SXSW 2012 is filled with Top Picks to choose from. Music kicked off officially last night, and here is list one of bands to catch!
Best Coast – The lo-fi/garage rock duo from California first gained serious momentum after Pitchfork raved about their single ‘Boyfriend’ (featured below). Cali’s answer to the NYU students turned rockers Cults, Best Coast is worth the trek to campus for their set at the Urban Outfitters Backlot Performance on Thursday, March 15 at 6PM. Catch them around town elsewhere here.
Michael Kiwanuka – British singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka’s soulful music is both recognizable and unexpected. It’s retro enough to draw comparisons from artists like Otis Redding, but his songwriting and voice are fresh. He will be a huge presence in 2012, so catch him while you still can. Catch him around town here.
Home Again – Michael Kiwanuka
The Apache Relay – A top pick going into SXSW for me, I caught them Monday night at the GSD&M party. It is safe to say their hype is well worth it as The Apache Relay exceeded expectations. Check out the full review here.
The War on Drugs – Indie rockers The War on Drugs knack for storytelling songwriting and guitar heavy sound makes their latest album the kind you want to listen to over and over. Catch them around town here.
Alabama Shakes – After gaining huge momentum on a worldwide tour in early 2012, Alabama Shakes will surely be the ‘breakout’ act of SXSW, and for good reason. After catching them at the Continental Club in January, I assure you this is a band not miss. As with similar bands hailing from the South, the Alabama Shakes’ roots inspire a rock and roll reverberation heavily infused with bluesy soulfulness. However, with lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard at the helm, the Alabama Shakes are distinctively unique. Howard’s pulsating vocals draw comparisons from legends Janis Joplin to Aretha Franklin and everyone in between, but with a guitar in hand, she’s one of a kind. Read my full review here.
Gary Clark, Jr. – Austin’s favorite bluesman is finally having his moment. Named on list after list of musicians to watch during this year’s SXSW, it looks like the rest of the world is catching up to what local fans have already known. Catch him headlining The Warner Sound Wednesday night showcase as well as a laundry list of other places around town listed here.
Bright Lights – Gary Clark, Jr.
Fallulah – Fans of past and present SXSW performers like Oh Land, Ellie Goulding, and Marina & the Diamonds will be fans of Dutch indie pop songstress Fallulah. Here fresh, catchy pop sound will surely be a standout this week. Catch her through SXSW here.
Grimes – If, like me, you missed Grimes in Austin earlier this month, now’s your chance to catch her during SXSW. With little formal training, the Canadian singer’s organic sound comes partly out of happenstance. Her music encompasses a wide-ranging, cross genre sound from R&B to pop to synth. With her across the board style, Grimes sometimes gets a bit chaotic, but she is hard to ignore on tracks like ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Genesis’. Catch her at the Urban Outfitters Backlot on Saturday, March 17 at 6PM. More shows listed here.