar. – My Old Kentucky Blog

“Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait,” Emerson once wrote. This scintillating band, at the wee age of four years old, has already achieved both. The third, decidedly un-trendy album by these four Cincinnati rockers is an exercise in fluidity and finds them swimming through a warm sea of contemplative heartache. Like Christopher Nolan, POMEGRANATES performs with a masterful ease, smoothly maneuvering from oversize spectacle to small-scale minimalism. It’ll reel you in with authority—and you’ll beg, “Please don’t let me go.” – Filter

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