9 Bands: Out-of-Town Picks for SXSW

Though our focus here at OVRLD is local artists, SXSW is the time of year when our city is flooded with out-of-town musicians from all corners of the planet. While we encourage you to get out and support your local artists at this massive festival, it would be a waste not to also encounter some non-Austin groups. To that end, here are nine of the artists that OVRLD staffers won’t be missing next week:

A Great Big Pile of Leaves

 Okay, I admit it: I’m guilty.

A Great Big Pile of Leaves is one of those bands that you’ve seen open at a big show and you say, “Wow, they’re actually really good!” Then you commit the crime of leaving the show and forgetting to follow up. Thankfully, SXSW has brought the Brooklyn-based trio back to Austin for a brief stint.

With a really fun experimental rock sound, A Great Big Pile of Leaves is easy to like. They’ve opened for the likes of Hellogoodbye, Motion City Soundtrack and Say Anything (all also playing SXSW), but they’re surprisingly and pleasantly different.

Expect a Minus the Bear/Explosions in the Sky vibe with a little more rock.

A Great Big Pile of Leaves - 'A Few Screws Loose'

SXSW Show:
12:00 AM / Wednesday, March 14 / Clive Bar


Say Anything

 For a music fanatic, the release of the SXSW bands list is an amazing event. You’ve heard predictions, seen sneak previews and even followed bands’ tour listings in case they spill it first.

Finding Say Anything on the official list made my year.

Nothing is off-limits for this band (hence the name). Insanely catchy and gloriously sharp, their songs provide an amusing analysis of life, love and society. They came out of the emo/pop punk boom of the early 2000’s, but like to consider their sound a form of “unclassifiable” indie rock.

Expect high-energy shows led by the band’s flamboyant but extremely engaging and lovable front man.

Say Anything - 'Belt'

SXSW Shows:
10:15PM / Wednesday, March 14th / Red 7
1:00AM / Thursday (night), March 15 /Buffalo Billiards


Ximena Sarinana

 The joy of SXSW is listening to bands well outside of your comfort zone. Last year, I shot a SXSW showcase full of screaming fans for this singer-songwriter. By the end of the set, I was screaming too. A former telanovela star in Mexico, Ximena Sariñana released her second album last year – her first in English. Her live concert draws from her bilingual repertoire but the sentiments come across for all audiences. Picking Ximena is an easy decision.

Ximena Sariñana - 'Different'

SXSW Shows:
11PM / Friday, March 16th / Easy Tiger
12A / Saturday, March 17th / St David’s Bethell Hall


Purity Ring

Oh, yeah, we’re jumping on the Purity Ring bandwagon. I saw a flawed show at Empire Automotive earlier this year at Fun Fun Fun Fest. Despite virtually no sound and a 45-minute late start, I fell in love with this band. Don’t miss the crazy customized instrument made of copper pipes. And I can’t think of a better venue for this ethereal Knife-like electronic sound than Central Presbyterian. It’s sure to be one of the most talked-about shows of SXSW 2012.


Geoff also wanted to chime in on Purity Ring. Here’s his take on the band.

Purity Ring uses many different little tricks that I just go crazy for in their songs: Knife-esque lyrics over 808 beats and (re?)sampled pitchshifted singing, but with catchier melodies and better song structures than their predecessors, as well as hip-displacing glitchy rhythms.

That’s a lot going on at once, but they seem to have found the perfect balance of all of those elements…like some sort of peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese sandwich with anchovies. Sounds disgusting, but it could be good. You never know.

They’re officially blowing up right now I’m pretty sure. They’ll be playing their official showcase at the Chevy Sound Garage on Wednesday night, as well as a boatload of unofficial day parties, one of which being the FFFFest curated “MWTX”


Purity Ring - 'Ungirthed'

SXSW Shows:
10:30P / Thursday, March 15th / Central Presbyterian Church
1:00A / Wednesday, March 14th / Chevrolet Sound Garage (formerly Klub Krucial) at 612 E. 6th St


 I saw Reptar last year at the Driskill Hotel and it was one of the highlights of my SXSW. These young’uns are creative, energetic and seem most interested in getting the audience to have the time of their lives. Their 2011 EP, Oblangle Fizz, Y’all is full of songs that can’t stick to just one hook or groove. And with a full-length on the way this summer, my expectations couldn’t be higher. Yet, I know I won’t be disappointed, because Reptar’s primary goal is just to have a blast at every possible chance. I definitely won’t miss them this year, or any time they’re in town. Just play “Houseboat Babies” this time, guys!

Reptar - 'Stuck In My ID'

SXSW Shows:
8P / Thursday, March 15th / IFC Crossroads House at Vice
11P / Friday, March 16th / Buffalo Billiards


JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

 If this video doesn’t make you want to stop everything you’re doing, and rush to the nearest JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound show, then I really can’t help you.

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound - 'Everything Will Be Fine'

SXSW Show:
1A / Saturday, March 17th / Red Eyed Fly



The UK producer SBTRKT has built up a lot of different musical elements around his sound that could make for very interesting shows. Featuring soulful vocalists and rappers and remixes of and by high profile artists, SBTRKT’s percussion and bass heavy songs have been coined as post-dubstep. Playing both live and DJ sets throughout the fest, I would love to catch SBTRKT a couple times during South By to get a taste for the difference between the two types of sets. I would recommend y’all catch SBTRKT before he takes his show around the world – SBTRKT’s booked up until October with no future Austin dates in sight.

SBTRKT - 'Right Place'

SXSW Shows:
Thursday, March 15th / Pitchfork Day Party – Mohawk Austin
2:15P / Saturday, March 17th / Fader Fort – Pine Street Station


Best Coast

In these days of gray weather, freezing rain and umbrella-destroying winds, I’ve yearned for some of the sunny days found year round in my previous hometown, San Diego. But what I’ve gotten is more rain and predictions of additional T-Storms – which are bringing down an S-Storm on my plans for SXSW. I’ve sought refuge in the beachy tunes of Best Coast, hailing from Los Angeles. Their breed of garage-y surf pop elicits memories of sun filled drives down the coast. I’m looking forward to hearing new tunes from their upcoming LP, The Only Place, which has been slotted for May 15th too.

Best Coast - 'When I'm With You'

SXSW Shows:
1:50P / Thursday, March 15th / The Lot at 9th & Trinity St
10:00P / Saturday, March 17th / Hype Hotel – Coppertank


Neon Indian

Originally hailing from Monterey, Mexico, San Antonio and Denton, Alan Palomo under the moniker Neon Indian can only kind of count as an out-of-town pick since Alan’s lived in Austin for some time now. Nonetheless, I wanted to highlight Neon Indian here because I’m sure the South By shows are going to be awesome. If you haven’t heard, Neon Indian’s poppy & analog synth-filled tunes have been a major part of the surge of chillwave. With tightly constructed synth arrangements and solid beats, Neon Indian’s songs are immediately intriguing and danceable. On the latest Neon Indian album, Era Extraña, Alan has layered up the synths, cranked up the guitar and achieved a sound that at times is reminiscent of the dark wave of yesteryear. I’m excited to groove to Neon Indian’s latenight set at Barbarella, where a slew of electro artsts will be playing on Thursday.

Neon Indian - 'Fallout'

SXSW Shows:
1:15A / Thursday, March 15th / Barbarella
1:00A / Saturday, March 17th / Hype Hotel – 504 Trinity Street