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.
If you pay attention to the sort of media that reasonably expects its audience to scroll through a list of 300 albums, you already know the fetching story of Shamir Bailey. A 20-year-old, male-pronoun-approving, gender-fluid African-American who grew up in Vegas and played country music until enough bizzers told him they didn’t know how to… More »