Ready to Rock?
SXSW Music Acts
In no particular order…hell it was hard enough to narrow down the acts to ten bands.
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
With a conscious effort to write poppy hooks which implant themselves firmly in the listener’s head, CRUISR prove quite difficult to dislike. Their songs fall within the lighter, poppier side of indie music. Consider them an antidote to weary feet and weary ears. Easy to listen to, butbe warned, some of these vocals may be infectious – in a good way!
SXSW Showcase: Thursday, March 19 from 10:30PM – 11:10PM at Red 7 Patio
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
I’m immediately drawn in by Banditos, in no small part due to their strong image. Indeed, they look like a party of enchanted scarecrows who, on one of their ethereal moonlit walks across the Tennessee plains managed to bewitch a passing girl into forming a country band. Interestingly enough, their music doesn’t sound too far off this mark. If you’re a sucker for banjo-driven music, played with menace and ferocious kazoo melodies, this is definitely one for you.
SXSW Showcase: Wednesday, March 18 from 10:00PM – 10:40PM at Continental Club
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
An absolute gem of a band. Check these guys out for a truly modern take on rock music. It’s easy to become self-absorbed when consciously trying to be different, and create music that may be interesting but not particularly inspiring. This most certainly isn’t the case here. One of the most deeply original bands we’ve ever heard, JtG’s composition ranges from jarring rhythm and vocal breaks to Bohemian-Rhapsody-esque choral melodies, without once losing sight of what makes a balanced, great song. You have two opportunities so don’t miss these guys, for your own sake.
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Carefree rock with a summery sheen. With far too many bands nowadays forcing the ‘edgy’ look, it’s quite refreshing to see clean-cut guys playing bouncy indie music without any hint of pretence. See them live for an upbeat pick-me-up before your night of wandering begins.
SXSW Showcase: Thursday, March 19 from 11:00PM – 11:40PM at Maggie Mae’s
5. Nightmare Air
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Rock band Nightmare Air are another band to watch. Sounding like an indie-fied Janes Addiction with a loud rock aesthetic, these guys could definitely be one to watch in the future. Buzz Osbourne lookalike Dave Dupuis shares lead duties with Kim Deal impersonator Swaan Miller, creating a dreamy 90’s influenced sound with a lot of bite.
SXSW Showcase: Wednesday, March 18 from 11:00PM – 11:40PM at Valhalla
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Ume have certainly been getting a lot of attention recently. Reminiscent of dreamy alternative bands like Sonic Youth with wafts of Arcade Fire, Ume present a style both familiar and very new. Their 16th-note indie rhythms underpin a harmonically rich fusion of noise and art-rock, edged with a distinct sense of digital modernity. Rock N’ Roll for the new age.
SXSW Showcase: Thursday, March 19 from 8:00PM – 8:40PM at Red 7
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
A fantastic band from Georgia who know how to whip up atmosphere and a sonic sense of dread. Royal Thunder is a heavy rock outfit who occasionally veer close to the doom and stoner rock movements of the 90’s. Their dark melodies and slow, sludgy chord progressions make them an ideal band for that moment in the night where you just want to sway gently back and forth on the dance floor and induce an introspective trip.
SXSW Showcase: Tuesday, March 17 from 12:00AM – 12:40AM at Dirty Dog Bar
8. Baby Bee
Hometown: Houma, Louisiana
We at Uberchord have only the utmost respect for those dragging blues back into the mainstream against the tide of auto-tuned dross that is modern pop music. Baby Bee have the killer combination of modern, svelte looks and a minimalistic, two-member approach to their live show which has catapulted bands with similar acts like The White Stripes and Royal Blood into fame. Determined to prove the indisputable charm of a good pentatonic riff and chugging blues rhythms, Baby Bee are on a launchpad pointed directly at the top.
SXSW Showcase: Friday, March 20 from 7:30PM – 8:10PM at Swan Dive Patio
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Straddling the boundary between disjointed breakpop and seriously intricate math-rock, LITE is most certainly not for the casual music fan. No vocals here, just mathematically stimulating syncopations. Harmonious discord, if you will. This is a must see for any musician, to gape at the sheer precision and complexity of rhythm if nothing else. If a machine was created to reproduce symphonic masterpieces, this would be the sound of it violently malfunctioning. Somewhere buried deep within this din is conventional, even melodic indie. That being said, this is emphatically NOT the gig you want to bring that girl you just picked up off 6th street to in order to seal the deal.
SXSW Showcase: Wednesday, March 18 from 11:00PM – 11:40PM
at The Hideout
Hometown: Brattleboro, Vermont
What’s not to love? Hairy men doing garage-rock with plenty of attitude and slightly fuzzy guitar. Expect honey sweet melodies, big smiles, big riffs and an image both incongruent and totally damn appropriate for the music they play. An experience for sure.
SXSW Showcase: Saturday, March 21 from 12:00AM – 1:00AM
That’s all ten rock bands, folks! We had a great time going through this lineup. If you’re going to SXSW this year, maybe we will cross paths. Enjoy exploring the rest of the SXSW musicians out there. Tons of fresh talent worth feasting your ears and eyes on.