It's not easy these days for bands on the indie or alternative circuit to distinguish themselves. There's a lot of homogeneity on the scene, so any unique sonic characteristic is an automatic bonus for a band in these genres. X Ambassadors
have a clean, approachable sound that's relatable, but just different enough to sound fresh. Their stripped down electronic percussion paired with the pop appeal of their vocals makes for a pleasant listening experience.
The obvious parallel is Imagine Dragons
. Both bands have that dense, stadium sensibility and a unique emphasis on the percussive element of the music. This is no coincidence, however; Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons, discovered X Ambassadors when they were sans X, and after urging Interscope Records to sign them, co-wrote their track "Stranger." Now with two major-label EP's under their belts - Love Songs Drug Songs
and The Reason
- they've become kind of a big deal. From video game features to a spot in the credits of Dwayne Johnson's Hercules
, their music has been commercially and critically successful.
"Unconsolable" (above) and "Love Songs Drug Songs," off of their first EP, are both energetic, soulful tracks that really sum up what these guys are all about. Lead singer Sam Harris' silky smooth vocals grab your attention and never let go, captivating with lines like, "Play dead, roll over/Stinkin' like sex in a Range Rover." Their latest is 2015's "Renegades" (below) preceded by "Jungle" ( also below) a track they created collaboratively with Jamie N Commons
X Ambassadors will return to Austin this year for their second time as official SXSW artists. "I can only imagine how awesome it is to attend SXSW as a fan, and not as a band. For musicians, its a fucking nightmare, but it can also be totally exhilarating," though it's their second official SXSW appearance, they've shown up to play gigs unofficially in the past, also, it's a lot easier to handle if you can accept that none of your shows will be what you expect. You gotta just grab on and hold on for dear life." They'll be rocking at the sold out Baeble Music Day Party
this Friday. If you didn't secure a spot at the show, fear not; you can still win VIP access HERE
Baeble Music: What has your worst experience at SXSW been?
X Ambassadors: Last time we were there, not only did I get sick and have to cancel a bunch of our shows, but we also had a couple real disastrous gigs. One of them, we blew out the power in the f@&*ing building and couldn't play. They all blur together though, and they all have their highs and lows.
What has your best experience at SXSW been?
Last year, as frustrating as it was that I got sick, was probably the best. We played a show at IFC with Brett Daniels from Spoon, who's a hero of mine. We saw some great acts too—Kendrick, Haim, etc. But I think this year is gonna top them ALL.
Who are you most excited to see play this year?
Honestly, I have no idea who's coming, except our friends bands. I'm stoked to see The Knocks play, Alex Winston. I hope I get to see some people like Seinabo Sey and Kwabs, but I have no clue if they're coming or not.
Is there a place to visit, a food to eat, or a thing to do in Austin (besides the music) that youre really excited for?
Uhh, do laundry, smoke weed, and eat BBQ. Haha.
Pick up The Reason
, the latest EP from X Ambassadors, on iTunes