Ones To Watch: Seven Must See Artists at SXSW 2015

KUTX highlights the “Ones To Watch”–seven must-see artists at SXSW 2015.


Courtney Barnett

There might not be a musician more quotable than Courtney Barnett. The Australian singer has a stream-of-consciousness style that can be pretty funny–take song titles like “Pedestrian At Best” or “Avant Gardener.” Though she cites Lou Reed and Nirvana as influences, Barnett already has a style all her own. Her new album, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, is out March 24. Listen to her profile and catch her shows below.

Monday, March 16: Red 7 outside, 11 p.m. (free, RSVP here)

Wednesday, March 18: Mohawk outside (free) Wednesday, March 18: Stubb’s, 9:50 p.m. (official showcase)

Thursday, March 19: Cedar Street Courtyard, 12:00 a.m. (official showcase)

Friday, March 20: Public Radio Day Stage, Austin Convention Center, 5:00 p.m. (broadcast on KUTX 98.9)



The twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz are known musically as Ibeyi, the Yoruba word for “twins.” They were born in Cuba but grew up in France, and they credit their parents for their musical education—their father played with the renowned Buena Vista Social Club, while their mother took them to see Yoruba choirs as kids. Ibeyi’s self-titled debut is an inventive blend of jazz, hip-hop, electronic, and soul. Listen to Ibeyi’s profile and catch their shows below.

Thursday, March 19: The Spotify House, 3 p.m. (free, RSVP here)

Friday, March 20: Waterloo Records, 2 p.m. (free)

Friday, March 20: Central Presbyterian Church, 9:30 p.m. (official showcase)

Saturday, March 21: KUTX Live at the Four Seasons, 9 a.m. (more info here)

Saturday, March 21: Bungalow, 10 p.m. (official showcase)


Dan Mangan + Blacksmith

After winning two Juno Awards–Canada’s version of the Grammys–Dan Mangan felt like he needed a break. He reworked his sound, moving from a folk influence to electronic, and he recruited a new band built from Vancouver’s jazz scene. Club Meds is the result, the first album billed under the name Dan Mangan + BlacksmithListen to their profile and catch their shows below.

Thursday, March 19: KUTX Live at the Four Seasons, 9 a.m. (more info here)

Friday, March 20: Maggie Mae’s, 12 a.m. (official showcase)

Saturday, March 21: Home Slice Pizza, 5 p.m. (free)

Saturday, March 21: Swan Dive patio, 11:45 p.m. (official showcase)


Leon Bridges No artist has more buzz going into SXSW than Leon Bridges. The Ft. Worth native started out studying dance and choreography in college, but he says he was tired of depending on others to be creative. After picking up the guitar, Bridges showed some original songs to a friend, who compared their sound to Sam Cooke. He’s teamed up with White Denim’s Austin Jenkins and Josh Block on his debut album, out later this year on Columbia Records. Listen to Leon Bridges’ profile and catch his shows below.

Wednesday, March 18: The Spotify House, 2:30 p.m. (free, RSVP here)

Friday, March 20: St. David’s Historic Sanctuary, 10:45 p.m. (official showcase)


Riders Against The Storm

Chaka Mpeanaji and Qi Dada are known collectively as Riders Against the Storm. The husband-and-wife duo first met in Rhode Island, but as the saying goes, they got to Austin as fast as they could. Here, they’ve started Body Rock ATX, a monthly dance party at the Empire Control Room, and last year, they won two Austin Music Awards, including band of the year. Listen to Riders Against The Storm’s profile and catch their shows below.

Monday, March 16: Empire Control Room, 7 p.m. (free, RSVP here)

Wednesday, March 18: Empire Control Room, 2:25 p.m. (free)

Thursday, March 19: GSD&M Courtyard, 11 a.m. (free, RSVP here)

Thursday, March 19: Soho Lounge, 11 p.m. (official showcase)


Curtis McMurtry

Austin’s Curtis McMurtry is the next in line of great McMurtry writers. His grandfather is author Larry McMurtry, and his father is local singer-songwriter James McMurtry. Curtis says he’s learned a lot about hard work from both, but his mother actually had the biggest influence on his music. Despite his Texas roots, Curtis studied chamber music in New York before returning home. Will Sexton helped produce Curtis’ debut album, Respectable EnemyListen to Curtis McMurtry’s profile and find his SXSW shows below.

Wednesday, March 18: Guero’s, 6:55 p.m. (free)

Wednesday, March 18: The Dogwood, 11:30 p.m. (free, 21+)

Thursday, March 19: Lucy’s Fried Chicken, 1 p.m. (free)

Saturday, March 21: Stephen F’s Bar, 12 a.m. (official showcase)


Matthew E. White

Matthew E. White hearkens back to ‘60s and ‘70s soul records in both sound and spirit. The Richmond, VA native is a solo artist and co-creator of Spacebomb, a musical collective that does everything in-house, from writing and arranging to recording and releasing. This model and sound has been compared to Stax and Motown, but White says he had old reggae and New Orleans records in mind when he created Spacebomb. White’s second album, Fresh Blood, is full of lush productions anchored by his unique voice. Listen to Matthew E. White’s profile and find his SXSW shows below.

Wednesday, March 18: Waterloo Records, 2 p.m. (free)

Thursday, March 19: KUTX Live at the Four Seasons, 7 a.m. (more info here)

Thursday, March 19: Hotel San Jose (free) Thursday, March 19: GSD&M Courtyard (free, RSVP here)

Thursday, March 19: Mohawk, 11 p.m. (official showcase)


–Art Levy  

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