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KCRW at South by Southwest

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In video - more performances from the festival [Mar. 24th, 2009|02:44 pm]
Kicking off with Jon Langford, below is a selection of performances from across the SXSW festival.



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Summing Up SXSW 09 [Mar. 24th, 2009|11:15 am]
Most talked about artist – Janelle Monae. She is a truly unique artist - her futuristic songs, her wild pompadour hair, and most of all her MOVES. That girl is "in character" the entire time she plays. Garth Trinidad was an early champion of her music. If there is one must-see artist coming out of the fest, it’s Janelle.

Surprise performances that weren’t really surprises. Metallica at Stubb’s, Kanye West at the Fader party and Jane’s Addiction at the Playboy party. (I missed them all - oh well)

My favorite bands that I had never seen before. The Whip, Annuals, Vetiver, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Other Lives, Harlem Shakes.
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New bands and big surprises [Mar. 23rd, 2009|11:44 am]
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I made a pledge this year to only see bands I’ve never seen before. While its tempting to see the big name headliners like M Ward, Grizzly Bear and Silversun Pickups, I tried to opt for the newbies, hoping to find a new band to love. The only band I purposely saw twice, however, was The Whip from the UK. I can’t say enough good things about this band. When I was in the mood to dance and get loose, there wasn’t a band that topped them at this festival.

One of my favorite other surprises was King Kahn and the Shrines. I am totally at a loss to describe them, but they definitely took the most risks of any band I saw - there was a big sexual element to their show (I won’t go into details but, in an interesting twist, it did not include any scantily clad girls. Quite the opposite actually). You really have to see the King - and his James Brown-style singing and the madness ensuing around him - to understand it. Another nice surprise was the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. I’ve been hearing a lot about them and their record is in rotation at the station. It was pretty straightforward but enjoyable.

Friday night was when all the craziness of the week started hitting home. I don't have all my energy but I'm not giving up yet!

- RR

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Rachael Ray really does love music [Mar. 23rd, 2009|10:30 am]
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When I saw that Rachael Ray was hosting a party at SXSW last year, I was suspicious - what was the famously perky food maven doing in our music world. Was it for self -promotion or to work on her "hip" factor? Well, this year I went to her party and after seeing her jam backstage during Bob Schneider’s set, I have visual proof that she is a real music fan. She was dancing and having a blast - and put together one of the best bills of the weekend for her showcase!

While I heard the food itself was just ok, the bands were great - especially Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The Polyphonic Spree is the first band comparison that comes to mind because of their size - it’s a 12-piece band - but it looks more like a circus than the choir/singing army of the Spree. And the music is just joyous. I had a perma-smile the whole time. Frontman Alex Ebert, formerly of Ima Robot, is a quirky character - the type who wears a casual suit jacket with no shirt underneath, his long hair in a bun, and shoeless with low hanging pants. My friend Jeff went to high school with him in LA and told me he was the superstar jock at the time - now he’s a gypsy leading a caravan and he looks entirely comfortable doing it. It was one of the best sets of the week.

- RR

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Friday at Filter Mag Showcase [Mar. 21st, 2009|11:50 am]
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When I left the hotel this morning I was greeted by the famed Black Cab from the Black Cab Sessions, a great web series where they pick up bands to play a track while the cab drives around. Its way better than I can describe in the 80 degree heat as I await the next band. They're from the UK and big fans of the station.

After our MBE broadcast, I hit the Filter showcase at Cedar street and was happy to find they were running behind schedule so I could catch all of Wild Light. WL drummer Seth couldn't say enough good things about previous act Idle Warship, who Garth Trinidad has been championing. Wild Light wowed everybody - they just came off a tour with Tapes and Tapes and their set was tight.

I knew nothing about Manchester's The Whip but they won me over about 10 seconds in. Even the Late of the Pier guys were busting a move to their irresistable dance music. FUN. I'm so proud we are sponsoring these Filter showcases because every band I've seen has been fantastic.

RR
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Quick takes from SXSW [Mar. 20th, 2009|03:33 pm]
*I've seen two bands sport a ukelele in as many days (Zee Avi and Guggenheim Grotto).

*Peter Bjorn and John are celebrating their 10 year anniversary as band and putting out their fifth record Living Thing.

*PB and J like huevos rancheros for breakfast and have a great sense of humor

*Annuals at the Filter/Cedar Street showcase were the best surprise of the day so far GREAT live

*I saw local band called Red Cortez play a party sponsored by a pancake batter-in-a-can company

*LOTS of bands with female members, almost everyone I've seen

*I'm yet to eat street pizza but I've had at least a half dozen tacos

More soon!

RR
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Reviewing our Showcase [Mar. 20th, 2009|12:16 pm]
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As I listen to Peter Bjorn and John soundcheck for their MBE performance this morning, I'm thinking about our fantastic showcase last night. The Boat People kicked it all off with a set of poppy songs, including my personal fave, "Born in the 80's", and charmed the entire room. Next up, were Oklahoma's Other Lives whose music can best be described as orchestral folk. It was packed by the point and the entire room was consumed by the music in the best way.

Port O'Brien has been touring pretty much non stop and their live show was super tight and they created a jovial ruckus at the end when they handed out pots and pans for the audience to bang on during the final song.

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In video - the KCRW showcase [Mar. 19th, 2009|05:15 pm]
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KCRW's SXSW showcase in Austin took place last night with Port O'Brien, Other Lives and The Boat People among the acts performing. Check out some video footage from the gig here (the first video is from Port O'Brien's set, hit the "Shows" to see more)...
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Heartless Bastards and Harlem Shakes [Mar. 19th, 2009|10:38 am]
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I'm big into bluesy rock from Ohio these days! Dan Auerbach/The Black Keys are proudly from OH as are the Heartless Bastards. Singer Erika Wennerstrom has an unbelievable voice and they played some of my favorite songs off their new album, The Mountain, at the Paste Magazine party.

Afterwards,I headed down 6th St (Austin's main drag of venues, bars and nightclubs) to check out Harlem Shakes. It was their first SXSW show this year and they said they were psyched to be there - and I could tell. They had, by far, the most energy of any band I've seen. I'm a big fan of their album Technicolor Health and it came alive in their live show. The singer had a pair of drumsticks in his hand the whole time and pounded on whatever was around. It was a blast.

On my way to Buffalo Billiards for our showcase...

RR
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Telekinesis & Here We Go Magic [Mar. 19th, 2009|10:31 am]
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There's only a handful of bands I came to SXSW determined to see and Seattle's Telekinesis was one of them. I caught them at the Austinist day party. They have a singing drummer who had a raccoon stuffed animal on his kit, nice touch.

Here We Go Magic is such a good band name I wanted to hear their music as soon as I heard that a band with such a name existed. Not only that, but singer Luke Temple is the frontman. It took me a few listens to get into the CD but once I did, I really liked the combination of soundscapes, both dreamy and tribal, and straightforward songs. They were really late to start but they drew the crowd out of the shade as soon as they got going.

Waiting on the Harlem Shakes...

RR

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