SXSW (short for South By Southwest) is special to say the least. Ever since it began in 1987, the festival has aimed and succeeded to grow in size and scope continuously, covering a range of entertainment and art from film to interactive media though the indisputable reason why everyone travels to Austin, Texas for the annual event is the music.
Year in, year out, SXSW showcases not only some of the biggest names in music but, and most importantly, some of the best up and coming acts that are showing up on the music scene and 2016 was no different. However, with over 2000 acts playing the festival, it can be easy to miss out on these newcomers so I’ve taken on the challenge and picked out five of my choices for the best artists to keep on your radar. So sit back, relax and prepare yourself: you might be about to find a new favourite.
Best known by many as the mysterious man rapping about broads in Atlanta on Kanye West’s Father Stretch My Hands Pt.2, Desiigner has already got his foot in the door after signing to GOOD music after his track Panda went viral and for good reason too, making him undoubtedly the most popular artist on this list. The track’s dark production from Menace, which he says reflects The Joker and DC Comics, perfectly accompanies the almost Future-esque delivery from Desiigner.
While not offering anything ground breaking lyrics wise, his insanely catchy sound is one that hints at future greatness from the Brooklyn rapper. It may be too soon to say Desiigner will take the Hip Hop world by storm but considering how far he’s came from just one song, it’s worth getting acquainted with him as soon as possible.
4. Julia Jacklin
While it may seem like a terribly difficult task to decide on whether or not an artist is worth your attention based on one track along, Julia Jacklin proves that four minutes is all it takes for her to draw you into her poignant tales of romance grounded in realism.
Her latest track Pool Party, released earlier this month, is an easy listening one to put it simply, not going out of its way to surprise you instrumentally with spaced out drums and a slow tempo to relax the listener. It’s the vocals that are the true star of Jacklin’s music, delicate one second but verging on Haim grandness the second the chorus comes along. Slowly scatting and spouting cares and worries with ease, Jacklin may very well be to 2016 what Courtney Barnett was to 2015. Only time will tell.
While the term “folk influenced indie rock” may have you quivering in fear and suffering from flashbacks over Mumford and Sons, Mothers are thankfully less farmer attire enthusiasts and more tension driven bliss.
Having followed the trend of releasing albums with unnecessarily long titles, their debut LP When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired brings with it nine well crafted tracks that go from delicate, tranquil folk to the aforementioned anger driven indie rock that helps to ease any qualms you may have about the band.In addition, the vocals on display are an art in themselves especially whenever addressing some heartbroken lyrics, Kristine Leschper having been compared multiple times to the likes of Joanna Newsom. A band worth keeping your eyes, ears, nose and any other sensory parts on.
2. Public Access TV
You’ll never find a band that can replicate the sound of The Strokes as well as New York City act Public Access TV can. Whilst they’ve only got a handful of EPs under their belt, the band have managed to gather quite a bit of attention thanks to their charismatic tracks such as Honey and Metropolis, both packing a funky rhythm and a garage rock tinge that made Is This It such a rip roaring success.
Having supported the likes of FIDLAR on tour, it’s no surprise that some of their stoner rock sound has rubbed off on them, meaning that the band seem like they won’t be just a Strokes tribute act for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, give their eponymous EP a listen to before you get to sink your teeth into their inevitable debut sometime in 2016.
1. Gold Class
Just this past week, wanking enthusiasts Fat White Family criticised the likes of Wolf Alice and Peace for not using their platform to speak about politics, calling them “drivel for angry nine year olds”.
Unbeknownst to Lias Saoudi and co, a small band from Melbourne, Australia were the cure to this woe that they and many others share. Going by the name Gold Class, this act are at their best when driven by their views on social issues, most notably on the track Perverts that touches on the vulnerability and alienation certain individuals in society face due to factors like sexual orientation.
Not only are they aware but they’re truly enjoyable, vocalist Adam Curley’s delivery resembling a Morrissey falsetto ever so slightly whilst still standing as its own thing, frantically shouting lines alongside vibrant and snarky guitars. The influences that drive Gold Class like Joy Division are worn on their sleeves and results in a tremendous sound, one that makes the band a truly standout act.
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