SXSW 2019: Our top 10 rising act picks for every attendee

Bedouine, Azniv Korkejian

Bedouine at the Fox Theater in Oakland during Noise Pop on Feb. 24, 2018. She’s one of the must-see acts at SXSW 2019. Photo: Chloe Catajan.

AUSTIN — With 2,000 acts from more than 60 countries, SXSW may have the most intimidating music festival schedule on the planet. The festival’s mission of discovery means that each attendee’s experience varies greatly from the next—it’s simply impossible to conquer. Researching the acts in advance and choosing wisely with your timeslots is always a good bet.

After listening to dozens of hyped acts for the upcoming festival, which runs from March 11 to 17 throughout Austin,  we’ve highlighted two handfuls of picks with the talent and originality to stand apart from this year’s impressive field of artists. If you’re making your way from the Bay Area or Los Angeles to Texas, here’s your official checklist for the can’t-miss artists at SXSW 2019.


Genre: Americana

From: Bristol, U.K.

Yola’s recently released debut album, Walk Through Fire, was produced by Dan Auerbach and released on his Easy Eye Sound label. An all-star roster of Nashville session legends back Yola on a solid record that drew critical praise from. She’s booked as a support act for both Willie Nelson and Lord Huron in the coming months, so catch her now in a small room.

Where and when: March 13, 5 p.m., Radio Day Stage (Convention Center). March 16, 3 p.m., Scoot Inn.

For fans of: Dusty Springfield, Nancy Sinatra, Patsy Cline.

The Beths

Genre: Indie rock

From: Auckland, New Zealand

This New Zealand quartet is making waves at Sirius XMU and packed live dates with an upbeat brand of jangly rock that’s infectious without trying too hard. Breakout track “Future Me Hates Me” has gotten them noticed, and fans of ’90s indie and power pop will find much to enjoy here.

Where and when: March 11, 8:30 p.m., Mohawk (Outdoor). March 14, 4 p.m., Container Bar.

For fans of: Speedy Ortiz, Hop Along, Alvvays.


Genre: Indie rock

From: Los Angeles

Former Cherry Glazerr member Sasami Ashworth left the band in early 2018 to focus on her own material. The resulting eponymous album, released this month on Domino, is a deeply personal look at the relationship pitfalls and struggles of a itinerant young musician. Older indie rockers may hear Liz Phair fronting Yo La Tengo here, but the record fits snugly into the welcome wave of awesome lo-fi indie records currently making waves with music critics. SASAMI is definitely worth catching before she inevitably joins the zeitgeist. (Devendra Banhart also puts in a guest appearance on the album).

Where and when: March 14, 8:20 p.m., Cheer Up Charlie’s.

For fans of: Yo La Tengo, The Delgados, M83, My Bloody Valentine’s “Soon.”

Penelope Isles

Genre: Alt-rock

From: Brighton, U.K.

Clean, shimmering guitars, ’70s-influenced melodies, and power pop verse/chorus/verse progressions make Penelope Isles’ new single, “Chlorine,” sound familiar on first listen. Newly signed to Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde’s tastemaker label Bella Union, the brother and sister duo of Jack and Lily Wolterband arrive to charm SXSW audiences ahead of their debut full-length due later this year. If you like upbeat indie pop with memorable bridges and hooks to spare, make this one a priority.

Where and when: March 12, 8 p.m., 720 Club. March 14, 8 p.m., Latitude 30.

For fans of: Late period Supergrass, Brendan Benson.

Two People

Genre: Electronic / Pop

From: Melbourne, Australia

Two People’s smart, brooding electro-pop comes from the duo of Phoebe Lou and Joey Clough, formerly of  Aussie dream-pop band Snakadaktal. The pair self-recorded their January debut, First Body, over two years and enlisted Rodaidh McDonald (The XX, Sampha) for final mixing. The band cite Portishead and Thom Yorke as influences and traffic in a moody, downbeat style that should find a wide audience. This set should be an anecdote to the noise and chaos of SXSW. Grab a drink and settle in for the quiet storm.

Where and when: March 15, 8 p.m., Bungalow. March 16, 11 p.m., Seven Grand.

For fans of: RUFUS DU SOL, Air, Hot Chip.


Genre: Americana

From: Los Angeles

Bedouine (born Azniv Korkejian) has become an NPR favorite by mining the hypnotic folk lanes of Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell. The songs are lyrically dense, sparsely orchestrated and complex in theme. Korkejian’s early childhood was spent in both Syria and Saudi Arabia, but she’s spent years as a film music editor in Los Angeles and you can also find bits of Laurel Canyon folk in her sound. This is the type of set that requires your attention. While the melodies are gentle, there’s a lot to process in the tunes.

Where: March 11, 9 p.m., Banger’s (Basement). March 12, midnight, Antone’s.

For fans of: Margo Price, Holly Macve, Courtney Marie Andrews.

Bad Sounds

Genre: Indie pop

From: Bristol, U.K.

When we first heard “Wages,” we were struggling to understand why it seemed so familiar, then realized it was because it would fit neatly between Primal Scream’s “Loaded” and The Soup Dragons’ “I’m Free” in an early ’90s baggy playlist. This is upbeat British party meant to be played loud from radio speakers and is definitely influenced by Dust-Brothers-produced LPs and big, shiny ’90s alternative production. It’s not deep, but it could be huge.

Where and when: March 14, 1 a.m., Swan Dive. March 15, Latitude 30, 11 p.m.

For fans of: Early Primal Scream, Soup Dragons, Madchester sounds.

Helena Deland

Genre: Indie pop

From: Montréal

If you, like us, carry a soft spot for plaintive dreamy pop like The Sundays, Mazzy Star and Beth Orton, Helena Deland is a must for your SXSW schedule. The Canadian Deland makes beautiful, hypnotic tunes that sound like the soundtrack to a winter drive. Her latest five-song EP carries an unwieldy title: From the Series of Songs “Altogether Unaccompanied” Vol. III & IV. But it’s well worth a listen. Deland is also supporting Wet on its spring tour.

Where and when: March 11, 9 p.m., Bungalow. March 14, 12:45 a.m., Seven Grand.

For fans of: Lykke Li, Ivy, Camera Obscura.

No Win

Genre: Alternative

From: Los Angeles

Former FIDLAR member Danny Nogueiras started No Win several years ago as a solo project, but it morphed over time into a full band. His debut LP, Downey, is out in late March on Dangerbird Records. This is big rock music with loud guitars. If you dig Dinosaur Jr. or Bob Mould, you’ll find some kindred spirits here, albeit with a bit of power-pop sheen.

Where and when: March 15, 10:45 p.m., Barracuda Backyard.

For fans of: Redd Kross, The Posies, Car Seat Headrest.

Husky Loops

Genre: Rock

From: London

Husky Loops show a lot of British radio influence (we thought of Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys and The Big Pink when listening to single “Everytime I Run”). There are big beats, samples, chiming guitars and catchy choruses. Other artists are taking notice; the band had played support slots for Spoon, Placebo and The Kills on recent tours. This is the sound of a young band with a lot of talent figuring out what it is.

Where and when: March 12, 9:50 p.m., Seven Grand. March 14, 8 p.m., 720 Club.

For fans of: Spoon, Beck, The Big Pink.

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