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[sxsw2012] Has Santigold already won Austin?

The live showcases have barely begun on this Tuesday opening day of South By Southwest's music stretch (overlapping with the conclusion of interactive for more crossover between the two) and SANTIGOLD is clearly this year’s post-hype sleeper.

The early buzz around SXSW suggests the artsy Philadelphian anti-pop badgirl will have a bit of a renaissance after a relatively quiet few years since 2008’s self-titled debut record had critics racing to dub her the “next M.I.A.” The strength of singles “L.E.S. Artistes” and “Lights Out” got people talking, but since then it seems her biggest (only?) news was changing her name from Santogold to Santigold after a film director named Santo Gold threatened legal action.

Well, it's 2012, and she’s suddenly in the spotlight again.

Perfect timing.

M.I.A. flips off America during Madonna’s halftime show at the February Super Bowl -- a move that stirred some controversy, but had most mainstream circles asking “Who’s M.I.A.?” while the rest of us yawned -- and now along comes Santi White once again to displace Maya Arulpragasm in urban electro-pop circles. It's like someone brought Santigold back on the scene the second we were all sure M.I.A. was finally done. No more "Paper Planes" out of that tiger.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that M.I.A.’s new single, “Bad Girls,” is pretty much a dud, while Santi’s electronically sharp “Disparate Youth,” out this month, sounds like a rebellious hit. And before she hits Coachella in April, drops sophomore record Master of My Make-Believe on May 1, and swings by Bonarroo in June, her SXSW week ahead suggests wider success than she experienced four years ago is inevitable.

Tonight she hits the Warner Sound Captured By Nikon party at La Zona Rosa on West 4th at 10:10pm, then tomorrow takes on the Fader Fort by Converse on a prime evening slot before headliner Danny Brown. On Friday Santigold rounds out the SPIN party at Stubb’s, when she rolls deep on a stellar bill with electronic dream pop trio Chairlift, indie darling Best Coast and afro-futurist Spoek Mathambo. Surely she'll pop up in an unofficial or "just added" manner a bunch of other times.

It all seems already set up, all strategically in place. A few bang-up jobs here in Austin, and Santi should own the summer.

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