Inside Perfectly Imperfect's First SXSW Showcase

Inside Perfectly Imperfect's First SXSW Showcase

In the earliest days of the pandemic, all eyes were on our screens. An already hyper-online generation was grasping for any remaining signs of life. Some of the best art is born out of isolation, and in the midst of countless podcasts, influencers and the short-lived Clubhouse fad, Perfectly Imperfect has persisted as one of the leading New York tastemakers.

Started by Tyler Bainbridge, the newsletter boasts an expertly curated experience of the coolest parts of the underground. As a showcase of some of the more interesting personalities within the sprawling scene, the cult-favorite one-stop shop has featured everyone from Chloe Cherry to Anna Delvey, Charli XCX to RXK Nephew. And Bainbridge wants to take a chance and bring the magic of Perfectly Imperfect outside of the reigning cities of New York and Los Angeles. Enter Austin, Texas.

For the newsletter's debut SXSW showcase, the likes of Isabella Lovestory, Blaketheman1000, Club Eat, Sunflower Bean, Model/Actriz and many more touched down in an intimate Texan venue, filling the room with smoke, good tunes and an unshakeable cool.

Below, check out exclusive photos from Perfectly Imperfect's debut showcase at SXSW alongside a Q&A with its founder, Tyler Bainbridge.

For the uninitiated, what is Perfectly Imperfect? And how has it evolved during its lifetime?

Perfectly Imperfect is an independent New York City-based newsletter that shares “a taste of someone’s taste” a few times a week and throws parties around the city.

The project started while I was still living in Boston and had no industry credentials or online presence at all. Over the last two years it’s snowballed into some bigger guests like Charli XCX, Lena Dunham, Michael Imperioli, Anna Delvey, John Wilson and Chloe Cherry, but we still mostly feature "if you know, you know" smaller creative types in the city.


Last year I noticed a few artists (s/o Damon Rush, The Hellp, Snow Strippers, MGNA Crrrta, Club Eat, etc.) bubbling in the underground who were making exciting music that felt totally fresh but also shared influences in the realm of witch house, electroclash, synth punk and 2000s dance music.

I called the playlist THE NEW SOUND because I didn’t want to be the one to come up with a genre name. I’ll leave that to the Spotify curator who inevitably steals it.

Do you think that these artists are being seen outside of small circles in a few key major cities?

The music industry as a whole is sleeping on these artists. They’re still thinking that hyperpop is the new transgressive genre and it was for a few years, but things are changing.

What drove you to choose these artists for your showcase?

SXSW was the perfect excuse to get a bunch of this developing scene’s key players on one stage and most importantly — somewhere outside of LA and NYC. I was totally geeking when Club Eat, Snow Strippers and Eera were on stage as Isabella Lovestory performed. To me, it’s an iconic and important line-up but it may be a while before it’s seen that way by anyone else.

What is the future of THE NEW SOUND?

That it’ll be the new sound, haha. The Hellp signing with Atlantic probably indicates that it’s moving in that direction, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Photos courtesy of Tyler Bainbridge