SXSW indie rock: A mix of heavy hitters and young hopefuls


Indie rock has always been at the heart of South by Southwest, which historically has served as an early launching pad or rite of passage for bands on the way up. This year’s crop includes a mix of long-established acts and rising hopefuls, including this 12-pack of acts:

Dashboard Confessional. With seven albums from 2000 to 2009 including two that reached No. 2 on the U.S. album charts, Dashboard Confessional cemented its reputation as one of America’s foremost emo bands. They’d been on hiatus for the better part of a decade until leader Chris Carrabba reassembled the band with a couple of new members for “Crooked Shadows,” which came out last month. (5 p.m. March 15, Waterloo Records; 12:30 a.m. March 15, Gatsby)

Okkervil River. Now based in New York, singer-songwriter Will Sheff’s band originally formed in Austin 20 years ago and gradually rose to the fore of American indie music with a half-dozen records on the influential Jagjaguwar label. Their last two have been on major-affiliated ATO, most recently 2016’s “Away.” (10:20 p.m. March 14, Stubb’s outdoor; 11:45 p.m. March 15, Cedar Street Courtyard; midnight March 16, Scoot Inn)

Japandroids. A year ago, the Canadian duo of guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse created a stir around town when they launched their first tour in four years with a couple of intimate shows here. Their return for SXSW perhaps suggests they’ll follow up 2017’s “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” more quickly than the five-year gap that happened between their second and third albums. (11 p.m. March 14, Lustre Pearl)

Lucy Dacus. The young Richmond, Va., singer-songwriter was barely out of her teens when she played ACL Fest in 2016 behind her Matador Record debut “No Burden.” She’s back with her just-released new record, “Historian,” another set of affecting songs that draw their power from Dacus’ rich alto voice. (7:30 p.m. March 14, Stubb’s; 10:15 p.m. March 16, Cheer Up Charlie’s)

READ MORE: Review of Lucy Dacus at ACL Fest 2016

Jade Bird. England’s Jade Bird just turned 20 and released her debut album “Something American” on Glassnote Records last summer, but she sounds like a star right out of the gate. Her arresting voice is equally capable of casting dreamy spells and hitting with a hard pop punch. (10 p.m. March 13, Elysium; 9 p.m. March 14, British Music Embassy at Latitude 30)

Strypes. An Irish quartet whose sound harkens back to the classic years of the British Invasion, the Strypes have made a splash at SXSW before, winning the prestigious Grulke Prize for non-U.S. Act in 2014. They’ve since released two more albums, including last year’s “Spitting Image” on Virgin/EMI. (10 p.m. March 15, Velveeta Room; 8:45 p.m. March 16, 720 Club Patio)

Broncho. A rising star in the burgeoning Tulsa, Okla., music scene, Broncho plays lively yet quirky indie-pop and has released three albums since 2011. Their current single “Get in My Car” offers a promising preview of their fourth record, expected later this year. (Midnight March 14, Parish; 1 a.m. March 15, Bungalow; 10 p.m. March 17, Clive Bar)

Rayland Baxter. The son of former Bob Dylan steel guitarist Bucky Baxter, Rayland played ACL Fest in 2015. He’s made two records for the respected ATO label documenting his easygoing indie-folk-rock sound. (1 a.m. March 14, Maggie Mae’s Rooftop; 9:45 p.m. March 15, Cedar Street Courtyard)

RELATED: Check out our 2018 guide to SXSW unofficial parties

Cotton Mather. Robert Harrison’s band has a three-decade history in Austin, with highlights that included opening a tour for Oasis. They’ve done some of their best work in recent years, including 2016’s “Death of the Cool,” part of Harrison’s extensive “Songs of the I Ching” project. (1 a.m. March 13, Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room)

Tristen. Part of Nashville’s increasingly prominent indie scene, this single-named singer-songwriter released her latest record, 2017’s “Sneaker Waves,” on Austin label Modern Outsider. Two previous albums established her penchant for melodic left-of-center pop. (10 p.m. March 13, Cheer Up Charlie’s indoor; 11:10 p.m. March 15, Townsend)

Dizzy. A relative newcomer from suburban Toronto teaming brothers Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie Spencer with singer Katie Munshaw, Dizzy has made waves with its enchanting synth-pop singles “Swim” and “Stars and Moons.” If you’re the type who likes to get in early on bands with that special something, Dizzy may be worth checking out. (8 p.m. March 14, Blackheart)

Curtis Roush. A member of popular Austin psych-rock band Bright Light Social Hour, Roush sounds fascinatingly different on his recent solo album “Cosmic Campfire Music.” The wide-open arrangements suit his plaintive tenor vocals and allow plenty of room for the western-tinged music to breathe. (9 p.m. March 13, Cheer Up Charlie’s indoor; 8 p.m. March 15, Parish)



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