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  • If you're like most people, you're really busy and it's hard to keep up with all the latest new music and playlist mixes, band profiles, festivals, etc. going on in the world of "indie rock" - whatever that is (insert your own definition here).

    Anyways, we thought it would make sense to have a monthly wrap-up of the most popular posts and mixes we featured on IRC, including a Top 20 songs of the month playlist.

    One thing that we didn't get to feature on IRC in March, but that we'd like people to know about is The Voice Project, supported by artists like Andrew Bird, Joe Purdy, Mike Mills of REM, Dawes and others. The project supports an effort of women from the Uganda Gulu Choir, who are using songs to tell hundreds, and thousands, of Ugandan men who as child soldiers were forced to kill family and friends, that they are forgiven, and it is safe, and time, to come home. Many of these boys-now-men have been hiding in the brush of Uganda for years too ashamed, and likely traumatized, to return home for the crimes they were forced to commit as children.

    Top 20 Songs on IRC for March 2010
    (based on what you listen to/download the most)

    Philadelphia's Free Energy, and their debut album, Stuck On Nothing, dominated our top songs list for March, followed closely behind by The Morning Benders, thanks to the release of two great singles from their new album, Big Echo, "Excuses" and "Promises." In addition, hot songs included new tracks from The Black Keys, Delorean, Titus Andronicus, Woodhands, Titus Andronicus, Judson Clairborne, Josh Rouse, MGMT, Broken Bells, Big Star, Frightened Rabbit, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, She & Him and more.

    "Excuses" - The Morning Benders

    "Hope Child" - Free Energy

    "Dream City" - Free Energy

    "Tighten Up" - The Black Keys

    "Promises" - The Morning Benders

    "Stay Close" - Delorean

    "A More Perfect Union" - Titus Andronicus

    "Dissembler" - Woodhands

    "The High Road" - Broken Bells

    "I'm in Love with a Girl" - Big Star

    "Swim Until You Can't See Land" - Frightened Rabbit

    "Flash Delirium" - MGMT

    "In The Sun" - She & Him

    "Conscience Killer" - Black Rebel Motorcyle Club
    Live video of BRMC at SXSW 2010

    "O My Soul" - Big Star

    "Song for Dreaming" - Judson Clairborne

    "Don't Haunt This Place" - Rural Alberta Advantage

    "Bloodbuzz Ohio" - The National

    "I Will Live on Islands" - Josh Rouse

    "King Basement" - Thunderhawk

    Top Five Special Playlists in March: RIP Mark Linkous and Alex Chilton, Bands That Rock!, The Latest Buzz and Singer and Songwriter Spotlight

    Not counting the weekly mix Best New Releases series, and our on-the-ground SXSW festival coverage (see below for those), the top special playlist mix and story on IRC for March was our tribute in memory of Mark Linkous, the brilliant songwriter, vocalist, musician, and producer best known for his work with Sparklehorse (he essentially was the band) and his frequent collaborations with other musicians, including last year's Dark Night of the Soul compilation album that featured songs from Danger Mouse, Iggy Pop, Julian Casablanas (The Strokes), James Mercer (The Shins), The Flaming Lips and many others. The popular album was co-produced by Linkous, and included a track from Vic Chesnutt, who passed away last Christmas.

    March was a rough month for music fans. On Wednesday, March 17, Alex Chilton, of Big Star, died of a sudden attack in New Orleans. Considered a legend in the opinion of many music writers and fans, Chilton was set to reunite with Big Star at South By Southwest on March 20 in Austin; instead, a widely publicized tribute show was held for Chilton, featuring an impressive lineup of musicians, including Mike Mills (REM), Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), M. Ward, and many others.

    RIP: Artists Remember Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse (1962-2010) - March 8, 2010

    Day Four at SXSW: Alex Chilton Tribute, Broken Bells, Ben Gibbard, Matt Pond PA, Titus Andronicus ,Small Black, No Age - March 21, 2010

    Bands That Rock! Vol. III - Australia's Violent Soho and Brooklyn's Awesome Colors - March 25, 2010

    The Latest Buzz: Hot New Songs from The Black Keys, Delorean, Ariel Pink, MGMT, Caribou, She & Him, The National, Jonsi & More - March 26, 2010

    Singer and Songwriter Spotlight Series Vol. V - Iceland's Lay Low and California's Noel Carlon - March 5, 2010

    IRC's Full SXSW Coverage: A Day-By-Day Journal of Shows, Shows and More Shows

    2010 SXSW Music Video Award: Cinnamon Chasers by Luv Deluxe

    South By Southwest 2010 was a blast; too bad it's only possible to see one band at a time, otherwise, we would have been able to see so many other performances, not including the ones that we could not get into. We did our best to cover SXSW, but it's really difficult when you are pretty much going from one show to another for 12-14 hours a day for four days straight.

    SXSW 2010 Bands to See, Vol. I: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Princeton, Real Estate, The Drums and Surfer Blood - March 12, 2010

    Day One of SXSW includes shows from The Walkmen, The Morning Benders, Free Energy, Real Estate, Frightened Rabbit, Broken Bells and More - March 17, 2010

    Day One of SXSW Wraps Up With Big Success, St. Patrick's Day Madness, and Plenty of Great Music - March 18, 2010

    Day Two at SXSW: Shearwater, The Low Anthem, The Middle East, Peter Wolf Crier, Rogue Wave, Beach Fossils, Delta Spirit - March 19, 2010

    Day Three at SXSW: Neon Indian, Memory Tapes, Fool's Gold, We Are Scientists, Pains of Being Pure at Heart - March 20, 2010

    Day Four at SXSW: Alex Chilton Tribute, Broken Bells, Ben Gibbard, Matt Pond PA, Titus Andronicus, Small Black, No Age - March 21, 2010

    Other Posts and Playlists Published in March: Screaming Females, Fictionist, Adam Green, Barzin, Tropical Depression and More

    Recent Releases That Almost Got Away: Screaming Females, Prizzy Prizzy Please, Fictionist, Fresh & Onlys, Adam Green, Roadside Graves & more - March 27th

    Best Rarely Heard Songs of 2009, Vol. IV: Barzin, Laterns, Tropical Depression, and The Parlophonics - March 1, 2010


    March was a big month for New Releases, so if you missed anything, you can go see all of the playlist mixes of great new songs from the best releases of the month, week by week. The amount and quality of officially released music during March (the month is already over?) is mind-boggling.

    Week of March 2nd, Part I: Rogue Wave, Portugal The Man, The Whigs, These New Purtians, Peasant, A Weather and more.

    Week of March 2nd, Part II: Twin Tigers, Man/Miracle, Bridges & Blinking Lights, Megaphonic Thrift and more.

    Week of March 9th, Part I
    : The Morning Benders, Free Energy, Titus Andronicus, Ted Leo, Josh Rouse, Judson Claiborne and more.

    Week of March 9th, Part II: Broken Bells, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Frightened Rabbit, Mighty Tiger, Thunder Power and more.

    Week of March 16th: Drive-By Truckers, Standard Fare, Casper Bangs, The Rest, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and more.

    Week of March 23rd: Woodhands, Thunderhawk, Quadron, Yukon Blonde, Love is All, Bettie Servert and more.

    Week of March 30th: Annuals, Velvet Davenport with Ariel Pink and Gary War, Henry Funeral Shoe, Seabear and more.


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       March 31, 2010    3 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    In 2006, Raleigh, NC band Annuals turned quite a few heads with their debut album, Be He Me. Their expansive, energetic sound and tight pop sensibility captured the hearts and ears of both listeners and critics. They released their sophomore album, Such Fun, on Canvasback Records, in 2008.

    Now, armed with a reputation for solid songwriting and several years of experience, Annuals go back to the formula and sound that first cemented their acclaim. Sweet Sister marks band leader Adam Baker's return to the producer role, Annuals' return to a more tight-knit DIY collective, and a pure distillation of their trademark quirky pop experimentalism.

    "Loxtep" - Annuals from Sweet Sister EP
    Annuals on MySpace

    Velvet Davenport with Ariel Pink and Gary War

    Psychedelic rockers Velvet Davenport drop their Get Out/Run 7' today via Shdwply Records. The tracks, "Get Out" and "Run," as well as, "Surfer Blood," were recorded in Los Angeles with Ariel Pink and Gary War on an 8-track in War's apartment.

    "Run" - Velvet Davenport, Ariel Pink & Gary War from Get Out/Run 7"
    Velvet Davenport MySpace

    For those of you not familiar with the electro-pop, synth charm and heavy percussions of the Minnesota duo, Tarlton, we hope that you will dig this song from their album Evergreens, that dropped today. Hearing Tarlton's music was simply one of those artists or bands that you never heard of before, and within minutes you're absolutely stoked that you know about them - it has an added quality of specialness for that reason. The song "Learn By Example," has been on repeat here for the past few days.

    "Learn By Example" - Tarlton from Evergreens
    Tarlton on MySpace

    Brothers Rock in Wales, Plus Seabear, Dum Dum Girls, Black Tambourine and Apollo Gold

    Henry's Funeral Shoe is a Wales shoegaze rock duo of guitarist and singer Aled Clifford and his brother Brenning on drums. Growing up in a musical family, Aled became a gifted guitar player, with the guidance of Ned Edwards, a long time collaborator of Van Morrison.

    Aled played with a few bands and even recorded with producer Ian Grimble; once even recording a session at Abbey Road studios, made world-famous by The Beatles before they founded Apple Studios. Brenning was also pursuing music as a drummer, starting at the age of nine. At 15, Brenning joined a local band and cut his teeth playing covers of The Clash and Thin Lizzy. In 2008 ,the brothers joined forces to create Henry's Funeral Shoe, and drop their debut album today that includes the souful rocker, "Don't Lose the Rhythm."

    "Don't Lose the Rhythm" - Henry's Funeral Shoe from Everything's For Sale
    Henry's Funeral Shoe on MySpace

    "Lion Face Boy" - Seabear from We Built a Fire

    "D.A.L." - Dum Dum Girls from I Will Be

    "For Ex-Lovers Only" - Black Tambourine from s/t debut

    "Things You Go Through" - Apollo Gold from Mount Benson

    "Tribe" - Young Sinclairs from Songs of the Young Sinclairs

    "Quarry" - Sneaky Thieves from Brotherly

    Coming Attractions: Hacienda, Harlem and Nada Surf

    "I Keep Waiting" - Hacienda from Big Red and Barbacoa - out April 6th

    "Cloud Pleaser" - Harlem from Hippies - out April 5th

    "Electrocution (Bill Fox cover)" - Nada Surf from if i had a hi-fi - out June 8th


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       March 30, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    With the never-ending flow of new music coming from all directions, there are always going to be artists and bands, songs and albums, that we did not get to share with you before or upon the official release. In this case, these are all 2010 songs we really like so much to re-play them more than a few times. If anyone wants to make a zip of this mix and send it to us, we'll post it and give you credit.

