SXSW Spotlight 2019: Ten Acts Not to Miss This Year
The annual SXSW Festival kicked off over the weekend in Austin, Texas with Interactive and Film festivals, and the Music festival commences this week with over a thousand showcasing artists performing at different venues around the city. Between unofficial and official showcases happening all day and all night, creating your schedule for the fest can be quite an overwhelming feat. If you’re looking for some help selecting artists to keep on your radar throughout the week, we’ve got you covered! Below are ten official showcasing artists that are ANCHR approved must-sees.
With their catchy, punchy guitar melodies and the refreshing spin they put on post punk influences, Chicago’s Deeper is one band you can’t miss at SXSW this year. They’ve played stages of all sizes across Chicago over the past few years— most recently selling out a headlining gig at Sleeping Village and taking part in a packed Planned Parenthood fundraiser at Lincoln Hall. Since the release of their self-titled debut record in 2018, Deeper has spent a significant of time out on the road, including a cross country stint with The Districts. Get to know more about the band here, and go see them at one of their nine shows this week!
For Fans Of: Omni, Ought, The Districts
Start With: “Pink Showers,” “Pavement,” and “Message Erased”
Thumbnail Image of Deeper by Brendan Carroll
Multi-tasker extrodinaire Madeline Kenney followed up her 2017 debut record with Perfect Shapes last year, an album she recorded in Durham, North Carolina with producer Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak, Flock of Dimes). Kenney managed to write and record her sophomore effort while also running her own record label and touring throughout the year— sharing stages with the likes of Wye Oak, Soccer Mommy, and Jay Som. Perfect Shapes embodies Kenney’s growth as an artist and the triumph that can come from creating outside of your comfort zone and past boundaries. Although the album is full of complexity on both a lyrical and sonic level, weaving together layered and experimental sounds, Kenney and her band step up to the challenge of bringing these songs to life on stage, with more limited resources than in the studio. Don’t miss out on Madeline Kenney’s handful of gigs this week, and get to know more about her here.
For Fans Of: Miya Folick, Lala Lala, Flock of Dimes
Start With: “Bad Idea,” “Cut Me Off,” and “Perfect Shapes”
Where to catch her: Madeline has shows at SXSW from 3/10 through 3/14. See her full schedule here.
Hailing from Atlanta, Lunar Vacation’s surf rock vibes (or “pool rock,” as they describe it) will fit right in with the warm weather in Austin this week. On their EPs Artificial Flavors and Swell, the band mix breezy guitar melodies with enchanting, hazy vocals that will be sure to get you swaying along during their shows. Although Lunar Vacation just formed in 2016, the band has already shared the stage with the likes of Hockey Dad, Calpurnia and Triathalon, and they’re giving you plenty of chances to see them during SXSW.
For Fans Of: Beach Bunny, The Marías, Hockey Dad
Start With: “The Basement,” “Swimming,” and “Too Late, Colin”
Where to catch them: Lunar Vacation has shows at SXSW from 3/11 through 3/17— full schedule here.
Slow Pulp recently moved from Madison to Chicago and quickly took the city by a storm, selling out a headlining show at Schubas in January and opening up a sold out Vundabar show at The SubT only a few weeks later. It’s no doubt they’ll be a hit at this year’s SXSW with their easy-on-the-ears sound that blends together the best of psychedelic rock, indie pop and punk genres. Lead singer Emily Massey’s dreamy vocals are just as flawless onstage as they are in the band’s recorded tunes, and the whole band pours everything they’ve got into their live performances—so be sure to catch one of their energetic and inspiring gigs this week.
For Fans Of: Vundarbar, Hala, Bad Bad Hats
Start With: “Steel Birds,” “Preoccupied,” and “Die Alone”
Where to catch them: You have nine chances to catch Slow Pulp at SXSW- see them all here.
Chicago singer-songwriter Tasha released her stunning debut album Alone at Last in 2018 via Father/Daughter Records, garnering high praise from both music critics and fans. Blending together soothing vocals, gentle melodies and poetic lyrics, the album provides listeners with a tranquil oasis. “These are bed songs,” Tasha aptly says about the collection of soulful indie-pop songs, which will undoubtedly be a heavenly escape for SXSW festival goers this week.
