With over 2,000 artists coming to Austin for the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival, it’s hard to prioritize who to see. Over the next five days, our three music writers count down their top five can’t-miss artists. There are many, many other bands we’re psyched about, but these are the 15 artists we’ll rearrange our schedules to see.
SXSW hypewatch:Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4
DEBORAH SENGUPTA STITH[youtube=]
1. Anderson.Paak. Everyone is talking about the 30-year-old Afro-Korean artist who is likely to be this year’s Leon Bridges-like breakout. There are plenty of rapping singers (singing rappers), but few artists blend the two forms more smoothly than Paak, whose laid-back California flow casually saunters into irresistible R&B hooks. (11:15 p.m. Wednesday, Stubb’s; 12:50 a.m. Thursday, Mohawk Outdoor; 11 p.m. Friday, Hype Hotel)
1. Lucius: Two years ago, my vote for SXSW’s Grulke Prize for U.S. Developing Act went to this delightfully energetic and tuneful Brooklyn pop outfit fronted by platinum-wig-wearing singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. The video for “Born Again Teen,” the first single from their new album “Good Grief,” suggests they’ve changed their look, but their music is as buoyant and lively as ever. (11:35 p.m. Thursday, Easy Tiger, 4 p.m. Friday, Radio Day Stage)
1. Chvrches: I know SXSW is all about musical discovery (also waiting in very long lines; celebrity sightings), but I can’t help be excited for Scottish light show auteurs Chvrches. They feel like one of the biggest names at the fest, which is a testament to SXSW’s enduring power as a launchpad. Also, I’ve seen the band four other times, and they sound just as much like going to Toyko hopped up on laughing gas each time. (7 p.m. Tuesday, DJ set at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop; 1 p.m. Friday, Radio Day Stage)