    First up. Within a relatively short amount of time, the Minneapolis raw rock band Screaming Females have advanced from near obscurity to their current day name recognition in the world of alternative, underground, whatever you want to call it, rock music.

    Screaming Females released their first two LPs DIY style, and apparently still had a lot of DIY spirit in the recording of their 2009 label debut LP (and third album), Power Move, released on Don Giovanni Records. The Village Voice called band member Marissa Paternoster the "Best Shredder in New York City 2009."

    In addition to that, bands like Dinosaur Jr., Throwing Muses, Dead Weather and Arctic Monkeys have personally asked Screaming Females to tour with them. After listening to the band's music, it's no wonder such huge bands like Dino Jr. and Jack White's Dead Weather want to be on the road with Screaming Females. Currently, Screaming Females are touring with Ted Leo and The Pharmacists until April 10th.

    Following Screaming Females are some terrific 'new to us' bands like Chicago's Prizzy Prizzy Please, Salt Lake City's Fictionist and Sweden's Moneybrothers, plus recently released tracks from familiar artists and bands like The Fresh & Only's, Adam Green, The Octagon, and Roadside Graves. We wanted to close out this special playlist mix in a big way. The fresh track from Roadside Graves, "Liv Tyler," is a sprawling and epic, near-seven minute composition full of interesting lyrics, sweet beats, alt country rockish vocals and a bombastic climax and chorus.

    "Arm Over Arm" - Screaming Females from Power Move (March 23rd)
    Screaming Females on MySpace

    "Thundergust of Woodpeckers" - Prizzy Prizzy Please from s/t debut (March 2nd)
    Prizzy Prizzy Please on MySpace


    "Blue-eyed Universe" - Fictionist from Lasting Echo (Feb. 19th)
    Fictionist official website

    "Born Under a Bad Sign" - Moneybrother from Real Control (March 20th)
    Moneybrother official website

    "Diamond in the Dark" - The Fresh & Onlys from August In My Mind (March 2nd)
    The Fresh & Onlys on MySpace

    "Castles and Tassels" - Adam Green from Minor Love (Feb. 16th)
    Adam Green official website

    "Clew Haywood" - The Octagon from Warm Love and Cool Dreams Forever (March 2)
    The Octagon official website

    "Liv Tyler" - Roadside Graves from You Won't Be Happy With Me (out March 23rd)
    Roadside Graves official website

    Other Posts with Playlists You Might Like:

    2010 Releases You Might Have Missed: Boy Eats Drum Machine, Phantogram, ArpLine, BlueBrain, Wakey! Wakey!

    Day Four at SXSW: Alex Chilton Tribute, Broken Bells, Ben Gibbard, Matt Pond PA, Titus Andronicus ,Small Black, No Age

    The Latest Buzz: Hot New Songs from The Black Keys, Delorean, Ariel Pink, MGMT, Caribou, She & Him, The National, Jonsi & More

    Bands That Rock! Vol. III - Australia's Violent Soho and Brooklyn's Awesome Colors

    Best New Releases of the Week: Woodhands, Thunderhawk, Quadron, Yukon Blonde, Love is All, Bettie Servert and More

    Great New Songs from The Pass, Secret Cities, City Light, Scanners, Sambassadeur, Undersea Poem, David Vandervelde, Mako Sica & More

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       March 27, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    This week's buzz about new songs from current and upcoming releases features The Black Keys, Delorean, She & Him, The National, MGMT, Caribou, Blitzen Trapper, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffati, Jonsi (Sigur Ros frontman), Wye Oak, and Teenage Fanclub. With that in mind, and being that it is Friday, it only makes sense to create a playlist mix of the hottest songs on the web right now to take you into the weekend. Enjoy.

    "Stay Close" - Delorean

    "Tighten Up" - The Black Keys

    "In The Sun" - She & Him

    "Boy Lilikoi" - Jonsi Birgisson (Sigur Ros)

    "Flash Delirium" - MGMT

    "Bloodbuzz Ohio" - The National

    "Heaven and Earth" - Blitzen Trapper

    "Round and Round" - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffati

    "I Hope You Die" - Wye Oak

    "Odessa" - Caribou

    "Baby Lee" - Teenage Fanclub

    You can also browse IRC's Top Ten charts that has links to stream or download the Top Ten songs - as voted by all of you - going all the way back to last summer.


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       March 26, 2010    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Since we started the playlist mix series Bands That Rock! at the beginning of 2010, it has been fairly popular. The reason for doing it was to specifically focus on just pure rock and roll bands that we think you'll love.

    In the case of these next two bands - Violent Soho and Awesome Colors - they are on the same label, but come from places that are just about as far away from one another as any two locales on earth can be. But what they also have in common is the most important thing to us - they are amazing, full throttle rock bands.

    Violent Soho is a grunge rock revivalist band from Brisbane (Queensland), Australia, consisting of a quintet of mates who grew up together in the suburb of Mansfield (postal code: 4122, which shows up in much of the band's artwork).

    In 2007, the band toured with The Grates. Not long after the tour, Violent Soho released their widely acclaimed EP, Pigs & TV. Blunt Magazine said of the EP: "Sounding like The Vines fed on raw meat and produced on a fraction of the budget, Violent Soho are a boisterous pop rock combo from Brissyland reviving the spirit of the grunge era."

    One of the band's newest tracks, "Jesus Stole My Girlfriend," was released months ago as a single, and has also been among one of their most popular songs online. In fact, YouTube alone has over a dozen videos featuring the song; the version we selected above happens to be the best in video and audio we could find, and also happens to be from inside our favorite record store, Amoeba Records, in San Francisco.

    That song, and the song featured below, "Son of Sam," are originally from the band's 2008 debut LP in Australia, We Don't Belong Here, released via Emergency Music Records. Some months later, the band signed a deal with Ecstatic Peace Records, a label headed by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore.

    Earlier this month, Ecstatic essentially released We Don't Belong Here (but as a self-titled LP) with completely remastered tracks, and targeted at a larger audience, which once you hear the album, you'll see why.

    "Son of Sam" - Violet Soho from s/t worldwide debut

    Stream the entire album on the band's official website.

    Violent Soho on MySpace

    Check out this new video of Violent Soho's recent trip from LA to SF

    awesome color band

    On the other side of the world from Australia is Brooklyn's psychedelic punk rock trio Awesome Color, made up of Michigan natives Michael Troutman, Allison Busch and Derek Stanton. In 2005, shortly after forming, the band's Detroit garage rock inspired sound caught the attention of Ecstatic's Thurston Moore, who, like he did with Violent Soho, signed the band to the label, and got to work.

    The band's debut self-titled album was well received, and frequently compared to the 1970s punk band the Stooges. In fact, Stylus Magazine wrote: "there are times when you could play Fun House [a Stooges' album] and this album back-to-back and not be able to tell the difference between the two").

    Their 2008 follow-up, Electric Aborigines, drew comparisons with The Scientists and Spacemen 3, with Rolling Stone magazine calling the band "a grimier version of Sonic Youth," who subsequently toured with Built to Spill, The Dead Weather and Dinosaur Jr.

    On April 6, the band will release their third LP, Massa Hypons, and based on the first single, "Transparent," we can't wait to listen to the entire album. Like their label mates, Violent Soho, Awesome Color performed during last week's SXSW festival in Austin - and both bands were fantastic - their equal talent for mastering raw rock sounds was refreshing at a time when keyboards, drum machines and Macbooks are driving the popularity of so many other (and some, admittedly good) bands, duos and solo artists.

    "Transparent" - Awesome Color from Massa Hypnos

    "Eyes of Light" - Awesome Color from Electric Aborigines

    Awesome Color on MySpace

    Previous installments of Bands That Rock!

    Bands That Rock! Vol. II: Brooklyn's A Place to Bury Strangers and Stockholm's The Legends

    Bands That Rock! Vol. I: Argentina's Lunaria and Portugal's The Doups


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       March 25, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Woodhands' new album, Remosecapade, drops today.

    This week's Best New Releases features new music from bands you may already like, others that you've heard of, but your unfamiliar with their music, and perhaps even some that you are finding out about for the first time.

    Each week, we gather up a bunch of tracks from new releases that we like, and want to share and let people know about. Usually, not always, we write some type of review or profile of bands and artists being feature. But due to SXSW, this is one of those "not always" weeks. Official website and MySpace links are provided for almost all of the artists, giving you one-click access to find out more information about bands and new releases that you are the most interested in.

    This week's best new releases include tracks from Woodhands, Thunderhawk, Archie Bronson Outfit, Quadron, Yukon Blonde, Love is All, Bettie Servert, SayCet, and Let's Wrestle. Also, there are recent releases from Red Ink, Four O'Clock Balloon and The Dustbowl Revival, plus "coming attractions" from Radio Dept., Annuals and The New Pornographers with Neko Case.

    "Dissembler" - Woodhands from Remosecapade
    Woodhands on MySpace

    "King Basement" - Thunderhawk from VI
    Thunderhawk on MySpace

    "Shark's Tooth" - Archie Bronson Outfit from Coconut
    The Archie Bronson Outfit official website

    "Average Fruit" - Quadron from s/t debut
    Quadron on MySpace

    "Blood Cops" - Yukon Blonde from s/t debut
    Yukon Blonde on MySpace

    "Horses Warriors" - Radar Brothers from The Illustrated Garden
    Radar Brothers:

    "Repitition" - Love Is All from Two Thousand and Ten Injuries
    Love Is All official website

    "Deny All" - Bettie Servert from s/t debut
    Bettie Serveert official website

    "Easy" - SayCet from Through The Window

    "Opal" - SayCet from Through The Window
    SayCet on MySpace

    "We Are the Men You'll Grow to Love Soon" - Let's Wrestle from In the Court of the Wrestling Let’s
    Let's Wrestle on MySpace

    Due to the craziness of planning for SXSW and traveling to Texas, there were some new releases that we didn't get to feature in last week's Best New Releases of the Week.
    Melbourne, Australia's unsigned band Red Ink have been rising in popularity in the land Down Under over the past year, playing concerts and festivals with artists like Cat Power, LCD Soundsystem and Architecture in Helsinki.

    Now it's time to bring Red Ink to North America. Hope you like the band's sound as much as we do. The band officially drops their self-titled, debut EP today in the States.

    "Battlescars" - Red Ink from s/t EP

    Red Ink on MySpace

    Red Ink official blog

    South Florida band Four O'Clock Balloon might not have the coolest band name, but they came as a pleasant surprise after their label, Killer Music Group, sent us a single to listen to. The band describes their music as "power pop without apologies," delivering bright, catchy melodies, sweet hooks and 1970's ELO-like harmonies.

    Four O'Clock Balloon could be one of south Florida's new buzz bands. It doesn't hurt that the band was founded by Santana band member Tommy Anthony (guitar/vocals) with friends John Allen (guitar), Micheal Quinn (bass) and Omar Hernandez (drums). Their debut, self-titled LP is out this week on Killer Music Group records. And finally, a song from The Dustbowl Revival's new LP, out today.

