Tuesday, March 13, 2012


17 Bands to See at SXSW, or Here, Now, on YouTube

South by Southwest is one of the year's biggest music events, and for those of you lucky ("lucky"?) enough to be in Austin this week, here are a few acts you won't want to miss, in alphabetical order. (Non-attendees can enjoy from the safety of their computers.)

Alex Anwandter

Hailing all the way from Santiago, Chile, Alex Anwandter is a master of pop and so earnest it hurts. Even if you don't understand Spanish, you can feel what's he's singing.


This is noise punk rap madness (or American Grime) and it will scare most people.


These ladies epitomize California carefree perennial sunshine vibes. Their fuzz rock is like Instagram IRL.

Carrie Rodriguez

She plays the fiddle and sings at the same time! And she's really good at both of these things!


Their choose your own adventure video for "Met Before" is reason enough to want to see this band, even though the first adventure I chose ended in either blackout or death.

Danny Brown

When one second you're like, What? and the next you're like, Yes! then you're like, Hmmm and later, LOL, you know you're listening to something pretty great.


Believe the hype! Grimes is so uncool that she's cool, and her music is ghostly and friendly at the same time. She's like the Casper of electronic music.

Javiera Mena

Another one from Chile for y'all. If you like electronic pop music, definitely keep an eye one what's going down in Chile. Javiera Mena is so meticulous in her arrangements, so skilled in her delivery, it's like a disco orchestra.

Lady Leshurr

Lady Leshurr's got the sickest and neatest flow in the game. Her diction is impeccable. Just watch how she murders Busta Rhymes' "Why Stop Now."

Los Rakas

This Oakland-based Panamanian duo reps their hood hard with their hip hop in Spanglish and block party vibes.


Not only is MNDR a synth master, I bet she looks fly every single day of her life.

Nite Jewel

L.A.'s Nite Jewel has totally stepped up her game, exploring a really powerful range of her voice and embracing pop melody. She's also the only person who could make me think a side braid loop is a good idea.

Prince Rama

If you're into the metaphysical, into hazy, incense-like vocals and potent percussion, Prince Rama is your band.


For those of you who, like me, have a thing for masked electronic artists, make sure you catch London's SBTRKT, who will get you dancing with his post-dub, two-step house.

Sharon Van Etten

That voice! It's a voice that has felt all the feelings and can then make you feel all the feelings. If you're not into crying in public, you might want to stay away.

Spoek Mathambo

Spoek Mathambo's township tech is anchored by heavy beats and limber vocals. This Joy Division cover is even spookier than the original, and you can dance to it!


Sometimes when you're in a weird mood, all you need is a solo dance party in your bedroom. Tanlines is really good at broody dance music.

Blanca Méndez loves that song!

40 Comments / Post A Comment


I usually use these music aggregating posts as a gauge of how in-tune and cool I am, and the answer is invariably "not very."


@mayonegg i really haven't heard much new music that I like lately. Which is odd for me. I usually really like listening to new music and can normally identify a number of new things I like, or at least think will age well in my brain and I will end up liking, but lately? not so much. music is bumming me out lately.


@mayonegg I don't think it's you. The music industry is so fragmented today that I don't think there is a single checklist for what's cool and what's not anymore. Your best bet is to find someone online who likes the same stuff as you and download their playlist. The last big update for me was the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack. I found like 10 new albums from bands I'd never heard of off of that.


In the 80's these guys would have had number one hits and made a ton of money. I love their sound.@y


Hey, have you guys heard of this new band Lana Del Rey?


I love that Grimes has subscribed to the Robyn School of Choreography.

Sugar Rope

I love Javiera Mena. I only know about her because she did a duet with Jens Lekman (swoooooooooooon), and that video is all old superman clips.


I can't get into all this electronic music that's getting popular. I'm so old.


@Slutface Ha. I like it, and I think it's *because* I'm old...it sounds a lot like some of the old electronic I used to like. :)

saul "the bear" berenson

I went to high school with Sharon Van Etten. I think we were in marching band together.


Yayyyyy MUSIC! (also in SUCH solo-bedroom-dance-party-mood)


i wish i could be there to see Lukas Nelson... he is such an amazing guitarist and his lyrics are perfection.

Hot Doom

Ahhhhh! This is the greatest, if only because it's a validation of my musical taste (I'm surrounded by hardcore metalheads, which..there's nothing wring with that, but it's gettin' lonely up in here with my electro-feelings). ANYWAY. I saw Chairlift perform last week and they are FANTASTIC! It was one of the more fun concerts I've been to in ages because the vocalist has some sweet, sweet dances moves and a gorgeous, wide-ranging voice to boot. Check out their song'Amonamonesia' for more of these. And Sharon van Etten! SBTRKT! yes yes yes yesssssss. Go see them. For me.

