Your Field Guide to 80 Essential Acts at SXSW Music

Highlighting the best and buzziest at this year's Festival


Art by Zeke Barbaro (Photos by John Anderson / Getty Images)

All roads lead to Austin come March 13-18. South by Southwest Music 2023 invites over 1,400 artists to play on more than 75 stages throughout the Texas capital. Among the international, national, and hometown musicians on the expansive lineup, the Chronicle music team offers 80 recommendations to discover next week. Emerging bands, innovative rappers, solo singer-songwriters, experimental ensembles, K-pop collectives – it’s all here for your Festival scheduling.

To listen along, hear songs from our SXSW picks on Spotify. Find our favorite unofficial parties and free shows here, and stay tuned for daily live coverage throughout the week.

9m88

Tue 14, 12mid, Elysium
Wed 15, 5pm, Cheer Up Charlies

9m88, née Joanne Tang, or Baba to her fans, plays with genre and sound the same way her musical moniker plays with the phonetic spelling of her name: The Mandarin Chinese pronunciation of 9m88 is a homophone for Joanne Baba. The 32-year-old singer delivers personal lyrics, mostly in her native language, in the buttery-smooth vocals common to Mandopop. Jazzy inflections and experimental instrumentation make for an innovative, soulful blend. Read our interview with 9m88 here.
– Clara Wang

Aoife Nessa Frances

Wed 15, 9pm, Central Presbyterian
Fri 17, 4pm, Convention Center
Fri 17, 9pm, Lucille
Among recording tales from spring 2020, Dubliner Aoife Nessa Frances' immerses in the nature of Ireland's west coast. Resulting Partisan release, Protector, casts a spell-like expansion to the singer-songwriter's established folk-rock perspective, lessening the density of statements like "emptiness follows me" with dulcet horns and dazzling harp. Seeking more arguments for Frances' light psychedelia in the realm of Jessica Pratt? Placement in the hallowed hall of Central Pres and Friday's Aquarium Drunkard curation can't be wrong.  – Rachel Rascoe


Armani White (Photo by Chad Griffiths)

Armani White

Mon 13, 12mid, Sellers Underground
Thu 16, 5pm, Clive Bar
Thu 16, Waterloo Park
Racking over 9 million monthly listeners on Spotify, this Philadelphia rapper capitalizes on his buzz with a prime opportunity opening for Lil Yachty at Moody Amphitheater. Breakout single "BILLIE EILISH." – catchy earworm with a mere 99-second run time over a sample of N.O.R.E.'s 2002 hit "Nothin'" – contains the tailored-for-TikTok hook "Bitch, I'm stylish/ Glock tucked, big T-shirt, Billie Eilish." Latest single "GOATED." keeps his flame lit with assistance from Denzel Curry.  – Derek Udensi

Baby Rose

Wed 15, 11pm, Seven Grand
Thu 16, 1pm, Mohawk
Thu 16, 10pm, Central Presbyterian
With a unique resonance to her voice that's at times reminiscent of fellow North Carolina-raised genius Nina Simone, R&B songwriter Baby Rose had nods from both Big K.R.I.T. and J. Cole's Dreamville label before rolling out her vision with 2019 LP To Myself. Deeply soulful with a low-key vibration and a penchant for live-arrangement musicality, her best work now emerges with a trio of singles on Secretly Canadian – though her collab with Austin's BLK ODYSSY ("Complex of Killing a Man") is hard to top.
– Kevin Curtin


Balming Tiger

Balming Tiger

Tue 14, 12mid, British Music Embassy
Wed 15, 1am, Cheer Up Charlies
Fri 17, 6pm, Clive Bar
Balming Tiger supplies an alternative spin to the polished K-pop phenomenon. Boasting roles from singer-songwriters to video directors, the 11-piece collective conjures a new genre of cacophonic chaos with sultry, intoxicating jams like "SEXY NUKIM" – a collaboration with BTS' RM – and "JUST FUN!" The South Korean group's latest single, "Trust Yourself," snowballs a message of confidence for the younger generation, demonstrating the infectious energy they've always radiated and used to pull audiences in without fail.  – Angela Lim

Balthvs

Wed 15, noon, Convention Center
Fri 17, Inn Cahoots
Sat 18, 1am, the 13th Floor
Balthvs illuminated the unknown sweet spot between surf tones, deep house, and Turkish delight, all of it run through South American rhythms. The Bogotá trio's second LP last spring belongs at some exotic new destination festival alongside Khruangbin, Vieux Farka Touré, and Adrian Quesada's Jaguar Sound. The Colombians wrote on Bandcamp about their Cause & Effect: "Chance or fate are names for a cosmic law not comprehended. Everything you do, consciously or unconsciously will come back at you …"
– Raoul Hernandez


Barrie (Photo by Caroline Tompkins)

Barrie

Wed 15, 12:10am, Mohawk
Thu 16, 1:30pm, Mohawk
Thu 16, 9pm, Las Perlas
Brooklyn's Barrie, evolving pop effort of Barrie Lindsay, last played SXSW celebrating 2019's perfectly optimistic Happy to Be Here and their newly minted status as a fivepiece. Recentered to mostly solo recording (plus Gabby Smith of Gabby's World on backing vocals), latest "Races" continues oblong and pleasing melodies via Winspear with a jaunty new outlook. Upcoming March 31 EP 5K aims to provide a propellant arc for exercise, as Lindsay is an avid runner.   – Rachel Rascoe


Bartees Strange (Photo by Luke Piotrowski)

Bartees Strange

Tue 14, 9:30pm, the Belmont
Playful DIY maven Bartees Strange's titles convey: Latest "Tisched Off" rages at the resources of NYU art school kids over subtly zany synth bombast, while 4AD debut Farm to Table served emotionally streamlined political insights. Slinkying between distorted rock and emo balladry, the Washington, D.C., musician's current fascinating phase follows past lives as a college football player in Kansas and a press secretary in the Obama administration.  – Rachel Rascoe