    "Real" - Four O'Clock Balloon from s/t debut

    "Dan's Jam" - The Dustbowl Revival from You Can't Go Back To The Garden Of Eden

    The Dustbowl Revival on MySpace

    Coming Attractions: Radio Dept, Annuals and The New Pornographers

    Sweden's Labrador Records' recording artist Radio Dept. are back with a new single from their upcoming album, Clinging to a Scheme, set for release on April 21. Plus, the Annuals are back next week with a new EP - can't wait to hear that, and based on the advanced single, it could be another winner for Annuals. The New Pornographers and Neko Case serve up throwback 1960s power pop rock on "Your Hands" from the upcoming LP, Together.

    "Heaven's on Fire" - Radio Dept. from Clinging to a Scheme (April 21)

    "Loxtep" - Annuals from Sweet Sister EP (March 30)

    "Your Hands" - The New Pornographers (w/Neko Case) from Together (May 4)

    Note: Post SXSW fest, we have so much not necessarily SXSW related music to share with you, including a bunch of amazing songs from bands you probably have never heard of - many of whom sent their music in to us to review.


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       March 22, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Evan Dando of Lemonheads: one of many musicians to pay tribute to Alex Chilton @SXSW

    The final, full day of SXSW 2010, Saturday, March 21, was freezing cold. In fact, it was warmer by 20 degrees-plus in the northeast; at one point it was barely 40 degrees, but the winds wiping off the Texas prairie lands made it feel like it could snow. People with warm clothes, hats and jackets were cold, so you can imagine what it was like for all of the folks who dressed for typical Texas late March weather. Dallas got two inches of snow!

    Visitors to Texas expecting warm spring weather in this near-tropical locale were dumbfounded. But, thankfully, people found ways to cope, and one way was to get a little to a lot closer, and that's a good thing.

    Perhaps, James Mercer, of an IRC favorite band, The Shins, performing at The Mohawk patio with Broken Bells - a great new band featuring Danger Mouse - summed it up best when he said: "welcome to Portland," sarcastically referring to the cold, cloudy and windy weather residents of Oregon's biggest city know all too well.

    Although the weather was a huge topic of conversation - and even curse words - it was in fact the tribute show at Antone's to honor the sudden passing of iconic musician Alex Chilton of Big Star, that was the talk of SXSW today.

    Chilton, who was 59, suffered an instantly fatal heart attack on St. Patrick's Day in New Orleans, only three days before the much anticipated reunion of Chilton with most of the original and later members of pop rock icons Big Star. In what surviving Big Star members called a musical wake, the 80-minute tribute to Chilton included guest appearances from the Lemonheads' Evan Dando, Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood, M. Ward, REM's Mike Mills, and many others.

    "O My Soul" - Big Star

    "I'm In Love With a Girl" - Big Star

    Ray Davies, of the legendary rock band, The Kinks (and one of the first rock bands to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), and who was also at SXSW for a solo performance (and honorary speaker at SXSW some years ago), talked about how Chilton came to his aid after Davies was shot in New Orleans in 2004 during a mugging in the French Quarter. "He would come over and lend me a guitar," Davies said. "He became my friend ...[and] helped me a lot." Davies proceeded to dedicate The Kinks' classic "Till the End of the Day," a song Big Star previously covered. In the past, Chilton had credited The Kinks as one of the biggest influences on Big Star's sound.

    "Till the End of the Day" (1965) - The Kinks

    So far it's been a sobering year for many music lovers. In the past few months, fans have had to come to terms with the tragic and untimely deaths of Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), Jay Reatard and Vic Chestnutt. Yet as far as impact on music history, the sudden death of Alex Chilton is probably the most stunning of all, especially since Big Star were scheduled to reunite at SXSW.

    Our Day Four got off to a slow start - after three straight days and nights of shows, often standing for 12-14 hours a day (that's a lot of standing, huh?), the freezing, overcast weather didn't help, and staying warm became more important than waiting in long, hardly moving lines outside. In previous days, long lines were cool because you knew it would be a great crowd, and probably a good showcase. One of the biggest downers about SXSW is waiting in a line for an hour or more and never getting in.

    But with the case of Broken Bells show, unlike their shared showcase with Spoon, it was thankfully pretty fast and easy to get in. If only Austin's own indie rock band Spoon had been there too, well, that would have been something else.

    Broken Bells' debut LP, released earlier this month, has created a lot of buzz. Broken Bells, dressed appropriately in layers, put on one of the festival's most memorable shows. Ironically, Mercer and Danger Mouse where collaborators with Mark Linkous, and performed on Late Show with David Letterman only a couple of days after Linkous' tragic death.

    "The High Road" - Broken Bells

    Following the Broken Bells, we headed inside to get warm with the Freelance Whales, who were performing in The Mohawk's so-called "cake shop," perhaps one of the smallest music venues in Austin. But because it was indoors, and smaller, the show was better than their outdoor performance at the Galaxy Room Backyard on Thursday.

    After Freelance Whales, we headed over to The Parish where we unfortunately just missed Wye Oak, but were in time for Ben Gibbard's (Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service) solo set. In addition to playing a bunch of DCFC songs, Gibbard calmly did a terrific cover of The Magnetic Fields' song, "I Don't Want To Get Over You." The warmed up capacity crowd at The Parish were, not surprisingly, a bit older of a crowd than you see at other shows, but it was a highlight of SXSW to see Ben Gibbard, one of IRC's favorite singer/songwriters of the past decade or so.

    "Cath" - Ben Gibbard

    By early evening, rumors circulated that the line for the Alex Chilton/Big Star tribute show was insanely long. The same was also true for the Perez Hilton Party where Snoop Dog and Courtney Love (reunited with Hole) was performing. Well, we never planned on seeing that show anyway - much too much fake "A-list" Hollywood for us. And Courtney Love? Pah-lease.

    After the Ben Gibbard show, we wanted to check out a new, promising band we previously featured on IRC - the Small Black at The Mohawk. However, five minutes before the set, there were literally seven people there. Tough decision time: at SXSW, you go for the energy of the turn-out almost as much as you do for the bands. One thing you learn really quick at SXSW, is that if a show isn't happening, either by attendance or performance - or technical issues - there are dozens of other choices unless, of course, it's a show you have to see. Anyways, we have the opportunity to see Small Black with Washed Out and Picturesque Airplane in San Francisco this coming weekend. We see a lot of potential in this exciting, and latest, edition to the "surf rock" craze of the past year or so in the indie rock genre.

    "Despicable Dogs" - Small Black

    Here's another video of Small Black performing "Pleasant Experience"
    (Note: Now having regrets about not staying to see Small Black's Mohawk set)

    Therefore, we headed out to catch a few songs from Minneapolis' Banner Pilot and fellow Minnesotian dance pop duo Swimming With Dolphins before walking back over to The Galaxy Room to watch the only Matt Pond PA show we knew of at SXSW at the Polyvinyl Records Party.

    "Greenwood" - Banner Pilot

    Matt Pond PA, our first time seeing them live, were joking with the packed room, and playing one terrific song after another, including "Halloween." We were disappointed, however, that they didn't play "Snow Day," one of their most well known songs, and it would have been so appropriate for the weather of the day.

    "Halloween" - Matt Pond PA

    "Snow Day" - Matt Pond PA

    By the time Matt Pond PA wrapped up, SXSW was in it's final night of official showcases. So, we didn't waste much time; off next to see Titus Andronicus outside at Red 7, two blocks away. The Glen Rock, New Jersey band, whose new album, The Monitor, is one of our favorite 2010 releases so far, played a raw and energizing set of guitar rock, including a fifteen-minute, acid-freaked version of the guitar punk-rock song, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Right before the crowd-pleasing jam, Titus frontman, Patrick Stickles, said: "Thanks to Fuc*ed Up for making the world safe for 15-minute punk songs, like this..."

    "Titus Andronicus" - Titus Andronicus

    By this point, it was becoming apparent that SXSW was coming to a close, but we still had a few more gigs to catch before the ball dropped. So, we caught a bit of Woods set inside the Red 7 and then headed around the corner to Barbarella to see Abe Vigoda; doses of good guitar rock are filling up this part of the schedule, and Abe Vigoda lived up to expectations, as did the next performance by Canada's Two Hours Traffic at Mi Casa; they performed their best-known song, "Territory," with perfect musicianship.

    "Territory" - Two Hours Traffic

    The wheels are starting to come off - finished the official SXSW with Japandroids at The Galaxy Room and No Age at Barbarella. Both of those shows were packed and memorable as the night (it was now about 2 am) came to an end. It was time to say goodbye to everyone before turning in to warm up and rest aching feet. Next year, we hope to host a showcase, so stay tuned for updates about that in 2010.

    "Wet Hair" - Japandroids

    We would like to thank everyone - from the organizers (how do you do it?) to the venues, the musicians and bands, and the good folks of Austin - for a great first time SXSW experience. The past five days are like one long blur of venues, people and music, and it will take some time to digest it all.

    SXSW typically kicks off the music festival season with big fests like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, Lollapolooza, Outside Lands and many others in the pipeline. Look out for our special series of features on music festivals of 2010.

    Over the next week or so, we will have more coverage from SXSW, including band profiles, playlist mixes, show videos and interviews, samplers, photos and more. We'll also profile bands we heard about but didn't get to see, and bands we like, even love, that we didn't get to see. One thing you learn at SXSW - if you get to see even two dozens bands you wanted to see, it's an accomplishment - but there will always be those shows you missed for one reason or another, and that's just part of the gig.

    On that note, it is hard to imagine what it is like for SXSW attendees who go to conferences, panels and seminars all day, because a lot of the best showcases - and chances for actually getting into see a show - are the unofficial, often free day-time shows. It's also very different than the more exclusive night-time showcases, and gives you a entirely different overall experience in seeing how many non-industry people respond, or don't respond, to a particular artist or band. See our full SXSW coverage, including dozens of songs, videos and handy links of SXSW 2010 bands.

    Tomorrow, it's back to our regular programming with the Best New Releases of The Week feature. There is plenty of great new music out this week, so check back for that, as well as more SXSW coverage. In addition, we are excited to share with you in coming weeks a bunch of artists and bands that you probably never heard of, many of who have contacted us in the past few of months with music submissions. The amount and variety of great music we receive just In Dee Mail (our silly way of saying music sent in to us via email) alone is overwhelming.


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       March 21, 2010    2 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    The bands, the people we met, the venues, the days have a way of mixing and blurring together after four days of virtually non-stop music at South by Southwest. Time bends in a strange way when you go from one venue to another pretty much without much a break for 12-14 hours. And after yesterday's deep freeze - it was actually almost cold enough to snow - and the final frenzy of bands to see before the official last day of SXSW, a Sunday wind down is welcomed - even though there are still some showcases going on Sunday and Monday. (check this page later, as more updates on Day Three, Day Four and Five are added)

    Day Three at Austin was warm and mostly sunny, giving many folks waiting in long lines sunburns and cramped legs. Our day started with a 45-minute wait to get into Emo's for Washed Out, Memory Tapes and Neon Indian on one stage, and Best Coast, Surfer Blood and Japandroids.

