It’s no secret that SXSW is no longer a secret. What was (supposedly) once an event for industry types to rub elbows and get exclusive looks at the year’s hottest acts, has just become one damn good party courtesy of corporate partners. There are rumors of Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake and Lil Wayne sets, providing further evidence that this convention is no longer industry specific. While SXSW’s mainstream status may upset some, it’s still the best place to catch as much rising music (and tacos) as possible. Lineups are huge, with hundreds of bands playing almost one hundred stages as many as ten times throughout the week. Last year, all that music was exhausting, but always rewarding.
Below are five bands (and one film) you can count on us covering throughout the week, along with many others.
See you in Austin! Be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates, photos and on the ground coverage. Visit band websites for set times.
If you needed any further proof that the 90s are in, look no further than Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee, and her sophomore full-length Cerulean Salt. This Brooklyn singer-songwriter bears her soul in an affecting mix of Sunny Day Real Estate’s How It Feels to be Something On, Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville and Belle and Sebastian If You’re Feeling Sinister. Her bedroom guitar tracks evoke an eerie lightness and a crushing intimacy simultaneously, pulling you closer than comfort. Austin’s tiny venues and crappy soundsystems don’t treat everyone kindly, but something tells me these will be some memorable shows.
Wednesday Night @ Holy Mountain
Thursday Afternoon @ 1100 Warehouse
Saturday Afternoon @ The Liberty
These dudes can wail. Led by former Reatard Ryan Rousseau, Destruction Unit is yet another great win for the weird, another savior for the strange in this growing psych rock revolution. With towering guitars, fuzzed out vox and a certifiably warped record cover, Destruction Unit is a name, sound and lifestyle you’ll never be able to scrub from your skull.
Wednesday Afternoon @ Beerland
Wednesday Night @ Spiderhouse
Thursday Afternoon @ Trailer Space
Thursday Night @ Beerland
Thursday Late Night @ Hotel Vegas
Thursday Way Late Night @ Longbranch Inn
Friday Afternoon @ Beerland
Forget acid, this is jazz for the prescription generation. BADBADNOTGOOD is known for their home baked, fuzzed out, bass heavy jazz explorations of OFWGKTA, James Blake, Kanye West and Gucci Mane standards. Rumored to have produced tracks for Earl Sweatshirt’s sophomore record Doris, BBNG is the closest rap rock can come to greatness since NERD’s In Search Of… According to the band’s Facebook page, they are playing five SXSW dates, but all have not yet been announced. Keep an eye out for Earl’s performances, it’s likely BBNG could be backing him at least once or twice throughout the week.
Thursday Afternoon @ Clive Bar
DOOM. One of the most promising and engaging metal bands of the day, Pallbearer is bound to tear the roof off some of Austin’s best venues, including Mohawk for Pitchfork Presents: Show No Mercy on wednesday. Last year’s five song Sorrow and Extinction is a fantastic piece of doom metal, modernizes classic metal sounds from Megadeth and Ozzy with a thick, jet black sheen of sludge. The band is currently trying out new music, which is equally as crushing.
Wednesday Afternoon @ Mohawk
Friday Afternoon @ Emo’s
Friday Night @ North Door
With a spot on NPR’s high profile “First Listen” series, Marnie Stern is making a significant comeback behind this year’s The Chronicles of Marnia, the follow up to 2010’s great self-titled LP. This guitar savior is certainly comfortable performing, and is staking a claim on 2013, performing at least eight shows throughout the week. While much of the talk around Chronicles of Marnia attempts to present Stern as a new force in songwriting, her spastic guitar playing is still the star throughout the record, and likely will be live.
Wednesday Night @ Tillery Park
Wednesday Late Night @ Mohawk
Thursday Afternoon @ Flamingo Cantina
Thursday Afternoon @ Stage on Sixth
Friday Afternoon @ Club Deville
Friday Way Late Night @ Maggie Maes
Saturday Afternoon @ Easy Tiger Bakery
Saturday Night @ Hotel Vegas
In conjunction with the music fest is SXSW Film, featuring many great independent and early release films. Last year we enjoyed Soul of America, featuring Charles Bradley of Daptone Records, who will be performing this year. Though we won’t have the pleasure of seeing the late James Booker perform, Director Lily Keber has done her homework, bringing out never before seen footage of the enigmatic New Orleans pianist. Making its World Premiere on Thursday at 4 PM at the Topfer Theatre, Bayou Maharajah is likely to scratch anyone’s itch for world-class pop jazz for the week.
Peter Lillis is Managing Editor of Frontier Psychiatrist. This is his second time going to SXSW, and his third time in Texas.