Some of the artists who descend on Texas for this year's South By Southwest (SXSW) festival will soon step up to greater success. Here are 10 who will get some attention.


When people apply the label "noise rock" to Montreal band AIDS Wolf, they're not using it as shorthand for "music that sounds a little odd." AIDS Wolf is loud, abrasive and has been compared to the sound of a 10-car pileup. But underneath the layers of deafening feedback and Chloe Lum's howls are surprisingly complicated chord progressions and even hints of melody. Influenced by everyone from Captain Beefheart to French avant-garde artists to the Cramps, AIDS Wolf seems to have little regard for popular music and instead focuses on pushing boundaries. It's not for the faint of heart, but if indie-pop is beginning to grate, AIDS Wolf is a fantastic and cathartic alternative.


The recent Secretly Canadian signees will set out on a U.S. tour in March to celebrate the stateside release of their "Mystery" EP. The band blends its South African roots with a dash of rock and soul and cites influences like Jimi Hendrix, Peter Tosh and Led Zeppelin. But BLK JKS, who refer to their sound as "psychedelic rock dub," are most often compared to TV on the Radio. Notable tracks on their EP like "Lakeside," which embodies South African township grooves, and the dark and threatening reggae jam "Summertime" are bound to expand their fan base at this year's festival.

Cut Off Your Hands

Leeching from the dramatic sounds of post-Cure acts like the Killers and Muse, New Zealand's Cut Off Your Hands stir up emotional heartbreak into brooding, guitar-struck songs of ache and gloom. For its debut, "You & I," the band snagged über-glum producer Bernard Butler, who helped it carve out a handful of familiar pop-rock arrangements. While COYH get compared to acts like Franz Ferdinand and the Strokes, the outfit is at its best when slowing things down, like for such tracks as the swooning "Heartbreak" or the Clash-tinged "Oh Girl." Most of the group's subject matter dwells on bad girls and bad relationships, giving it a certain flair that former emo fans would gravitate toward.

Click here for the full list of acts to watch at this year's South By Southwest Music Conference.