KNBA - KBC

Marissa Lorusso

A recent tweet from Philadelphia's Mannequin Pussy says "i appreciate heartbreak only because of how transformative it can be." That may as well be the thesis of the band's forthcoming album, Romantic, though you wouldn't necessarily know it from the record's sound: brawny punk with a fuzzy pop streak.

The first few seconds of Field Mouse's upcoming album, Episodic, might fool you. The opening track, "The Mirror," begins with gentle, atmospheric guitar strums and a building drumbeat; then, suddenly, it explodes into a melodic, scuzzy rock song with skittering guitars and a demanding rhythm. "What a way to say 'f*** off,'" sings Rachel Browne. What a way to kick off an album.

What's most striking about Japanese Breakfast's first full-fledged album, Psychopomp, is how gracefully it treads over difficult territory. What started as singer and guitarist Michelle Zauner's side project — she took on the moniker to release solo work when not performing with Little Big League — eventually became an outlet for songs of grief and mourning in the aftermath of her mother's death. Sonically, Psychopomp is a far cry from the Philadelphia emo band's music, trading crunchy indie rock for haunting pop songs with swirling synthesizers.

"Sometimes we like each other / and sometimes we just wish we were with another," sings Hannah Mohan on the title track from And The Kids' upcoming album, Friends Share Lovers. "It's okay because / friends share lovers," she later adds. As the title attests, both song and album zero in on what happens when a tight-knit group gets maybe too close.

The music of T-Rextasy is an impeccable combination of sarcastic, swaggering humor and timeless pop-punk grooves. Throughout the band's upcoming debut album, Jurassic Punk, singer Lyris Faron scolds misogynists, plans for punk-rock domination and praises both a cafeteria woman and a one-night-stand-loving lady. The last track on Jurassic Punk, "Gap Yr Boiz," crystallizes the band's formula of punchy lyrics and catchy hooks.

Yung's music is a space of duality: innocence and experience, beauty and pain, darkness and light. Frontman Mikkel Holm Silkjær embodies opposites, too: His music showcases both his maturity as a songwriter and his youth, as he relies on more than a decade of songwriting experience despite being only 21. Both of Silkjær's parents are musical; they put him behind a drum set at the age of 4 and introduced him to the local punk scene as a teen.

Yung's music is a space of duality: innocence and experience, beauty and pain, darkness and light. Frontman Mikkel Holm Silkjær embodies opposites, too: His music showcases both his maturity as a songwriter and his youth, as he relies on more than a decade of songwriting experience despite being only 21. Both of Silkjær's parents are musical; they put him behind a drum set at the age of 4 and introduced him to the local punk scene as a teen.

Mitski closed her set at our SXSW showcase with this angst-ridden song for a scorned ex-lover. It ends with a series of no-holds-barred shouts that seem to be coming from the depths of the singer's heart; once the song ends, she thanks the crowd and whispers "stay safe" into the microphone.

Watch the entire set here, or check out individual songs in the set list below.

Set List

"Everything you feel is good / if you would only let you," Mitski sings over a slightly rushed bass line in the opening lyrics of "I Will." Her voice cracks with empathy throughout her performance, even as the rest of the band joins in and the song picks up a fuller, grooving sound. Her voice grows more powerful as the song progresses; just before the end, she shouts "I'll be brave."

Watch the entire set here, or check out individual songs in the set list below.

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