Hive Five: SXSW 2012’s Best Bets

Photo courtesy of Fiction Records

By most accounts, South by Southwest is something of a one-stop live rendering of my innermost loves and desires: considering its economy is fueled mostly by live music, hot weather, good beer and college athletics, Austin is sort of a heaven on earth, Jay-Z and 50 Cent are showing up to keep up with indie rock somehow, you can kill dead time watching the first round of the NCAA tournament and it always falls on my birthday. So why is seemingly everyone I talk to envious about the fact that I’m not going to SXSW?  Well, you can wrestle with the whole clash between corporate influence and “Keep Austin Weird,” the unpredictable weather, punishing schedule, the ridiculous crowds and the ridiculous lines to get into ridiculous crowds.  Or, you can summarize thusly: there are exactly 14,549 bands playing at SXSW this weekend and most of them aren’t very good.  This isn’t a knock on SXSW, just an acknowledgment of reality – hell, it’s got a better batting average than CMJ, I’ll give it that.

So, here are five bands – each with enough juice to come to Austin buzzing for people other than industry insiders to not be new, but new enough to still be on an upward trajectory —  that we’ll surely be talking about come June.

1. 2:54

For all my real heads who know that “Burn” from The Crow OST is a top-ten Cure song, I present the sister act 2:54 who arrive to our shores with their self-titled debut due out in May on Fat Possum.  Visually and sonically, the operative term is “stylish” — it’s churning, gothic rock combined with R&B’s sleek minimalism, somehow applicable for dank, dingy clubs as well as the chilled open air of Austin’s night.

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