Ultimate Roundup: SxSw 2016


Our team spent most of last week in Austin, Texas for the 30th annual South by Southwest music festival. We caught over THIRTY sets from artists all over the world representing just about every genre that you can imagine. When it came to emerging and developing acts Austin was, as always, the place to be.

Canadian alt-country group The Stumbellas are making a big impact on Alternative radio with their single, Spirits. They played a raft of gigs in just a few days and didn’t disappoint when we caught them on Wednesday night. Great musicianship and poignant sing-along lyrics were the name of the game. If you have the opportunity to check them out live, do yourself a favor and go!

Torn dresses, smeared makeup, combat boots, and a healthy dose of punk-rock cynicism means that you are watching New York’s PWR BTTM. This duo really got our attention recently with their single Ugly Cherries. Their Friday afternoon set at The Yard was everything we hoped it would be and more…they win the award for best stage banter of the festival.

We got a special treat on our first night when we caught Coast Modern play their very first live show…not just of SxSw, but ever! They really generated some good vibes, kind of like if Vampire Weekend was from Malibu. They have a record deal and two great tour support slots in place and with cuts like Hollow Life they are very likely to become an Alternative radio staple this summer.

Last year Jidenna hit our Emerging Artists chart before his single, Classic Man (ft. Roman Gianarthur) blew up and that was that: between his terrific songs and ultra-tight style a star was born. He and his band put on a set at Vevo House that had the crowd jumping.

John Moreland has been writing incredibly personal, introspective songs like Cherokee for years. His afternoon set on the well-attended Porch at Spotify House was a nice mellow stop in such a hectic day. With his live television debut on The Late Show in early February, an upcoming tour with Lucero, and a slate of summer festival appearances, John will be pulling heartstrings everywhere.

There were two acts at Showtime’s Roadies event we couldn’t miss. The first was bi-coastal dance-pop duo POWERS. Mike Del Rio and Crista Ru showed the crowd what they were about, with many attendees signing along and shakin’ it to infectious jams like Beat of My Drum and Legendary.

The second act at the Showtime event we were excited to check out was New Zealand’s Marlon Williams. His alt-country, folk, bluegrass sound was well-paired with an ice-cold Lone Star beer on the outdoor patio. Leading off with Hello Miss Lonesome, he and his band, Yarra Benders, really let loose. His self-titled album is out now along with the second single, Dark Child, with a video that would make David Lynch proud.

Baltimore rapper Tate Kobang made a name for himself with his re-working of a local classic with Bank Rolls (Remix). Now signed with 300 Entertainment, home of Fetty Wap and Migos just to name two, America will surely be nodding their heads along with his in-your-face flows before they even know what hit them.

On Saturday night, just when we thought we couldn’t walk another step, we made it to Swan Dive for Los Angeles-based Country singer Sam Outlaw. He and his terrific band won the crowd over with ease playing tracks like Ghost Town from his Ry Cooder-produced debut album, Angeleno, and folks were 2-stepping their hearts out to jams such as Keep It Interesting; it was such an apropos way to close our our time in Texas.

We can’t wait to see where all these artists go in 2016 and beyond!


Want MORE?  Check out all of our charts, including Emerging Artists, Top Tours, EDM, Latin, and Country at http://www.ultimatechart.com