Pan Caliente: SXSW Preview

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The SXSW music conference is once again upon us. Bands looking for managers; managers looking for record labels; labels looking for bands; and, in between endless days of live music, brands dumping money into Austin like it’s the end of times.

While Mexican bands still dominate the fest heavily (due to proximity), the Colombian, Argentine, and Spanish representation is very strong this year. Here are the musica-indie bands we are excited about seeing this year at SX.

SXSW x Musica Indie

AveParadiso (Guadalajara, Mexico)

Sound: Sub-Tropical Indie

AveParadiso come on strong with an indie rock sound that almost borders on electronic-indie. They paint great melodic landscapes with synths and programming that is crisp. Oh, also it’s in English. Ok, I’ll bite.

Showcasing: Friday, March 16 at CU29

Balún (Brooklyn, NY)

Sound: Dream-Pop

A personal favorite of mine that’s evolved from rudimentary electro-pop into more of a noir dream-pop. Beautiful vocals and earwig melodies. See this band!

Showcasing: Thursday, March 15 at The Iron Bear / Friday, March 16 at Speakeasy

Juan Ingaramo (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Sound: Indie Pop

I got to catch Ingaramo at LAMC last year, and he was top 3 bands that I saw in NY. His vibe is funky and sexy. He has a great voice and a live sound that is big.

Showcasing: Wednesday, March 14 at The Main / Thursday, March 15 at Flatstock Stage

La Cuneta Son Machin (Managua, Nicaragua)

Sound: Cumbia

La Cuneta came out of nowhere 4 years ago to be nominated for a Grammy and haven’t backed down ever since. Their performances are vibrant and transmit an energy that is contagious. RIYL: Celso Piña, Quantic

Showcasing: Wednesday, March 14 at Flamingo Cantina / Thursday, March 15 at Flamingo Cantina

Luneta Mágica (Manaus, Brazil)

Sound: Psychedelic

The psychedelic sound has infiltrated music around the world like the plague, but it’s one I do not want cured. Mostly excited because so very few bands from Brazil make it to the U.S. to perform.

Showcasing: Saturday, March 17 at The Sidewinder Inside


The Marías (Los Angeles, CA)

Sound: Dream-Pop

It’s been a stellar year for the bilingual outfit. They released Vol 1 of an EP, that has kept them touring incessantly. They also plan to release Vol 2 sometime later this year. This is the type of band built for SXSW and I know audiences will relate.

Showcasing: Wednesday, March 14 at Radio Day Stage / Thursday, March 15 at Palm Door on Sixth / Friday, March 16 at Mohawk Outdoor


Mint Field (Tijuana, Mexico)

Sound: Shoegaze

I saw this band at Coachella 2 years ago, based on the recommendation from Bostich (of Nortec). They were pretty good, but relatively unknown. Turns out his daughter is in the band. Well, pedigree aside, they recently released a phenomenal album and I can’t wait to hear their growth on stage.

Showcasing: Wednesday, March 14 at Hotel Vegas Patio / Thursday, March 15 at Hotel Vegas Annex / Saturday, March 17 at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop

Payambó (Bogotá, Colombia)

Sound: Cumbia

Colombia has no shortage of bands that combine all the distinct musical heritage contained within. But there must be something special to this relative newcomer to the world’s stage. Excited to see how their garabato, mapale, and puya translate to a live show. RIYL: Systema Solar, Buyepongo

Showcasing: Friday, March 16 at Russian House / Saturday, March 17 at Flamingo Cantina

Señor Loop (Panama City, Panama)

Sound: Fusion

Down tempo, singer/songwriter approach that borders on rock pop. Interesting vocals and a career trajectory that has garnered them critical acclaim but kept them under the mainstream radar for whatever reason. RIYL: José González, Eddie Vedder

Showcasing: Friday, March 16 at Flamingo Cantina

The Zephyr Bones (Barcelona, Spain)

Sound: Indie Dream-Pop

Guitar driven, melodic, indie rock with enough echo-y vocals to make them sound slightly psychedelic (but not off-putting). They sing in English, but we won’t hold that against them. RIYL: Two Door Cinema Club, Temples

Showcasing: Wednesday, March 14 at Sounds From Spain at Bungalow/ Thursday, March 15 at Hotel Vegas at Volstead / Friday, March 16 at Hotel Vegas at Volstead

This year Jason Bentley, Anne Litt, and myself will be on the ground in Austin reporting back all of our great music discoveries. Remember to check back here to see and hear great new bands!

And, if you see me running around 6th St:

1) Don’t buy me a bratwurst

2) Say “hello,” but not for too long, we all have music to see!