Year after year, it’s easy to get excited about the SXSW Music Conference.  It’s easy to put your “real” work aside for a week of non-stop live music and good, weird times.

Just as easy as it is to over-eat pulled pork, over-drink Lone Stars, over-blow your eardrums out and over-develop corns on your feet as you wander aimlessly at dawn after heading to an house party by the lake and searching for a cab alone throughout the empty streets like the Omega Man.  It is then easy to say “I’m NOT doing this again next year”.

Yet here we are, giddy and anxious at the prospect of it happening all over again.  What is not easy, however, is narrowing your choices for bands to see… the options seem to get ever-expansive each year.  My sincere hope is this list of 5 bands you must check out at SXSW this year makes things… easier.

1) VACATIONER – I’ve been tracking on this band from Philadelphia since they released their irresistible single “Trip” last year to the blogosphere.  They have since been inked to Downtown Records and released an EP and I can’t wait to check out their live show.

Trip by Vacationer

2) SNOWMINE – “Curfews” was one of my favorite singles from late last year — an intoxicating, layered mix of early Death Cab for Cutie and Cocteau Twins — and I’m hoping for a new full-length in 2012… expect big things for this Brooklyn-based quintet.

Curfews by SNOWMINE

3) KORALLREVEN – Swedish duo Korallreven (aka Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjader of The Radio Dept.) made waves with their dreamy, sublime debut An Album By Korallreven.  I’m curious to see how they replicate their sound in a live setting… luckily they are all over the festival this year.


4) FATHER JOHN MISTY – Singer-songwriter Josh Tillman has created an alter-ego that combines the sounds of two of my all-time favorites: Harry Nilsson and Michael Nesmith & the First National Band.  His twisted double-helix of razor-sharp wit & undeniable melodies should prove to be a potent cocktail for the SXSW crowds.

Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings by Bella Union

5) QUANTIC & ALICE RUSSELL – Their new project won’t be the first time these two extremely talented artists have joined forces (that would be The Quantic Soul Orchestra), however they’ve switched up their sound to a more cosmic, Rotary Connection-ish, Aquarius-soaked soul that has me yearning to hear more. (p.s. they will be on one of KCRW’s three SXSW showcases!)

BONUS TREAT – Of Montreal performing their masterpiece “Sunlandic Twins” in its entirety…

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    [...] didn’t know about them until I read KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox’s top 5 anticipated acts of SXSW.  Well, it just so happened that an old friend from LA and MSNBC anchor Veronica De La Cruz is [...]

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  • Wendy said:

    Hope you will tell us where Snowmine is playing at SXSW 2013!

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