There's a veritable feast of new music to watch in Austin, Texas
Alexandra Pollard

16:12 11th March 2016

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Once a year, every single new band in existence makes their way to Austin, Texas to showcase their musical chops to fans, journalists and beyond. The festival's line-up is - without fail - a veritable who's who of up-and-coming artists.

This year is no exception. Dotted with performances from more established artists, such as Chvrches and Bloc Party, the festival prides itself on breaking new talents. Name a band that recently made it big, and they'll probably have played SXSW a year or two ago.

If you're going, then, this is your chance to see some of the most promising new acts from around the world. To save you from having retrospective regret in a few years time when you realise you missed the chance to see your favourite band, here's all the best acts you weren't planning on seeing - but should.

  • Dilly Dally: Dilly Dally might channel the grunge sound and aesthetic of Nirvana, but there's little derivative about the resulting records. It's raw and candid, harnessing the powerful presence of lead singer Katie Monks.

  • Aristophanes: You might not think you're familiar with the Taiwanese rapper - but if you've listened to Grimes' latest album, you will be. Aristophanes takes the lead on the brilliant, manic 'Scream', unleashing her fast-paced lyrical dexterity upon a track - true to its name - of yelps and screams.

  • Ho99o9: It's probably fair to say that Ho99o9's live show was the biggest talking point of The Great Escape 2015 - so you'd be a fool to miss them at SXSW. The duo's onstage presence exudes a disturbing, wide-eyed intensity as they thrash, as if possessed, around the stage and into the crowd. They spit water into each other's mouths, climb on top of anything and everything in their vicinity, and do somersaults into the crowd.

  • Eliot Sumner: After I Blame Coco, the first incarnation of Sumner - whose father , though they're probably sick to the backteeth of this being mentioned, is Sting - stuttered to a halt, Sumner came back with an aesthetic and sound that better suited their identity. The resulting record is dark, scuzzy and immensely promising.

  • Mitski: Mitski's songs come in waves - of both poignant lullaby-like calm and of reckless, scuzzy urgency - and more often than not these waves lap and crash over each other. Lyrically too, with narratives (whether imagined or otherwise) so intimate it almost feels intrusive to listen, she hovers on the precipice of conflicting emotions.

  • Dua Lipa: The half-English, half-Serbian musician, who's currently based in London, has possibly the most envious footing any new artist could wish for. She’s looked after by Lana Del Rey’s management, and very much fits the same profile - an alt femme fatale, self describing her sound as 'dark pop.'

  • Tunji Ige: The young Philadelphia rapper, who's barely out of his teens, appears on Christine & Queens' brilliant 'No Harm Is Done', and broke out in his own right with club-trap song 'Day2Day' last year.

  • Aurora: If you're even a semi-regular reader of Gigwise, you'll already know how much we rate the Norwegian singer-songwriter, whose electro-pop is elegant and bombastic, in the best way. If not - her debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend, is out today. Listen to it immediately.

  • Hinds: For all their shambolic charm, the Spanish four piece's live performances are more and more fine-tuned with every performance they give, anchored by precisely judged mid-song pace changes and an infectious symbiosis.

  • Eleanor Friedberger: There something resolutely unfussy about the shades of hope, love and melancholy that are woven through the third solo album of The Fiery Furnaces' Eleanor Friedberger. Settle into the warmly familiar, comforting melody of 'He Didn't Mention His Mother', for example, and miss that its edges curl with sadness.

  • Frankie Cosmos: Another musician from a famous family, Cosmos' parents are Kevin Cline and Phoebe Cates - though there's nothing showy about Cosmos' bedroom pop. "Dad made the appointment / to kill my best friend," she sings on 'Sad 2', an ode to her dead dog which falls somewhere between heartbreaking and darkly comic, "There goes my fear of death."

  • Beau: The NYC duo make gloriously unfussy, affecting folk rock, which - for reasons we can't quite untangle - has been compared to Lana Del Rey. In their own words, their style "is very liberal but also grungy, with a true New York energy."

  • Gwenno: Gwenno's music, sung entirely in Welsh, is glistening, airy electro-pop, almost invariably packed with scathing political and social statements. The meaning, in the literal sense, is lost on the majority of her listeners, and yet somehow the message gets through every time.

  • PWR BTTM: If you fancy a set that combines brash and joyous queer pop with the occasional moment of vulnerability, PWR BTTM are the band for you.

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