Ten Must-See Acts at SXSW 2014

Categories: Previews

Photo by Philip Kromer, via Flickr

There's anywhere from 1 to 10 billion bands at any given SXSW. This year I think there are more. This makes planning one's festival schedule a daunting monstrosity. But don't worry, The Dallas Observer is here to help. Because it's our opinion that festivals should be about seeing great bands, not trying to find them, we've done the sleepless nights and tedious filtering for you. Luckily, there were many diamonds in the rough, something for everyone. So here you are, 10 acts you absolutely need to see at this year's South by Southwest (in no particular order).

Angel Olsen

Like delicate strips of origami, Olsen's songs unfold with silky precision. There's a stream of heartfelt confession and eloquent storytelling that runs through her music and right up out of her feathery breath. The result is songwriting timeless enough to etch into stone. As stripped and naked as her songs appear, they emit an undeniable quality of depth, a dimension that sounds both cavernous and spacey, both mythological and sharply modern. Count on Angel Olsen to provide the most intensely intimate set at this year's SXSW.

DJ Rashad

Here's an act that every dance fan should be ecstatic about. After all, DJ Rashad is one of the godfathers of dance music's most cutting edge splinter, Footwork. As one of the strangest limbs dance ever shot forth into the world, Footwork is like house music passed through the looking glass, subjected to surgery, and then spliced back together like a Burroughs cut-up. What's one to expect at a DJ Rashad set? Feverish dancing, airborne tendrils of sweat and a psychologically dizzying collection of tracks that will swing your head in a centrifuge.


As one of R&B's freshest talents, Kelela uses her voice like a poetic auteur, oozing confident sensuality and emotional brokenness better than any other vocalist at the moment (and that's just concerning the character, not the lyricism, of her delivery). The instrumentals that back Kelela's come-hither voice are of equal pedigree, ranging from lush, gauzy textures to melodically exquisite club-worthy burners. Riding the high of one of 2013's best records, Cut 4 Me, Kelela is more than on track to bring the goods to SXSW this year.

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Really looking forward to my packed agenda at 2014 Austin SXSW and checking out the new hot spot The Roost for live music and new talent. This is a great event.   

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