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10 Unmissable International Acts at SXSW 2014

JoyCut/Photo courtesy of the artist

Words by Suzy Exposito and Alexis Stephens

Located in Austin, Texas, AKA “The Live Music Capital of the World,” the annual South by Southwest festival is as American as apple pie. But thanks to the International Day and Radio Stages, you won’t need a passport to catch some diverse, international acts at this year’s festival. We’ve listed some of our favorite acts (and their showtimes!) to look out for below, along with tour dates in case you won’t be able to attend the festival.

Mothercoat (Japan)

Math-rockers Mothercoat churn out some expertly calculated yet colorfully wonky melodies. They hover in an electronic rock ether between the likes of Stereolab and Deerhoof. We expect nothing less of them than a positively loopy performance.

They will perform at 12pm on Wednesday, March 12 at the International Day Stage in ACC Ballroom G.

Jambinai (Korea)

Jambinai utilizes traditional Korean instruments to create heavy, frenetic post-rock. Their ability to invoke ancient and modern worlds led them to winning Best Jazz and Crossover Act at the 2013 Korean Music Awards. “Time of Extinction” gives you a sense of the ink-blotted intensity of their universe.

They will perform at 3pm on Wednesday, March 12 at the International Day Stage in ACC Ballroom G. They will be playing shows throughout the week in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.

Samsaya (Norway)

She may reside within the chilly confines of Norway, but Samsaya is a firecracker. The Indian-born actress and pop singer has a knack for delivering cheeky hooks and feel-good vibes in all her songs. Her upcoming album, Bombay Calling, is due Summer 2014.

She will perform on Friday, March 14 at the International Day Stage in ACC Ballroom G. Check out her following tour dates in Norway and India here.


Los Petit Fellas (Colombia)

Hailing from Bogotá, Los Petit Fellas have made waves with their funky, jazzy hip-hop en Español. Their last album Souvenir was released in 2012 and features “11:50pm,” which got a chill video this past fall. More political songs like “El Club De La Resistencia” helped them win Best Hip-Hop Act at Colombia’s Subterránica Awards.

They will perform at 11am on Wednesday, March 12 at the Radio Day Stage in ACC Ballroom D. Catch the rest of their tour dates here.

JoyCut (Italy)

You can usually count on SXSW to have a little something for everyone. For the goths and the shoegazers, they’ve invited Italian dark-wavers JoyCut to grace the stage with ghoulish-yet-playful post-punk that sounds eerily just like heaven. And since touring with American indie royalty like Modest Mouse and Sebadoh, it’s about time they caught on in the States.

They will perform at 5pm on Wednesday, March 12 at the International Day Stage in ACC Ballroom G. They’ll be touring extensively throughout the United States, so see if they’re coming near you!

The Preatures (Australia)

Sydney synthpop band The Preatures have the potential to have the biggest splash stateside of the groups on this list. Fans of Feist will love Isabella Manfredi’s voice and style. Title track “Is This How You Feel?” from the EP of the same name has an ’80s soft rock, driving-to-the-beach-with-the-top-down groove.

They will perform at 4pm on Wednesday, March 12 at the Radio Day Stage in ACC Ballroom D. You can also see them at the Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals. 

Alvvays (Canada)

Not long after their tour through Canada with Yuck, Toronto indie-pop outfit Alvvays will be flying south to lay a charm spell on concertgoers in Austin. Led by the sweetly somnolent croons of Molly Rankin, and topped off with a nice, grungy layer of noise, their jangly pop ballads are a throwback to the early days of twee label Slumberland Records.

They will perform at 12pm on Thursday, March 13 at the International Day Stage in ACC Ballroom G.

Afrikan Boy (UK/Nigeria)

Born in the UK, Afrikan Boy (real name Olushola Ajose) was raised between London and his parents’ home country of Nigeria. You can find him rapping on everything from grime to Afrobeats to soul to experimental electronic music. Fittingly he’s toured with another jack-of-all-rap-genres M.I.A. We’re partial to his single “Hit Em Up” from last year.

He will be performing at 11:50pm on Tuesday March 11 at Red 7.

Marbeya Sound (Mexico)

Our article on 15 Producers Making Mexico City A Dance Music Mecca, we referred to the duo as “making sweet Space Age Mexican Krautrock/synthesizer funk.” The song “Semantic Drift” from packs a hypnotic punch that we know is going to go over swimmingly in a live, Austin setting.

They will be performing at 8:30pm on Thursday March 13 at Karma Lounge.

Agnes Obel (Denmark)

Danish singer and pianist Agnes Obel musters up nothing but the most profoundly moving, orchestral songs that resound like epic poetry. After reaping awards and being certified gold in Europe, it’s high time she made her way across the pond and delved deep into the heart of Texas.

She will perform at 2pm on Thursday, March 13 at the International Day Stage in ACC Ballroom G. She will also be touring through the US, France and the UK.

Full Line-up on the International Day Stage:

Wednesday, March 12
12pm – Mothercoat (Japan)
1pm – Paus (Portugal)
2pm – Fuel Fandango (Spain)
3pm – Jambinai (South Korea)
4pm – Pommez Internacional (Argentina)
5pm – JoyCut (Italy)

Thursday, March 13
12pm – Alvvays (Canada)
1pm – Chocolate Tiger (Taiwan)
2pm – Agnes Obel (Denmark)
3pm – Rebel Cats (Mexico)
4pm – Gochag Askorav Ensemble (Azerbaijan)
5pm – Saor Patrol (Scotland)

Friday, March 14 (Times TBA)
Rancho Aparte (Colombia)
Lo’Jo (France)
Dune Rats (Australia)
Imarhan Timbuktu & Sihasin (Mali)
Samsaya (Norway)
Highasakite (Norway)

Saturday, March 15 (Times TBA)
WatchOut! (Chile)
Dudu Tassa (Israel)
Sivu (England)

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