Next week is going to be the biggest week in music that Texas sees all year, with not one but two incredible festivals happening – the legendary South By Southwest in Austin and the ever-growing South By So What?! in Dallas. Started as a one-day event in 2008, South By So What?! – which focuses on heavier music than SXSW – has grown over the past six years to its current size: a fullblown three-day fest featuring massive headliners like Taking Back Sunday, Bring Me The Horizon, and The Devil Wears Prada. There are tons of amazing bands playing this year who you don’t need to be told to check out (take a look at the full list here), but to make sure you also find some of the lesser-known gems on the lineup, here are ten up-and-coming artists we think your SBSW experience wouldn’t be complete without in this week’s Tuesday Ten.
Buy tickets to South By So What?! here!
If you’re longing for the passionate screaming and tempestuous onslaught of The Chariot’s glory days, vocalist Josh Scogin’s latest project is here to save the day. ’68’s set South By So What is sure to bring back fond memories of pits The Chariot once enticed. Blending melodic hardcore with classic rock n’ roll, the band brings an extra edge you haven’t heard yet, which is about the only thing that sets ’68 apart from its predecessor. So when you’re roaming SBSW grounds next weekend, don’t let the band slip your mind or your schedule – but only if you’re ready to oust your current favorite band to make way for ’68. Emillie Marvel
A Lot Like Birds
Fronted by singer Kurt Travis (formerly of Happiness-era Dance Gavin Dance), California post hardcore band A Lot Like Birds are a must-see at this year’s South By So What Festival. In a festival full of great bands, this group brings the necessary live energy to make them a standout. If you like your heavy guitars and borderline screams with a dash of some unexpectedly enjoyable melodies and lyrics, this band is for you. Prep your visit to Texas by listening to their newest album No Place and thank us later. (Alyssa Dempsey)
Bleach Blonde want to take you away to an endless summer. And with their catchy riffs, nostalgic lyrics, and soaring vocals, they’ve got something for every SBSW-goer. Featuring Danny Stillman and Danny Cooper of Drop Dead, Gorgeous, this band already has the knowledge for success, and they’ve used it to take their music down a different road with a sound that’s a far cry from Stillman’s metalcore days. Their 2013 debut album Starving Artist is a compelling listen from start to finish, with an anthemic feel that is sure to take the stage by storm at SBSW. If you’re looking for something that stands apart from the crowd, don’t wait around – this is the band for you. Just be prepared to have them stuck in your head long after the festival’s over. (Alex Bear)
If you’re looking for a straight up hardcore band to see at South By So What, look no further than Expire. Heavy guitars, fast beats, and raw lyrics – the band never ceases to make their audience get rowdy. Making an appearance at Day 3 of SBSW, the band also has stops coming up at South By South West, Today’s Mixtape Festival, New England Hardcore & Metal Fest, Rain Fest, and Southeast Beast, seemingly making them a festival staple. With a new album slated for release this year on Bridge Nine Records, Expire are ready to take charge and make a statement. (Alexa Gallo)
Dallas natives Fever Dreamer might take you by surprise at the festival this spring. If you happen to walk by their set, you’ll want to stop and listen for a few minutes. Newly signed to Sumerian Records in early February, the band is expected to make a big impact this year. Their latest single “A Month of Sunshine” blends rhythmic rock and captivating melody in a song with a classic feel that takes on a catchy, modern chorus. A new EP and the festival spotlight at South By So What should help propel Fever Dreamer into visibility. (Hannah Pierangelo)
Cleveland’s Light Years have been building up a dedicated fanbase since their formation in 2009. Following the release of their 2013 debut album I Won’t Hold This Against You via Paper + Plastick, they’ve been on tour just about non-stop with other notable up-and-coming bands like Neck Deep, You Blew It!, and Real Friends, carrying on the torch in the music industry. Known for their energetic live show, Light Years will without a doubt put on an unforgettable performance at this year’s SBSW with their refreshing blend of fast and catchy pop punk that keeps listeners and concert-goers singing along. (Emily Yee)
Labelling themselves rock and post hardcore, Lions Lions certainly fit the bill for South By So What, drawing influence from the likes of Underoath, Thrice, and Four Year Strong. But what makes the Boston-based quintet so interesting is their mastery of fast tempos, heavy, drumming styles, and vocals that define the hardcore genre combined with their raw, natural ability to produce much more mellow material. Whether festival-goers prefer heavy music, indie, or maybe something a little more pop punk, Lions Lions will deliver something for everyone. Listen to “The Undertow” and “Our Colors” from their album To Carve Our Names to hear the diversity that makes Lions Lions worth checking out. (Alyson Stokes)
My Iron Lung
Falling somewhere between the depths of emo and post hardcore, My Iron Lung are ready to bring something a little different to the South By So What crowd. With rough vocals over clean instrumentation, the juxtaposition the band brings to their recordings and live show is one to watch out for. Having toured nonstop since the release of their EP Grief on Pure Noise Records, the band lands at SBSW in the midst of their tour with Being As An Ocean. Having just recorded new music, My Iron Lung are bound to make 2014 their year so be sure to get ahead of the curve and catch their set. (Alexa Gallo)
With powerful songs that call to mind legendary bands like Thrice, LA’s Silver Snakes show a remarkable musical command that makes it hard to believe they’ve only been together a few years. Their debut full-length Year of the Snake, just released this week on Bridge Nine Records, features eleven tracks of measured intensity, perfectly blending no-holds-barred heaviness with a strong sense of melody and control. The album title marks a promise: 2014 is going to be Silver Snakes’ year. Stop by their set on Day 1 and find out why. (Eleanor Grace)
This Wild Life
South By So What is mostly known for showing off the latest and greatest in heavy music. But sneaking into the Day 3 lineup is one interesting addition: an acoustic duo from Long Beach, California called This Wild Life, consisting of Kevin Jordan on vocals/guitar and Anthony Del Grosso on guitar. Heavily influenced by Dashboard Confessional, the band crafts catchy tunes featuring vividly honest lyrics and perfect melodies. Although it might seem strange, the band actually enjoys playing with heavy acts – as evidenced by their upcoming tour opening for Being As An Ocean – which makes them a suitable fit for the festival. The band will also be on the entire Vans Warped Tour for the first time this summer, so if you’re heading out to SBSW, definitely take advantage of the opportunity to catch the band before they blow up this year. (Catherine Yi)
[Editor’s note: This Wild Life had been scheduled to play SBSW at the time this article was published but are no longer playing. We still think you should check em out, though.]