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SXSW bands coming to NYC: Big Grams, The Kills, more

For its 30th anniversary, Austin’s SXSW festival got the biggest headliners possible, with President Barack Obama delivering a keynote at the interactive portion and First Lady Michelle Obama speaking at the music portion. It concluded with Drake making a surprise appearance the final night.

But SXSW has never just been about star power. The heart of the festival is the more than 2,000 acts that perform around the city, from grizzled veterans to artists hoping to get discovered. Here are a few that are making their way to New York.

Declan McKenna

A British singer-songwriter, McKenna first got noticed by
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

A British singer-songwriter, McKenna first got noticed by winning the Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition last year at the age of 16. He's a one-man band, singing and playing electric guitar while underpinning his sensitive pop-rock songs with electronic loops he builds from scratch onstage. (March 23, Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2)

Waco Brothers

There are a few things you can count
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

There are a few things you can count on at SXSW every year: great barbecue, cheap beer and the Waco Brothers performing. This year, the Wacos have a new album to support, "Going Down in History." Fans will be pleased to know that the long-running group's Johnny Cash-meets-the-Clash sound and raucous live shows led by frontman Jon Langford -- whose between-song banter is almost as entertaining as the music -- are as inspiring as ever. (April 13, Union Hall; April 16, Monty Hall)

Låpsley

It's easy to figure out why Låpsley inspires
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

It's easy to figure out why Låpsley inspires comparisons to Adele. She's young, British and goes by one name. The surprising thing is that she has the voice to back up those comparisons, belting out songs about heartbreak over electronic soundscapes. (May 11-12, Music Hall of Williamsburg)

Beach Slang

It may seem out of step in 2016,
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

It may seem out of step in 2016, but somehow Beach Slang has managed to pull off creating an album of songs testifying to the power of guitar rock. It won't be everyone's thing, but if you're a fan of bands like The Replacements and The Gaslight Anthem, it's hard not to be moved. Lead singer James Alex summed up the band's appeal before its last song, telling the crowd, "Thanks for remembering that rock 'n' roll is supposed to be sloppy and dangerous." (April 20, Music Hall of Williamsburg)

Iggy Pop

It almost seems as if the death of
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

It almost seems as if the death of his close friend and collaborator David Bowie reminded people what a treasure Iggy Pop is. His new album, "Post Pop Depression," is a collaboration with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and harks back to the classic 1970s albums Pop and Bowie recorded together. At 68, Pop is still the consummate rock star, spending nearly two hours gyrating across the stage, beating his chest and diving into the crowd. (April 12, United Palace Theatre)

Little Simz

British rapper Simbi Ajikawo has earned comparisons to
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

British rapper Simbi Ajikawo has earned comparisons to Kendrick Lamar and Lauryn Hill. In a truncated set, she showed off her technical ability and her writing chops, offering songs that are both crowd-pleasing and introspective. Her debut album, "A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons," finds her coping with her ambition and her burgeoning fame. (March 23, Rough Trade NYC)

Big Grams

Big Grams, a collaboration between synth-pop duo Phantogram
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

Big Grams, a collaboration between synth-pop duo Phantogram and OutKast's Big Boi, helped close out SXSW by joining The Roots as part of "The Tonight Show" house band's guest-filled party. Big Grams' version of OutKast's "Ms. Jackson" was a surprise choice that sent the crowd into a frenzy. They'll be on the festival circuit this summer, including a stop at Governors Ball. (June 3, Randall s Island)

Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals

With a dozen shows in four days, Paak
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

With a dozen shows in four days, Paak was everywhere at SXSW, wowing crowds with his rapping and singing as he moved between soul, funk and hip-hop. Then he jumped behind a kit and proved himself also to be an amazing drummer. It won't be long before he's known less as Dr. Dre's protégé and more as a star in his own right. (June 18, Forest Hills Stadium, with Disclosure)

Porches

Originally a lo-fi indie pop project, Porches has
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

Originally a lo-fi indie pop project, Porches has gone full-on synth pop on its new album, "Pool," combining danceable hooks with an undercurrent of longing and melancholy. The songs let in a little more light when played live, thanks to bandleader Aaron Maine's genial stage presence and impressive falsetto. (April 13, Music Hall of Williamsburg; April 15, Bowery Ballroom)

Seratones

Louisiana's Seratones back up the booming gospel-influenced voice
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

Louisiana's Seratones back up the booming gospel-influenced voice of AJ Haynes with amped-up blues-rock riffs, creating a sound that has earned them comparisons to Alabama Shakes and Janis Joplin. Haynes was on a mission to make her performance a memorable one, playing the entire show with a huge smile on her face, then finishing it by jumping into the crowd to dance with fans. (April 12-13, Bowery Ballroom with Dandy Warhols)

The Kills

The British-American duo previewed songs from its upcoming
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

The British-American duo previewed songs from its upcoming album, "Ash & Ice," which will come out June 3 and is the group's first in five years. Their onstage charisma and compelling mixture of booming electronic beats, bluesy guitar and simmering vocals hasn't aged a day. (April 12-13, Warsaw)

White Lung

White Lung has been a great punk band
Photo Credit: Jeff Colchamiro

White Lung has been a great punk band since the start of the decade. Now it's aiming to be more than that. The band's new songs have been given the slightest hint of a pop sheen without losing any of their power. It doesn't hurt that their intense singer Mish Way absolutely owns the stage. (May 7, Baby's All Right)

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