Starting today, South By Southwest’s Music Conference will take over Austin, TX. Every year, bands and industry folk descend on the Lone Star state for a week filled with seminars, networking events and the best concert lineups you will see all year. Literally thousands of bands participate in the annual event, so it can become hard to sort through all the muck. Here is a list of 10 artists worth keeping an eye on this week.
The Best Artists of SXSW 2014
This British duo has a massive amount buzz heading into SXSW. Drawing comparisons to Disclosure, the band’s mystique has garnered a ton of media coverage despite its reluctance to reciprocate that attention.
2. Young Thug
SXSW will be make-or-break for this oddball Atlanta emcee. Hip-hop’s elite are certainly rooting for Thugger–he has gained praise from Kanye West, Drake and Nicki Minaj, among others. SXSW has been the launch-point for several huge hip-hop acts (A$AP Rocky, Odd Future) and Young Thug’s quirky stoner rap may be next.
This Leeds-based quintet is the latest in a long line of guitar-driven garage-rockers to remind us that rock and roll is still alive. The band released its self-titled debut earlier this month, and it packs the kind of energy that should translate to a great live show.
Danish pop-tart MØ got her first break on Avicii‘s “Dear Boy” and has since released a stream of stellar alt-pop tracks that have earned comparisons to Grimes. MØ has the kind of sound that is ready for radio, but still cool enough for the SXSW crowd. Look for her name to pop up in many “Best Of SXSW” recaps.
Chance made some noise at last year’s SXSW, but this year figures to be a whole different animal. The Chicago emcee is among the marquee hip-hop acts in Austin this week; and his album, AcidRap, was widely considered one of the best hip-hop releases of 2013.
6. together PANGEA
The skate-rock revival is in full effect, and together PANGEA is at the forefront of that movement. The band’s recent release, Badillac, is a perfect blend of airy garage-rock and apathetic west-coast punk. The sun-bleached aesthetic of the band’s music is perfect for a rowdy SXSW day party.
This indie songstress has cut her teeth with the Cairo Gang and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, but it is time for Angel Olsen to strike out on her own. Olsen’s stripped-down indie-rock ranges from folkier tracks to some more garage-influenced romps, and should make for some solid live performances this week.
On more than one occasion, this D.C. duo has been called the “best band you’ve never heard of.” Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher are responsible for some of the most beautiful dream-pop tracks released over the past few years. The vocal harmonies and delicate synth production have landed GEMS on many “artists to watch” lists.
Mr. Dolla $ign found some fleeting success in 2010 with his novelty hit, “Toot It and Boot It.” Recently, the Los Angeles rapper/singer/producer has proved there is more to his music than throw-away booty jams. His high-profile set at this year’s Fader Fort could be the push he needs to move on artistically.
Armed with a keyboard and a Soundcloud account, Jillian Banks has been pumping out dark, moody R&B jams for a little more than a year. Banks certainly has the look and the voice to go far in this industry. The relative newcomer will head to SXSW after spending much of last year on the road with the Weeknd.
Article by Jason Schellhardt