SXSW 2018 Artists to Watch


SXSW is approaching fast and Highlark Magazine is gearing up to head out to the music festival filled week again this year. With an extensive artist exhibition roster; we decided to narrow down the lengthy list and ask our staff who they’re excited to see on the list this year. Here’s some talent they’re referring and some 10 second reasons why:


[+] The Britanys

Saw them a couple of times in New York and the hype around them was intense…they make classic indie rock pretty similar to the Libertines with Strokes-y vocals. Very Good.” – KATIE


I have seen them loads; they have a song called ‘thank god i’m not you’ and its soooo good. Really rocky, and they’re tipped to be huge in 2018.” – KATIE

[+Public Access TV

Probably already on your radar but I’m such a huge fan of them so couldn’t leave them out. Ridiculously excited for their new album.” – KATIE


Just released their debut album and i’m obsessed-their sound is really punky/gritty and loud, and incredible to watch live, the front man reminds me a bit of Fat White Family in his stage presence.” – KATIE

[+Sunflower Bean

In love with the soft vocal harmonies on calmer songs, but also that they can jump between that and full rock star wailing. ‘I Was a Fool’ is one of my most played songs atm.” – KATIE


Blend indie with urban/electronica – their single ‘Bubblegum’ is fast, energetic and infectious, and their frontwoman Theresa is phenomenal, and so cool.” – KATIE


She’s so good/she’ll definitely blow up soon ” – NICOLE

[+88 Rising: JOJI x KEITH APE x Rich Brian

These guys are all part of the same label. They’re repping asian artists and have definitely broken into the industry unconventionally. Joji had a huuuuge following as a Youtube star before becoming an artist. Keith Ape reps the South Korean trap game and has become mega popular. Rich Chigga is from Indonesia and has a huuuuge following ” – NICOLE

[+Nadia Rose

Female Grime is underrated and she’s really good” – NICOLE


His voice/style is so unique and his songs are sooooo catchy” – NICOLE

[+] Smokepurpp

Repping the South Florida game along w Ghostemane, XXXtentacion (unfortunately), Lil Pump and Ski Mask”- NICOLE

[+Wyclef Jean

who doesn’t love Wyclef????”- NICOLE


An up-and-coming singer-songwriter with an interesting, often raw and vulnerable, sound. Very empowering, known to be a very good performer/vocalist live” – VANESSA


I have been obsessed with his mixtape ever since I heard his track “MICHUUL” this summer – a tribute to Michael Jackson, which also influences his sound. Seriously, listen to it!!!” – VANESSA

[+Men I Trust

Really good electronic with a French twist (they are from Montreal), will immediately make you want to dance” – VANESSA

[+Night Beats

I’ll let their own description do the talking: ‘Night Beats play pure psychedelic R&B music that spikes the punch and drowns your third eye in sonic waves of colour.’ ” – VANESSA


Good experimental stuff from Philly. They “play rock music backwards.”” – VANESSA

[+Plastic Pinks

One of my favorites and they’ve previously featured for Highlark” – VANESSA


!!!!! self-explanatory ” – VANESSA

[+Snail Mail

Really good indie from a young female songwriter with a powerful voice. Listen to Thinning.” – VANESSA

[+The Watchers

These Bay Area native talents show how tradition has a place in the 21st century. They give underground rock an interesting revamp to nostalgia.” – DONNESH

[+Hot Flash Heat Wave

A hybrid of alt. rock and dream pop. Their crisp indie guitar ballads and bedroom rock style will take those who grew up on the Killers or the Strokes, back to teen afternoons, staring at the ceiling, drifting into dreams” – DONNESH

[+Holy Bouncer

A Barcelona born psychedelic band that have a retro-hippie sound that takes elements and instrumentation from classic American rock bands, but gives them their own Catalan-tinged flair.” – DONNESH

[+Weird Bloom

This strange and upbeat duo might be seldom heard but give a spring in your step with every song. The Rome-grown Italian pair are somewhere between Tame Impala and the more eccentric side of the Beatle” – DONNESH


A Spanish psychedelic band that leave you in a hypnotic state with their dreamy, mellow pop sound. This 4-piece indie band have got the ideal synths and ethereal vocals to just chill out to” – DONNESH


“LA’s rising hearthrob that has taken the music world by storm by fusing old school and new age Latinx music into a wild new music experience. His fans make his live shows that much wilder” – JEANETTE

