SXSW Music: It Would Be a Mistake to Miss These 10 Acts

Published on January 24, 2020

I am super excited to say that I’ll return to perform at SXSW again, and I get all kinds of great buzz from it which is exciting, too. But let me tell you about all the artists I am excited to see myself (and it’s a high bar) — that will completely blow your mind.

Now they are all over the place, but to get a grit is to get a grip and that is why we are here, too. This is my gazillionth year at SXSW (you can see my live show here), but the biggest joy for me besides curating “OY VEY SXSW” and booking amazing acts and friends is going to see a bunch of new-to-me bands that I am crazy about.


Take three women from Brooklyn that don’t give a crap about anything and start a White Claw mosh-it. I assume they’d play a residency at Hotel Vegas but more importantly, they are gonna crush and it seems I am not the only one paying attention.

2. Alyona Alyona

If all Lizzo fans could convert to Ukrainian folk rap, they’d be die hard Alyona Alyona fans. No one understands what she is saying but the blue-and-yellow flag will be waved hard at every one of her shows. She will be the break-out star this SXSW and everyone in Europe is booking her left and right. 

3. Dan Mangan 

I saw him once destroy a crowd in NYC even though he is from Vancouver. He seems to make his way and not stop. Performing live since 2003 and playing everything from do-it-yourself shows to Glastonbury, he probably is the poster child for what a great SXSW artist can be. Mix folk, entertainment, and nearly two decades of hustle to meet Dan Mangan. 

4. Let’s Mars

Think inner Britney Spears but from Los Angeles, living in Israel. The lead singer is a yoga teacher in her spare time when she isn’t a rock star and they pack out clubs all over Tel Aviv so the story is quite interesting. Think: Pop music mixed with hip hop and energy. Electronic pop is what the kids call it.

“I personally love seeing any band that will fly 6000 miles to play in Texas.”

Kosha Dillz

5.  Hazy Sour Cherry 

I am always interested in Japanese groups when their bio for a festival tells me they don’t have Facebook but they are on Instagram. 

6. Soccer Mommy

Probably the best name for any band ever, Soccer Mommy is only 22 but has done the most on this list over the past year. I have seen her name headlining every venue I played in this past year and now I think she’ll be massive as her face is literally the poster of SXSW’s front page and she has a big spread in The New York Times. I don’t understand why there isn’t a huge collaboration with her and the U.S. Olympic soccer team this coming year, or at least the local rec team in Austin should come out and support. 

7. Mother Falcon

A rock band like no other, I once saw them play at the old Red 7 with about 20 people on stage, mesmerized. They are literally Austin’s very own SXSW orchestra. I don’t think you can actually do any better in this situation. Not only do they have a killer show, but they also run song-writing camps in the Summer and manage to score films and plays, so you might be interested in using their music for your next indie thriller. I strongly suggest seeing them if you pick from Austin’s BBQ of artistic expression.

8. Psychic Bloom

I can’t tell whether they are living in Los Angeles now, or as many of my Persian friends say “Tehrangeles”, or actually still living in Iran. Either way the music is dope and makes me wants to be front row for a Burger Records showcase, which is the epitome of what you may need for at mid-SXSW push in the day. An outdoor stage. Psychedelic rock. Shoegaze. Tacos.  Freedom. All things important to the first ever Burger Records signing from Tehran.

9. When Chai Met Toast 

First off this name is amazing. I need chai. I need toast. When I listened to the music and saw their socials I realized that this is an act that can blow up in 2020. Indian pop stars coming to Texas that can land on a opening tour for Justin Bieber? Millions of streams in a country where there are one billion people competing for attention? I once decided to make a song: “If I wasn’t Jewish I would be Indian.” I think if I wasn’t a Jewish rapper named Kosha Dillz I’d be in an Indian boy-band called “When Chai Met Toast.” I am beyond myself if these guys don’t make it massive in Texas.

10.  Flavia 

Electronic pop meets Italian-Los Angeles in this one-woman show of awesome. Flavia has been at it for a long time, and her journey proves it through where she has lived. Ireland, Italia, all over America and touring non-stop, she is bound to blow up this year after a two previous SXSW appearances. On top of that she is a one-woman show, and is also a pretty well-accomplished actress that is also speaking on a panel on how to retain fans. Her show last year at the Mohawk was packed, so I expect it to happen again.

Ok so pack your bags! Lets all go to a crappy motel in Austin and get ready for 10 days of BBQ. Hope to see you there, yah?

Kosha Dillz is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. He is also a rapper on adventure and recently left Koreatown, L.A. to live in Tel Aviv-Yafo Israel. He has a TedX called Freestyle Rap Saved My Life and a newly launched podcast called "Hustle Beach." You can follow him on Twitter @koshadillz.

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