An interactive Underground

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Last week, our faithful music columnist Bao Le-Huu journeyed to the mystical lands of Texas for a few days of sleepless rocking at South by Southwest Music Festival. He brought back some morsels (J. Mascis!) but more importantly, some great new music that everyone and their mama should hear right now. BEATdown is way ahead of ya. Here are some of the best acts to emerge this year, their songs, a live performance and Bao's helpful explanation as to why, in fact, you should sell your first born to see them:

â?¢Best new band: I loved the next-level experimental pop on Le Loupâ??s debut album last autumn but their live show crystallized what a unique, supernova talent this D.C. band is.

â?¢Most desperate performance: Once Houston garage-punkers Fatal Flying Guilloteens started, frontman Shawn entered that deranged sort of trance where any sense of harm vaporizes, and kept the thrilling performance on a razorâ??s edge.

â?¢Most unassuming musician moment: We always hear about musicians being bitches and punks. But Laura Burhenn of excellent D.C. indie-pop act Georgie James offered our city a surprisingly earnest apology for the last-minute cancellation of their last Orlando date due to illness.

â?¢Best performance, period: By only the second song of Monotonixâ??s set, the singer and the guitarist were already in the crowd. By the third song, the entire band had abandoned the stage and the singer was surfing the crowd. By the finale, the drum kit had joined him. The Israeli trio owned this yearâ??s SXSW by reminding everyone that rock & roll, in its purest form, is pure, unchained animalism.

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