Welcome to a new series in which we slow down the madness of festivals and spotlight one band, one lyric, one song.
Thrusting some angular, Muse-friendly guitar jabbings into an early Wednesday kick-off show for Portland-based bands, PDX natives Rags & Ribbons, playing to passersby amidst the shit-show of cacophony in the name of exposure that SXSW in Austin is, could have been an archetype, an exhibit: Indie upstarts vie for industry attention.

And for most people, they were. Which is why their song, “Abacus Kids“, taken from their first and only record The Glass Masses, was such a perfect allegory in the beginning hours of the festival. Though threaded with lyrics that probably won’t be coddled by any fellow aspiring wee post-rockers anytime soon – “how they all felt it, felt it inside/didn’t need any kind of sign” – the off-kilter harmonies and glistening keys the four-piece put behind the song gave it some take-no-prisoner character, which they then swelled with a marching drum-line into the angsty pay-off refrain, “It won’t be long to see ‘em coming up, they’re coming up.”

When asked to offer a sentiment on how the song, which they wrote about Independence Day, may envelope Austin, guitarist Ben Weyerhaeuser had to say: “[Artists] come to SXSW with a chip on their shoulder, really wanting to prove [themselves] and move as best [they] can forward. It’s easier to feel the emotions of ‘Abacus Kids’ in this setting,” adding with a half-winked call-back – “Kids comin’ up.”

Give ‘em hell, duders.