Photo: Aleksandar Kamasi/Shutterstock

10 Acts to Get in on Before SXSW Blows Up Their Scene

by Courtney Ridgway Mar 17, 2016


Mark my words, this one will be the IT act of SXSW. Gallant is the hottest rising alternative R&B singer and he’s going to give you full-body shivers. This NYU grad hails from the DC-area and is already selling out shows filled with fans including everybody from Sufjan Stevens to Skrillex.

Spirit Animal

This four-piece, Brooklyn-based rock band will surprise you. The guys play hard and heavy party rock on stage, but the vocals and lyrics have a true pop sensibility that will leave you humming the choruses for days.

Grace Mitchell

This Portlandian megababe of a redhead songstress is already stuck in your head because you likely already know at least one of her jams. If not, get on the train now. She’s got the perfect mix of electronica, pop and hip-hop to make all your workout playlists complete. Did I mention she plays keyboard, drum pads, guitar AND writes her own lyrics? She’s the real deal – and only 18!


Okay, simply put, these guys are like the Australian millennial response to Oasis. Fresh out of a time machine from the streets of Manchester in the 90’s (bucket hats, tracksuits and all), The DMAs still manage to steal my heart because their songs are undeniably good and they feel like the throwback I’ve been missing.


At 19, I was writing my ex-boyfriend desperate text messages and flirting with douchebags. At 19, Lapsley is singing introspective, complex pop tracks that feel like classics. This leads me to believe that she’s got a bit of that Adele in her, but has the glittery mysterious sex appeal that surrounds Lana del Rey.

Jack Garratt

Imagine James Blake and Sam Smith had a musical baby – here you have it: Jack Garratt. He’s a British singer-songwriter who has mastered guitar, drums, piano, harmonica, mandolin, trombone and ukulele. No big deal, right? He uses that sexy looping technique that makes his one-man show feel massively haunting.

Deap Valley

These badass women are reminiscent of the harder end of the White Stripes mixed with Band of Skulls. They’ve got a punk rock attitude, but have a real musicality that brings them much more rock and roll depth.


The Sydney-based Tigertown just wrapped a tour supporting St Lucia and you can put them in similar category of upbeat, tropical pop music. Their tracks will make you smile at the stranger across the room because you just can’t help yourself. The band is a family-friendly formation of a husband-wife duo lead, backed by the husband’s brother and sister so there’s an extra 5 points for family values.

The Wild Feathers

Get ready to cry over the ex you didn’t realize you missed until you heard the sad, longing plucking of The Wild Feathers’ Nashville folk. They’ll break your heart with tracks that feel like a modern country version of The Eagles and Tom Petty.

Methyl Ethel

You’re inevitably going to get sick of hearing too-trendy pop acts who can’t hold their own on stage.. or your ears will be ringing and screaming post-shitty garage band or too-loud, too-crowded session after session. Introducing Methyl Ethel who feel like a jazz musician got sick of it and turned to smoking a lot of weed and driving in the rain down the coast of Australia. I don’t know how else to put it. Just see them.

Sofi Tukker

I can’t quite explain Sofi Tukker’s sound. They’re vibe-y, electro music that feels like it’d well accompany a jungle dance party on a beach in a secret island off Ibiza.

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