As a music journalist from the North Country, I'd be a fool to pass up the opportunity to head down Austin, Texas, each March for the South by Southwest Music Conference. It provides those of us on the ice-whipped prairie a respite from our endless winter season, not to mention a chance to binge on the best burgeoning artists before they make their way around the country on tour. It's become something of a requisite for many of the musicians, writers, photographers and fans from my hometown.
It says a lot about SXSW's size and scope that this "sampler" of the annual music festival spans six and a half hours, but here we are: 100 songs by 100 artists worth discovering at this year's big event.
In what's become one of the most anticipated showcases at the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference, NPR Music and partner public radio stations presented a can't-miss night of performances on March 13 at Stubb's. The official showcase was available on air, online and on mobile to audiences worldwide, in a broadcast on NPR member stations across the country, and live video stream here and in the NPR Music apps.
Robyn Hitchcock turns 60 this weekend. The British singer and guitarist has traveled a long way to this point, beginning in the 1970s as the frontman of proto-punk group The Soft Boys and continuing through a solo career that has produced hundreds of songs. He's even appeared in a few films: Jonathan Demme showcased the singer in Storefront Hitchcock and gave him a cameo as a Russian operative in the 2004 verison of The Manchurian Candidate.
It begins with a heartbeat. Released in 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon was Pink Floyd's eighth studio album. It would become one of the best-selling albums of all time, and its iconic cover image still hangs in college dormitories everywhere.
The trippy pop group Foxygen gave a thrilling, sometimes chaotic live performance at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night, channeling everyone from The Velvet Underground to The Rolling Stones and Ramones.
Part of the key to Holly Williams’ success as a singer-songwriter is that it’s never been her mission to try and live up to the legacy cast by her famous and prolific father and grandfather – Hank Jr. and Sr., respectively – nor has she spent a lot of time trying to live it down.