Making a short list of bands to see at SXSW is kind of like trying to make a list of all the things you want to do in Paris over a weekend trip. You have a choice of about 600 things you would be happy to do but only really have time to do about 5% of it. As such, it’s really important that you do a little prep work if you want to make the journey worth it.

During the run-up to SXSW 2011 I spent a lot of time reviewing the official announced showcasing band list on to pick out more than 50 bands that I’d like to see if my schedule lined up just right. I eventually put this into a handy spreadsheet on Google Docs with dates and times so I could reference it while biking and walking around the city.

Of course I only ended up seeing about 15 bands, some multiple times, and during the course of the actual event you always hear about a secret show or something unannounced so the list is bound to change on the fly.

I will be doing the same this year so continue to check back if you’d like an easy reference guide to take around with you during SXSW.

Here are a few bands I picked out while looking through the list this morning. Some I am just putting down to explore more between now and then. Feel free to add your own.

BeatauCue (Caen France)
Cloud Nothings (Cleveland OH)
VHS or Beta (Brooklyn NY)
Yuksek (Paris France)
Teengirl Fantasy (New York NY)
The Big Pink (London UK)
Clock Opera (London UK)
Housse De Racket (Paris France)
Metric (Toronto Canada)
Strange Boys (Austin TX)