30 Under 30: The 2013 SXSW Guide To The Hottest Young Bands

Every year South by Southwest serves as the launching pad for a handful of young bands. Here are 30 of the best bands performing this year with members under the age of 30. If you’re making the trek to SXSW, join Taco Bell® and their FEED THE BEAT® program at the Hype Hotel on 3/11 to take part in an experimental, fan-made Rockumentary with Passion Pit and Wildcat! Wildcat!. If you aren’t lucky enough to be there in person, fear not, you can follow the action, work alongside the film’s director, and watch the live streaming concert at FeedTheBeat.com. Live Más!® posted on

1. Wildcat! Wildcat!

One of the gems of this year’s lineup is Wildcat! Wildcat!, a band poised to breakout over the next year.

2. Alt-J

This British quartet has been generating tremendous buzz with their debut album, An Awesome Wave.

3. Beach Fossils

Beach Fossils, has been creating atmospheric guitar pop since 2009 when the band was started as the side project of Dustin Payseur.

4. Angel Haze

This 21-year-old rising rap phenom from New York City turned the game on its head when she opened for Cat Power on her last tour… and it worked.

5. The Orwells

These Chicago garage rock kids have already released three records and sound like a sharper version of The Strokes. Oh yeah, they also just graduated high school in December.

6. Caitlin Rose

A 25-year-old sweetheart from Nashville making the rounds.

7. Charli XCX

Charli XCX is another blooming millennial joining the high ranks of house-related British pop.

8. Guards

Lead singer Richie Follin’s sister Madeline is that voice you recognize from the band Cults. His own band, Guards, is just as dreamy.

9. Easter Island

This quintet of brothers Ethan and Asher Payne, Nathan Thompson, John Cable, and Andrew Terrell are following in the footsteps of legendary Athens, Georgia bands like REM.

10. Dawes

Another band with brothers, this time from Laurel Canyon. Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, joined by Tay Strathairn and Wylie Gelber, are releasing their third LP this year, Stories Don’t End, on their very own label.

11. Social Studies

San Francisco’s Social Studies are touring in support of their moody and fantastic new album, “Developer”.

12. Foxygen

If you take every band that was loved around 1968 and put them in a blender, but had them sing songs about being a twentysomething today, you’d get Foxygen .

13. Dent May

Former ukulele noodler, Dent May has grown into a fully fledged crooner with electric pop beneath his unique voice.

14. Telekinesis

Telekinesis is the pseudonym of 27-year-old Seattle-based musician Michael Benjamin Lerner, raising the power pop flag for a generation less familiar with the genre.

15. Roadkill Ghost Choir

These dudes from Deland, Florida are riding the wave of rock and bluegrass fusion that’s been coming from the town for the last few years.

16. Sky Ferreira

This 21-year-old’s song “Everything is Embarassing” was New York Magazine’s #1 song of 2012.

17. Prince Rama

Prince Rama is the spaced-out, part-band, part-conceptual art project of sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson. The duo spent part of their childhood growing up in a Hare Krishna commune in Florida.

18. Kendrick Lamar

This Compton-based 25-year-old managed to release the most critically acclaimed record of 2012 - “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City” - effortlessly evolving into a classic.

19. Ratking

This young rap crew from New York was the only 2012 signee to the elite label XL Recordings, whose roster boasts Vampire Weekend, Sigur Ros, and Thom Yorke among others.

20. Disclosure

This youthful pair from London had a breakout hit in 2012 with their dubby pop single “Latch” and will tour the states for the first time following SXSW.

21. Natural Child

Filthy garage rock from Nashville. It’s like if the dudes in Lynyrd Skynyrd had children that were raised on a strict diet of coffee and candy.

22. Dune Rats

These Australian skate punks have awesome guitar lines and are exceptionally chill.

23. Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the New Zealand/American band, will be bringing their minimalist, psychedelic rock to the festival. Their sophomore album, II, is a fulfillment of their continued promise.

24. Earl Sweatshirt

He’s back on the surface after a time in hiding, having gone solo from Odd Future. Will he be 2013’s hip-hop Frank Ocean?

25. Palma Violets

This four-piece lo-fi rock band from London has been hailed as the breakout British band of the year.

26. Haim

This electro-pop band out of LA includes three sisters. Their sound bridges the gap between 70’s classic rocks and 90’s synthesizer pop.

27. Parquet Courts

Filthy garage rock out of Brooklyn = Fun times.

28. Gold Fields

Australia’s Gold Fields, an electro-pop quintet, came out of nowhere in 2012 and are now frequently opening for the biggest bands touring Down Under.

29. Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot, the college band turned indie-darlings have come a long way from their Syracuse, New York days. See the sci-fi influenced album first-hand at this year’s fest.

30. Passion Pit

And last but not least, the incomparable Passion Pit will be bringing their pop goodness to SXSW as one of the most in-demand bands of the weekend. Catch them live on 3/11 at the Hype Hotel and at FeedTheBeat.com.

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