It’s that time of year again, where the streets of Austin overflow with music fans from all around the globe, here to experience the Live Music Capital of The World® at its best. Rolling strong into its 32nd year, SXSW Conference and Festivals is set to make another big splash for industry attendees and music lovers alike.
With the slew of headliner acts and buzzy indie bands coming into town to jam, here is an insider guide to some homegrown talent and official SXSW Music Festival performers that are sure to make waves this year.
SXSW Music Festival. Credit Judy Won.
Crooner and songwriter David Ramirez crafts heart-wrenchingly honest compositions with a voice you won’t soon forget. He has been featured by NPR Music and Stereogum for his unique brand of storytelling and folk orchestrations that tell of lost love and relationships on-the-rocks.
For fans of: Wilco, Shovels & Rope, Of Monsters and Men
Molly Burch channels the sound of 1950s love ballads into delicate indie-rock harmonies. Her most recent release off Captured Tracks label (Mac DeMarco, DIIV, Wild Nothing) “Please Be Mine” earned spots on 2017 best album lists from Gorilla Vs. Bear, Uproxx, and Paste Magazine.
For fans of: Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Waxahatchee
Already a well-known name in indie-electronic dance, Ghostland Observatory can only be described as a full-on laser, electro dance party. Thumping beats and incredible light shows have made this duo a must-experience act on tour or at any music festival.
For fans of: LCD Soundsystem, Cut Copy, Justice
With a strong fusion of Afro-Colombian soul and funk, Superfónicos will turn up the heat in any venue. Expect to see a true “world music” experience with this band, as they bounce around from cumbia, to reggae, to Caribbean styles with ease.
For fans of: Los Amigos Invisibles, Bomba Estereo, Mexican Institute of Sound
This duo made up of Andrew Trube (guitar and vocals) and Anthony Farrell (keys and vocals) is continuing the long, gritty tradition of Austin blues-rock laid out for them by acts such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. If you’re looking to get baptized in pure, unadulterated blues music, look no further.
For fans of: Gary Clark Jr., Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats, JJ Grey & Mofro
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Frequently performing with 14 musicians or more, this band combines Afrobeat, funk and jazz into a magically enlightening experience. Part theatrical spectacle and part mystical dance party, Golden Dawn Arkestra is an ensemble that must be seen to be believed.
For fans of: The Budos Band, Antibalas, Quantic
This Canadian-born country singer came to Austin, Texas to visit and never left. Whitney Rose’s style is somewhere between classic country singers like Patsy Cline and 1960’s girl groups like The Ronettes. She is an artist to watch out for this SXSW as her new album “Rule 62” has already garnered praise by the likes of Rolling Stone and Fader Magazine.
For fans of: Margo Price, Kacey Musgraves, Ryan Bingham
Make sure to pack your molded ear plugs for this band. Shoegaze revivalist trio, Ringo Deathstarr can only be described as live sonic experience for audiences. They create walls of reverb-soaked guitar chords and dreamy vocals that will leave you engulfed in sound.
For fans of: Slowdive, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spiritualized
Sibling rap and R&B trio The Bishops, create synthy, live hip-hop. With influences from jazz to soul, this group dishes out impressive hooks and live instrumentation on stage. Known as one of Austin’s best up-and-coming hip-hop groups, they have also made their mark at festivals like Austin City Limits and Euphoria Fest.
For fans of: Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Lupe Fiasco
One-man-band and songwriter Mobley bridges the line between indie-rock, R&B and dynamic pop. Playing multiple instruments on stage, and even involving crowds into performances, his songs are lush layers which are composed live, on stage.
For fans of: Portugal the Man, Electric Guest, Grouplove