SXSW 2012: 13 SoCal bands to watch in Austin


So what’s your flavor, South by Southwest? Because these southern California bands are doing battle to get their music on your plates. On Friday we posted a 44-song mixtape featuring SoCal bands performing at SXSW, and frankly that wasn’t enough. Buzz Bands LA, of course, has nine bands who tickle our fancy playing our “Dear Austin, Love, L.A.” event on Wednesday, For the purposes of our annual Bands to Watch preview, though, we’re just going to imagine two acts apiece from each part of the musical menu arm-wrestling for your taste buds.

Here a sampler platter:

Dead Sara vs. Electric Flower

Dead Sara’s debut of unhinged bluesy rock is out April 10. The single “Weatherman” is already in rotation at L.A.’s 98.7 FM.; they’ve got summer plotted as a featured band on the Warped Tour; we liked the first whiff of “Lemon Scent” last June. SXSW dates.

||| Download: “Lemon Scent”

Electric Flower brings together guitar god Imaad Wasif and Secret Machines drummer Josh Garza to create sheaths of riffs and rhythms that seem more psychic that psychedelic. It’s a spectacle. SXSW dates.

||| Download: “Four16”

Robert DeLong vs. Capital Cities

Robert DeLong’s electronica has sparks of pop, folk, house, dubstep and glitch. It’s enough to make your head spin, or at least your body shake. SXSW dates.

||| Stream: Robert DeLong, “Happy”

Capital Cities, the collaboration between Sebu Simonian and Ryan Merchant, deal in big party anthems that have won them crowds all over Los Angeles (and beyond). Dance, jump, wear funny glasses, it’s OK. SXSW dates.

||| Stream: Capital Cities, “Safe and Sound”

Superhumanoids vs.White Arrows

Superhumanoids’ fusion of dreamy new wave and indie rock seduced us from the first EP, and they’ve been busy as remixers too. Oh, a full-length album would be nice. SXSW dates.

||| Stream: “Mikelah”:

White Arrows‘ spacey, agitated concoctions are equal parts tropical and garage, and they found their groove with this 7-inch for White Iris. Their new EP is due April 3, with a full-length planned for the summer. Getting a bright, print shirt to celebrate. SXSW dates.

||| Stream: “Get Gone”

Milo Greene vs. Races

Milo Greene’s transcendent folk-pop won us over in two songs or less, and the quintet has an album en route this summer via Chop Shop/Atlantic. SXSW dates.

||| Download: “1957”

Races’ equally transcendent pop offers a slightly harder edge, and a Broken Social Scene-like sprawl. Their debut “Year of the Witch” is out March 27 via Frenchkiss Records. Interview. SXSW dates.

||| Download: “Big Broom”

Black Flamingo vs. Nick Waterhouse

Black Flamingo is what goth would have sounded like in a beachfront hut in the 1960s. From their first EP, there was something affecting about their combination of fuzz and melody, and we’re ready for an album. SXSW dates.

||| Download: “Proud Head”

Nick Waterhouse dispenses the sounds of the 1950s with a great degree of attitude and authority. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a time machine in Austin. SXSW dates.

||| Download: “Some Place”

Bleached vs. FIDLAR

Bleached’s girl-group garage rock mines the edgiest corners of the ’60s, and three 7-inch releases later, they’re a phenomenon. “Searching Through the Past” indeed. SXSW dates.

||| Download: “Searching Through the Past”

FIDLAR stands for F*ck It Dog, Life’s a Risk (if you didn’t know that already) and they play catchy, unhinged surf- and skate-punk like they’re trying to beat curfew. Not that they’d car about curfew anyhow. SXSW dates.

||| Download: “I Wanna Be Your Cocaine”


LP is a small package with huge pipes. The New York-bred, L.A.-based songstress has electrified local clubs with a batch of under-the-radar gigs and support sets, incubating her act for Warner. How to describe her music? Well, it’s rock played largely with folk instruments. It’s so big, though, I’m gonna go with “arena folk rock.” Oh, she whistles too. SXSW dates.

||| Stream: LP, “Into the Wild” (live):

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