Our music team has scoured the South by Southwest lineup and has recommendations for you. Hear these acts at official showcases and various day parties — or next time they roll through Austin.
DEBORAH SENGUPTA STITH
8 p.m. Milk & Bone (Bungalow). Whilte airy voices adrift among gorgeous electronic textures, Montreal’s Laurence Lafond-Beaulne and Camille Poliquin make the dreamiest dream pop, music that ebbs and flows as it envelopes the listener in the haze.
10 p.m. Ace Tee (Barracuda). Born in Germany to Ghanaian parents, the rapper also known as Tarin Wilda makes upbeat hip-hop with a ‘90s R&B vibe. She scored a major smash at home last year with "Bist de Down," and we promise you don’t need to know a word of German to "Bounce auf dem Beat" with her.
Being noticed is a part of SXSW. But the fest is a marathon, not a sprint. 1. Skip the pedicure. Seriously. Wear closed-toe, comfortable shoes or face the pain. 2. Pick up rain gear. There's almost always a rainy day during the festival. 3. Dress in layers. A lightweight jacket or sweater is a lifesaver. 4. Sunglasses are your friend, as is sunscreen. Do not underestimate the Texas sun. 5. Pack light. You're likely to encounter bag searches at some of the venues. 6. Be bold (but practical). Pull out whate
11:30 p.m. OY (Barracuda Backyard). On their new release "Space Diaspora," the German electro duo beams in from a bright future where celestial synths float over a dancefloor bumping mix of poly-rhythms.
1 a.m. Van Ness Wu (Elysium). The actor, boy band star and all-around Taiwanese heartthrob closes out a night of hip-hop, electronic music and pop from Taiwan with schmaltzy cinematic pop designed to tug the hearts and make the ladies scream.
6:15 p.m. Bad Gyal (The Main). Less than an hour after we left a meeting where SXSW staffers raved about the Barcelona-based singer’s charisma and easy swag, The Washington Post crowned her the "future-present of club music." The Spanish Rihanna is having a moment and you want to be part of it.
7:15 p.m. Pussy Riot (The Main). Members of the protest punk outfit were arrested by Vladimir Putin’s regime in 2012. After their release, they became international activists, advocating for freedom, feminism and LGBT rights. Recently, they’ve been releasing songs in English, including the Trump-taunting track "Make America Great Again."
WHERE’S THE PARTY? In our searchable guide to unofficial SXSW events
9:15 p.m. Black Pumas (Parish). The new project from searing soul artist Eric Burton and ATX super producer Adrian Quesada just hit the scene weeks ago, and it already has the streets on fire.
10 p.m. Blackillac (Empire Garage). The new Gary Clark Jr.-produced hip-hop project features his old Austin High homies, rappers Zeale and Phranchyze. They play a mix of soulful love jams with catchy choruses, bass-heavy club-bangers and "blaze one in the air" stoner rallying cries. Someti sits in to sing live.
10:45 p.m. Duckwrth (Lustre Pearl). The California rapper swaggers over summery West Coast funk, incites uprisings with rock ’n’ roll bravado and occasionally indulges in sentimental story rap. He’s an easy pick for one of this year’s hip-hop breakouts.
Midnight. Lion Babe (Lustre Pearl). Suave and sexy electro-soul to help you get your city-slicker groove on.
12:40 a.m. Oshun (Parish). Calling their work a "sonic manifestation of Afrofuturism," the duo plays a spiritually grounded mix of hip-hop and soul that makes their set a highlight of the Riders Against the Storm-curated RAS Day showcase.
1 a.m. Elegante & La Imperial (Maggie Mae’s Rooftop). Acid trip tropical dance party from Peru? Yes, please.
Lion Babe plays at midnight Tuedsay at Lustre Pearl as part of SXSW. Erika Rich For AMERICAN-STATESMANAmerican-Statesman staff
8 p.m. Moses Boyd (the Main II). The underground jazz scene in Britain is on fire right now with a wealth of young artists exploring new sonic avenues. The young drummer/composer kicks off the Jazz Re:Freshed Outernational showcase presenting a full evening of cutting edge sounds from the U.K.
