For music lovers, South By Southwest can feel like Christmas, Mardi Gras, Spring Break and March Madness rolled into one. Spread out over five days and nights in Austin, Texas, it’s a thrilling and exhausting musical endurance challenge, with fans often seeing upwards of 100 shows before the week is through. This week on All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson to share and discuss some of the artists they’re most excited to see and hear as this year’s festival kicks off.
To suss out this year’s discoveries Bob, Robin and Stephen listened to more than 1,500 songs by acts playing SXSW 2017 — which makes the 15 songs featured in this episode the literal one percent that they are most excited to bring to a larger audience.
For NPR Music’s full coverage of SXSW 2017, visit this page — and keep an eye on our social media. To get you started: here’s Bob, Robin and Stephen on Twitter, plus Bob on Instagram, where he posts photos of many of the shows he sees. We’ll be down and around all week with more updates, announcements, South X Lullabies, in-the-moment exclamations of joy, and bleary-eyed late-night dispatches from the All Songs Considered team.
The All Songs Considered SXSW Preview, 2017
Namesake from Transgressor
Tunde Olaniran’s “Namesake” is an ADHD potpourri of contemporary R&B and EDM.
Guns from Guns
“Guns,” from the Barcelona-based PAVVLA, is a lo-fi slice of electro-melancholia.
All Our Exes Live In Texas
Boundary Road from When We Fall
This Sydney, Australia group All Our Exes Live In Texas gives us a dose of Americana with “Boundary Road.”
Jealous Of The Birds
Goji Berry Sunset from Parma Violets
The whistlin’ ‘n’ strummin’ “Goji Berry Sunset” from Jealous Of The Birds is like a sweet summer cordial.
Queen of Failureland from Born in the Woods
“Queen of Failureland” from Italian artist BIRTHH sounds like an ominous murmuration of fluttering robo-birds.
Taken from Varmints
Anna Meredith’s “Taken” induces a bout of déjà vu as it shuffles through instrument loops and stacked harmonies.
Speed from Shade Trees
On “Speed,” young rapper TRAPO emerges from a psychedelic rainforest with a clunky trap treasure.
More Romantic from Personality Therapy
Husband-wife duo CLOSENESS (Todd and Orenda Fink) zips down the carpool lane with on dream-pop anthem “More Romantic.”
Afterthought from Afterthought
On the daydreamy “Afterthough,” Canadian band Close Talker reminisces on a love turned sour.
Breather from Lines
English folk musician Charlie Cunningham wears his heart on his sleeve with the flamenco-flavored “Breather.”
River from River
London born, Tokyo-raised and now LA-based Brit Bishop Briggs bravely belts her way through the drop-heavy, hand-clapper “River.”
Smoke Signals from Smoke Signals
Stephen’s favorite new artist of 2017, songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, coos over string-laden transmissions on “Smoke Signals.”
Albin Lee Meldau
Lou Lou from Lovers EP
Swedish musician Albin Lee Meldau delivers a heart-crushing ballad called “Lou Lou.”
Flower from Familiar Desolation
Piano drizzles through a storm of rock instrumentation on Taiwanese act Hello Nico’s “Flower.”
South By Southwest dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.
All Songs Considered SXSW Preview, 2017. Spread out over five days and nights in Austin, SXSW is a thrilling and exhausting musical endurance challenge