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SXSW 2013 music preview: The hottest acts to catch in Austin

Music acts have started to trickle into Austin for the 2013 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, as the music portion officially gets under way this week.

With back-to-back showcases -- and many gigs happening at the same time -- it can be a tricky festival to navigate. We rounded up some of the best bands to watch, whether you're heading to the festival, or not. From pop and country to rock and hip-hop, there's something for practically everyone this year.

The 20-year-old pop singer Sky Ferreira is one artist to watch. She first came on the scene in 2009, but Ferreira is picking up steam with her most recent EP, "Ghost."

Parquet Courts, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based punk-rock group has been getting buzz since releasing its debut album, "Light Up Gold," earlier this year.

Another young artist poised to make an impact at SXSW this year is Harley Streten, a 21-year-old electronic music producer from Australia.

Punk rock trio PAWS is also an act to keep a close eye on. The group first arrived in 2010, but have been heating up as of late.

Country-soul trio, the Lone Bellow, will be stepping out for a batch of shows at SXSW, too. The band has been winning over critics since the release of its debut album earlier this year.

We asked Dave DiMartino, veteran music journalist and executive editor of Yahoo! Music, to give us some of his top picks for this year's SXSW. They include indie-rockers Alt-J, English singer-songwriter Paloma Faith, rock group Atlas Genius, harmonizing sister-trio Haim, sou-rockers Vintage Trouble, English funk/soul artist Lianne Le Havas and New Zealand native, Willy Moon.

Also keep a close watch out for Angel Haze, another Brooklyn-based artist. The 21-year-old rapper's mixtapes have been getting her some attention, and her full-length debut is due out later this year. Along with Angel Haze, there will plenty of other hip-hop acts breaking through this year.

DiMartino told that "hip-hop will continue to increase in its prominence -- a comparatively new trend for the gathering over the past five years." He also sees "an increase of visually interesting, international artists from Scandinavia, mid-Europe and elsewhere who, as was the case of Gotye, can via such platforms as YouTube, suddenly rise to worldwide prominence at a rate that's unprecedented."

He added, "While there is nothing drastically new at this year's bash, an overall loosening up in terms of what music might be considered appropriate will allow the showcasing of such diverse artists as Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds, Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital and Swiss pianist Nik Bartsch...The music scene is starting to look -- on a purely aesthetic level -- better and more adventurous than ever.

And SXSW won't just showcase new, up-and-coming artists; veteran acts will perform throughout the week. Depeche Mode will host a special Q&A on March 13. Steve Nicks, Rick Springfield, John Fogerty and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana will join Dave Grohl's Sound City Players line-up on March 14. Grohl is also this year's SXSW keynote speaker. Green Day and its fresh-from-rehab frontman Billie Joe Armstrong are set to take the stage on March 15. SXSW will also feature appearances by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Vampire Weekend, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell.

Tell us: Which acts are you most excited about this year?

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