Editor’s Cut: SXSW ’11 band picks

Caroline Wallace

South by Southwest may not be until March, but that hasn’t stopped the powers at be from announcing the first 100 bands on the festival lineup.

Thanks to the folks over at Austin 360 for breaking this story.

While the list contains a whole host of bands from around the world, here are a couple of our early highlights.

Toronto electro magnates MSTRKRFT are one of the bigger names on the early lineup. They’ve made a name for themselves over the past five years for crafting highly danceable remixes, often sampling music from other electro and indie groups. From the World Eclectronic Music Festival to Bonnerro, MSTRKRFT has had a lot of festival experience. However, unless they are slated for the free Auditorium Shores Stage, which is unlikely, we know that South by Southwest is an atypical festival environment. We’ll see who joins their showcase, but a MSTRKRFT show would be a good choice for anyone looking to get their dance on.

Klaxons are a solid British Indie band with heavy psychedelic and new wave influences. Their 2007 album “Myths of the Near Future” opened at number 2 on the UK’s billboard charts and made a hit out of their first single “Golden Skans.” Their second album was released earlier this summer, and while it lacked some of the excitement of their first release, it still garnered positive reviews. If this were three years ago, this would have been the kind of show where people lined up around the block, but depending on who they play with, it may not be as hectic. Perhaps some solid shows at SXSW will help to remind fans why Klaxons caused so much buzz to begin with.

Kids of 88 only have one album under their belt, but this little electro/ new wave duo from New Zealand have a commercially successful sound that can turn any listening session into an instant party. Their first single, “My House,” spent 17 weeks on the New Zealand single chart. Even more impressive, that was more than a year before their first album, “Sugarpills,” was even released. You’d be hard pressed to find “Sugarpills” in America, but luckily you can get a taste of the band’s singles through their Myspace or iTunes.

St. Edward’s students will recognize Givers from their performance on campus earlier this semester. The Lafayette natives have also come through Austin to support Dirty Projectors, and most recently, to play ACL. With male-female harmonies and heavy percussion beats, these road warriors consistently put on a captivating, high-energy live show.

This isn’t New Zealand singer-songwriter Liam Finn‘s first stint at SXSW. His dreamy blend of indie pop and instrumental prowess dazzled audiences at a string of shows back at the 2008 festival. Any music trivia buffs may be interested to know that Finn is actually the son of another well-known Kiwi musician, Neil Finn of Crowded House and Split Enz fame.

SXSW will continue to announce more acts as the festival approaches. Who are you excited to see?