Every March, thousands of aspiring bands flock to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest Music, a week-long event functioning as part conference, part music festival, and an all-around great opportunity to sample some of the world’s best acts. The sheer number of options blanketing the Texas capital during the festival can be overwhelming, but it remains one of the premier places to discover new and emerging bands.
That’s the view from a music fan’s perspective, mind you. For a musician, the degree to which South by Southwest performances might help a band’s career is understandably debatable (read KQED Arts’ report from last year on that very subject here). For the bands compelled to play as many times as possible in seemingly every parking lot, bar, and warehouse around, it’s obvious that the SXSW experience can take a serious toll. By the end of the week, one commonly hears bands onstage expressing how thankful they are to be performing their last South by Southwest shows.
Still, our annual trip to Austin uncovered a bevy of great up-and-coming artists worth checking out. As in past years, SXSW 2016 featured strong representation from Bay Area acts, and many of the Bay-based musicians who performed on Austin stages earlier this month rank among our most promising local talents.
In this mixtape, we discuss and play music from 15 bands and artists who performed during South by Southwest this year, sampling touring bands that delivered strong first impressions during the week as well as a number of emerging local artists who represented the Bay during the fest.
Lucy Dacus – “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore”
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Nobody Dies”
Methyl Ethel – “Idée Fixe”
The Spook School – “Burn Masculinity”
Culture Abuse – “Turn It Off”
Guerilla Toss – “Diamond Girls”
Mueran Humanos – “Miseress”
Japanese Breakfast – “In Heaven”
Kamaiyah – “How Does It Feel”
Everything Everything – “No Reptiles”
Diet Cig – “Sleep Talk”
Day Wave – “Gone”
Gold Class – “Life as a Gun”
Ice Cream – “Seventeen”