Believe it or not, it’s already that time of the year again – time to learn the multitude of bands that will be headed out to Central Texas for SXSW Music Festival 2018. This year’s first round of showcasing artists has a few recognizable names sprinkled among dozens of unknown artists just itching to be discovered. The festival will, as always, take place in and around Downtown Austin, TX and this year the music portion of the festival will run from Monday, March 12 to Sunday, March 18, 2018.
The most well-known and established of the groups included in this first run lineup is The Wedding Present. Hailing from Leeds, UK, this band has been delivering peppy indie pop of a distinctly British strain, with their debut LP George Best considered a landmark release in the genre. The band is still very much active, having released a new LP in 2016, titled Going, Going… Next most recognizable is Shamir, a rising star in the alternative pop world. His funky debut EP Northtown was met with positive reception from critics and at the age of 22, he is already signed to XL Recordings.
Also notable is German rapper Ace Tee, local Austin crew Night Beats, English singer-songwriter Lucy Rose, youthful Philadelphia indie rockers Snail Mail and Australian songwriter Marlon Williams. Cut Worms may not be an extremely recognizable artist in this lineup, but with the release of their strong EP Alien Sunset coming this month, expect big things from this Brooklyn group. Also worth noting on the initial lineup for SXSW 2018 is post-punk band Shopping, who had an active 2015 with two full length releases but have not had any albums since. Canada’s The Weather Station is another name to watch out for, with an album being released later this month. Alice Bag, the lead singer of 80s punk band The Bags, will be appearing at the festival in support of her solo debut (!), 2016’s self-titled effort. Chicago based rapper Nnamdi Ogbonnaya will also appear, fresh off of the release of his album DROOL
Last year there were issues with foreign bands being deported upon arrival in the United States due to issues with their visas. Hopefully this will not be an issue for bands coming from abroad, such as: Antytila from Ukraine; Aries, FAVX, Ganges, La Banda Morisca, Miqui Brightside, Museless, Sara Pi, Terry vs. Tori, The Zephyr Bones and Baywaves from Spain; Automelodi. Helena Deland, Forever, Grand Analog, Gulfer, Milk & Bone, Partner, TiKa, Peach Pit and Boogat from Canada; Bad Pony. Castlecomer, Cursed Earth, Stella Donnelly, Fatai, Ruby Fields, Gang of Youths, Hatchie, Jade Imagine, Benji Lewis, Lolo Lovino, Sloan Peterson, Jess Ribeiro, RVG, Stonefield, Totally Mild, Voyager, Dean Lewis, and Brightness from Australia; Bajaga and Instruktori from Serbia; Benin City, Moses Boyd Solo Exodus, Lucy Rose, Rude Kid, Steak, Stefflon Don, Jerry Williams, Yungen, Marla Brown, C.Macleod, Draper, ONR, The Fish Police, Flyte, Francobollo, Nubya Garcia, Touts, Sinead Harnett, Ashley Henry Trio, Lethal Bizzle, Not3s, The Orielles, Our Girl, Punjabtronix, Husky Loops, IAMDDB and Dan Bettridge from the UK; Blackberries, Gurr, Mogli, Gemma Ray, and Kelvyn Colt from Germany; Blood Wine or Honey and Higher Brothers from China; Abraham Brody from Luthuania, Coma Pony, C-Kan and LNG/SHT from Mexico; Fabrizio Cammarata, Sonars and Violetta Zironi from Italy; ChihiroYamazaki+ROUTE14band, Joji, JP The Wavy and DYGL from Japan; CIFIKA, Keith Ape, Luna Lee, Jay Park, pH-1, Say Sue Me, Sik-k, SsingSsing and Woodie GoChild from South Korea; Cirkus Funk, Farina, Maréh, Rancho Aparte, Grupo Rebolu and El Otro Grupo from Colombia; Deluxe, Manu Lanvin, Lou Rebecca, sarasara and Talisco from France; Dirgahayu from Malaysia; El Otro Borges from Argentina; Fis and Rob Thorne, Marlon Williams and October from New Zealand; The Foreign Resort from Denmark; Fuglar from Chile; Hater, Sarah Klang, The Magnettes and MARLENE from Sweden; The Homesick from Netherlands; Luneta Mágica and Silibrina from Brazil; My Life as Ali Thomas from Thailand; Hans Nayna from Mauritius; Rich Chigga from Indonesia, Sassy 009 and Sturle Dagsland from Norway; Surma from Portugal; Theodore from Greece; Dhruv Visvanath from India; and Yemen Blues from Israel.
As usual, the host city of Austin, TX is well represented in the lineup. This year features local acts like Cilantro Boombox, Curved Light, Adam Torres, VVV, “World Music Unleashed” by SIPM, The Bishops, Dylan Cameron, Charlie Fare & The Fayettes, Warren Hood, Greenbeard, Leather Girls, Oliver Rajamani and David Ramirez. Just down the road, Dallas has three bands playing the festival so far: The Outfit, TX, Wo Fat and Mothership. Besides Austin, the most well-represented Southern city is Nashville, with Okey Dokey, The Outer Vibe, *repeat repeat, R.LUM.R. and Sun Seeker.
Other cities with a strong representation at this year’s SXSW music festival include Los Angeles, with bands like VOWWS, Warbly Jets, Yultron, Buddy (technically from Compton), Joey Dosik, HUXLEE, Salem’s Bend and Tennis System. Moving North along the West Coast to the Bay Area are a trio of performers, MC Lars from Berkeley, No Vacation from San Francisco and The Watchers from San Francisco. Even further north, hailing from Seattle, are bands like Avatar Darko, Jarv Dee, Manatee Commune, Phe Reds and Raz Simone.
As always, New York City has a lot of bands headed south to Austin for the festival, including Uni, The Britanys, Cape Francis (from Brooklyn), Crumb (also from Brooklyn), FOXTRAX, Grim Streaker (from Brooklyn), Honduras (again, also from Brooklyn), Anna McClellan (of Brooklyn), Plastic Picnic (of Brooklyn), Pronoun (of Brooklyn – sense a trend?), and the Beyonce-indebted (at least in terms of their band name), Surfbort, from the fine borough of Brooklyn. Upstate New York has a few groups headed to Austin, including Mikaela Davis (Rochester), Izzy True (Finger Lakes village of Trumansburg) and Sammus (Ithaca). Philadelphia’s representatives include Grandchildren, Mannequin Pussy and SPORTS. Hailing from a bit further down the Eastern Seaboard are Beltway bands like Us and Us Only and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat from Baltimore and Bad Moves from DC. Freedom Hawk from Virginia Beach will also be playing.
Other bands playing the festival include Melo Makes Music from Chicago, Aero Flynn from Mineapolis, Lee Bains III + The Glory Fires from Birmingham, Keelan Donovan from Portland, Maine, Samantha Glass from Madison, and Smut from Cincinnati.
In addition to the first round of showcasing artists, several conference speakers have been announced. These include country singer and Grammy winner Keith Urban, the Chief Content Officer of Spotify Stefan Blom, the host of United States of America W. Kamau Bell, and producer/songwriter Savan Kotecha.
UPDATE (11/7): SXSW 2018 has announced its second round of showcasing artists. Some of the performers from this round include Andrew W.K., The Dwarves and Holly Miranda.