South by Southwest is one of the year's biggest music events, and for those of you lucky ("lucky"?) enough to be in Austin this week, here are a few acts you won't want to miss, in alphabetical order. (Non-attendees can enjoy from the safety of their computers.)
Hailing all the way from Santiago, Chile, Alex Anwandter is a master of pop and so earnest it hurts. Even if you don't understand Spanish, you can feel what's he's singing.
B L A C K I E
This is noise punk rap madness (or American Grime) and it will scare most people.
These ladies epitomize California carefree perennial sunshine vibes. Their fuzz rock is like Instagram IRL.
She plays the fiddle and sings at the same time! And she's really good at both of these things!
Their choose your own adventure video for "Met Before" is reason enough to want to see this band, even though the first adventure I chose ended in either blackout or death.
When one second you're like, What? and the next you're like, Yes! then you're like, Hmmm and later, LOL, you know you're listening to something pretty great.
Believe the hype! Grimes is so uncool that she's cool, and her music is ghostly and friendly at the same time. She's like the Casper of electronic music.
Another one from Chile for y'all. If you like electronic pop music, definitely keep an eye one what's going down in Chile. Javiera Mena is so meticulous in her arrangements, so skilled in her delivery, it's like a disco orchestra.
Lady Leshurr's got the sickest and neatest flow in the game. Her diction is impeccable. Just watch how she murders Busta Rhymes' "Why Stop Now."
This Oakland-based Panamanian duo reps their hood hard with their hip hop in Spanglish and block party vibes.
Not only is MNDR a synth master, I bet she looks fly every single day of her life.
L.A.'s Nite Jewel has totally stepped up her game, exploring a really powerful range of her voice and embracing pop melody. She's also the only person who could make me think a side braid loop is a good idea.
If you're into the metaphysical, into hazy, incense-like vocals and potent percussion, Prince Rama is your band.
For those of you who, like me, have a thing for masked electronic artists, make sure you catch London's SBTRKT, who will get you dancing with his post-dub, two-step house.
Sharon Van Etten
That voice! It's a voice that has felt all the feelings and can then make you feel all the feelings. If you're not into crying in public, you might want to stay away.
Spoek Mathambo's township tech is anchored by heavy beats and limber vocals. This Joy Division cover is even spookier than the original, and you can dance to it!
Sometimes when you're in a weird mood, all you need is a solo dance party in your bedroom. Tanlines is really good at broody dance music.
Blanca Méndez loves that song!