If you're in Austin, do not miss these bands...!

Chances are you’re not at this year’s South By Southwest conference of all things musical – in other words a great big industry booze-up in the middle of Austin, Texas. But if you are, we’d like to take a moment of your time to outline a handful of must-see bands doing the rounds.

Note: these aren’t the big-hitters, the Metallica-size outfits that swan into town for a giggle. Oh no sir – the below-listed ten are merely acts that should see SXSW serve as a springboard to bigger and better things, as inebriated chequebook-waving sorts get their special places tickled by sweet, sweet song. Or, in some cases: horrible, ear-rapingly acerbic doom-drone.

So, if you’ve a Lone Star in one hand and your SXSW guide in the other, and this page open on your laptop in some Austin hotel room / 6th Street bar / taxi cab, be sure to see…

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Vivian Girls

New York-spawned all-gal trio delivery feisty punk-rock with plenty of old-school overtones, but harbouring a distinct pop edge. Their debut LP of last year – a self-titled effort on hella-acclaimed label In The Red – opened the doors of interest, and with each visit to the UK since the band have played to bigger and much-more-interested crowds. That said, their first ever London show, which Clash was at, was sold out… So they’ve pretty much been in business from the get-go.

See them: They play SEVEN shows on March 19 (today!) and four on March 20 (tomorrow!), plus they’ve a couple of shows booked at SXSW on the Saturday. Fingers crossed, you should at least accidentally stumble across them.

Hear them: MySpace

Vivian Girls – ‘Tell The World’

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Passion Pit

Probably the only band among the January 2009 flurry of hype to actually deliver an album worth the column inches – ‘Manners’, the group’s excellent debut, is out in May – Passion Pit are finding their live feet quite brilliantly, as Clash discovered when we caught the five-piece last month. Centred around the emotive vocals of lynchpin Michael Angelakos, the group’s electro-pop sound has never been a more commercially relevant proposition – expect their SXSW shows to be packed solid.

See them: A couple of shows today (March 19) including one with the Brooklyn Vegan blog, and they play the SPIN party on March 20.

Hear them: MySpace

Passion Pit – ‘Sleepyhead’

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Grizzly Bear

While hardly a new band – the Brooklyn group’s third album, ‘Vekatimest’, is released in May – Grizzly Bear seem set to have their best year yet in 2009, and SXSW could well open them up to plenty of new audiences as the industry en masse clicks with their sublime indie-rock. Their brand new track ‘Cheerleader’ – download it HERE – suggests that ‘Vekatimest’ could prove to be one of the year’s greatest records, so expect the band’s commercial stock to rise significantly in the next month or so.

See them: According to MySpace, it looks like they already played! Or perhaps they cancelled. Anyway, they’re so great we’re keeping them in this list.

Hear them: MySpace

Grizzly Bear – ‘Knife’

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We Have Band

From the established but expanding to the super-white-hot new – We Have Band are so fresh to the ears this writer has had to do some serious MySpacing just to get an impression of their bleep-tastic wares. Think Hot Chip lo-fi’ed into a Kitsune slop; Friendly Fires or CSS with the commercial sheen not exactly stripped, but certainly painted on a lot less thick. That’s not to say you cannae dance to these guys – if anything, you’ll be enraptured without even realising it. Yeah. This is the sound of now, now, so don’t wait ‘til tomorrow to get some.

See them: They’ve a tonne of SXSW dates including a set at the Clash Magazine showcase on March 21.

Hear them: MySpace

We Have Band – ‘Oh!’

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Jake One

Jake One’s production skills are there to hear on the new DOOM LP, but the man’s solo material is also well worth a look and listen. Think Dilla-style beat-weaving, which on his album ‘White Van Music’ is accompanied by vocals from the likes of Brother Ali and De La Soul; guest vocalists will be representing at SXSW for sure. He’ll not be in town for long, so if you’re holed up in Austin, make the effort yeah?

See him: The Rhymesayers party, TODAY, at the Habana Bar

Hear him: MySpace

Jake One – ‘The Truth’

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These Are Powers

If you dig Gang Gang Dance’s futurist tribal dance-rock, then These Are Powers need to be your next port of musical call, as their frenetic works mesmerise with alien prowess. The trio – Brooklyn via Chicago – released their latest LP ‘All Aboard Future’ last month, and Clash picked up ‘Life Of Birds’ as a Track of the Day. Suffice to say: we like, we like a lot. Expect your head to be muddled, but your dancing shoes to be thoroughly worked out ‘til sore.

See them: These Are Powers ahave their share of SXSW shows, but our pick’s the March 21 show with Ponytail (also ACE) at MyOpenBar, 6pm onwards. They also play the Dead Oceans/Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian showcase tonight.

Hear them: MySpace

These Are Powers – ‘Chipping Ice’

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Like we were going to let an opportunity pass to big up the Best Live Band In Britain (pretty much a FACT, but we’re open to your argument), who play alongside Gallows at our special Clash vs Relentless party, THIS AFTERNOON. You should probably be there – it’s the Dirty Dog, from midday. Get information HERE. The band’s debut album ‘Hey Everyone!’ is reviewed HERE.

See them: Like, d’uh. We just said. But they play the SAC Showcase tomorrow with Primal Scream, too.

Hear them: MySpace

Dananananaykroyd – ‘Black Wax’

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Obits feature Rick Froberg on guitar and vocals. Rick was in Hot Snakes. Before that he was in Drive Like Jehu. Before that he was in Pitchfork. If none of this makes sense to you… Look, just go see Obits, okay? (Debut album ‘I Blame You’ is forthcoming on Sub Pop – another seal of approval right there.)

See them: They play a handful of shows but our pick is the VICE SAVES TEXAS gig with Wavves and Titus Andronicus, on March 21.

Hear them: MySpace

Obits – ‘Two Headed Coin’ (live)

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Mika Miko

Honestly, what’s not to like about radical chicks making radical punk-rock? Nothing… there’s nothing not to like. Everything is gravy, so to speak. Mika Miko can be grouped alongside HEALTH and No Age as part of LA’s Smell scene – i.e. they’ve played the all-ages venue of the same name – but their music’s a lot more… what’s the word? Itchy. Yes, itchy. It’s lo-fi, punk itchiness. And it’s right brilliant good – like Vivian Girls without the reverb and more gang vocalising.

See them: EVERYWHERE! Like Vivian Girls, Mika Miko are doing the rounds with some serious commitment. Our pick: the Smell showcase on March 21, with the band on at 2pm. (See them in the UK in May.)

Hear them: MySpace

Mika Miko in Business Cats

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Wolves In The Throne Room

Quite the curveball, eh? If all the above’s too pussy for you, get along to Washington State’s WITTR and their epic dirge, taking doom metal into new realms of drifting malevolence and frankly pant-shitting volume; it’s black metal for an age where black metal’s, y’know, pretty funny. That they’re signed to Southern Lord should (a) tell you everything you need to know about their fuck-yourself-sideways sound, and (b) either convince you to see them or leave you cowering in your hotel room. Like a fucking weed.

See them: At Emo’s, on March 20.

Hear them: MySpace

Wolves In The Throne Room – ‘Vastness & Sorrow’ (live)

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