    "Catholic Pagans" - Surfer Blood

    Get the Pitchfork SXSW sampler free from Citizen Insane

    After particularly sweet sets from the beats and synths of this party - especially Memory Tapes and Neon Indian - we set out to the French Kiss party at the Galaxy Room to catch The Freelance Whales (again), one of SXSW 2010's most hyped bands, and not without reason.

    "Starring" - Freelance Whales

    Following the FW was a much anticipated set from LA's "jungle indie rock" band Local Natives. In addition to playing some of their best known songs, like "Sun Hands" and "Airplanes," the band also played a cover version of the Talking Heads "Warning Signs" and were accompanied on stage by members from Fool's Gold.

    Neon Indian from Fader Fort SXSW 2010 performance

    "Deadbeat Summer" - Neon Indian

    "Plain Material" - Memory Tapes

    Next, it was back to Emo's (because could not get into see She & Him) for a rousing performance of the psychedelic dubs and big beats of San Francisco duo French Miami, followed by Born Ruffians and the awesome LA "tropical pop" band Fool's Gold.

    Fool's Gold's nucleus consists of Luke Top and Lewis Pesacov along with Garrett Ray, Jimmy Vincent and Matt Popieluch of Pesacov's other band, Foreign Born; plus, Latin American pop star Erica Garcia, the former drummer for the spectacular post-punk era band, The Fall, Orpheo McCord and Michael Tapper, formerly of We Are Scientists. The band, who put on an energy-filled performance, considers among their main influences Afropop music. Just before Fool's Gold, we got a few minutes to see Cymbals Eat Guitars, who we hope to see again sometime this year.

    "Surprise Hotel" - Fool's Gold

    "Plainclothes" (via WOXY) - Cymbals Eat Guitars

    It was then on to catch a few songs from the terrific dance band Dolorean, some We Are Scientists and then over to catch some of the Shearwater show. As always, Shearwater was fantastic.

    "Black Eyes" - Shearwater

    We decided to close out the day-long blur of performances with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart at the Mohawk's little "cake shop" room. The Pains, as expected, put on a great show of their catchy pop rock.

    "Everything With You" - Pains of Being Pure At Heart

    We saw, and missed (since can't be everywhere at once; and many preferred shows were impossible to get into - like Broken Social Scene, She & Him, etc), so many performances that it's like a big blur, especially after the third day. Nonetheless, we closed out Day Three with a street performance by the band Grove Session who were doing a stunning cover of Santana's "Soul Sacrafice." If you never saw the official, and original, Woodstock Festival film from 1969, Santana's performance was one of the best in rock history, as well as one of the best live guitar and drum solos ever recorded. The entire Woodstock film has a special place in the hearts of any classic rock lover, whether you were there (would have loved to be), not even born yet, or have uncles and aunts who were there.

    Although they cannot compare to Santana, Groove Session's street show reminded us when we saw The Ferocious Few street show during the Hardly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco last summer. The FF were a mini-favorite here at SXSW, and no wonder.

    Day Four - the deep freeze in Austin - coverage coming soon. Even though it's Sunday, there are still more shows to see today and tonight, and hopefully we'll get to see Wiretree, Lovvers, Signals, Ty Seagull and Vivian Girls - the music never sleeps in Austin.

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    Rogue Wave played to an oversized crowd at Emo's Thursday night @SXSW

    Day Two of SXSW in Austin was jam packed with a variety of showcases that included electro-pop and indie rock to folk , hiphop, country and heavy metal. But, in general, we are sticking with artists and bands that we've featured on IRC in the past.

    It was a calculated, but difficult, decision to not go to the convention center to see the day time show there that featured The Walkmen, Frightened Rabbit and others, instead opting for the daytime show at The Galaxy Room to see Shearwater, Lou Barlow, The Low Anthem, The Lonely Forest, and the Middle East. All great shows, especially Shearwater and The Low Anthem. The Middle East show was terrific, but it was 15 minutes late getting started, and unlike other venues, there's no going over scheduled times.

    "Castaways" - Shearwater

    "Cage The Songbird" - The Low Anthem

    "The Darkest Side" - The Middle East

    Next, we were able to squeeze in a half set of Givers at Emo's Annex; definitely a band worth checking out if you haven't heard of them. We're trying to get in a varied selection of other venues, but they tend to be sold out over and over again. After checking out Givers, we went to see a NPR-recommended band, Peter Wolf Crier - not bad, but not spectacular. That's cool because we were waiting to see ex-Beulah member Miles Kurosky followed by Rogue Wave. Both of those shows were amazing; Kurosky had as many as eight other musicians on stage, and Rogue Wave delivered their usually dependable set, featuring a bunch of new songs from their new album. See our special edition this weekend for videos, photos, samplers, and more from SXSW 2010.

    "Good Morning" - Rogue Wave

    DD MM YYYY ripped it out for a capacity crowd on Emo's other stage - can't even remember what stage that was. Then it was back to the Galaxy Room for sets from Avi Buffalo and Efterklang, and then to Wave Rooftop for Beach Fossils - a young pop rock band that thrash all about the stage. Even though it took 20 minutes to work out technical issues, the band pleased the crowd anyways with a killer set. Beach Fosssils are definitely a band that will be looking at again. During the set, a photographer from a magazine that we won't name was drunkenly trying to take photos, but he was too blitz to get a shot in focus - we saw him try and even offered to take the dang picture for him. We'll be publishing a bunch of official and unofficial SXSW 2010 videos this weekend.

    "Daydream" - Beach Fossils

    From the Wave Rooftop it was back to Galaxy Room to see The Ruby Suns, but after waiting 20 minutes for them to work out technical issues, we headed back to Emo's to see Austin's own White Demin, followed by one of the best performances we've seen so far at SXSW 2010, Delta Spirit.

    "C'mon People" - Delta Spirit

    Via Large Hearted Boy's awesome, free and legal SXSW MP3 collection

    More from SXSW 2010 coming soon.

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       March 19, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    The sun came out just in time for the first day of South By Southwest in Austin, and the big venues filled up to packed crowds as the day went on. Free Energy followed by The Freelance Whales created a line outside The Galaxy Room two blocks long.

    We started the day around noon time at Emo's to see Rural Alberta Advantage followed by The Morning Benders. RAA belted out one catchy song after another, as the sun rays beamed in through the shackle roof to light up the stage while the band played "Frank AB" and "Don't Haunt This Place."

    "Don't Haunt This Place" - Rural Alberta Advantage

    By the time the Morning Benders got on stage, it took them 10-plus minutes to get the soundcheck right, and as a result, they were only able to fit in four songs - three from their new, critically acclaimed LP, Big Echo. Nevertheless, they got the crowd to clap and sing along with them on their most popular recent songs, "Promises" and "Excuses."

    "Excuses" - The Morning Benders

    Next it was over to The Galaxy Room just in time to catch Philadelphia's 70's FM pop rock (in a good way; think Cheap Trick) band Free Energy. They put on an energetic, engaging performance that had a packed crowd really going - definitely one of the most inspired shows of SXSW's Day One. Half way into Free Energy's set, the line outside The Galaxy Room had grown down the block and around the corner on Red River Street. Free Energy, a young, talented band have built a strong following in the past half year, and have been an IRC band to watch. The recent release of their album, Stuck on You, proves why.

    "Dream City" - Free Energy

    Following Free Energy at Wednesday's Paste Magazine showcase was Freelance Whales, yet another recent phenomenon to hit the "indie rock" scene in the past year. The band of musicians from the various boroughs of New York City fuse keyboard new wave pop with banjo-picking, stellar choruses and perfectly-timed bass, drums and guitar that round out a sound uniquely their own. By the time Freelance Whales were into their second song, the people outside in the line - including those with the all-mighty badges - were pretty much stuck there - no one was leaving at that point. And for good reason.

    "Hannah" - Freelance Whales

    Next it was over to Red 7 to see New Jersey's Real Estate perform a number of their widely acclaimed songs, including "Beach Comber," "Suburban Dogs" and "Green River." The band are likely to follow up their praise from CMJ last fall to even bigger buzz post-SXSW. They are scheduled oddly enough for only one official SXSW show, but are actually performing seven 'unofficial' shows by the end of Saturday. The only problem with the Real Estate show at Red 7 was that the vocals were not loud enough, and thus some of the songs sounded more like instrumentals, and still they pulled it off marvelously - which says much about any band's musicianship.

    "Green River" - Real Estate

    Official SXSW at Night: Good Luck Getting into the Best Showcases

    That pretty much put an end to the day shows, which, interestingly enough, are not even considered official SXSW shows. In fact, the official SXSW Music Pocket Guide does not even list the day time shows. This is an interestingly separation as one spectator pointed out today. The day time shows, which are usually free, and somewhat easier to get into than night time shows, offer many regular folks who cannot afford - or get into - the exclusive, and official, evening showcases, a chance to see talented bands. The daytime shows also expose bands to a more diverse audience, and provide a better chance to connect with non-industry people, not to mention the perfect conditions for making new fans.

    The interesting thing about the night time shows, is that not even the folks with the expensive badges, can get into a venue once it has hit capacity. The same goes for wristband holders. Many of the evening showcases are open only to badge and wristband holders, who tend to be music industry and press people. But it's still about capacity.

    This was the case tonight at Stubb's, where the bill included The Walkmen, Broken Bells and Spoon. The line was extremely long, and not moving enough to create hope of seeing those bands. Before The Walkmen even completed their set, venue staff were telling people in line that they might as well go somewhere else because the joint was at capacity and badge holders, if there was capacity to let anyone else in, would get first priority. Basically, even badge holders were not guaranteed entry because any sane person that actually got in to Stubb's this evening wouldn't be stupid enough to leave, especially since Spoon wasn't scheduled until 12:15am. For many of us, not getting in was a big let-down. OK, get over it fast, and hit another venue with a solid showcase that may be a better shot.

    So, we dashed across the street to Club De Ville in hopes of seeing Here We Go Magic, The Middle East, Bowerbirds and Califone. Unfortunately, it was pretty much the same deal. Club Deville was filled to capacity with little chance of getting in no matter how long you waited.

    One thing you find out pretty fast about SXSW, especially at the official, popular night showcases, is that you may not get into see a lot of bands you planned on seeing - regardless of who you are, or whether you have a badge or wristband.

    Leaving the Deville and weaving our way through the huge crowds in the closed-to-cars streets of downtown Austin, we headed over to The Galaxy Room to catch Denmark's Choir of Young Believers, and an awesome set from London's Fanfarlo.

    After those shows, it was looking doubtful that we'd get into The Parish a few blocks away in time to see Codeine Velvet Club, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Frightened Rabbit. After 20 minutes in a long line, the staff informed everyone that it was sold out.

