Houston Music

SXSW: Shina Rae, Social Butterfly

Despite how it may appear to even our closest associates, Rocks Off is not in the business of accosting random women on the street. We don't think we could even if we wanted to. So when we saw Shina Rae and a friend crossing the street near the giant tent outside Fado for the Irish pub's St. Patrick's Day festival, we flagged her down to say hello. That's what that was, Mike.

The Houston electro-pop singer and fashion designer known for organizing and performing at the frequent "Bad Is the New Good" fashion shows at Dean's told us she was in Day 8 of her SXSW, working as a model recruiter for the festival's interactive component. Just before we ran into her, she said, someone had mistaken her for English pop singer Ellie Goulding.


After deciding that the line outside Cedar Street Courtyard was too long to wait to see Raphael Saadiq at a Filter party - we had both seen him before - Rocks Off followed the ever-texting Shina and her friend Jules over to Malverde, a restaurant/bar across from Austin's City Hall, while she filled us in on what she had been up to lately. Thursday was the first time Rocks Off had seen her in a while; turns out she had been living in Austin for most of the past year.

Back in Houston now, Rae has been working with a new band she says is "all over the place," with one song that's "punkish" but not punk, and another that cleaves to a reggae groove. She's putting together another fashion show for May, but hasn't decided whether to have it in Houston or Austin. At Malverde, Shina told us she was hoping to catch Didi from Brazilian Girls, but instead we got an indie-rock band plagued by sound problems.

Before we parted ways, Shina also said she had heard Chris Cornell is in town playing a bunch of secret shows, which we had not heard (and still haven't). She was disappointed about missing Moby, but looking forward to seeing San Francisco duo "Internet Killed the Video Star" duo Limousines, who plays Emo's tonight. She also performs today herself, at a free outdoor event at 8th and Congress at 4 p.m.

Curious, we texted Shina Friday night to see what she was up to. "Party hopping," she said. "The W Nylon party, BB, Shangri La, Mohawk now, then the Beach House."

Much respect. Shina runs at a speed Rocks Off could not hope to match. Like the rest of SXSW, she's also buzzing about Odd Future. As we were typing this up, she sent us another message: "If you somehow have a chance to see Odd Future anywhere, do it. They KILLED Fader yesterday."

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray