30 Breakout Music Acts to See in Austin This Week

Your guide to SXSW's buzziest artists, both official and unofficial

Jobi Riccio, Estevie, and Malik Baptiste (Jobi photo by Monica Murray / Estevie photo by Monica Zulema Arzate / Malik photo by John Anderson)

Any Austin-based or Austin-headed music fan worth their salt starts encountering the same line of questioning come March: Anyone you’re excited to see at South by Southwest?

Alongside the default stars, the Fest really shines in gathering up-and-coming, just-about-to-break-through artists. Here, the Chronicle music team offers recommendations to discover at SXSW Music, happening March 11-16 across over 75 local stages. After we put this list together, several artists dropped out of their official showcases in support of Palestine. The protesting acts – many of which cite the festival’s U.S. Army sponsorship, as well as the event’s ties to the defense contractor RTX Corporation (formerly Raytheon) – are opting to play unofficial shows only, as noted below.

There's actually 31 artists on this list. Chronicle Music Team selects GRÓA and Lambrini Girls have decided to no longer come to Austin at all as part of the festival protest. We still think you should check out their music.

Watch out for after-dark set times at midnight or later, as they’re listed here with the following day’s date, matching the SXSW schedule (even though the showcase will have started the day prior).


Thursday 14, 3:30pm, Empire Garage
Thursday 14, 7pm, Zilker Brewing
Friday 15, 11:10pm, Hotel Vegas

Since their 2020 debut single “Inert,” Hong Kong sextet Arches have evolved from sprightly alternative rockers to moody shoegazers. While that track, and accompanying EP Goodbye Tragic Manga, doled out frolicking percussion and stop-start guitars, 2022 follow-up Callous Room shifted into darkness with buzzsaw riffs and hardcore breakdowns. New single “Doll” presents a cohesive amalgamation: When Jack Ip’s opening whisper melts away with the stomp of a distortion pedal, an interstellar melody soars. The bandleader primarily sings in Chinese, but switches to English here, revealing the depth of his melancholy: “I can’t feel anymore/ Guess that I’m about to fall.”   – Carys Anderson

Bar Italia (Photo by Steve Gullick)

Bar Italia

Wednesday 13, 11pm, Empire Garage

Mega-buzzy London-based trio Bar Italia strides into SXSW on a trail of well-deserved post-punk hype. Lockdown-born debut album Quarrel (released under Dean Blunt’s boundary-pushing World Music label) set their experimental trajectory into motion, while 2023 releases Tracey Denim and The Twits burst the group into full-blown indie rock rotation. Grounded by the ultra-cool delivery of Rome-born vocalist Nina Cristante, angst-ridden offering “Jelsy” bleeds into alt-folk territory, while distorted singles “Nurse” and “My Little Tony” are sure to please mosh-ready Austin audiences.   – Genevieve Wood


Saturday 16, 7pm, Speakeasy

In-depth collections BLK VINTAGE (2021) and DIAMONDS & FREAKS (2023) introduced Austin to the neo-soul, funk, and hip-hop universe of BLK ODYSSY, the latter record featuring George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic. Entering the frame holding the fake silicone head featured on the album cover, project visionary Juwan Elcock enlightened larger audiences in a recent NPR Tiny Desk concert, where he assembled a 10-piece band to show off new song “Want You.” The artist’s official fest performance lands at the Funk Factory activation before Janelle Monáe takes the stage as DJ Johnny Jane later that night.   – Rachel Rascoe

Bubble Tea and Cigarettes (Courtesy of Elefant Records)

Bubble Tea and Cigarettes

Wednesday 13, 8pm, St. David’s Historic Sanctuary
Friday 15, 4pm, Empire Control Room

The dream pop portals of Bubble Tea and Cigarettes decelerate time, steeped in transnational tones from Brazilian bossa nova to European cinema to American psych. Members Andi Wang and “Kat” Zhang, who first crossed paths in NYC while working high-pressure jobs, now wander aimlessly away from metropolitan pressures. Channeling tranquil nightfall through string interludes, whispered vocals, and fuzzy guitars, the L.A.-based duo’s 2022 LP There’s Nothing but Pleasure broods over bittersweet hypotheticals in a reverbed mist.   – Angela Lim

Chase Shakur

Tuesday 12, 7pm, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
Wednesday 13, 10:40pm, Marlow

