15 exciting artists to see at SXSW 2023
SXSW is going down in Austin as we speak, with the music portion starting this week. There are countless artists playing across so many different shows, and figuring out who you're gonna see is always a little overwhelming, so we've put together a list of 15 artists we think are not to miss. We were fortunate enough to book many of these artists at the free BrooklynVegan day parties that go down at Mohawk on Wednesday (3/15) and Empire on Thursday (3/16), but not all of them, and some of these artists are only playing one or two shows. Read on for the list, and hope to see you in Austin this week!
For more artists to see at SXSW, check out the Indie Basement list.
Following up three albums of genre-defying protest music, Algiers delivered their grandest statement yet with new album Shook, which features billy woods, Backxwash, Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha, Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring, and more. They've always had a thrilling live show and we're very stoked to hear the new material live, including at the free BrooklynVegan day party at Mohawk on Wednesday (3/15).
be your own PET
Mid 2000s Nashville garage rock band be your own PET got back together for the first time in 14 years in 2022 after being asked by Jack White to open part of his tour. Their shows have still been rare, but they're gearing up for a busy SXSW, including one of the Third Man shows and the free BrooklynVegan day party at Mohawk on Wednesday (3/15). The band initially formed in 2004 when they were still teenagers, and they were overnight sensations right from the start with their single "Damn Damn Leash." They caught the attention of Thurston Moore, who signed them to his Ecstatic Peace label and had them open for Sonic Youth. They broke up in 2008--after which singer Jemina Pearl went solo and other members formed JEFF the Brotherhood, Turbo Fruits, Public Access TV, and more--but they left an impact that's continued to reach younger fans and influence new bands.
NYC-born singer and songwriter Sabrina Teitelbaum used to make alt-pop as BAUM but more recently teamed up with producer Yves Rothman to make grungier indie rock as Blondshell. Citing Hole's Live Through This as a formative influence, she released her debut single "Olympus" last June to immediate acclaim, and has since signed to Partisan with plans to release a self-titled debut LP this April. She's been rising quickly, so don't miss the chances to catch her small-ish SXSW shows before she's regularly playing larger venues. One of her shows is the free BrooklynVegan day party at Mohawk on Wednesday (3/15). Read more about Blondshell in our list of artists to watch in 2023.
Fugitive is the new band of Power Trip lead guitarist Blake Ibanez with Skourge vocalist Seth Gilmore, members of Creeping Death, Impalers, and more, and they took the metal and hardcore worlds by storm with the release of their debut EP Maniac last year. Their live shows have still been few and far between, so it's a real treat that there will be two chances to see them in their home state of Texas during SXSW. One is Creem's day party at Chess Club on Saturday (3/18) (with Soul Glo, be your own PET, and more), and the other is in the Yellow Jacket parking lot later that night.
Indigo de Souza
One of our favorite current indie rock/pop singer-songwriters, Indigo de Souza is gearing up to release her anticipated new album All Of This Will End and two great singles are out now. Her upcoming tour includes sold-out shows at relatively big venues like NYC's Webster Hall, so it's extra amazing that there will be so many chances to catch her in intimate locations during SXSW, including the free BrooklynVegan day party at Mohawk on Wednesday (3/15). For even more about Indigo, read about her previous album Any Shape You Take on our list of the best albums of 2021.
With influences that range from classic reggaetón to Y2K-era pop to more experimental pop artists like Uffie and Crystal Castles, Isabella Lovestory is one of the brightest new voices in the alternative reggaetón subgenre known as neoperreo. Her new album Amor Hardcore features neoperreo pioneer Ms. Nina and Bronx-based Latin rapper Chucky73, and it's one of the most widely acclaimed Latin pop albums in recent memory. She's been selling out increasingly large venues, and she has a reputation for turning her live shows into total parties.