For Fans Of: Gia Margaret, Jamila Woods, Sir Babygirl
Start With: “Lullaby,” “New Place,” and “Winter Song IV”
Where to catch her: Tasha will be playing a handful of shows on 3/14 and 3/15—full details here.
Nashville’s TWEN (Jane Fitzsimmons and Ian Jones) doesn’t actually have any studio recordings out at the moment, but their vibrant live performances have already fostered a lot of buzz around the band. Recently, Jones, Fitzsimmons and their bandmates have toured around the country with Naked Giants and Ron Gallo, but this year marks the indie rock duo’s SXSW debut. They’re coming in hot with eight gigs at the festival, and you can get ready for their shows by listening to their live EP on Spotify.
For Fans Of: Caroline Rose, Ron Gallo, Sunflower Bean
Start With: “Awestruck,” “Damsel,” and “Baptism”
Where to find them: Twen is giving you plenty of chances to see them play this week, from 3/13 to 3/16. Full schedule here.
Winnipeg-based indie folk singer-songwriter Taylor Janzen just released her debut EP last year, but she’s already struck a chord with listeners across North America. Deemed Interpersonal, the four song collection boasts a raw and vulnerable quality that’s both relatable and refreshing. This year will mark Janzen’s SXSW debut, but she’s also slated for sets at festivals like Winnipeg Folk Festival, Bunbury Festival, and Shaky Knees later this year, so don’t miss your chance to see her early on. You can find out more about Taylor Janzen (including her love for Dennis Quaid) by checking out our interview here.
For Fans Of: Soccer Mommy, Phoebe Bridgers, Boniface
Start With: “Stations,” “The Waiting Room,” and “Colourblind”
Where to catch her: See Taylor’s official SXSW schedule here.
This Brooklyn-based four piece fronted by Nelson Hernandez-Espinal pack their music and their show with energy, volume, and a clear message. Through their lyrics and their onstage commentary, Stuyedeyed makes it clear they’re here to say something with their art, and that they’ll always use their platform to call out negative behavior and create a safe space. In addition to being advocates, the members of Stuyedeyed have proven themselves to be one of the hardest working bands by constantly touring and playing shows, while also working on new material. The band just recently wrapped up a run with Post Animal and Ron Gallo, and they’ll also be swinging back through the midwest for a string of tour dates post-SXSW. Stuyedeyed is returning to the festival this year with a show every day, so there’s no excuse not to catch them at least once this week!
For Fans Of: Post Animal, Naked Giants, Acid Dad
Start With: “Mr. Policeman,” “Funeral,” and “Gun”
Where to catch them: See Stuyedeyed from 3/11 to 3/17— more details here.
Dehd combines the best from Chicago musicians Jason Balla (NE-HI, Earring), Emily Kempf (Vail, formerly Lala Lala) and Eric McGrady to craft a distinctive sound that’s undeniably their own. Their punchy guitars and breezy melodies have a signature tone that sets Dehd apart from other artists in the same genre, and their unique set up and enthusiastic performances make for one of the best live shows in the city. Following their 2016 self-titled debut, Dehd has released an EP and a few singles, but just last week the band announced their next full length album, Water, out May 10th. Make sure you catch one of their many shows this week to get a sneak peek at what the album will sound like.
For Fans Of: Preoccupations, Priests, Flasher
Start With: “Dying For,” “Sunburn,” and “Lucky”
Where to catch them: You have plenty of chances to see DEHD from 3/12 to 3/16—full show details here.
Back in 2016, London’s HÆLOS had just released their debut album, Full Circle, and they were one of the buzziest bands at that year’s SXSW. This year, they’re finally back at the festival and on the brink of their sophomore effort, Any Random Kindness— out May 10th. The band made their first recent release with single “Buried in the Sand” in October and have since drip-fed a few more singles from the upcoming album, all of which showcase lead singer Lotti Benardout’s hypnotizing, ethereal vocals. While HÆLOS’ sound falls within an electronic pop realm, their live shows have a very organic vibe and a special touch that you can’t get just from listening to their record, so don’t miss them this week.
For Fans Of: TV On The Radio, HONNE, London Grammar
Start With: “Dust,” “Pray,” “Buried in the Sand”
Where to catch them: HÆLOS will be playing shows 3/12 through 3/15. See their full schedule here.