The Biggest Bands and Artists at the SXSW 2024 Music Festival

The hottest music acts performing at this year's SXSW.

SXSW 2024
Photo: Chloe Morales-Pazant (Sinkane), Tristan Stefan Edouard (Miss Kaninna), Junmo Yang (Hypnosis Therapy), Finn Constantine (H09909)

This article was featured in Den of Geek magazine, which was published before artists pulled out of SXSW 2024 in protest of US military and defense company sponsorships at this year’s event.

While South by Southwest often features megastar performers drawing music lovers to Texas’ cultural center, Austin, the festival excels at showcasing the next wave of musical pioneers. 

SXSW‘s lineup defies categorization, transcending boundaries of genre, geography, and popularity, and with over 2,000 performers spanning 60+ countries, the festival transforms Austin into a global sonic bazaar, where every bar and stage teem with possibility. To help ease the discovery process, we’ve curated a roadmap spotlighting a constellation of rising stars. 

From hyperpop firebrands to urbano changelings, there is truly something for everyone. Check out our unique picks below and make sure to check out their sets if you’re planning to visit The Live Music Capital of the World for SXSW. 

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And make sure to check out Den of Geek’s official SXSW 2024 playlist below:

Pink Pablo

After two years working on his PhD, Puerto Rico’s Pink Pablo dropped out of school and decamped to L.A. to focus on music full-time. Unsurprisingly, it was a smart move. Pink Pablo, unworried about signifiers, traffics in a very 2020s version of pop music, which pulls as much from urbano as it does from indie rock. His energetic shapeshifting is kept coherent through lyrics focused on the turbulence of youth and nostalgia for simpler times.


Working with everyone from David Byrne to Damon Albarn and Dev Haynes, Sinkane mastermind Ahmed Gallab is continuing to push his Sudanese pop-influenced music in surprising, dynamic directions. Blending free jazz, krautrock, prog, funk, and everything in between, Sinkane’s music pays tribute to the great suffering and great joy found in the Black American experience but always keeps you dancing.

Lambrini Girls

These Brighton punks were recently cited as Iggy Pop’s “favorite new band.” It’s not hard to see why: rip-snorting riffs, raucous attitude, and fearless lyrics abound on their latest E.P. You’re Welcome. Whether they’re taking down abusers in their local scene or coming out to their parents via a riot grrrl snarl, Lambrini Girls embody the grime and grace that can be found in the mosh pit.


Japan-based singer-songwriter Ako combines the trappings of indie R&B, alternative rock, electronica, and J-pop with breathy vocals to create music that’s deeply melodic yet airy and ethereal. Working with her creative collective Londog, Ako’s music is regularly coupled with memorable videos, taking clear inspiration from anime credit sequences and genre movies. Ako only began performing live in 2023, so it will be interesting to see how that aspect of her art takes shape.


Fust, the songwriting project from Durham, North Carolina’s Aaron Dowdy, likely did not expect to have such attention when they started making home recordings in 2018, but with the rising tide of alt-country artists like Zach Bryan and a burgeoning scene in Asheville that has spawned buzzworthy acts such as Wednesday and Indigo De Souza, Fust feel like a band in the right place at the right time. Wednesday’s MJ Lenderman and De Souza both contribute to their excellent 2023 album Genevieve, which brings a literary bent to their twangy, domestic-focused ballads. 

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Ten years ago, Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) were playing New Jersey basements with nothing more than instrumentals on their iPhone and an aux cord. Now, the duo, equally influenced by hip-hop heavies like DMX as they are by Black Flag and Grindhouse movies, are playing to massive crowds and working with names like Travis Barker and Corey Taylor. Call them punk, hardcore hip-hop, death rap, whatever, but don’t miss their visceral, bone-crushing live show.


Raised by musicians, Cameron Mesirow, who records under the moniker Glasser, uses her avant-garde upbringing and blends it with global folk music, experimental pop, and electronica to create soundscapes that emphasize circular melodies over traditional verse-chorus song structure. Her latest record, crux, meditates on life and death while adding the influences of Mesirow’s Celtic and Scottish roots as a new wrinkle.


Occultist, nihilist e-girl, hyperpop provocateur, and self-proclaimed loner, Australia’s Zheani brings dark, feminine rage to brutish beats that would make heshers blush. Zheani’s music sounds like it was beamed directly from the darkest corner of cyberspace, where the only way to respond to the “Spiritual Meat Grinder every damn day” is to party like it’s the end of the world. 


If alt-country was a trendy sound in indie music in 2023, shoegaze was the defining sonic subgenre of the year. Hong Kong-based indie rock band Arches are perhaps utilizing the signifiers of shoegaze — whispery vocals, powerful, pulsating, fuzzed-out guitars, and locked drum grooves — better than just about anyone. Citing influences you would expect, like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and Autolux, their upcoming debut album is one of our most anticipated. 

Good Looks

Austin’s very own Good Looks seemingly split the difference between Steve Earle and The War on Drugs, bringing shimmery indie rock guitar heroics to heart-bearing, lyrics-focused songs that chronicle the trials and tribulations of growing up in a small Texas town. Good Looks are, first and foremost, a blue-collar rock band, but they’re not afraid to bring a political bent to their songwriting, tapping into the disparities and contradictions of their upbringings.


