The best week of the year is upon us! If you are a fan of film and tech, your week is already in full swing, but I am preserving my energy for the music festival beginning Monday the 13th. This will be my third year covering South by Southwest and I am more excited than ever following the expectations set by last year. Once the initial round of artists is released in the fall, I make it my mission to listen to as many musicians as I can to ensure I am taking advantage of my press coverage privileges. This task is not the easiest feat as over 1,400 musicians perform throughout the week, each with multiple sets – but do not fret! I have taken it upon myself to sift through the best artists at SXSW ’23 whether you are in attendance of the Austin chaos, or if you are vicariously living through my experience – as is my roommate, Addi. Below are my personal recommendations, as well as a playlist I made for my roommate who has a bit of a different taste in music than me. Listen to my playlist as you read!
If you are traveling to Austin for the festival, the local music scene is not something to pass up. A few of my favorites are playing this week as well as a few acts I have yet to catch despite living near the city.
Being Dead has an incredibly diverse sound, with the closest classification I can land on being psychedelic rock. The band has quite the reputation in Austin with their consistent schedule of live shows and involvement in additional musical projects showcasing their musicianship. The band’s silly and lighthearted camaraderie entice the audience, sometimes inviting them onstage alongside the three-piece. Being Dead is playing 10 shows throughout the week, and their schedule can be found on the band’s Instagram account.
Another favorite local act to catch, Die Spitz is taking over SXSW and the world. Recently back from tour with Amyl & the Sniffers, Die Spitz will be playing 5 shows throughout the week of SX, followed by touring with OFF! beginning in May. Local Music Director, Avery Viers, and I sat down with the band during Levitation Festival last year if you are interested in reading our profile of the punk band. The band’s schedule can be found on their Instagram.
I have yet to see either of these bands live, but have heard nothing but great reviews! These local rock bands are sure to gain attention following their stint at the festival. Annabelle Chairlegs is playing 7 shows throughout the week of SX and their schedule can be found here.
Lola Tried stems from San Marcos, TX, the home of KTSW899. The four-piece blends the southern influences of central Texas with modern rock. Local MD Avery had a chat with frontwoman of Lola Tried, Lauren, this week prior to the onset of SXSW, so be sure to keep an eye on the blog! Lola Tried’s SX schedule can be found here.
INDIE, POST-PUNK, & WOMEN
I’m happy to see the rise of local artists attending a festival the size of SX, but I am also excited to catch the artists traveling to Austin for the week! SX is all about discovering something new, but the artists returning to the city have a special place in my heart.
Lo-fi bedroom pop artist fuvk has been a staple on my playlists since 2018. Their casual yet poignant lyricism pairs well with their self-produced sound. If you want to relax during the festival and revel in melancholia, you can check out fuvk’s SX sets here.
LÜCY similarly offers an indie bedroom sound with airy vocals floating atop synths. Traveling from Taiwan, LÜCY is not a set to be missed! The artist has yet to post their schedule for the week, but you can keep up with their Instagram here.
Sea Lemon’s sound is reminiscent of the dream pop that defines the 1980’s. If you are looking to enjoy company alongside the presence of music that makes you dance, you can check out Sea Lemon’s schedule here.
Formerly a local band, Why Bonnie has relocated to LA but will be gracing Austin with their presence once again this week! Their 2022 debut album, 90 in November, captures the romantic nostalgia experienced when reminiscing your home state. The band’s schedule can be found here.
It’s International Women’s Month this March and female artists are always at the top of my list. The following female-fronted bands are acts I am super stoked to have found through my research of showcasing artists.
Swedish post-punk band, Beverly Kills, released a new single last week, “Melatonin,” preceding their arrival in Austin. Their sound is one of my favorites to experience live and I am beyond excited to see the tracks I have had on repeat onstage. Keep up with Beverly Kills on Instagram to stay up-to-date on set times.
Blondshell is returning to Austin following their tour with Suki Waterhouse in February. Sabrina Teitelbaum will release her debut album in April, and my fingers are crossed that we will get to hear previews during SX! She will be touring her self-titled album beginning in July, bringing along Hello Mary. You can follow Blondshell’s Instagram to keep up with set times.
Indie punk girl band Hello Mary has played shows in support of Momma and will be taking on the chaos of SX. The NYC band has an artsy aesthetic that I am excited to see brought to life onstage! Hello Mary’s SX schedule can be found here.
The Irish post-punk world strikes again, bringing Belfast-based Enola Gay to Austin for SXSW. The band’s first show this week will be only their eighth show ever. Check out the band’s SX schedule and catch them before they take off.
Currently on tour with They Are Gutting A Body of Water, Knifeplay’s shoegaze will fare nicely in Austin, TX. The band consists of a solid six members who add depth and volume to Knifeplay’s sound. Their music is definitely something that needs to be experienced live, and I can’t wait to see them this week.
I had the chance to see M(H)AOL in Kinsale, Ireland this summer and am delighted they are visiting Austin! The band intertwines poetry, gender studies, and noise punk with a unique array of instruments onstage making for an enticing performance. Read my concert review here and check out the band’s SX schedule here.
I had the chance to see the lovely Sorcha Richardson at All Together Now Festival in Waterford, Ireland this summer and am excited to see her perform following the release of her second album, Smiling Like An Idiot. Sorcha’s infectious indie pop was the soundtrack to my summer and the city of Austin will appreciate her queer sensibilities. Keep up with Sorcha’s week here.
Two-piece Tommy Lefroy announced their attendance to SXSW very recently having played Scoot Inn last week on tour with Samia. The duo released their second EP, Rivals, on Friday the 10th, so although I saw them perform last week, I anticipate a setlist ripe with new tracks! Check out my interview with Wynter and Tess of Tommy Lefroy here. The band’s SX schedule can be found here.
Maybe you don’t like my music taste, that’s okay! I made a playlist for my best friend of the artists she would enjoy at SXSW ’23, so check out this playlist if you are a sucker for pop!
By Ashley Farnie Assistant Music Director This week I had the opportunity to talk with one of my biggest musical inspirations, Tommy Lefroy, before their Austin show on Samia’s Honey Tour. The two-piece band of best friends, Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis, bonded over their love of literature and experience in songwriting. During the stillness ensued by the onset of the pandemic, the duo rekindled from a distance and […]
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