8 standout SXSW artists to add to your playlist

SXSW 2019: 8 standout artists to know

Check out the fresh showcasing artists from the recent Texas music festival.
Published: March 19, 2019
The Ratboys at SXSW music festival 2019.
Up close with the Ratboys, an indie rock band from Chicago, Illinois as they play a showcase at this year's SXSW music festival.

Some people think Coachella is the music world’s version of the Royal Wedding each year – and it might be, for celebrity sightings and Beyoncé concerts. But any true music head knows that the greatest event for finding new and weird artists is SXSW.

Every March, the city of Austin, Texas, hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors for South By Southwest. The festival-slash-conference focuses on technology, film, media, design, art, wellness, and of course, music. It started as a music festival in 1987 and has expanded exponentially since its original bill.

Big cultural moments happen at SXSW. Three years ago, Barack and Michelle Obama spoke. This year, Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke announced his 2020 Presidential bid after much speculation, and New York City Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a keynote that got a lot of buzz.

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With swanky hotels and trendy eateries pretty much everywhere, SXSW has fostered massive growth in Austin. Some SXSW attendees fall in love with the city and decide to move there after attending. Plenty of locals don’t like that their city becomes overrun with stiff CEOs and grubby musicians who swarm their favorite coffee shops. In essence, Austin today is experiencing the type of growth San Francisco experienced some years earlier.

SXSW has become far beyond just a music festival, but the music portion of the event remains a crucial opportunity for up-and-coming artists to gain exposure. Check out the eight artists below from SXSW’s official 2019 lineup to watch out for in the year ahead.

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Indie Rock: Ratboys 

Julia Steiner and Dave Sagan make medium-rare headbangers about going home, toxic friends, thinking positive and cats. They’ve been to SXSW three years in a row and put on an awesome live show.

Surf Rock: Baseball Gregg

It’s weird to hear a bunch of Italian dudes make beachy tunes that sound like they should be coming from SoCal, but it absolutely works.

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After their song “Trampoline” was featured in Apple’s latest MacBook Air commercial, SHAED’s atmospheric but energetic pop gained international attention.

R&B: Cautious Clay

Cautious Clay’s dreamy instrumentals and buttery voice can appeal to fans of many genres.

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Rap: Hans.

His most popular song, “Froyo,” has dreamy, mellow synth and features former Syracuse University student Clairo. Enough said.

Garage Rock: The Beths

These New Zealand rockers have received a lot of attention from Rolling Stone, with their album Future Me Hates Me listed among their Best Albums of 2018.


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Hip-Hop: Yung Lean

Yung Lean is one of the first Swedish artists to gain wide appeal internationally.

Country-esque: Brewster

While Brewster’s deep acoustic guitar is augmented by a very Texas-sounding slide guitar, his sound is familiar and friendly enough to not feel too country.

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Honorable mentions: Also worth checking out, in no particular order: Banes World, WAAX, Sad Cops, Hovvdy, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Thyla, LAUREL, Sorry Girls, Slow Pulp