Be Your Own Pet

Wed 15, 11pm, Mohawk
Singer Jemina Pearl gleams with enthusiasm as she recounts newly reunited Be Your Own Pet’s first band practice since their 2008 split. Archives include their self-titled debut, where the Nashville garage punks wreaked havoc on two wheels – ascending to breakneck, Bad Brains-level speed midsong, as Pearl’s vocals quavered alongside thrashing power chords. “We were very obviously 16 years old and definitely didn’t know what a standard songwriting format was. It was all over the place, but it was fun to dive back into our teenage mindsets,” she says. Read our full interview with Pearl here.– Nayeli Portillo

Blondshell

Thu 16, 1pm, Convention Center
Thu 16, 3:30pm, Mohawk
Fri 17, 10pm, Swan Dive
Sabrina Teitelbaum uses Blondshell as a medium to dissect the tempestuous experience of young womanhood – equal parts brutal and magical. Over the past eight months, the singer has released a series of six soul-stirring singles that act as time capsules for twentysomething angst. The deceptively sultry “Kiss City” probes at the anxieties underlying intimacy, while “Olympus” provides a gut-wrenching account of addiction and love. Her debut album will arrive this April through Partisan Records. Read our interview with Blondshell here.– Genevieve Wood


Bonny Doon (Photo by Trevor Naud)

Bonny Doon

Fri 17, 11pm, Lucille
Waxahatchee tapped Bonny Doon to be her backing band for 2020's Saint Cloud. The Detroit trio captured Katie Crutchfield's attention with their 2017 debut, Longwave (Woodsist), a hammock-ready collection of elevated indie folk, and the band proved the perfect complement to the singer-songwriter's personal examinations of sobriety and the South. Crutchfield returned the favor on Bonny Donn's melancholic new single for Anti- Records, "San Francisco," which chronicles co-founder Bobby Colombo's move to the Bay Area.  – Austin Powell

Carson McHone

Thu 16, 9pm, Continental Club
Carson McHone’s voice carries such beautiful and effortless ache that every line threatens to tumble into devastation. The ATX native honed her songwriting over a decade locally, crafting ballads with a poetic yet direct yearning and keen emotional sense, but alighted to Canada during the pandemic to collaborate with husband Daniel Romano. The result: last year’s third LP Still Life (Merge), which still pulls behind her wistful twang, fueled by hookier melodies and a more expansive Americana sound.  – Doug Freeman

Civic

Thu 16, 12pm, Mohawk
Sat 18, 11pm, Valhalla
On their 2018 debut New Vietnam, Aussie punk fivepiece Civic's eager fanfare cut a distorted guitar path through to "Nuclear Son." Their third release, February's Taken by Force, reaches similar intensity with a new polished rhythmic structure, pulsing snare in "Blood Rushes," and yowling riffs on "Born in the Heat." The tunes bear a kinetic energy to scorch ears, like the blazing Melbourne sun that baked these songs.  – Mars Salazar


Coco & Clair Clair (Photo by Shervin)

Coco & Clair Clair

Tue 14, 8:20pm, Empire
Thu 16, 12:45am, Seven Grand
Fri 17, 4pm, Lustre Pearl
"Pop star lifestyle I'm in a hurry/ No time for you crusty, ugly, scary little girlies," Coco announces as Paris Hilton reincarnate in viral hit "Pop Star." Proud purveyors of bimbo culture, Atlanta duo Coco & Clair Clair floats bubbly pop hooks into neon hip-hop beats. Despite their TikTok stardom, don't write them off as quirky audio bait. Whisking hushed ad-libs and comically mischievous rap verses throughout their debut LP, Sexy, the pair redefines the sound of the internet with serious intent, inflated personas in tow.
– Laiken Neumann

Como Las Movies

Sat 18, 9pm, Sheraton Backyard
Fresh off a performance at ACL Fest and a major co-sign on Spotify’s “Latin Indie Classics” playlist that resulted in nearly six-figure streams for 2019 single “¿Ypqsp?,” Como Las Movies reenvisions traditional cumbia with the addition of sunny afternoon synths and day-dreaming vocal hooks. They appear at the Sheraton after Latin Grammy-nominated singer Destiny Navaira, whose Mexican ballads offer the type of tonal contrast that makes spending all night camped at one SXSW venue such a fun experience.
– Dan Gentile

Cuco

Wed 15, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
California's Omar Banos sparked a wave of Chicano pride among the indie rock Tumblr niche with debut wannabewithu (2016), laying out an alluring medley of lo-fi beats and dreamy lyrics in hits like "Lover Is a Day" and "Amor de Siempre." Six years and three full-lengths later, the 24-year-old embarks on a musical journey leading to his parents' native Mexico City for Fantasy Gateway (2022), and continues in the soulful reflections of February release "Best Disaster." – Mars Salazar


Debby Friday (Photo by Katrin Braga)

Debby Friday

Thu 16, 9pm, Mohawk
Fri 17, 5pm, Convention Center
SXSW is a bit of a launch party for Nigeria-born experimental artist Debby Friday. Her debut album, Good Luck, is out March 24 on Sub Pop, just as the Music Conference wraps and the Austin streets empty. Rollicking singles "So Hard to Tell" and "I Got It" are her siren call to "club rats everywhere," weaving dreamy synths with glitchy rap lines, smoothing over rough, ragged edges with a shiny electronic gloss that dares you not to move along.  – Abby Johnston

Deetranada

TBA
Lifetime reality series The Rap Game first introduced the Baltimore artist, then age 15, to a national audience during its third season. Fast-forward six years and the rapper's set to make her second SXSW appearance. Though she initially achieved virality for proficient freestyling (namely "Deetranada Bars on I-95 Freestyle" on YouTube), 2022 projects NADAWORLD and NADAWORLD 2 further showcase a confident ability to piece together assured rhymes over a variety of beats.  – Derek Udensi


Die Spitz (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Die Spitz

Thu 16, 12mid, Low Down Lounge
Sat 18, 12mid, Chess Club

The brilliance behind Austin’s Die Spitz lies in their unflagging ferocity and predilection for all-out mayhem. Cathartic revenge-anthem ragers like “Groping Dogs Gushing Blood” and the jolting “Monkey Song” bottle up brick-heavy basslines, gravelly vocals, and searing riffs in the same vein as grunge legends like L7 and Babes in Toyland. Last month, the quartet celebrated three major Austin Music Awards wins for Best New Act, Best Punk, and Best Music Residency.  – Nayeli Portillo