    "Vanity Kills" - Codeine Velvet Club

    "Swim Until You Can't See The Land" - Frightened Rabbit

    Still, we were able to get into Wave, and proceeded to ascend to the relatively small, cramped rooftop area to see Florida's Surfer Blood, one of the most influential new bands, partly responsible for a wave of popularity in the "indie" surf rock trend that started to take hold in 2009, and is showing no signs of slowing down in 2010. Fans of bands like Pavement and Built to Spill are most likely to be interested in Surfer Blood. One indication of a new band's popularity is the number of profile views they have on MySpace. Surfer Blood's MySpace page already has well over half of a million profile views.

    The band played an amazing 40 minute set, but it was literally the most packed crowd yet. Whether we liked it or not, the person in front and back of you were pressed up against you - through no fault of their own. Thankfully, we had a really fun, and tolerable, group of people that were having a blast and took for what it was worth - after all, it's SXSW, and St. Patrick's Day.

    During Surfer Blood's set, the band grooved on their psychedelic surf rock sounds on tracks like "Floating Vibes" and "Take It Easy," saving their most well-known song, "Swim (To Reach The End)," to close out the set. During "Take It Easy," front man JP Pitts, took his name a bit literally and jumped into the crowd who caught and held him up perfectly, giving many people the first chance to see a band member because the stage was so low only the people right in front saw the band - unless you were seven-feet tall.

    "Floating Vibes" - Surfer Blood

    See other Surfer Blood posts with more songs

    By the time, Surfer Blood finished, it was 2 am, and time for the festival to close up until 10 am this morning, when dozens of daytime showcases will kick-off and go on all day throughout Austin, with a brief break, usually between 6-8 pm, before the big nightime shows started.

    No matter what one does when they visit SXSW, there is no way you can see most of the bands you planned to, not only because they are playing at the same time in different dozens of venues. So, the best one can do at SXSW, is to hope and to get to see as many shows as possible. But after 15 hours on your feet, it starts taking it's toll.

    There were many other artists and bands that we wanted to see today that we could not for no other reason than having to make tough choices about which showcases we wanted to see, and which we had the best chance to get into, preferably where you can stay for at least a few sets in a row. Some of the shows we missed today, unfortunately, included Titus Andronicus, Beach Fossils, Neon Indian, Small Black, Washed Out, and Japandroids, to name a few.

    "Time" - Beach Fossils

    "Phone Call" - Washed Out

    One of the saving graces when missing shows by artists you want to see, is that many play more than one - in some cases up to eight - other gigs during the four-day festival, many times at unofficial SXSW showcases. And yet, no matter how well you plan and try, there are going to be bands that you want to see that you simply will miss.

    Thursday is yet another big day for SXSW, although it will lack the same energy and green attire and costumes that Day One/St. Patrick's Day offered.

    The Austin Convention Center has a great day showcase featuring The Walkmen, Frightened Rabbit, Codeine Velvet Club and Dr. Dog.

    "The Rat" - The Walkmen

    "California" - Dr. Dog

    However, the Bay Area Takeover Party at the Beauty Bar (617 E. 7th St.) offers a splendid lineup for the entire day, including The Ferocious Few, Sonny and the Sunsets, Leopold and His Fiction, Sleepy Sun, Man/Miracle, and so on, not to mention the "other" Beauty Bar (distinguished as "Palm Door" at 401 Sabine Street), which is hosting Bear Hands, Yacht, Fool's Gold, Banjo or Freakout, Growlers and Active Child.

    "Too Young To Burn" - Sonny and the Sunsets

    "Hot Sprawl" - Man/Miracle

    "Upside Down" - Banjo or Freakout

    The Fader Fort (1101 E. 5th St.) will host Everything, Everything, Best Coast, Neon Indian, Local Natives, The Morning Benders and others. The Galaxy Room, with an inside and outside stage, will have Shearwater, Miles Kurosky (of Beulah), Lou Barlow, The Lonely Forest, The Low Anthem, The Middle East, Black Prairie and Dinosaur Feathers.

    "Sun Hands" - Local Natives

    "Blood" - The Middle East

    Check back tomorrow for more about the Thursday night shows, news of the day shows, and some videos, photos and more as they begin to pile up. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for lots of updates that we send out during the entire day and night events.

    As we are putting this together at a ridiculous time of the morning, we're still debating how we can see most of our top-pick shows tomorrow, while also considering heavily the logistics.


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       March 18, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Today, Wednesday, March 17, is the date that Austin's South by Southwest fest transitions from a focus on film to music, bringing thousands of artists and spectators from around the world to downtown Austin for four days and nights of every imaginable type of music.

    The music festival and conference held at SXSW for 16 years now, is the event of the year where musicians and bands, press and bloggers, spectators and fans, record industry executives, music scouts and agents, and so on, gather in conventions, centers, music halls, bars and clubs, churches and museums, backyards and roof tops to play, listen to and chronical more music than is ever possible to hear.

    At anytime of the day or night, there are dozens and dozens of bands playing at venues throughout downtown Austin. SWSX organizers say there are more than 1,700 artists and bands scheduled just for the official showcases. However, there are also hundreds of unofficial SXSW events. Relatively unknown artists perform in pizza joints, hotels and cafes; better known bands perform at the top venues, such as Stubb's, Emo's and The Galaxy Room.

    Wednesday will be a big day for places like The Galaxy Room (508 E 6th St.), which features two stages (inside and outstage) will host shows from Roman Candle, Free Energy, Freelance Whales, Suckers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Roky Erickson with Okkervil River and Frightened Rabbit.

    "Generator First Floor" - Freelance Whales

    "Lost Coastlines" - Okkervil River

    "Heads Roll Off" - Frightened Rabbit

    Red 7 (611 E 7th St.) a few blocks away will host the SXSW Terrorbird/Force Field Day Party with shows (inside and outside) from The Fresh and Onlys, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Toro Y Moi, Inlets, Beach Fossils, Real Estate, Neon Indian, Choir of Young Believers and The Rural Alberta Advantage.

    "Terminally Chill" - Neon Indian

    "Action Reaction" - Choir of Young Believers

    The Fader Fort (1001 E. 5th St.) is featuring shows from We Were Promised Jetpacks, Free Energy, Freelance Whales, Visqueen and others.

    "Conductor" - We Were Promised Jetpacks

    Not far away at Emo's (603 Red River St.), showcases include The Morning Benders, Titus Andronicus, Japandroids and The Black Angels.

    "Excuses" - The Morning Benders

    "A More Perfect Union" - Titus Andronicus

    Just up the street at The Mohawk, there's an all-day showcase that includes White Demin, Besnard Lakes, Washed Out, Small Black, Royal Bands and Phantogram, to name a few.

    That's just a sampling of the day shows for Day One of SXSW 2010. Stay tuned for more about night showcases that include The Walkmen, Broken Bells, Here We Go Magic, The Middle East, Califone, Fanfarlo, Princeton, Surfer Blood and more.

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       March 17, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    With South by Southwest the major deal this week for most music freaks, it is fitting, and not surprising, that some of the best new releases of the week are from artists who are scheduled to appear at SXSW 2010.

    Firstly, Athens, Georgia's Drive-By Truckers officially release their new album, The Big To-Do, today - perfectly timed for their SXSW show this Thursday at Stubb's in Austin. Unfortunately, and unlike many other bands at SXSW, TBT have only appearance booked at SXSW before they head to New Orleans for back-to-back concerts on Friday and Saturday. From the little bit we've heard of the new album, The Big To-Do, it sounds so good, so far.

    "This F*cking Job" - Drive-By Truckers from The Big To-Do

    Drive By Truckers on MySpace

    Drive By Truckers SXSW Show:

    March 18 @ 10:30pm at Stubb's

    From the UK to Austin, Texas, and three shows at SXSW. Not a bad deal for a relatively new band; Standard Fare specialize in catchy post-punk influenced pop songs, and are one of the lesser-known bands that should win over some new fans this week. The band's debut album, The Noyelle Beat, is available today.

    "Fifteen" - Standard Fare from The Noyelle Beat

    Standard Fare on MySpace

    Standard Fare SXSW Shows:

    Mar 17 @ 3:00P Music For Listeners Day Party
    Mar 19 @ 1:00P SXSW Day Party @ Waterloo Cycles
    Mar 19 @ 8:00P SXSW Showcase at Mohawk inside

    Casper Bangs are a relatively new indie pop band from Washington, D.C. In the past year of so, the band has created their own good buzz within the "music underground." Casper Bangs are booked for two shows this week at SXSW, including a spot on Sneak Attack Media's Thursday night showcase, and the daytime BYT Party at the Red Fez. The DC band received good reviews for the DIY release of their debut, self-titled EP last year, and have since been building a modest, but loyal following. Casper Bangs started as the band project of Rob Pierangeli.

    "Skylark" - Casper Bangs from I Woke Up

    Casper Bangs from MySpace

    Casper Bangs SXSW Shows:

    Mar 18 2010 8:00P SXSW - Sneak Attack Media Showcase
    Mar 20 2010 1:00P SXSW - Red Fez - BYT Day Party

    Not all of the band's with new notable releases this week are scheduled for SXSW, but it would have been good if they had been. We previously wrote about the Hamilton, Canada band, The Rest, in praise of their last album, Everyone All at Once, most especially for the tracks, "Apples and Allergies" and "Modern Time Travel."

    Acclaim of the album reached across the oceans to Europe as well, and landed the band opening tours with Final Fantasy's Owen Pallet, Deerhoof, The Besnard Lakes and The Twilight Sad. The band's new EP, Cried Wolf, drops this week on Autuer Recordings, and includes the invigorating, forward-driving rocker, "With Every Heartbeat," perhaps the EP's most accessible track, followed closely by the sprawling, artistic folk rock of "Cried Wolf (and Other Animals)." Thanks to the band for sending these songs in to share with the world.

    "With Every Heartbeat" - The Rest from Cried Wolf

    "Cried Wolf (and Other Animals)" - The Rest from Cried Wolf

    - The Rest on MySpace

    If you haven't heard of Eddy Current Supression Ring, here's your chance. The band is definitely on our radar for 2010. Also, check out new tracks from Moneybrother, herMajesty, and One For The Team.

    "Anxiety" - Eddy Current Suppression Ring from Rush to Relax

    Eddy Current Suppression Ring

    "Born Under a Bad Sign" - Moneybrother from Real Control

    "World Smiles" - herMajesty from Images from the Vanishing Night EP

    herMajesty on MySpace

    "Hard for You" - One for the Team from Ghosts

    One for the Team


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    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

    It's not a stretch that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club would be high on the list of bands to see at SXSW in 2010, even though they are definitely not indie (they're signed to a major label), yet rule in the minds of many alternative-to-heavy rockers. The band's new album proves their status in the rock world. The band keeps pumping out exciting rock songs with all the right elements to keep their original fan base engaged, and reach new fans. The music speaks for itself.