9 p.m. Benin City (Esther’s Follies). Have we mentioned there’s a lot of cool musical experimentation going on in England? This London-based trio mixes spoken word, brass and electronic sounds to create rich story songs.
10 p.m. Kelela (Gatsby). On her critically acclaimed 2017 release "Take Me Apart" the 34-year-old singer unwinds her silky voice into a shadowy echo chamber that pulses with lust, love and regret.
11 p.m. Tinashe (Gatsby). She don’t want "No Drama," but the sultry R&B star’s second album is expected to drop soon and her new singles smoulder with the same blunted sensuality that made her a star.
12:20 a.m. August Greene (Stubb’s). The hip-hop supergroup that includes Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins creates complex musical compositions with lyrical depth and spiritual reach.
8:30 p.m. Tank and the Bangas (The Gatsby). The NOLA five-piece performs with a warm and wonderful vibe that draws you into a brilliant live show that’s equal parts funky soul get down and theatrical hip-hop happening.
9 p.m. Cloves (Palm Door on Sixth). For the past two years, the Aussie singer-songwriter has been kicking around the early slots at top-tier fests such as Coachella and Lollapalooza. With a new album due out this summer, she’s about to move up the ranks fast. The Adele comparison is obvious but accurate.
10:40 p.m. Willow Smith (Belmont). The 17-year-old actress and singer has evolved from adorable hair-whipping 10-year-old to introspective, folkie millennial. Admit it, you’re curious about how this will go down.
SXSW 2018: And the festival’s next breakout pop star will be …
11:20 p.m. Kodie Shane (Belmont). The Atlanta artist sensually sing raps over hazy after-hours club beats with the effortless swagger of a female Drake. That is, if Drake was actually legit hot instead of trusty puppy adorable.
12:10 a.m. Rapsody (Belmont). When the lineup for Rhymesayers’ Soundset Festival came out in February, the hip-hop dudes (the dudes!) chopping it up on my Facebook feed argued that Rapsody could body 90 percent of the rappers on the top tier of the roster.
12:30 a.m. Wyclef & Friends featuring Wavie Gang and Riley (Highland Lounge). Refugee all-star Wyclef Jean is the kingpin of melodic hip-hop that blends in Afro Caribbean elements. We expect this master jam to go long and feature multiple special guests including Nigerian singer Seyi Shay and Brooklyn R&B artist Jazzy Amra, who play earlier in the night.
1 a.m. Deluxe (Maggie Mae’s Rooftop). The French six-piece has an affinity for ridiculous mustaches, copious sequins and brassy, sassy glitz. With a vintage cabaret aesthetic and ample modern electronics, they play a new-school version of gypsy jazz.
8 p.m. Melat (Empire Control Room). With airy harmonized vocals and a cascade of white-blonde curls, the Austin native carries an otherworldly mystique. Her gorgeous rainy day love songs coax the listener into her clouds.
11:30 p.m. Sudan Archives (Empire Garage). Inspired by Sudanese fiddlers, the singer and violinist layers strains of folk melody and plaintive vocals over electro-tribal rhythms to weave entrancing jams that ache with cross-continental longing.
Midnight. Cuco (Mohawk Outdoor). With glasses, an unkempt mop of curls and quiet, self-deprecating charm, the 19-year-old Chicano crooner from L.A. seems like an unlikely heartthrob, but the artist also known as Omar Banos has won legions of fans with his dreamy swirls of pop.
DEEPER DIVE: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Rita Coolidge among veterans at SXSW
1 a.m. Amara La Negra (Half Step). The Dominican American artist starred in the Miami edition of "Love and Hip-Hop," and she’s about to make a huge pop crossover with her jubilant Spanglish club bangers.
8 p.m. The Roots and Friends Jam (Fair Market). The greatest house band in the country hosts a sprawling four-hour jam. Set times for their guests haven’t been released, but if you want to see Rapsody or Tank and the Bangas perform with the legendary hip-hop crew (you do!), plan to stake out a spot early, as we expect the club to hit capacity.
