Max Mertens

From Baauer to Qrion, Here Are THUMP's 10 Must-See Acts at SXSW 2016

Baauer, D∆WN, Jlin, and seven other artists you need to catch in Austin this week.

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Mar 14 2016, 10:20pm

Max Mertens

You've already read our official guide to SXSW's best parties, featuring showcases from established and up-and-coming labels and collectives, and today we're spotlighting ten acts we feel you shouldn't miss this week. Some of these performers have played the festival before (Baauer, Sophie), while others are making their Austin debuts (Iglooghost, N.A.A.F.I.'s Mexican Jihad).

Note: set times are pulled from SXSW's website and are completely subject to change. A handful of these artists are also playing unofficial shows.

Image by Nicholas Gazin

1. Baauer

Hometown: New York, NY

Why: The producer's hugely-anticipated debut album on LuckyMe, Aa, comes out this week, so he's taking over 800 Congress for a record release party. What we've heard already—including the aggressive "Day Ones" (featuring Novelist and Leikeli47), the Future and Pusha T-assisted "Kung Fu," and "GoGo!"—sounds incredibly promising, and you never know what special guests might show up.

Where: 800 Congress (March 15, 12AM-1AM), The Gatsby (March 16, 11-11:40PM)

2. Charli XCX & Sophie

Hometown: London, UK

Why: Just when you thought PC Music might be reaching their 15th minute of fame, the collective's most-distinguished associate Sophie teamed up with the British popstar for the infectious Pulp Fiction-sampling "Trophy," off the latter's recent EP of the same title. Who knows what to expect from their joint performances, but given their histories, it's guaranteed not to be boring.

Where: Hype Hotel (March 17, 1-1:45AM), Stubb's (March 18, 11-11:45PM)

3. D∆WN

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Why: A former member of Diddy's Making The Band girl group Danity Kane, R&B-pop singer-songwriter Dawn Richard's has since struck out on her own, and her critically-acclaimed, vocoder-laced 2015 album Blackheart proved she's going to be around for years to come.

Where: The North Room (March 16, 1:30-1:50AM), Empire Control Room (March 17, 11:20AM-12PM)

4. DJ Richard

Hometown: Portsmouth, RI

Why: We named the White Materials co-founder's debut LP Grind—which drew from the best aspects of American and European house and techno—one of our best albums of last year. Since he's currently based in Berlin, this is one of your best chances to catch him stateside.

Where: Barcelona (March 18, 10-11PM), Plush (March 19, 11PM-12:10AM)

5. Guerilla Toss

Hometown: Boston, MA

Why: If you're tired of standing politely watching bands with your arms crossed, and instead want to dance your ass off, there's no better bet than Boston noise-funk group Guerilla Toss. The DFA-signed act—who recently released their latest album Eraser Stargazer—demand crowd participation at every show and you'd be foolish to resist them.

Where: Barracuda (March 18, 10-10:40PM)

6. Iglooghost

Hometown: Bath, UK

Why: After dropping his well-received Chinese Nü Yr EP on Brainfeeder last year, the semi-mysterious British producer and everybody's favourite all-caps Twitter account is set to make his SXSW debut, which will be undoubtably as colourful and chaotic as his high-BPM, grime-influenced compositions.

Where: The Main II (March 16, 8-8:30PM), 800 Congress (March 18, 8-8:45PM)

7. Jlin

Hometown: Gary, IN

Why: Sure there's plenty of other festivals this year where you could see one of footwork's brightest stars—who made one of THUMP's favourite albums of last year—but the producer's late night set on the fourth day of SXSW will be a shot of energy for weary bodies.

Where: Valhalla (March 19, 12:30PM-1:50PM)

8. Karriem Riggins

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Why: While he's hardly an undiscovered artist by any definition, Detroit-born, LA-based jazz drummer and rap producer Karriem Riggins has deservedly been in the spotlight recently, as the man behind Kanye West's Arthur Russell-sampling "30 Hours." His 2012 debut album on Stones Throw, Alone Together, was an underrated collection of hip-hop instrumentals, and there's a good chance he'll be playing music from his forthcoming sophomore record.

Where: Empire Garage (March 19, 10-10:45PM)

9. Mexican Jihad

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Why: His name might raise eyebrows, but as the creative director of rising Mexican collective N.A.A.F.I., Mexican Jihad (a.k.a. Alberto Bustamante) is responsible for some of the most exciting culture-colliding club music we've heard in a long time.

Where: Barcelona (March 15, 9-10PM)

10. Qrion

Hometown: Sapporo, Japan

Why: The Secret Songs-affiliated artist recently got her US artist visa, and she's making the most of it by playing not one, but three high-profile SXSW showcases. Her ambient soundscapes and gentle melodies provide the perfect panacea for when you're coming down from a hangover.

Where: 800 Congress (March 15, 9-9:45PM), The North Door (March 16, 9:50-10:30PM), ScratcHouse (March 18, 9:10-10PM)

Max Mertens is on Twitter.