    "Conscience Killer" - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club from Beat The Devil's Tattoo

    BRMC SWSX Shows:

    March 19th at 11:00 at La Zona Rosa
    March 19th at 4:30 at Cedar Street Courtyard

    - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on MySpace


    Kanine Records (Grizzly Bear, Surfer Blood, The Depreciation Guild) has steadily been building a solid roster of bands in the past few years. One of their most recent family members, are the shoegaze pop band Princeton of Eagle Rock, California.

    The band has climbed up quickly since the release of their 2006 DIY EP debut, A Case of the Emperor's Clothes, followed in 2008 with their second EP, Bloomsbury. Last year, their debut LP, Cocoon of Love was released to critical acclaim and a growing following of fans.

    "Calypso Gold" - Princeton from Cocoon of Love (2009)

    "Korean War Memorial" - Princeton from Cocoon of Love (2009)

    Bonus tracks:

    "Ms. Bentwich" - Princeton from Bloomsbury EP (2008)

    "The Waves" - Princeton from Bloomsbury EP (2008)

    Princeton shows at SXSW:

    Mar 18 2010 12:30A CREEKSIDE LOUNGE
    Mar 20 2010 4:00P KEVCHINO PARTY @ CAFE MUNDI

    Princeton on MySpace

    Real Estate

    New Jersey band Real Estate are returning to SXSW for their second year. Plus, the band released their much anticipated debut LP in November to a great deal of positive reviews. The LP is definitely one of the best debuts of 2009. Check out our review of the LP and then come back here to listen to two additional songs not included in the release review. This band is truly amazing and unique and just about every track on the LP is a keeper - can't say that about most debut albums. Anticipate big crowds for their shows at SXSW next week.

    "Suburban Beverage" - Real Estate from s/t debut (2009)

    "Black Lake" - Real Estate from s/t debut (2009)

    Real Estate Shows at SXSW:

    Mar 17 2010 1:00A Underwater Peeps house show
    Mar 17 2010 4:30P Forcefield Party @ Red 7
    Mar 18 2010 3:00P Other Music show @ French Legation Museum
    Mar 18 2010 9:00P 2908 Cole Street w/ Woods, Pocahaunted, Beach Fossils, Eternal Tapestry, Silent Land Time Machine
    Mar 19 2010 12:00P Ground Control Party @ Urban Outfitters
    Mar 19 2010 2:00P Pitchfork Party @ Emo’s Jr.
    Mar 19 2010 11:00P Gorilla Vs Bear/ Mexican Summer @ Klub Krucial
    Mar 20 2010 2:00P The Mohawk, Mog Party
    Mar 20 2010 6:45P Fader Fort
    Mar 20 2010 11:45P Woodsist Showcase @ Red 7

    - Real Estate on MySpace

    Surfer Blood

    Surfer Blood definitely fall into the new wave of surf rock bands during the past year or so. The West Palm Beach, Florida area band broke through last August after putting on a much-talked-about show at Brooklyn's Bruar Falls, and subsequently, during last falls' NYC CMJ festival. The band relentlessly toured throught 2009, including bills with Art Brut and Japandroids. Within months of literally becoming a band, Srufer Blood were making it on to many music blogs' and sites' "Bands to Watch" lists. Heather Phares of the All Music Guide wrote warmly that Surfer Blood "fuse sunny surf rock charm with indie rock cool." In January, the band released their excellent debut LP, Astrocoast.

    "Swim (To Reach The End)" - Surfer Blood from Astrocoast

    sxsw showcases

    Surfer Blood SXSW Shows:

    Mar 17 2010 4:00P Waterloo Records (live free instore)
    Mar 17 2010 11:45P The Wave Rooftop, Kanine Records SXSW Party
    Mar 18 2010 1:00P Club Deville (Insound SxSw Party)
    Mar 18 2010 3:00P The Parish (NPR SXSW Party)
    Mar 18 2010 5:45P Sled Island Party
    Mar 19 2010 1:00P La Zona Rosa: Village Voice SxSW Party w/ The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Superchunk, The XX
    Mar 19 2010 5:30P Emos (Pitchfork SxSw Party)
    Mar 19 2010 10:00P Lustre Pearl (Filter, Dickies SxSw Party)

    - Surfer Blood on MySpace

    The Drums

    The Drums have busted through in the past year to praise from bloggers and the music press, not to mention enthusiastic fans. It's easy to get lost in the vast ocean of "hot, new" indie bands from Brooklyn nowadays, but The Drums have definitely carved out their little piece of home turf with their decidely catchy, post punk/pop sound. The Drums are considered by some to fall into the so-called "surfer indie rock" that has been attributed to other bands like, ironically enough, Surfer Blood, Real Estate, Holiday Shores, all of which are also favorites to be seen at this year's SXSW fest in Austin.

    "Let's Go Surfing" - The Drums from Summer Time EP

    "I Felt Stupid" - The Drums from Summer Time EP

    The Drums SXSW Shows:

    Mar 19 2010 1:00am NME Showcase @ Latitude
    Mar 19 2010 3:45pm FADER FORT
    Mar 20 2010 10:00pm Stubb’s Showcase

    - The Drums on MySpace

    Bands that Should be at SXSW 2010: The Swimmers: We plan to feature this band in the near future. They are good. Also, The Canon Logic; see our review for perspective on that. Other bands that would have been cool to see at SXSW, but apparently won't be there, include Pete and the Pirates, Frank Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, The White Stripes. Getting conflicting messages of whether The Ruby Suns are showing or not. While they are doing one show, more slots at SXSW of The Morning Benders would be a good thing.

    Labels: ,

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    Yesterday, we published part one of the Best New Releases of the Week; it was necessary to make two installments because there is a lot of great new music out this week. In the first installment, we featured The Morning Benders, Ted Leo, Free Energy, Titus Andronicus, Josh Rouse and others. So far this year, there have been at least eight weeks of solid new releases that have made for some fantastic playlists of 2010 songs, including today's playlist. Listen to it from start to finish with the built-in player to get the full experience of the diversity of terrific songs.

    First up is new music from Broken Bells (a collaboration between The Shins' James Mercer and Danger Mouse). Broken Bells performed on The Late Show with David Letterman last evening in what must have been a difficult performance for Danger Mouse and Mercer, both of who had collaborated with the late Mark Linkous, who founded the band Sparklehorse in 1994. Sparklehorse was arguably one of the most influential groups of the alternative rock movement that grew in popularity from the mid to late 1990s, and into the new millenium. Linkous was also a frequent influenetial bands of the alternative rock movement that who died last Saturday in Knoxville following a reported suicide. IRC paid tribute to Mark Linkous and his music in a special feature on Monday.

    "The High Road" - Broken Bells from s/t debut
    Stream the entire album via Spinner
    Broken Bells official website

    LA alternative rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's new album, Beat The Devil's Tattoo, was released yesterday on Vagrant Records. After streaming it a few days ago via Spinner, fans of the BRMC are likely to be well satisfied - it rocks from start to finish. The band is currently on an extensive tour that will cover much of North America over the next three weeks, and then on to a six-week European tour. The band is set to perform one show next week during Austin's annual South By Southwest music festival and conference.

    "Conscience Killer" - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club from Beat The Devil's Tattoo

    Brooklyn's power pop band, The Canon Logic, sent in two singles to share with all of you from their new album FM Arcade. Sounds like yet another promising band to break out of Brooklyn. Also, Emanuel and the Fear, a New York City band, have a new album release that dropped yesterday via the growing line-up of indie label, Paper Garden Records.

    "Avenue of Criminals" - The Canon Logic from FM Arcade

    "Nights at Armour Mansion"- The Canon Logic from FM Arcade

    Canon Logic official website

    "Dear Friend" - Emanuel and the Fear from Listen
    Emanuel and the Fear on MySpace

    In addition, don't miss these splendid fresh tracks from new albums (worthy additions to your music collection; otherwise, we wouldn't recommend them) by Frightened Rabbit, The Besnard Lakes, The Ruby Suns, Mighty Tiger, Thunder Power (produced by Ian Aeillo [Bright Eyes, Cursive, Matthew Sweet]), Jatun and others.

    "Swim Until You Can't See Land" - Frightened Rabbit from The Winter of Mixed Drinks
    Frightened Rabbit on MySpace

    "Albatross" - The Besnard Lakes from The Roaring Night
    The Besnard Lakes official website

    "Cranberry" - The Ruby Suns from Fight Softly
    The Ruby Suns on MySpace

    "33 1/3" - Mighty Tiger from Western Theatre
    Mighty Tiger on MySpace

    "Heartifact" - Thunder Power from Hearts Intersect EP
    Thunder Power on MySpace

    "Circuit Eater" - Jatun from Blanket of Ash
    Jatun official website

    "Fare Thee Well" - McCabe & Mrs. Miller from Time for Leaving
    McCabe & Mrs. Miller on MySpace

    "Song for Dreaming" - Judson Claiborne from Time and Temperature

    "Leave Me Alone" - Pretty Good Dance Moves from PGDM

    "No Logic" - White Hinterland from Kairos

    As if releasing their debut record Witches last week wasn't enough, FUR teamed up with Coyote Clean Up on another EP available now for free download. The two artists took a crack at remixing each others tracks, both ironically titled "Lackadaisical" and added a few more of their own to boot. The Lackadaisical EP was described by Gorilla vs. Bear as "haunted lounge-house" and is available for free download via the Waaga Records website. Power Animal also have a new song out from their new album, People Songs, out later this month, and will be performing at next week's SXSW, followed by a month-long U.S. tour.

    "Lackadaisical" (Coyote Clean Up Dub) - FUR from Lackadaisical EP

    "Dear My Body" - Power Animal from People Songs

    Other Posts and Playlists You Might Dig:

    Best New Releases of the Week, Part One: The Morning Benders, Free Energy, Titus Andronicus, Josh Rouse, Ted Leo and More

    RIP: Artists Remember Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse (1962-2010)

    In Dee Mail Special Edition, Vol. VIII: The Middle East, The Love X Nowhere, Emanuel and the Fear, Solfege Radio and More

    Disbanded: Band Break-Ups, Vol. I: New Faces, The Fake Fictions and The Catholic Comb

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    The Morning Benders widely anticipated new album, Big Echo, officially drops today, March 9th. We have two terrific singles, the album opener, "Excuses" (via Stereogum) and "Promises," from the folks at Beggars Group. The band will embark on a six-week tour of the U.S. and Canada with a kick-0ff show tomorrow in Philadelphia (see the tour schedule).

    "Excuses" - The Morning Benders from Big Echo

    "Promises" - The Morning Benders from Big Echo

    It goes without saying that Free Energy are one of the hottest indie bands of the past year. With their blissful 70's pop rock sound and energetic live shows, the band have won wide praise from the music blogging and mainstream press communities.

    "Hope Child" - Free Energy from Stuck On Nothing

    "Dream City" - Free Energy from Stuck On Nothing

    - Stream Stuck on Nothing

    One of our favorite shoegaze bands from the Garden State, Titus Andronicus, released the follow up album to their widely acclaimed debut, The Airing of Grievances, this week, and so far, it sounds like a real keeper. The band were nice enough to share not one, not two, but three tracks from the new album. Titus Andronicus will be performing a free in-store performance during SXSW at Waterloo Records on March 18 at 1pm in downtown Austin.