9 p.m. Bones (Barracuda). "Beautiful is Boring," so the British duo skips the lovely melodics to make grimy post-riot grrrl garage rock that goes hard.
10 p.m. Ted Park (The Main). The singsong rapper from Wisconsin is part of the H1gher Music showcase hosted by Jay Park (no relation), a breakdancing, rapping former K-Pop star, who just signed to Roc Nation. The evening features a mix of Korean and American artists, and the more famous Park plays at 12:10 a.m.
12:10 a.m. Patoranking (800 Congress Ave). Ready to sweat it out on the dance floor? The Sounds from Africa and the Caribbean showcase will keep your booty moving all night long. This chart-dominating star from Lagos, Nigeria, drops a mix of reggaeton, dancehall and Afro-beat to work a body right.
1:15 a.m. Maxo Kream (Empire Control Room). If gritty street rap is your thing, it doesn’t get much more real than the mixtape king from Houston. As he started to catch national buzz last year, he was dealing with legal issues related to a 2016 arrest on charges of marijuana trafficking and organized crime, charges he denies.
Singer Bad Gyal of Spain is poised for an international breakout. Contributed by Pablo De PastorsAmerican-Statesman staff
7:45 p.m. Terminal Mind (Sidewinder outdoor). A recent reissue of this pioneering Austin punk/new-wave trio’s songs from the late 1970s has sparked renewed interest in their music. Original member Steve Marsh will perform with a new rhythm section.
10:45 p.m. Superchunk (Mohawk outdoor). The vanguard of cutting-edge label Merge Records, this North Carolina band still somehow feels like the new kid on the block, even though they’re now nearly 30 years into a stellar career as one of America’s best-ever indie bands. (Also playing 3 p.m. Tuesday at Waterloo Records and 8:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Main)
11:45 p.m. My Education (Sidewinder outdoor). We chose the long-running Austin instrumental band as one of our Austin360 Artists of the Month last year, thanks to their magnificent 2017 release "Schiphol."
8 p.m. Motel Mirrors (Saxon Pub). Former Austinite Will Sexton and his wife, Amy LaVere, are part of this Memphis band led by John Paul Keith, who first drew attention with 1990s alt-country band the Viceroys. Sexton produced the band’s upcoming record, "In the Meantime," due out March 30.
9 p.m. Curtis Roush (Cheer Up Charlie’s indoor). A member of popular Austin psych-rock band Bright Light Social Hour, Roush’s new solo album "Cosmic Campfire Music" features wide-open arrangements that suit his plaintive tenor vocals and allow plenty of room for the western-tinged music to breathe. (Also playing 8 p.m. Thursday at the Parish)
10 p.m. Jade Bird (Elysium). The English singer-songwriter just turned 20 and released her debut album, "Something American," on Glassnote Records last summer, but she sounds like a star right out of the gate. Her arresting voice is equally capable of casting dreamy spells and hitting with a hard pop punch. (Also playing 9 p.m. Wednesday at Latitude 30 and 8 p.m. Thursday at Mohawk outdoor)
11 p.m. Low (St. David’s Historic Sanctuary). Begun in the early 1990s in Duluth, Minn., as a minimalist collaboration between Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Low gradually rose to national prominence, joining the roster of renowned indie label Sub Pop and attracting the attention of Robert Plant, who recorded two of the band’s songs on his 2010 "Band of Joy" album. (Also playing 9:20 p.m. Wednesday at Stubb’s)
Midnight. Western Youth (18th Over Austin). Regulars on the Austin club circuit since their 2013 debut, "Leaving the Station," this six-piece band is fronted by Taylor Williams, who writes songs that strike squarely at the intersection of tuneful country and soulful rock ’n’ roll. A promising recent development is the addition of well-traveled Austin songwriter Graham Weber. (Also playing 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dogwood and 4 p.m. Thursday at Shady Grove)
1 a.m. Cotton Mather (Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room). Robert Harrison’s band has a three-decade history in Austin, with highlights that include opening a tour for Oasis. They’ve done some of their best work in recent years, including 2016’s "Death of the Cool," part of Harrison’s extensive "Songs of the I Ching" project.
