The annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX is mostly thought of as a celebration of indie music in the midst of an industry circle jerk.  And that's true.  But as I've learned after attending the last two years, there is purity to be found.  The city of Austin is a great supporter and source of metal, and with most metal being released by independent labels, it should not be surprising that there are quite a few heavy options to be found on the schedule.  Personal highlights last year were performances by High on Fire, Earthless, Yakuza, Weedeater, the entire Hydrahead showcase, Saviours and Witch.  One of the nice things is that most bands play multiple times over the course of the festival, giving you a nice opportunity to see them in a variety of settings with different setlists.  The free beer at the the unofficial day shows is an added bonus. The initial list of showcasing bands has been released, and while it's long as shit, here are some of the local bands that will be appearing:

Other bands catching my eye include Arabrot, Coliseum, Dixie Witch, Earthless, Monotonix, Nashville Pussy, Slough Feg, and These Arms Are Snakes, and I expect a lot more to come because a few labels are completely unrepresented.   

And although a band named Sleep is listed, it is not the almighty Sleep we know that is reuniting for at least one show (and performing Holy Mountain in its entirety) at the ATP festival in Minehand, England this spring.  These unoriginal fuckers show no respect.  May they burn.  Their fellow residents of the great city of Portland, OR should run them out of town.  If not, we should run them out of Austin.