If you're unfamiliar with the name Anderson .Paak, that's about to change. The singer/rapper is Dr. Dre's latest protege, a promising talent from California whose music is both polite and sumptuous. He manages to combine genres effortlessly in a way that's both modern and futuristic. His career is only going to skyrocket from here; it's best to get on board now.
It's hard to think of teen hip-hop prodigies as promising as Rae Sremmurd. There really should be no argument for it, based on last year's incredible SremmLife. did you know Swae Lee of the dynamic duo co-wrote Beyoncé's "Formation"? Fingers crossed Bey makes a surprise appearance at the Austin fest...
There aren't too many huge pop stars swinging by SXSW this year (that is, if you're excluding the President and his wife). John Legend fills that A-list void by headlining Spin Magazine's showcase. It'll be cool to see a massive artist at the convention dedicated to music discovery, and who knows? Maybe Legend will pull some lucky up-and-comer on stage!
If you're an avid consumer of new music, you've probably read the words "Electronic music duo from London" far too many times. It's a musical structure that is done time and time again (hello, Disclosure) but rarely well...which is why we look to AlunaGeorge. If you're unfamiliar, start with "I'm In Control" above.
Lavender Country is by no means a new artist, but perhaps one of the most important acts in the whole of SXSW. The band's self-titled 1973 album was the first widely distributed openly gay country release, informing generations to come about the power and importance of open sexuality. We're so lucky they're playing shows again!
Atlanta has always had a diverse and interesting music scene, but when Warehouse first appeared a few years ago, the town garnered the attention of industry professionals everywhere. The band combines the best bits of post-punk indie with really dense math-rock riffage. It's complicated music, but melodic nonetheless.
Jangly dreampop and indie rock will always go hand-in-hand. The reason is part C86 revivalism (folks obsessed with England in the ‘80s know what we’re talking about), but also part political statement. By making it in a DIY fashion, pop music becomes for the populous. Philly’s Mercury Girls are pros at this.
Toronto has always been something of an epicenter for music (you've heard of our pal Drake before, right?) but Dilly Dally is bringing its focus to a different, grungier place. Their debut album, Sore, felt like something straight out of the Pixies catalog, if the Pixies played to more classically punk influence.
If you're a pop music fan, you should probably get smart to Låpsey now, because her world takeover is imminent. The U.K. teen is signed to XL already (for those out of the loop, that's Adele's label!!), and really took everyone by storm with "Hurt Me." It's as heartbreaking as the title suggests. Listen to it above.
On the other end of the sad-song spectrum is Julien Baker. Her pop writing is built around simple, somber guitar riffs. The importance is placed on songwriting more than musicianship: You could probably cover these songs, but few could write something similar. Her future is bright.
Tacocat hail from Seattle and bring with them an excitable, unique, feminist energy. They're all about fun, but with purpose: They remade the current Powerpuff Girls theme song for the reboot and currently, their lead single is called "I Hate the Weekend," a critique on the mundanity of 9-to-5 life. We can't help but agree (and dance to it).
You know of post-hardcore in bands like Pierce the Veil and Bring Me The Horizon, but what about the other kind? You know, the stuff inspired by bands like Moss Icon? We give you New York's own Big Ups. As we wait for their sophomore LP, Before a Million Universes, check out the speak-singing single "National Parks." It sounds destructive, but it's much more innocent: The song is actually about lyricist/vocalist Joe Galarraga's mother.
Vancouver is an expensive city, and in that economy, punk manages to thrive. The ultimate success story is that of White Lung. Now gearing up for its third full-length, they've continued to develop and change the shape of punk to come...it's fearless and true to themselves. Frontwoman Mish Way's voice might get comparisons to Courtney Love, but this is something new, and vital.
Right now, Denmark has a pretty ferocious hardcore community. It wasn't that long ago a band called Iceage would be on this list, later to change the course of indie rock into this punk-leaning scene. Yung hail from Copenhagen, but take their heavy tunes in a slightly different direction: power pop-punk.
When Car Seat Headrest first came on the scene, it would've been easy to compare the band to Cloud Nothings (especially with a distinct frontman who calls all the shots), but there's one real difference. Later-in-life CN start to recall bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, where Car Seat Headrest exists in the '90s indie camp, but with real nuance.
Sorority Noise's Joy, Departed album last year did the unthinkable: It made emo appear cool in indie rock audiences without removing any level of earnestness. Songs like "Art School Wannabe" prove it, while highlighting frontman Cam Boucher battle with mental difference. It's a fun rock record, but also an introspective one.
PWR BTTM (yes, literally "power bottom") seem to be everyone's favorite live band these days. The dynamic duo writes fun-loving, self-critical, queer punk songs about, well, being fun-loving, self-critical queer individuals. Their very existence feels like a political move, and they're having a better time than anyone else while doing it.
Want some techno at SXSW? We've got you covered. Scandinavian trio Lust For Youth are equal parts '80s post-punk and deep darkwave. You'll dance, dance, dance to the radio.
Recently dubbed America's Most Exciting Punk Band by Rolling Stone, Providence bilingual band Downtown Boys live up to their title. Their performances are rowdy and raucous, but attendees leave educated with the injustices of the corporate, capitalist, patriarchal society that surrounds them. It's rare that a buzz band becomes anything more than that, but Downtown Boys deliver with necessary messages.
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