Los Lobos is the headliner for Thursday’s free Auditorium Shores concert. ContributedAmerican-Statesman staff
7:30 p.m. Lucy Dacus (Stubb’s). The young Richmond, Va., singer-songwriter was barely out of her teens when she played ACL Fest in 2016 behind her Matador Record debut "No Burden." She’s back with her just-released new record, "Historian," another set of affecting songs that draw their power from Dacus’ rich alto voice. (Also playing 3 p.m. Wednesday at Waterloo Records and 10:15 p.m. Friday at Cheer Up Charlie’s)
8 p.m. Dizzy (Blackheart). A relative newcomer from suburban Toronto teaming brothers Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie Spencer with singer Katie Munshaw, Dizzy has made waves with its enchanting synth-pop singles "Swim" and "Stars and Moons." If you’re the type who likes to get in early on bands with that special something, Dizzy might be worth checking out.
8:45 p.m. Courtney Marie Andrews (Palm Door on Sixth). Just 27, country-folk chanteuse Andrews already has had an impressive career, working with emo band Jimmy Eat World, Seattle indie-folk mainstay Damien Jurado and Belgian singer-songwriter Milow leading up to her 2016 breakthrough, "Honest Life." Fat Possum Records will release her new album, "May Your Kindness Remain," the week after SXSW. (Also playing 2 p.m. Thursday at Convention Center Radio Day Stage and 11:50 p.m. Thursday at Barracuda Backyard)
9 p.m. Natalie Prass (Parish). A standout singer-songwriter in the fertile Richmond, Va., music scene, Prass toured as a keyboardist with Jenny Lewis before her 2015 self-titled debut earned widespread critical acclaim. Her second record, "The Future and the Past," is due out in June. (Also playing 8:45 p.m. Thursday at Cedar Street Courtyard and 2 p.m. Friday at Convention Center Radio Day Stage)
9:50 p.m. Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Mohawk outdoor). The renowned New Orleans outfit is at SXSW largely in conjunction with the film "A Tuba to Cuba," which documents the band’s 2015 journey to the island nation. That trip also informed last year’s "So It Is," just the second Preservation Hall album to feature all-original music.
11 p.m. Japandroids (Lustre Pearl). A year ago, the Canadian duo of guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse created a stir around town when they launched their first tour in four years with a couple of intimate shows here. Last year’s "Near to the Wild Heart of Life" was their first album in five years.
11:45 p.m. David Ramirez (Palm Door on Sixth). Ramirez is rapidly becoming one of the city’s most impressive and accomplished singer-songwriters, with a sound that straddles Americana and indie realms. Last year’s "We’re Not Going Anywhere," which deftly merged personal and political concerns, was one of Austin’s best records of 2017.
Irish band the Lost Brothers play 9 p.m. Thursday at Velveeta Room during SXSW. Contributed by Gabriel SullivanAmerican-Statesman staff
7 p.m. Bubble Puppy (Hotel Vegas Patio). The 1960s psychedelic band scored one of Austin’s first pop hits with "Hot Smoke and Sassafras." While they never reached that level of notoriety again, they’ve continued to perform after a 2011 reunion when they were voted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame.
8 p.m. Field Report (Continental Club). "Summertime Songs," due out March 23 on Verve Forecast, is the third album from the Wisconsin quartet that first made a splash at SXSW in 2012. Leader Chris Porterfield, who was in Bon Iver’s early band DeYarmond Edison, works the same sort of melodically engaging roots-pop territory as bands such as Dawes and Counting Crows. (Also playing 10 p.m. Wednesday at Swan Dive and noon Thursday at Convention Center Radio Day Stage)
8:30 p.m. Los Lobos (SXSW Outdoor Stage). One of America’s finest and most accomplished bands for four decades, the lads from East Los Angeles recently were the subject of a University of Texas Press biography and got nominated (though sadly not voted in) to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They’ll headline the Latin-themed "Dream Out Loud" free concert at Auditorium Shores.