Jeremy Hunter is one of the leaders of the current ska resurgence, and they put out one of the genre's biggest recent breakthroughs with their debut solo album as JER, Bothered / Unbothered. We named it one of the best albums of 2022, and Pitchfork and The Needle Drop showed it love too. Jeremy also plays in We Are The Union, who have been busy co-headlining the Bad Time Records tour alongside Catbite and Kill Lincoln, and the Austin stop of that tour is the Bad Time SXSW showcase, which is also a rare stop of the tour to feature a JER set. With a lineup rounded out by Suicide Machines vocalist J. Navarro and his band The Traitors, and hyperska artist Eichlers, this whole showcase is unmissable if you care about the state of ska and ska-punk in 2023.
Knifeplay caught our ears with their 2022 Topshelf debut Animal Drowning, a mix of shoegaze, dream pop, and slowcore that really stands out from those genre's packs. They've been on a slow, steady rise, and they feel poised to stir up even more buzz at SXSW this year.
Combining catchy power pop hooks and hardcore punk grit, Militarie Gun have become one of the most thrilling new rock bands around, with a killer live show too. Read about them in our list of artists to watch in 2023 and listen to our recent podcast episode with bandleader Ian Shelton. Catch them at the free BrooklynVegan day party at Mohawk on Wednesday (3/15).
NYC's Model/Actriz sound like they could've existed two decades earlier in the city, sharing bills with Liars, Lightning Bolt, Out Hud and Light Asylum. The four-piece have been lurking around the fringes of the Brooklyn scene since the mid-2010s, and became known as a formidable, don't-miss live act by the end of the decade with their intense, sweaty shows and singer Cole Haden's magnetic, high-drama stage presence. The pandemic dampened their momentum, but Model/Actriz have roared back, releasing their gnawing, relentless debut album Dogsbody in February via True Panther. Catch them at the free BrooklynVegan day party at Mohawk on Wednesday (3/15).
The impossible-to-pin-down, Nigerian-born, London-based artist Obongjayar breaks down barriers between hip hop, jazz, art pop, Afrobeats, soul, R&B, and more. Read our review of his recently released debut album Some Nights I Dream of Doors for more. His U.S. shows have been rare so far, but he's set to make a splash at SXSW including a show sponsored by the British Embassy and at the free BrooklynVegan day party at Empire on Thursday (3/16).
Chicago singer and rapper Ric Wilson has been on the rise for the past few years, thanks to his infectiously unique sound and collaborations with Terrace Martin, CHAI, BJ the Chicago Kid, and more. His latest single was a collaboration with Chromeo and A-Trak. It's been a minute since he's toured outside of his hometown Chicago area, so SXSW will be a great chance to catch him live, including at the free BrooklynVegan day party at Empire on Thursday (3/16).
Having released our favorite album of 2022 with Diaspora Problems, it should come as no surprise that we're excited to see Soul Glo at SXSW this year. They're one of the most creative, boundary-pushing punk bands around, with songs that range from '80s-style hardcore to '90s-style screamo to contemporary hip hop, and so much more. They're also awesome live, and they have three SXSW shows, all on Saturday (3/18): the aforementioned Creem party at Chess Club that Fugitive and be your own PET are also playing, the Fiesta Destructo day party at Hotel Vegas (with Pissed Jeans, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Portrayal of Guilt, Waste Man, and more), and the Knotfest showcase on Saturday night at Elysium (with The Callous Daoboys, Creeping Death, Escuela Grind, Militarie Gun, and VCTMS).
The remarkably unique singer/songwriter Sunny War has been steadily touring and releasing music for over a decade, but her new album Anarchist Gospel seems poised to be her biggest breakthrough yet. Read our review for more, and catch her shows including one of the New West Records official showcases and at the free BrooklynVegan day party at Empire on Thursday (3/16).
Voxtrot established themselves as one of the great 2000s indie rock bands, and it seems like they've only grown more beloved since their 2010 breakup--their 2022 reunion tour hit NYC's Webster Hall, a larger space than their two 2010 farewell shows at Bowery Ballroom combined. The Austin band will grace their hometown with a show at the SPIN showcase at Stubb's on Thursday (3/16), which is being headlined by Killer Mike.
Check out the full lineups for the free BrooklynVegan day parties here and RSVP here.
For more artists to see at SXSW, check out the Indie Basement list.