8 Acts to See at SXSW: Courtney Barnett, Torres, Hinds and More

Courtney Barnett, left, and Torres. (Barnett photo by Mia Mala McDonald)

Courtney Barnett, left, and Torres. (Barnett photo by Mia Mala McDonald)

After heading to Austin for SXSW each of the past 13 years, I’m not going to make it to this year’s festival, happening March 17-22. But here are some of the acts I’d want to see if I were going:

Courtney Barnett — This Australian rocker is definitely one of this year’s buzzed-about acts, a status confirmed by her presence on the always self-congratulatory NPR showcase. But she’s earned it: her forthcoming album “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit” is a study in smart, funny wordplay and raucous guitars.

 

Leon Bridges — The Fort Worth, Tex., singer has a knack for breezy Sam Cooke-style pop-soul that’s perfect for the always-needed respite when SXSW gets too hectic.

 

Broncho — They’ve been around for a few years, but the Oklahoma rockers showed no signs of easing off the throttle, or letting up on the chaotic hooks, on last year’s “Just Enough Hip to Be a Woman,” their second album.

 

Hinds — Part of the Sounds of Spain showcase, this Madrid foursome (formerly known as Deers) makes sunny, shambling lo-fi pop songs in a mix of Spanish and English. SXSW comes as part of their first-ever U.S. tour.

 

Michael Rault —There are psych-rock underpinnings in this Toronto-via-Edmonton singer’s music, but Rault never gets lost in the fuzz on songs with sharp hooks and a sly, experimental sensibility.

 

Fred Thomas — A classic high-verbal wiseass with eclectic, far-reaching musical taste, Thomas has been making music for 15 years, often at the front of Michigan band Saturday Looks Good to Me. His upcoming solo release “All Are Saved” seems likely to raise his profile, and deservedly so.

 

Torres — “Sprinter,” the upcoming second album from Mackenzie Scott, is a powerful collection of kick-ass songs, and while there probably won’t be any shortage of chances to see her this year, why wait?

 

Soak — Birdie Monds-Watson — Soak — is just 18, but the British singer is light years beyond the usual teenage angst on songs that are thoughtful, tuneful and engrossing. Her debut LP, “Before We Forgot How to Dream,” is due June 2 on Rough Trade.

  1 comment for “8 Acts to See at SXSW: Courtney Barnett, Torres, Hinds and More

  1. Jason Menkes
    March 12, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks Eric!

    A poor replacement for having your there, but I’ll take what I can get!

    J

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