RR’s Top Artists to Watch at SXSW

We announced a couple incredible showcases a few weeks back. We’re proud to present those KCRW favorites and hope to discover some new artists while we’re there.

Here are a few I’m looking forward to:

JAIN

I’ve been hearing a lot about this French singer. She was born in France, then raised in United Arab Emirates and the Congo. Her music has been described a combo of French techno and African rhythms and I’ve been enjoying hearing it on Travis Holcombe’s show. (Note: JAIN plays a free show as part of FLOODfest, sponsored by KCRW!)

Blaenavon

We’ve been intrigued by this trio from Hampshire, England since we got our hands on the first single from their debut album “That’s Your Lot” (out in April). Having won over UK music fans, the band brings their anthemic yet brooding pop rock our way.

Valerie June

Valerie June

I’ve had my eye on her since her Dan Auerbach-produced debut. With her new track “Breakdown”, the Memphis-born, Brooklyn-based singer won us over. Her new album “The Order of Time” is due right before SX!

BNQT

This self-described “poor man’s Traveling Wilbury” is an indie rock supergroup, featuring members of Midlake and some heavy hitter vocalints like a Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses, Fran Healy from Travis, Jason Lytle from Grandaddy and Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand on vocals. I had the great pleasure of seeing them play a few songs live. You can tell when a band is having fun. And they’re definitely having fun. Yay for collaborating!

Catholic Action

I always need to make sure there is a rock band on my list and this Scottish quartet fit the bill. Formed in 2014, they’ve been slowly gaining steam and were featured at FYF Fest last year. This is a great opportunity to see them in the States.

Karen Elson

When Karen Elson released debut (produced by then-husband Jack White), I think we all fell a little in love with her. She’s released some really cool covers, but it’s been 7 years since “The Ghost Who Walks” and we’ll have the new full-length “Double Roses” in our hands this April. (Note: Karen also plays FLOODfest!)

Hard Proof

I’ve heard this band’s live shows are not to be missed. The Austin-based ten-piece collective studied Fela as well as funk and jazz from the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. With a new album produced by fellow Austinite Jim Eno, this may be their best year yet.

I always make a point to see at least ONE Austin band on each SX trip and they are top of my list this year. (aside from Spoon, Mr Eno’s other project!)

MNDSGN

Pronounced “mind design”, the alter ego of Filipino hip hop producer Ringgo Ancheta is a great representation of what LA label Stones Throw does best. He’s an LA local who I’ve never had a chance to see live. I hope to change that!

Chicano Batman

I expect to see this band take the stage looking fresh in their maroon tuxes. Their new album “Freedom is Free” on ATO records is a strong musical statement from a band that has worked for everything they have and are finally ready to enjoy the fruits of their labor and share it with the world. They are renowned for their live shows and, on this album, have the songcraft to back it up.