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Top 20 SXSW buzzbands

Forget Gaga and 'Ye – rising talents like Sophie, Tinashe, Isaiah Rashad and Perfect Pussy are the real draw

TextBriana ChengIllustrationBeth Hiley

In the music industry’s favorite playground of Austin TX, the annual South by Southwest Music Conference starts today and runs to March 16. This year, major headliners include Jay Z, Kanye West, Lady GagaA$AP Rocky and, er, Coldplay – but we've put together a guide to the essential emerging acts that will be tomorrow's blog news. Get yourself a copy of this list, pack up your scandalous Spring clothes, charge your seven Mophies, and refill your Adderall prescription because these are the only essentials if you're heading down this week.


Fool’s Gold recently released the IVRY EP from hip hop’s best straight haired rapper 100s. He is playing over a handful of parties so make sure you don’t miss one of his appearances and watch the wind blow through his sleek locks as he sings the smooth “Ten Freaky Hoes”.

Thursday March 13, 8:30pm-9:00pm, Mohawk Outdoor; Friday, March 14, 12:30AM-1:00AM, Empire Garage

BC Kingdom

90s-raised LA boys making forward-R&B, BC Kingdom, are making their way down to Austin. Following an appearence on Solange's Saint Heron compilation, last month they put out “DWN4U” with brilliant samples of Aaliyah which instantly makes us down for them. Follow their twitter if you want to catch them at random unofficial performances.

Friday March 14, 10:30pm-11:00pm, Cheer Up Charlie’s

Danny Seth

Danny Seth is quickly making a trap-leaning solo rap career from being a member in London’s Last Night In Paris collective. As soon as his mouth opens, you can get a glimpse of his gold grillz and nothing but sterling rhythm and flow.

Wednesday March 12, 1:15am-1:45am, Psalm Door on Sixth


Straight from Chicago, Dreezy is one of the youngest and baddest female rappers from that scene with King Louie, Tink, and Katie Got Bandz. Her last mixtape Schizo features a survey of her multiple personalities, showcasing her fierce lyrics and talents in every angle from pop to Drill.

Saturday March 15, 11:00pm-11:30pm, Trinity Hall @Old School

Future Brown

Future Brown is a movement. A collision of underground dance producers Fatima Al Qadiri, Nguzunguzu, and J-Cush, the supergroup have not played in the U.S. since their last summer session at MOMA PS.1. Catch them at the Lucky x Warp showcase when they drop new songs from the anticipated album in the works.

Wednesday March 12, 12:00am-1:00am, Empire Garage

Future Islands

Baltimore rockers Future Islands are reaching their prime since 4AD picked them up. The guys just played a mind-blowing show on Letterman, and now you can witness their poignant sets live in Austin and maybe even pick up a few dance moves from frontman Samuel T. Herring.

Wednesday March 12, 12:00am-12:40am Haven, Thursday March 13, 1:00am-1:40am, Cheer Up Charlie’s

Isaiah Rashad

Top Dawg Entertainment’s rising star Isaiah Rashad, released a mixtape earlier this year titled Cilvia Demo. It is everything he described the tape to Complex to be – “some alternative, black-power shit” and “some eclectic-alien shit”, yet with a peaceful, effortless delivery.

Wednesday March 12, 8:00pm-8:30pm, ACL Live at the Moody Theater; Thursday March 13, 10:15pm-10:45pm, Lustre Pearl; Friday March 14, 10:05pm-10:25pm, Parrish; Saturday March 15, 12:00am-12:30am, Red 7 Patio


Bay Area rap legend E-40 has a son and his son raps about drinking tea underneath a mask called Issue. On February 24, Issue released Liquid Wisdom, a 14 track mixtape including collabs with Supreme Cuts, Haleek Maul, Lil Ocean and Jonathan Lowell. Issue is playing Southern Hospitality's showcase on a rooftop and we’d love to drink tea with him there.

Thursday March 13, 8:45pm, Avenue on Congress Rooftop


From the warm temperatures of Mississippi is "dream rap" hip hop artist, Pell. Not so much information's available about him, but Pell’s Soundcloud is an impressive exploration of singing and rapping, with sweet and subtle production. Make sure you see him at SX and watch him develop this year.

