Literally thousands of bands will descend upon the city of Austin over the next week. And I have listened to all of them. Admittedly, I stopped listening to some a bit quicker than others, but every band listed on the SXSW website has touched my ears. That being said, here is a distilled list of how to see a band (nearly as important as the sound and genre of the band/artist itself), as well as the list of whom you simply have GOT to see…along with specific reasons why.
First, I recommend small to medium overseas acts since we all know international travel is only getting trickier. The crowds are lighter, and you get to see music that may not make its way back to Austin anytime soon. While there are a few big names worth battling the inevitable crowd, you usually have to commit your entire evening to standing in line and posting up at a single venue.
However, a few venues (and sponsors) have consistently provided solid music across the board. The best of these even curate the bands so that if you enjoy one act, you will likely be happy to hear the whole lineup. In terms of sponsors, Fader was one of my favorites of 2017. I discovered several artists that have featured prominently on my personal playlists in the last 12 months. If you’re looking for chill, and easily accessible venues, Central Presbyterian Church and St. David’s Episcopal Church offer seating and beautiful sound year after year.
I’ve also found some of my favorite bands through evenings presented by cities. For example, if you have a chance to see music curated by the city of Philadelphia, you’ll get to see the best their city has to offer over a variety of genres. Along the same lines, you can’t go wrong at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 every year.
All that said, when doling out recommendations, I inevitably get asked what kind of music I listen to, as if my selections will all fall into a single genre. My answer is always the same. I like good music.
Regardless of how it has been categorized, there is talent to be found and enjoyed in almost every expression of musical endeavor. Therefore, this list should have something for everyone. Take the time to listen to something outside your normal realm, and maybe you’ll appreciate the culture behind it as well. The world could use a bit more of that right now.
The acts I hope to track down this week have been categorized by hometown. Enjoy!
STATESIDE (includes Canada & Mexico)
- August Greene (Los Angeles, CA)
- lovelytheband (Los Angeles, CA)
- Hardwork Movement (Philadelpia, PA)
- Zuli (Long Island, NY)
- AHI (Brampton, ON, CANADA)
- Alex Di Leo (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
- Crunk Witch (Presque Isle, ME)
- Cut Worms (Brooklyn, NY)
- Davie (Los Angeles, CA)
- Shred Kelley (Fernie, BC, CANADA)
- Stop Light Observations (Charleston, SC)
- Sun Seeker (Nashville, TN)
- SUR (Los Angeles, CA)
- Nilüfer Yanya (London, UK-ENGLAND)
- Bad Pony (Sydney, AUSTRALIA)
- Deluxe (Aix-en-Provence, FRANCE)
- The Dunwells (Leeds, UK-ENGLAND)
- Fatai (Melbourne, AUSTRALIA)
- Flyte (London, UK)
- Gangs of Youth (Sydney, AUSTRALIA)
- G Flip (Melbourne, VIC, AUSTRALIA)
- Hardy Caprio (London, UK-ENGLAND)
- Jade Bird (Smallfield, UK-ENGLAND)
- Lola Marsh (Tel Aviv, ISRAEL)
- Lucy Spraggan (Manchester, UK-ENGLAND)
- Mallrat (Brisbane, QLD, AUSTRALIA)
- Not3s (Hackney, UK-ENGLAND)
- Superorgamism (London, UK-ENGLAND)
- The Teskey Brothers (Melbourne, VIC, AUSTRALIA)
- Wrongonyou (Roma, ITALY)