The best parts of South by Southwest are the unexpected. Sure, you can wait in a line for three hours to see Jesus & Mary Chain in a club you're never getting into, or you can accidentally stumble into a room somewhere off Sixth Street and see something new. Here's a loose roadmap to six bands and artists we hope to inadvertently come across next week in Austin.
HAIM, Los Angeles, California :: Three young sisters from the San Fernando Valley raised in a classic-rock-playing family band take us back to the '80s halcyon days of Bret Easton Ellis immorality and proto-new-wave pop intrigue, with dashes of modern dream-pop and post-R&B thrown in. All Coreys, back off.
MERCHANDISE, Tampa, Florida :: Already with a cult following and a phenomenal, possibly career-defining 11-minute song ("Become What You Are") that was the best track of 2012, this ready-to-explode modern-rock band is making us rethink Florida. Vocalist Carson Cox has a mean neo-Morrissey thing going on, and their debut EP, Children of Desire, is emotive and passionate.
METZ, Toronto, Canada :: Already dogged by Bleach-era Nirvana comparisons (what a shame), METZ's unabashed noise-punk is augmented by one of the best live shows going. This ferocious trio, who dropped their debut LP for Sub Pop last year, are bound to leave Austin with tinnitus.
PALMA VIOLETS, London, UK :: On the cover of a recent issue of NME after releasing just two songs, Palma Violets, with their gritty garage-rock swagger and catchy guitar-pop, are poised to become the next Libertines. Let's hope they stay away from the smack.
SAVAGES, London, UK :: There's always a healthy obsession for late-'70s/early-'80s post-punk revivalism these days, but this bat-caving female quartet have a black-clad bite that most contemporaries are afraid to approach. We're not apologizing for comparing Jehnny Beth's vocals to Siouxsie's.
TYING TIFFANY, Padua, Italy :: A former Suicide Girl who's been releasing sinister electro singles since 2005, Tiffany darkens up the otherwise glossy girl-singing-electro-beats scene. Last year's textured Dark Days White Nights was a synth-punk revelation, and 2013's "One Second" is a throbbing single that steps out of darkwave shadows and into dance-pop's growing mainstream.
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