Chase Shakur’s vulnerable, atmospheric alternative R&B style had already begun to crystallize when he broke out in 2022 with the single “Too Far Close” and signed to Def Jam. The Atlanta vocalist, possessing a gentle tenor that compliments his songs of love of longing, went on to release the impressive 2023 full-length it’s not you, it’s me… it’s love, complete with arty, filmlike music videos. His SXSW appearance comes en route to Los Angeles, where he’ll perform at Rolling Loud the same week.   – Kevin Curtin

cumgirl8 (Photo by Emmie America)


(Unofficial shows only, see artist's social media)

Ear-catching electronic fuzz and goofball eclecticism constitute the high-camp world of cumgirl8. Equally inspired by Y2K-era iPod Nanos and NYC’s rich post-punk tradition, the Manhattan-formed fourpiece invites listeners into an ecstasy-soaked aesthetic feast on 2023 EP phantasea pharm. Gothic standout “Cicciolina” revels in dance-floor psychosis, while dour offering “Dead Pixels” exposes the party’s barren comedown. Bolstered by the nasal vocal drawl of formerly Austin-based drag icon Christeene, sleazy synth number “Picture Party” lands halfway between comic relief and Instagram critique: “I’m on Dramamine on the mezzanine/ If I fall down and bleed/ Take a picture of me.”   – Genevieve Wood


Tuesday 12, 1:15am, Swan Dive

French sounds best dripping in angst, a clear takeaway from Montreal punks DVTR’s debut EP. BONJOUR exhibits bubbly noise (“Crématorium”) and buzzing guitar layers (“DVTR”), all held down by barreling bass scratches. The initial mosh fuel of “Rhum Coke” expands into a blistering jam. The duo take advantage of both their voices throughout, spitting lackadaisical musings, grubby growls, and bright shouts over sweet, sonic discordance. Forget any preconceptions about French-Canadian snootiness; these two roll around in the dirt.   – Laiken Neumann

Eliza McLamb

(Unofficial shows only, listed here)

Submerged in desaturated blue, the music of Eliza McLamb stirs an abyssal pond. The North Carolina-born and L.A.-based singer-songwriter lilts over currents of grainy guitars in her debut album Going Through It, enhanced by producer Sarah Tudzin (illuminati hotties, boygenius). McLamb’s lyrics remain blunt and untouched, moving from “I wanna kill your boyfriend” to “outrunning the feeling of being alive” a minute later (“Glitter”). Perhaps due to her oldest songs having been recorded in a laundry shed, listening to the popular newsletter author’s discography feels like revisiting a childhood home, splashed with the seething suds of retrospective clarity.   – Angela Lim

Enola Gay (Courtesy of the artist)

Enola Gay

(Unofficial shows only, see artist's social media)

Named for the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, this young Belfast noise punk quartet’s atomic quality is an eviscerating rush of sound, fueled by excessive, shoegazey guitar effects and hard-hitting rhythms. Standing apart from the crowded field of talk-singing UK guitar bands, vocalist Fionn Reilly’s lyrical construction takes as much inspiration from hip-hop as it does post-punk. Starting in 2019 with a hot-headed, heavy, socially conscious aesthetic, the group’s latest work, October’s Casement EP, expanded the aperture to include electronic rhythms and dark acoustic sounds.   – Kevin Curtin


Thursday 14, 3pm, Mohawk
Friday 15, 8:45pm, Moody Amphitheater
Saturday 16, Time TBA, Mohawk

Raised in the small town of Beaumont, Calif., Estevie’s next-gen integration of older música Mexicana with 2010s pop syncopation reads clearly in her 2023 album title: Cumbialicious. After success as a tween on a Mexican singing competition show, 2021 breakout single “Canela” churned chipper accordion, electronic effects, and a cowgirl-hat-donning cover. The artist lands on Nice Life Recording Company alongside Lizzo and Tinashe. New singles team up with like-minded alt-Latin starlets Cuco (“El Paso”) and DannyLux (“Triste Verano”).   – Rachel Rascoe

Fabiana Palladino

Tuesday 12, 8:50pm, British Music Embassy
Thursday 14, 11pm, Seven Grand

Collaborating with electronic architect Jai Paul on each track, floaty R&B crooner Fabiana Palladino has only released five songs since 2017. Recent “I Care” takes airy flight with a melody (and hi-hats) reminiscent of 2000s R&B, but spacey reverberation exhibits a modern twist. A self-admitted take on classic Motown duets, the track reflects the nostalgic trends injected into Palladino’s repertoire and crafts a synth-laden soundscape with gushing pop melodies.   – Laiken Neumann

Farmer's Wife (Photo by Kylie Bly)

Farmer’s Wife

(Unofficial shows only, listed here)

