The 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival is like the Sundance Film Festival for breakout bands and infectious jams. Just like film aficionados flock to the snow city of Park City in late January to preview a showcase of independent films, music fanatics hit the streets of downtown Austin, Texas, to experience six nights of musical performances by artists from around the globe. Dubbed as the live music capital of the world, Austin has featured legendary alumni including the Black Keys, the Beastie Boys, Andrew Bird, Fiona Apple, the Killers and Ben Folds Five. If you couldn’t make it to Austin, or weren’t able to listen live, we have you covered as far as who the biggest names are that hit stages, roused crowds and left a lasting 2013 SXSW impression.
Nearly 1,300 bands of every musical genre rocked out in Austin. The following bands are worth noting if they’re not already starred on your playlist.
Hailing from Los Angeles, this trio of sisters first hit the airwaves in early 2012. Haim has supported Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine, and debuted at SXSW last year. Haim has established itself as more than your average girl band, with promise and harmonies influenced by ’60s bands and classic rock. Haim’s EP Forever featured its appropriately titled single of the same name, a California tune that rings with a “catchy rhythm and upbeat pop sensibility,” as described by StereoGum.com.
Local Natives, formed in LA, has delicate harmonies and dreamlike melodies. The band released its second album, Hummingbird, which served as its sophomore album following its 2010 “delightfully harmonic indie-rock” debut called Gorilla Manor, according to MNDaily.com. Local Natives aren’t SXSW newbies, and it continues to be electric while performing on stage during this year’s festival. ConsequenceOfSound.net pegs Hummingbird‘s “You and I” as “a hardworking indie collective full of catatonic emotion.”
Australian indie band Atlas Genius got their big break when music blog Neon Gold featured their song “Trojans.” The group is comprised of brothers Keith (vocalist, guitarist) and Michael Jeffrey (drummer) and their English comrade Darren Sell (keyboardist). The musicians built a studio and covered songs, and in early 2012 they signed with Warner Bros. Records. Their album When It Was Now was just recently released. Since showcasing their indie rock vibes during the hyped-up Austin music fest, Atlas Genius surely has an exciting future on stage.
Although the UK band doesn’t label themselves as fitting into a particular genre of music, they can be described as an entanglement of folk, pop, indie rock and rock bass interwoven with hip-hop beats and electronic synths. Interview lauds the quartet for its heartbreakingly intimate lyrics, peppered with film and literary references. Alt-J released “Buffalo” as a track for the Oscar-nominated film Silver Linings Playbook.
Front page image from thetimes.co.uk, images 3, and 5 from sxsw.com. Image 4 from usatoday.com.
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