We’ve already had a look at the Best British acts to take in at this year’s completely online SXSW, so we thought we’d move onto the rest of the world. Below are 10 music acts from around the globe we feel deserve your full attention. If you’re attending the legendary festival, make sure these artists are part of your schedule!
Indigo Sparke (Australia)
Indigo Sparke’s delicate balance of soundscapes, stripped-back melodies, and beautiful vocal performances are a joy to listen to. With new album Echo showcasing the artist’s talent and dexterity, she really has the world at her feet. It’s her second year taking part in SXSW, albeit this time in a virtual space, and she’s also performed at a legendary NPR Tiny Desk Concert. A true star that has come into her own.
A Place To Bury Strangers (US – New York)
Big, bold, brash, and loud, A Place To Bury Strangers hit like a freight train and never ebb away. Formed by frontman Oliver Ackerman, the band are a hard-touring, hard-hitting five-piece with a destructive and atmospheric sound that blends rock, punk, and psychedelia into an addictively chaotic energy. Famed for their live shows, their appearance at SXSW will be a performance that’s bound to have a few surprises. One to catch for sure.
Alexander Biggs (Australia)
Melbourne’s Alexander Biggs mixes a sweet and steady folky sound with imagery-laden lyrics and a penchant for finding rhythms that others would miss. With more than a hint of contemporary-folk legend Conor Oberst about him, his music will find a place in your mind and never leave. He’s recently released debut album Hit or Miss which is definitely worth a listen to prepare yourself for his SXSW performance if you’re thinking about taking it in.
Berlin-based Jealous are a three-piece masterclass in how to make a mesmerising and addictive atmosphere. Mixing Glam-rock, post-punk, garage, and country, their sound is raw and inviting with vocals full of beautiful energy. Before covid hit, they were touring with the likes of The Sniffers and Viagra Boys, and definitely one to watch out for in the future. There’s just something about them and the way they manipulate sounds, one minute fast and brutal, the next relaxed and atmospheric. Mesmerising stuff.
Otoboke Beaver (Japan)
Who wouldn’t like crazy, punk-rock garage from Kyoto? These five girls really know how to rock and bring their unique and twisted sound to SXSW in, which will presumably be, an enigmatic and frantic performance. Loud and fuzzy guitars, fast-paced drum beats, and raucous vocals, you don’t need to know what they’re saying to understand the power and brashness of their music. Grab a beer and enjoy.
Chief Cleopatra (US – Austin, Texas)
Austin, Texas’s own Chief Cleopatra is a delight to listen to. Mixing rock and soul against beguiling vocals and clever lyrics, the artist knows how to build up a track before mercilessly deconstructing it back down and focussing in on the overall sound. She’s just one of those songwriters that’s able to keep you hooked from the off and refuses to let the music drift away into nothing.
The Chairs (Taiwan)
An interesting one, this. Formed by YunJing, ZhongYing, and Benson, The Chairs have been nominated for a plethora of rewards for their beautifully realised, subtle yet soulful music. Mixing folk with soul, indie, and pop, their sound defies just one genre, instead falling between many. There’s a bit of Beatles in there, a hint of Flaming Lips and a dash of their own individuality which brings it all together nicely. Give them a listen; you won’t be disappointed.
Francisca Valenzuela (Chile)
Chiliean pop megastar Francisca Valenzuela is making an appearance at this year’s SXSW, bringing her distinctly catchy sound to a wider audience. She’s a bit of a stalwart in the industry, having manipulated and enhanced her sound over the years as pop music tends to do, but also able to strip things back when necessary and use her powerful vocals to wrap around more acoustic, Chilean sounds. A tantalising listen.
Our second Taiwanese band to watch out for at this year’s festival, Nekojam are a four-piece pop group delivering pumping melodies, deep beats, and stylised vocals. Using a mix of Taiwanese and English lyrics throughout their music, their sound is an everchanging barrage of ideas with sweet yet perfectly placed vocals holding everything together. The pop sound drifts into a dance-laden atmosphere often which just shows off the adaptability of their sound.
Nadia Reid – New Zealand
Ending our list with New Zealand’s Nadia Reid is a strong place to finish. Her folk-inflected sound breathes vivid life into the lyrics and you can’t help but get lost in her docile tones and settled yet powerful flows. With a hint of Laura Marling in there, Nadia is a delight to listen to as the guitar leaps around to highlight the strong imagery portrayed throughout her music.
Keep an eye out on Vinyl Chapters for more of our SWSW 2021 Coverage before, during, and after the event. SWXW 2021 runs from 16th March to 21st March.