Music is often described as hypnotic, but has an artist actually tried to hypnotize their audience? HYPNOSIS THERAPY, the South Korean duo comprised of producer Jflow and rapper JJANGYOU, faithfully incorporate elements of hypnotherapy into their skittering, electro-hop bangers. Also flirting with elements of EDM and alternative rock, HYPNOSIS THERAPY is in a lane all their own.

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Miss Kaninna

Hyped as “the past, present, and future” of Australian music, Miss Kaninna is a proud Yorta Yorta, Djadja Wurrung, Kalkadoon, and Yirandhali woman from lutruwita/Tasmania, bringing the attitude of punk and the inspiration of her ancestry to her bombastic hip-hop heaters. With her star rising on the strength of just two singles, including the swaggering “Blak Britney,” it’s only a matter of time before Miss Kaninna catches on in the States. – Nick Harley

SXSW 2024 Music Showcases

Here are 10 music showcases at SXSW 2024 you should definitely add to your schedule…

Tokyo Calling/Inspired by Tokyo

Elysium, March 11 + March 12

In Japan, Tokyo Calling is known for bringing together some of the country’s most promising artists. That same discovery-geared mindset extends to their eclectic official SXSW showcases, which take place over two nights at Elysium. The March 11 show is led by the ferocious GOKUMON, a System of a Down-esque math-punk trio with co-ed vocals; flame-haired solo alt-rock act CHAMELEON LIME WHOOPIEPIE; and springy rock band BackDrop Cinderella. The following night’s showcase, titled Inspired by Tokyo, includes bouncy indie-rock act Helsinki Lambda Club and the R&B-favoring soft-pop solo artist luvis.

DistroDirect Selects

Las Perlas, March 12 

The Australian-based platform DistroDirect has curated one of the more exciting showcases of the music showcase, encompassing some of Australia’s most exciting artists: soulful R&B (William Singe), keening pop (William Te), electronica (breathe.), and rap/hip-hop (Miss Kaninna).

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Italians Do It Better 

Elysium, March 13

Darkwave and electro-pop aficionados, this showcase featuring artists on the indie label Italians Do It Better is for you. The biggest name might be Johnny Jewel, a solo artist who’s a veteran of influential dark-disco acts Chromatics and Glass Candy. However, don’t sleep on Tempers—the sinewy synth-pop project of singer-songwriter Jasmine Golestaneh—the moody, futuristic Orion or the late-night vibes of Berlin-based electro act Minimal Schlager.

M For Montreal 

Swan Dive Patio, March 13

The annual M For Montreal festival is a carefully curated look at the Canadian city’s diverse music scene. This accompanying showcase is just as mesmerizing, courtesy of Winona Forever, who favor a perfect mix of indie-pop with a sophisticated gloss, as well as the bewitching solo newcomer Lola 1:2 and the debonair troupe Night Lunch. And whatever you do, don’t miss indie rockers Love Language—and especially don’t miss the Corridor, who are one of the most electrifying live acts of the festival.

Wide Days Scotland

The Creek and the Cave, March 13

The Wide Days Scotland showcase demonstrates the eclectic Scottish music scene. Fans of Ride and other noisy shoegaze bands will find much to love about the band Spyres, while VLURE offers a throwback to propulsive ’90s house and electro bangers. On the mellower side is the stark, folk-leaning songwriter Iona Zajac and Mama Terra; the latter, a duo signed to the London label Acid Jazz Records, offers intricate music that brings jazz into the 21st century. 

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Music From Ireland

The Velveeta Room, March 14

The Irish are making a strong showing at SXSW—led by gruff, vulnerable singer-songwriter Mick Flannery; Cardinals, who combine elements of The Big Music popularized by ‘80s acts the Waterboys with tender alt-pop; and keyboard-sparkled rockers Soda Blonde. Also, give an ear to NewDad, who conjure the ominous shoegaze-pop favored by Curve and Lush, as well as the erudite Belfast rap group Kneecap.

Athens in Austin

Lamberts, March 14

Athens, Georgia, has a long history of producing world-shaking bands; perhaps you’ve heard of R.E.M. or the B-52s? This year’s event demonstrates why the beloved college town continues to be an influence. Perhaps the biggest name is Pylon Reenactment Society: led by Vanessa Briscoe Hay, vocalist for post-punk icons Pylon, this new band preserves the loose art-rock vibes of early-’80s Athens. Other promising acts include Clover County—the dreamy indie-folk solo project by A.G. Schiano that compares well to Lydia Loveless or Waxahatchee—power-pop wizard Elijah Johnston and strident rock band Heffner.

Don Giovanni Records

The 13th Floor, March 14

The New Jersey indie label Don Giovanni has long been a haven for smart, challenging punk rock and all points in between. This showcase illustrates their expansive worldview, starting with riotous dance-punks Light Beams, buzzy rockers, Bad Bad Hats, and queer country act Paisley Fields, as well as incisive solo artists Maura Weaver and Tami Hart. 

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Lefty’s Brick Bar, March 14

The British music/culture magazine CLASH Music rarely steers people wrong—and this showcase is no exception, starting with Harry Styles music director/percussionist Pauli The PSM, whose charismatic stage presence is rivaled only by shapeshifting music inspired by every genre imaginable, and the awesomely named, raucous New York City punk band Gnarcissists. And be sure not to miss Alice Ivy, an ARIA-nominated electronic producer from Melbourne, Australia, who recently collaborated with Mayer Hawthorne on the jam “Howlin’ At The New Moon.” – Annie Zaleski