SXSW Left of the Dial Picks

Rick McNulty hosts Left of the Dial on Fridays 7-11pm and Uptown Saturday Night on Saturdays, 7-10 pm. Follow him on Twitter @Rick_Daddy

The circus is back in town and it’s bringing over 1,700 musical acts begging for your attention. With so much extraneous noise up in your grill, I’m here to help by endorsing five artists who are mostly under the radar but worthy of your attention. The nighttime showcases can be a crapshoot and difficult to get into; I recommend tracking down the bands you want to see and catch them in the daytime. There’s something magical about reaping the benefits of SXSW for free and in the daylight. In any case, you can’t go wrong by catching any of the following at SXSW 2019:


Illuminati Hotties
Not only does she extensively know her way around a recording studio, Sarah Tudzin knows her way around a tune. She writes intelligent and infectious songs in a style someone coined as “tenderpunk.” Her music blazes along at punk rock tempos while supporting some serious melodies and hooks, topped off with some hilarious and confessional lyrics. [Best bet to see Illuminati Hotties: Waterloo Records 3/13 @ 4pm and The Container Bar 3/15 @ 2pm]


The Rad Trads
This is a truly all-American band that combines elements of Little Feat, The Band, Dr. Dog, and Randy Newman. Their live performances can turn into a Saturday night church meeting, fueled by the fact that all five of them can sing. They got their start as a New Orleans cover band, which has clearly worked in their favor. You’re gonna love these guys. [Best bet to see the Rad Trads: Radio Coffee & Beer 3/15 @ 7pm and The Jackalope 3/15 @ 3:15pm]


If Wire had a one-night stand with Parquet Courts, their noisy baby would be Squid. They’re Britain’s latest incarnation of droogs, but instead of the depressing dystopia of A Clockwork Orange, Squid is closer to the spastic action of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. They’re so brand-new they’ve released only seven songs and all of them will melt your face off. [Best bet to see Squid: Scratchouse 3/13 @ 8pm and Latitude 30 3/14 @ 10pm]


Viagra Boys
There’s something desperate and debauched coming out of Stockholm these days, and Viagra Boys appear to be the ambassadors of this serious gonzo dance-punk. Led by lead singer Sebastian Murphy and his glib but pointed vocals, this music embodies all of the best traits of the sneering and fearless punks of yesteryear (think Joe Strummer, Iggy Pop, Mark E. Smith, & Richard Butler). And you gotta love a band that throbs along mercilessly. [Best bet to see Viagra Boys: Waterloo Records 3/15 @ 5pm and Hotel Vegas 3/16 @ 3:30pm]


Yolanda Quartey is a British singer who’s just delivered an amazing debut album. Imagine if Gladys Knight recorded Dusty In Memphis and you’re halfway there. It’s a soul album with classic Nashville touches: pedal steel, fiddle, and honky tonk piano. It’s lovingly produced by Dan Auerbach; I’ll be surprised if the record doesn’t catch fire this year. [Best bet to see Yola: The Barracuda 3/15 @ 4:30pm and KUTX Live at the Four Seasons 3/16 @ 10am]


Finally, some serious honorable mentions: I Am Waiting For You Last Summer, The Nude Party,
Warmduscher, Dylan Cartlidge, The Fur, Cherry Glazerr, Republican Hair, and Japanese Breakfast.

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