The only way to approach SXSW is with a carefully calculated plan. Sure, that plan will likely be thrown out the window within a few minutes, but at least you have some sort of idea of what you’re doing.
With SXSW 2014 only a week away, we put together a list of 10 acts you have to see. As you wander Sixth Street ducking into venues that have the shortest line or free booze, keep it in the back of your mind to catch St. Vincent, Childish Gambino, Angel Olsen and more.
10) Schoolboy Q
With his major label debut, “Oxymoron,” topping the Billboard 200 in its first week, Schoolboy Q will be the hip-hop act to watch at SXSW 2014. Like Kendrick Lamar was last year, Schoolboy will be all over Austin this year, performing at a number of high-profile showcases, including the iTunes Festival.
9) Broken Bells
The power-duo James Mercer and DangerMouse haven’t been officially confirmed for South by Southwest, but their tour schedule suggests they may be in the area for a performance in Austin, according to a Consequence of Sound article. Their new album “After the Disco” is catchy and musically stimulating. Their last tour saw many of their dates sold out and tickets became a rare and pricey commodity. And with a relatively limited tour schedule this year, this is a highly anticipated performance that shouldn’t be overlooked.
8) Childish Gambino
Donald Glover seems like a pretty genuine and down-to-earth dude, despite him being a very popular rapper, comedian and actor. He’s been a writer for “30 Rock,” a hilarious contribution on “Community” and made sonic waves with tracks like “Freaks and Geeks.” With such a varied set of skills, all of them based around entertaining people, and with such a humble persona, you know it’s going to be a good show for everyone.
It’d be hard not to be mesmerized by the tranquility of singer Sarah Barthel’s vocals and the trippy cycling of bouncy keyboards and guitar riffs. It’s crazy to think about the multitude of layers in their music, consider there are only two people in Phantogram. It’s a good balance of electronic looping and sampling with minimalist rock.
6) Speedy Ortiz
The ’90s are alive and well in Speedy Ortiz, the female-fronted, grunge act out of Northampton, Mass. Having stunned crowds at CMJ with a powerful live show, Speedy Ortiz has been building the right amount of buzz heading into SXSW. The band will be playing a number of showcases next week, including the Pitchfork party.