SXSW Music: Discover 10 Local Bands From Austin

SXSW Bands Local Austin Music

SXSW Music Acts Featuring Local Bands

There’s truly a frightening amount of talent on display at this year’s South by Southwest music festival. For a change of pace, we’ve decided to shine the light this time on the homegrown, Austin-based groups who we hope aren’t totally eclipsed by the foreign bands invading their city.

Since the latter half of the 20th century, Austin has proven a pulsating seedbed of talent. In all reckoning, every city in the U.S probably has some tenuous claim to musical fame, producing X and Y musicians of varying caliber, most of whom are known only to the darkest recesses of Wikipedia. Austin on the other hand, has consistently incubated towering, genre-defining titans of music, particularly within the Americana genre. The Vaughan brothers, Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin and Gary Clark Junior to name but a meagre handful all cut their teeth on the downtown Austin club circuit before attaining stratospheric fame. Here’s our tribute to this year’s Austinites.

Roxy Roca SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin1. Roxy Roca

Genre: Funk

These guys are an 8-piece ensemble with that coveted ‘oomph’ factor every funk band aspires to. You know what I mean. Roxy Roca is carnal funk music which absolutely drips with bravado. The sort which totally hijacks the motor control over your face. Your mouth contorts into a drooping grimace, your brows furrow and your head can do naught but strut back and forth like a pigeon. This isn’t the band to politely nod along to. This is where you groove your ass off.

SXSW Showcase: Wednesday, March 18  from 1:00AM – 1:55AM at Lucky Lounge

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Roxy Roca is carnal funk music which absolutely drips with bravado. The sort which totally hijacks… Click To Tweet

2. Joel Laviolette and RattletreeJoel Laviolette and Rattletree SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin

Genre: World

The obligatory ‘wildcard’ pick on the list. If traditional Zimbabwean Marimba music is already your reason for getting out of bed every morning, then you’re bang in luck. If you’re still culturally unacquainted with such delights, this band serves as our educational, horizon-widening choice. From their showreel they seem to be a cracker of a live act too, seemingly suitable for both drug-fueled raves and children’s birthday parties. There’s something vaguely therapeutic about the soft, paddling melodies of the marimba, we encourage you to see for yourself.

SXSW Showcase: Friday, March 20 from 9:00PM – 9:40PM at Russian House

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If traditional Zimbabwean Marimba music is already your reason for getting out of bed every morning,… Click To Tweet

Birdlegg SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin3. Birdlegg

Genre: Blues

Would I be succumbing to cliché if I said that Birdlegg belongs to the last of a dying breed? What I really mean by that, of course, is that he’s an old African American dude who knows how to play the blues. For an extra stamp of authenticity, he has a slightly puckered face indicative of a lack of nutrition as a child during those dusty post-war years, or perhaps too long pursed at the mouthpiece of a harmonica. In any case, the man is a hurricane. Birdlegg plays his instrument with the same brazen furore as the stompin’ bluesmen of old. Birdlegg is one of the few remaining flag-bearers of traditional, unpretentious blues. Experience him at the Saxon Pub.

SXSW Showcase: Friday, March 20 from 10:50PM – 11:30PM at Saxon Pub

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Birdlegg plays his instrument with the same brazen furore as the stompin' bluesmen of old. Birdlegg… Click To Tweet

4. Quiet CompanyQuiet Company SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin

Genre: Rock

Jaunty pop rock which thankfully leans away from indie banalities. I grow ever fonder of Quiet Company with every listen. With their pretty melodies bolstered by potent synth lines, they meet all the right requirements for an incendiary, drunken midnight set at Red Eyed Fly.

SXSW Showcase: Thursday, March 19 from 12:00AM – 12:40AM at Red Eyed Fly

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Jaunty pop rock which thankfully leans away from indie banalities. I grow ever fonder of Quiet… Click To Tweet

5. El TuleEl Tule SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin

Genre: Latin Rock

Considering that the Mexican border’s only a stone’s throw away, assuming the stone is launched from a catapult mounted on a satellite, Austin’s latino demographic is integral to its culture. Bringing their salacious blend of Cumbia and Salsa to SXSW, El Tule are accessible, infectious and will entice even the most introverted to the dance floor. Expect warm, Santana-esque guitar melodies, gringos attempting to dance Salsa, and depending on your moves, the chance of going home with somebody considerably above your league.