9 p.m. Lost Brothers (Velveeta Room). The Irish duo of Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland are a half-dozen albums into a 10-year career that has bypassed hype and trends in favor of a clear and calm acoustic aesthetic. (Also playing 9 p.m. Friday at Victorian Room at the Driskill)
9:45 p.m. Juanita Stein (Cooper’s BBQ). From Australia, Stein titled her 2017 debut album "America," perhaps signaling that her brand of indie-folk had natural appeal for Americana fans. She’d previously gained renown in her home country fronting the indie-rock band Howling Bells. (Also playing 9:40 p.m. Friday at Hotel Vegas)
10:30 p.m. Veldt (Seven Grand). Rising stars in the fertile early-1990s North Carolina indie-rock scene, the Veldt never quite broke through despite a couple of major-label deals. But their sound, which draws upon British shoegaze influences while adding elements of urban grit and rhythm, still sounds relevant and perhaps even predictive of contemporary pop acts.
11:10 p.m. Tristen (Townsend): Part of Nashville’s increasingly prominent indie scene, this single-named singer-songwriter released her latest record, 2017’s "Sneaker Waves," on Austin label Modern Outsider. Two previous albums established her penchant for melodic left-of-center pop. (Also playing 10 p.m. Tuesday at Cheer Up Charlie’s indoor)
11:35 p.m. Sunflower Bean (Hotel Vegas Patio). Appearances at SXSW 2015 helped this charismatic New York trio get a deal with Fat Possum, which released its 2016 debut "Human Ceremony." The new track "I Was a Fool," from the band’s sophomore album "Twentytwo in Blue," due out this month on Mom + Pop Records, suggests a kinship with 1980s pop standouts Dream Academy and Everything but the Girl. (Also playing noon Friday at Convention Center Radio Day Stage)
1 a.m. Todd Rundgren (Elysium). A self-proclaimed wizard and true star (see the title of his 1973 album), Rundgren has had smash pop hits such as "I Saw the Light" and "Hello It’s Me" and produced multimillion-selling classic albums such as Meat Loaf’s "Bat Out of Hell."
Noah Cyrus plays at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday at Empire Garage. Contributed by Noah CyrusAmerican-Statesman staff
6:45 p.m. Albert Hammond Jr. (SXSW Outdoor Stage). He’ll always be best-known for his role in the Strokes, but we prefer the records he’s done on his own, especially 2015’s "Momentary Masters" (which brought him to ACL Fest that year).
8 p.m. Jonathan Terrell (Hotel Vegas). From his days fronting rock band Not in the Face to his more recent country/Americana-inflected material, Terrell has been one of Austin’s best singer-songwriters for many years.
9 p.m. Tribute to Blaze Foley (Paramount Theatre). Immediately following the screening of the Blaze Foley biopic "Blaze" will be a 90-minute show featuring live performances of Foley’s songs. Performers include Ben Dickey (who plays Foley in the film), longtime Foley friend Gurf Morlix, Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, Nikki Lane, J.T. Van Zandt and the Texas Gentlemen.
9 p.m. Rita Coolidge (Cooper’s BBQ). A star since the 1970s when she made three albums with then-husband Kris Kristofferson and scored two top-10 pop hits on her own, Coolidge published her memoir, "Delta Lady," two years ago. At 72, she’s returning with a new album, "Safe in the Arms of Time," that’s due out in May and features a duet with Keb’ Mo’ on the lead single "Walking on Water."
10 p.m. Kelly Willis (Continental Club). "Back to Being Blue," due in May on Thirty Tigers, is Willis’ first solo record in more than a decade, though she made two widely acclaimed duo records with her husband, Bruce Robison, in the interim.
11 p.m. Aaron Lee Tasjan (Antone’s). A rising star in Americana music, Tasjan did time in Kevn Kinney’s longstanding rock band Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ before self-releasing a solo LP and getting a deal with New West Records for his acclaimed 2016 album "Silver Tears."
