Each spring, hundreds of bands make the journey to Austin, Texas for the annual South By Southwest Music Festival, transforming the city into a mecca of music discovery. But with a proposed 2,100 performers slated to perform at the festival’s 28th edition, taking place, March 11-16, its not hard to feel overwhelmed.
To ease the pain of decision making, here’s a list of 5 unmissable acts.
1. Wolf Alice
What started as a solo musical project of singer Ellie Rowsell has transformed into a full-fledged rock experiment declared by BBC Radio 6 as the single most blogged about act in the U.K. for 2013. Now a four-piece, alternative-rock outfit, Wolf Alice rides into SXSW on a wave of critical acclaim from across the pond, thanks to its ‘90s style reverb and progressions that showcase Rowsell’s powerful vocal prowess.
2. Casual Sex
I wouldn’t recommend typing the group’s name into a Google search, but if you’re at the SXSW festival, scooting over to Casual Sex’s set is in your best judgment. Heralded by critics as “the best Scottish band since Franz Ferdinand”, the Glasgow quartet serves up a main course of dark-wave synths and a side of punk edginess. Its lyrics witty and rhythms playful, Casual Sex offers a new melodic and funk variance that will have festival attendees spilling into the nearest dance floors.
3. The Men (Brooklyn, New York City USA)
Swimming against a current of ‘80s shoegaze revival and low-profile namesakes, The Men emerge from its underground Brooklyn lair as one of the most refreshing punk groups of the decade. Adventurous and bold, the group draws from a wide range of influences, including country, metal, and the likes of the Buzzcocks and Fugazi, to create a sound that delivers moments of sonic rage and rock euphoria.
4. Diarrhea Planet
After leaving 2013’s SXSW festival as one of the most talked-about bands, Diarrhea Planet return a rather more experienced group in the act of guitar shredding—and possibly even more hyped up. But don’t be hasty in writing off the Nashville punks as sell-outs because of their growing appeal. Diarrhea Planet refuses to become a tiresome cause—jam-packing its songs with layered guitars, angular riffs and sing-a-long hooks that are sure to result in a high-energy, must-see performance (and a few stage divers) in Austin.
5. Band of Skulls
It’s been two years since Band of Skulls last put out an album, but the English sludge-rock trio is readying their third album, Himalayan, for release on March 31. In other words, there’s high probability some of the new songs will be slipped into the band’s SXSW set list. But even if the group decides to stick with the hits, Band of Skulls is justly renowned for its energetic and old-style rock performances.
Other notable acts: Drenge, Capsula, The Mary Onettes, INVSN, Parquet Courts, Big Ups, Black Lips, Cymbals, Cloud Nothings, Vaadat Charigim.
Check out each band’s website to purchase a CD, and buy concert tickets for SXSW here.
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