One of the reasons music nuts across the world are so obsessed by SXSW is that it throws up opportunities to see some of their favourite acts in a compressed time period. So you can head to just the parties like Gorilla Vs Booze and see White Denim, Ghosthustler, Bodies of Water, Cut Copy DJs and Holy Fuck. You often get free booze, in a small venue, with excellent bands that wouldn't otherwise play on the same bill. So this year you can see Yo La Tengo and My Morning Jacket at the one gig - the IFC Crossroads party at The Parish on March 11th, the day before the whole shebang kicks off on the 12th. Only 400 tickets will be available, but they are free from Waterloo records on the 10th. So... Get There Early!
And if you're heading there and want to check out some Australian music then the Aussie BBQ is worth trying to get into. Featured acts this year include Paul Kelly, The Panics, The Stems, Old Man River, Something With Numbers, Whitley and Ash Grunwald. Not quite the kickass lineup of previous years (see the photo above for the '06 Aussie Assault), but they serve free Coopers Beer!
Some more official SXSW parties are on the main site, and the BBC have their SXSW blog up and running too which is following some of the UK acts and British music events (the Clash Magazine party sounds pretty awesome). I'm damn impressed with the UK presence across the event and the British Embassy's music site is beyond fancy - I guess you get what you pay for!
If you are going to SXSW and need a way to keep on top of the daunting amount of must-see bands and obscure but essential parties, then try out Sched.