Friends of Austin punk act Die Spitz, dreamier alt-rock troupe Farmer’s Wife have tracked a similarly steep trajectory with a frenzied Hotel Vegas residency and a plaque for Best New Act at the recent Austin Music Awards. When the band was known as Sludge, the Chronicle first caught on to a psych-sparkled absurdist deepfake video for “Greg Abbott’s Maxi Pad.” After last year’s bloodthirsty, slightly glam debut EP There’s a Monster, I’d like them to take on the topic of Fox dating show Farmer Wants a Wife next.   – Rachel Rascoe

Flyana Boss

Wednesday 13, 11:30pm, Palm Door on Sixth
Thursday 14, 7:50pm, ACL Live at the Moody Theater

In late February, the duo behind Flyana Boss – who go by first names Bobbi and Folayan – sat in an L.A. parking lot between fittings for their second-ever tour. Their first happened to be with Atlantic Records labelmate Janelle Monáe (who also heads to SXSW as DJ Johnny Jane). As for lessons learned after achieving serious TikTok popularity, largely for sprinting while expressively rapping their song “You Wish”? “We learned not to wear a different outfit every show, because that’s stupid,” says Bobbi. “We were carrying garment bags up and around hotels the whole Age of Pleasure Tour.”   – Rachel Rascoe

Font (Photo by Blake Nelson)


(Unofficial shows only, listed here)

Font hit the big stage at ACL Fest with tightly wound art rock mixing post-punk guitars, dual drummers, programmed beats, industrial synth, and vocalist Thom Waddill’s squirrelly moves. Alongside a dash of LCD Soundsystem, their SXSW bio compares them to former fest visitors Black Country, New Road, and quotes from the band: “We only know that a song is finished when we don’t quite know what it is anymore.” The Austin fivepiece also happens to join Cactus Lee, Nemegata, and Grace Sorensen at the Chronicle’s free and unofficial Hair of the 3-Legged Dog Party at Hotel Vegas on March 15.   – Rachel Rascoe


(Unofficial shows only, listed here)

Boasting past gigs opening for rising contemporaries Narrow Head and Hotline TNT, plus an upcoming date supporting post-punk luminaries Interpol, Arizona quartet Glixen head to SXSW primed to capture the attention of all those reverb-inclined. Last year’s EP She Only Said – no doubt a nod to obvious sonic influences My Bloody Valentine, whose “I Only Said” appears on 1991 genre bible Loveless – rides a wave of echoing guitar melodies, anchored by singer-guitarist Aislinn Ritchie’s ethereal vocals. February single “Foreversoon” previews a heavier forthcoming project, pairing the same girlish coo with pummeling percussion and fuzzy power chords.   – Carys Anderson


(No longer attending, read their statement here)

Imagine Corin Tucker trilling Icelandic à la Björk and a sliver of GRÓA might manifest as ear shrapnel. Reykjavík art-punk trio Karòlína Einars Maríudóttir, Hrafnhildur Einars Maríudóttir, and Fríða Björg Pétursdóttir formed in 2017 and count three releases beginning the following year, including pandemic drop What I Like to Do, where “Grannypants” smacks spacious, atmospheric rhythms from the latter two members, and needling guitars and vox from the former. Most songs remain in their native dialect, but the video for the aforementioned tune teases and distorts, moshes and trips hard.   – Raoul Hernandez

Hinako Omori

Friday 15, midnight, Seven Grand
Friday 15, 3pm, Empire Control Room
Friday 15, 10pm, Central Presbyterian Church

An ideal soundtrack for sinking into your wooden pew at Central Presbyterian, analog synth and field recordings wash through the ambient works of Hinako Omori. The London-based composer and vocalist, who has performed with acts like Floating Points and Ichiko Aoba, explores the idea of shadow selves on latest album stillness, softness​.​.​. The austere, but inviting, LP follows a look at the blood-pressure-lowering Japanese practice of forest bathing on her celebrated 2022 work, titled a journey….   – Rachel Rascoe

J Noa (Photo by Laurent Leger Adame)

J Noa

Tuesday 12, 11pm, Rozco’s
Wednesday 13, 2pm, Radio Day Stage
Wednesday 13, 7:50pm, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
Thursday 14, 2:30pm, Mohawk

Balancing urgency and smooth assurance, Dominican rapper J Noa’s first U.S. performance was for a September Tiny Desk Concert, making quite the introduction. Born Nohelys Jimenez in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, the teenager also ended up on the Latin Grammy nomination list for “Autodidacta,” the title track off her 2023 Sony Music-signed debut. Beyond, “Betty” tells of a young girl’s struggles with substance abuse – showing off J Noa’s Spanish-language storytelling chops and self-titled status as “The Daughter of Rap.”   – Rachel Rascoe

