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The Austin 100

Tkay Maidza performed at this year's South By Southwest music festival.
Cassandra Hannagan
Getty Images
Tkay Maidza performed at this year's South By Southwest music festival.

Every year, the SXSW Music Festival serves a daunting, days-long feast of sounds from around the world. And once again, NPR Music's Austin 100 is here to distill it all down to a digestible meal of music discovery.

Picked from a playlist that spanned more than a hundred hours, these 100 songs represent a broad and exciting cross-section of SXSW's many highlights. Here's how you can listen:

  • Stream the songs via the NPR One app until April 30. You can find the channel at the top of the app's Explore tab. Download the app here.
  • If you're a Spotify user, you can stream most of the mix using our Austin 100 playlist.
  • As in previous years, The Austin 100 is just the beginning of NPR Music's SXSW 2017 coverage, so visit for full concerts, photos, videos, commentary and, of course, many more recommendations. Enjoy the music!

    The Austin 100 Playlist

    Aaron Lee Tasjan , "Little Movies"

    Nashville, Tennessee

    Tasjan's spacey, genre-obliterating Americana positively sparkles.

    Adam Torres , "I Came To Sing The Song"

    Austin, Texas

    Torres sings high and lonesome ballads with vulnerability and piercing clarity.

    Agnes Obel , "Familiar"

    Copenhagen, Denmark

    Obel's graceful, immaculate songs can sound both warm and chilling.

    Aldous Harding , "Horizon"

    Lyttelton, New Zealand

    Harding's haunting folk music moves delicately, but never stops baring its teeth.

    All Our Exes Live In Texas , "Boundary Road"

    Sydney, Australia

    Four singers whose rich, swooning harmonies elevate their lush folk-pop songs.

    Allison Crutchfield , "I Don't Ever Wanna Leave California"

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    The former Swearin' singer writes smart, spiky songs about rootlessness and regret.

    Annabelle Chairlegs , "Watermelon Summer"

    Austin, Texas

    Lindsey Mackin's voice soars and rages over stormy psych-rock jams.

    Be Charlotte , "Machines That Breathe"

    Dundee, Scotland

    Charlotte Brimner sings brightly charming pop-rock songs with an irresistible brogue.

    Big Thief , "Masterpiece"

    Brooklyn, New York

    Adrianne Lenker's songs mix blustery energy with sweet nods to a life of friendship and connection.

    Boogarins , "Elogio Á Instituição Do Cinismo"

    Goiânia, Brazil

    The band's stomping songs meet at a perfect midpoint between psych-rock and Tropicália.

    Brent Cobb , "Shine On Rainy Day"

    Ellaville, Georgia

    The singer-songwriter's sandy voice is the audio equivalent of sweet tea in the summertime.

    Calliope Musicals , "Sink Or Swim"

    Austin, Texas

    A vibrant psych-folk band whose shows are spectacles of concentrated celebration.

    Canyon City , "Paper Airplanes"

    Nashville, Tennessee

    Paul Johnson's warm, bright folk-pop songs feel like letters from a friend.

    Carson McHone , "Poet"

    Austin, Texas

    McHone straddles the Americana-country line, as rock energy meets slide guitars and deep twang.

    Charlie Cunningham , "An Opening"

    London, England

    Cunningham's songs have a cavernous quality to them, while still somehow sounding intimate.

    Charly Bliss , "Ruby"

    Brooklyn, New York

    "Bubblegrunge" is a genre now, and damned if Charly Bliss isn't great at it.

    Cherry Glazerr , "Nurse Ratched"

    Los Angeles, California

    Clementine Creevy leads a young rock 'n' roll powerhouse with slyness and swagger.

    Christopher Paul Stelling , "Destitute"

    Brooklyn, New York

    Stelling infuses his dusty folk songs with raw, wiry, beat-up intensity.

    Close Talker , "Afterthought"

    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

    Like Rhye's music before it, the band's songs are sexy, oddly unsettling and irresistible.

    Coco Hames , "I Don't Wanna Go"

    Memphis, Tennessee

    On her solo debut, The Ettes' singer arms sugary pop hooks with garage-rock fangs.

