Can’t Make It to SXSW? Make It Come To You!

Dessa

As fun as it is to revel in the Austin sun with all your old favorites and new musical obsessions, it’s not always easy (or affordable!) for many fans to make the trek.  Not to worry though.  Several big names playing the fest this year are also making stops in Madison.

Some of the great artists hitting SXSW that you can you can see in your own backyard are…

DESSA – March 23 – High Noon Saloon – BUY TICKETS

CHELSEA LIGHT MOVING – March 28 – BUY TICKETS

AKRON/FAMILY – April 14 – High Noon Saloon – BUY TICKETS

JD McPHERSON – April 18 – High Noon Saloon – BUY TICKETS 

CHAD VALLEY – April 22 – High Noon Saloon – BUY TICKETS

JOSH RITTER & THE ROYAL CITY BAND – April 24 – Capitol Theater – BUY TICKETS

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB – May 15 – Barrymore Theater – BUY TICKETS 

TELEKINESIS – May 16 – High Noon Saloon – BUY TICKETS 

PARQUET COURTS – June 22 – High Noon Saloon – BUY TICKETS

 

SXSW Showcase Artists Announced

Is it really almost time for SXSW again?  Yup, that indie music mecca known as Austin is gearing up for yet another unforgettable festival, and its featured performing artists have just been announced.  Plants and Animals, We Are Scientists, The View, and Robert Francis?!  Be still my heart!

Media Roundup: Music Doing a World of Good

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Artists such as Massive Attack, Doves, Elbow, and Dizzee Rascal have come together in a human rights campaign opposing the use of music as an instrument of torture.

Dizzee Rascal

Dizzee Rascal

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Media Roundup: Interview Insanity and The Dearly Departed

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Plans for Record Store Day celebrations on April 18th are being confirmed all across the nation.  The Cold War Kids are using the music lovers’ holiday to release a new live EP.   What’s more, the band will be in Wisconsin the following day.  Got your tickets to their Waukesha gig yet?!  In a similar fashion, The Breeders are releasing an EP of their own to celebrate the event.  How are you going to spend the day?  What are your favorite local record stores?

The Breeders

The Breeders

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It seems like everyone in the world made the pilgrimage to Austin last week for the indie rock Mecca of a festival, SXSW.  If you missed out on the sounds, you can still experience the sights with this photo gallery of performances.

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The Duke Spirit recently stopped by the The Current’s studios. Listen to their performance/interview here!

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Rolling Stone previews 45 (!) of the most anticipated Spring releases, including new albums from Green Day, Regina Spektor, Wilco, Sonic Youth, Black Moth Super Rainbow (who will be in Madison May 21), New York Dolls, Mos Def and The Avett Brothers.

Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor

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Have you become totally obsessed with Twitter yet?  You will be after reading Stereogum’s list of the Top 50 Rock Star Twitters!  While you’re at it, come Twitter with us.

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It has been a sad week in the music world.  Blues fans are mourning the loss of New Orleans-based pianist and singer Eddie Bo, who passed away from a heart attack last week.  Motown drummer Uriel Jones (who collaborated with the likes of Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, and Jimmy Ruffin) also died recently.

Eddie Bo

Eddie Bo

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Blender magazine announced that it’s shutting its doors.  The last line of this news story sums up the sentiments of so many music fans:  “R.I.P. Blender.  I wont miss you, but others will.”

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Listen to a brand new Death Cab For Cutie track here!

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Is streaming music online a bad thing?  This guy seems to think so.

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Listen to a great NPR interview with Black Joe Lewis! Aaaaand a not-so-great one from Sigur Ros.  In fact, according to NPR, it just might be the worst interview ever.  EVER.

Black Joe Lewis

Black Joe Lewis

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UWIRE wants to take you on tours of the music scenes in various major American college towns.   (Yup, Madison too!)

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Media Roundup: Outlaw Blues and New Tunes

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Bob Dylan has rarely allowed his songs to be used in advertisements, but the icon will be making an exception next month when his celebrated hit “Blowin’ In The Wind” will accompany commercials for the Co-operative Group in the UK.  While fans may be shocked to hear news of Dylan’s involvement in the advertising campaign, the company is a far cry from massive corporate beasts like Wal-Mart (you listening, Springsteen?).

According to NewsroomAmerica.com, “The Co-op, which runs a string of supermarkets as well as banking, funeral and travel services, operates according to environmental impact, fair trade and social responsibility guidelines.”

