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SXSW 2010: 20 Bands To Watch

SXSW

It's mid-March, which in the music business can only mean one thing: SXSW. It's advertised as Austin's annual ode to cutting-edge digital, film and music endeavors-but those who've been there know it can resemble a death march with beer and barbecue.

It's not easy to navigate four days of cutting-edge bands, overflowing bars and UT kids and L.A. hipsters gaping at each other on Sixth Street, but we're here to help. On the following pages, we present our exhaustive alphabetically arranged guide to the best and brightest at SXSW. Happy trails.

Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos del Quinto Patio
Antone's 213 West Fifth St.
Wednesday, March 17, 1 a.m.

Newly independent Mexican rock legend Maldita Vecindad is back with "Circular Colectivo," the band's first studio album in 12 years. The road warriors' SXSW show kicks off a run of U.S. dates lined up through the summer. The socially conscious set is out March 30 on Nacional Records with an iTunes pre-release in time for the festival.

Matt Morris
Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Eighth St.
Saturday, March 20, 10 p.m.

Matt Morris' and Justin Timberlake's friendship goes back to their Mickey Mouse Club days, but now the singer/songwriter is Timberlake's new artist on Tennman Records. The two made a splash with their "Hope for Haiti" cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," and Morris hopes to do the same with his recently released debut, "When Everything Breaks Open."

Mickey Factz
Beauty Bar Backyard, 617 E. Seventh St.
Saturday, March 20, 9:25 p.m.

Bronx-bred MC Mickey Factz will showcase his laudable rhyming chops at SXSW Beauty Bar Backyard. Factz also appears in the first commercial of the recently launched Honda campaign, Rhymes & Reason, which is a series of videos following the rapper in his bid to become successful. The first clip of the campaign features Factz in his stomping grounds and briefly depicts a teen version of him gazing at aspiring rappers in a cipher on a street corner and then in the booth laying vocals to his hit track, "Automatic."

MNDR
The Velveeta Room 521 E. Sixth St.
Wednesday, March 17, 12 a.m.

Oh, MNDR-the solo project of Amanda Warner-you came and you played some delightful electro pop. At a recent Brooklyn set, MNDR (pronounced "mander") quickly warmed up the crowd with her sardonic, brainy, 2010 take on electroclash. Warner has said she was inspired by dancehall and IDM and takes pride in being one of a handful of women who can twist knobs and talk gear with the nerdiest boys. She's a beautiful girl who knows how to work a synthesizer-what more could you want?

Yacht
Billboard Bungalow, 10 p.m. (Friday)

Following its unassuming 2007 debut, electronic duo Yacht began coloring outside the lines with last year's cracked pop opus "See Mystery Lights." Mixing visual artistry and oddball rhythms, Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans turn their far-reaching concepts into indelible jams like "Psychic City (Voodoo City)" and "Ring the Bell." Now signed to DFA Records, Yacht has become the cerebral complement to dance-ready labelmates LCD Soundsystem and the Juan Maclean.

Billboard's SXSW Guide written by: Ayala Ben-Yehuda, Judy Cantor-Navas, Mariel Concepcion, Ann Donahue, Cortney Harding, Monica Herrera, Jason Lipshutz, Gail Mitchell, Evie Nagy, Mitchell Peters, David J. Prince, Mark Sutherland and Ray Waddell.