    Crywolf , "Weight"

    Los Angeles, California

    Crywolf came up in EDM, but his new project radiates lonesome, Bon Iver-style yearning.

    Dawg Yawp , "I'll Quit Tomorrow"

    Cincinnati, Ohio

    A sitar gives this folk-rock duo's dreamily pretty songs a bit of added shimmer.

    De Osos , "Todo El Ruido Entre Nosotros"

    Mexico City, Mexico

    From ambient swells to room-filling squalls, in the space of a single song.

    Dem Yuut , "Dawn / Sea"

    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    R&B and synth-pop sounds get warped and reshaped until they form something new.

    , "you're winning so i quit"

    Greenfield, Massachusetts

    Hart's timeless, vibrant pop-rock songs make the most of their impeccably placed strings.

    Emily Reo , "Spell"

    Brooklyn, New York

    Reo's voice gets looped and processed until it forms a grand, gorgeous, swirling mass.

    Eric Biddines , "Peeuurrnn"

    Palm Beach, Florida

    The rapper's twisty, distinct flow lends his songs a sense of playfulness and surprise.

    , "TIDES"

    Los Angeles, California

    Paige Finlay's fizzily insistent pop brims over with a sense of joy worthy of Carly Rae Jepsen.

    , "Arizona"

    Brooklyn, New York

    The band doesn't stay in one place for long, as slow burns make way for soaring catharsis.

    Frankie Rose , "Know Me"

    New York, New York

    The singer is an inexhaustible well of sunny, hooky garage-pop.

    Gaelynn Lea , "Watch The World Unfold"

    Duluth, Minnesota

    Lea's looped violin and intimate vocals form a sound infused with warmth and optimism.

    Golden Dawn Arkestra , "Stargazer"

    Saturn, Texas

    You can almost hear the costumes and smoke machines in this Sun Ra-style spectacle.

    , "Cammie At Night"

    Los Angeles, California

    Right down to its name, Goon captures the essence of '90s college radio.

    Gurr , "Moby Dick"

    Berlin, Germany

    A scuzzy-sweet garage-pop duo whose simplicity never drowns out all the shiny hooks.

    Holly Macve , "Heartbreak Blues"

    Brighton, England

    Macve blends the icy cool of Lana Del Rey with the folksy warmth of a yodeling country queen.

    Hoops , "Cool 2"

    Bloomington, Indiana

    The band distills busy guitars and shadowy mystery into efficient pocket epics.

    Iron Reagan , "Dying World"

    Richmond, Virginia

    Speedball blasts of rigid, raging metal, complete with solos that shred.

    , "Everybody Wants To Love You"

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Beneath all the sweetness and sugar lies something sideways, even vaguely sinister.

    Jay Som , "The Bus Song"

    Oakland, California

    Melina Duterte writes whip-smart, brightly spry pop-rock songs, and plays every note herself.

    Jealous Of The Birds , "Goji Berry Sunset"

    Portadown, Northern Ireland

    Irish singer Naomi Hamilton layers her gorgeous voice to make blissful, hypnotic folk music.

    Johnny Flynn , "Heart Sunk Hank"

    London, England

    Big on the U.K. folk scene, the singer-actor plays songs that never feel tethered to one era.

    Julie Byrne , "Follow My Voice"

    New York, New York

    Byrne's dusky voice slows the blood and calms the nerves.

    L.A. Salami , "Going Mad As The Street Bins"

    London, England

    Lookman Adekunle Salami is a songwriter and poet whose songs burst with big ideas.

    , "Shave The Pride"

    Guadalajara, Mexico

    Teri Gender Bender is riveting onstage, to the point of being a little terrifying.

    Let's Eat Grandma , "Deep Six Textbook"

    Norwich, England

    Two English teenagers make funny, whimsically unsettling experimental pop.

    The Lighthouse And The Whaler , "I Want To Feel Alive"

    Cleveland, Ohio

    Agreeably effervescent folk-pop, elevated by forays into orchestral grandiosity.

    Lillie Mae , "Honky Tonks & Taverns"

    Nashville, Tennessee

    A Jack White-approved singer and multi-instrumentalist whose songs are all verve and nerve.

