by Andrew Sacher, Bill Pearis and Zach Pollack

Kurt Vile in Austin in 2013 (more by Glen Brown)
Kurt Vile

South by Southwest. Maybe you've heard of it. Anyway, it starts in about a week, turning Austin, TX into one giant cacophonous concert where you can't swing a free canvas tote bag full of complimentary energy drinks without hitting a musician vying for your attention. It's actually pretty fun -- apart from the wasted spring breakers everywhere -- but it can be overwhelming. In an effort to help, we've already highlighted metal at SXSW and given you 10 NYC artists that we think are worth seeing, and here's a list of 50 artists we're excited to see at SXSW from all over the world (a few cross over from those other two lists). More than a few are playing one of BV's many events in Austin this week -- and if you're going, do stop by.

We know most people are NOT going to SXSW (and if you're in that group, you may be sick of hearing about it already), but many of these acts are touring around the US on either side of SXSW so it's maybe worth a gander too. We've also got a handy Rdio playlist with a song from each artist.

An embedded version of that playlist, plus our list of 50 artists we wanna see at SXSW (in alphabetical order), below...



Punk stalwarts Against Me! made a triumphant return this year with their great new album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, and are simply not to be missed. See them if you can -- they headline the BrooklynVegan showcase at Red 7. (ZP)


With A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg both leading great solo careers, A$AP Mob continue to garner attention, and their live shows as a full crew are a hell of a time, even during the parts when Rocky and Ferg aren't taking the lead. (AS)


NYC post-hardcore crew Big Ups released their caustic debut LP, Eighteen Hours of Static, shortly after the new year via Dead Labor/Tough Love. Like I've said before, it's snarling and in-your-face, but has some somber moments too. (ZP)


LA trio Cherry Glazerr just released their debut album, Haxel Princess, on notoriously party-friendly Burger Records. It's glitter-dappled, punky pop that's not scared to throw attitude or a Big Riff in your face. (BP)


Cloud Nothings were previewing material from their new album at last year's SXSW, and now they've finally announced a new album and shared some of it, which has us excited to see them all over again. (AS)


With Thee Oh Sees on an extended break, new Los Angeles resident John Dwyer has time to do other stuff like getting his old band, Coachwhips, back together. While none of his shows are official SXSW showcases, there are plenty of unofficial chances to catch them. (BP)


Because of their record label (Relapse) and certain bands they've toured with, it's tempting to consider Nothing a metal band, but this Philly quartet is completely shoegaze (and not the way people call Deafheaven shoegaze), and few modern shoegaze bands have perfected the Wall of Sound as well as these guys have. You can catch them at the Thursday BV day party. (AS)


DC outfit Deleted Scenes are headed down to Austin to preview their forthcoming effort Lithium Burn. It's equal parts spazzy and contemplative, and you can hear some of the new goodies at their shows this week. (ZP)


EMA started her career boldly with the excellent Past Life Martyred Saints, and from the sounds of the two songs we've heard from its forthcoming followup, she hasn't lost any of that boldness. (AS)


Mary Timony has been a member of so many excellent indie rock bands (Autoclave, Helium, Wild Flag, etc), and now she's fronting the new power trio Ex Hex, which is one of her most rockin' bands yet. You can catch them at the Saturday BV day party. (AS)

Fat White Family


Fat White Family's moody garage rock and lurid lyrics occupy similar seedy territory as Birthday Party, The Fall or Beggars Banquet-era Stones. If you like to mire in the filth occasionally, Fat White Family will meet you at the bottom. Catch them at our Saturday day party. (BP)


Cult singer Harvey Sid Fisher is probably best known for his album Astrology Songs in which he performs songs about the 12 signs of the Zodiac. That record came out on Gregg Turkington aka Neil Hamburger's Amarillo Records, which also makes Harvey labelmates with Anton LaVey. He'll kick off our Official BV showcase on Wednesday night (3/13) at Red 7, performing Astrology Songs in full.  (BP)


Gainesville, FL screamo upstarts Frameworks will release their new album, Loom, via Topshelf Records. If its excellent, major-key title track is any heads up as to what the LP might be like, Loom will be great. You can catch them at the BrooklynVegan showcase on Wednesday night. (ZP)


Another band playing our official showcase are The Front Bottoms who make a mix of indie pop and folk punk with nasally, wordy singing that can bring to mind comparisons like The Weakerthans and The Mountain Goats. They're a great time live, putting on the kinds of shows where the crowd sings louder than the band. (AS)


Fucked Up may make rock operas out of hardcore punk on record, but they leave the ambition in the studio when they get on stage. The band rocks the fuck out, and Damien Abraham will be found (shirtless) in any given corner of the room they're playing. And it probably won't be the stage. (AS)


If last year's big pop-rap breakout was Chance the Rapper, consider Kevin Gates his darker, more aggressive older brother. He's got the hard-edged gangsta-rap-turned-radio-rap leanings of early '00s guys like T.I. and 50 Cent, and like Chance (or Drake, or Kendrick, or Andre 3000) he can deftly switch between rapping and singing. (AS)


