SXSW 2017: Bands You Should Check Out

todayFebruary 11, 2017 17

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By Cain Hernandez
Music Journalist

In the coming days of SXSW 2017, I thought it would be fitting to showcase some of the great, slightly understated, acts that I’m looking forward to. If you don’t plan on attending this year’s SXSW festival, then hopefully you’ll discover some great new music on this list. Also, most of these bands are pretty prolific with their touring, so you’ll probably get a chance to see them live at some point. Just keep an eye out for their tour announcements.

Here is a complete list of bands I would love to catch. Realistically, I’ll probably only make it out to a handful of these shows, so I’ll focus on my top tier picks (marked with **):

Avi Buffalo Hockey Dad
Baked Ian Sweet**
Beach Slang** Jay Som
Big Thief LVL UP**
Chastity Belt** Meat Wave
Cherry Glazerr The Mystery Lights
Death Valley Girls The National Parks
Deep Sea Diver NE-HI
Diet Cig No Joy
Guantanamo Baywatch Priests**
Gymshorts Sad13
Heat White Reaper

Beach Slang

I was introduced to Beach Slang around the tail end of 2015. Their debut album, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, was popping up on multiple year-end lists, so I thought I’d listen to the album and find out what all the fuss was about. Turns out all the praise they received on their Polyvinyl debut was well justified. The album is filled with catchy, yet aggressive pop-punk tracks that I instantly resonated with. In fact, Beach Slang’s debut—along with other bands like Japandroids and Cloud Nothings—got me back into genres like punk and garage rock.


LVL UP are a four-piece, lo-fi, indie rock outfit from Brooklyn. The group released their Sub Pop Records debut, Return to Love, last September. Something I really respect about this band is their need to challenge themselves. As a matter of fact, LVL UP gave themselves an ultimatum before the recording of Return to Love: either get signed to a label like Sub Pop, Merge or Matador, or break up. I suppose that might be a bit arrogant, but I think it’s great that they set such high standards for themselves.


Priests are a punk/post-punk outfit from Washington, D.C. Not that being from D.C. automatically makes them a great punk band, but the city is known for having a highly influential punk scene. If you’ve never heard of Priests, I strongly urge you to stop reading, open your music streaming app of choice, and listen to this band. Fans of punk or punk sub-genres will feel right at home with Priests, and they just dropped their new album, Nothing Feels Natural, a couple weeks ago!

Chastity Belt

I’m fairly new to Chastity Belt’s music—I’ve only been listening to them for a few months—but both of their albums, No Regrets and Time to Go Home, have quickly become favorites of mine. Even though I recently started listening to the group, “Black Sail” off No Regrets was among my most played songs of 2016.


This is another group that’s been on my radar for some time. IAN SWEET is a grungy indie rock band from Los Angeles, California. This band started as a solo project from lead singer Jillian Medford called IAN—taken from her childhood nickname. With the recruitment of Tim Chaney (drums) and Damien Scalise (bass), IAN SWEET solidified themselves as a trio, and began touring across the country. Their debut full-length album Shapeshifter, dropped last September, and I still find myself listening to it regularly.


Featured image by Daniel Benavides from Austin, TX (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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