SXSW 2016

You won’t miss a trick with our SXSW showcase shortlist

With Austin’s globally praised SXSW festival just around the corner, we’ve decided to put together a mini-guide for the lucky attendees. Below you’ll find out who to see, where and why, as chosen by Hannah Thacker and Pieter Defraene.

Pumarosa

Hype Hotel on March 15th, 9:00PM
Latitude 30 on March 19th, 10:00PM

Who are they? Pumarosa, a London five-piece (Isabel Munoz-Newsome, Henry Brown, Tomoya Suzuki, Neville James, Nicholas Owen) who make genre-blending music to dance to.

Why should you see them? The amount of times we’ve returned to Pumarosa’s stunning debut “Priestess” is surely testament to their talent and over the past year reports have been flooding in of their hypnotic live shows. Probably the biggest draw to see this London five-piece live is a couple of demos “Dragonfly” and “Red”, which are rich in intense percussion, bright guitar melodies and Isabel Munoz-Newsome’s empowering vocal lead. - HT

Pumarosa - Priestess live at the Lexington , January 2016

A-wa

Flamingo Cantina on March 17, 12:00AM
Russian House on March 18, 1:00AM

Who are they? A-wa are Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim, three Israeli sisters who combine Yemenite folk singing with electronic dance music.

Why should you see them? Because you will most likely not understand a word of what they’re singing, but you will not, I repeat, will not be able to keep your body from moving. They started out by recording old folk songs and uploading them on Youtube as The Haim Sisters. For their first album, filled with ancestral songs, they teamed up with Tomer Yosef (from Balkan Beat Box) to add some 21st Century flair. As part of a movement that embraces Arabic-Jewish roots, A-Wa has fans all over the world and is now touring the US. - PD

A-WA - Habib Galbi (Acoustic session)

PARTYBABY

Hype Hotel on March 15th, 10:00PM
Empire Control Room on March 18th, 10:30PM

Who are they? PARTYBABY, the noisey skater-rock pair from California who woke up the internet.

Why should you see them? We can’t deny that there’s something different about PARTYBABY. This anonymous outfit burst forth five months ago with thrilling single “Everything’s All Right”, a track that swerves through Weezer-esque sinister rock and reassuring guitar strokes. With a promise of more music to come this year, their SXSW showcase is one way to get ahead if the crowd. - HT

Bayonne

Barracuda on March 17, 8:15PM
Victorian Room at The Driskill on March 18, 10:00AM

Who are they? Bayonne is Austin native Roger Sellers who is a self proclaimed disciple of Phil Collins.

Why should you see them? If the fact that he had stickers made which said “Roger Sellers is Not a DJ” is not enough of a reason, then his energetic upbeat songs surely are. He now works under a different name, but his approach to music making is the same. Starting from a few simple musical phrases and elaborating on them, Bayonne ends up with catchy songs with great attention to rhythm. - PD

BAYONNE, "SINCERE" // Live at the Wilderness Bureau

JONES

Hype Hotel on March 16th, 10:00PM
Latitude 30 on March 17th, 11:00PM
Blackheart on March 19th, 11:00PM

Who are they? Soulful R&B singer JONES currently signed to 37 Adventures.

Why should you see them? The transpiring soulful vocal of JONES and her deep roots in songwriting has been a natural attraction for some of the most popular producers of the moment, such as Rodaidh McDonald on “Hoops”, Raffertie on “Indulge” and A. K. Paul on “You”. As much as we love the polished R&B-tinted pop of JONES’ Indulge EP, her acoustic sessions prove that her voice deserves to be heard in it’s raw in-person perfection. - HT

JONES – ‘Indulge’ (Live Session): ON AIR

Ben Aqua

Barcelona on March 19, 12:30AM

Who are they? Ben Aqua is a Brooklyn-born Austin-based multidisciplinary artist. He works as a visual artist and musician whose output is heavily embedded in contemporary internet culture.

