Yes, we went to SXSW so that you wouldn’t have to — isn’t that so nice of us? I’m not sure of the exact number of bands that played, but I do know that looking at the schedule and trying to figure out who to see was one of the most stressful things that’s ever happened to me.
The SXSW Music Festival is a difficult beast to tame, since many emerging bands are there to perform for industry insiders for the first time with set times up against artists like Khalid. While it’s nice that some of the larger artists pop by for seemingly surprise performances, it often makes it difficult for the newbies to get seen. And since you may have missed some gems while you were in line waiting to catch Salt-N-Pepa at Stubb’s BBQ, we put together a portrait gallery of some of our favorite emerging acts from this year’s festival — all shot by Mallory Turner.
Yoke Lore – So many artists try to be Bruce Springsteen and it just doesn’t work. But for Yoke Lore, it totally does. His Springsteen vibes are done in a way that is completely effortless with dashes of Bon Iver and echoes of jónsi — it legit makes for the perfect mix of modern sophisticated rock.
Most Recommended Track: “Goodpain”
BAUM – BAUM performed at SXSW with shows with Urban Outfitters and VOLCOM’s FEM, and just released an EP titled, “Ungodly.” The EP includes many stellar pop tracks with the stand out being “This Body” which explores telling people who owns what (like, in case they don’t understand the “me too” movement).
Most Recommended Track: “This Body”
Eighty Ninety – This duo made up of brothers Harper and Abner James recently had their track, “Your Favorite Song,” added to Taylor Swift’s Playlist. They describe their sound as “808’s and Telecaster’s” but really it should just be described as “stellar guitar jams.”
Most Recommended Track: “Your Favorite Song”
Ezi – With bad ass tunes like “Anxious” and “Afraid of the Dark,” Ezi’s tunes are super easy to relate to since, well — we all have anxiety and like 11% percent of the US population is secretly afraid of the dark. Her pop tunes have an EDM slant that’ll make you just wanna dance. She also has cool shoes.
Most Recommended Track: “Afraid of the Dark”
Wallows – If you didn’t know that Dylan Minnette had a band alongside Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston well now you do. And if you imagine a non-aggressive indie punk band, with some throwback dashes of Seattle grunge rock — that’s what they sound like. So like, Billie Joe Armstrong and Kurt Cobain had a very depressed child who super likes playing bar chords. Yeah, that’s it.
Most Recommended Track: “Pleaser”
Violet Days – Dare I say it, Violet Days is basically the cooler version of Katy Perry. I’m not even going to apologize for saying that. Just listen to “Your Girl” and you’ll get a darker indie pop vibe with doses of EDM hooks that’ll make you wanna jam.
Most Recommended Track: “Your Girl”
Frank Turner’s jangly acoustic guitar is super reminiscent of the Goo Goo Dolls. But if you’re too young for that, his music seems like it would have been a perfect match for a break-up scene on the One Tree Hill soundtrack. If I still didn’t hit your age demographic, just go listen to Frank Turner and I swear you’ll probably like it.
Most Recommended Track: “The Way I Tend to Be”
Vocal powerhouse Olivia Noelle is a modern day version of some of the R&B greats like SWV and Brandy. If you’re that girl that wants a love like a 90’s R&B love song, then you need Olivia Noelle on your playlist right quick.
Most recommended track: “High For Me”
If you close your eyes and listen to Blonde Maze you’d be almost positive you were listening to a female Electro-BORNS. With lyrics that will make you cry for the boyfriend you don’t even have, look up “Dreamy synth pop” in the dictionary and you’ll likely see her photo.
Most Recommended Track: “Antarctica”
Hoodlem takes heavy beats and tops them with chill harmonies — if you were throwing an old school “kick back” with lava lamps and beaded curtains, Hoodlem is definitely the artist to play while hanging. Her track “Old Friend” may or may not also work as a great makeout track, I’m not even speaking from experience.
Most Recommended Track: “Teenager”
Rock Artist Sam Himself’s newest single “Nobody” is super reminiscent of Bowie’s “Heroes,” if that’s not a reason to listen to it, I don’t know what is.
Most Recommended Track: “Nobody”
If “Electro-Chill” were a genre, Glassio would be the band known for it. And if you needed a soundtrack to chill to whilst driving with the top down in Summer weather, Glassio is your go-to.
Most Recommended Track: “Morning House” (ft. Charles Fauna)
If you like bands like Saint Motel with a tad bit more of psychedelic-ness, add in some vintage synths with minimalistic melodies and you’ve got yourself a recipe for lovelytheband.
Most Recommended Track: “broken”
Kitten’s sounds are like a dreamy version of The Bangles with their 80’s synth punk vibes. If “Dream Punk” were a genre, Kitten would undoubtedly top the list.
Most Recommended Track: “Cut it Out”
Mosie – With their newest full-length album release, “Tangerine” which came out during the festival, Mosie has the indie rock vibes that are synonymous with SXSW with a dash of modern-day hip hop.
Most Recommended Track: “look@ugo”