DJ Shani

Thu 16, 8pm, Speakeasy
In 1999, DJ Shani began spreading the deep house gospel with her radio show The Groove Temple, immersing herself in the sounds of Chicago while working at vinyl stronghold Gramaphone Records. She’s been making sonic waves since her Austin arrival in 2010, championing the genre’s Black roots with her yearly Black History Month Boogie, and has become a fixture at Superstition, Lolo, and My Oh My. Catch her on opening duty at Speakeasy Ballroom, followed by San Antonio amapiano specialist Prince Euro.  – Dan Gentile

Dr. Pushkin

Wed 16, 10:10pm, Higher Ground
Hailing from Bolgatanga, Ghana, the Austin-residing Afrobeat/hip-hop artist released his debut solo album, Outlandish, in January. He’ll perform material from the work for the first time with assistance from featuring artists Aggie and his fellow countryman Quata Budukusu. Born Paul Azunre, the MIT graduate breaks down a couple of interesting subjects on his LP, thematically railing against social media and serving falsehoods.  – Derek Udensi


Ekkstacy (Photo by Gilbert Trejo)

Ekkstacy

Tue 14, 11:35pm, Empire
Thu 16, 4pm, Mohawk
Thu 16, 11pm, Shangri-La
Twenty-year-old Ekkstacy specializes in making music you swear you've heard before. That's not a dig. The reverb-doused "i walk this earth all by myself" evokes Eighties darkwave classics, while "Uncomparable" pairs melancholy acoustic guitar with trap beats, a nod to the Vancouver artist's real age. For the rising star, brevity follows right behind melody: His songs never breach three minutes, and jovial instrumentals often buoy his depressed subject matter. No wonder he's popular on TikTok.  – Carys Anderson

El Combo Oscuro

Fri 17, 11pm, Sheraton Backyard
Make a case for El Tule seeding ATX’s Latin rock scene and you’ll likely walk off with half the settlement. Valley-originating Texan John Dell spun off the cumbia side of the Santana-esque rockers and now El Combo Oscuro powers a hip-grinding, fan-attracting folklore, exemplified by London-based Los Bitchos taking last SXSW by storm. “Dell’s Spanish pierces high and tart as the sextet’s cumbias sizzle and zap,” reported the Chronic during the scene’s Hot Summer Nights last August.  – Raoul Hernandez

Elephant Gym

Tue 14, 1am, Elysium
Thu 16, 1am, Cheer Up Charlies
No band wants to get branded as "YouTube studycore," which might be why this floral-hued Taiwanese math rock/jazz fusion trio has consistently upped their songwriting ambitions (even if it means toning down their breezily ostentatious interplay) across a decade playing together. Though you can still expect the occasional arpeggio-mad guitar workout, Elephant Gym's estimable technicality increasingly comes packaged with prog-minded structures, experimental interludes, and vocal guest spots that sometimes verge on neo-soul.  – Julian Towers


English Teacher (Photo by Tatiana Ponzuelo)

English Teacher

Tue 14, 1am, Seven Grand
Fri 17, 12mid, British Music Embassy
Don't try to cast Leeds rockers English Teacher as post-punk. Though their Sprechgesang tendencies have drawn comparisons to Wet Leg and Dry Cleaning, they prefer another label: Wonk. With a classic funk bassline at the forefront of "Good Grief" and a duality of hopeful synths and eerie guitar licks on "Polyawkward," the foursome's brief discography provides weight to their assertive genre distinction.
– Laiken Neumann

Enumclaw

Thu 16, 11:45pm, Seven Grand
Fri 17, 2pm, Clive Bar
Fri 17, 12mid, Swan Dive
Britpop is back – but this time it hails from Tacoma, Wash. Enumclaw, named after a small settlement on the outskirts of the band's hometown, flexes influence from Washington grunge bands of yore. 2022's freshman effort Save the Baby boasts the vocal swagger of Liam Gallagher – cut with raw lyrics that warrant bandleader Aramis Johnson's loose emo croons. Though the fourpiece has branded itself "the best band since Oasis," don't let your Britpop battle grudges hold you back.  – Laiken Neumann


Foyer Red (Photo by Felix Walworth)

Foyer Red

Fri 17, 11pm, Chess Club
More like Loft Apartment Red … sorry. But no matter the housing situation of this fledgling Brooklyn fivepiece, their chirping weirdo-rock calls back to a zanier, more art-damaged period of middle borough indie (Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective), when you suspected every band lived together as a utopian commune. Recent signees to Carpark, the group writes bewitching songs the way a shiftless cat might tangle a colorful ball of yarn, knitting alternating vocals, janky time signatures, starchy guitars, and, whaddayaknow, clarinet parts.  – Julian Towers

Fuck Money

In my wallet, I still have a dollar bill emblazoned with the words “FUCK MONEY” on George Washington’s face – one of hundreds these noise-rock upstarts shot out via pocket gun when they played Swan Dive’s Punk Black showcase at SXSW ‘22. Subsequent shows and a self-titled EP have seen the trio further instill a fearsome reputation for ear-rattling, pulsing demon onslaught. With a debut album supposedly on the way as well, here’s hoping for an upgrade to Abe Lincoln.  – Julian Towers

Godcaster

Sat 18, 11:10pm, Hotel Vegas
Whereas some New Yorkers bask in minimalism, Brooklyn's Godcaster simply wallows in excess. By way of capricious cacophony, the art-/noise-punk sextet sails on wings of feathery chaos. In their 2020 debut Long Haired Locusts, the Philadelphia-reared troupe unleashes entropy incarnate with 38 minutes of blistering guitars, full-bodied screeches, and percussive hellfire. Paired with flute tremolo and gnashing keys, the basement recording lurches into overdrive with tracks about immaculate apparitions and a self-doubting Stevie Wonder.  – Kriss Conklin


Grace Sorensen (Photo by Rashad White)

