On November 19th, we were excited to see a second round of announcements from nationally known and well-respected Austin music conference South by Southwest (SXSW). What may have excited us even more was the healthy Midwest representation.


Take some time to check out and cheer on the following bands:

Andrew Belle | Chicago, IL | link

Andrew Belle is an American singer-songwriter. Originally from Wheaton, he moved to Nashville in 2009 and currently splits his time between there and Chicago. Black Bear, released August 2013, is the follow-up to his 2010 debut, The Ladder.

Buffalo Killers | Cincinnati, OH | link

After Cincinnati outfit, Thee Shams, broke up, three remaining members went on to form the Buffalo Killers. In October of 2006, the band released their self-titled debut and signed to Alive Records almost immediately afterwards. Subsequent releases include Let It Ride in 2008, 3 in 2011, Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. in 2012, and Ohio Grass on Record Store Day 2013.

Circuit des Yeux | Chicago, IL | link

Communist Daughter | Saint Paul, MN | link

Empires | Chicago, IL | link

The Giving Tree Band | Yorkville, IL | link

No strangers to success, The Giving Tree Band is heading back to Austin to showcase. Releases include: Unified Folk Theory (2007); Bring It Back Home For Christmas (2008); Great Possessions (2009); The Joke, The Threat & The Obvious (2010); Vacilador (2012).

Ha Ha Tonka | Springfield, MO | link

K’La | Gary, IN | link

Born in Gary, Brittanie K’la Buggs had dreams bigger than the confines of her small town. So, almost two years ago, she moved to Atlanta to pursue their dreams. K’La eventually met Music Line CEO Anthony Tate, and after rapping and singing for him, she was signed to the label last summer. K’La recently released a mixtape, “Coldest Winter Ever.” She’s currently working on her debut and hopes to keep it as “honest and relatable as possible,” she says.

Jeremy Messersmith | Minneapolis, MN | link

Ever since his 2005 debut, Messersmith has continued to perfect his pop sound. His music calls to mind Sufjan Stevens and Elliot Smith. Though unfortunately unskilled at gaming (hey – I didn’t say it, his brother did), Messersmith instead excels in music and composition. Currently signed with Glassnote Records, he has an album, Heart Murmurs, in the works for February.


Miss May I | Troy, OH | link

Hailing from The Buckeye State is metalcore outfit, Miss May I. Formed in 2006, the band released only a few albums before signing with Rise Records. Releases under that label include 2009’s Apologies Are for the Weak, 2010’s Monument, and 2012’s At Heart, with a fourth studio album in the works.

Rockie Fresh | Chicago, IL | link

Born in Chicago, Rockie Fresh began rapping in 2009 and signed to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group in 2012. Known for his alternatively influenced style of hip-hop, Rockie’s Modern Life was released in December 2009 and was followed by 5 other mixtapes. The success of his projects earned Rockie widespread acclaim; not only was he named Metromix’s “25 Hottest Artists Under 25” in 2011, but he was also invited to play Bamboozle and now SXSW.

Saintseneca | Columbus, OH | link

Saintseneca seamlessly merge folk and country motifs with soaring vocals to create a vibrant post-punk energy. This past fall and upcoming winter have been filled with touring preceding the release of their new album, Dark Arc, due 2014.

The Soil & the Sun | Grand Rapids, MI | link

The Soil & The Sun is corn-fed, Michigan-made folk rock. Originating in 2008 as a two-piece band, the group has grown and matured into a seven-piece community of friends and musicians. Oboe, violin, guitars, accordion, percussion, piano, keys and vocals, cooperate to create complex harmonies, layered melodies, and driving rhythms. The careful orchestration and intentional instrumentation will speak to your soul.

Included in the Round One Announcement was The Autumn Defense, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Ben Miller Band, mr. Gnome, and Urge Overkill. SXSW will be held on March 7th through the 16th in Austin, Texas.

Who are you most excited to see? With the round two announcements offering up so much talent, it’s difficult to pick a favorite, but discuss below.

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