9 Bands: 2013 SXSW Staff Picks

Happy SXSW Music, everybody! It’s time for any music lover’s favorite five days of the year, and we at OVRLD are joining the chorus with our staff picks. Our suggestions range from European diamonds in the rough to hometown heroes, and each one is sure to put on a great show for you this week. Enjoy!



A big favorite of mine from college, Dawes’ first record was stuck in my car’s CD player for a good three months, and I didn’t even mind. (We even made a warm up for my all male college a cappella group to their hit “When My Time Comes”.) Dawes encapsulates a lot of the American songwriter in their music while adding the Bruce-Springsteen-esque Americana riffs and harmonies that resemble “the Band” that make them a joy to listen to, sing along to, and ultimately knock back a few free Shiners in the Waterloo parking lot to. They’re releasing their much anticipated new record April 9th, so I’m hoping we get to hear a bunch of their new stuff then!

Wednesday, March 13th – Moody Theatre (12:20AM on Thursday) – Official Showcase
Saturday, March 16th – Waterloo Records (5PM) – Waterloo Records Day Show

– Nevin Watkins

Lake Street Dive


My college guitarist, John, sent me a couple videos to watch of Lake Street Dive earlier this year, and I was almost instantly in love. This band is Brooklyn-based, and they feel like a sweet, sweet Brooklyn summertime. First of all, their set up is, to say the least, minimalist. Their primary set up is a drummer, (with just a snare and cymbal?), an upright bassist, a vocalist and a horn. The vocalist and the horn have sort of an interlocking scat feel that is so lovely that you want to cuddle up to it. Oh, and the harmonies the bassist and drummer add are divine. Their tours have recently stuck to the coasts, so be sure to see them!

Thursday, March 14th – Hilton Garden Inn (9PM) – Official Showcase
Friday, March 15th – Papi Tino’s (2PM) – Unofficial Party

– Nevin Watkins



Hailing from Berlin, Germany, psychedelic sludge rockers Kadavar are going to be bringing their brand of blues and doom laced old school rock and roll to SXSW for the very first time. For fans of bands such as Witchcraft, Sleep, or Graveyard, Kadavar is bringing back the early seventies with full force. The band members themselves look like they just stepped out of a time machine – with long hair, full beards, fur coats, tight jeans and medallion necklaces, and with names such as Wolf, Tiger, and Mammut, you know they aren’t here to kid around. Heavy bass, driving drums, psychedelic guitar playing, and blown-out vocals drive the songs, and each track on their debut self-titled album is so powerful and catchy, you can’t help but put on your dancing shoes from 1971 and jam along to some of the best doom/sludge psych that Germany has to offer.

Listen to “Black Sun” from their debut album here:

Friday, March 15th – Rebels Honky Tonk (9:30PM) – official showcase
Saturday, March 16th – Scoot Inn (2PM) – Thrasher Skateboard Magazine’s Death Match 2013

– Brittany Bartos

Freedom Hawk


Another band that sounds like they just stepped out of a time-warp from the early 1970’s is Freedom Hawk. Their grooves are strong, their riffs are deep, and their vocals have a sort of “epic” style which commands repeated and serious listening. The band was birthed in Virginia Beach, VA, and have released three albums since 2008. And maybe it’s just me, but listening to Freedom Hawk always reminds me of a mix of vikings and the desert – as if a group of muscular men carrying axes were sailing a boat with a dragon bow over miles and miles of endless sand dunes under an intense desert sun. An odd mixture, sure, but after a few listens to Freedom Hawks discography, and you may just agree with me.

