SXSW is upon us once again, and alas, I will not be in attendance (be still my ego), but that won’t deter me from pouring through every Twitter feed, YouTube, and live stream like a fiend for a fix. Presently the number of showcasing artists exceeds 550+ (with 70 or so hailing from Nashville), but those numbers will almost certainly increase by the time SXSW has come to a close.
This year’s SXSW has plenty of buzz surrounding it (water is wet, I know), but some of the more remarkable features of SXSW 2016 include President Obama sticking to his keynote speaking commitment instead of attending former First Lady and “Just Say No” advocate Nancy Reagan’s funeral – rumor has it that Mr. President REALLY wants to see Diarrhea Planet shred (Is this rumor true? I wish) – that will surely get its fair share of coverage. And, of course, our L/S sponsored showcase.
Keynote speeches are exciting and inspiring, sure, but if you hit SXSW, you’re there to check the shows. If you’re one of the people lucky enough to get in on Willie Nelson’s Luck Banquet action – Blitzen Trapper, Margo Price, Robert Ellis, Dylan LeBlanc, Willie – then congratulations (we get it dude, you’re super cool), you have my greenest envy. If you’re one of us peasants that couldn’t get in on the Luck Banquet action, and you’re still trying to gauge which showcases to check out, why not check one of the 65+ Nashville groups showcasing at SXSW 2016.
And don’t forget, if you really want to see a group of great Nashville artists in one place, swing by should swing by Craftsman and listen to some fantastic music. Co-produced by ATX Management and Defacto Productions, The New Americana Party (which we are happy to be a sponsor of) will feature 16 acts on two stages, including many of our favorite locals like Blank Range and Blackfoot Gypsies. Doors are at 2pm and the goodness starts at 3 with BLUE HEALER on the outdoor stage. What should you do until March 17 you ask? We recommend RSVPing for preferred access here and then jamming out to the event’s Spotify playlist here!
Granted, 65+ sets in the span of a week is virtually impossible to check out, so here are five Nashville artists that it would be worth your while to check out while you and the President are keeping it weird in Austin.
One of the SXSW 2016 “Official Artists” Keeps is a band poised to gain substantial momentum from their featured ascription. The dynamic dream pop duo of Gusti Escalante and Robbie Jackson feels a few iterations removed from familiar “Nashville” tones, thanks to Keeps’ maintenance a woozy shoe-gaze sensibility while making direct nods musically to the likes of Yo La Tengo and Jesus and the Mary Chain. The dance-electro rhythms and languid lyricism top off an altogether melodic haze that’s unlike most any other artist in Nashville.
Tuesday, March 15th – Hotel Vegas (5:00 PM)
Wednesday, March 16th – Longbranch Inn (12:00 PM)
Friday, March 18th – Valhalla (7:30 PM)
Saturday, March 19th – Flatstock Stage (4:00 PM)
Arguably one of the coolest crossover artists in all of Nashville, Amanfu has made a name for herself as a supporting figure in music. She’s backed the likes of the incomparable Jack White, Wanda Jackson, and Hozier, but 2015 saw Amanfu make her first real foray into the spotlight, with her solo record Standing Still making substantial waves for its R&B folk leading tenor, and Amanfu’s fluid vibrato. Already a seasoned veteran of the road and stage, Amanfu’s career looks more promising than ever before.
SXSW Dates: TBA
Another Nashville act that is entering the foreground for its first time – Lionlimb is a
group that’s found second life after members Joshua Jaeger and Stewart Bronaugh spent the better part of the last two years playing with Angel Olsen as part of her backing band. The duo’s time with Olsen must have influenced them in some capacity, taking the muted songwriter approach and adding some much needed psych-pop flair. Lionlimb’s debut album Shoo released early 2016, and its baroque pop sensibilities make it one of the best to come out of Nashville this year.
Thursday, March 17th – (10:15 PM – 10:55 PM)
It wouldn’t be a Nashville SXSW rundown without some Infinity Cat love thrown in somewhere, and these next two are some lesser-known (not for long) Infinity Cat commodities that are bound to blow the lid off Austin; first up – Daddy Issues. The realest all-girl group out of anywhere (not just Nashville), the grunge pop trio brings an edge to the wit of unabashed DIY enthusiasm. Young every-women everywhere rejoice, you have found your newfound savior(s)!
Monday, March 14th –Hotel Vegas (3:15 PM)
Tuesday, March 15th – Long Branch Inn (6:45 PM)
Thursday, March 17th – Rachael Ray’s Feedback House (7:00 PM)
Thursday, March 17th – Helio’s Co-Op (10:15 PM)
Friday, March 18th – Barracuda (11:00 PM)
The second Infinity Cat denizen on the list, Music Band has a forthcoming record, Wake Up Laughing, to promote at SXSW 2016 that will surely allow the loosey-goosey garage rock styling’s of the group to be put on full display. The group will follow Daddy Issues with their penchant for brazen lyrical deprecation and pocket performing, attributes that should attract all sort of viewers to the Infinity Cat Showcase (perhaps even the President?).
Friday, March 18th – Barracuda (12:00 AM)