Grace Sorensen

Thu 16, 10pm, Sheraton Backyard
At 20 years old, Grace Sorensen glissades between myriad worlds of music and movement. No stranger to the spotlight, the R&B and neo-soul singer-songwriter has trained in dance styles from hip-hop to ballet since childhood. The Austinite’s oceanic voice ripples – almost like sleek body waves – in her six singles and five-song EP WHAT I NEVER TOLD YOU, which includes swanky confessions (“THIS ISN’T LOVE”) and a beguiling ballad (“CAPTIVE”).  – Angela Lim

Haley Blais

Wed 15, 8:15pm, Swan Dive
Adept at taking bedroom-pop to the next level, Haley Blais started creating catchy tunes in her Vancouver bedroom in 2014. A shoo-in for Spotify selects like "sad girl starter pack," the singer-songwriter's mood-shifting discography includes two fuzzy EPs ahead of 2020 studio album Below the Salt. Her ingenious lyrics and simple melodies crescendo in perfect sing-along "Coolest Fucking Bitch in Town," weaving icy turns and foggy indie rock instrumentation among atmospheric horns.  – Katie Karp

Hannah Jadagu

Thu 16, 11pm, Mohawk
Fri 17, 2pm, Lustre Pearl
Hannah Jadagu could be the next Clairo. The 19-year-old songwriter produced her breakout EP, What Is Going On?, entirely on her iPhone 7, layering her vocals, guitar, nimble beats, and light synths into clouded bedroom bangers that offer a compelling glimpse into the life of a young Black woman grappling with teen romance, college prep, and social justice. Originally from Mesquite, Texas, just outside of Dallas, Jadagu's full-length debut, Aperture, arrives in May via Sub Pop.  – Austin Powell


Hermanos Gutiérrez (Photo by Larry NIehues)

Hermanos Gutiérrez

Wed 15, 9pm, Stubb’s
Fri 17, 3pm, Convention Center
Close your eyes while listening to any track from Hermanos Gutiérrez and you’re immediately transported to the lonesome highway of your choice: windows down, beads of sweat percolating on your brow, a spaghetti Western sunset ever on the horizon. The brothers’ nomadic guitar instrumentals occupy the imagined interstate connecting Khruangbin, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and Friends of Dean Martinez. It’s not what you’d necessarily expect from two guys from Switzerland. “Our father is Swiss, but our mother’s from Ecuador,” explains Estevan Gutiérrez, the elder half of the duo. “We were always on journeys.” Read our full interview with Gutiérrez here.– Austin Powell

iLe

Wed 15, 1pm, Convention Center
Puerto Rican vocal dom Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar sings for all Latinahood, steely and sweet, impeccably enunciated, from a throaty purr to an ascending huskiness. Her opening Adrian Quesada's siren wail Boleros Psicodélicos with "Mentiras con Cariño" cycled back in closing his Austin City Limits taping last fall. Younger sister of powerhouse rapper Residente, she won a Grammy for 2016 solo bow iLevitable, and here comes No. 3, Nacarile, through only eight U.S. cities.  – Raoul Hernandez


Indigo De Souza (Photo by Angella Choe)

Indigo De Souza

Wed 15, 11pm, Central Presbyterian
Thu 16, 3pm, Mohawk
Thu 16, 1am, Mohawk
Fri 17, 12:05am, Half Step
At a time when so much indie rock is tethered to Earth by flat, affectless singing, the 25-year-old is gifted with a voice unafraid to wield wild emotionality toward out-of-body liberation. A destabilizing song cycle structured like a bomb going off in reverse, Indigo De Souza’s April-bound masterpiece of a third album, All of This Will End, tightens the blast radius even as it explodes her range of expression like never before. “It came from an incredible clarity that I’d never had before,” she explains. Read our full interview with De Souza here.– Julian Towers


Isabella Lovestory (Photo by Fatine-Violette Sabiri)

Isabella Lovestory

Thu 16, 11:30pm, Cuatro Gato
Fri 17, 5pm, Lustre Pearl
Sat 18, 11:30, the Creek & the Cave
A sweltering local Boiler Room set last December put Isabella Lovestory's futuristic, R&B-infused reggaeton on full display. With debut album Amor Hardcore, the Honduras-born producer/persona unlocks new levels of perreo-pop gold. Try "Gateo" and "Cherry Bomb" for potent ruminations on love and lust over hard-hitting, club-ready beats. Her growing résumé of versatile collaborations (including with Brit beatmaker Mura Masa, K-pop superstars Le Sserafim, and Swedish rap auteur Bladee) cements her status as one to watch for 2023.  – Genevieve Wood

Jake Lloyd

Thu 16, 9pm North Door
Fri 17, 10pm, Sheraton Backyard
Alt-R&B power broker Jake Lloyd experienced the same breakout moment during COVID as Austin’s hip-hop scene as a whole when he teamed with preeminent local rapper Deezie Brown in Geto Gala. And yet, the singer‘s debut at ACL Fest last fall proved he brings so much more to the table. Singing, rhyming, crooning, Lloyd dominated the huge festival platform soulfully, rhythmically, but also rockist, even metallic.  – Raoul Hernandez

Jamz Supernova

Thu 16, 12:40am, Sellers Underground
A juggernaut championing music of the Black diaspora in thrilling dance music sets, Jamilla Walters, aka Jamz Supernova, cuts a wide swath. With over a decade on hosting duties for various shows on BBC Radio and tastemaking on her own Future Bounce record label, the producer and DJ refuses to pigeonhole her sound. The London artist does gqom, bounce, grime, soca, garage, hip-hop, techno, drum 'n' bass, house, and more, always with verve and panache. Current supernova, future superstar.
– Christina Garcia

JaRon Marshall

Sat 18, 1am, Antone’s
Best known as Adrian Quesada’s keyboardist in Black Pumas and on the Boleros Psicodélicos project, and as producer for BLK ODYSSY, keyboardist JaRon Marshall has his own thing going. After releasing some digital singles and EPs of his hip-hop-informed jazz funk, Marshall cut upcoming debut earth sounds live from the floor. With local heavyweights Brian Donohue (Progger, Snarky Puppy), Michael Longoria (Patty Griffin), and Chris Loveland (Clunis) in his corner, Marshall gets ready for the spotlight.
– Michael Toland


Julianna Riolino (Photo by Colin Medley)

