From Agoraphobia to Zionstereo, Your Almost A-Z Guide for SXSW
Despite the influx of marquee talent like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lady Gaga, there’s still plenty of up-and-coming artists to discover at SXSW. It’s tough to follow all the music that’ll shake up Austin this year, but it’s worth checking out which Latino acts will leave their marks.
Here’s your primer on some don’t-miss Latino acts – along with some bands from Spain – to keep your SXSW festival ear and eye on.
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As straightforward a rock n’ roll band as they come, the Mexico-city based crew resurrects early-Sabbath vibes on jams like “La Noche.”
Honorable Mention: Agoraphobia
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With appearances in ’09, ’10 and ’12, the electronic-based Colombian outfit is a SXSW regular, bringing their cumbia-fueled “Fuego” to the U.S. festival scene.
Honorable mention: Buenaparte
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With corrido sensibilities and chilled-out synth productions, the innovators of Centavrvs blend an iconic Mexican sound with the modern global dance scene.
Honorable mention: Chancha Via Ciruito
Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquesta
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These “musical omnivores” might hail from Chicago, but they’ll tell you their backgrounds in indie, rock, afrobeat and jazz trickle down from the Cumbia glue revived in their overall sound.
Honorable mention: Deers
With generous support from Diplo, Bogota’s El Freaky Collective staples together a pastiche of Afro-Caribbean musical lore onto a backbone of EDM and booty bass.
Honorable Mention: Él Mató A Un Policía Motorizado
Felipe El Hombre
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They call these guys Latin Rock, but short of their Spanish vocals, these guys grind a psyched-out, garage-rock sound you expect to hear in Austin, making SXSW a perfect fit.
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If you’ve caught onto the whole culture-mashing motif going on here, then consider this multi-ethnic songstress’ pop take on Mexican roots music.
Honorable mention: Ghost Magnet Roach Motel
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Rapper Angel Del Villar II is a native New Yorker (via Queens) but the Dominican and Puerto Rican roots of his immigrant parents shape an honest sound that knows no boundaries.
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Twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz come from Paris, but their Afro-Cuban roots are on full display. Their indie/electronic sound was recently noticed by the A&R minds at XL Recordings.
Honorable mention: Irene Diaz
Juan Pablo Vega
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Go ahead and coin the nickname “Juan Legend” for this buttery pop vocalist out of Colombia, because he’s going to be melting hearts in Austin come March.
Honorable mention: Javier Escovedo and the City Lights
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A bombshell frontwoman makes no difference in the sound, but this Chilean quartet brings a dose of sexy to Austin. Look for some Latino-style bumpin’ and grindin’ on the dance floor.
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These guys bring together people from Brazil, Cameroon, Sweden, Venezuela and Spain, a perfect fit at a festival that celebrates the positivity of music.
Honorable Mention: Matias Cena
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Spaniards Carles Baena and Abel Suárez produce an inventive post-rock sound that could be from anywhere. The band is one of the least bound by cultural roots to hit SXSW this year.
Honorable Mention: O Amor Existe
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SXSW wouldn’t be the same without a few Ticos in the mix. That’s exactly what the uptempo pop punk/reggae/roots outfit Percance brings to this year’s fabulously diverse lineup.
Honorable Mention: Pommez Internacional
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British-born Will Holland has 15 studio albums to his credit, with much of that output grounded in a soulful blend of Latin-influenced electronic music that never ceases to entertain.
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After a career backing the likes of Juanes and Shakira, this gifted Puertorriqueña has spread her wings and taken center stage with force.
Sonido San Francisco
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Psychedelic tropical electronic music isn’t a figment of your imagination, it comes in the form of this quasi-ravey cumbia music group making an appearance at this year’s SXSW.
Honorable Mention: Sexores
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If you’re looking to sway, mosh, dance or see an all-around party of a stage-show, be sure to keep your eye out for this Barcelona-based reggae/pop/latin rock/salsa fusion band.
Honorable Mention: Twin Shadow
URSS Bajo el Árbol
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This experimental music project began in 2009 in the heart of DF and helped shape Mexico’s bustling indie rock scene with a sound reminiscent of In Rainbows-era Radiohead and Porter.
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Zionstereo’s anthemic shoutout to Colombia’s Cali combines the country’s local rhythms with the communicative power of hip-hop.
Honorable Mention: Zalama Crew