Six acts to see in concert
Boy: The bittersweet harmonies and cool pop charm of this female Berlin-based duo’s radio hit “Little Numbers” transfer well to the stage. (They’ll perform Tuesday at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.)
Chelsea Light Moving: Sonic Youth’s co-leader Thurston Moore didn’t try too hard to separate himself from his old band in the new one, offering his orchestrally distorted guitar work (March 27, Triple Rock).
Lianne La Havas: The British folk-pop newcomer’s light, vaguely bluesy music — of which Prince is a fan — felt like a plush bed amid the harsh environs of SXSW (March 31, Varsity Theater).
Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside: A vintage rockabilly singer/guitarist with a punky, modern edge from Portland, Ore., she sounded like Wanda Jackson if Wanda had grown up a Sleater-Kinney fan (April 1, Cedar Cultural Center).
Divine Fits: The dudes from Spoon and Wolf Parade looked to be having a blast cutting loose with their poppier, bouncier side group (April 4, Varsity Theater).
Fidlar/Cheatahs: OK, this actually makes this list seven, but these two high-energy bands are playing on the same bill locally (with Waaves as a headliner, no less). Los Angeles-based Fidlar are maestros of rowdy, seedy, aggressive punk, while London’s Cheatahs offered fuzzed-out, steamy tunes like a British shoegazer version of Hüsker Dü (March 29, 7th Street Entry).
Four acts to download
Hannah Georgas: A Vancouver songwriter with a softly dramatic tone like a whirring, synth-playing version of rootsy fellow Canadian Kathleen Edwards.
Trinidad James: A huge crowd at the Fader Fort ate up this grill-toothed Atlanta rapper, newly signed to Def Jam with a thick and hazy style à la Kendrick Lamar.
Lecrae: The hardest-hitting Christian rapper you’ll probably ever hear, this Geto Boys-weaned Houston star uncannily balances his Good Words with bad-a** jams.
Haim: These three sisters from Los Angeles were all over SXSW this year, and their jaggedly infectious pop proved hard to resist, as was their surprisingly rocking cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well.”