News SXSW Preview: 10 Bands To See

When it comes to recommending SXSW acts, we could rattle on about Kanye, The Strokes and DFA79 - but then what’s the point in that. Outside of those acts everyone is going to be trying to see, there are a whole heap of other gems worth checking out. And seeing as most of you won’t be getting within a million miles of Austin this week, there’s some audio to sample too.

So, without further ado…


They aren’t playing any official showcases this year, but they are running the gamut of unofficial day parties. They’re the epitome of that floaty sound coming out of Brooklyn right now, with some pretty awesome and complex musical tinkering and an afro-Caribbean backbeat.


Girl group inspired pop with dark content. They take the concept of juxtaposition to a whole new level, with sweet glockenspiels, joyful singing and the familiar formula of 60’s songwriting placed directly next to lines about depression, anxiety, drug abuse and more. Creepy, but brilliant.


Dance rock is a pretty broad term these days, assigned to anything that has an electro inspired beat; Brahms, however, seem to be right at home in that description. They have opened for some really great acts like Passion Pit, Telepathe and Lemonade, but without a lot of information on the web, they let their music speak for itself. Someone should really pick up a few of their tracks to back an epic moment captured on film.

Cloud Nothings

A power pop outfit that make you want to jump around like a nut, Cloud Nothings have been well received by just about everyone it seems; falling in love with the free feeling, the childhood evoking sound of the guitars and Dylan Baldi’s voice. It’s a justifiable fall, and one that is oh so much fun to take.

Cloud Nothings - Should Have


With comparisons to early Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire, these kids from Canada have a lot to live up to. The vocals are stunning, the melodies and beats are interesting and involved; they’re very very good musicians doing engaging things with their instruments.

BRAIDS - Lemonade

Turbo Fruits

With the guitarist from Be Your Own Pet leading the way, this band is going to be all sorts of rambunctious and loud. With rockablilly fumes and a garage rock basis they are able to toe the lyrical line of sweet and harsh, staying away from the saccharine. A solid rock band to get excited about.

Turbo Fruits - Mama’s Mad Cos I Fried My Brain

Those Darlins

A country punk rock trio that should at some point be a household name. They evoke a dirty south garage rock feeling while at the same time writing some great music. A fantastic rock’n’roll escape from the electronic music that seems to be ruling the festival this year.

Those Darlins - NIGHTJOGGER

Class Actress

Self described as a ‘guilty pleasure. NSA dance music. Casual Encounters. talker pop. Depeche Mode meets early Madonna and Five Star as played on KTU Radio in the leather backseat of a cab,’ there’s not much to add, except to say it’s worth having a listen.

Class Actress - Journal of Ardency

California Wives

Following in the footsteps of the greats such as Joy Division and New Order, they are an electro synth outfit that is able to blend the DIY feeling of indie pop with the fuzzy sound of shoegaze. And it’s pretty danceable. Quite a feat.

California Wives - Tokyo

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Hip-hoppy, folky, always trippy, this duo from Detroit have managed to take the legacy of bands like The Flaming Lips and make it their own. With beautiful vocals and catchy melodies their sound seems like the perfect accompaniment to a rooftop BBQ or a late night dance party in the grass during the hot hot summer.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Morning Thought

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