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Seven must-see artists at SXSW 2023

iLe sings in front of a microphone while sitting down.
Michael Minasi
iLe is one of KUTX's recommended artists to watch during SXSW 2023.

All this week, KUT's sister station KUTX has been profiling the "ones to watch" — seven must-see artists at South by Southwest 2023.

Jane Leo

Patricia Lim
Ones to Watch: Jane Leo

For years, Jane Ellen Bryant and Daniel Leopold had their own projects going in Austin — Jane under her own name and Daniel with his band Leopold and his Fiction. But the two teamed up by chance through a songwriting partnership, facilitated by Austin music advocacy group Black Fret (now Sonic Guild). Jane and Daniel loved the freedom to explore different musical interests: Daniel got to write songs from a female perspective, while Jane explored different characters as a singer and writer. Together, they’re now known as Jane Leo.

For their debut album, Jane Leo leans into a wide range of influences, including Nancy Sinatra, the Cars and Iggy Pop. The pair mostly recorded the songs at home before bringing them to producer Danny Reisch, who’s worked with Sharon Van Etten, St. Vincent, Heartless Bastards and more. Vintage synthesizers and drum machines add an electronic touch to Jane Leo’s rock-and-roll attitude.

Catch Jane Leo on Wednesday, March 15, live on KUTX at 7 a.m. performing from Scholz Garten. They'll also perform March 15 at 11 p.m. at The Continental Club.

Thee Sacred Souls

Gustavo Olivares
Ones to Watch: Thee Sacred Souls

San Diego’s Thee Sacred Souls: Are they old school soul? Modern soul? The answer is YES. And what else would you expect from a trio whose self-titled debut was released on Brooklyn’s revered Daptone Records, which brought us favorites like Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones?

Thee Sacred Souls is a warm, textured record, mixing the easygoing grace of sweet ’60s soul with the grit and groove of early ‘70s R&B. There are also hints of Chicano, Philly, Chicago, Memphis and even Panama soul rounding out its rawness and sincerity. Their sound has made Austinites Gary Clark Jr. and Black Pumas fans, and their European tour that kicks off next month begins with a string of sold-out shows in England. They also land at Bonnaroo come June. But first: Austin!

Catch Thee Sacred Souls performing live twice on KUTX: from the Public Radio Day Stage at the Austin Convention Center on Friday, March 17, at 2 p.m. and from Scholz Garten on Saturday, March 18, at 11 a.m.


Eric Rojas
Ones to Watch: iLe

From the beginning, iLe has been in the spotlight. The singer, born Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar, started out with the hip-hop group Calle 13, one of the biggest bands in her native Puerto Rico. Ile’s 2016 solo debut earned her Grammy and Latin Grammy awards. Her next album earned a Grammy nomination and a collaboration with international pop superstar Bad Bunny. But last year, iLe earned a place in a lot of Austinites’ hearts by featuring on Boleros Psicodelicos, the phenomenal team up with Austin’s own Adrian Quesada.

All of these awards and collaborations prove something essential about iLe: She can do just about anything. Her own music blends her Puerto Rican roots with pop. With each song, iLe continues to transcend generation and genre.

iLe will perform at the Radio Day Stage at the Austin Convention Center on Wednesday, March 15, at 1 p.m. and later that day, at 7:50 p.m., at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater.

Garrett T. Capps & NASA Country

Alyssa Olvera for KUTX
Ones To Watch: Garrett T. Capps & NASA Country

You’ve heard the phrase, "Don’t Mess With Texas?" Well, Garrett T. Capps likes to mess with Texas. As he describes himself, he is “San Antonio’s resident cosmic country gonzo honky tonk weirdo freak.” Or as the headline in Rolling Stone online screamed in boldface: “Meet the Texas Weirdo Mixing Kraftwerk with Doug Sahm to Create ‘Kraut Country.’”

Like Willie, Waylon and Kacey Musgraves, Garrett T. Capps and his band NASA Country come from a long line of Texans adding their own spin to country tradition. In Garrett’s case, he blasts that tradition to the cosmos. He and his band blend synth and twangy guitar with lyrics about outer space and social unrest on their latest albumPeople Are Beautiful. It’s an original recipe: fans of country, psychedelic rock and electronic music can all find something to like in the music.

Garrett T. Capps & Nasa Country will perform Saturday, March 18, at 1:15 a.m. at The Creek and the Cave.

Caramelo Haze

Karina Lujan for KUTX
Ones To Watch: Caramelo Haze

Austin’s Caramelo Haze was born in the summer of 2020. After months of isolation, Grupo Fantasma’s Grammy-winning Beto Martinez and John Spiece began jamming with Alex Chavez (of Chicago-based experimental quintet Dos Santos) and Victor “El Guámbito” Cruz (of the Columbian rock trio Nemegata). They’d all collaborated on each other’s projects, but Caramelo Haze is their first official band together. Each is an accomplished producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in their own right, and their 2022 debut NOESTASAQUÍ (“you are not here”) is even greater than the sum of its members.

Caramelo Haze grooves between Afro-Columbian folk, South Texas soul, psychedelic Americana and the sounds of Central Mexico — and on stage they take their musical blend to places not even explored on their album.

Catch Caramelo Haze on Friday, March 17, live on KUTX at 8 a.m., performing from Scholz Garten. They will also play Tuesday, March 14, at 10:15 p.m. at Stubb's.

Daniel Fears

Michael Minasi
Ones To Watch: Daniel Fears

Daniel Fears grew up in Houston, first falling in love with music at Sunday church services. Pop music was forbidden in his household, so Daniel took up trombone and classical music instead. A degree from UT and a master’s at Yale pushed him further down the classical path. But Daniel says writing horn parts for a friend’s song finally “flipped a switch,” making him want to pursue his own music.

A lip injury while at Yale forced Daniel to heal and relearn trombone. Friends in Austin bands like Wild Child, Ley Line, and Mother Falcon helped him find gigs, and soon Daniel was writing his own songs. The result is Canopy, his debut EP, which earned him an Artist of the Month feature from us at KUTX in 2021. Mixing R&B, electronic, and the pop sounds he had to secretly listen to as a kid, it’s hard to believe that Daniel is relatively new to songwriting, but we think he’s just getting started.

Daniel Fears will perform Thursday, March 16, at 8 p.m. at Sheraton backYARD.

Sports Team

Ones To Watch: Sports Team

Breakthrough British band Sports Team formed in 2016. The UK post-punkers have since released two EPs, Winter Nets and Keep Walking!, prior to their 2020 Mercury Prize-nominated debut album Deep Down Happy.

Now, Sports Team’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Gulp!, is out and it’s been a #1 vinyl album and #3 album in the UK. Gulp! features the song “The Drop” as heard on KUTX. Of the song, the group says, “It’s questioning a constant striving for achievement and never really enjoying the moments.” The sextet certainly seems to be enjoying the moments that comprise Gulp!, and we’re looking forward to seeing and hearing how they replicate its energy in a live setting.

Catch Sports Team on Thursday, March 16, live on KUTX at 10 a.m., performing from Scholz Garten. They'll also perform three other SXSW shows during the week.

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