The annual spree to absorb as much music as possible that is South by Southwest wrapped up in Austin last month. Perhaps the festival is returning to its roots, as it seems like there were less big parties and more of a focus on music discovery. Here are seven bands that caught the attention of NPR Member music stations.


Origins: Nottingham, England

RIYL: New Pornographers, Stars, Yard Act

Defiant, fearless shapeshifters, British quartet Divorce arrived in Austin with two highly praised EPs (2022's Get Mean and 2023's Heady Metal) and a just-released single, "Gears." The Nottingham-bred band takes daring twists and turns, blending yearning alt-country, fuzz-blasted grunge, dollops of dance grooves, and scrappy post-punk with wistful, witty storytelling. Fronted by singers Tiger Cohen-Towell (bass) and Felix Mackenzie-Barrow (guitar), who trade off lead vocals and unite with gorgeous harmonies, Divorce constantly beguiles with tales of River Thames debauchery ("Sex & the Millennium Bridge"), mariticide ("Checking Out") and awkward declarations of love ("Scratch Your Metal"). –Kara Manning, WFUV


Origins: New Orleans

RIYL: Brittany Spencer, Amanda Shires, Linda Ronstadt

New Orlean's Britti has always been singing, but it wasn't until she posted a video on Instagram covering The Black Keys that her singing became a career. After signing to Easy Eye – the label run by Black Keys singer Dan Auerbach – she ended up working with the man she covered on her debut album, Hello, I'm Britti. She's just beginning to play out live, but that didn't stop her from winning the Stubb's crowd over with her country-tinged R&B. Standout songs included her groovy, bass-heavy set opener "Nothing Compares to You" and the beautiful "Lullaby." Expect to hear more from Britti this year. –Lindsay Kimball KCMP


Origins: Brooklyn

RIYL: Parquet Courts, Television, Wire

Hot pavement, eccentric figures, blocks of scaffolding, and mystery drips from above – this one's for the city folk. NYC band BODEGA even carry their urban proclivities into their name, presumably an homage to the spot on the corner for your cigarettes, gum and bacon-egg-and-cheese. Featuring memorable guitar riffs, vocals that stomp, and a post-punk sound that's both defiant and welcoming, this performance caught our attention at SXSW. –KCRW

Brittany Davis

Origins: Seattle

RIYL: George Clinton, Gary Clark Jr., Brittany Howard

One of my most anticipated SXSW performances took place on the Public Radio Day Stage. With a cascade of vibrant musical flavors, Brittany Davis and their top-notch band delivered on the frenetic funk rock energy and electronically-tinged R&B grooves I've been jamming to on their new album "Image Issues." Davis's exuberance as a singer, piano player and creative mind was palpable, flinging the fairly mellow afternoon audience into a spirited state of joyous hysteria. –Michelle Bacon, KTBG


Origins: Dublin

RIYL: PJ Harvey, The Last Dinner Party, Siouxsie and the Banshees

If you blinked, you might have missed Sprints' lone appearance at SXSW. After pulling out of the conference in protest of the sponsorship deals with the U.S. Army and a defense contractor, the Dublin quartet played an early morning show for KUTX Radio because it benefited a local food bank. It seemed like Sprints took the energy they had been saving for an entire week of shows and spent it wildly at Scholz Garten. The band caught fire out of the gate while lead singer Karla Chubb proved to be a force of nature even at 9am. "Up and Comer," indeed. –Rick McNulty KUTX

Reyna Tropical

Origins: Portland, Ore.

RIYL: Y La Bamba, Lido Pimienta, Helado Negro

Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Fabi Reyna is a musical force to be reckoned with. As the founder of She Shreds Media, she's advocated for the celebration and representation of women and gender non-conforming guitarists for over a decade. As Reyna Tropical, she brought this same spirit of community-building and inclusion to her powerful live sets at SXSW. Drawing on material from the new debut full-length, Malegría, Reyna's electro-fusion of guitar and Peruvian, Colombian and Congolese rhythmic styles was a joyous display of cultural revelry. –Desire Moses, WNRN

Kassa Overall

Origins: Seattle / Brooklyn

RIYL: Nubya Garcia, Makaya McCraven, Shabaka Hutchings

Kassa Overall, a virtuoso drummer, impressed from behind the kit and front and center as an emcee/singer. Ferocious jazz-influenced beats melded with 808s, breezy piano runs and dueling saxophones to whip the crowd into a frenzy. This was the most original, mind bending musical experience I had during my stay in Austin and I left the venue with a grin that lasted for days. –Tyler Laporte, WTMD

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