Our Favorite Discoveries from the Official SXSW 2019 Playlist
SXSW 2019 is fast approaching!
In the weeks leading up to the world renowned festival, the staff here at From the Intercom have been hard at work combing through the 84+ hours of songs on the “Official SXSW 2019 playlist” to find this year’s most exciting breakout bands. Below, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite 12 artists who we’ve never covered on the website before, and who we’ll definitely try to see when we touch down in Austin next week.
Check them out below!
Abhi the Nomad
Hip-hop artist Abhi the Nomad is, as his moniker suggests, a traveler. The story of Abhi started in India but has since included places from all around the world, hopping from country to country until finally settling in Austin, Texas (if only for a brief moment). But that hasn’t stopped him from creating hip-hop tracks that reflect his myriad of personal influences.
Case in point: “Flush.” His latest single finds him name-dropping Regular Show‘s Mordecai and Rigby (“But my schedule so irregular that Mordecai and Rigby”), indie-rock artist Mitski (“I’ll be the cowboy to shoot at you nobodies like it’s Mitski”) and The Office‘s Jon Krasinski (“My missy and me get down in my office, Johnny Krasinski”) in rapid-fire succession over a warped club beat. Every one of Abhi’s songs are sprinkled with his own personal touch that make sure you don’t forget who’s on the mic. Later on in that very same song, he spits, “White folk say they don’t say they see color / Motherfucker look I am color”–a bold call-out to make in the middle of a banger. Abhi’s not afraid to say what he wants, and the result is brutally honest hip-hop that doesn’t compromise who he is.
London-based electronic musician Masaaki Yoshida is one of those artists who you might find digging through the dusty old records at your local music shop. In fact, it was the physical format that led him to the creation of his second album, Ceremonial, back in 2016.
Inspired by 70s African music, Ceremonial is an album filled with samples upon samples of various tribal rhythms that are given Yoshida’s modern electronic interpretation. Cohesion, Yoshida’s third album, continued this trend by borrowing from Bollywood film soundtracks and tradition Indian percussion patterns. Yoshida has quite the ear for musical rearrangements, and his music does well to bring justice to those styles he’s paying homage to. Although word hasn’t gotten out on what region and style he will be inspired by next, it’s guaranteed to be a fascinating listen.
How is it that the three members of Asterism rock so hard at such a young age? Japanese heavy metal rockers HAL-CA, MIYU, and MIO are only still in their teens, but they demonstrate insane musical talents that will be bound to make any skilled musician jealous. Last year’s debut IGNITION is 47 minutes of wildly invigorating fire and flames. Get ready to see some crazy moshing at their show–their showcase is going to be one hell of a ride.
South Korean musician Colde (콜드) started his career as one half of duo OFFONOFF before releasing some of his own music as a solo artist the following year. While Colde’s solo discography is still largely in the same lane as OFFONOFF’s, Colde’s chilled out R&B/hip-hop beats allow him to make clear his expert production skills. Give last year’s Wave a listen on a night drive and you’ll see what we mean–it’s groovy, slinky bliss.
Modern rock enthusiasts rejoice: DYGL is here for you. It’s almost impossible to listen to Japanese indie-rock band DYGL (pronounced day-glo) without immediately drawing comparisons to classic rock groups like The Ramones or The Strokes–an apt comparison since their debut album was produced by none other than Albert Hammond Jr. himself. But DYGL seem to be branching out from their earlier scrappy sound. Newest single “A Paper Dream” shifts direction for the band, signifying a promising evolution for their sound as a band. DYGL are going to be big this upcoming year… mark my words.
Mongolian musician Magnolian (try saying that three times fast) makes calming indie-folk music to get you through the day. Take a listen to his most streamed song, “The Bride & The Bachelor,” and you’ll realize that Dulguun Bayasgalan is a romantic at heart. While Bayasgalan hasn’t released much outside of his 2016 debut Famous Men, it’s looking rather promising for the rising musician. His recent offering, “Indigo,” is feel-good indie pop that proves that he hasn’t lost his touch. We’re excited to hear what comes next.
Melbourne’s Moonlover (Quang Dinh) is criminally underrated. Last year, his captivating debut album Thou Shall Be Free completely flew under our radar (is it too late to create an honorary spot just for it?), but it’s not to be missed. It’s an album that shows Dinh’s versatility as an artist–switching gears from gritty garage rock (“The Ooiee”) to psychedelic reggae-fusion (“Queen of Sheba”) to traditional Asian-inspired music (“Mekong Delta Blues”) with ease. It’ll be interesting to see just how Dinh will bring together all of these influences live. We’re sold–see you at his show!
Prateek Kuhad makes music that will cleanse your soul.
Born and raised in Jaipur, Rajasthan, the singer-songwriter moved to New Delhi to pursue a full-time music career–resulting in his debut album In Token & Charms and cold/mess EP. His since-viral song “cold/mess” invites you on a love story that ends up in heartbreak, yet it’s a song about healing in time. Though the drum kicks and guitars on the track are simplistic, Kuhad’s instrumentals sends out a strong, positive message that loving yourself conquers everything.
Whatever it is that you’re going through, you’re not alone–Kuhad is here to get you through it.
Remember that yodeling Wal-Mart kid that went viral last year for some reason? It’s no surprise that it got remixed hundreds of times by trap producers on YouTube–after all, that’s just what happens to memes. What is surprising is Canadian musician Soran’s earnest version of it. “Fix This (Yodeling Kid Remix)” tested Soran’s production skills by taking the infamous yodel and sampling it as part of an actual R&B pop song that could easily trick someone into believing it was from some sick underground beat. Coupled with Soran’s head-turning voice, “Fix This” quickly ascended joke status and turned into amazement. Although there’s no telling if there are any other hidden memes on his excellent self-titled debut EP, it will be interesting to see how he brings it all together on stage.
Chinese indie artist Akin (阿克江) doesn’t have much written about him in the Western world, but that’s all about to change post-SXSW. After gaining traction on Chinese singing competitions and underground collaborations, Akin boasts songs that feature psychedelic soundscapes and autotuned vocals. While he’s mastered modern Chinese pop (“I Need a Girl”), his most recent song “Sunny Rain” with LinFeng features a pleasant flow of soft vocals and hip beat, marking a change for the artist. If your music tastes are AKIN to ours, you’ll be sure to love him as well!
BON-NO! BON-NO! BON-NO! From the instant you play Japanese indie rock duo 奮酉’s single “Bon-No!” you’ll be chanting it all day long. Two woman band Takada Maki and Kawanishi Aisa have an infectious, quirky spirit that absolutely refuses to let up. Though the duo have only released one three-song EP last year, their candy-coated brand of rock will keep you playing it on repeat again and again. BON-NO!
Chirpy new indie-rock band Stereogirl are young, but they rock hard. Since their formation in 2014, the band has been playing local shows in Japan, even eventually making their way to Japan’s famous SUMMER SONIC festival. This year, they seem set on world domination. Give “Gimme a Radio” a listen, and you’ll see why their punk-inspired rock music is going to be a hit.
Header art albums: 奮酉 (Furutori) – はじめのセンセーション, Soran – Soran EP, Moonlover – Thou Shall Be Free, Colde – Wave, Asterism – IGNITION, Abhi the Nomad – Marbled
Li-Wei Chu is the chief editor of From the Intercom. When he’s not editing drafts and searching for new artists to cover for the website, he loves watching cult films, cooking, and listening to his ever-growing collection of vinyl records. You can follow him on LetterBoxd and make fun of his taste in movies here!