Top 5 Australian buzz bands at SXSW 2014

A record number of Australian bands headed over to ply their trade at the SXSW music conference in Austin this year. The list of 55 acts trying to make a mark included Chet Faker, The Kite String Tangle, Dune Rats, The John Steel Singers, Miami Horror, Oh Mercy, Boy and Bear, DZ Deathrays, and Vance Joy.

According to Sounds Australia – the body tasked with representing Aussie music at SXSW and abroad – more bands than ever managed to get noticed: “There was a lot of positive anticipation for the Australian contingent in the lead up to this year’s SXSW,” Sounds Australia representative Esti Zilber told FL. “With the largest number of Australian artists showcasing in its history, SXSW proved to be a great springboard for many of our artists. It was a week that saw The Preatures perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live, had D.D Dumbo’s show positively reviewed by NME, Chet Faker had his praises sung by the New York Times and Strange Talk, Chet Faker, Owl Eyes, Peking Duk, RUFUS DU SOL, Panama, Miami Horror and The Griswolds were all included in The Huffington Post’s as some of the ‘30 SXSW Acts About to Break’”

FL has already highlighted the 10 biggest international buzz bands to come out of SXSW 2014, but which Aussies really cut through? After trawling the internet, blogs, Twitter feeds and canvassing our contacts on the ground we discovered the five Aussie bands that generated the most buzz in Texas.

D.D. Dumbo

We featured D.D. Dumbo as a Band To Watch back in November, and it seems we are not the only ones who have taken notice. The Castlemaine-born artist, real name Oliver Perry, played a handful of shows at SXSW including the Aussie BBQ and a packed-out showcase for Communion Music. Reports on ground say that Dumbo was one of the most talked about “discovery” acts of the entire SXSW music program. While there he recorded sessions for Daytrotter, NPR and BBC1 taste-maker Huw Stevens.

The Buzz

“DD Dumbo’s ‘Tropical Oceans’, released last November, ensured his set at BD Riley’s pub was packed out with UK and US industry, and even though he was competing with the Arsenal game in the background, the Australian still won most people over.” – NME

The Preatures

Having just sold-out a European tour, performed (reportedly) to Kanye West and Thom Yorke at David Lynch’s club in Paris, and with a spot already secured on the Coachella lineup, The Preatures are well on their way to making it big overseas. And their immanent success was no more evident than at SXSW. The band played a handful of showcases including one for influential LA radio station KCRW, and one for their US label Harvest Records alongside labelmates and other “buzzy” acts, Glass Animals, BANKS and Arthur Beatrice.They also performed three songs for Jimmy Kimmel’s SXSW music broadcast.

The Buzz

“The Preatures slayed another eager festival crowd, just like they did time after time at last year’s CMJ in New York” – NME

“I’d say there’s a chance Manfridi could be this year’s Feist” –

“10 must-see bands at SXSW. If you like: Fleetwood Mac and the Pretenders with a twist of Haim” – Buzzbands LA

Kirin J. Callinan

Kirin J. Callinan reportedly won over the yanks with his diabolical riffs and, errr, unique sense of personal style. Playing a handful of showcases ahead of his US tour with Connan Mockasin, Callinan was described by the general manger of SXSW, James Minor, as “a modern-day David Bowie”. The press responded in kind with the Austin Chronicle concluding: “For all 100 people crammed into Cheer Up Charlie’s inside room Thursday night, this was the show they’d be talking about for days”, and Fuse.TV included Callinan’s set in their 20 Best Moments from SXSW, alongside the likes of Kanye and Lady Gaga.

The Buzz

“Kirin J. Callinan set us up with his appearance: hockey mullet, rodent mustache, bedroom tattoos, pawnshop gold chains, hiked-up army pants, and a sneaky look in his eyes. Then he whips out a song like ‘Landslide’ and absolutely crushes our soul.” – Austin Chronicle

“Kicking off our third night of gigs, wild-eyed Aussie cyberpunk Kirin J Callinan and his ghoulish squad are a revelation who help reinstate some sense of purpose.” – The Skinny

“If ‘discordant’ and ‘punishing’ aren’t words you typically associate with the music you love, Kirin J. Callinan is probably not your thing. But if you’re open to finding the fascinating rhythms and unique grooves in the Australian singer’s aggressive industrial rock, Callinan is one of the most fascinating new artists on the scene right now. ” – Fuse TV


Having just signed with Columbia Records in the US RÃœFÃœS DU SOL are already kicking some fairly big goals overseas, but their star continued to rise at SXSW. Playing a handful of high profile gigs while in Texas – including the Soundcloud showcase, Vitalic Noise party and the I Heart Comix Party – the Sydney three-piece were included on the Huffington Posts’s 30 SXSW Acts About to Break They also participated in an RDIO session and recorded a set for US digital station, setting them up well to continue touring the States for the next month (which you can read about in their tour diary for Filter Magazine.)

The Buzz

30 SXSW Acts About to Break – Huffington Post

“Humble, hungry, and wildly in tune with new wave dance floors, Rüfüs du Sol know how to keep the room alive.” – Trendland

Owl Eyes

Melbourne singer Owl Eyes aka Brooke Addamo was yet another Aussie act highlighted by the Huffington Post as a band to watch going into SXSW. While in Texas she played a whopping nine shows including Beautiful Buzz and the Vitalic Noise showcase and caught the attention of stacks of local media.

The Buzz

30 SXSW Acts About to Break – Huffington Post

“Amazing new talent” – IndyMusic