SXSW 2017 – Preview




It’s that time again, friends. SXSW is upon us. With only a month left before things get under way, it seems like final line-up announcements for Korean acts have come out. (You never know, they DID just drop Miyavi on us from Japan this week.) But the showcase dates are being announced and every day there is a new time for the shows. This is where Rock ‘N Seoul shines – our formation was based around this festival, so we’re gearing up, and ready to share all of the great Korean indie artists attending for 2017.

A familiar face is coming to SXSW this year – Big Phony is making his 4th appearance at the festival. This year he’s coming armed with back up in the form of a band pieced together with members of Busker Busker and No Brain. If you missed the release of his album last year, check out the video for Hanging On A Thread:

Now this next act had the entire Korean indie fan base and writers losing their minds in excitement. Drunken Tiger & Yoonmirae were announced and we here at Rock ‘N Seoul couldn’t be any more excited! They’ve been on my playlists personally for about 12 years at least. I remember the days of Uptown and Tashannie for Tasha and have followed JK just as long. It’s definitely going to be a wild night with the entire Feel Ghood Fam in tow – Juno Anne One and Smells are all coming with! Check out Buckubucku, which we’re partial to because our buddies EE are featured in it too.

Glen Check are coming back for their second round at SXSW. The electronic duo, and founders of the Basement Resistance are sure to the crowds pumping again. When I saw them in 2014 they had people walking off the street into the venue just to see them perform. Here is their video for Young Generation off their delightfully 80’s themed album Youth!.

Galaxy Express are making a triumphant return since they were originally here in 2013. I got to see them in a tiny venue down in Iowa, as I hadn’t been able to make it to SXSW that year. Despite a low turn out, they guys put on an excellent show – if it was just a little shy of their usual crazy energy – but that is to be expected with little fan enthusiasm to feed off of. K-Pop Night Out in Austin will be a vastly different experience. Part of me wants to skip the photo pit and stick to the audience if only to watch these guys take the stage. Their last album, Walking on Empty, was a more mature sound for the band, check out Time Keeps Rolling By. 

Next up is YouTube sensation, Luna Lee – or just Luna. She’s been making videos of herself covering and improvising against classic rock tunes – on a gayageum. She’s braiding together tradition and rock in a unique way, and making the gayageum cool again. (side note: I’d love to see her collaborate with Jambinai sometime, it would be such a sweet duet! Here she is performing a cover of AC/DC’s Back in Black: 

Electro darling Neon Bunny is going to grace us with her presence once more, making it two years in a row at SXSW for this young lady. Cy adored her album release last year, giving Stay Gold a solid 4.25 stars. We’re looking forward to seeing how she grew over the last year. Here’s her video for Forest of Skyscrapers:

Korean punk band No Brain skipped the festival last year, much to the dismay of many fans that regularly attend SXSW, but never fear – they’re coming back this year! Fresh off the release of last years Brainless and 20th Anniversary albums, No Brain will be sure to offer us a fresh show, with plenty of spunk and energy as always. Here’s one of the tracks from Brainless, the soulful Whisky Blues:

Windy City are part of a small set of reggae bands that play in Korea – and we love them – especially Cy, who may or may not have been caught line dancing to them last year at the Seoulsonic showcase. Last year they blended reggae with traditional Korean rhythms and it was a beautiful sound. We hope to hear more of the same this year. Here is their video for Sweet Reggae Music.



Last up on our list of indie artists hitting the stages at SXSW this year is the hip-hop duo XXX. Made up of frnk & Kim Ximya, this emerging artist has yet to make a big splash in the pond yet, but hopefully SXSW will help them on their journey. Here’s their video for Flight Attendant.  (heads up: this video/lyrics might be NSFW)


K-Pop Night Out has been announced to take place on Friday March 17th at the Belmont.
(the KPNO showcase will also feature Hyolyn of Sistar and Red Velvet, but we don’t cover K-Pop here.)
More and more announcements about dates are coming each day, so check back in the following weeks as we post full schedules as they are confirmed.


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