Priority Pop at SXSW Music

If you've gotta pick and choose, you can't go wrong with these 11 breakouts


Lola Marsh

Lola Marsh

Tue. 13, Blackheart, 9pm; Thu. 15, Maggie Mae's, 11pm; Sat. 17, International Day Stage, Austin Convention Center, 1pm

Israeli duo Yael Shoshana Cohen and Gil Landau enter new pop territory through the former's deep, earthy vocals and the latter's folk soundscape of whistles and ukulele. On their 2017 EP, Cohen's tone recalls Lana Del Rey but Landau's airy instrumentation prompts it to a cinematic stage.

Living Hour

Tue. 13, Javelina, 11pm

This Winnipeg outfit's eponymous 2016 debut is ambient and echoey, each song floating into the next almost indiscernibly. This year's EP offers more love-soaked melodies and smoky pop psychedelia set aflame by singer Sam Sarty.

The Marías

Wed. 14, Radio Day Stage, Austin Convention Center, noon; Thu. 15, Palm Door on Sixth, 8:10pm; Fri. 16, Mohawk Outside, 11pm

L.A. couple Maria and Josh Conway embody the vintage glamour of their home base on debut EP Superclean Vol I. Psychedelic soul ("Only in My Dreams") and seductive dream-pop ("Basta Ya") are cast together by Maria's siren voice and a slew of horns, disco, and jazzy beats.

Kelela

Wed. 14, Gatsby, 10pm

D.C. native Kelela Mizanekristos defines a postgenre world. 2013's Cut 4 Me is dark electronic with loopy beats, 2015's Hallucinogen lights otherworldly R&B, and last year's Take Me Apart synthesizes both into sultry electro-pop existing in bedrooms ("Turn to Dust") and dance halls ("LMK").

Gus Dapperton

Wed. 14, Sidewinder, 9:50pm; Thu. 15, Friends, 1am; Fri. 16, Javelina, 1am

Before SoundCloud housed rappers like Lil Xan and Lil Peep, it planted indie dream-pop voices like Gus Dapperton. Playful and unassuming, the New Yorker projects his dreams into a playground of bubbly production. 2017 EP Yellow and Such and this year's You Think You're a Comic! exude cheeky, feel-good vibes.

Tennis

Wed. 14, Lustre Pearl, 10pm

Tennis rides the wave of musical couples that actually work. Since 2011 debut Cape Dory, the Denver duo reanimated Seventies pop nostalgia. Last year's We Can Die Happy EP pulls out wistful disco for a story about the darker side of love.

Sports

Wed. 14, Sidewinder Inside, 11:50pm

Oklahoma dream-pop trio Sports sounds nothing like the denotation behind their moniker. Their Eighties indie grooves come courtesy of brothers Jacob and Christian Theriot on bass and guitar, and Cale Chronister's low, breathy vocals. 2015's Naked All the Time and 2016's People Can't Stop Chillin reverb moody and abundant summer vibes.

Porches

Wed. 14, Barracuda Backyard, 12:05am

Aaron Maine utilizes Porches as a vehicle for satisfying homemade pop. 2013 debut Slow Dance in the Cosmos plays more indie rock, a stretch from 2016 records Pool and Water, which lean toward the electronica that led to the simple, softhearted beats that characterize this year's long player The House.

Cuco

Thu. 15, Banger's, 10pm; Fri. 16, Mohawk Outside, 12mid

The thing about Omar Banos, he's acing emotional ballads in a culture that continually places machismo on the forefront, that resistance packaged in glittery dream-pop. The 19-year-old Angeleno's lush synth waves and trumpet create a bubble of surrealism with tinges of Tame Impala, seamlessly weaving Spanish and English into journal love of the 21st century.

Khalid

Thu. 15, Trinity Warehouse, 12mid

On 2017 debut American Teen, Khalid Robinson snagged A-list collabos Calvin Harris, Future, and Kendrick Lamar, nabbed three Grammy noms, and sold out tours. The Georgia-born El Paso rep, 20, generates a new pop/R&B hybrid celebrating youth and the spectrum of emotions that accompany it.

Hot Flash Heat Wave

Sat. 17, Velveeta Room, 1am

This Cali fourpiece traffics in cheeky hooks and distorted guitar recalling Weezer if they were lathered in synth. 2015 debut LP Neapolitan is colorful garage rock, a sound seeped through 2017 follow-up Soaked. Even so, the latter takes root in cleaner, brighter instrumentation, opening up their tales of young love.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

SXSW 2018, Lola Marsh, Living Hour, The Marías, Kelela, Gus Dapperton, Tennis, Sports, Porches, Cuco, Khalid, Hot Flash Heat Wave, SXSW Music 2018

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