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The Austin 100: Alumni Edition

Austin 100 alum Japanese Breakfast will be performing at SXSW 2019.
Craig Scheihing
Courtesy of the artist
Austin 100 alum Japanese Breakfast will be performing at SXSW 2019.

Each year, The Austin 100 compiles six or seven hours of highlights from the SXSW Music Festival. It's a feast of music discovery, but it never quite captures the best any given year has to offer, in part because so many acts come back to SXSW for return engagements. In other words, the best SXSW discoveries of 2017 might also rank among the best SXSW discoveries of 2018, 2019 and beyond.

This year, looking at just the lists from 2016-18, 52 alumni of The Austin 100 return to perform at SXSW 2019, including sentimental favorites like Jealous of the Birds (with whom we recorded a South X Lullaby), Gaelynn Lea (who won our ), Calliope Musicals (whose live shows filled us with a sense of confetti-flecked wonder) and Kady Rain (whose "R.A.D. Moves" is a gigantic adorable pop hit in some superior alternate universe). Some have since returned with fantastic new songs in recent months, including SYML ("The Bird"), FEMME ("Be Shy"), Trupa Trupa ("Dream About"), Priests ("The Seduction of Kansas"), Living Hour ("Bottom Step") and many others.

It felt weird, or like some kind of petty technicality, to leave them off this year's Austin 100. So here's three and a half more hours of music discovery, to serve as a noble addendum to this year's list. May you find something new and fall in love, whether or not you're attending SXSW this week.

Hear The Music

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)