    "A More Perfect Union" - Titus Andronicus from The Monitor

    "Four Score and Seven (Part One)" - Titus Andronicus from The Monitor

    "Four Score and Seven (Part Two)" - Titus Andronicus from The Monitor

    - Titus Andronicus on MySpace

    "The Mighty Sparrow" - Ted Leo and The Pharmacists from The Brutalist Bricks

    "Even Heroes Have to Die" - Ted Leo and The Pharmacists from The Brutalist Bricks

    - Ted Leo on MySpace

    "I Will Live On Islands" - Josh Rouse from El Turista

    - Josh Rouse on MySpace

    - Stream El Turista via Spinner

    "Do The Method" - Method Actors from This is Still It

    "Bleeding" - Method Actors from This is Still It

    - Method Actors on MySpace

    "Crystals" - Thrushes from Night Falls

    - Thruses official website

    "Song for Dreaming" - Judson Claiborne from Time and Temperature

    - Judson Claiborne on MySpace

    Check out Part Two of the Best New Releases of the Week featuring Broken Bells, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Frightened Rabbit, Mighty Tiger, The Ruby Suns, Thunder Power, The Besnard Lake, The Canon Logic and more.

    Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

    Feetz to Da Beatz, Vol. I - Bands That Get You Dancing: Body Language, Yes Giantess and Friends Electric

    2010 Releases You Might Have Missed: Boy Eats Drum Machine, Phantogram, ArpLine, BlueBrain, Wakey! Wakey!

    Best New Releases of the Week: Bear Hands, Local Natives, The Hush Now, Field Music, Son Lux, The Good Listeners

    Band to Watch: Nashville's The Vermicious K'nids


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    The alternative rock world has lost another giant. Over the past couple of days the news of the death of Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse has shocked and saddened many fans, friends and artists. On Saturday, The New York Times reported that Linkous committed suicide in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was 47.

    Colin Greenwood, the bassist for Radiohead, released this statement: "I was very sad to hear the news that Mark Linkous has died. He and his band toured with us in Europe, at the start of OK Computer, and they were great every night...He was softly spoken, with an Old South courtesy I hadn't heard before...Mark wrote and played some beautiful music, and we’re lucky to have it. Rest in Peace."

    From Steve Drozd, multi-instrumentalist for The Flaming Lips: "R.I.P. Mark Linkous. You were a kind soul...Mark Linkous toured with us in 2003. Every night he and I would share a quiet moment with a shot of whiskey and a few laughs. A nice memory."

    Via Twitter, the band Metric, wrote: "Don't care about the Oscars. Thinking only of our latest loss too soon, Mark Linkous," and Californe: "goodbye mark l., we will miss you badly."

    Linkous' family has released the following statement: "It is with great sadness that we share the news that our dear friend and family member, Mark Linkous, took his own life today. We are thankful for his time with us and will hold him forever in our hearts. May his journey be peaceful, happy and free. There's a heaven and there's a star for you."

    Linkous had a Twitter account, but he rarely used it. His last message was in November of 2009, and seemed to indicate a sense of excitement about a new project: "working on a film about Beatles guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi."

    In 1995, Sparkelhorse's first album, vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, was released, and quickly became a hit on college radio, as did the song, "Someday I Will Treat You Good." The following year, Sparklehorse toured Europe with Radiohead. While in London, Linkous overdosed on a combination of anti-depressants, heroin, alcohol and valium, and almost lost the use of his legs from the resulting emergency surgery. He was confined to a wheelchair for six months.

    Ironically, last December, a mentor and fellow musician, Vic Chesnutt, who Linkous had collaborated with on the 2001 release of It's a Wonderful Life, committed suicide in Georgia. Chesnutt was bound to a wheelchair for his adult life following a car crash at the age of 18. He was 45.

    After recuperating, Linkous and the band released Good Morning Spider in 1998, a somber album that contained the song, "Saint Mary," which Linkous is reported to have dedicated to the nurses who helped in his recovery.

    Following GMS, Linkous and Sparklehorse recorded It's a Wonderful Life, that, in addition to Chesnutt, included collaboration with another mentor, Daniel Johnston, plus, Tom Waits, Bob Rupe (The Silos and Cracker), Nina Persson and PJ Harvey. In 2006, Sparklehorse released their fourth album, Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain.

    Last year, Linkous teamed up with Danger Mouse and producer David Lynch on the Dark Night of the Soul project, which was not released due to a legal battle between Danger Mouse and EMI. However, Pitchfork announced last week that Danger Mouse and EMI had resolved their differences, and the multimedia project, which Linkous co-wrote, co-composed and co-produced, would officially be released sometime this summer. Much of music from the project had already been leaked on the Internet.

    According to BrooklyVegan, Linkous' publicist confirmed that Sparklehorse was nearly done with a new album that was scheduled to be released by Anti- Records. However, there is no information on the Anti- website about the project or Linkous' death.

    Other collaborators on Dark Night of the Soul include James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils.

    For anyone who has followed Sparklehorse over all of these years, the loss of Linkous cannot be overstated. He was truly one of the most gifted singer and songwriters of the alternative scene.

    "Little Girl" - Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse featuring Julian Casablancas from Dark Night of the Soul (2010)

    Stream Dark Night of the Soul on NPR

    "Little Fat Baby" - Sparklehorse from It's a Wonderful Life (2001)

    "Saint Mary" - Sparklehorse from Good Morning Spider (1998)

    "Return to Me" - Sparklehorse from Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (2006)

    "Heart of Darkness" - Sparklehorse from Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (1995)

    KCRW interview with Mark Linkous upon the release of It's a Wonderful Life.

    The official Sparklehorse website

    Sparklehorse on MySpace

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    Their music is carefully crafted and performed brilliantly; it is touching, cinematic and enchanting, not to mention wonderfully experimental.

    Dark Dark Dark are a hybird of musicians from New York, New Orleans and Minneapolis, including the magnificent lead vocalist and piano and accordion artist Nona Marie Invie, supported by the vocals and multi-instrumentist Marshall LaCount (banjo, piano, clarinet), two choir singers, Jonathan Kaiser on cello, and multi-instrumentalist Water McClements (piano, trumpet and accordion), plus the talents of drummer Brett Bullion and bassist Todd Chandler.

    The new EP from the chamber folk sextet Dark Dark Dark is a wonderful follow-up to their widely heralded debut album, The Snow Magic, in 2008.

    It's another winner and a tease for a sophomore album slated to be released later this year. The band is musically advanced in both songwriting and performance, Invie's splendid and moving lead vocals are at the center, the music incorporates many styles and is always inventive, at times gypsy-like, theatrical, tragic, joyful, and, of course, dark - all accomplished with remarkable sophistication and what would otherwise be a contradiction - an uncanny rawness.

    We listened to Bright Bright Bright a number of times and enjoy it more with each subsequent spin. Marshall LaCount summed up the new EP as a conceptual piece "about a character finding a place in the world, and the strange interactions that happen along the way."

    Dark Dark Dark has also be wildly successful on the road, touring with one of our favorite, still really indie bands WHY? The EP was recorded on analog at the suggestion of Minneapolis producer Tom Herbers (WHY?, Low, Retribution Gospel Choir, The Jayhawks, Fog) who wanted to capture the band's live chemistry on analog equipment from start to finish. "Recording like this allowed so much room for musicality, warmth and energy," Herbers said.

    Dark Dark Dark has been recording new material for the upcoming LP at the historic Music Box Theatre in Minneapolis with Herbers, and are currently touring their way to Austin next week where they are slated to perform at three shows for the South by Southwest music festival.

    "Bright Bright Bright" by Dark Dark Dark from the Bright Bright Bright EP (2010)

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    Last month, Louisville, Kentucky's electro pop quintet The Pass dropped their DIY debut EP, Colors. The four-piece outfit, with their admiration for 80's synth and pop music, recently signed to SonaBlast Records, and are now recording their debut LP that will be mixed by producer and engineer Alex Aldi (Tokyo Police Club, Passion Pit, and The Walkmen). If The Pass' self-released EP is any indication of what's to come from their first album, it could be a big year for The Pass; they're already one of our Bands to Watch in 2010.

    "Crosswalk Stereo" - The Pass from Colors

    "Colors" - The Pass from Colors

    > The Pass on MySpace

    Secret Cities is a psychedelic electro-acoustic indie band from Fargo who recently signed with Western Vinyl Records in Austin. The band recently released a double side single, and in June will drop their debut LP, Pink Graffati.

    "Pink Graffati" - Secret Cities from Bright Teeth/Pink Graffitti single (Feb. 23rd)

    > Secret Cities on MySpace

    City Light is a San Francisco area band born out of the ashes of post hardcore with a knack for mixing 8-bit samples with electro-lush synths and raspy Conor Oberst-like vocals. Stream their new album, Burned Out Bright, on MySpace.

    "Some Day Maybe" - City Light from Burned Out Bright (Feb. 1st)

    "Apologies" - City Light from Burned Out Bright

    > City Light on MySpace

    "Stranded" - Sambassadeur from European (Feb. 23rd)

    > Sambassadeur website

    "Still Again" - The New Monarchs from Blue Prints (Feb. 16th)

    > The New Monarchs on MySpace

    "Makes Me Happy" - Undersea Poem from s/t debut - (Feb 9th)

    > Undersea Poem label page

    "We Never Close Our Eyes" - Scanners from Submarine (Feb. 16th)

    > Scanners official website

    "Eileen" - Lord Numb from Numbskull (out Feb. 15th)

    > Lord Numb label page

    "Learn How to Hang" - David Vandervelde from Learn How to Hang (Feb. 16th)

    > David Vandervelde offical website

    "Blue-Eyed Universe" - Fictionist from Lasting Echo (Feb. 19th)

    > Fictionist website official website

    "I'Itoi" - Mako Sica from Dual Horizon (Feb. 16th)

    > Mako Sica on MySpace

    Flashtrack: The Japandroids

    This is just a little diversion from the theme of this playlist. This next track comes by way of the Japandroids, a Vancouver indie rock duo who broke through the saturated playing field to gain a rather large following in short order, as well as wide praise from bloggers and the mainstream media. Last summer, the two college buddies released their debut LP, Post Nothing, via Polyvinyl Records. The album was subsequently nominated for Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

    "Art Czars" - Japandroids from Post Nothing (2009)

    /Japandroids official website/


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    lay lowIf you haven't heard of Lay Low, it's not because this talented artist's moniker matches her status within the world of music. Icelandic singer-songwriter Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, with her unusual moniker and all, has a voice of gold. Since being discovered nearly four years ago, she has done anything but "lay low," garnering international critical acclaim for her folk meets blues meets pop signature sound. It is simply impossible to ignore one of the most terrific female vocalists - and songwriters - to come out of Iceland in recent years.