Thursday, March 14th – Headhunters (11PM) – Official Showcase
Saturday, March 16th – Scoot Inn (12:30PM) – Thrasher Skateboard Magazine’s Death Match 2013

– Brittany Bartos

Mother Falcon


My first pick for this year’s SXSW is none other than Austin’s own symphonic pop masters Mother Falcon. Last year’s SXSW was the first time I had ever seen this group live and it was easily one of the highlights of the week for me. This year Mother Falcon are again poised to swoop down and take Austin by storm. Though they’ll be playing Tuesday night at The Parish and have several other engagements throughout the week, it’s their Saturday showcase at Esther’s Follies that I’m most looking forward to. The ensemble has plans to play a set featuring their cover of Radiohead’s seminal OK Computer and having missed the first time they performed these pieces I’ve eager to get a second chance.

Tuesday, March 12 – The Parish (11:00PM) – Official Showcase
Saturday, March 16 – Esther’s Follies (1:00AM) – Official Showcase

– Brian Audette

Frank Turner


My second SXSW pick is England’s own punk troubadour Frank Turner, former front man of the little-known mid 00’s hardcore group Million Dead. Having recently garnered a smattering of new fans from his performance at last year’s Olympic games, Frank Turner’s music combines roots rock and folk style with a punk ethos, resulting in a musical fusion that won me over earlier this year when I first came in contact with his sophomore release “Love Ire and Song”. Catching acts from across the globe is part of what makes SXSW great and I’ll be eagerly awaiting Frank Turner’s showcase at Blackheart on Friday.

Friday, March 15 – Blackheart (1:00AM on Saturday) – Official Showcase
Saturday, March 16 – Cedar Street Courtyard (12:50AM on Sunday) – Official Showcase

– Brian Audette

Maya Vik


Maya Vik sports a seemingly permanent perm/fro combo and shouldn’t be too hard to miss this week at SXSW. She is a former bassist for award-winning Norwegian band Montee and has stretched out on her own in the last couple of years with two solo albums, Chateau Faux-Coupe (2011) and Bummer Gun (2012). Haters will say that she sounds too similar to fellow Scandinavian pop singers Robyn and Annie, but her fans will say that she sounds just like Robyn and Annie. Her synthed-out blissful pop takes the best of Scandinavian pop and filters it through an Italo Disco filter. When it results in hazy earworms like “On It (Kapow!)” this should only be embraced with open arms and active hips.

Friday, March 15 – The Iron Bear (8:00PM) – Unofficial Party

– Carter Delloro



CHVRCHES, the electropop trio out of Scotland, have been building buzz as potentially one of the SXSW showcasing artists that is set to break out to be huge this year. Backed by a few amazing singles, CHVRCHES have already built a strong following both in the UK and the US. Last week, they sold out The Independent in San Francisco and received a wave of positive feedback about their live show. The trio is set to release their debut EP Recover at the end of March and now is the chance to possibly catch any new material they have live. If you’re at all into Purity Ring and M83 you need to see CHVRCHES while they’re here for SXSW. They’re playing quite a few shows around town but I recommend trying to get in to see them early since buzz and attention around this band is humming.

Wednesday, March 13 – Red 7 Patio (12:30AM on Thursday) – Official Showcase
Thursday, March 14 – Fader Fort (1:30PM) – Fader + Converse Fort

– Daniel Valle



I stumbled across BRAIDS during SXSW last year and was struck by their expansive soundscapes and the power of singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice. Since then, I’ve been hooked on Native Speaker, their debut release, and am looking forward to hearing more off their sophomore album which is due out this year. BRAIDS’ art rock incorporates heavy looping, drippy guitar effects and booming percussion. Hearing and watching all of that come together in one room is captivating and inspires a hushed deference among the crowd. This year, Blue Hawaii, Raphaelle’s side project, will also be playing some showcases around town. Blue Hawaii’s sound is more electronic and IDM-like than BRAIDS. To hear a sample of their sound, check out “In Two” and “In Two II.” I recommend checking out both bands at Swan Dive where the acoustics are great and the crowd is a little less rowdy.

Wednesday, March 13 – Swan Dive (2:15PM) – BrooklynVegan SXSW Day Party
Thursday, March 14 – Swan Dive (7:20PM) – Official Showcase

– Daniel Valle