Jobi Riccio

Tuesday 12, 10:30pm, Empire Control Room

Last year’s debut LP on Yep Roc Records, Whiplash, immediately turned Americana ears to Jobi Riccio, melding a versatile yet subtle sweep of roots music with her raw and poetically earnest songwriting. The beautifully lush soundscape of songs like “Summer” recall Sarah Jarosz with touches of swirling Rocky Mountain bluegrass. Still, the Colorado native and Berklee grad’s power really rises in her distillation of complicated, fraught emotions into poignant vignettes and immaculate melodies, from the wistful “Driving” to the beautifully tender “For Me It’s You” and frayed perseverance of “Kinder to Myself.”   – Doug Freeman

Kaitlin Butts

Saturday 16, 10pm, Lamberts

At last month’s Ameripolitan Music Awards, Kaitlin Butts gave a moving speech after winning Best Honky Tonk Female, speaking to the hard path to recognition for women in country. Behind her arresting twang, sharp lyrics, and adventurous stylistic range, it won’t be the Oklahoma songwriter’s last award. Unlike her 2015 debut LP, Same Hell, Different Devil, Butts’ 2022 breakout What Else Can She Do weighs heavier in sound and sentiment behind songs like “Blood” and the weary, wanting title track: “There’s lots of sad stories, and this here’s another.”   – Doug Freeman

LAIR (Photo by Deby Sucha)


Wednesday 13, 5pm, International Day Stage
Thursday 14, 10pm, Flamingo Cantina

Indonesian-derived moniker from lahir, meaning “birth” or “being born,” LAIR sweeps in all the way from Jatiwangi, West Java, Indonesia, some 10,000 miles away. A sextet playing Panturan Tarling, a grassroots musical performance art of the region, their 2019 debut LP Kiser Kenamaan evokes African desert rock: droning melodies, keening chants, and stinging six-strings. Except Java’s an island, the world’s most populous and counting over one-half of all Indonesians, so LAIR steps hot as an urban night – burning funk and steaming soul – and equally sleepless. Check your brain at the door and get birthed.   – Raoul Hernandez

Lambrini Girls

(No longer attending, read their statement here)

Birthed from the coastal chill of Brighton, England, untirable trio Lambrini Girls delivers queers-to-the-front punk fire in their first SXSW appearance. Embodying anti-establishment ideologies, the group’s butchering of British nationalism on recent single “God’s Country” hits home for politically enraged Texan listeners: “All hail God’s country/ Bankers pay no tax, grandma can’t afford heating/ Strong and stable, you’re joking!” Takedown “Boys in the Band” slaughters ruinous male musicians with Lilly Macieira’s sludgy basslines and Phoebe Lunny’s snarling vocals, bolstered by the punishing rhythm of an unnamed drummer performing under tongue-in-cheek pseudonym Bansky.   – Genevieve Wood

Malik Baptiste

Wednesday 13, 8:40pm, Revival Coffee

When I picture Malik Baptiste, the rapper/producer is positioned in front of retro panels of recording doodads – seen in last year’s Eighties-style music video for “WHO!?” and, later, Instagram videos breaking down the tracks of latest mixtape PEDALS / PETALS. The project marked the artist’s return to Austin after moving to L.A. to pursue music under the mentorship of No I.D., who releases Baptiste’s music on his ARTium label. Baptiste joins Austin hip-hop radio show The Breaks’ primo local lineup with Mike Melinoe and Magna Carda.   – Rachel Rascoe

Nabihah Iqbal

Tuesday 12, 8pm, Palm Door on Sixth
Thursday 14, 9:30pm, British Music Embassy
Saturday 15, midnight, The Velveeta Room

Six years after her debut, Nabihah Iqbal’s sophomore album, DREAMER, emerges from a treacherous creation process. The London-based musician lost her demos in a 2020 studio burglary, then spent COVID lockdown with family in Pakistan, away from most of her equipment. Reworking the LP from scratch, the artist stepped away from go-to electronic recording programs and picked up a more analog approach to composition. “There’s a real comfort in having the ideas in your mind, knowing exactly what you’re doing, even if it’s just the skeletal version of the track,” says Iqbal, formerly known as Throwing Shade.   – Carys Anderson

Pylon Reenactment Society (Photo by Christy Bush)

