If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.
South By Southwest begins tomorrow, March 15, which means there are currently hundreds of musicians from all over the globe making their way to Austin in hopes of furthering their careers while playing anywhere from one to ten shows, if not more, in the coming days. To say this believe is a little absurd would be hard to deny, but history has proven time and time again that every year there are several acts whose time in Austin helps propel them into the national spotlight. 2015, for example, kickstarted the global obsession with Courtney Barnett’s insatiable rock talent, as well as our Leon Bridges’ new take on old soul music. No one knows who will be the next to pop, but we have found five artists we believe everyone, including those not attending SXSW, should make time to know in the days ahead.
In The Whale (Twitter)
Hailing from Colorado with a take on rock and roll that is almost as raw as the bison liver Leonardo DiCaprio ate in <em>The Revenant</em>, In The Whale is a two-piece group whose sound and energy rivals any genre peer you can name. To see the band perform is to reconnect with what first made you fall in love with music. It’s loud, wild, unpredictable, and unquestionably born from a place where the only goal is to entertain. We first caught the group while they were appearing as part of Riot Fest 2014, and ever since we have been impatiently waiting to see them rise to the heights of rock success we believe they deserve. With a new album release on the horizon, 2016 feels like the year In The Whale take the next step towards becoming industry mainstays, and SXSW is the perfect place for that evolution to begin.
Cousin Stizz (Twitter)
Most people associate New England with the numerous rock bands the upper Northeast has produced, but those hoping to discover the next Aerosmith will not find the sound they seek with Cousin Stizz. Instead, they will discover something even better. Channeling a wide array of hip-hop influences through a very specific sound, Stizz has been putting Boston rap back on the map since his Suffolk County mixtape dropped in mid-2015. With the recent viral hit “Super Bowl” still in regular rotation with underground rap fans, Stizz seems poised for big things in the months and years ahead. This SXSW may be your last chance to catch the emcee in a small venue setting. Don’t miss out.
Slingshot Dakota (Twitter)
If you have been following our blog at all this year you already know that we are huge fans of Topshelf Records duo Slingshot Dakota. The group has just released one of the year’s best albums, and they will now kickoff what will quickly become an extended period touring with a slew of shows around Austin. We expect material new and old, all of which will be met with applause and cheers. If you have been hunting for the next big thing in indie rock, look no further than this group. We promise, you will not be disappointed.
James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Manager for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.