SXSW 2018: The Acts We Can’t Wait to Hear
March 12, 2018
SXSW is a magical time of year. Where thousands of artists, inventors, and filmmakers flock to Austin in hopes of sharing their craft with the world. Imagine Art Basel on steroids (and maybe a little acid for weirdness) and you won’t even be close to the overstimulation that ensues. Guess what? Your girls over at Prism are embarking on the ultimate Culture Crusaders adventure there this year! We’re still trying to sort out what can’t-miss acts to make our list, but here’s what we got so far:
Light and pretty, the Tel Aviv duo of Lola Marsh has charmed the world over with their sweet tunes. And when we say sweet, we mean as cute and delicious as can be. Lead singer Yael Shoshana Cohen’s airy vocals pair perfectly with the band’s light music. They’ve been featured everywhere from Pigeons and Planes and Hype Machine, to Nylon and now here.
The ‘Austin Musician of the Year’ is an award-winning bilingual Latin-folk singer and songwriter. Gina Chavez has one of those voices that recalls the power of yesteryear, intermixed with a multi-cultural sound. She’s traveled the world with her music and once again is hitting the SXSW stages this year. Her NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert is spectacular and takes you through every corner of her heritage and musical influences.
The Teskey Brothers
If you like soul and blues as much as we do, you’ll instantly love The Teskey Brothers. The Australian outfit serves up a slice of the past with their infectious Motown sound. “Onstage singer Josh Teskey’s smoked whiskey voice defies expectation as the band around him hold an irresistible groove” says their bio, and we can’t wait to experience it for ourselves.
Punjabtronix is basically exactly what it sounds like: live electronica meets Punjabi folk. Which means, it’s definitely not from here. If an act like this doesn’t show you the extent of SXSW’s worldliness, we don’t know what else will. Electronic music producer DJ Swami joins forces with Punjabi folk musicians to create an innovative musical experience.
The British wunderkind might be young, but her music oozes with the maturity of an old soul. Influenced by the roots of American music, a clear and crisp vocal rides on the wave of a catchy guitar. Rolling Stone named Jade Bird a New Country Artist to Watch and heralded her vocals as ‘raw and robuts.’ She’s one of those names that has been flooding our inboxes so we know she can’t be missed.
I M U R
Vancouver band, I M U R has said that they “have an intuitive relationship with music, melody, and lyrics. Their ability to pair song to sentiment comes naturally, making it easy for listeners to be absorbed into their music.” Lead singer Jenny Lea’s vocals are brilliantly sultry and paired with the electronic violin and live production, they make sore a perfect affair for SXSW.
Le Couleur is a French-Canadian electro-pop band from Montreal whose style hits upon the rhythms of disco and indie music. It sounds like something you’ve jammed to late night at a funky club, with all the sexy fixings you like in disco-pop. It’s sleek and catchy, and full of synths. They’ve been celebrated all over Canada and beyond, so now’s our time.
This British singer-songwriter is so new it’s hard to even find a website for her. But that doesn’t mean she’s gone without critical acclaim, receiving nods as a solo artist and for her newest releases. A high-pitched vocal blends with a booming band for a subtle yet complex sound. Although Jerry Williams sings with the raw passion of an 80s rock band, her cuteness softens the blow and gets you hooked.
Seeing a fellow Floridian on the lineup only makes us more excited to head to SXSW, so we feel a deep connection with this one. A Bradenton, FL native, R.LUM.R has garnered nearly 20 million plays on Spotify for his hit “Frustrated.” His brand of modern soul mixes perfectly with his trademark falsetto. He was named one of NPR Music’s ‘Artists to watch at SXSW’ and you know we will.
Nilufer Yanya calls herself a “soulful indie 1 piece from London” but her sound takes up the power of a full band. She grew up listening to Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Pixies and, unusually, you can hear traces of all three in her guitar-driven soul. She’s been spotlighted by BBC, The Guardian, Pitchfork, Billboard and Vice, and the acclaim keeps on growing.
Another one who made the coveted “Austin 100” NPR list, Dermot Kennedy is going to be an auditory treat. The young Dubliner comes highly recommended for his deeply emotional lyrics and luscious vocal tone. From hip hop to r&b, the musician’s range is equally magnificent. It’s a blend that calls to mind the adventurous arrangements of Bon Iver, James Blake, and James Vincent McMorrow.
Canadian songstress, Common Holly has made waves with her airy voice and production prowess. She has one of those inescapable sounds that seems to pour in from the past while still holding relevance for today’s audiences. It might seems simple or even subtle, but we assure you that there’s something deeply emotional about her music and we can’t wait to witness it live.