12:40 a.m. Deer (Victorian Room at the Driskill). Formerly known as Grace Park & the Deer, the Austin/San Marcos indie-folk group released one of 2016’s best local records, "Tempest & Rapture," which married melodic-pop instincts to inventive arrangements and rhythms.
7 p.m. A Giant Dog (SXSW Outdoor Stage). Last year was another big one for one of Austin’s top indie-rock bands, as they released their second album on Merge Records in as many years. Catching them at Auditorium Shores is a fairly ideal way to start out one last SXSW night.
8 p.m. Jaimee Harris (Victorian Room at the Driskill). Harris, who toured as a teen with her father in the Waco acoustic duo Better off Dad, has played regularly at many of Austin’s best nightclubs, honing an album of original songs due in June that she recorded with Patty Griffin producer Craig Ross. (Also playing 7 p.m. Monday at Fairmont Hotel Fulton Lounge and 2 p.m. Friday at Lucy’s Fried Chicken)
9 p.m. Little Mazarn (Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room). Known for her supporting work with Dana Falconberry and others, Lindsey Verrill (aka Little Mazarn) steps out on her own confidently on her new self-titled EP, performing atmospheric acoustic music that’s as beautiful as it is haunting.
10 p.m. Broncho (Clive Bar). A rising star in the burgeoning Tulsa, Okla., music scene, Broncho plays lively yet quirky indie-pop and has released three albums since 2011. Their current single "Get in My Car" offers a promising preview of their fourth record, expected later this year. (Also playing midnight Wednesday at the Parish and 1 a.m. Thursday at the Bungalow)
11 p.m. Knife in the Water (Lamberts): On 2017’s "Reproduction," their first album in 14 years, this Austin indie-rock band picked up right where they left off, with fascinatingly moody, slow-paced, spacious tunes centered on the mellifluous vocals of leader Aaron Blount.
Midnight. Chris Stamey (Victorian Room at the Driskill). A longtime influence on the North Carolina music scene as a producer and with rock-pop bands the dB’s and Sneakers, Stamey was at SXSW last year helming the Big Star’s Third tribute project in honor of Alex Chilton. This year he’s here doing his own material and promoting an upcoming memoir.
1 a.m. Twain (Lamberts). From Virginia, Mat Davidson toured early on with acclaimed bands the Low Anthem and Annie & the Beekeepers before pursuing his own soulful and deeply affecting acoustic music under the name Twain. Austin label Keeled Scales released his album "Rare Feeling" last fall. (Also playing 8 p.m. Wednesday at Barracuda)
Old Crow Medicine Show plays Thursday at Fair Market as part of South by Southwest. AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2011American-Statesman staff
4 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. The Onion/A.V. Club Just Another Manic Monday party (Mohawk, indoor and outdoor). For the SXSW faithful, Red River staple Mohawk is a lighthouse in the middle of uncertain waters, the place you can usually look to for a reliable concentration of top-tier acts. This year, plant your feet there all night Monday and stay happy. Highlights include how-is-that-her-voice songstress Lucy Dacus, queer icon in the making Shamir, indie rock firecrackers Bully, Texas heart-tugger (and SXSW omnipresence) Lomelda and stalwarts Superchunk, who this year pass for a "big name" on a low-key festival lineup.
11:30 p.m. Max Richter (Bass Concert Hall). Ever brag that you stay out all night during SXSW? Prove it, kiddo. The acclaimed classical musician, whose compositions have appeared in films like "Arrival" and "Shutter Island" and TV shows like "The Leftovers" and "Black Mirror," will perform eight-hour overnight concert "Sleep" to open the fest. Do. You. Have. It. In. You?
