This weekend, SXSW convenes once more for a marathon of the newest developments in the worlds of music, TV, film, and tech. Packed with conferences and showcases, SXSW will be taking over Austin, Texas, between March 10-19 as audiences from all over the globe pour into the city in search of adventure and the next big name in their respective fields of interest.
One of the keynote speakers, former Vice President Joe Biden, is expected to introduce his upcoming cancer research foundation – while likely squeezing in a few Trump jabs. The festival has also come under fire for the controversial language in its performance agreements. Many artists promised to cancel their appearances at the festival in protest of the aggressive language included in its international artist contracts and invitation letters, putting organizers in the uncomfortable position of balancing a global platform with increasingly tense immigration policies rolled out by the Trump administration.
Despite the ramped up festival politicking, some of our longtime faves like iLe, La Vida Boheme, The Guadaloops, and Silverio will be hitting the SX stage at shows that are sure to leave everyone talking. But we’re here to point you in the direction of well-kept secrets deserving all your applause and support. We’re talking about underground Texas hip-hop, Brazilian psych and soul, and avant-garde club music. So as Austin braces itself for the forthcoming flood of artists, scouting agents, fans, and anyone else riding the wave of international hype, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy our list of under-the-radar artists you should definitely catch this year.
Stream our playlist guide to these acts and more via Apple Music:
SXSW hits Austin on March 10 to 19. Be sure to RSVP for Remezcla’s Shattering Stereotypes showcase on Thursday, March 16.
This Colombian duo is riding high off the rave reviews surrounding their debut album Cada Célula, released in mid-2015. Describing their music as cosmic pop, Sagán combines organic sounds with glitchy micro-beats, resulting in a complex yet intimate listening experience. The band has been on the up and up for quite some time, playing major festivals like Mutek and recording a live set at prestigious Seattle-based public radio station KEXP. 2017 will not only see them kill it at SXSW, but also hit the stage on home turf at Festival Estéreo Picnic in Bogotá. All this, plus the forthcoming release for their most recent single “Calígula” make Sagán a must-see in Austin.
Sagán plays The Townsend on March 17 and the Palm Door on Sixth on March 18.
Liniker e os Caramelows
After bursting onto the scene in late 2015 with her viral live performance of “Zero,” Brazilian singer Liniker Barros and her band Os Caramelows became a soulful beacon of trans visibility in the Latinx music universe. Her beautiful, melancholy voice, paired with the smooth brass and strings of her band, will transport you to posh Brazilian lounges, all while evoking the pains of living in a transphobic world and the joys of the acceptance Liniker has found in the public eye. As the band begins to tour in support of their debut album Remonta, catching Liniker e os Caramelows at SXSW is your chance to see an act on the verge of success. Liniker’s recent performance and moving plea for trans safety on live Brazilian TV has once again set her on the viral path, this time driven by the importance of her message instead of her otherness.
Liniker e os Caramelows plays The Russian House on March 16, The Palm Door on Sixth on March 17, and the Flamingo Cantina on March 18.
This Argentine trio will light up SXSW with the infectious energy of their fuzzy garage rock and post-punk. Las Kellies became a mainstay in the Buenos Aires indie scene before that success led them to tour Europe and record songs in Spanish, English, German, French, and even Japanese. Their third album, simply titled Kellies, was mixed by Dennis Bovell and netted the band considerable international attention by publications like BUZZ and NME. Their latest album Friends and Lovers, released in late 2016, took the band back to basics, rocking harder and more tightly than ever. The trio, who came together by a chance meeting at a local Buenos Aires gig back in 2005, is ready to storm Austin leaving ringing ears and plenty of smiles in their wake.
Las Kellies play the Half Step on March 15 and the Tap Room on March 16.
