From San Jose math rockers to an up-and-coming Vallejo emcee, this year’s South By Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., is packed with serious Bay Area talent. Here are six local acts to catch at SXSW.
Antwon: Recently signed to Anticon and pushing a new EP—Double Ecstacy—Antwon seems poised to finally grab that big break he’s been chasing. If lead single, “Luv” is any indication, the San Jose-bred emcee seems to be doubling down on everything that put him on in the first place: namely his Biggie-esque flow, an ear for haunting-yet-banging beats and a twisted sense of humor.
Burnt Palms: With their fuzzy, beach-punk riffs, tambourine jangles and ooh-ah backing vocals, this Monterey-based outfit recall Dum Dum Girls and Wavves. Like the former, they feature all-female vocals. Unlike the latter, their surf-and-sand, stoner vibes are chillier. Perhaps that’s due to the 831 area code, where the swells come in far colder than they do in SoCal.
Covet: San Jose’s very own Yvette Young and her band, Covet, are proving that angular, finger-tapped guitar heroics aren’t just for punky boys from Sacramento (we still love you, Tera Melos and Hella). We’re just saying—damn. Young’s dexterous, guitar-powered rock proves that technical prowess and an ear for poppy riffs are not mutually exclusive.
Geographer: Playing The Ritz at the end of April, the San Francisco-based Geographer has been trumpeted by Live 105’s tastemaking program director, Aaron Axelsen, for some time now. The trio craft gauzy indie pop tunes with tinkling keys, gummy synths, soaring soprano melodies.
James Supercave: The boys of James Supercave call Los Angeles home these days. But the trio’s frontman, Joaquin Pastor spent a great deal of his childhood and adolescence in Santa Cruz, while keyboardist and band co-founder Patrick Logothetti grew up in San Jose. They craft catchy, psychedelic pop tunes, are touring behind a new album, Better Strange and were recently featured in Metro.
Nef the Pharaoh: The E-40-mentored Nef the Pharaoh looks as if he just might be the biggest hip-hop artist to emerge from the 707 since the late, great Andre Hicks. The young Vallejo emcee has a flow that merges Mac Dre’s sardonic cadence with the hyperbolic, stutter-stop, rat-a-tat style of Rae Sremmurd, Future and Rich Homie Quan.