Austin was fun. SXSW definitely has its issues, but in the end, I felt I came out on top. Staying away from the 6th and Red River area as much as possible, I was able to catch a variety of great shows in not always such packed houses. These are the ten shows that intrigued me most. Unfortunately we don't have tracks for all these groups, but the playlist should give you an idea of my week.

Savages - These four chicks know how to rock. This goes down as one of the better rock shows I've seen and many have agreed.

Cloud Nothings - Based on a lot of the acts I saw, this surpisingly was the loudest of them all. Really enjoyed the new tracks I heard. The new album should be a good one.

Dawes - I am/was way behind on Dawes. Somehow they flew completely under my radar. Fortunately I had the chance to catch them in Austin at the beautiful Moody Theater with only about 75 other people. It was a late show and they were clearly playing their asses off for their late night crowd.

Empress Of - It never hurts to have a lead singer as pretty as Lorely Rodriguez. Also doesn't hurt when her voice is spot on. Very enjoyable show from a band I can't wait to hear more from.

Trash Talk - I don't listen to whole lot of metal on my own time, but a good metal concert is tough to beat. These guys are brutal and have fun being that way. This marked the second time I've seen a lead singer with a boot for a broken foot. The other, oddly enough, was his label mate Odd Future.

Pissed Jeans - Another brutal show, with a mosh, that I happened to be too close to, resulting in a nice welt on my dome. Though my head still hurts, my ears have thankfully recovered.

Iron & Wine
- I've seen these guys a couple times before and always enjoyed it. This time, with an entire ensemble of musicians at Sam Beam's backing, I really enjoyed it. The new songs were great. The old songs, re-imagined with horns, strings and a choir, were even better.

- It's amazing how much noise can come from three people.

Team Spirit - Not only do I love their music, I discovered them in a very SXSW fashion: walking by a venue with intriguing sounds spewing out the doors, compelling me to jump in a check it out. I have listened to their EP a few times since returning home. (The Tango In The Attic song is roughly similar, but I wanted to use it because I did catch a couple songs of their set and loved it. Didn't think I saw enough to put it in my ten, but I look forward to seeing them when they head to Chicago again.)

- I'm always impressed by drummers who sing. Michael Benjamin Lerner is one of the best in the game and it showed.