Last week, I was in attendance at South by Southwest (SXSW) Music conference for the fourth year in a row.  Overall, the idea of conference has always been about music discovery – finding that new band that will be playing in your stereo system, on repeat, for months. Fortunately, I was able to catch quite a few great shows and I have been playing the music every since.

From an overall conference perspective, I did notice that the focus has shifted from previously being a “battle of the bands” and is now more of a “battle of the brands”. Star power like Snoop Dogg played the Maxim / Doritos party, in which Snoop played in front of a packed crowd and performed on a literal custom three-story vending machine filled with over-sized bags of Doritos. That was just one form of “vendortainment” that was witnessed this year.

Here are a couple stand-out acts that I wanted to share, Polica (pronounced po-lisa) and Of Monsters and Men.

One of the bands at this year’s conference that received a lot of buzz is Polica from Minneapolis, MN.  Below is a music video for their track, “Lay Your Cards Out” and you can hear a few more tracks here. For fans of La Roux and the xx.

Polica – “Lay Your Cards Out”


Another stand out band was Of Monsters and Men from Iceland that is on track to take a similar route to reach the caliber of a Mumford & Sons. The video for their lead single “Little Talks” can be found below.

Of Monsters and Men -“Little Talks”