    In 2006, Lovísa was contacted by a local label that showed interest in a raw demo she had placed on her MySpace page. Just a few short months after being discovered, she had recorded and released her debut album, Please Don't Hate Me, which topped the Icelandic charts, and became the best-selling original album in the country that year, as well as being nominated for four Icelandic Music Awards (and winning three of them) in the process. Her latest album, Farewell Good Night's Sleep, was released last year to positive reviews, and her MySpace views have top 350,000.

    "By and By" - Lay Low from Farewell Good Night's Sleep (2009)

    "I Forget It's There" - Lay Low from Farewell Good Night's Sleep (2009)

    Lay Low on MySpace

    Los Angeles musician Noel Carlon was born in Tijuana and grew up in southern California where he played his uncle's guitar and wore out his father's records. As a child in a "strange land," Carlon found himself isolated, spending countless hours in the local library reading the poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Federico Garcia Lorca, and William Shakespeare. During college, he honed his songwriting skills and formed a band called Delarosa. Today, he is continuing his work using the moniker, Noel Carlon and the Dead Poets.

    With help from guest musicians, Carlon brought his compositions to life and released his debut album, Insecure, last year. His musical influences include the Beatles, the Smiths, Soda Stereo, Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith, Tom Waits, and Chet Baker.

    "Runaway" - Noel Carlon and the Dead Poets from Insecure (2009)

    "Lady Kiss Me" - Noel Carlon and the Dead Poets from Insecure (2009)

    Noel Carlon on MySpace

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    Straight out of the Athens, Georgia indie rock scene, Twin Tigers mix pop, rock and shoegaze overtones to create a signature sound that is some of the best new music to come out of the southeast in years.

    And, there's an interesting back story; Twin Tigers was formed by co-workers at Athens' Grit restaurant, which is owned by REM founder, and local celebrity, Michael Stipe. Guitarist and vocalist Matthew Rain and bassist Aimee Morris founded Twin Tigers in the ashes of their previously dissolved bands. In February of 2008, the band released their debut EP, Curious Faces/Violet Future, to rave reviews. Soon the Twin Tigers were building a loyal fan base and opening shows for artists like Deerhunter, Dead Confederate, Jay Reatard (RIP), Black Lips, Woods, Snowden and A Place to Bury Strangers.
    Following a number of lineup changes, the band brought on drummer Doug Crump and guitarist Forrest Hall, opening for Les Savy Fav at the Earl in Atlanta just weeks before their SXSW 2009 apperance. In no time the band began recording their debut LP with Athens producer Joel Hatstat, and where picked for a national tour with Minus the Bear and the Antlers last fall. The album, Gray Waves, was released yesterday via Old Flame Records. IRC is happy to announce three winners of the new album in a recent giveaway contest via our Facebook page. There will be more contests throughout the year, so make sure to check back.

    There are limited editions of blue and black vinyl copies (includes digital download) of Gray Waves available via the Old Flame store. You can also get an EP download for free.

    "Passive Idol" - Twin Tigers from Gray Waves

    "Automatic" (WOXY Studios)
    - Twin Tigers from Gray Waves

    Twin Tigers on MySpace

    Follow Twin Tigers on Twitter

    We are big fans of Man/Miracle, a Santa Cruz (and now Oakland), California indie rock band that have really broken through in the past year or so. In addition to performing with Rogue Wave and Princeton at last week's Noise Pop festival in San Francisco, the band are heading out soon for SXSW in Austin. Fans will be thoroughly entertained thanks in large part to the release of the band's debut LP, The Shape of Things, that officially dropped yesterday.

    The first track featured here, "Hot Sprawl," is one of the LP's most memorial songs, as is the follow-up track, "Pushing and Shoving." To call these among the album's top tracks is saying a lot because there are a lot of "keeper" tunes on The Shape of Things. In a time when indie rock is arguably over-saturated with bands that rely heavily on synthesizers and computerized sound effects, Man/Miracle deliver refreshingly straight up rock, and are easily one of our top Bands to Watch in 2010.

    "Hot Sprawl" - Man/Miracle from The Shape of Things

    "Pushing and Shoving" - Man/Miracle from The Shape of Things

    Following Man/Miracle, the rock keeps rolling with the blazing guitars, raspy vocals and thumping percussions of Bridges & Blinking Lights' "Undercover," followed by the energetic, chorus-heavy punk pop song, "Acid Blues," by The Megaphonic Thrift.

    "Undercover" - Bridges & Blinking Lights from Heroes, Guns & Snakes

    "Acid Blues" - The Megaphonic Thrift from Decoy, Decoy

    Former Trail of Dead bassist Danny Wood's new fuzz folk rock band project, Borrowed Eyes, released their debut LP, Some Demons You Can Share With Others, yesterdayWhat do you guys think of the title track featured below?

    Also check out new tracks from The Paparazzi, plus a mix of songs from new releases by talented female singer and songwriters Emma Pollock, Kate Miller-Heidke and Jen Wood.

    "Some Demons You Can Share with Others" - Borrowed Eyes from Some Demons You Can Share with Others

    "The Rococo Tape" - The Paparazzi from Rococo

    "Hug The Harbour" - Emma Pollock from The Law of Large Numbers

    "Politics In Space" - Kate Miller-Heidke from Curiouser

    "Pills" - Jen Wood from Finds You in Love

    Don't miss Part One of Best New Releases of the Week, featuring Rogue Wave, Portugal. The Man, The Whigs, These New Puritans, Peasant, A Weather and more.

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    roguewavepermalightThere are so many great new releases this week, that we had to break them up into two installments (and it's looking that way for next week as well). A list of artists and bands for part two of this week's best new releases is featured below. That playlist mix will be published tomorrow. But first, here is part one. Enjoy and share with friends.

    The fourth LP from California rockers Rogue Wave comes on the heels of some recent bad news for the band, including the tragic death of an ex-band mate, Evan Farrell, and serious health issues suffered by band founder, Zach Rogue.

    Rogue (his real last name is Schwartz), found himself bed-ridden for months after a freak back accident. During his recovery, Rogue told drummer Pat Spurgeon that he "wanted to make a dance record," later elaborating that Permalight, the band's newest album out today via Brushfire Records, was about "physical music, about the visceral experience of hearing music and letting your body move to it." Indeed.

    Next, John Gourley, lead vocalist of Portugal. The Man, said recently that the band has kept their latest album, American Ghetto, purposely under wraps, stating: "Nobody gets the record early; we will not be soliciting reviews, airplay or any support from the industry." The band's new single is available today along with the official drop of the LP.

    Also, check out fresh tracks from The Whigs (with another free download on their website), the popular UK indie electronica band, These New Puritans. Scroll down for new songs from A Weather, Dinosaur Feathers, Peasant, Butterfly Explosion, plus advanced tracks from next week releases by Titus Andronicus, Jatun and Method Actors.

    "Good Morning" - Rogue Wave from Permalight (via Stereogum)

    Rogue Wave on MySpace

    "The Dead Dog" - Portugal. The Man from American Ghetto

    Portugal. The Man on MySpace

    "In The Dark" - The Whigs from In The Dark

    The Whigs official website

    "Orion Hidden" - These New Puritans from Hidden

    These New Puritans on MySpace

    , Oregon's A Weather are an indie-folk band whose sophomore album, Everyday Balloons, drops today via Team Love Records (the label founded by Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes).

    As with their debut album, Everyday Balloons was engineered by Adam Selzer (M. Ward, The Decemberists, Norfolk & Western) at Portland's Type Foundry Studios. Also, the rising popularity of Brooklyn's Dinosaur Feathers have made them a favorite on many bands to watch in 2010 lists. They debut their first LP, Fantasy Memorial, also drops today.

    "Giant Stairs" - A Weather from Everyday Balloons

    A Weather official website

    "Vendela Vida" - Dinosaur Feathers from Fantasy Memorial

    Dinosaur Feathers on MySpace

    Peasant is a Pennsylvania indie artist with a growing following.

    "Well Alright" - Peasant from Shady Retreat

    Peasant on MySpace

    Butterfly Explosion are a shoegaze, post punk band from Ireland that blend powerful spiraling music with delicate vocals to form rich soundscapes of lush melodies, weaving moments of ethereal dream-pop and explosive sonic bliss. The debut album, Lost Trails, was released in the UK and Ireland in February on the Irish label, Revive Records, and recorded and produced by Torsten Kinsella (God Is An Astronaut). It's official U.S. release date was yesterday, March 1, 2010.

    "Closer" - Butterfly Explosion from Lost Trails

    "Chemistry" - Butterfly Explosion from Lost Trails

    Butterfly Explosion official website

    Check back tomorrow for part two of the Best New Releases of the Week, featuring reviews and music from the debut Twin Tigers' debut release, plus Emma Pollack, Kate Miller-Heidke, The Paparazzi, Jen Wood and The Megaphone Thrift. You might also want to view previous playlists of Best New Releases of the Week - packed with great music.

    In Advance: Titus Andronicus, Jatun and Method Actors

    A new feature we are adding to the end of each New Releases playlist mix provides a sneak peak at a few tracks that will be coming out next week. Look out for more new releases next Tuesday - it's a huge week for drops, so stay tuned.

    "Four Score and Seven (Part One)" - Titus Andronicus from The Monitor

    "Circuit Eater" - Jatun from Blanket of Ash

    "Do The Method" - Method Actors from This is Still It


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    Barzin has been compared to such artists as Sparklehorse, Low, Red House Painters and Bill Callahan and his last effort, Notes to an Absent Lover, out on Monotreme Records, was acclaimed by Mojo, Uncut, and Q, and ended up on many year end lists for the best albums of 2009. "It's Come To This" is a previously unreleased song.

    "It's Come to This" - Barzin, single release
    Barzin on MySpace

    This track was provided under the Creative Commons license by Bad Panda Records

    San Diego's Lanterns have emerged in the past year as one of southern California's best new indie bands, and have opened for Matt and Kim and ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. Alternative Press named them one of 2009's "Best Unsigned Bands."

    "Midnight Psalms" - Lanterns from Apocalypse Now EP
    Lanterns on MySpace

    Another San Diego export, the duo named Tropical Depression, is Jordan Thomas and Joe Campesino, are multi-instrumentalists and songwriters who dabble in electronic psych pop experimentation. In November, they released their fourth album, Years on Years.

    "Miniature Mountains" - Tropical Depression from Years on Years
    Tropical Depression on MySpace

    Dresden, Germany duo The Parlophonics are a DIY outfit that began writing and recording songs when they were only 14 years old, but just reunited only a couple of years ago after meeting at a gig. Their latest single release, "Staring at the Sun," was released late in 2009 and reviewed by Noel Gallagher (Oasis) on his MySpace page. The duo are now working on an album release due out sometime in 2010.

    "Staring at the Sun" - The Parlophonics, single release
    The Parlophonics on MySpace

    Listen to more Best Rarely Heard Songs of 2009

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    Current and upcoming releases (US dates)

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