SXSW 2015 Artists to Watch
Next week the city of Austin will transform as thousands of bands, label executives, music journalists, managers, fans, and friends arrive for the SXSW Music Festival. While the fest is entering year 28, its greatest strength is keeping things new and now. Emerging artists play multiple showcases a day with hopes of capturing fresh ears.
Each year the lineup grows, and in 2015 there are over 2000 musical acts from far and wide performing in venues, restaurants, backyards, and alleyways across town. Whether you’re heading to SXSW or not, its arrival is a perfect opportunity to take note of talent on the come up. A few of our favorite groups like BADBADNOTGOOD and Tei Shi are going to be there. But we rounded up eight names we’ve never covered before who stand out from the pack. They’re not the biggest or the most well-known; they’re the ones who are doing something different and exciting.
1. Courtney Barnett
Take a giant syringe filled with sarcasm, wit and soul and inject it into modern folk music: you’ve got Courtney Barnett’s sound. The Australian singer/songwriter was heralded by Pitchfork and the New York Times alike as one to watch. Her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit is due out March 23.
2. Leon Bridges
To hear “Coming Home,” on the radio is like being transported back in time. The song is one of few from Fort Worth, TX singer Leon Bridges. His gospel-derived soul is reminiscent of ‘60s rhythm and blues; love songs dripping with refined emotion. Bridges is set to release his debut album this summer with a little help from White Denim’s Austin Jenkins.
Ibeyi is Cuban-French sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz. They draw from traditional Yorùbán percussion, of which their father Anga Diaz was a master, as much as pop, hip-hop, electronic music. The results are hauntingly beautiful. The music video for their first single “River” somehow manages to be both unsettling and languid at once, a perplexing balance that extends throughout music.
Australian four-piece Twerps are refreshingly honest. Their second full-length Range Anxiety dropped in January. It’s a tight collection of thirteen songs that touch on a wide range of emotions through their cheeky take on modern rock ‘n’ roll.
5. Charlotte OC
This Blackburn, UK-born songstress has a deep, powerful voice and the rare ability to strike a balance between emotion and precision in her music. Her Burning EP, out March 17 sets her up for a debut SXSW performance and then a major festival appearance at Governor’s Ball this summer.
6. Allan Kingdom
When Kanye West performed his latest single “All Day” at the Brit Awards, he wasn’t alone. The boisterous young rapper he shared the stage with is 21-year-old Allan Kingdom from Saint Paul, MN. Kanye’s legendary manager/producer Plain Pat has had his eye on Kingdom for a few years. Judging by the company he’s keeping, his sharp lyricism, and his expressive flow, big things are coming for Kingdom.
7. Kali Uchis
Kali Uchis has a bubble-gum pink persona that makes the singer, songwriter and video director’s sharp edge pleasantly unexpected. Check out the Colombia-born, Virginia-bred rising star’s latest EP Por Vida, which was released in February.
Image via: Viper Magazine
March 13, 2015 via Pepsi