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On the List: SXSW Music 2014

12 must-see performers for SXSW Music 2014, round 3

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Action Bronson
Action Bronson Action Bronson/Facebook
Lydia Loveless
Lydia Loveless Lydia Loveless/Facebook
Guatanamo Baywatch
Guantanamo Baywatch Guatanamo Baywatch/Facebook
Gambles
Gambles Katrin Bpunkt/InnBedWith
Zorch
Zorch Zorch/Facebook
Charli XCX
Charli XCX Photo by Nicky Digital
Juan Wuaters
Juan Wuaters Juan Wuaters/Facebook
Mobb Deep
Mobb Deep Mobb Deep/Facebook
Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen Angel Olsen/Facebook
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
St. Paul & the Broken Bones St. Paul & the Broken Bones/Facebook
The Casket Girls
The Casket Girls The Casket Girls/Facebook
Action Bronson
headshot of Big Freedia in space
Lydia Loveless
Guatanamo Baywatch
Gambles
Zorch
Charli XCX
Juan Wuaters
Mobb Deep
Angel Olsen
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
The Casket Girls

Tuesday’s third wave of SXSW Music artist announcements came in like a wrecking ball, with 741 (!) new acts spanning virtually every point on the creative spectrum. The list below is by no means comprehensive — instead, these 12 names immediately jumped off of our screens and had CultureMap Austin clearing March 11-16 on our calendars.

Action Bronson

A 300-pound Albanian-American rapper who specializes in intricate rhyme schemes linking basketball, food and medicinal substances, Action Bronson towers over the contemporary hip-hop scene. Here’s hoping the former sous chef films a few segments for his rumored new cooking show while in Austin.

Big Freedia

New Orleans’ queen diva of bounce music was twerking before Miley Cyrus even graduated from pull-ups. Expect this Big Easy drag queen (real name Freddie Ross) and her bevy of big-bootied dancers to upend SXSW with azz-everywhere antics.

The Casket Girls

Songwriter, producer and record label owner Ryan Graveface provides the candy-coated riffs over which twin sisters Phaedra and Elsa Greene lay down spooky girl-group melodies. Expect February album True Love Kills the Fairy Tale to catapult this Savannah, Georgia, trio out of the Southern shadows and into the Technicolor light.

Charli XCX

This English sensation should draw elite crowds at SXSW — after all, postmodern synth-pop appeals to every demographic slice of our digital-age pie. Like Miley Cyrus and Lorde, Charli XCX isn’t just racking up album sales and online buzz; she’s also redefining what it means to be an ambitious young woman in control of her career.

Gambles

Matthew Daniel Siskin’s stark brand of storytelling folk sounds like the second coming of early Dylan and Cohen. But Gambles’ heart-wrenching songs are pulled fresh from the emotional wreckage of a failed marriage, allowing them to cut deeper than any elliptical smoke-and-mirror parables.

Guantanamo Baywatch

With well over 1,200 bands already announced for SXSW, standing out is a must — and this Portland trio will have no problem body-slamming our attention spans. From ‘50s rockabilly to ‘60s doo-wop to ‘70s glam-punk to ‘80s camp-pop, no other surf-inspired, Godzilla costume-wearing garage act comes close.

Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless got her first break at SXSW in 2010 with a gritty, punk-infused take on alt-country. But the Ohioan looks to steal even more thunder this year with her take-no-prisoners, pop-flirting album To Love Somebody, which has placed Loveless high on several early Best of 2014 lists.

Mobb Deep

Prodigy and Havoc’s 1995 classic The Infamous stands as one of the five best all-time examples of hardcore New York street-rap. Consider this year’s SXSW return (they last appeared in 2012) a warmup for their inevitable 20th anniversary celebration.

Angel Olsen

This twentysomething Midwesterner first caught a break backing up indie-folk royalty Bonnie “Prince” Billy. But Olsen’s haunting 2012 debut album and promising 2014 sophomore followup give her stunning, otherworldly voice adequate folk-rock room to roam.

St. Paul & the Broken Bones

These Alabama soul revivalists dress sharp, play hard and will drive a stake through the heart of any supposed SXSW sophomore slump. With debut full-length “Half the City” under their belts and frontman Paul Janeway hitting his James Brown-esque stride, they might just steal the whole damn show.

Juan Wauters

With quirky lo-fi folk-punkers The Beets, Juan Wauters positioned himself as another in a long line of sarcastic New York poet-immigrants. But the literary tendencies and gentle rhythms of Wauters’ work step fully forward on his debut album, N.A.P. North American Poetry, out February 4.

Zorch

Kaleidoscopic extravagance is the name of the game for these Austin psych-pop luminaries — Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne even took notice and handpicked the local duo to open his Oklahoma City performance space/art gallery last fall. Don’t miss the chance to get lost at the intersection of avant-garde art and vibrant sonic experimentation.

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