Julianna Riolino

Tue 14, 9:15pm, Swan Dive
On her 2022 debut LP, All Blue, Julianna Riolino's songwriting cuts as sharply as her high-pitching twang. The Torontonian and member of Daniel Romano's Outfit rolls through a mélange of country sounds, from a swirling haze of psych-folk guitars ("Isn't It a Pity") to pedal-steel-washed ballads ("Queen of Spades") and even throwback girl-group pop, with a result somewhere between the cosmic glow of Kacey Musgraves and the rocking bite of Nikki Lane.  – Doug Freeman

The Lemon Twigs

Tue 14, 10pm, Cheer Up Charlies
Wed 15, 11pm, the Creek & the Cave
Thu 16, 2pm, Mohawk
Like the "Me Decade" pureed in a blender, Long Island's D'Addario brothers – aka the Lemon Twigs – regurgitate the most melodic bits of early Seventies power pop, glam rock, soft rock, and psychedelia as if they were the illegitimate sons of Todd Rundgren. (Latest single "Any Time of Day" backs that assessment up.) The band's freewheeling shows exchange nerdy studio craft for shirtless rock & roll debauchery, teeing up anticipated fourth LP Everything Harmony, due in May.  – Michael Toland

Lil Yachty

Thu 16, Waterloo Park
The Atlanta native has long ditched his flaming red hair and deviated from the pop-tinged trap sound most famously associated with him. A 2017 Tee Grizzley collaboration, "From the D to the A," first introduced a formula amplified on the 2021 mixtape Michigan Boy Boat, primarily featuring Michigan artists and Detroit-styled beats. January album Let's Start Here. presents his biggest swerve yet due to inspiration rooted in … psychedelic rock. Guest producers include Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Jacob Portrait and Nick Hakim.  – Derek Udensi


Lola Brooke (Photo by Felecia Abban)

Lola Brooke

Thu 16, Waterloo Park
The New York rapper returns to the Festival for a second consecutive showing. Already enjoying a successful first quarter of the year, she opened for NYC giant A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie during the stateside leg of his 2023 tour and inked a deal with Arista Records in January. Brooklyn drill typically features thunderous sonics, but her more subtle sheer menace on tracks such as "Back to Business" and "My Bop" somehow matches that hard-hitting intensity.  – Derek Udensi

Mama Duke

Sat 18, 9:20pm, the North Door
On 2020’s Ballsy, singer-songwriter Kori Roy – aka Mama Duke – swaggered through its 11 tracks with promising lyrical prowess amid rolling 808s and ticking hi-hats. The debut album solidified her status as a Black queer trailblazer in the city’s bustling hip-hop scene: the biting braggadocio of “Ghost” quelled all naysayers, while “Play This When” alluded to the beloved lyricist’s desire to push past the homogeneity of rap. Since gracing the cover of the Chronicle last summer, the Palacios, Tex. native has continued to flex her pop-leaning chops through effervescent hooks, like on the breezy “That’s Just Me.”  – Nayeli Portillo


Miss Grit (Photo by Hoseon Sohn)

Miss Grit

Tue 14, 10pm, the Venue ATX
Wed 15, 12mid, Half Step
Fri 17, 10:20pm, Volstead
SXSW moonlights as a world's fair with Miss Grit's indie-pop futurism on show. The New York-based auteur's February debut LP, Follow the Cyborg, melds synth-pop into a glam rock backbone, as humanoid as its namesake. Their complex, syncopated beats expand with bright, fluttering keys for "Like You," while on "Lain (phone clone)," the artist commands over quivering New Wave synths. Miss Grit's lush soundscapes and airy whines may only appear to reinvent the wheel, but their sharp artistic vision has me fooled.  – Laiken Neumann

Mui Zyu

Tue 14, 9pm, the 13th Floor
Fri 17, 10pm, Vaquero Taquero
Often centered on a slightly detached electronic heartbeat, the works of Eva Liu blur endearing pop levity with a more sinister industrial edge. February debut LP Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century, in particular, explores the singer's past disconnect with her Hong Kong heritage as a Londoner. Traditional Chinese instruments, field recordings, and video game soundtrack inspo all coalesce, fine with the tactile tension of a song like "Ghost With a Peach Skin." – Rachel Rascoe

Moody Bank$

Thu 16, the North Door
Sat 18, Speakeasy
Recalling the warm grooves of Nineties slow jams and honeyed neo-soul, Austin-by-way-of-California singer Moody Bank$ writes glowing and eclectic R&B ballads fit for moments of late-night introspection. Bank$’s emotive, airy alto folds in with syncopated jazz instrumentals on “Work It Out,” an ultra-smooth and smoldering standout from last year’s kaleidoscopic FEELING COLORS, produced by Central Texas visionary Juwan Elcock (aka BLK OYDYSSY) and multi-instrumentalist Noah Fendz.  – Nayeli Portillo


Nemegata (Photo by Beatriz López "Bettynaa")

Nemegata

Thu 16, 9pm, Sheraton Backyard
Austin’s Latin scene, like its hip-hop sector, propagated into a bonafide micro music community during the pandemic. Not one, but two local Colombian groups flourished in the last three years. Superfónicos beats a more traditional, brass-fed ritmo, but Nemegata torches that notion behind sulfuric post-punk. Victor-Andres Cruz incants spellbinding magical naturalism in Spanish, while Fabián Rincón (d) and César Valencia (b) bring the noise. Grupo Fantasma’s Beto Martinez aptly dubbed them the “Nirvana of Colombian rock folklórico.”  – Raoul Hernandez

Nemophila

Thu 16, 1am, Augustine
Western annuals blooming in the spring, nemophila flowers count five petals, bell- or cup-shaped, purple and often spotted blue. In Tokyo, their counterpart quintet unleashes a blue lightning streak of speed and thrash metal, December second LP Seize the Fate galloping clean vocals, purple tempos, and a decidedly pop outlook – let alone wardrobe. Blistering, Nemophila recommits to the decades-old SXSW covenant with Japanese acts … Can't. Miss.  – Raoul Hernandez