SXSW Showcase: Wednesday, March 18 (Time TBA) at Flamingo Cantina

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Warm Soda SXSW 2015 Local Bands Austin6. Warm Soda

Genre: Rock

Yep. I’ve always been a sucker for chugging 16th note pop-punk melodies. Warm Soda remind me of being an angsty little boy again. Close your eyes and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported back to the mid-90’s golden era of melodic punk. Open your eyes however, and you’ll be greeted with one of the most ecclectic-looking bands on offer at this year’s festival. With a consciously mismatched look, Warm Soda consists of a frontman bringing back the moustachioed 1970’s paedophile look, a heavily primped infant on the guitar, a pig-tailed bass player and a retired pirate behind the drum kit. They safely have my vote.

SXSW Showcase: Saturday, March 21 from 11:00PM – 11:30PM at Hotel Vegas Patio 

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Warm Soda remind me of being an angsty little boy again. Close your eyes and you'd be forgiven for… Click To Tweet

7. Abram ShookAbram Shook SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin

Genre: Pop

I like Abram Shook. The guy evidently knows how to write a good song, even if it occasionally gets too abstract and indie for my liking. His 2013 track ‘Coastal’ ranks among my personal favourites from this years lineup. Sounding genuinely fresh, it features a killer laid-back bassline reminiscent of early 90’s RnB, overlaid with delicate, shimmering guitar and perfectly layered vocals.

SXSW Showcases: Tuesday, March 17 from 9:00PM – 9:40PM at Cheer Up Charlie’s Inside AND Thursday, March 19 from 12:00AM – 12:40AM at The Hideout

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Abram Shook's 2013 track 'Coastal' ranks among my personal favourites from this years lineup. Click To Tweet

Neon Cobra SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin8. Neon Cobra

Genre: Rock

The photo of the band alone screams, “you are going to have a weird, crazy good time”. Neon Cobra is raucous, venue-shaking rock music at its finest. Have your fun nodding appreciatively at the many fantastic bands on offer at SXSW this year. When you’re done however, go see Neon Cobra for your evening dose of neat Rock N’ Roll, which burns on the way down.

SXSW Showcase: Wednesday, March 18 from 8:00PM – 8:40PM at Karma Lounge

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Neon Cobra is raucous, venue-shaking rock music at its finest. Click To Tweet

9. John Mills Times TenJohn Mills Times Ten SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin

Genre: Jazz

Among the most original acts I’ve heard in a long while. This ten-piece band perform what I can only describe as musical narrative. Their songs demand your attention and guide you along a sonic exploration, dipping and diving through various soundscapes. This is enabled only by the composite members of the band, all of whom are talented and imperatively tight. Absolute genius.

SXSW Showcase: Thursday, March 19 from 8:00PM – 8:40PM at Elephant Room

Reverbnation Playlist

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Their songs demand your attention and guide you along a sonic exploration, dipping and diving… Click To Tweet

10. Dawn and HawkesDawn and Hawkes SXSW Music 2015 Local Bands Austin

Genre: Singer-Songwriter

Dawn and Hawkes is a tidy little project from two musicians named, shockingly, Dawn and Hawkes. Their music is rocky with a definitive country ‘twang’ and chord resolution. Considering there’s a maximum of only two guitars and vocals at play, this couple creates very pretty, balanced songs. Their tunes are dainty and heartwarming, like pocket-sized injections of sheer life assurance. These guys also win this year’s entirely fictitious award of best looking act per capita.

SXSW Showcase: Thursday, March 19 from 7:45PM – 8:15PM at Holy Mountain Backyard

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Dawn and Hawkes is a tidy little project from two musicians named, shockingly, Dawn and Hawkes. Click To Tweet

That’s all ten local Austin bands, guys! We had a great time going through this lineup. If you’re going to SXSW music festival this year, perhaps we will cross paths.

We covered Ume in our last SXSW post featuring rock bands, but they are also from Austin so if you missed it, it’s worth giving them a listen. Hard to believe that in only two weeks time, we’ll be diving head first into the Austin music scene. Enjoy exploring the rest of the SXSW musicians out there.