Preview: SXSW Music Festival - Top 5 Can’t Miss New Bands

Written by  Published in Festivals Friday, 24 February 2012 00:41

When preparing for a music fest I look at the schedule, figure out my can’t miss new bands and then listen to whoever is playing at the closest stage to kill time in between. For SXSW that is not the case with several hundred new bands playing, narrowing down the “must see” bands is not as simple. So, like a completely insane person, I decided to start at the top of the list of announced bands and work my way down. I’m surprised at how far I have come. Mind you, I do apologize for some bands not getting my full listening attention when I was half asleep at 4am some of the nights. But from what I have listened to, I have compiled my Top 5 Can’t Miss List. (Photo by Extreme Air Shots)


ANR ( Awesome New Republic)

After giving these guys a listen I was hooked when I heard It’s Around You. The first couple times listening I couldn’t really figure out if I loved it or hated it. I just knew that I had to keep listening to it. Weeks later, I still have this one on my play list and have asked several other people to take a listen to help me figure out why I can’t stop listening. What has been decided is that their 80s influence mixed with a ridiculously catchy head bopping beat is the perfect combination for striking gold. This native Miami band is my go to for a dance party in Austin. Looks as though Paste magazine agrees after having recently named them the number 1 band out of South Florida people should be listening to now.



This band being featured on SXSW’s artist spotlight only reaffirmed my first impression about Motopony. My exact initial notes were “ must find a way to see” and I will do just that. The first track off their self titled debut record King of Diamonds shows all the fundamentals of a band that meshes together musically as well as creatively. They have recently announced to their fans that several new tracks will be ready to be preformed for their showcase. If you are lucky enough to be located on the West Coast you may be able to catch these guys on their way down to Austin. I have a feeling live these guys will not disappoint.



Of Monsters and Men

This Icelandic band will be taking the states by storm, especially if all their songs are as catchy and listener friendly as their hit Little Talks. This six member band creates magically folkie pop songs that are not only comforting but also familiar without being already done. A comparison to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes is an obvious one, but also shows this bands ability to break onto the mainstream scene. I wouldn’t be surprised if sooner rather then later this band has a song featured in main stream media.  After their sets down in Austin this band is travelling and playing shows across the US. Looking at the list right now at least half are already sold out if you are fortunate enough to be near a city with tickets still available I’d grab them, real quick.


I am a huge fan of psych rock and when my roommate brought Sleepy Sun to my attention I knew that they needed to be seen live to truly feel their power.  Their third album is going to be released this April and hopefully they will be playing some of their new music at the showcase.  The only real information I have about the band is what I have read on press releases. The picture that is painted of this band is that they're a group of people I want to be friends with. A group of vegabonds that create music as a record of what they have experienced, which make these rock story tellers one of my most anticipated bands.


The Lumineers

Less then three months ago I was in a packed restaurant/bar in the South Loop of Chicago listening to The Lumineers and it seems over night this band has already grown by leaps and bounds.   Having their song Ho Hey on The CW’s show Hart of Dixie one night seemed to set the ball rolling. Fans that couldn’t wait to get their hands on the song. Luckily, the single has finally been made available on iTunes for download, with their self titled debut album to soon follow. As stated in my review of their Chicago show the sound system itself was not up to par and I was still blown away. I can not wait to hear what they can do with the right sound system.

Last modified on Friday, 24 February 2012 13:58
Daniela Montelongo

I’m a proud Chicagoan as most of us are and music has been a necessity in my life for as long as I can remember. Majority of the time I can be found at a show, listening to blaring music (as my roommate stated best “music was not written quietly, the louder the better”), or lugging band equipment for the band my friends play in.  I am a sucker for lyrics and have been known to adapt many of my favorites into motto's on how I should live my life. I am also a concert photographer that has had the privilege of shooting many awesome bands and loving every minute of it.

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