Skip to content

As the annual South By Southwest festival reaches a huge milestone in celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the SXSW student team decided to round out 30 of their personal favorite artists of the festival and write short bits about what makes them stand out from the rest of the pack. With past success stories including artists such as The White Stripes, John Mayer, Alabama Shakes and M.I.A, be sure to check out our list of favorites before they explode onto the airwaves in the coming years.

Here are the first 6 artists that they’re excited about. Make sure to follow the article and playlist below for new artists and songs every day of SXSW.



Location: New York, NY
Genre: Indie Rock

At the head of New York based Porches stands Aaron Maine, singer, songwriter and chief mood swinger. Behind him, a four piece band comprised of guitar, bass, synth acting as the cold yet supportive leather couch for this auditory therapy session. If you haven’t put it together yet… Porches is sad. But the good kind of sad. It’s intimate yet expressive and serves a purpose.

Their debut full-length Slow Dance in the Cosmos via Exploding in Sound Records, resulted in a small yet dedicated fanbase who admired Maine’s for his lyrical honesty and infectious melodies. However, with the recent release of their sophomore LP Pool via Domino Records, Maine & Co. have gone from small-time heros to Pitchfork’s Best New Music almost overnight.

Porches stray away from some of their normal paths taken in earlier releases by channeling some dark parts of the early 80s (think the The Smiths, The Cure, and/or New Order). Despite the new influence, Maine stays true to his somber roots. Pool drips in gloom, not just in writing but sonically as well. Maine incorporates warbling synths with pulsating drum & bass lines to his songwriting, creating a beautiful darkly heavy soundscape that’s weirdly bouncey enough to dance to.

Though only just recently having graced the intensely tight quarters of our wonderful on-campus venue Afterhours, Porches will be a must see for us and should be for all considering all the hype.



Location: Philly, PA
Genre: Indie Rock / Lo-Fi

Philly-based singer/songwriter & multi-instrumentalist, Alexander Giannascoli aka Alex G, has gained a sizable audience through a series of DIY releases on Bandcamp in a short span of time. Giannascoli’s sixth album DSU reached critical acclaim featuring on the list for each Noisey, Consequence of Sound, The Washington Post, Vogue, CMJ, and Time Out’s Best Album of 2014.

The October 9th release of his seventh full-length, Beach Music through Domino Recording Company sees Giannascoli rip a few pages out of his DSU play book. He combines his Elliott Smith like writing and vocal tendencies with trashes of distortion and feedback much like earlier releases. However, Giannascoli doesn’t shy from getting weird. Pitch shifting his voice anywhere he can and almost completely drowning out some sections of tracks with thick, unwavering waves of reverb.

On stage, Alex G is known to abandon most of these recorded intricacies and rely heavily on distortion and fuzz, delivering an emotional and gritty performance that we hopefully catch during our SXSW tenure.



Location: Philly, PA
Genre: Indie Rock / Lo-Fi

Julien Baker is American singer-songwriter hailing from Memphis, Tennessee and despite only just releasing her debut studio album, Sprained Ankle via 6131 Records, Baker has been pinging up on everyone’s radar leading up to South By.

On behalf of Northeastern’s WRBB 104.9 FM (yep, folks we got a radio station!), Quinn & I were lucky enough to squeeze ourselves on the guest list for her set @ Berklee’s Red Room – Café 939 on January 23, 2016. Equipped with the only an electric guitar and a microphone, Baker managed to deliver the already gut-wrenching Sprained Ankle in a surprisingly powerful fashion leaving most of the crowd speechless. It may not be the most turnt setting down in Austin but it’s worth it.



Location: Montclair, New Jersey
Genre: Indie Rock

After a number of different releases and years of touring, Montclair, New Jersey’s Pinegrove have offered their finest work to date with their newest LP, Cardinal. The band’s captivating blend of indie rock, pop and country elements is more vivid, fine-tuned, and addictive than ever before. Vocalist/guitarist Evan Stephens Hall along with brothers Zack Levine (drums) and Nick Levine (guitar) form a core that has been playing together since early childhood. Painting his emotions onto these songs with colorful and kinetic strokes, Hall moves through Cardinal’s eight songs with unforgettable energy and passion, with a vocal performance that is pleasantly reminiscent of Will Oldham and Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch. Highlighted by the downtrodden nostalgia of twangy opener “Old Friends” and the climactic refrain of “Size of the Moon,” where the confession “I don’t know what I’m afraid of,” is just as much of a sing-a-long as it is an emotional breakdown. Moods don’t stay in one place for very long on Cardinal – they are carefully crafted and revisited throughout to continually evoke the album’s central themes of memory, language, and home. – Run For Cover Records



Location: Oakland, California
Genre: Indie Rock

Day Wave is an American indie rock band from Oakland, California, formed in 2015. The band is really just Jackson Phillips, though for live performances, Phillips enlists a few friends to fill out his sound. Phillips released Day Wave’s debut EP Head Case in 2015 to swift success. Each song is carefully composed with reverb riddled guitars licks and crashing electronic drumbeats, creating an upbeat and atmospheric landscape for Phillips airy vocals & somewhat lighthearted lyrics to dance as freely as need be. It’s contagious combination that can only truly be harbored out of the california sun.

Day Wave has received attention has spiked the attention of prominent publications such as Noisey, Consequence of Sound, Los Angeles Times and Billboard. This attention has landed him in SXSW’s spotlight resulting, in Day Wave appearing on the lineup on some of the most coveted showcases. *cough* Spotify House *cough*.



Location: Germany
Genre: Indie Rock / Dream Pop

The Berlin based Niklas Kramer, started the Still Parade project in 2013. Since then, he has steadily been growing in stature with the dream pop/folk realm. Kramer utilizes his high pitched, airy vocals to meld softly-picked guitar riffs and echoed drums together. Over the course of 3 years, which include a handful of official singles, Kramer has experimented with a mixture of different sounds. Kramer blends aspects of funk & soul with warm synthesizer sounds and crystalline pedal steel guitar to add a cinematic feel. It seems as though, Kramer slides in somewhere between Tame Impala and fellow SXSW 2016 colleague Day Wave.

We’re excited to announce that Still Parade will be performing at our inaugural Northeastern University Alumni Event presented the Northeastern Office of Alumni Relations & College of Arts, Media and Design. The showcase will be held on March, 16th from 2-5 PM at Cedar Door.


Subscribe to the playlist for 6 news artists and songs every day of this week!