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

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Dreaming of warmer days to come?  How about all those great spring and summer festivals just around the corner?  Check out what the folk at Coachella, Bonnaroo and SXSW have in store.

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A trial is now underway to seek justice for murdered South African reggae star Lucky Dube.

Lucky Dube

Lucky Dube

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Live Nation’s new ticket service got off to a rocky start, proving to be a major headache for masses of Phish fans.

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Charges against Noel Gallagher‘s onstage attacker have been upgraged to aggrivated assault, meaning the accused could be facing a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher

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Exciting news for Hold Steady fans!  The band has announced plans to release a live album/documentary DVD double disc set called A Positive Rage this April!

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Can’t wait for pop songstress Lily Allen‘s new album to drop on February 10?  You can snag a sneak peak of the new tunes from It’s Not Me, It’s You as they’re currently being streamed on Lily’s myspace!   What do you think?

Lily Allen

Lily Allen

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Joan Baez was recently featured in a Rolling Stone article with fellow folk legend, Pete Seeger.  (Psst! Be sure to grab tickets to Joan’s Madison show next month!)

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Composer and conductor Lukas Foss, who had worked with the Milwaukee Symphony, has passed away.

Lukas Foss

Lukas Foss

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The changing face of hipster heaven

Austin, Texas, recently played host to SXSW (South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals) Music Festival, the annual hipster extravaganza drawing in tastemakers and trendsetters to see the tastiest and trendiest of the music world.

If you really needed the above description, though, clearly SXSW is not for you. You are not a hipster. Head straight to un-hip jail, do not pass go and do not collect $200. Since its inception twenty-one years ago, SXSW has continued to grow into its current monstrous size, drawing more than 2,000 bands to Austin; the mid-sized, blue diamond in the rough of oh-so-red Texas; in both officially-sanctioned and unofficial, spin-off showcases in front of over 12,000 attendees. In addition to the fans, the attendees include many booking agents, managers and venue owners, allowing smaller bands to gain much needed exposure in the industry of reduced record sales and increased opportunities for music piracy via file-sharing networks.

As the festival has grown, however, it has become increasingly more difficult to grab the attention of the above powers-that-be. Each year, SXSW attracts many acts that already have a name for themselves and had a great deal of commercial success — such as 2008 performers Talib Kweli, Moby and My Morning Jacket — in addition to many more recent blog sensations on the tip of every hipster’s tongue, such as Vampire Weekend, MGMT and Jens Lekman. Even if these acts help draw in music fans that in turn check out a number of other shows, there is only so much that any given human being (even extra special, extra hip ones) can take in over the course of five days and the bigger acts are sure to outdraw smaller, up-and-coming acts. That is, of course, unless they have the stamp of approval from their “indie” music blogger of choice, who contributes to society by breaking through the clutter and aiding less musically-inclined listeners in identifying the artists and tunes worth listening to without the influence of society’s “haves.”

Blog-approved Vampire Weekend, coming to town on April 4.

As any given music blogger gains notoriety, however, one has to wonder just how “indie” they truly can be classified as. Record labels, in particular, have begun to pay closer attention to the blogosphere, pulling in bloggers with a trusting base of readers to help find promising talent in exchange for helping to tout some of theirs. According to a recent Associated Press article, gossip blogger Perez Hilton is being snapped up by Warners Bros. Records as an executive, and was given control over the talent for a showcase at this year’s SXSW.

In response to criticism over the potential blending of the corporate and the independent, Hilton stated, “I only post things on there that I really enjoy and love and support — there’s no payola Perez … [T]here’s an authenticity there and they really respond to that.”

Bloggers being pulled under the wing of record labels is just one example of corporate influence increasingly playing a role in the defining of what’s worthy of an 8. or 9.something on Pitchfork and what isn’t. Companies outside of the realm of music — such as Urban Outfitters — have also adapted the culture of blog-approved goodness with their selections of in-store music playlists, aiding to profits that head in iffy directions: UO Owner Richard Hayne has reportedly donated thousands of dollars to rabidly anti-gay and anti-abortion politician Rick Santorum. One has to wonder how long it will be before the hipster-blogger-tastemaker role is further commodified and whether it will begin to impact the music itself. Only time will tell.

— Joe Erbentraut, True Endeavors Communications and Public Relations Intern