Thursday March 13 4:55pm-5:10pm, Haven Lounge

Perfect Pussy

Captured Tracks’ uncompromising new punk babies Perfect Pussy come from Upstate New York. They just finished their record that’s scheduled for March 17, and are currently touring their fireband sound all over. When Perfect Pussy make their way to Austin, find yourself sweating in the mosh pit with all the cute hardcore boys and girls.

Wednesday March 12 7:50pm-8:20pm, Stubb’s; Friday March 14, 11:20pm-11:50pm, Red 7 Patio


“OG Bobby Johnson” is a banger that guarantees instant trap arms as soon as the intro is played at any club, and we have rising Atlanta rapper Que to thank. Word on the street is this Atlantic signee will be turning up the entire state of Texas.

Wednesday March 1 10:05pm-10:20pm, Scoot Inn; Thursday 13 March, 1:20am-1:35am, Suite 101; Friday March 14, 10:45pm-10:55pm, The North Door


Travelling from Austin’s neighboring city Houston, grime producer Rabit will only be playing a couple of sets this year. Count on steamy edits of classic hip hop songs to other filthy unreleased tracks from his label, Glacial Sounds.

Thursday March 13, 7:30pm-8:00pm, Elysium; Friday March 14 1:00am-2:00am, Silhouette


UK pop artist Sophie made a song that Buzzfeed said “made everyone’s life better in 2013”, which is a pretty fair sum of the loopy, addictive track. The chorus in “BIPP” is “I can make you feel better if you let me” so take a break from the festival heat, alcohol, drugs and find yourself at the playful electronic beats of Sophie’s live set.

Wednesday March 12, 8:45pm-9:30pm, Empire Garage; Thursday March 13 11:00pm-11:35pm, Hype Hotel; Saturday March 15, 12:00am-12:35, Hype Hotel

The Orwells

Chicago rock act The Orwells just premiered an official music video for their new single “The Righteous One”. Check out the visuals or catch them in Austin “sounding real raunchy and shit” (direct quote from the band’s Facebook).

Wednesday 13 1:00am-1:40am, Cheer Up Charlie's; Friday March 15, 11:30pm-12:00am, Hotel Vegas Patio


Everyone’s favorite sensitive new R&B star Tinashe will be blessing all the hip hop showcases. Having worked with Travi$ Scott, Jacques Greene, and Ryan Hemsworth on her last mixtape, the audience will be graced with her drop-n-lock dace moves and super-seductive vocal flutters.

Thursday March 13, 10:00pm-10:30pm, Hype Hotel

Tommy Kruise

Montreal-based experimental synth producer Tommy Kruise he is travelling to SXSW with an EP on the way. If you miss one of his many shows, at least make sure to say hi to him as you linger the streets of Austin – you'll know him from the long straight hair, various snapbacks and a skateboard in his arm.

Thursday March 13, 8:00pm- 8:30pm, Mohawk Outdoor; Thursday March 13, 12:00am-12:40am, Maggie Mae's Rooftop

Trippy Turtle

Last year, Trippy Turtle brought Ashanti x Lloyd back to dance clubs around the world with his twist on their classic slowjam "Southside". Whether it was Cashmere Cat dropping it at the turned down moments of his live set or DJs incorporating his Jersey club edit in their mixes, it brought nostalgic smiles to everyone’s faces when it played. Catch Trippy Turtle’s B2B set with Cashmere Cat on Thursday.

Thursday March 13, 12:30am-1:15am, Empire Control Room


Brooklyn indie pop trio Wet is signed to Neon Gold and every song on their last EP is a feel-good tearjerker. From every vulnerable lyric to the soft heartwarming production, we just want to be cuddled and held as the little spoon by this band.

Saturday March 15, 9:30pm-10:05pm, Empire Garage

Young & Sick

Young & Sick is finally releasing a self-titled LP via Harvest Records on April 8. The first single “Glass” debuts Young & Sick’s mature pop sounds sprinkled with a bit of soul and a little bit of funk. If the rest of the album is like “Glass”, prepare to get your groove on for his sets.

Tuesday March 11, 8:00pm-8:25pm, Haven; Friday March 14, 6:00pm-6:40pm, Butler Park Stage Lady Bird Lake

You can follow Briana Cheng at SXSW @banacrisp