Some 2,000 bands will make the trip to Austin, Texas, March 17-21 for the 23rd annual South by Southwest music conference, each boasting a great story, a killer song, or something else unique that earned them an invitation to perform. It's rock'n'roll overload.
Don't freak out: SPIN's editors have cut the deck, pouring over this year's roster of talent and whittling it down to 50 essential, must-hear acts. Browse our picks, find out why each act matters this year, and hear their music!
We've also compiled a free album featuring music from many of the bands on this list -- click here to download it now!
And to stay on top of everything SXSW-related, be sure to follow @SPINsxsw on Twitter, as well as our mothership Twitter handle, @SPINmagazine.
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