Pylon Reenactment Society

Thursday 14, 11:20pm, Lamberts
Friday 15, 11pm, Cooper’s BBQ

When Pylon released their landmark debut album Gyrate in 1980, the band stood as tall as Athens, Ga., peers R.E.M. and the B-52’s. But the quartet’s bristling, bass-heavy post-punk scanned far less user-friendly than their pals’ work, dooming them to be beloved and influential, rather than famous. With only original singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay still on duty, Pylon evolved into Pylon Reenactment Society, performing the old songs and writing new ones. That trajectory hits its apex with PRS’s debut LP Magnet Factory, which channels the spirit of the original band while adding some new millennial zing.  – Michael Toland


(Unofficial shows only, listed here)

Often sporting fluorescent green locks and go-go boots, plus a voice entwined with ardor, Scowl vocalist Kat Moss isn’t afraid to make noise. “I’m not trying to hide the fact that I want to push the envelope with my music,” they explain. Since their 2019 self-titled debut, the Bay Area fivepiece’s unexpected integration of influences from across alternative rock has gained considerable traction – including a spot at last year’s Coachella and major punk festivals.   – Miranda Garza


(Unofficial shows only, listed here)

Prime prospect for “funnest band you saw at SXSW,” Nashville’s Snõõper has antics for days – including curling novelty barbells and planting curious papier-mâché characters in the mosh pit – plus a fast, revelrous sound that splits the difference between New Wave and psych punk. Singer Blair Tramel uses a novel vocal approach that sounds like someone put a cranked tremolo pedal before Auto-Tune in their effects chain. During a bonkers performance at Radio/East in January that drew over 600 fans, the band revealed that Austin was the first city outside of Tennessee that embraced their hard-rocking, weirdo impulses.   – Kevin Curtin

Sofia Kourtesis (Photo by Dan Medhurst)

Sofia Kourtesis

Thursday 14, 12:30am, Coconut Club

Arguably the festival’s fastest-rising DJ and producer, Lima, Peru- and Berlin, Germany-based Sofia Kourtesis is due to shut down the Electronic Music From Germany showcase until 2am. Catch up with her 2022 Resident Advisor RA Session, a twinkling, ecstatic collage assembled in honor of her late father. Effervescent field recordings and synth support the house of last year’s Ninja Tune debut Madres, this time reflecting on her mother’s journey through cancer and a miraculous recovery, which involved Kourtesis contacting a world-renowned neurosurgeon by posting a snippet of her music.   – Rachel Rascoe

Subsonic Eye

(Unofficial shows only, listed here)

Coming of age in fast-paced, land-scarce Singapore, Subsonic Eye vocalist Nur Wahidah sought refuge in traces of nature within the urban landscape. “Ever since I learned to appreciate nature, I’ve become kinder to myself,” she says. “If you’re hiking and it starts raining, you’re like, ‘Okay, this just happens.’ You learn how to cope with it. Fittingly, their 2021 record Nature of Things formed a love letter to the outdoors fuelled by climate anxiety. Then, the indie rock quintet explored these themes with a more optimistic slant on their fourth album, All Around You, released via Topshelf Records last September.   – Wayne Lim

Teethe (Photo by Photo by Alex Montenegro)


(Unofficial shows only, listed here)

With somber twang, swirling vocals, and never-overblown solemnity – Texas band Teethe self-released their self-titled LP in 2020. The slow burn continues, as they were recently announced to open for the completely sold-out summer dates of Southern Gothic pop star Ethel Cain, who called their debut “the only thing I listened to all last summer.” Teethe’s downcast, close-textured slowcore recently landed on Saddle Creek’s 7-inch series, as well as signing to Winspear Records. Members now split between Dallas and Austin, where Kai Wilde has been performing solo.   – Rachel Rascoe


Thursday 14, 11pm, Central Presbyterian Church
Friday 15, 9pm, Swan Dive

“Call me when you need someone/ I could be your 911/ whee-ooh whee-ooh.” On her song “911,” Stockholm-based artist waterbaby, aka Kendra Egerbladh, makes the emergency sirens sound dreamy, lovelorn, with just a touch of silliness. Those feelings stretch across her homespun pop framework, influenced by both Frank Ocean’s R&B and Fleet Foxes’ folk. Debut EP Foam arrived last year on Sub Pop with an air of mystery drummed up by introductory collaborations with the Swedish artists Seinabo Sey and Hannes. Her musical lineage stretches further from school choir to her jazz pianist great-grandad.   – Rachel Rascoe

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SXSW 2024, Arches, bar italia, Nabihah Iqbal, Flyana Boss, waterbaby, Subsonic Eye, Bubble Tea and Cigarettes, Chase Shakur, cumgirl8, DVTR, Eliza McLamb, Enola Gay, Estevie, Fabiana Palladino, Farmer’s Wide, Font, Glixen, Hinako Omori

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