By: Amany Khreis
South By Southwest is already here and the Music Festival is a day away. Hundreds and hundreds of artists will be in Texas for the next week, veterans and up-and-comers alike. It's a big deal. WSUM breaks down the artists we're most excited to see during our time in Austin. We also made a Spotify playlist for your convenience, scroll to the end to find that.
Mandy, Indiana (Firetalk)
Recommended song: “Injury Detail”
Mandy, Indiana is the best thing to come out of the 2020s and we're barely three years in to the decade. Their songs are sung exclusively in French, engulfed in loud, industrial beats. The band's debut album I've Seen A Way is set to be released in May of this year.
Indigo De Souza (Saddle Creek)
Recommended Song: “Younger & Dumber”
If you didn't already know this, I love Indigo De Souza. Her lyrics are poignant and heartbreaking, her voice is soft and powerful. She can make you dance and she can make you cry, and she can make you do both at the same time. All Of This Will End is the follow up to her sophomore release, Any Shape You Take. When I spoke to her last year for EMMIE Magazine, De Souza said, “I'm most excited to share the new album with the world because, out of anything I've ever made, it's most clearly what I want to say.”
Coco & Clair Clair (Nice Girl World)
Recommended Song: “Pop Star”
Coco & Clair Clair are for the girlies, as some would say. Their music is fun and cheeky. The duo were making TikTok-friendly hits in the likes of PinkPantheress before PinkPantheress was even around. Claire Toothill and Taylor Nave know what they're doing – and they do it well.
mui zyu (Father/Daughter)
Recommended Song: “Sore Bear”
A Stereogum “Artist to Watch,” mui zyu released her debut album this past February to the excitement of all who enjoy good music. Her songs are haunting, heartbreaking, heavy. Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century is one of my favorite albums to come out of 2023 so far.
Joanna Sternberg (Fat Possum)
Recommended song: “For You”
I used to listen to Joanna Sternberg's 2019 LP Then I Try Some More as a 17-year-old and cry. They make sad twee music, similar to the Moldy Peaches or Mirah. Their first new song in years, “I've Got Me,” was released this past week.
Recommended song: “Boy's a liar Pt. 2”
I found the street of the house in which you stay / And my diary's full of your name on every page / ‘Cause I read somewhere you'll fall in love with me / I'll try and try again one day, you'll see / Your hair's under my pillow so I sleep (so I sleep) / And I'm dreaming of you leaving roses at my feet (at my feet) / I'm obsessed with you in a way I can't believe / When you wipe your tears, do you wipe them just for me? (Me, me, me, me, me) / Do you wipe them just for me? (Me, me, me, me)
Miss Grit (Mute)
Recommended song: “Impostor”
Miss Grit has been on my radar since 2021, when their incredible EP Impostor dropped. This year, they released their debut album Follow the Cyborg. It was an NACC #1 top add here at WSUM. I see St. Vincent's influence in their music.
Recommended song: “Breaking Up”
Bnny's latest single “Breaking Up” has been on repeat for me since it came out. Their nonchalant vocals and dreamy, dark instrumentation is so captivating to me. Super clever lyrics from Bnny – I'm a huge fan.
Divino Niño (Winspear)
Recommended song: “Miami”
I saw Divino Niño back in 2021 at the Memorial Union Terrace. The weather was amazing, the sun was setting, the lake was gorgeous and the band knew how to put on a show. Their stage presence is incredible. They'll definitely be a highlight for me at SXSW.
Disq (Saddle Creek)
Recommended song: “If Only”
Madison's own Disq will be down in Austin for SXSW this year. WSUM will definitely be cheering them on.
They Are Gutting A Body of Water (Smoking Room)
Recommended song: “kmart amen break”
TAGABOW, the Philadelphia experimental indie shoegazers… I'll be sure to bring my ear plugs along when I see them, but in a good way.
Recommended song: “Kiss City”
I haven't heard a song like “Kiss City” in a very long time. It's so classic, so timeless and so good, you almost want to hate it. But you don't. You scream every word to “Kiss City” instead.
Recommended song: “About Hunger, About Love”
Another excellent act to come out of this year, Pearla released her debut album Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming back in February. It's twangy, sweet and witty. Pearla is for fans of Vashti Bunyan and Babehoven.
Model/Actriz (True Panther)
Recommended song: “Dogsbody”
Noisy and dancy, punk and industrial: Model/Actriz's got it all. They debuted this year with Dogsbody and blew everyone away. Model/Actriz is for fans of Death Grips and black midi.
waveform* (Run For Cover)
Recommended song: “Favorite Song”
waveform* are not a typical Run For Cover band – they're slow, hushed and washed out. If you like Alex G or LSD and the Search for God, this duo hailing from Connecticut is the band for you.
Haley Blais (Tiny Kingdom)
Recommended Song: “Firestarter”
Haley Balis's 2020 LP Below the Salt was one of my favorite releases of that year. A true DIY musician, Blais writes all her songs and records them in her own bedroom. Hard to believe she does it all herself when listening to her music; it's all top notch quality. I'm excited to feel 18 again when seeing Blais at SXSW.
Recommended song: “Fishnet”
Chicago noise-rock trio Lifeguard are still in high school, but they're touring with Horsegirl and signed to Matador Records. They'll probably be the youngest musicians at SXSW. I've seen them before at the Rath and High Noon. I'm looking forward to seeing how much they've grown, especially now that they're a Matador band.
Recommended song: “Face First”
Lo-fi slowcore rock band from Dallas, Teethe won't be doing too much travelling to make it to Austin. They'll be performing at the Topshelf showcase, which is very fitting. If you're a Duster band, I would recommend checking out Teethe.
Tomberlin (Saddle Creek)
Recommended song: “Wasted”
Tomberlin is another personal all-time favorite. At Weddings was a comfort album for me in high school. Projections, produced by Alex G, has been on repeat for me since 2020. i don't know who needs to hear this… was one of my top albums of 2022. From “Seventeen” to “Sin” to “happy accident,” I can't wait to finally see Tomberlin perform live.
Recommended song: “Slapstick”
Koleżanka's harmonies on her latest album, Alone With The Sound The Mind Makes, are absurdly impressive. She has a rich history in music: she sand in a church choir in her youth, did theatre and started her first band in high school. Her voice is her strongest instrument and I'm excited to hear it in Austin.