[+The Marias

“Honestly, have recommended this band to every person, friend, family member and pet who comes in contact with me since I discovered this ethereal and dreamy band. From local bars to Coachella with one EP should tell you enough.” – JEANETTE

[+The Buttertones

“I see A LOT of shows; and I still recommend any music lover or appreciator to see these guys live. Their music is already amazing, their live performances are even better” – JEANETTE

[+La Luz

“Always here for all-women groups. If you are into surf-rock but want a refreshing move away from all the dude musicians, this is your go to band” – JEANETTE

[+Lido Pimienta

“Unapologetic, strong Colombian-Canadian female with messages as strong as her vocals and powerful as her beats” – JEANETTE

[+No Vacation

“This dreamy band from SF made its way into my playlist and straight into my heart.” – JEANETTE

[+Part Time

“A instant full-time dance party” – JEANETTE


“A personal favorite. mix of rockabilly and surf-punk wrapped in a DIY alternative sound. Theyre just the right amount of 50’s sound and LA attitude” – JEANETTE


“I was lucky to come across their track ‘You Were the Right One’ and haven’t been able to stop listening to their dreamy synth pop ever since” – JEANETTE


“This Chicago based band has a playful indie sound around relatable topics of heartbreak and youthful love. Is there a better combination than that?” – JEANETTE

[+] Andrew WK

“Because why not? I was in high-school when Andrew WK first came around, and all of his songs scream energy and good vibes. I’ve never seen AW.K live, but I’m sure it’s just one non-stop party.” – JOHN

[+] Fastball

 Two-hit wonders from the late 90’s are still active, having just released an album last year. After listening, it’s cool to see that they’ve retained that 90s pop/rock sound, it adds so much nostalgia to their sound. When I saw their name on the lineup, I was immediately filled with joy, thinking “They’re still around!?” I’m curious to see how they perform live, as veterans of the genre they must put on a great show.” – JOHN

[+] Stop Light Observations

“A band I just started listening to and love. They have a really fun sound and blend a bunch of different genres. Most songs start slow and then build to something wonderful, which I’m a huge fan. I would love to experience this live.” – JOHN

[+] A. Chal

“Mixing R&B singing and rap over some sensual base-heavy beats, A.Chal will have you feeling like you smoked a blunt to yourself, without actually having done so. (But if you do, that’s all you). The Peruvian born singer-songwriter seamlessly transitions between English and Spanish. I can always appreciate an artist that gets me feeling faded without having smoked. If you’re into that too, catch his set at SXSW.” – ALICE

[+] Alice Bag

“An OG of the Los Angeles punk scene, Alice Bag is soulful vocals meets raw punk edge. Her lyrical content consists of social critiques through a queer feminist lens. Alice’s stage presence is as unapologetic as her music: from her ever-changing hair to her bold outfits to her striking, passionate energy, making her one of my favorite performers to see live. If you want to experience an LA punk icon and the type of energy that will have you not giving two fucks about what anyone thinks, then Alice is a SXSW must-see.” – ALICE

[+] Hugo “Poyo” Segovia

“Hugo’s Spanish vocals are smooth and uplifting. Coupled with sounds ranging from folky to jazzy, Hugo makes difficult matters of the heart sound promising. Like yes, you just broke my heart, but I’m going to sing my way through it. And for that, I would show up to his set. Plus, his music has me feeling like I’m in love. I can’t miss an opportunity to lock eyes with another person feeling the same way, even if just for a moment.” – ALICE

[+] Combo Chimbita

“A psychedelic tropical fusion, Combo Chimbita will have you dancing yourself into another dimension. Combo Chimbita has been one of the best live performances I have been too (and I’ve been to quite a few). There’s something majestic about how the vocals mesh with the guacharaca, synth/bass, drums, and guitar. Combined with light visuals, the energy they exude, will take you to a different state of mind. ” – ALICE


[+] Jade Bird

“SXSW vet Jade Bird (yes, that’s her real name) hails from Hexham, England, despite her EP’s title, “Something American.” More than that, she’s something special – a loosely-categorized “country” singer with “raw and robust vocals” as Rolling Stone puts it. Song I’m most excited to hear live: ‘Cathedral’” – ALLI

[+] Mallrat

“The self-described “Princess of (Northside) Brisbane,” this artist comes to us recommended by another SXSW Queen, Woodes. Her electro-pop sounds lend themselves well to any cool-girl, shameless wannabe aesthetic. Need more convincing? Listen to ‘Uninvited’” – ALLI

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