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From hundreds of local bands playing SXSW, here are 10 that stand out


Hundreds of Austin bands play South by Southwest every year. Our music writers choose a handful that are worthy of attention.

Sweet Spirit. Andrew Cashen and Sabrina Ellis’ other band, A Giant Dog, is pushing an upcoming Merge Records debut and consequently, is likely to get a bigger bounce out of the fest. But this outfit brings an ecstatic barrage of sound, an irresistible mix of upbeat pop and doo wop with just the right amount of soul. Their live shows are deliriously entertaining and these artists are in their moment and will shine bright. (10 p.m. March 19, Parish) — D.S.S.

Carson McHone. Ensconced in Austin’s young indie scene but writing songs that sidle up to the city’s longstanding country-folk troubadour tradition, McHone got a lot of attention for her first full-length album, “Goodluck Man,” last year. (9 p.m. Tuesday, Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room; 4 p.m. Thursday, Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake) — P.B.

Golden Dawn Arkestra. No other band better exemplifies a new school interpretation of Austin weird. The colorfully costumed Arkestra channels transmissions from long-abandoned jazz flop houses, uncharted interstellar pathways and the Mercury Lounge on Sixth Street ca. 1999. With a core group of phenomenally talented instrumentalists, they weave afrobeat, avant jazz and psychedelia into a highly danceable mix. (11:10 p.m. Tuesday, Maggie Mae’s Rooftop) — D.S.S.

Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow. Working partly with Spoon’s Jim Eno, indie singer-songwriter Falconberry and her band created richly textured moodscapes on their upcoming album “From the Forest Came the Fire,” due out next month on the Modern Outsider label. (10 p.m. Wednesday, ScratcHouse Backyard) — P.B.

Riders Against the Storm. While other artists work on building a fanbase, husband/wife hip-hop duo RAS remains committed to building a movement. It’s bigger than hip-hop. They combat injustice and oppression with healing energy. They’re also whip-smart rhyme slingers with an uncanny knack for harnessing booty moving grooves, making this the most exhilarating revolution that’s never been televised. (8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Empire Garage; 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Soho Lounge) — D.S.S.

My Jerusalem. An emotionally charged rock foursome led by Jeff Klein, who supplemented past solo albums with sideman stints in the Twilight Singers and Gutter Twins, My Jerusalem recently announced a deal with Washington Square Records for their new album due out this summer. (Midnight March 18, Esther’s Follies) — P.B.

Charlie Belle. The teen sibling duo is getting a lot of attention for their precocious charm, but it’s their fresh, lyrically incisive indie pop that really deserves the shout out. Either way, these kids are way cooler than you were in high school. (9:20 p.m. Tuesday, Maggie Mae’s) — D.S.S.

Ume. Drawing upon punk, pop, indie and garage influences, this power trio fronted by charismatic singer Lauren Larsen turned heads with last year’s EP “Too Big World” on Dangerbird Records. (11 p.m. Tuesday, Sidewinder outside) — P.B.

Mélat. The Ethiopian-American singer raised in Austin has a rich, classic R&B and soul sound that’s been earning her looks from around the country. She exudes effortless romance with gauzy story songs that beckon with a sensuous warmth. (10:10 p.m. March 18, Karma Lounge) — D.S.S.

Jai Malano. Whether she’s singing original tunes from her recently released “Rocket Girl” or belting out classics such as “Hound Dog,” Malano puts her own distinctive stamp on everything with a powerhouse voice that recalls R&B and soul greats but blazes an adventurous new trail. (11 p.m. Thursday, Antone’s) — P.B.


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