Núria Graham

Wed 15, 10pm, Central Presbyterian
Núria Graham returns to SXSW for the first time since 2018 with a fantastic new album. Catalan on her mother's side and Irish on her father's, Graham debuted at 16, honing her singer-songwriter talent as she crooned with country inflections. She quickly moved into jazz territory and then offered knockout folk-pop endeavor Marjorie. Latest Cyclamen unites each previous influence with contemporary chamber orchestration and quiet drama in a more effortless, enchanting universe.  – Christina Garcia


O Tortuga (Photo by Alejandra Villalba)

O Tortuga

Fri 17, 9pm, Low Down Lounge
Invoking sunny beaches and Sixties sounds, Mexico City's O Tortuga leads the nation's surf rock renaissance with irresistible blends of garage and punk. Deceptively tame on tape, the band's 10-year catalog dazzles like the ocean and manifests buzziest en vivo. The quartet's gritty live album, O Tortuga Desde Tlatelolco, showcases the band's core crashing guitar reverb ("Palma Linda"), gleaming hooks ("Despiértame"), and raspy croons ("Enamorado y Bendito").  – Kriss Conklin

Obongjayar

Thu 16, 12mid, British Music Embassy
Fri 17, 3pm, Convention Center
Welding the rousing percussive swell of Afrobeat to a scintillating array of electronic art-pop textures and timbres, the London-based, Nigeria-born producer Obongjayar is a one-of-a-kind studio visionary. But he'd still be a must-see even if he came to the Festival with nothing but his voice – an idiosyncratic instrument that's earned feature placements on Danny Brown and Little Simz albums and swings effortlessly from harsh güiro frog croak to wonderstruck, gleaming-eye falsetto.  – Julian Towers

The Orielles

Mon 13, 9pm, Moody Theater
Tue 14, 12mid, Seven Grand
Sat 18, 11pm, British Music Embassy
Forget everything you might have known about the Orielles. The Manchester-based trio reinvented themselves on this year's Tableau (Heavenly Recordings), a sprawling double album that segues from ethereal space rock and more experimental dubstep to wide-eyed free jazz and back again. The band apparently employed Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies during the recording sessions, hitting the studio without even a demo to work from, and it comes through in panoramic vision.  – Austin Powell


Os Mutantes (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Os Mutantes

Fri 17, 10:45pm, Hotel Vegas
Brazilian psychedelic groundbreakers Os Mutantes never attained mainstream recognition, but their bossa nova-infused style of daydreamy pop rock continues to outlive many of their Sixties Dadaist contemporaries. Levitation 2022 saw their return, where guitarist, vocalist, and sole original member Sérgio Dias charged through classics like "A Minha Menina" and deeper cuts like "Tecnicolor." Kurt Cobain, Beck, David Byrne, and Devendra Banhart have famously praised the avant-garde São Paulo luminaries' fuzzed-out, anarchic merriment, reigniting interest in these tropicália cult heroes.
– Nayeli Portillo

Party Dozen

Thu 16, 8:40pm, Latchkey
Sat 18, 8pm, Hotel Vegas
Four words: doom with a saxophone. This from an Australian duo made up of Kirsty Tickle – onetime releaser of breathy, beautiful, ethereal electronic pop on Future Classic – and indie pop sparkler Jonathan Boulet. Dial it back a little. Pick it up. Now it's punk rock with a saxophone. If mentioning their 2022 Nick Cave feature is pandering, then we pander. Party Dozen's untethered, improvisational, noisy mayhem is pure riotous glory, looped. With a goddamn saxophone.  – Christina Garcia


Pearl & the Oysters (Photo by Laura Moreau)

Pearl & the Oysters

Fri 17, 12mid, Lucille
Sat 18, 12:15am, Hotel Vegas
After meeting as schoolmates in Paris, French duo Juliette Pearl Davis and Joachim Polack chose the unlikely destination of Gainesville, Fla., for their space-age pop interests. They've since transferred to L.A. and Stones Throw Records, documenting the move in upcoming April record Coast 2 Coast – pulling emblematic collaborators like Stereolab's Lætitia Sadier and Mild High Club's Alex Brettin. Teaser "Paraiso" weaves wistful contemplation on retro Golden State advertisements with sunbeam synth waves.  – Rachel Rascoe

Pearla

Fri 17, 7pm, Central Presbyterian
As we all gleaned from Shrek, onions have layers. The vegetal sheaths of Brooklyn singer-songwriter Nicole Rodriguez's February debut, Oh Glistening Onion, the Nighttime Is Coming, unveil mystical folk rock scenes – from calming mundane details to wailing existential invocations. The vast, forceful movements sway with string arrangements by Spacebomb Records' Trey Pollard, bringing to mind past SXSW visits from likewise Laurel Canyon-influenced labelmate Bedouin. Beyond Downtown, Pearla earns Luck Reunion booking as an "Artist on the Rise" program select.  – Rachel Rascoe

Peter One

Wed 15, 8pm, Stubb’s
Fri 17, 10pm, Central Presbyterian
In the Eighties, Peter One and Jess Sah Bi rose to folk superstardom in West Africa as the duo's harmonies hearkened to Simon & Garfunkel, woven through gorgeously mesmerizing Ivory Coast rhythms. Political instability led One to immigrate to the U.S. in the Nineties, but the reissue of 1985 LP Our Garden Needs Its Flowers five years ago brought the songwriter back to the stage, melding his African roots with Western folk.  – Doug Freeman


Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (Photo by Ania Shrimpton)

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Tue 14, 12mid, Cheer Up Charlies
Wed 15, 1am, British Music Embassy
If your idea of a good night out includes a thundering gallop through ear-blasting meditations on existential dread, the bottom-heavy wallop of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs may be your draught of lava. Land of Sleeper, the fourth album from the Newcastle quintet, lobs grenades of acidic noise, hammer strikes of elephantine melody, and inchoate proclamations of oncoming doom into its eager audience – punctuated by stabs of wry humor. Earplugs an absolute must.  – Michael Toland

