SXSW 2018 is upon us. This year seems to be a year of going back to the true reason for the festival – discovering and celebrating independent artists.

Regardless of the change in pace for SXSW this year (Much less commercialized and overwhelming with blockbuster artists in previous years), it is still ripe with talented bands from around the world. It is almost impossible to preview every single artist that is chosen for a showcase at the week long festival so we are not proclaiming we have done that. We have however, been covering a lot of these artists already and here they are chosen to attend the largest music festival in the world. Here are 25 bands/artists we would put in your “must highly consider seeing live” bucket as they are all talented and on the rise in terms of their blossoming careers. Who are you excited to see this year?

We have chosen the bands based on ones we have already covered and have been following long before their announcement to the festival. These are also bands that wouldn’t commend a huge audience like the obvious ones we love as well (Billie Eilish, Nathaniel Rateliff, Shakey Graves) We are sure to capture all the great new bands we end up discovering in our recap.

We have linked their names to their SXSW bio, which also includes the info regarding where and when they will be playing. Check back all this week for daily showcase suggestions and of course our post coverage in the coming weeks. We hope everyone out and about stays safe this year and has a blast discovering upcoming and talented bands at the festival this year.

The Academic (Mullingar, Ireland)

  • The Academic began as the quartet were teens and have since refined their sound into their 20s. Their sound is extremely addicting guitar driven pop and they are definitely a talented band on the rise

Acid Dad (New York, NY)

  • Acid Dad fill our ears with awesome psych tinged garage rock and we can only imagine that their live show is quite worth witnessing.

Bully (Nashville, TN)

  • Bully continue to deliver dynamic rock recapturing the spirit and energy of the 90s yet with a modern feel as singer Alicia Bognanno excels in songwriting and vocals with their latest album, Losing.

Anna Burch (Detroit, MI)

  • Ms. Burch was one of our Artists to Watch this year with her summery lo-fi, indie rock approach and poignant songwriting. She is one we would love to catch live.

Molly Burch (Austin, TX)

  • We’ve described Molly Burch as having an intoxicating allure which is so true. We are definitely drawn to her amazing vocals and timeless sound.

Cloves (Melbourne, Australia)

  • We’ve been fans of Cloves since her debut EP was released and is another artist on our watch list for 2018. Ms. Dunstan has one of the greatest voices in music and we are hoping for more international recognition with her appearance at the festival.

Lucy Dacus (Richmond, VA)

  • Ms. Dacus is only 22 years old yet her maturity as an artist is remarkable. We’ve declared Historian as one of the year’s stand-out records and we are sure that her career will be on nothing but an upward trajectory after her appearance at the festival.

Stella Donnelly (Fremantle, Australia)

  • Ms. Donnelly’s low-key, alt-folk style, she brings intelligent, honest and challenging songwriting to the forefront. We believe the singer-songwriter is just starting to reach her potential and exposure at the festival will only help further her career.

The Fontaines (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Sibling duo The Fontaines are channeling the luxurious and cinematic sounds of the ’80s and ’90s, which means their showcases will be full of dancing. And by the end of the night, you’ll be singing along to their catchy songs despite just discovering them.

Freedom Fry (Los Angeles, CA)

  • We’ve been covering the French & American alt-folk duo since 2015. We’re excited to catch the duo live as they are working on releasing their upcoming debut LP, Classic.

Ezra Furman (Chicago, IL)

  • We definitely want to see some of the tracks from Mr. Furman’s Transangelic Exodus performed live. The talented and eclectic artist is sure to put on an entertaining show.

Gang of Youths (Sydney, Australia)

  • Gang of Youths are mastering each new album both sonically and lyrically. Their latest album, Go Farther in Lightness is full of hope and optimism while tackling serious struggles for the band. We are excited to catch them live.

The Jacks (Orange County, CA)

  • The Jacks only have a handful of tracks but they are proving that they have the talent and ability to make waves in the much needed arena of rock. Their sound includes infectious harmonies along with slick blues-infused guitar. We are sure their live set will be worth witnessing.

Men I Trust (Montreal, Canada)

  • We’ve been following Men I Trust for a while. They are also on our list of bands to watch this year. They keep releasing hypnotic and calming melodies that we just can’t get enough of.

METZ (Toronto, Canada)

  • METZ have clearly established themselves as one of music’s hardest, loudest, and heaviest outfits. Their songs are unrelenting, and their live shows are fiery and frenetic which is exactly why they are on our list. The band released Strange Peace last year and we call it their best yet.

The Molochs (Los Angeles, CA)

  • A way to describe The Molochs is scrappy because this DIY band have long been scrapping their way to being one of LA’s finest bands. Blues rock, old-school rock ‘n roll, and modern-day garage-rock – this band will amaze.

Moving Panoramas (Austin, TX)

  • We have been fans since their debut album One was released in 2015. We proclaimed it was mesmerizing with an ethereal and lush beauty to the album. We are excited to hear the band will have new singles this year and are working on a follow up album.

Mt. Joy (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Mt. Joy have impressed us ever since “Astrovan” was released in 2016. Songwriter Matt Quinn has a way with storytelling on each new track set to a calming indie-rock foundation. The indie darlings did what every DIY band wishes, released a single that went viral and later signed to the prestigious Dualtone. They just released their self-titled album and we can’t wait to catch them live.

Ought (Montreal, Canada)

  • Ought have been on our radar for years (2014 to be exact). They continue to fly under the radar as one of the independent artists across the globe pushing the boundaries of music. It will be great to hear some of their newest tracks from 2018’s Room Inside The World.

Caroline Rose (New York, NY)

  • We’ve described Ms. Rose with having clever lyricism and combustible energy as she was another artist to watch for 2018. We are excited to see her in a live setting.

Salt Cathedral (New York, NY)

  • The electronic duo Salt Cathedral continue to make hypnotic synthpop tunes that cause you to groove, sway, and sometimes break out into a sweaty dance. We can’t wait to hear their upbeat tracks translated in a live setting

Sego (Los Angeles, CA)

  • The LA duo continue to produce infectious and buoyant tracks that force you to hit repeat. We are also hoping with a few new recent tracks, a follow up album is in the works. We definitely want to catch the duo live.

Sunflower Bean (New York, NY)

  • We’ve been fans for years of Sunflower Bean and we have them on our list of anticipated albums list. We believe Sunflower Bean appear to be standing at the threshold to rock superstardom, and their next album is likely the key.

Tiny Ruins (Auckland, New Zealand)

  • Tiny Ruins have a beautiful dream-folk style going on and we have a feeling with this appearance at the festival and an upcoming album in the works, more will fall in love with Hollie Fulbrook and company.

Grace Vonderkuhn (Wilmington, DE)

  • We believe that Grace Vonderkuhn could one day be acknowledged alongside Joan Jett as one of music’s great rockers. Based on her latest album release, Reveries we are even more convinced.


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