Hot Doom

@LolaLaBalc OK, I'm makin out like I know all of these acts, and I don't, but I am so excited to listen to the ones who are new to me! Clearly getting overstimulated by all the sounds.


@LolaLaBalc Heehoohoo, you and I are feeling all of the same feelings. SBTRKT WHEEEEEE


@LolaLaBalc yay, chairlift!! i belong in your arms is my favorite swooshy love song, and my boyf is obsessed with amanaemnesia.

Nebraska Jones

@LolaLaBalc @blahstudent I love Chairlift too! I'm seeing them in a couple weeks in Mpls. Glad to hear they're great live.


I'm comfortable being the only person in the universe not on the Sharon Van Etten bandwagon.


@boyofdestiny Mind if I join you? Who's driving this thing anyways??

Lustful Cockmonster

Carrie Rodriguez is great. Seven Angels on Bicycle is her first album and very enjoyable. She made it with her dad's best friend or another old man (Chip Taylor maybe?) and the whole thing sounded vaguely/potentially creepy when my dad told me the story, but I don't actually think it was. And also it is possible that all my intel is wrong because it was from my dad, and he's not always so good at that. But anyway, the album is great and not at all creepy.


Something is wrong with my internets. I can't find Leah Siegel here.


Spoek Mathambo is playing NYC after SXSW, errrbody. Exciting!


AAAAAHHHH I totally forgot SBTRKT and MNDR were both going to be at SXSW (so many capital letters!). This is an excellent list! I will listen to the new-to-me ones when I get hoooooome excited yes.


Now that I am finally watching all of these things, OH MY GODDDD LADY LESHURR. Also, why is it that lyrics like "toward the infinite truth" become tolerable when they're in other languages?


@bandmeg You're right about her collaborating with Chip Taylor (who wrote "Wild Thing"). I lived in Austin and saw them perform together and I can testify that you're also right that it felt a little creepy.


Prince Rama on The Hairpin?! It's official, I'm getting an IUD.


Don't forget Brooklyn's own Milagres: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0LkpIRH50-I


I just wanted to drop this off here cause I didn't know where else to and I figured it would be appreciated:

"More Power to the Women"


Watching that Nite Jewel video without any sound and trying to imagine what the music sounds like. Pretty sure I'm failing.


@figwiggin Mmm, vomiting things.


@figwiggin I listened to it once while away from the computer (could not see the video) and really liked the song. Then I watched the video and it became like 1 million times creepier. I still like it, but not quite as much. So I'd say the song really probably doesn't sound like you're imagining.


@rocknrollunicorn Wow, yeah. Finally put my headphones in. I was expecting...not poppy. Something ethereal and creepy and folky? Huh.


Waaaaaait. How do you know B L A C K I E? Are you from Houston?

Blanca Méndez

@autumng I'm from elsewhere in Texas, but I do keep an eye (ear?) on Houston music. Also, B L A C K I E is great for listening to really loudly on my headphones and scaring people on the bus.


Also, if you're in Austin tonight...

At 6:30 Cecile Richards, pres. of Planned Parenthood will be on the steps of the capital!


Two-Headed Girl

In my head, Grimes and Austra hang out together in Montreal, just being awesome together.


@Two-Headed Girl I will follow this dream.

happy go lucky scamp


seriously i need to shout out the brother/sister duo from Perth Aus because they are awesome and they are from my city and playing at SXSW

youtube Voltaire Twins Animalia - it is a crazy wierd video clip...


Javiera Mena...is really the superior artist here.. she came out years before Grimes and Nite Jewel..She is like a hybrid of Grimes and STRFKR with some Julieta Venegas. i don't think most artist can capture the emotion and well timed melodies that she displays in her lyrics.
Both of her albums are superb;NO TRACKS on Esquemas Juvenilles(2006)or Mena (2010) have dissapointed. Alex Andenwater is also very very talented.
Chile is comming out with a lot of hidden gems in the indie-pop/folk scene right now..
NO TE CUESTA NADA- Touching song about her experience with her straight lover that doesn't want to acknowledge their gay releationship. It never directly says it tho.
DICHA FELIZ- Very Good cover song.
ACA ENTERA-80s Electro Pop sound with very very deep lyrics about being a hidden lover
Camara Lenta-
i could go on and on...


She made it with her dad's best friend or bullet proof athlete old man (Chip Taylor maybe?) and also their whole thing sounded vaguely/potentially creepy when my dad told me the story, but I don't actually think it was.

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