PinkPantheress

Tue 14, 10:15pm, Mala Vida
"Take a look inside your heart/ Is there any room for me?" Already viral catnip via pitched-up production, PinkPantheress' November "Boy's a Liar" earned stateside breakout status with a five-months-later "Pt. 2" edition featuring irresistibly levelheaded Bronx rapper Ice Spice. Twinkly Y2K samples, jittery garage beats – Pantheress' minified pop formula never bubbles over (until it's sped up for the internet). Fun fact: The singer's father, Stephen Walker, relocated from the UK in 2013 to teach in the UT-Austin Department of Mathematics.  – Rachel Rascoe

PJ Sin Suela

Tue 14, Parish
Bronx-born Puerto Rican rapper Pedro Juan Vázquez Bragan, aka PJ Sin Suela, has managed to continuously evade being boxed into a singular genre since his more lo-fi, boom bap-indulgent SoundCloud era. Whether wielding candid, independentista-leaning lyricism that mirrors Calle 13's Residente or unleashing cheeky, concupiscent hooks on raunchier party-starters like "Suciería Puertorriqueña," he continues to distinguish himself among a sea of oftentimes stagnant peers via free-flowing wit and inimitable dynamism.  – Nayeli Portillo

Porcelain

Thu 16, 7pm, Latchkey
A four-song Bandcamp (demo) can’t contain the mega-heavy post-hardcore of Porcelain, packing bull-in-a-china-shop volume into a quartet of established riffers at Austin clubs of late. Try the Ballroom last month before Denton’s Teethe, where Porcelain’s Steve Pike (Exhalants) reached his guitar through the rafters next to drummer Eli Deitz (Dregs). Despite major height difference, bassist Robert Jordan Emmert (Pleasure Venom) found sonic balance with guitarist Ryan Fitzgibbon – previously of US Weekly, and current stateside hired gun for Los Bitchos.  – Rachel Rascoe


Portrayal of Guilt (Photo by Addrian Jafaritabar)

Portrayal of Guilt

Fri 17, 10pm, Lefty’s Brick Bar
Still riding high on the magnificent nihilism of 2021’s third LP Christfucker, Portrayal of Guilt – whose embrace of hardcore, death metal, black metal, doom, and screamo makes hyphens cower in terror – clears the decks for album numero quatro. The ear-bleeding power trio already laid waste to a local festival audience with last year’s ripping Oblivion Access show. Expect this to be one of the louder and uglier showcases for hapless out-of-towners to witness.  – Michael Toland

Protomartyr

Wed 15, 12mid, Lucille
"Emotional cripples/ Gluten fascists/ Alt-weekly types." That was Joe Casey assessing the state of print journalism in 2014. Whether or not we at the Chronicle have improved in the frontman's estimation in the seven years since Protomartyr last played SXSW (they were in town for Levitation last fall), the quintessential post-punk band of the Trump era returns. The ensuing years have seen the terminally doomsaying Detroit group upgrade their sound from scrappy garage skronk to muscular apocalypse rock.  – Julian Towers


Ric Wilson (Photo by Michael Salisbury)

Ric Wilson

Tue 14, 7:20pm, Empire
Chicagoan who intertwines disco, funk, and hip-hop while remaining active in activism, Ric Wilson strives for positive change in his music, too, as evidenced by the 2020 track "Fight Like Ida B & Marsha P." Rather than demanding a mosh pit during his Empire Control Room set at SXSW 2019, he lovably organized an impromptu Soul Train Line within the crowd, which ended with him strutting through. His latest employs Chromeo and A-Trak on exuberant "Pay It No Mind."
– Derek Udensi

Rich Aucoin

Mon 13, 11:15pm, Swan Dive
Thu 16, 8pm, Valhalla
Halifax native and eclectic ambient electronic mastermind Rich Aucoin weaves massive, mind-bending textures alongside bursts of analog synth-propelled pop alchemy. Rubbery arpeggios steeped in reverb, dramatic instrumental narratives, and frenetic rhythms abound on Synthetic: Season One, the first volume in his sky-sized quadruple LP, where he took on the monumental (and painstaking) task of programming 51 synthesizers to fashion an album with "more synths than any other recorded in history." – Nayeli Portillo

Side Effect

Thu 16, 7pm, Low Down Lounge
Blasting power-pop since 2004, this Burmese punk band made valiant efforts to first attend SXSW in 2014. By crowdsourcing and endorsement from Anthony Bourdain himself, the quartet managed the international trip to the stage at now-shuttered B.D. Riley’s, bringing their upbeat, Strokes-inspired sounds’ inherent political resistance and advocacy for freedom of expression. With Side Effect’s home of Myanmar two years into a military coup, the punk band now settles locally and returns to the Fest as Austinites themselves.  – Rachel Rascoe

Spill Tab

Tue 14, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
Born in Bangkok and raised in Los Angeles, Claire Chicha adds a sweet airiness to bedroom beats beyond her wildly popular "Cotton Candy." The part-time tattoo artist expands beyond typical lo-fi boundaries, sometimes collaborating with electronic artists and intertwining French and English. With romantic soft sounds set to bloom on the SXSW stage, latest blastoff "Borderline Insane" sassily switches off with UK singer Matilda Mann over crunchy dance rock.  – Katie Karp

Sports Team

Wed 15, 1am, the Creek & the Cave
Thu 16, 2:30pm, Mohawk
Sat 18, 10pm, British Music Embassy
Obvious from their breakout single – the indie-leaning 2018 pleasure cruise "M5" – Sports Team differed from the field of UK guitar band exports: more cocky than nervy, upper crust compared to working class, and significantly less influenced by post-punk. Still, few could imagine how, four years later, the London sextet would release an album sounding capable of mainstream hit status. The alternative anthemist's Gulp!, with its prominent guitar melodies, increasingly impressionistic lyrics, and clever arrangements, feels marquee compared to their raucous live mystique.  – Kevin Curtin

Stasseny

Tue 15, 9:55pm, Sheraton Backyard
Fri 18, 8:25pm, Speakeasy

Differing from local thoroughfare Stassney Lane, the Austin-raised MC hardly lacks self-assured direction, as evidenced by her nickname “Stass Fine Ass.” She came onto the scene during the pandemic-stricken latter stages of 2020 and has seen her profile gradually rise with the full reopening of venues last year. Her charisma – and venomous, double-middle-fingers salute towards perceived inferiors – makes her one to watch.  – Derek Udensi