Photo by Karla Xeno
Marco Gomez, an NYC-based DJ, producer, and artist, has quietly established himself as a mainstay in New York’s underground club scene. As part of the KUNQ collective and a resident at GHE20G0TH1K, False Witness has reached far beyond the realm of club music, incorporating video sculpture and sound installations into sets that revolve around the urban experience. Themes of trauma and heightened consciousness are embedded in his work, to which he adds an astute queer perspective. His work has also started to reach the art cognoscenti, with invitations to play at MoMA PS1 and the Venice Biennale. Now, as he prepares to hit SXSW, we can only recommend you hydrate and wear comfortable shoes for a night that is sure to be weird and lit to high heaven.
False Witness plays Barcelona on March 16.
Created in 2013 by Arturo Luna, De Osos teeters between post-rock and noise, inviting the listener to get lost in his clanging, oddly symmetrical compositions. His Instrucciones Para Dejar Ir EP received glowing reviews, earning an IMAS award in his native Mexico. Now with the release of his first full-length LP, Todo El Ruido Entre Nosotros, De Osos has quietly grown to fill his well-deserved place at the vanguard of Mexico City’s electronic music scene. To achieve the meandering bombast of his experimental post-rock, De Osos usually performs with a four-piece band. It’s unclear to what extent Luna will be able to recreate his homegrown sonic chaos at SXSW, but whatever he brings to Austin promises to be immersive and disorienting in the best possible way.
De Osos plays Friends on March 15 and The Hideout on March 16.
With its vivid colors, otherworldly natural reserves, and vibrant cultural history, wandering around Brazil often feels like being on an extended head-trip. Boogarins have been able to musically synthesize this feeling through fuzzy compositions that capture their homeland’s organic energy and mix with the chaos of Brazilian urban life. Formed in the central city of Goiânia, Boogarins rapidly established themselves as psychedelic powerhouses. The 2013 release of their debut As Plantas Que Curam cemented them in Brazil and soon spilled out into the world, leading the band to tour through the Americas and Europe. Boogarins are no strangers to Austin, but this is your chance to see them in their full psych glory, as they will certainly play some of the festival’s trippiest sets.
Boogarins play the Sidewinder Outside on March 15, the Townsend on March 17, and Hotel Vegas Annex on March 18.
Planeta No is a new face in Chilean indie pop, and will be a highlight of this year’s SX festivities. Bursting onto Chile’s now fabled indie scene in 2014 with their excellent Matucana EP, the band followed up their early success the next year with their full-length debut ODIO. Planeta No have played stages all over Chile and abroad, riding their delicious mix of synth pop and punk flair to perform at the 2016 editions of Lollapalooza Chile, Festival Yavería in Bogotá, and Primavera Sound in Barcelona. As the band prepares the release of their video for latest single “Maricón Zara,” their current spring tour will focus on dispatching ODIO as they begin work on their next album.
Planeta No plays Friends on March 14 and The Townsend on March 17.
Peru’s leader of mutant cumbia is coming to Austin to set dancefloors ablaze. Deltatron’s Terror Negro Records is behind some of the most promising dance music coming out of Lima, releasing mixtapes for contemporaries like Quechuaboi, King Cholo Sound, and Loko Bonó. But it’s his own work in global bass and digital cumbia that has put Lima on the map as a hotbed for some of the most raucous turn-ups on the continent, with Terror Negro Fest parties attracting DJs and fans from neighboring cities and countries. Production credits on Tomasa del Real and Jamez Manuel tracks, and tours that have taken him through Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico and the U.S., have Deltatron poised to make a splash at SXSW.
Deltatron plays Trinity Hall at Old School on March 15.
At 22 years old, Doeman has lived multiple lives. He’s been a boxer, a gritty underground rapper, and is now running his own indie label Dyna Music Group LLC. With two solid projects under his belt, 2014’s The Gold Blooded LP and 2016’s OBE, Doeman cites classic 90s hip-hop as his main influence, with a passion for sharp-tongued, cocky storytelling. You’ll likely find him running through lit club nights and DL cyphers, so make sure to keep an ear out for this Texas MC at SXSW.
Doeman plays 512 Rooftop on March 14 and Clive Bar on March 18.