Everywhere you turn, some blowhard is declaring South by Southwest dead for musical discovery, but a lot of that just depends on what scale you are talking. Sure, if a band is just starting out, it’s unlikely that their big break will come among hundreds of acts that already have some buzz built in their hometown or online. But even buzz doesn’t mean that an act will get heard by the right people and find an audience. Every year artists come out of SXSW and wind up building off their run of 12 live sets into a year that significantly boosts their career.
So Consequence of Sound has assembled a short list of acts that might do that. Some might be familiar to readers because we’ve talked about then before on the site (music discovery isn’t a one-week process, after all), while others might not be. And certainly there will be more artists than these that we will be reporting on after the event. Stay tuned to see who rises above the pack this year.
This Dr. Dre-signee from Oxnard, California, is an R&B superstar in the making, already with a hand in one of last year’s most acclaimed albums (Dre’s Compton) and this year’s (his own, Malibu). –Philip Cosores
Los Angeles indie pop duo have earned early attention for chilled-out yet intricately exciting beach vibes and will be making their live debut at SXSW after releasing only two singles. –Ben Kaye
Young Los Angelean Jackson Phillips handles every aspect of recording the intoxicating take on dream pop that has been luring listeners in with its sense of mourning yet unwillingness to surrender into the fading light. –Ben Kaye
CoSigned Sydney, Australia, trio shrugs off the label of Britpop while making some exuberant and earnest rock music with a live show to match their album’s energy. –Philip Cosores
Warm, charming indie pop from New Paltz, New York, CoSigned duo whose live show is uninhibited and inspiring. –Philip Cosores
Toronto four-piece whose gutteral, throwback rock captures the best of the ’90s: the wailing guitar of Frank Black, grunge tone of Nirvana, and scratchy vocals of Courtney Love. —Nina Corcoran
Providence punk group with saxophone solos who turn the spotlight on activism to prove there ain’t no party like a political upheaval party. —Nina Corcoran
Chicago native who has long been a favorite among fans of outsider music comprised of inescapable hooks forged from every type of pop and released what could be his magnum opus, Perpetual Motion People, last year. –Ben Kaye
After a million-dollar deal with Interscope left him disenfranchised and a car crash left him in a coma for three weeks, Oakland’s Xavier Dphrepaulezz has been reborn as a roots music maestro whose debut LP is out this summer. –Ben Kaye
Ty Segall produced last month’s debut LP from this Los Angeles four-piece, and it hits on many of the same garage, punk, and psych vibes you’d expect from Castle Face Records while still carving out an original voice for itself. –Philip Cosores