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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Five SXSW Best Bets: Sleigh Bells, Best Coast + Three More Acts to Watch

Posted By on Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 6:08 PM

SXSW is the Kentucky Derby of American music festivals. It's a quick race to the finish for up-and-coming bands to test their might and merit against their fellow musicians and friends -- all while enjoying as much free beer as possible. Here's a look at five of the favorites who have a chance of breaking at SXSW this year -- and earning opening slots for sweet, sweet headlining tours.


Sleigh Bells Sounds Like: Its tunes range from bombastic bass heavy hitters that could catch a dance floor on fire to breathy, Blow-like slow-pop jams. (Yes, they too are also a female-fronted boy/girl duo.)

Listen To: "A/B Machines" Odds of Breaking: 95% Why they will break: Besides being added to the line-up at the Levi's Fader Fort -- the SXSW venue/party known for its tastemaking qualities -- Sleigh Bells has had two thumbs up approval from Pitchfork, Stereogum and New York Times over the past six months. The duo will follow up its SXSW debut by going on tour with Major Lazer and then Yeasayer; in fact, you'll have a chance to see if Sleigh Bells lives up to the hype when its open for the latter band at the Gargoyle on April 26.

Best Coast Sounds Like: Easy breezy lo-fi pop hailing from Los Angeles Listen to: "That's the Way Boys Are" and "When I'm With You" Odds of Breaking: 90% Why they will break: Best Coast -- which is also referred to as the adorable nickname Besty Coasty -- already reigns over the lo-fi indie music kingdom as its Queen Bee. Recent appearances on KEXP and at the Beverly Hills Bloomingdale's confirms that the act's front woman, Bethany Cosentino, is writing and recording straightforward, sunny pop that's also unapologetically accessible. Currently she has two 7" releases available on Group Tightener and Dean Spuntz's PPM, and later this year will be releasing her debut LP -- probably on some awesome label.

Best Coast
  • Best Coast

Javelin Sounds like: Clever, experimental Providence, Rhode Island, DJs with an appreciation for 8-bit Listen to: Javelin's remix of The Very Best, "Julia (Javelin Re-do)" Odds of Breaking: 80% Why I have my doubts they'll break: David Byrne's world music label, Luaka Bop, will officially be releasing the Brooklyn duo's No Mas April 6 and it's easy to see that this pairing shares a common interest in playing with the idea of "world music." A strong musical and visual purpose clearly drives this pair of cousins, but the parts are greater than the watered-down sum. Live, the buzzworthy Brooklyners use enough electronics to make a submarine and are somewhat entertaining -- but overall, felt ho-hum, if last December's gigs were any indication. With a slew of shows in Austin and beyond (they'll be opening for These are Powers and Yeasayer, too) Javelin has hopefully tightened up their live knob-turning -- err, performance.

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