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SXSW buzz: Who has it?

SXSW excitement surrounds bands as attendees blog, tweet and talk about upcoming shows

Staff Writer
Austin 360

So many bands perform during SXSW almost 2,000 that, except in a few cases, it's impossible to accurately gauge who has the highest level of hype or buzz or whatever you want to call it as vans packed with gear race toward Austin. The best we can do is to listen to people talking in different places, online and off, and make our own educated conclusions.

There are exceptions, such as the case of grungy Los Angeles rap collective Odd Future, who weren't even scheduled to be at the festival until an appearance in the middle of February on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" — one of the their first national performances — propelled them from indie rap sensations to mainstream phenoms. Hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits later Odd Future are one of SXSW's most wanted. Buzz can backfire, though. Four Loko-strength hype on the front end can lead to a disappointing trip home if a group doesn't deliver.

Below are musicians heading into this week with a good deal of momentum, whether they like it or not. Some have been around for awhile, others, not so much.

— Peter Mongillo

New(ish) faces:

James Blake

The British dubstep artist already has found himself on best-of lists in the U.K. for his mellow, soulful vocals on songs that range from the psychedelic to a cover of Feist's "Limit to Your Love." He has slowly made his way onto the radar of U.S. music blogs, who have thrown around comparisons to Bon Iver.

The Vaccines

Another British act, this time of the garage rock variety. The band's sound recalls the Ramones and the Strokes. Their debut album, "What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?" was out Monday.

Odd Future

Barely old enough to drink legally, this L.A. hip-hop collective lays down shocking, definitely-not-family-friendly rhymes sometimes reminiscent of groups like the Geto Boys. Leader Tyler the Creator already has scored an online hit with his video for the song ‘Yonkers.'

Tune-yards

The San Francisco-based project of Merrill Garbus, Tune-yards has earned praise from Rolling Stone and elsewhere for her groove-heavy experimental pop. "Bizness," the first single from her new album "whokill," combines layers of electronica and Afropop to create an unusual and surprisingly catchy jam.

Yuck

There is no shortage of love for the self-titled debut from his London-based, multinational rock group. They are not shy about owning their influences, which include '90s rockers such as Pavement, the Jesus and Mary Chain and Yo La Tengo. Their addictive single "Georgia" would be at home on a Dinosaur Jr. record.

Also look out for: Esben and the Witch, the Smith Westerns, Hip Hop Pantsula, Sarah Jaffe, Toro y Moi.

You might know:

Wild Flag

This super-group consists of Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney), Mary Timony (Helium) and Rebecca Cole. Their single "Glass Tambourine" holds the promise of a rocking live set, with plenty of thumping drums and '70s metal guitar.

Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl and Co. are back with a new album that includes contributions from former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic. They're playing mtvU's Woodie Awards tonight. Should be one of the toughest tickets in town this week.

The Strokes

The hipster royalty was here in October for Austin City Limits Music Festival, but they're back with new material, which, based on the handful of tracks out so far, represents a return to form.

Kanye West

It seems physically impossible for him to stay away, transforming Seaholm on Saturday in "Vevo Power Station."

Wu-Tang Clan

Like the Strokes, Wu-Tang was here in the fall, but on a much smaller scale with a show at Emo's. This time around they have a recent tour under their belts and a much bigger venue at Austin Music Hall, which should make for a high-energy show.

Other big names scheduled to play: Duran Duran, Cee-Lo Green, De La Soul, Big Boi, Lupe Fiasco and Snoop Dogg.

pmongillo@statesman.com