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Our essential guide to the must-see bands of SXSW

Posted at 4:15 pm, March 18, 2012 in Music & Nightlife

Unless you’ve had a bump to the head or are in a state of London-locked denial, you probably already know that the annual South by South West festival took place this week. In dive bars and conference halls in the depths of Austin, Texas, flurries of journalists, indie labels and A&Rs have been manically scrabbling to find the bands to tip, tweet, sign and slag off this year, rushing around the district to find which barbecue parties Jay Z and his US megastar ilk will be performing secret sets at, or the most exclusive after-parties to mingle at. It’s the best place in the world to find new music and tell everyone about back home and it finishes today (March 18).

Alas, we’re not there either, so we know how you feel. But we do know the hottest UK acts causing a stir there this year. And better still, to save the FOMO syndrome (that’s ‘Fear of Missing Out’) from truly setting in, here’s where to catch them play in London too. Clare Considine 

Django Django
A huge hit on the catwalks at London Fashion Week 2012, this four-piece are sure to woo the SXSW with their jangly brand of genre-hopping psychedelia. Their incredibly anthemic latest single ‘Default’ is guaranteed to be a stand-out track of the festival. See Django Django live.

Michael Kiwanuka
Grime-pop rapper Chipmunk’s ex-session guitaris, Kiwanuka, has been compared to everyone from Bill Withers to Otis Redding since stepping out on his own and into the limelight. But the Uganda-born, delicately soulful artist, who topped the BBC’s Sound of 2012 list, has a sound all of his own and is destined for big things this year. See Michael Kiwanuka live.

Dry The River
Pastoral folk quintet that write songs about bible belts and Shaker hymns out of their bedrooms in east London. They’re also our ones to watch at our next London Sessions so we doubly like them, we do. See Dry The River live.

Clock Opera
Frenetic, bleep-ridden synth-rock from Guy Connelly’s CO project who’ve supported (and remixed brilliantly) Marina and the Diamonds, Yeasayer and Everything Everything. For an idea of their sound, imagine The Maccabees’s Orlando Weeks laying down vocals for Animal Collective – or just listen to the video (above). See Clock Opera live.

The Staves
If Laura Marling, Gemma Hayes and Joni Mitchell started a folk band, they’d sound like these sisters from Watford, whose startling harmonies will captivate any audience.

Charli XCX
Quirk-pop gal Charli XCX, who’s been working with hip producer Alex Metric and, more recently, attitudinal Scandi-electro princess Robyn.

Big Deal
This boy-girl outfit sing songs of lust and longing that have the musical world speculating on their Facebook relationship statuses. Their atmospheric tracks, however, certainly live up to the hype.

Brooklyn-based buzz band – originally from Colorado, endorsed by both Yeasayer and MGMT and whose impossibly catchy ‘Bruises’ featured on an iPod advert – have just released their impressive and awesome follow-up album ‘Something’. Expect an immersive live show of dramatic and crystal clear falsetto-lined synth-pop. See Chairlift live.

A$AP Rocky
The Clams Casino-produced rapper behind last year’s most talked about mixtape now has a $3m record deal and some serious pressure on his shoulders. See A$AP Rocky live.

The dubstep urchin that swallowed the genre with some menacing, clashing electro-house jaws is one of the most controversial artists at the festival this year, not least for his part in taking the sound outside of its comfort zone and delivering it to America’s fraternity massive. Still, his monstrous live show is a spectacle to behold and he carries it all off with the swagger of a rock frontman. See Skrillex live.

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