Initially a place where music executives could check out a bunch of emerging bands in the span of a few days, SXSW has become the spring break of the music biz. Bands from all over the globe descend on Austin hoping to convince the masses they're the next big thing. While megastars like Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z are among the established names performing this year, here are five local acts that could steal the spotlight in Austin this week.
Dubbing themselves the “blackest white band,” White Arrows has already caught the ears of music fans. Following the release of their EP last summer, the quintet opened for bands like Weezer, The Airborne Toxic Event and Naked and Famous, and played multiple dates in Europe. Led by singer Mickey Schiff, the outfit combines elements of pop with psychedlica and electronica to create a sound that lands somewhere between Animal Collective and Paul Simon. With an EP slated for April and an LP in the works, expect them to showcase new, already blogosphere-approved material.
Having created music since they were teens, Tha Boogie pride themselves on having no musical boundaries. With a sound that fuses elements of rock, hip hop, R&B and funk, the band caught the attention of award-winning producer/artist Raphael Saadiq, who was so impressed by the outfit, he helped hone their sound. Currently on tour in Europe with their mentor, Tha Boogie will be more than ready to showcase their talents in Austin with catchy hooks, a lively stage show and probably material from their upcoming album.
Led by Bradley Carter, whose guttural vocals hint at The National's Matt Berninger and Joy Division's Ian Curtis, the band's stadium rock-like instrumentation and pop sensibility are so good it's hard to believe they only have been making music together less than a year. But in that short time, the sextet's charismatic performances have made them a must-see group. They likely will convert more than a few listeners this week.
Following in the footsteps of groups like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Milo Greene is one of the most talked about bands in L.A.'s tight-knit indie community. Formed during the quintet's days at UC-Irvine, the outfit blends complex harmonies with folk-pop, which has elicited comparisons to bands like Fleet Foxes and Local Natives. They toured with The Civil Wars and have a new album on the way, so expect them to use these dates to continue increasing their national visibility.
The latest in a long line of dream-pop groups, Superhumanoids have managed to create a sound that's so complex that's hard to pinpoint their contemporaries. Citing influences from the Beach Boys to Kate Bush, the trio's spacey sound has won them fans beyond the 323 area code. Having just finished a tour with Cold War Kids, the group is slated to play seven shows over the five days they'll be in Austin.