    Liniker E Os Caramelows , "Remonta"

    Araraquara, Brazil

    A brooding Brazilian soul band with a chilling sound and a future star in singer Liniker Barros.

    Living Hour , "Steady Glazed Eyes"

    Winnipeg, Manitoba

    Slowdive just returned, but shoegaze music was already in good hands with Living Hour.

    LVL UP , "The Closing Door"

    Purchase, New York

    The churning, wordy rumble of Neutral Milk Hotel gets a thoughtful and catchy update.

    Manu Delago , "A Step (feat. Pete Josef)"

    London, England

    Delago's playing on the Hang (kind of like a muted steel drum) has led him to work with Björk. Solo, his songs are dizzyingly pretty.

    Marisa Anderson , "He Is Without His Guns"

    Portland, Oregon

    Without flash, Anderson's solo guitar pieces tell a story while establishing a clear sense of place.

    Meat Wave , "Run You Out"

    Chicago, Illinois

    Meat Wave locates the thread connecting blistering punk to the rafter-shaking legacy of Billy Squier.

    Middle Kids , "Edge Of Town"

    Sydney, Australia

    A rock band with the chemistry, charm and moxie to sail straight from small clubs to stadiums.

    , "Thread"

    Austin, Texas

    Propulsive pop-rock with swirling synths, chugging guitars and real power.

    Moor Mother , "Deadbeat Protest"

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Camae Ayewa's industrial/experimental hip-hop is radical and confrontational in every way.

    Moses Boyd Exodus , "Rye Lane Shuffle"

    London, England

    A drummer, composer and rising star, Boyd takes jazz in surprising, invigorating directions.

    Nick Hakim , "Bet She Looks Like You"

    Washington, D.C.

    The singer's neo-soul songs seem to seep in from another room — or another era.

    , "dOn't turn me Off (feat. JD AKA ThrashKitten & Mal Devisa)"

    Chicago, Illinois

    With the help of inspired guest collaborators, Ogbonnaya flings joyful ideas in every direction.

    No Joy , "Califone"

    Montreal, Quebec

    The band stirs fuzz, jangle and abrasion into a dream-pop sound that rarely stays in one place for long.

    Noga Erez , "Pity"

    Tel Aviv, Israel

    Bold in sound, style and subject matter, the singer-producer infuses her electro-pop with tightly coiled fury.

    Noname , "Diddy Bop (feat. Raury & Cam O'bi)"

    Chicago, Illinois

    The rapper's clever wordplay and breezy-smooth sound only enhance her personal storytelling.

    Otoboke Beaver , "S'il Vous Plait"

    Kyoto, Japan

    The poppy-but-blistering equivalent of 15 consecutive exclamation points.

    Outer Spaces , "Words"

    Baltimore, Maryland

    You'll never be happier to get a song stuck in your head for days.

    Overcoats , "Hold Me Close"

    New York, New York

    Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell weave their beautiful voices together tightly and set them to subtle beats.

    Palm , "Crank"

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Palm's songs are jagged and dauntingly complex, but the band's live reputation promises relentless mayhem.

    , "Pause Button"

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    Brainy, tenderly conversational verses give way to choruses that burst with ragingly ecstatic energy.

    , "Reptiliano"

    Murcia, Spain

    Big, churning, infectious rock 'n' roll, fueled by guitars you can feel in your bones.

    , "Smoke Signals"

    Los Angeles, California

    A formidable talent whose haunting voice and eye for storytelling detail are genuinely special.

    Phoria , "Emanate"

    Brighton, England

    Breathlessly pretty electronic music in which every note sounds conspicuously human.

    Porter Ray , "Arithmetic (feat. Infinite & Stas THEE Boss)"

    Seattle, Washington

    Aligned with Shabazz Palaces, the rapper sets his own agile rhymes against softly woozy, spaced-out arrangements.

    Priests , "JJ"

    Washington, D.C.

    Charismatic singer Katie Alice Greer is a rock star, a pop star and a political punk, all rolled up in one.

    pronoun , "a million other things"

    Brooklyn, New York

    Alyse Vellturo's bedroom recordings exude raw vulnerability, but also notes of defiant optimism.

