So another South by Southwest is upon us: that five-day orgy in which a couple thousand bands (seriously) descend upon Austin, Tex., and rock out in every club, parking lot, empty field, coffee shop, street corner, convention-center hovel, yellow cab and hotel elevator available, all while you drink and eat a great deal of traditional Texas fare, whatever that means to you. (To us it mostly means "burritos.") Any ostensibly active band you can think of, there's a 60 percent chance they're playing there. It's pretty incredible.
To wit, here is a monster sampler of our favorite artists making the trip this year, organized very roughly in chronological order as this thing stretches from Tuesday to Saturday, ranging from Santigold's adventurous pop to The Men's ferocious noise-rock, Gary Clark Jr.'s exuberant blues to Skrillex's pummeling brostep, rapper Kendrick Lamar's lithe boasts to Lydia Loveless' hard-drinking country punk. (Let us also remind you that Rhapsody is throwing its own daytime Austin fete on Friday, starring Washed Out, Zola Jesus and other excellent young people.) From new favorites like Grimes and fun. to old standbys like Counting Crows and, yes, Train, it's gonna be quite a trip. Prepare yourself.