From Aldous Harding to Middle Kids: 17 artists we’re watching at SXSW 2017

It’s SXSW time again and as Austin gears up for the influx of thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world ready to call the Texan city home until March 19th, we’ve got our sights firmly planted on the global music program that has once again, pulled together hundreds of artists primed for invaluable industry exposure.

Thanks to bodies like SOUNDS AUSTRALIA and the SXSW Music crew in general, artists are able to perform multiple shows and generate momentum otherwise unfathomable within their home territory. A unique vibe, does SXSW harness, and we can’t wait to get amongst it.

Through 2016 and into this year, the musicians who have caught our ear and have stood out as ones to watch on ground have come are diverse in background, musical direction and stage show. Some are making their return to SXSW (GGOOLLDD, Bibi Bourelly), while others are gearing up for their debut (Middle Kids, Alex Lahey).

The Australian contingent is particularly strong this year, with frontrunner names including Lahey, Middle Kids, Gabriella Cohen and Alex Cameron. Already beloved names on home turf, you need only look to recent successes enjoyed by Aussie SXSW alumni The Griswolds, Julia Jacklin and Hockey Dad, to get an insight into what a good run in Austin can mean for a local’s career.

Looking at the internationals, be sure to keep your eyes trained on the trajectories of artists including Death Valley Girls, the LA four piece leading a blazing trail of rock that can’t be defied; buzzing British pop provocateur Billie Eilish and of course, the return of one of our favourite English indie pop queens, Kate Nash.

New Zealand’s Aldous Harding has always been a consummate and captivating live performer – her February 2017 release “Horizon” has brought forth one of our favourite songs of the year, already – and knowing she’s been away in the studio working on new music to follow on from her 2014 self-titled, we’re incredibly keen to see how she goes out in Austin.

In Portland’s Aminé and Berlin-born Bibi Bourelly the current wave of effortless R&B and hip hop is represented brilliantly – carrying young artists very much into the future, these are two examples of the sorts of artists whose profiles stand to catapult off the lucrative SXSW platform.

Big Thief, who’ve recently enjoyed reception from Australian audiences, are another artist on our SXSW radar – the New Yorkers have been consistently through 2016 off the back of their debut album Masterpiece, looking set to capitalise further on its buzz and success. With their third album (I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone) due out later this year, Washington’s Chastity Belt are operating in a similar space to Death Valley Girls above, injecting a furious dose of rock into a SXSW realm eager to be schooled on a thing or two.

We’ve popped our must-sees into a neat little playlist for you to crank and potentially jumpstart a little journey of musical discovery all your own. Bring on the Dos Equis and the Shiner Bock next week in Austin for sure, but we’re braced for some excellent sounds from artists undoubtedly set to be on radars everywhere soon.



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