    R.LUM.R , "Frustrated"

    Nashville, Tennessee

    A fast-rising, pop-friendly R&B singer whose falsetto is no joke.

    The Regrettes , "Hot"

    Eagle Rock, California

    The band played with cool confidence when its members were just kids; now that most of them are grown, look out.

    River Whyless , "Life Crisis"

    Asheville, North Carolina

    Every band member seems to keep busy at all times, giving River Whyless' songs a sense of playful motion.

    Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever , "Julie's Place"

    Melbourne, Australia

    Beachy, strummy pop-rock that'll chime and jangle its way straight into your heart.

    Sad13 , "<2"

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis takes a solo turn, redirecting her sound toward smart, slinky pop.

    Sammus , "1080p"

    Ithaca, New York

    The rapper self-identifies as a nerd, but she also bares her soul and raw nerves.

    Seckond Chaynce , "Can't Take This From Me"

    Tampa, Florida

    The Christian rapper's intense, rapid-fire delivery is awe-inspiring.

    Slingshot Dakota , "You"

    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    The married couple plays big, blooming, Technicolor pop-rock with grace and joy.

    Sneaks , "Inside Edition"

    Washington, D.C.

    Eva Moolchan's icy-cool synth-pop plays out in short minimalist bursts.

    SOHN , "Signal"

    Vienna, Austria

    Christopher Taylor's sparse, brooding electronic ballads settle under the skin.

    , "Untry Love"

    Evanston, Illinois

    Rock veteran Jason Narducy plays fist-in-the-air anthems worthy of arenas.

    Sven Helbig , "Abendglühen"

    Dresden, Germany

    The composer's rich, enveloping symphonic pieces are performed by choirs and augmented by electronics.

    Tancred , "Bed Case"

    Kittery, Maine

    Now, Now's Jess Abbott marries hand-clappy pop-punk sounds to deceptively dark lyrics.

    Teen Daze , "Cycle"

    Abbotsford, British Columbia

    Jamison Isaak's dreamy electronic music reflects on the vulnerability of nature and our own minds.

    Temples , "Certainty"

    Kettering, England

    The band channels the sonic ambition, and the visual manifestations, of '60s and '70s pop.

    Tkay Maidza , "Simulation"

    Adelaide, South Australia

    The singer and rapper presides over springy pop songs that beg to be fed through car speakers.

    Tombs , "Deceiver"

    Brooklyn, New York

    Tombs' punishing metal is expansive and inventive, with nods to gothic and industrial music.

    Totally Mild , "When I'm Tired"

    Melbourne, Australia

    Sweet, harmony-rich, pointedly concise jangle-pop — perfect for very short walks in the sunshine.

    , "Speed"

    Madison, Wisconsin

    At 19, the rapper and singer already has a distinct, alluring songwriting voice.

    Tribu Baharú , "Made In Tribu Baharú"

    Región Caribe, Colombia

    It's difficult to overstate the band's unrelentingly, sweat-flingingly joyous energy.

    Troker , "Principe Charro"

    Guadalajara, Mexico

    Troker's churningly energetic, horn-drenched jazz has a spring in its step and a metalhead's heart.

    Tunde Olaniran , "Namesake"

    Flint, Michigan

    Olaniran's busily infectious anthems bubble over with intensity and ideas.

    Vagabon , "Fear & Force"

    New York, New York

    Singer and multi-instrumentalist Laetitia Tamko fills her songs with spare, thoughtful rumination.

    , "Stars Align"

    Los Angeles, California

    Natalie Carol presides over ambling Americana jams that positively soar.

    Weaves , "Tick"

    Toronto, Ontario

    The band's zingy, whiz-bang quirkiness provides a nice backdrop for the commanding presence of singer Jasmyn Burke.

    , "Some Ride"

    Beacon, New York

    For all their finger-picked precision, Stratton's pristine acoustic folk songs are as warm as music gets.

    Yussef Kamaal , "Lowrider"

    London, England

    Drummer Yussef Dayes and keyboardist Kamaal Williams play bold, futuristic funk that throbs and thrills.

    Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

    Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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