It took a little longer than usual to recover from this year’s SXSW, but I’m finally at the point where I can look back with fond memories and a hint of excitement for next year…

Here’s a look at the bands I loved most:

For the past few years, one of my favorite bands, The Spring Standards, has made the trek down to Austin for SXSW and every year I work at least one of their shows into my schedule. This year was no exception. This Brooklyn band’s performance ranks as my SXSW 2012 highlight and falls into the category of the “Best Band You Probably Didn’t See.”

A multi-instrumentlist trio consisting of James Cleare, Heather Robb, and James Smith, The Spring Standards’ music spans a variety of genres (country, folk, indie, rock, and more) with incredible precision, despite the band’s penchant for spontaneity and theatricality. Splitting songwriting, vocal, and instrument duties, their sound is pleasantly varied and always evolving. On May 1st, the band is releasing a double EP called yellow//gold on Parachute Shooter Records. yellow focuses on the softer side of the band (listen to “Only Skin” here) while gold embraces a grittier rock sound (listen to “Here We Go” here).

As an added bonus, I was able to interview The Spring Standards. Because we sponsored the Paste Party, we were stationed at the event to gather interviews. After a little social media magic, I was able to bring the band by. They told some great stories so watch our Paste Party recap videos!

Here are a few other bands that helped make my SXSW amazing:

Of Monsters and Men
I caught the last song of their set at the Paste Party and knew I had to see a full set from this Icelandic band before the week’s end. Luckily, I made it to their show at Stubb’s and was oh-so-glad I did.

Elle King
Dang. This lady has a voice. And soul. And sass. She’s been touted as a combination of Billie Holiday and Johnny Cash but I’m going to throw a little Adele and Miranda Lambert in there too.

Alabama Shakes
Alabama Shakes was one of the biggest buzz bands this year and they definitely lived up to the hype. Expect to hear so much more from them soon.

I started and ended my SXSW with Givers. I danced through the band’s set at Stubb’s on Friday, 3/9 (not technically a SXSW show but…) and danced (a little slower this time) to a few songs at the Chevy Sound Garage on Saturday, 3/17. I love this band a lot. And their shows are just as fun as this video would suggest.

– Submitted by Jessica Reed, Social Media