Best Aussie artists to catch at SXSW 2023

With a lineup that spans all genres and styles, SXSW is not only a hub for discovery but also a platform for showcasing emerging talent from around the world, including a wave of exciting Australian acts breaking through and making waves in the international music scene.

23 Artists are performing at SXSW in Austin, Texas this year, giving the American music industry a real show of the best of new Aussie music. The place to be to catch some majorly great talent is Sounds Australia, which will be held at Australia House, with shows on the 16-17th of March. We love all our homegrown artists but here’s a list of our favourite acts: 

Teenage Joans

Teenage Joans

Tahli and Cahli are the blue and red-haired, Gen Z duo that make up Teenage Joans. The band have coined a term for their music, calling it ‘juice-box pop-punk’ and yes that does perfectly describe their sound.

You may have heard the two when they won Triple J Unearthed in 2020. They wowed us last year with their angsty and satirical hit Terrible. Cahli’s strongly accented, female Australian vocals paired with the whining guitar and catchy beats are a recipe for success. The duo has also been showing their versatility lately, getting raw and emotional in their acoustic version of their song Wine. The lyrical quality of Wine is poetic, yet colloquial, it has stolen and broken the hearts of fans. NME quotes that Teenage Joans is the ‘most underrated artist in Australia’ and we can’t help but agree, these two are so talented, pumping out hit after hit.

The two have skyrocketed into popularity so quickly but have been performing alongside the best of Australian talent since. Despite their age, these two are seasoned performers and are guaranteed to only get better. 

King Stingray

king stingray
Credit: Press

King Stingray is one of Australia’s most exciting bands; founded by lifelong friends Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu and Roy Kellaway. The band are made up of Yolŋu and balanda members, who are bringing their indigenous language to a new audience. 

The band combine the sounds of manikay and salty, surf rock sounds, pioneering a sound completely of their own. Their eponymous album King Stingray was a hit with fans and new listeners alike. It was the highest-charting debut album of 2022. They had a sold-out tour, 5 ARIA nominations, 5-star reviews from NME and just about every other Australian music accolade you could imagine. 

Yirrŋa’s vocals are powerful and deliver a raw sincerity in all their music. Their most recent single, a cover of Down Under, is a reclamation of what it means to be Australian and is an absolute hit. This band are bringing indigenous language and music to the world stage and we couldn’t be happier. King Stingray’s music and popularity speak for itself, these guys are on their way to becoming Australian icons. 

Hope D

Hope D

This queer breakout artist from Brisbane/Meanjin, started their career posting on youtube from her bedroom in her parent’s house. Hope D’s close relationship with her listeners makes her music deeply personal, funny and honest. Hope D’s first single Second, was ranked 69th in Triple J’s Hottest 100 Countdown in 2021, becoming an unbelievable and immediate smash hit for the bedroom rock artist. 

Her album Clash of the Substance was released this year and is an exploration of the trials and tribulations of queer womanhood in your early twenties. She describes the good, the bad and the messy in her life. Her lyrics are witty yet graceful and her music is a clean, polished pop-rock triumph. Hope D is thoroughly listenable and relatable, she is a great example of what can be made with some Aussie charm, sheer creativity and willpower. 

Party Dozen 

party dozen sxsw 2023
Credit: The Gum Ball

This two-piece noise band are made up of Kirsty Tickle and Jonathan Boulet. The two formed the band in 2017 and have become infamous for their wild live shows, as they harness all forms of media to redefine what can be achieved at a live-music event. 

The two are mostly instrumentalists, with Kirsty playing the sax and occasionally bringing in her vocals in experimental ways, and Jonathan provides masterful sampling and percussion. 

The two have created a band that cannot be put into a box. Party Dozen are unpredictable, genre-bending and mind-altering. They recently collaborated with Nick Cage on the song Macca the Mutt from their 2022 album The Real Work, which is a vaguely unsettling, yet mesmerising. Party Dozen is Australia’s premier experimental music band, with ever-growing critical acclaim. 


sxsw slarymen
Credit: Maria Boyadgis

This band has delighted listeners, with their dynamic male and female vocals, dancey indie-rock music and enthralling live shows. They sprung onto the scene in 2019 and have been going from strength to strength. This band is not scared to have fun, as they play around with indie, rock, psych and pop genres, keeping their music upbeat and dreamy. 

Salarymen have been keeping their audiences’ entertained in Japan and at home as they toured their EP Head in the Sand. Their use of visuals on stage has been a highlight of their performances. The music industry has lapped up their compelling and political songwriting as seen in Young Guns, written in response to the ongoing gun violence crisis in America

What Salarymen are so successful at is discussing important topics, but in the most hopeful way, this band will not have their optimism beaten down by anything. They are a young band who are hopeful and engaged. What makes them even more impressive is that they are self-recorded and produced, which has allowed them to find their own perfect balance between their vintage and modern influences. Salarymen are an Australian force to be reckoned with. 

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