Prima Donna: #4 of John’s ‘Fantastic Four of SXSW 2011’

Prima Donna performing at SXSW, 3/18/11 - Photo by Erica Bruce/Between Love & Like

As noted previously in my post in praise of Biters, I dig me some glam rock. In that earlier post, I referenced T. Rex, since Sir Bolan struck me as being the most apt reference point to the band at hand, but I’m also an ardent admirer of take-no-prisoners gutter glam as practiced by the […] more »


Hunx & His Punx: #3 of John’s ‘Fantastic Four of SXSW 2011’

In a world where boys who can’t sing aren’t allowed to be lead vocalists in 1960s-style girl groups, only one hero was gay enough to defy the odds: Hunx -eMusic’s capsule description of Too Young To Be In Love, the debut album from Hunx & His Punx I first heard Hunx & His Punx in […] more »


Biters: #2 of John’s ‘Fantastic Four of SXSW 2011’

It’s no secret that I love me some power pop, so when I was cruising through this year’s SXSW torrent and Biters leaped out of the speakers with “Melody for Lovers” (bar none the best new-to-me power pop song of the torrent, and a shining example of power pop perfection), I snapped to attention immediately. […] more »


My Jerusalem: #1 of John’s ‘Fantastic Four of SXSW 2011’

My Jerusalem, the band that I would leave SXSW 2011 proclaiming to everyone willing to listen as having been the best new band I saw all week, and the one that I knew would present me with the tallest order in terms of doing them justice with mere words, was a band that I hadn’t […] more »


John’s SXSW Roundup, Starring Alejandro Escovedo, Jesse Malin, and the ‘Fantastic Four of SXSW 2011’

Given that friends and colleagues always ask upon my return from Austin who were my absolute favorites of the new bands I saw at SXSW each year, I’m going to focus my attentions entirely on the new-to-me bands that I left Austin wishing most fervently that I could see play again right now. As it […] more »


Alejandro Escovedo’s Legendary Conclusion to SXSW 2010 at the Continental Club

The True Believers reunion at the Continental Club, Austin, TX, 3/21/10.  L to R: Javier Escovedo, Hector Munoz, Alejandro Escovedo, Jon Dee Graham

It was two years ago at the unofficial Sunday night South-by closing ceremonies at the Continental Club that Alejandro Escovedo world premiered his then-forthcoming album, Real Animal live and in sequence from the first track to the last. It was a remarkable show, and it proved to be an album that raised Alejandro’s profile considerably, […] more »


Remembering Alex Chilton, Whose Spirit was Entwined with SXSW 2010

Evan Dando at the Alex Chilton tribute / Big Star show, SXSW, 3/20/10

I don’t think it would be overstating the case too much to say that when the news of Alex Chilton’s death broke on the first day of SXSW, so too did the collective heart of a sizable percentage of SXSW attendees break. I got the news via text message during the second showcase of the […] more »


Introducing Foxy Shazam, the Most Indescribably Awesome New Band of SXSW 2010

Foxy Shazam's Eric Nally

I first heard (and heard of) Foxy Shazam this past January when their song, “Bye Bye Symphony” was included in the free SPIN magazine compilation, SPIN Presents 2010: A Look Ahead. I liked that song very much, and certainly enough to earn them a “see them at South-by” designation. That decision took on added urgency […] more »


Indie Pop Rocks SXSW 2010 with Stereo Skyline, the Downtown Fiction, and the Ready Set

The Ready Set performing last year in NYC

Some of you may recall the thrillingly eye-opening experience that seeing Totally Michael at South-by was for me last year. Well, if you’re willing to indulge me, I think I’m about to test the patience and credulity of the Twangville audience like never before. (Bear with me though, for as with my South-by blogging of […] more »


With One Night Only & the Crookes, Yorkshire Gets my Vote as the Hottest Scene at SXSW 2010

The Crookes perform at the Yorkshire Party at SXSW, 3/18/10

Of the 15 bands I saw on Wednesday at SXSW this year, the one that stood head and shoulders above the rest was One Night Only from Yorkshire, England. I’ve had their debut album for a couple of years now, and like it quite a bit, but the band that I saw onstage for the […] more »


John’s Mega-Superior SXSW ’09 Show of the Year: The Alejandro Escovedo Orchestra

The Alejandro Escovedo Orchestra at South by San Jose, SXSW '09

I’ve mentioned previously that one of the reasons I’ve been going to SXSW for 10 straight years (which is to say, 11 South-bys) now is in search of those only-at-South-by moments of pure magic. Of the magical South-by moments that I’ve been privileged to witness over the years, more than a few have involved the […] more »


John’s SXSW ’09 Showcase Highlights: Totally Michael

Totally Michael album cover

Having just had my mind expanded by Jaguar Love on the outside stage at the I Heart Comix showcase on Thursday night, I headed back inside Beauty Bar to discover that the set by Totally Michael, the artist I had arrived at the venue actually intending to see was already in progress. As it turned […] more »


John’s SXSW ’09 Day Party Highlights: The Wrens

The Wrens at the Paste/BrooklynVegan party, SXSW '09

I’m already on record as thinking that the Hold Steady are among the best live bands in the world. Well, I’m prepared to double down on that statement for the Wrens, who are happily back to performing live shows. This was the first of three sets the band was to play in Austin while on […] more »


John’s SXSW Showcase Highlights: Jaguar Love

I Heart Comix SXSW '09 showcase poster

OK, so you might be thinking to yourself, “What was with those prefatory remarks you made threatening to blow our minds with your picks, John? We’re with you so far.” Well, strap yourselves in, friends. From here on in, things get weird, and in the immortal words of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, “when the going […] more »


John’s SXSW ’09 Day Party Highlights: The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady at Rachael Ray's Feedback party, SXSW '09

Having been a pretty big fan of the Hold Steady for a few years now, I commend myself for showing incredible restraint in having only taken in two of the four sets they played over three days and nights in Austin … but I should probably confess that this decision was made easier knowing that […] more »


Matthew Ryan benefit for John Anderson