Every year, a handful of bands from Dallas are invited to play SXSW's official music showcase. Names are trickling out now for this year's festival of film, interactive media and music, which takes place March 9-18 in Austin. These 11 bands will be making the trip.
Cure for Paranoia
Dallas soul-infused hip-hop quartet Cure for Paranoia formed after the four dudes took a “doomsday road trip” in search of the apocalypse. While they did not find the end of the world, the group has quickly left its trippy mark on the blossoming Deep Ellum rap scene, winning Dallas Observer’s best new act in 2016 and best group act in 2017. This year will mark the group’s first official foray to Austin for the annual music festival, and it surely won't be its last.
The Outfit, TX
The Dallas rap trio of Dorian Terrell, JayHawk Walker and Mel Kyle is bringing its “Cooly Fooly Space Age Funk” to Austin for an unannounced official showcase. Featuring a Southern assortment of synthesizers, moogs and 808s, the alien-inspired clique’s energetic double album Cognac / Four Corner Room was named one of Complex’s top 10 Texas rap mixtapes in 2013. The Outfit, TX is always steadily releasing new music. It's no stranger to the Austin music festival and is guaranteed to bring the sauce.
Dallas retro-fuzz trio Mothership was once a family affair formed by brothers Kyle Juett and Kelley Juett, who played rock reminiscent of UFO, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Sabbath all rolled into one fat doobie. Their dad originally played drums until the brothers hooked up with Judge Smith and signed to Ripple Music. Fast forward a few years, and the band will perform an official Ripple Music showcase at Valhalla on March 16. “It’s been four years since Mothership last played SXSW,” says vocalist and bassist Kyle Juett. “We’re real excited to be back in Austin … tons of heavy bands coming to play the event this year.”
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NHD — Nourallah Harvey Dezen
Nourallah Harvey Dezen is a folk trio formed out of pure love for the music. All well-established professional musicians, Salim Nourallah, Billy Harvey and Alex Dezen eventually took their collaborative act off the road and into the studio to record their Americana debut And the Devil Went Up to Portland, which was released in October. “This whole thing came together with us goofing off and playing on each other’s songs in a round-robin songwriting setting,” Dezen says in a press release. “One night we looked up simultaneously and said, ‘This is actually pretty cool!’”
Dallas “psychedelic doom” trio Wo Fat will also make its way down to Austin for the Ripple Music official SXSW showcase. The only Texas metal act announced for the music festival so far, Wo Fat has been making quite a name for itself since launching its Southern blend of stoner groove in 2003. The trio’s 2014 release, The Conjuring, was named one of NPR’s favorite metal releases that year. “We always love playing Austin,” says vocalist and guitarist Kent Stump, “but playing Austin at SXSW with a bunch of wicked bands that are also our label-mates — that we don’t often get to play with — is absolutely killer and will be a rockin’ good time.”
Former professional motocross racer Scotty Trimble, also known as Sixo, has been making beats and producing rap inspired by the psychedelic folk of the ’60s and ’70s for the last decade. His latest album, The Odds of Free Will, was recorded over three years and features Sixo’s philosophical introspection with help from some of indie rap’s biggest heavyweights in Open Mike Eagle and Awol One, among others. Depending on the guest artists who accompany Sixo, his SXSW performance is bound to turn some heads.
While her name might be unrecognizable to some, her music definitely is not. Dallas rapper Tayla Parx — real name Taylor Parks — has written bangers for the likes of Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys and Ariana Grande, and she received multiple Grammy Award nominations before she turned 24. She’s also had small roles in television and film, including Gilmore Girls, Everybody Hates Chris and 2007’s Hairspray remake. Parx released her debut mixtape, TaylaMade, last year, which showcased the singer's versatility and marketability. According to SXSW’s website, Parx is also seeking “brand partnership,” so it looks like she has more than just performing on her mind when she heads to Central Texas.
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Led by the soothing electro poppiness of Katrina Cain’s voice, Denton dream pop band Tomkat will also head to Austin this year for an official SXSW showcase that has yet to be announced. The quintet’s latest full-length, 2017’s Icarus, received critical acclaim from websites such as The Huffington Post and Billboard, so it is no surprise that the group is heading to Austin to make a few more connections. According to a press release, Tomkat is “looking to express their native pop and electronic instincts without sacrificing their evolved temperament to the confines of a modern musical masterpiece” à la Phantogram, Passion Pit, etc.
Classically trained in piano and self-taught on the guitar, Rowlett singer-songwriter Kate Aubringer knows her fair share of pain. After surviving a head-on car crash caused by a drunken driver, she leaned on songwriting as a coping mechanism. Auringer’s music tends to focus on love, hope and perseverance, and she is recording her debut album with producer Britton Patrick Morgan. According to a release, Auringer hopes that her music “will help others who have also survived trauma in their lives,” but for now, the next step is SXSW.
Wesley Jensen and the Penny Arcade
Rumor has it that Wesley Jensen was conceived by hippies in Northern California. He has since relocated to Denton, where his blend of modern and classical folk and Americana has found lots of fans. According to his Facebook biography, “his music often reflects his small-town upbringing, heavily inspired by the people and scenery surrounding him,” which is good because he is off touring the countryside in preparation for his official SXSW appearance.
Ronnie Heart once said, “I like going wild in nice clothes,” and he meant it. His look, along with his proficiency in multiple instruments, landed him a role as a stunt performer and consultant for a Prince docudrama produced by Reelz last year. Oozing with pure soul and charisma, much like his idols and biggest influences, Michael Jackson and Prince, the Forth Worth-based cosmic funk vocalist has opened for Corey Feldman and was nominated for best funk act at last year’s Dallas Observer Music Awards.