Hundred Waters may be on Skrillex's OWSLA label, but they're nothing like his brand of EDM, instead favoring complex, layered progressive pop that would stand out no matter what label it was on. You can catch them at the Saturday BV day party. (AS)


Enigmatic UK act Jungle let their music do the talking: specifically, R&B-tinged dance pop that manages to sound both classic and modern at the same time. A duo in the studio, they expand to a seven-piece live,  and are one of the more promising new UK acts at SXSW this year. (BP)



Kelis was once a (sort of accidentally) huge pop star thanks to a song named after a certain frozen beverage, but that's now over ten years ago and she's still going strong as a forward-thinking neo-soul artist. She's "going indie" on her new album, Food, which comes out on Ninja Tune and was produced by Dave Sitek, and from the songs we've heard so far, it sounds like Kelis is walking the walk. She might also feed you -- she'll be operating her food truck every afternoon. Really. (AS)


Mark Kozelek has about two decades of incredible music, both with Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon, and the new SKM album, Benji, is easily one of his best. With such a brilliant late-career album, Mark is a must-see act at this year's SXSW. (AS)


The title of Parisian band La Femme's debut album, Psycho Tropical Berlin, is a pretty good summation of what to expect: crazed psychedelic pop with a krautrock/coldwave backbone and an affinity for surf rock. Add Ye-Ye enthusiasm and smoky Gainsbourg cool and you've got a magnifique sound. You can catch at them at free BrooklynVegan Friday day party. (BP)


It's hard enough to get a 21+ crowd to move at an NYC rock show, but Seattle's surfy La Luz not only had folks dancing, but dancing down a makeshift aisle in the middle of the crowd when they played Manhattan last summer. Their debut album, It's Alive, is a lot of fun too. (BP)


Cate Le Bon's songs can be touching and beautiful, but they can also be mossy and strange, with occasional loud bursts of atonal keyboard or skronky guitar solo. "Welsh" might be the perfect descriptor for her. She's a true original. You can catch her at the Thursday BV party. (BP)


Chicago emcee Vic Mensa first got shine as a member of Kids These Days, blending hip-hop with blues, soul, and whatnot, with plenty of horns. 2013's Innanetape propelled him to new heights, but was just a little overshadowed by his Save Money Militia cohort Chance the Rapper's stellar Acid Rap. If you're into Chance, you'll dig Vic too; after all, the two have come up together and float around a similar, outsider melting pot style. (ZP)


New Zealand psychedelic pop oddity Connan Mockasin's current tour (and this year's SXSW appearance) is in support of last year's super funky Caramel. You can trip out with Mockasin and his band at the Saturday BV day party. (ZP)


Mutoid Man will melt your eardrums. The two-piece, which consists of Cave In's Stephen Brodsky and Converge // All Pigs Must Die's Ben Koller, are the definition of no-nonsense. Their debut LP, Helium Head, is a seemingly never-ending stream of heavy, soulful riffage. If you're prepared to be possibly rocked to death, you can catch them at the Invisible Oranges showcase. (ZP)


It goes without saying that Willie Nelson is Austin royalty and one of the most revered singer/songwriters in America. While his annual "Heartbreaker Banquet" on Thursday of SXSW is invite-only and he's not listed as playing (though there is a "surprise headliner"), he's definitely playing ACL Live at the Moody Theatre on Wednesday with Mickey Guyton and Keith Urban. (BP)


Angel Olsen just released her solid '60s psych-folk-esque Burn Your Fire For No Witness. The decidedly more electric Olsen and her band are playing a few different shows this year, so try to catch one if you can. (ZP)


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are pretty consistent with their love for '80s and '90s indie, but they don't repeat themselves, and continue to navigate new territory on their upcoming third album, a quieter record than the Corgan riffs of 2011's Belong. Here's looking forward to hearing that new stuff live at SXSW. You can catch them at the Saturday BV day party. (AS)


While the members hail from Texas, it was living stoned and starving in Brooklyn (and Ridgewood, Queens) that made Parquet Courts the band that turned heads with the short sharp Light Up Gold. Constant gigging has made them a shit-hot live act and last year's late night bridge show was one of 2013's most memorable moments. You can catch them at the Friday BV day party. (BP)

Perfect Pussy @ NYU, December '13 (more by Amanda Hatfield)


If you've yet to see Syracuse noise punks Perfect Pussy, the live setting is really where they shine, making this band one of the hottest new acts at SXSW this year. (AS)


Post punk sounds and industrial towns seem to go hand in hand. Detroit's Protomartyr have a sense of urgency and anger that could've sprouted from somewhere like Manchester or Cleveland in 1979. The band's new album, Under Color of Official Right, is a real ripper that evokes more than cribs from the postpunk era. You can catch them at the Saturday BV party. (BP)


