SXSW hypewatch: The top 15 artists we’re excited about, day 1

Rising alt-country star Lydia Loveless performs Saturday at Lamberts. For 3-11-16: Lydia Loveless plays a midnight showcase on Wednesday at the Continental Club. Photo by Patrick Crawford/Blackletter
Lydia Loveless plays a midnight showcase on Wednesday at the Continental Club.
Photo by Patrick Crawford/Blackletter

With over 2,000 artists coming to Austin for the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival, it’s hard to prioritize. Over the next five days, our three music writers count down their top five can’t-miss artists. There are many, many other bands we’re psyched about, but these are the 15 artists we’ll rearrange our schedules to see.


5. Lydia Loveless: The Ohio twang-rocker has made a splash at South by Southwest before, rocking the room at various showcases and private parties in 2012 and 2014. Among those who has taken notice is filmmaker Gorman Bechard, known for documentaries on the Replacements and Archers of Loaf; he’s turned his camera on Loveless for a movie due later this year. (Midnight Wednesday, Continental Club; 11:40 p.m. Thursday, Maggie Mae’s rooftop)


Warning: While this video doesn’t contain anything you wouldn’t see on an episode of “Scandal,” it is quite racy. Consider who your boss is before you watch it at work.

5. Estelle. There are so many fantastic female R&B artists at South by Southwest this year. You also can’t go wrong with sets from Kehlani, King or Erykah Badu (obviously), but British soul singer Estelle, who’s been circling superstar status for several years now, doesn’t come to Austin often. Also, her blush-worthy 2015 track “Make Her Say” is an amazing, unapologetic celebration of female sexuality that the urban music world could use more of.  (TBA)


5. For Esme: Really, the only thing I need to get by in life is big-hearted, expansive synth-pop from a band named after a J.D. Salinger short story. A little bit of Metric, a little bit of Stars, a little bit of Silversun Pickups, a little bit of the “Drive” soundtrack and I’m a lock for showing up. (11:20 p.m. Saturday, Barracuda Backyard)

Author: Deborah Sengupta Stith

Deborah Sengupta Stith has been hanging out in dimly lit corners of the city soaking in the music scene for almost 20 years. Twitter: @deborific

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