7 p.m. Gemma Ray (St. David’s Historic Sanctuary). One of my hobbies is sneering at purple-prose artist bios on festival schedules, but "pop-noir heroine" is some razor-sharp accuracy in describing this German singer-guitarist. Imagine the sound of high noon, if high noon was in the dead of night. (Also playing 10:30 p.m. Monday at Barracuda backyard; 10:10 p.m. Tuesday at Cheer Up Charlie’s)
10:30 p.m. Nikki Lane (The Gatsby). If you’ll indulge me in an "American Horror Story" analogy: When Wanda Jackson passes (God forbid), Nikki Lane becomes the new supreme. But instead of witchcraft, it’s hard-knuckled roadhouse twang. (Also playing 3 p.m. Friday at Radio Day Stage at Austin Convention Center)
12:10 a.m. Shamir (Sidewinder outside). Shamir burst through the club doors as a ready-made pillar on the queer music cult — such was the trippy power in the strut of "On the Regular." The singer has turned chameleon since then. Last year’s album "Revelations" was a stormy rock record, and new single "Room" is a straight-up Tegan and Sara song.
12:45 a.m. Nnamdi Ogbonnaya (Sidewinder inside). Weird, woozy and witty, this Chicago rapper dives deep. And the Best Original Score for post-toke introspection goes to … (Also playing 12:15 a.m. Friday at Cheer Up Charlie’s inside)
7:30 p.m. Lucy Dacus (Stubb’s). Queen of bracing calm! Queen of a voice that sounds like it contains the roiling depths of the ocean! Queen of saying painful things out loud! (Also playing 10:15 p.m. Friday at Cheer Up Charlie’s)
8 p.m. Boniface (Empire Control Room). His song "Phantom Limbs" is swelling, shiny pop that crests with sensitive-kid yearning. It’s the kind of stuff for the montage in your head. (Also playing 9 p.m. Monday at British Music Embassy at Latitude 30; midnight Tuesday at Bungalow; 9 p.m. Thursday at Blackheart)
8:30 p.m. Kitten (Empire Garage). I once saw Chloe Chaidez at Stubb’s circa "Like a Stranger." I did not care for the performance! But Kitten has a bright new sound with single "I Did It" and a nu-mod look, so I think a mulligan is in order. (Also playing 10 p.m. Friday at Mohawk outdoor; 1 p.m. Saturday at Radio Day Stage at Austin Convention Center)
9:30 p.m. Kelela (The Gatsby). Along with SZA and Kehlani, this Washington, D.C., singer is confidently pushing R&B into an effortlessly cooler future.
10 p.m. Now, Now (Blackheart). The Minneapolis band’s stellar 2012 "Threads" breezed through alt-y 1990s-style raw-heartedness and passed some second-wave emo signposts along the way. They’ve come out of the woods since last year with a couple of poppier but no less affecting singles. (Also playing midnight Tuesday at Elysium)
11 p.m. Japandroids (Lustre Pearl). Sometimes I listen too closely to this Vancouver two-piece’s lyrics and snort a little bit, but the snort is quickly displaced by my full-throated shriek of "TELL ’EM ALL TO GO TO HELL!" Irony-free rock ’n‘ roll frisson.
11:40 p.m. Say Anything (Swan Dive patio). Dashboard Confessional have been getting all the emo-kid attention this SXSW, but Max Bemis and Co. have also been out here doing the darn thing since the early 2000s. We hope for "Alive With the Glory of Love." We pray for "Admit It!!!" We hold our breath for "Do Better."
12:05 a.m. Porches (Barracuda Backyard). Easy electro-listens for your midnight soul searching, as you stare into that plastic cup filled with ice and regret juice.
