14 Australian Acts to See at SXSW
Mojo JujuWed. 13, International Day Stage @ Austin Convention Center, 4pm; Wed. 13, Lucille, 9pm; Thu. 14, Parker Jazz Club, 12:45am
Through a dazzling amalgamation of blues 'tude, soul, and pop, Mojo "Juju" Ruiz de Luzuriaga's newest album, Native Tongue, wrestles with how her Wiradjuri and Filipino heritages fit into her own identity, and how that identity fits into modern-day Australia. The Melbourne-based artist's third LP proves expansive in both tracklist and sonic range, all threaded together by her thunderous croon.
Emerson SnoweWed. 13, Lucille, 8pm; Fri. 15, International Day Stage @ Austin Convention Center, 4pm
Brisbane's Jarrod Mahon primarily used the Emerson Snowe moniker as a personal vehicle during years spent in beloved indie-rock fourpiece the Creases. The project's studio work retains a lo-fi dream-pop quality on "Could You Love Me?" while "If I Die, Then I Die" bops along on a Beach Boys influence. A debut LP drops this year.
San MeiWed. 13, Augustine, 8pm; Thu. 14, Lucille, 8pm
Emily Hamilton makes an unexpected strain of dream pop, a collision of swaggering, jagged guitar riffs and the expansiveness of airy synths. Throbbing throughout are pop melodies and an impassive, angelic voice. The Gold Coast producer and songwriter ranges her recent four-track EP Heaven from a frenetic, jittering beat on the title track to a sludgy, start-stop momentum in "Two Planets."
WaaxWed. 13, Friends, 11pm; Fri. 15, Lucille, 12mid
These Brisbanians bristle with bravado, a slick combo of early Aughts emo and Paramore's debut sound. The quintet's bold pair of EPs, Holy Sick (2015) and Wild & Weak (2017), burst melodic pop and anthemic hooks through a mess of anxious guitars. On latest single "FU," vocalist Marie "Maz" DeVita defiantly snarls, "Nobody hurts me, and fuck you for trying."
Haiku HandsWed. 13, Swan Dive Patio, 12mid; Fri. 15, Hotel Vegas Patio, 9:15pm
Beatrice Lewis, Mie Nakazawa, Mataya Young, and Claire Nakazawa consider themselves a unified collective operating as a synergetic force. Girl-gang vocals holler in unison over hammering beats, combining into a colorful, rave-friendly sound. On the blaring "Not About You," the cheeky, hollered refrain of "shut up!" resounds, but the grooving "Jupiter" has a hip, playful sound reminiscent of the Ting Tings with the intensity cranked up to 10.
Holiday SidewinderThu. 14, Iron Bear, 12mid
In the stunning (and NSFW) video for feel-good "Leo," Sydney pop musician Holiday Sidewinder Carmen-Sparks winks her way through "I don't remember his face, but I remember when I came." She boasts a background in off-kilter but beloved early project Bridezilla and as a backing vocalist/keyboardist for Alex Cameron. The bulk of her solo singles feature sex-positive synth-pop, a feminist reclamation of sexual agency dressed up in glittering, Eighties-infused earworms teasing forthcoming debut Forever or Whatever.
Greenwave BethSat. 16, Beerland, 8pm
A newer pop duo making addictive hooks through a dark and danceable synth sound, Charles Rushforth and Will Blackburn prepare to make their U.S. debut with opening dates for the Chills and at SXSW. A far cry from vocalist Rushforth's time in Flowertruck, a band of polished indie-pop, Greenwave Beth churns out skittish, semi-New Romantic-inspired jams with a bite.
Indigo SparkeSat. 16, Townsend, 9pm
Burning with a quiet intensity, Indigo Sparke plays gorgeous, subdued folk propelled by haunted, melancholic vocals. Her 2018 single "The Day I Drove the Car Around the Block" demonstrates a sophisticated sparseness of fingerpicking and voice, coiling into a haunted spaciousness bristling with heartbreak. As such, the Byron Bay-via-Sydney songwriter weaves a meditative web.
Gabriella CohenSat. 16, Parish, 11pm
On sophomore release Pink Is the Colour of Unconditional Love, released last year on Brooklyn indie staple Captured Tracks, Gabriella Cohen hints at garage-rock projects past. The Brisbane native's sleepy, retro haze and coo conjure a dusky blush hue, her slinking sounds built on vocal harmonies. "Music Machine" features self-aware, sharp observations of the fickle, pushy music industry: "I'm playing gigs but I'm anti-machine."
5 MORE FROM DOWN UNDER
Oh Pep!Wed. 13, Palm Door on Sabine, 9pm; Thu. 14, Radio Day Stage @ Austin Convention Center, 2pm; Thu. 14, Barracuda, 8:30pm
Strings-heavy, earnest, folk-meets-pop duo made up of Melbourne's longtime friends Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs.
Denise le MeniceThu. 14, CU29, 12mid; Fri. 15, Flatstock Stage @ Austin Convention Center, 12:30pm
Roomy, dulcet dream-pop breaking away from Ali Flintoff's background in Perth punk.
I Know LeopardThu. 14, Lucille, 12mid; Fri. 15, International Day Stage @ Austin Convention Center, 1pm; Sat. 16, Las Perlas, 11pm
Rising Sydney foursome churns out smooth, subdued, glam romanticism with an easy listening strain via forthcoming debut Love Is a Landmine.
Harmony ByrneSat. 16, Stephen F’s Bar, 10pm
Minimalist intensity combines a background in church hymns with swaying blues, a cavernous voice, and spoken word, all spiraling into a striking howl.
NoireSat. 16, CU29, 12mid
Sydney-based duo Jessica Mincher and Billy James combine ethereal, slow-moving, namesake noir with pop reverie on 2017 debut, Some Kind of Blue.