The annual SXSW Music Festival officially kicks into high gear today in Austin, Texas. That means a few thousand bands will be fighting for the attention of attendees who are easily distracted by tacos, free beer and their Twitter feeds. Every year, a handful of acts escape from Austin with increased buzz that they hope to convert into tangible success. Around 20 D.C.-area acts made the tip to Texas this year — here are the four most likely to leave with a burnished reputation.
This prog-punk quartet is a perfect fit for the environs of SXSW. The band is used to being on the road for months at a time and playing in the most podunk of DIY spaces. So if they have to play in a parking lot in the middle of the day, they’ll be just fine. Their precise musicianship will also help them stand out in a sea of chillwavers and dudes standing behind synthesizers. With at least a half dozen shows lined up over the next few days, their name (an easy one to remember, don’t underestimate that this week) should be heard throughout Austin.
Over the past few years, the SXSW Interactive portion of the festival has become just as relevant as this week’s music bacchanalia. This local experimental duo is the perfect band to serve as a bridge. Its latest location-aware album, “The Violet Crown,” is set in Austin, and it’s already drawing raves from the tech-heads down there.
On Wednesday, D.C.-bred duo Nadastrom will headline the monthly Moombahton Massive at U Street Music Hall and turn the club into a debaucherous den of sweat and sleaze. The next night, the duo will headline the SXSW Moombahton Massive presented by Diplo’s Mad Decent label. The slow-paced, herky-jerky electronic music genre is quickly becoming a national phenomenon, and this Thursday party in Austin will surely be one of the week’s wildest.
SXSW is inundated with big-name hip-hop acts this year. Jay-Z’s concert earlier this week was streamed online, 50 Cent will be performing “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” in its entirety and Lil Wayne, T.I. and Big K.R.I.T. will also be there. But there’s still room for underground acts, and it’s easy to think that local producer Oddisee will attract a crowd after his standout 2011 release, “Rock Creek Park,” received widespread acclaim.