Steam Down (Photo by Karolina Wielocha)

Steam Down

Wed 15, 1am, Sellers Underground
Fri 17, 1am, British Music Embassy
The London jazz community incubates one of the most exciting music scenes in the world – a soulful gestalt of bop, hip-hop, Afrobeat, EDM, Caribbean music, and more. Right in its heart stands Steam Down. With rising fame, dynamic performances, and a forthcoming LP, the collective headlines the Jazz Re:freshed Outernational showcase in celebration of the label’s 20th anniversary – despite not being strictly jazz. “We fit in the far corner,” remarks mastermind Ahnansé. “But I also think we fit into jazz quite clearly.” Read our full interview with Steam Down here.– Michael Toland

Sweet Pill

Thu 16, 11pm, Cheer Up Charlies
Last May, Sweet Pill released their full-length debut, Where the Heart Is. Guitarist Jayce Williams speaks fondly of the record, calling it “the most work and the most thought I’ve put into making anything in my life” and the foundation for his Philadelphia band’s music career. The record’s positive reception, combined with the band’s Topshelf Records signing and opening for punk poets La Dispute last fall, summates an ever-growing résumé. Read our full interview with Sweet Pill here.– Kriss Conklin

Tangerine Dream

Thu 16, 12:20am, Parish
Switched on in Berlin, 1967, the German circuit breakers wrote a code unique to all music. Wherever noirish synthesizers meet cinematic progressiveness, people brand it Tangerine Dream-like. Founder and final original member, Prussia-born Edgar Froese, who passed in 2015, bequeathed the everlasting act to his wife, Bianca Froese-Acquaye, who manages the quartet, and bandleader Thorsten Quaeschning. “Edgar never saw it as if everything was already ‘said and done,’” she emails. “For him, life was a constant flow and the only constant was change, evolution.” Read our full interview with Tangerine Dream here.– Raoul Hernandez


The Tender Things (Photo by Jana Birchum)

The Tender Things

Fri 17, 8pm, the Creek & the Cave
After over 10 years holding down bass for Heartless Bastards, Jesse Ebaugh kicked off his own project with the Tender Things, recruiting an A-list backing band to realize his vision of Southern-fried grooves spun through Texas honky-tonks and dancehalls. Newly released third LP That Texas Touch (Spaceflight Records) rips with touches of Little Feat boogies and Allman Brothers jams, but grounds in Ebaugh’s literate ballads and hard country bar band rhythms.  – Doug Freeman

They Are Gutting a Body of Water

Thu 16, 10:30pm, Cheer Up Charlies
Shoegaze only partially describes Philadelphia's They Are Gutting a Body of Water, who overlay classic guitar fuzz with cartoon Chipmunks-pitched vocals, kiddie keyboards, and other forms of harsh noise that break the spell of a simple drone. 2022 brought both An Insult to the Sport, a split EP with Pennsylvania neighbors A Country Western, and s, an ominous full-length that incorporates electronic beats ("threes") and synthetic, disjointed melodies ("delta p") into their usual rock soundscapes.  – Carys Anderson

Trouble in the Streets

Fri 17, 1am, the Creek & the Cave
It’s a tall order to follow performance artist Christeene’s macabre spectacle, but Trouble in the Streets is up for the task. A perfect example of subgenre agnosticism, the Texas trio expands on a filter-twitching electropop backbone with propulsive live drums and the alluring vocals of Nnedi Nebula. Last week they dropped “Mother’s Tongue,” a mix of hard rock and not-quite-acid bass that’s very much worth a stream.  – Dan Gentile

Villano Antillano

Tue 14, Parish
Towering trap-pop and EDM-doused reggaeton coalesced on last year's La Sustancia X, the debut album from rising MC and all-around disrupter Villano Antillano. A trans trailblazer ushering a prosperous queer-led chapter within Puerto Rico's reggaeton scene, she seized her moment and proudly divulged "I am not an artist/ I am a movement" on the fervid opening track, "Precaución, Esta Canción Es un Hechizo." Marrying sex, drugs, and rock & roll with entrancing, expeditious flows, Antillano flexes on haters and comically hypermasculine subordinates in the genre at large.  – Nayeli Portillo


Yazmin Lacey (Photo by Nina Manandhar)

Voxtrot

Thu 16, 9:20pm, Stubb’s
Ever since they announced their reunion last year, it’s been something of an open secret that these beloved 2000s twee-janglers were going to do something for SXSW. After all, their once-and-future manager, James Minor, heads up the Music Festival. The Fest follows warm reception of the band’s 2022 new collection of old songs, Early Music. Only one date is set so far, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the fivepiece chase the high of their sold-out comeback tour into another hometown performance or two.
– Julian Towers

Yazmin Lacey

Wed 15, 9pm, Sellers Underground
Thu 16, 9pm, British Music Embassy
Singer-songwriter Yazmin Lacey draws artistic reflections from her experiences as a Black Londoner, comfortably blends jazz harmonies with modern R&B rhythms, and sings with the confidence of someone who knows her story is worth hearing – the perfect artist to perform at both the Jazz Re:freshed Outernational showcase and the British Music Embassy. Lacey introduced herself in 2017 with a trio of EPs before releasing her full-length debut, Voice Notes, in early March.  – Michael Toland


The Zombies (Photo by Alex Lake)

The Zombies

Wed 15, 11pm, Stubb’s
Fri 17, 5:30pm, Lady Bird Lake
SXSW indeed marks the "Time of the Season," as a mystical, fivepiece British Invasion band sways into town. Sixty-two years since the Sixties hitmakers formed, and four years after their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction, the psychedelic pop legends embark on tour with a new album on the way. Very much alive and active despite the name, the Zombies also premiere a Robert Schwartzman-directed documentary, Hung Up on a Dream, at the Fest.  – Katie Karp

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

SXSW 2023, SXSW Music 2023, Ambré, Armani White, Baby Rose, Balming Tiger, Balthvs, Barrie, Bartees Strange, Bonny Doon, Civic, Coco & Clair Clair, Cuco, Debby Friday, Deetranada, Ekkstacy, Elephant Gym, English Teacher, Enumclaw, Foyer Red

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