12:30 a.m. Noah Cyrus (Empire Garage). Quite honestly, I am just curious and want someone to come with me. (Also playing 1 a.m. Friday at Trinity Warehouse)
Shakey Graves plays at 7:40 p.m. Friday on the SXSW Outdoor Stage (Auditorium Shores). NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMANAmerican-Statesman staff
7:30 p.m. Lomelda (Cheer Up Charlie’s). Hannah Read seems poised to be a Texas success story. Hailing from the eastern town of Silsbee, Lomelda’s sound is more evocative of a West Texas expanse, the kind that’ll crack you open once it gets you quiet and alone. (Also playing 8:50 p.m. Wednesday at Barracuda)
8:30 p.m. Tank and the Bangas (The Gatsby). Irrepressible soul-jazz-funk-hip-hop magic, sparking forth like a love spell. A New Orleans collective led by Tarriona "Tank" Ball, they stole my heart at ACL Fest last year. There’s no world in which you regret seeing this band live. (Also playing 11:20 p.m. Wednesday at Stubb’s)
9 p.m. Bully (Scoot Inn). For fans of Charly Bliss and Diet Cig, which is me. And I hope it’s you, because you deserve nice things. (Also playing 8:30 p.m. Monday at Mohawk outdoor)
10 p.m. R.LUM.R (St. David’s Historic Sanctuary). Tight calls in this hour. I caught a bit of this R&B up-and-comer at ACL Fest last year. He’s got the pipes for a house of worship, with an out-of-the-box style that should promise a few hallelujahs. (Also playing 9 p.m. Friday at Lustre Pearl)
10 p.m. Speedy Ortiz (Clive Bar). Following a fest visit with her solo pop foray, Sad13, frontwoman (and excellent Twitter follow) Sadie Dupuis is back with the band. Expect discordant rock that grandfathers you into Gen X regardless of your birthdate, as well as some spiky new material for the Trump era.
10:10 p.m. Kim Petras (Palm Door on Sixth). My current trash-pop obsession. Somewhere in the galactic bleed between Charli XCX and an alternate universe where one of the Real Housewives who thinks she’s a singer actually has talent. Weird hair. Sounds like throwing a neon sign into a hotel pool.
11 p.m. Princess Nokia (Clive Bar). You might know here from viral moments like throwing soup on a subway rider shouting racial slurs. You should probably also know her as a fearless emcee. Start with body positivity bop "Tomboy."
11:35 p.m. Old Crow Medicine Show (Fair Market). Nothing wrong with a good ol’ fashioned fiddle show. "Wagon Wheel" never hurt me none.
Midnight. Khalid (Trinity Warehouse). Now, if you want to talk Texas success stories, look no further than the boy genius of El Paso. Silky smooth R&B for the current moment.
12:30 a.m. Dashboard Confessional (The Gatsby). You know we’re in 2018 because the band whose lyrics built a million AOL Instant Messenger away messages is now a "hail the conquering hero" SXSW marquee name. Hands down, you gotta go.
1 a.m. Special Guest (Cheer Up Charlie’s). OK, this act is presented by Polyvinyl Records and Double Double Whammy. Both labels are home to some great bands not on the showcase lineup — including American Football and Pedro the Lion on Polyvinyl, to name a couple of elder statesmen. Mike Kinsella and David Bazan are certainly beloved in certain quarters, but worth secrecy? Who knows. Probably neither of them. Mysteries are fun.
7:40 p.m. Shakey Graves (SXSW Outdoor Stage). The wattage of SXSW’s big free shows has certainly dimmed since their heyday. Who among us could forget the year the Strokes attracted a massive crowd with pathological hatred for fences? The spectacle has muted in recent years, but if the Live Music Capital could offer up any artist with some cosmic shine, it would be Shakey.
8:25 p.m. Tall Juan (Mohawk indoor). A "Latin Elvis inspired by the Ramones," as his bio puts it, Tall Juan’s DIY-style punk promises some Argentina-by-way-of-Queens flair.
9:30 p.m. Soccer Mommy (Cheer Up Charlie’s). Recently released album "Clean" is a blissed-out treat. Very much in the Frankie Cosmos/Jay Som vein.
11 p.m. Fantastic Plastics (Lamberts). I’ve always thought Devo deserved their own Super Nintendo game. But if you like your bleeps and bloops a little less ironic …
11 p.m. Sylvan Esso (Lustre Pearl). Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn are SXSW vets, and "What Now" is one of my very favorite albums released last year. Synth-pop but never synthetic, electronic yet still electric, songs like "Radio" and "Sound" evoke big human moods (and hip swivels).
Midnight. Cuco (Mohawk outdoor). A self-effacing alt-heartthrob who found internet fame doling out ambient-washed, Spanglish balladry. A lot to unpack there. My best friend Beth says he’s great, so that’s good enough for me. (Also playing 10 p.m. Thursday at Banger’s)