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SXSW 2016 Music Preview: 40 Acts Everyone Will Be Talking About

These are the acts we wouldn't dare miss seeing in Austin

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    Everywhere you turn, some blowhard is declaring South by Southwest dead for musical discovery, but a lot of that just depends on what scale you are talking. Sure, if a band is just starting out, it’s unlikely that their big break will come among hundreds of acts that already have some buzz built in their hometown or online. But even buzz doesn’t mean that an act will get heard by the right people and find an audience. Every year artists come out of SXSW and wind up building off their run of 12 live sets into a year that significantly boosts their career.

    So Consequence of Sound has assembled a short list of acts that might do that. Some might be familiar to readers because we’ve talked about then before on the site (music discovery isn’t a one-week process, after all), while others might not be. And certainly there will be more artists than these that we will be reporting on after the event. Stay tuned to see who rises above the pack this year.

    Anderson.Paak

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    This Dr. Dre-signee from Oxnard, California, is an R&B superstar in the making, already with a hand in one of last year’s most acclaimed albums (Dre’s Compton) and this year’s (his own, Malibu). –Philip Cosores

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    Coast Modern

    Los Angeles indie pop duo have earned early attention for chilled-out yet intricately exciting beach vibes and will be making their live debut at SXSW after releasing only two singles. –Ben Kaye



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    Day Wave

    Young Los Angelean Jackson Phillips handles every aspect of recording the intoxicating take on dream pop that has been luring listeners in with its sense of mourning yet unwillingness to surrender into the fading light. –Ben Kaye

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    DMA’s

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    CoSigned Sydney, Australia, trio shrugs off the label of Britpop while making some exuberant and earnest rock music with a live show to match their album’s energy. –Philip Cosores


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    Diet Cig

    Warm, charming indie pop from New Paltz, New York, CoSigned duo whose live show is uninhibited and inspiring. –Philip Cosores

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    Dilly Dally

    Toronto four-piece whose gutteral, throwback rock captures the best of the ’90s: the wailing guitar of Frank Black, grunge tone of Nirvana, and scratchy vocals of Courtney Love. —Nina Corcoran



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    Downtown Boys

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    Downtown Boys

    Providence punk group with saxophone solos who turn the spotlight on activism to prove there ain’t no party like a political upheaval party. —Nina Corcoran


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    Ezra Furman

    Chicago native who has long been a favorite among fans of outsider music comprised of inescapable hooks forged from every type of pop and released what could be his magnum opus, Perpetual Motion People, last year. –Ben Kaye



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    Fantastic Negrito

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    After a million-dollar deal with Interscope left him disenfranchised and a car crash left him in a coma for three weeks, Oakland’s Xavier Dphrepaulezz has been reborn as a roots music maestro whose debut LP is out this summer. –Ben Kaye



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    Feels

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    Ty Segall produced last month’s debut LP from this Los Angeles four-piece, and it hits on many of the same garage, punk, and psych vibes you’d expect from Castle Face Records while still carving out an original voice for itself. –Philip Cosores

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    Frankie Cosmos

    Prolific project of New Yorker Greta Kline is a throwback to the K Records twee of Beat Happening, with the DIY ethos to back it up. –Philip Cosores



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    Guerilla Toss

    Frantic, unapologetic Bostonians have been thrashing about the dance-punk party scene for a few years now and brought their noise to DFA Records for their latest release, Eraser Stargazer. –Ben Kaye

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    Hinds

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    Spanish lo-fi indie rockers have just released their debut LP on Mom+Pop, share a kindred spirit with the Burger Records crowd, and charm the socks off of audiences with their band camaraderie. –Philip Cosores



    Julien Baker

    CoSigned singer-songwriter from Memphis already has a stunning album, Sprained Ankle, available and will try to charm Austin with her music’s intimate, highly personal content, and a delivery to match. –Philip Cosores

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    King

    The long-in-the-works debut LP, We Are King, is now out, and the live show should equally display the ’80s R&B influence you’d hope for from a Prince-approved trio. –Philip Cosores


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    La Luz

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    Seattle surf outfit has quickly risen in the scene thanks to noir vibes and hypnotizing harmonies, often delivered via the type of energetic live shows that convinced Ty Segall to serve as producer on last year’s Weirdo Shrine. –Ben Kaye



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    Lapsley

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    With her debut LP just released on XL, this British electro-R&B singer will be making the jump to major music festivals as the year continues, her SXSW showcases a chance to see her in small spaces as her star rises. –Philip Cosores


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    Le1f

    New York City rapper has impeccable choice in producers (Sophie, Lunice, Evian Christ) and lyrical content from an underrepresented point of view in the hip-hop scene. –Philip Cosores


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    Lucy Dacus

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    Richmond singer-songwriter whose powerful voice balances out her nostalgic, indie rock guitar lines. Her debut LP, No Burden, hits hardest in the live setting. —Nina Corcoran

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    Lushes

    With just two members, Brooklyn act Lushes create a buzzy, monotone, sometimes post-punk, sometimes rock sound that always manages to stay artfully bizarre. —Nina Corcoran



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    Melaena Cadiz

    Instead of chasing love-filled folk tropes, singer-songwriter Melaena Cadiz lays down earthy confessions that are deeply personal, landing her somewhere between Jessica Pratt and Laura Marling. — Nina Corcoran



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    Mick Jenkins

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    Chicago hip-hop rising star isn’t affraid to make music with a message or attempt to enact social change, performing with an earnestness that sets him apart from the rap field. –Philip Cosores

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    Milo

    Rory Ferreira may be the best rapper you’ve never heard of. With the modest moniker Milo, he wastes no time laying down rhymes that flow like spoken word poetry, name-dropping everything from Sufjan Stevens to Harry Potter to Kant without ever forcing his heavy, honest themes. —Nina Corcoran



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    Mitski

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    Wobbly-voiced Brooklyn poet/guitarist creates emotionally riveting indie rock performed with staggering confidence in a sublime package that contains both artistic integrity and punk sweat. –Ben Kaye



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    Money

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    Dystopian poetry from Manchester, UK, floats through a dark sky of yawning alternative rock that will add a bit of existentialism to your South by Southwest experience. –Ben Kaye

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    Nap Eyes

    With this year’s Thought Rock Fish Scale, slacker-rock act Nap Eyes curate an endearing sound that builds your confidence up by slowing your heartbeat down. —Nina Corcoran


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    The Octopus Project

    Austin staple The Octopus Project puts on the glitchiest light show you’ve ever seen, a perfect visualization of their sporadic, inventive, absurd electronica that’s been cherished in the underground circuit ever since their formation in 1999. — Nina Corcoran


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    Palm

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    Brooklyn up-and-coming four-piece Palm trip and stutter through Animal Collective vocal delay and colorful guitarwork while winking playfully at math rock. —Nina Corcoran

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    Petite Noir

    South African singer-songwriter Yannick Ilunga brings horns, drums, and soaring vocals together for a freeing listen — and catching him live in the US is a rare treat. —Nina Corcoran


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    PWR BTTM

    More than a rock band, PWR BTTM’s live show borders on performance art, built on the hilarious back-and-forth between duo Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, bolstered by engaging garage pop melodies and lyrical content that explores topics of gender and queerness with honesty, directness, and humor. –Philip Cosores

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