Why should you see them? Because he has a song made up entirely of meows? If you’re a fan of ironic aesthetics but not afraid to not take things all too serious, this is where you need to be. Drawing inspiration from all over the cyberspace, his music is a collage 2.0. - PD

Empress Of

Hype Hotel on March 15th, 1:00AM
Scoot Inn on March 16th, 1:00PM

Who are they? Empress Of (Lorely Rodriguez) is a self-producing electronic artist.

Why should you see them? Whether you’re up for a dance in the middle of the day or in the small hours of the morning, Empress Of is your best bet for high-octane electronic tunes. Translating her progressive beats and limitless lyricism from debut Me LP to the stage should make for one hell of a show. Plus, if you need directions on which moves to bust out, Rodriguez has quite a few, just click play of Yours Truly’s video. - HT

Empress Of x Yours Truly – "How Do You Do It" (Live Session)

Bixel Boys

The Main on March 16, 9:30PM
Monster Energy Outbreak House on March 19, 9:30PM
Monster Energy Outbreak House on March 19, 12:00AM

Who are they? Bixel Boys are producer duo Rob May & Ian Macpherson from Los Angeles.

Why should you see them? When an artists lists “nike, allen iverson, dope tumblrs, moleskins, pendleton, micheladas, whiskey, parliament lights and that real house music shit” as their influences, you just know you’re in the right space. Their latest song “Hometown” couldn’t be more different to its predecessor “Tape”. Exchanging the deep house beats for a more dramatic swelling shoegaze feel. They describe it as “a celebration of youth, growing up, and never letting go of the kid we once were.” - PD

Honne

Latitude 30 on March 18th, 1:00AM
Stubb’s on March 19th, 10:10PM

Who are they? Honne, former music teachers Andy & James bringing together the best of electro and soul.

Why should you see them? For anyone who has listened to and like Honne’s recorded music, like their nostalgic cut “Gone Are The Days” and sensual single “Warm On A Cold Night” - which have over 7 million Spotify streams between them - you’ll be quite simply blown away by the level of musicianship and performance that this Somerset pair bring to their live shows. This is partly down to a highly talented backing band that breath new life into these much-played songs. - HT

Honne : All In The Value

Blanck Mass

Hotel Vegas on March 17th, 11:30PM

Who are they? Blanck Mass is the solo project of Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power.

Why should you see them? If you’re into experiencing some harsher sounds without being thrown in the deep end, Blanck Mass might be your cup of tea. Even though the label noise is easily applicable to Dumb Flesh, Power’s sophomore album, you’ll be surprised how danceable it is at times. Experience the abrasive power of noise and sound and imagine yourself in the darkest club. - PD

HÆLOS

The Gatsby on March 16th, 9:00PM
3TEN Austin City Limits Live on March 17th, 12:00AM
Latitude 30 on March 18th, 10:00PM

Who are they? Dramatic trip-hop trio HÆLOS (Arthur Delaney, Dom Goldsmith and Lotti Benardout).

Why should you see them? When we asked our interviewees at Pitchfork Paris Festival 2015 who their favourite act of the event had been so far, there was one name we kept hearing - HÆLOS. Their spiritual on-stage connection is bound to permeate every inch of their performance and have you moving in ways you never thought possible. With a new album release on March 18th, this is a great opportunity to hear HÆLOS’ new material. - HT

HÆLOS - Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

Iglooghost

The Main II on March 16th, 8:00PM
800 Congress on March 18th, 8:00PM

Who are they? Iglooghost is one of those teenage bedroom producers of hypersaturated bleeps and blops music. And a good one at that.

