1. Duchess Says – Hands down the most electric in-your-face performance of SXSW. Vocalist, Annie-Claude, assaulted the crowd by forcing faces into her bosom, instructing everyone get down on the ground, and flat out scaring people with her puckish humor and Quebecois-laced rage. These Montreal punks converted fans by baptism of fire.
2. Pines – Australian ambient electronica caresses listeners into a dance-laden trance of tranquility. The sound of Pines is clean, energizing, and addictive. Perfect playlist fodder.
3. Youth Code – Industrial grime has returned. The pulsating vitriol of Nine Inch Nails combines with Skinny Puppy and Throbbing Gristle influences to manifest a brilliant albeit frightening result. Sara Taylor is the anti-Swift, reclaiming blondeness for the badasses.
4. Chrome Sparks – Dreamy, sensual, and stimulating, Jeremy Malvin’s music is released under the moniker Chrome Sparks, and his ethereal soundscapes expand and collapse with deft orchestration to the listener’s delight. Chrome Sparks live show is transcendental at the least.
5. Chrissy and Hawley – Sex-drenched electronica that dares listeners to prove it on the dance floor, Chrissy and Hawley are disco dollies out of Chicago that spin synth-driven melodies to perfection.
6. Happy Meals – Scottish synth-electro that adds a French lyrical flair and Brazilian samba beats, Happy Meals is the quintessential dance party package.
7. Holidae – Simplistic yet brilliant, Holidae impressed at SXSW with synth-heavy songs fortified with beautiful soaring vocals.
8. Ofeliadorme – One word, ‘Bellissima’. Ofeliadorme is an Italian duo who makes dreamy and intimate beats. Seemingly subtle, the duo can erupt into magnanimous and epic audio illustrations.
9. Lights On Ceres – Self-described ‘Space Electro’, these Mexican nationals are unencumbered imagination-wise and bring latin sensuality to synth-pop in a devastatingly attractive way.
10. CO/NTRY – New Wave meets Post-Punk in this appealing yet idiosyncratic aesthetic from Montreal. The odd yet catchy songs burrow deep into your cranial archive.
11. Wet Baes – 80’s influences prevail on this Mexico-City based producer. Vapor Wave, John Hughes movies, and ambient disco all swirl into a perfect blend of audio beauty.
12. GoGo Penguin – A hidden gem in the sea of SXSW acts, GoGo Penguin mixes classical music, trip-hop, and jazz for a truly unique music style. Get lost with this Machester-based trio as they traverse a jazz multiverse.
13. Dead Leaf Echo – Shoegaze and New Wave ebb and flow with this haunting trio from NYC. Effervescent beauty exudes from the pores of these artists.
14. Hoops – Brilliance out of Bloomington, Indiana – Hoops is a retro-pop outfit that has psych influences but ultimately taps into a deep well of nostalgia.
15. Great Dane – Fullerton, California-based act Great Dane gives you a soundtrack to life, fostering perfect synthscapes to color in any bleakness one may encounter.