10 Upcoming International Acts You Should Watch At SXSW 2014

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SXSW Festival

South by Southwest Music Festival (SXSW) is widely known as THE festival for emerging musical talent with artists both established and up-and-coming flocking from around the globe to Austin, Texas to offer the musical experience of a lifetime to eager festival goers. Having begun in 1987, the weekend event has seen some exciting acts, virtually all of which have shot to international recognition since their slot on the SXSW bill - and very deservedly.

It's a huge opportunity for fledgling bands across the world with such a vast line-up that takes over the whole of Austin for over a week. Unlike most festivals were an artist has to be signed or at least have an agent to feature in the line-up, SXSW does a great job at embracing unsigned talent. The weekend even sees dozens of secret gigs dotted around the city as no-one is ever quite sure of who is and who isn't playing. Prince, Arcade Fire and Jay-Z are just a few of many who have surprised and delighted event goers with their unexpected appearances, so make sure you keep an eye out this year. For now though, we're excited to give you ten top acts from across the planet that are well worth your time this March.

Asgeir - Lose yourself in a whirlwind of atmospheric melody from Icelandic musician Asgeir. Echoing Reykjavík band Sigur Ros in many ways, Asgeir manages to perfectly encapsulate the vibe of his home country in his first English language album 'In The Silence' - the English version of his debut 'Dýrð í dauðaþögn' which topped the Iceland charts at number one on its release.

The Falls - This Sydney duo formed in unusual circumstances; they had just ended a romantic relationship and decided that, instead of never speaking to each other again, they would re-unite as work mates instead. Despite their history, they certainly don't lack musical chemistry - something that's made quite clear with their impressive 5-track debut EP 'Into The Fire'. It's a unique blend of moving vocal harmonies, country style guitars and deeply honest lyrics.

Bipolar Sunshine - Manchester soloist Adio Marchant AKA Bipolar Sunshine has had some pretty impressive gigs already in recent months, and has no doubt been rapidly building a vast fanbase of those who can't get enough of his synth-infused soul sound that truly does feel like sunshine. So, there'll be plenty of SXSW goers desperate to catch a glimpse especially after his incredible 'Where Did The Love Go' EP.

Prides - All members of Glasgow trio Prides have around a decade of musical experience, so it's no surprise that their debut EP 'The Seeds You Sow' have captured the souls of music lovers across the world. It's powerful synth-pop with genuine lyrics, dynamic melodies and energetic rhythms - usually with an underlying sadness. We've only had a small taster of them so far, but we certainly can't wait for their upcoming debut album.

Sivu - He's a British guy with a Finnish pseudonym (because he likes to confuse us) which is a unique professional direction in itself, but when you listen to the music you are greeted with a vibrant blend of chaotic synth and guitar sounds, hearty rhythm and an impressively high-reaching vocal range that we challenge you to pigeonhole. If his new single 'Can't Stop Now' (due out March 24th) is anything to go by, his SXSW set will be one of a kind.

Tensnake - Berlin-based producer Tensnake is serious business when it comes to floor-filling dance music and his new album 'Glow' is without doubt one of the most antipicated DJ debuts of the year. It features his latest track 'Feel Of Love' which sees him collaborate with Grammy winner Jacques Lu Cont and the highly respected Jamie Lidell. If he's managed to bag collaborations of that status, he's sure to blow your mind with his live set at SXSW.

September Girls - The past few months have been all about the girl bands with the likes of Warpaint and Haim grabbing headlines with their feminine rock and pop tunes. Dublin five-piece September Girls bring some more of that to the party with seductive drawn-out vocals, heavy drums and memorable tunes. Their debut album 'Cursing The Sea' came out this year, becoming the sort of record where, if you like girls on guitars, you'll fall in love with it.

Temples - Arguably one of the most established of our top ten up-and-coming acts, British quartet Temples are hypnotising us with the likes of their aptly titled new single 'Mesmerise'. Described as psychedelic rock, they certainly have that classic 60s vibe which we just can't get enough of. If you want to hear them before their live set at SXSW, check out the debut album 'Sun Structures'. They're doing astoundingly well over in the UK and the US are truly going to love them.

Honeyblood - Back to girls and guitars, Glasgow duo Honeyblood show some real attitude with their self-titled debut album, due for release in May. Since winning a spot on the line-up at Scotland's T in the Park festival last year, it was clear that these girls are destined for international recognition. Sensational vocals and raucous guitars are what can be expected from Honeyblood's live set.

Drenge - Hotly tipped Sheffield band Drenge have had some incredibly positive critical response recently and have even managed to land two NME Award nominations for both Best New Band and Best Album with their debut self-titled offering. It's no wonder either with their epic punk sound that manages to sound so unique and yet so classic at the same time. Seeing Drenge live certainly needs to be on everyone's to-do list this year.

This is just ten of the many fantastic International bands playing the festival. The great thing is, that's just a fraction of what will be going on over the course of the week, and there are of course plenty of well-established artists to be looking forward to as well. Coldplay are set to perform on March 11th and, given the nature of this immense festival, we won't be too surprised if they bring some very special guests along with them.

SXSW Music Festival will take place between March 7th and 16th 2014 in Austin, Texas.


Tags: South by Southwest - Asgeir - Bipolar Sunshine - Prides - Sivu - Tensnake - September Girls - Temples - Honeyblood - Drenge - Coldplay

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Kalie Riemer's picture

Kalie Riemer

Glad that Asgeir was included on this list! He is an incredible music talent with beautiful melodies. I hope I can see him live someday myself.

9 months 2 weeks ago
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