Why should you see them? He released his first EP Chinese Nü Yr through Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder last year. And besides making music, he’s also responsible for most of his visuals which “tell the unfolding story of a levitating gummy worm named Xiangjiao who suffers the peculiar, unexplained fate of perpetually flying through infinite, peach-coloured portals.” And that about sums up his sound as well. - PD

Milk & Bone

Empire Control Room on March 16th, 9:10PM
Barracuda on March 19th, 10:00PM

Who are they? Piano-playing pair Camille Poliquin & Laurence Lafond-Beaulne AKA Milk & Bone

Why should you see them? They say that two heads are better than one, and that rule definitely applies to Milk & Bone who join their voices and collage of synth and keys work together to create celestial sounds. Now, this isn’t their first rodeo, as the duo played SXSW last year, but the live renditions of songs like “Coconut Water” and “Poison” are the perfect excuse to take a quieter moment in Austin. - HT

Milk & Bone - Watch ( Live @ PausePlay )

Sevdaliza

Cedar Street Courtyard on March 16th, 9:00PM
The Sidewinder Inside on March 17th, 10:30PM
The Main II on March 18th, 9:15PM

Who are they? Sevdaliza is the name of Dutch-bases Iran-born former professional basketball player who’s now making waves with her sultry voice and stunning videos.

Why should you see them? Pairing her industrial and raw R&B songs with elaborate music videos, Sevdaliza has been a favourite of the blogosphere for quite some time now. Growing up as the only non-white kid in a small town in the Netherlands, there always seems to be something of the outsider in her output. As far as we’re concerned though, she hasn’t missed the mark. - PD

Sevdaliza - Backseat Love Live bij 3voor12 Radio

Margaret Glaspy

Blackheart on March 17th, 9:00PM

Who are they? Acoustic singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy from Brooklyn.

Why should you see them? Margaret Glaspy is definitely an artist for those with a soft spot for singer-songwriters with a flair for folk. Right at the start of the year, we were wowed by the honest simplicity of paired single “Somebody to Anybody” and “You and I”, that delivered seriously intelligent lyrics and a melody that just sticks with you. Definitely one folk act you should see. - HT

Throwing Shade

The North Door on March 17th, 8:00PM
Latitude 30 on March 18th, 8:00PM

Who are they? Throwing Shade, aka Nabihah Iqbal is a DJ, producer and NTS Radio host whose House of Silk EP was released through Ninja Tune last week.

Why should you see them? What draws us to to Throwing Shade are the silly labels used to describe her music. She herself calls it “cosmic R&B”, others “digital soul”. She’s operating in the outer fringes of pop and has been named “London’s new alt-pop hope” by Dazed and Confused. Here’s your chance to get a slice of London’s future out in the wild west. And, let’s face it, her moniker is supercool. - PD

Anderson .Paak

Stubb’s on March 16th, 11:15PM
Mohawk Outdoor on March 17th, 1:10AM
Hype Hotel on March 18th, 11:00PM

Who are they? Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals

Why should you see them? This L.A. artist is one of the most exciting new voices for 2016. Releasing his debut album Malibu just a month ago, Anderson .Paak’s music has origins in jazz, R&B, hip-hop and blues; a patchwork of music history that drifts between past and present. We really have to urge you to go see this artist live with his band The Free Nationals, because as his TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert shows, this performer is full of surprises. - HT

Sleepers’ Reign

The Sidewinder Inside on March 17, 8:30PM

Who are they? Sleepers’ Reign are a four-piece band from the Belgian countryside.

Why should you see them? They’ve got an impressive touring history supporting Daniel Johnston, Kashmir, How To Dress Well and John Parish on their European tours. Their sound is a melancholic combination of electronica, acoustic instrumentation and soulful vocal harmonies with the occasional falsetto thrown in. Their latest feat, “9000 Years”, makes us yearn for summer even more. - PD

Pinegrove

Dirty Dog Bar on March 17th, 11:00PM

Who are they? Pinegrove, New Jersey band built around Evan Stephens Hall & Zack Levine.

Why should you see them? Five months ago, the HumanHuman community started to get pretty excited by a band called Pinegrove, whose song of heartbreak, friendship and growing-up brought new fans to an Americana alt-rock sound. New listeners were equally delighted by their exciting and emotional record Cardinal, which sounds as raw and upfront as their live sets. - HT

Pinegrove- Aphasia (Acoustic)

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