Isaiah Rashad is one of TDE's two post-Black Hippy signings (the other being SZA, who will join Isaiah at at least one of his SXSW shows), and it's not hard to see why the label picked him up. His impressive new album, Cilvia Demo, is pretty on par with the early Kendrick/Schoolboy Q/Ab-Soul releases, so catch him this time around before he returns to SXSW as a superstar act. (AS)


The ever shape-shifting Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys has a new album/book/film/mobile app coming out this May called American Interior. The film version will debut at SXSW (screenings list here) and Gruff will also play shows during the music portion. You can catch him at the Friday BrooklyVegan free day party. (ZP)


Roosevelt, the recording project of Germany's Marius Lauber, falls somewhere between Neon Indian's hazy chillwave, Disclosure's thumping pop, and Delorean's breezy Balearic beat. It sounds like a winning formula, and so far it is. (AS)


On Saintseneca's Anti- debut, Dark Arc, frontman Zac Little spins tales a la Jeff Mangum, as he winces his way through the effort with an ace band behind him. It's a little bit folk, a little bit emo, and a little bit indie rock. Really, as he states in "Happy Alone," you can "call [it] what you want." You can also catch them at the Saturday BV day party. (ZP)


Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul will be there too, but the Black Hippy rapper we're most excited about for this SXSW is Schoolboy Q, thanks to a great new album that's harder and more detailed than any of his previous work, but still just as fun. (AS)

September Girls


Let's just get this out of the way: Yes, it's another "______ Girls" band who draw inspiration from Phil Spector, VU and JAMC/C-86, but Dublin, Ireland's September Girls are quite good at what they do. If you're planning on see Dum Dum Girls during the fest, you might want to make time for these ladies too. (BP)


UK singer Sam Smith first won us over when he lent his pipes to Disclosure's addictive "Latch" single, but from the sound of his own material, he won't be "that dude on 'Latch'" for much longer. (AS)


We've been hyped on Northampton, MA indie rockers Speedy Ortiz for some time now. Their ability to inject '90s-style indie rock with their own personalities resulted in one of our favorite albums of 2013, and from the sound of their new EP, they're only getting better. You can catch them at the Saturday BV day party. (AS)


San Francisco's Kelley Stoltz is a true musicologist, possessing the unique ability to filter 50 years of pop into his own wry worldview. He's also charismatic performer and one of the few who could release an album of stage banter that'd be worth owning. (BP)


Mix the breathy vocals of late Broadcast vocalist Trish Keenan with the hyperactive analogue synthpop of "Electricity"-era OMD are that gets you pretty close to the sound of Spanish duo SVPER. Last year's debut album, PEGASVS (their "u" key is broken), is a sleek motorik machine. (BP)


Touche Amore have been killing it in the post-hardcore underground for years now, and with 2013's Is Survived By, they've crafted a record with the potential to one day be considered a classic of the genre. Of course with all those years of touring, the songs effortlessly translate to a live setting too. You can catch them, among other places, at the BrooklynVegan showcase at Red 7 on Wednesday, March 12. (AS)


Trust is the nom-de-synth of Toronto artist Robert Alfons who makes puts a gothy spin on house pop, courtesy his rather sinister vocal style. See them in the darkest room possible. His new album, Joyland, just came out on Arts & Crafts. You can catch them at the Friday BV day party. (BP)


Kurt Vile continues to progress from lo-fi underdog to the increasingly interesting folk rocker that he is now. With the amount of exceptional music he has, any chance to see him is an exciting one. (AS)


Back in 2010, Warpaint gave us a promising debut LP, but then took so long putting out a followup, it was easy to forget they existed. However, we finally got that followup this year, and with material that strong, it was worth the wait. Great live band too. (AS)


Pacific Northwest prog metal outfit Wild Throne recently welcomed their adrenaline shot of an EP, Blood Maker, via Brutal Panda Records. They've given us a Frances the Mute-like assault with, dare I say it, even more brawn and noise. Catch 'em at the Invisible Oranges showcase on Thursday (3/13) at Quantum Lounge. (ZP)


Windhand revel in the traditional doom riffs that we've gotten from Black Sabbath through Electric Wizard, but with Dorthia Cottrell's melodic vocals, it's legitimately catchy stuff too. (AS)


Formed in 2011, Peterborough, UK trio The Wytches concoct a brew that mixes raw-throat punk, stoner/doom psych, and Bad Seeds swagger, with perhaps just the tiniesthint of Wicker Man folk. The band just signed to Partisan who'll release their debut album later this year. (BP)


Many folks consider Yvette to be the best new band in Brooklyn. While the powerhouse duo made a fine debut album, the gothy/industiral Process, it's their white-hot live shows -- closer to the tightly-wound tension of early Dischord bands or Liars -- that really leaves a dent.  (BP)


Also check out our metal at SXSW preview and our list of 10 NYC artists to check out. And if you're going, we hope to see you at one of the many BrooklynVegan SXSW events!

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