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Unofficial Guide to South By Southwest 2015 has ended
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11,217 official + unofficial events during SXSW
(last updated March 23, 2015). Our goal is to be the most complete guide. Anything missing?
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Thursday, March 19
 

5:00pm

My Jerusalem
“Nobody ever paid money to see Harry Houdini escape being buried alive” says My Jerusalem founder and singer Jeff Klein. “They wanted the small chance of seeing him killed by the weight of the earth on top of him.”

Behold the concept behind Preachers, the second full-length release from Austin's My Jerusalem. From the opening piano of the haunting title track, to the unexpected pummeling guitar and drums on closer “I Left My Conscience In You”, Preachers leads the listener on a cinematic journey through a reckless, jagged landscape of Raymond Carver-esque stories, fueled by Klein’s persuasive baritone, ominous guitars, dream-like keyboards and a deep rhythmic pulse.

Recorded in under three weeks by Spoon drummer Jim Eno (Heartless Bastards, Polica, Black Joe Lewis) at his Public Hi-Fi studio, Preachers is the first My Jerusalem album genuinely made by a band, not just performed by a group of musicians. Pushing aside hard drives and laptops to make way for analog tape machines and vintage keyboards, what Klein describes as the “Post-Modern Southern Gothic Soul” sounds of Preachers were born from organic, live performances Eno carefully captured and tweaked.

Preachers is the follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed debut, Gone For Good, an album that earned the band performances on BBC Radio 6 and Daytrotter, as well as notices from NPR's All Songs Considered, AOL/Spinner's Song of the Day, and the iTunes Weekly Rewind. Along with European festival appearances at the Frequency Festival, Musikfestwochen, and Rock Im Saal, the band toured and played shows with a eclectic set of bands including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Har Mar Superstar, Avett Brothers, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and White Arrows.

Buoyed by the success of Gone For Good, Preachers showcases a band headed into the studio with a renewed focus and confidence. Preachers contains equal parts swagger (the swampy gospel of title track “Preachers”, the strutting intensity of “Born In The Belly”) and groove (the spooky beauty of “Shatter Together”, the crescendoing, feral drive of “Devoe”, the infectious crooner “Mono”); as much primal (“Death Valley”) as it is humane ("Chameleon").

“It’s a darker record,” says Klein, who, before forming My Jerusalem in 2010, made 3 records under his own name. “So much had changed since Gone For Good. We’d all kind of been through hell and back again in different ways, and this was the natural artistic result of all of that. But I think it’s a beautiful, comforting darkness. It’s real, but not selfish.”

“We finally have a shared collective vibe,” adds guitarist/keyboardist Jon Merz, “I believe it’s more representative of what our live shows sound like. This time around, Jeff would bring us song ideas and we would add our own perspectives to it.”

The four-piece, which also features drummer Grant Van Amburgh, and bassist Kyle Robarge, also had the opportunity to road-test much of the new material before recording, during their extensive touring behind Gone For Good. It was a luxury they didn’t have the first time around.

"Working out the kinks live before recording them makes a big difference," reflects Klein, “They get a chance to breathe and grow before committing them to the world permanently. Because of that process, some songs, like 'Death Valley,' sound nothing like their early version. We’re excited to take them on the road and see how they evolve even further.”

Equal parts sweet, morbid, strange, and sincere, Preachers is an experience that could convert the most steadfast of non-believers.

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Bands
avatar for My Jerusalem

My Jerusalem

“Nobody ever paid money to see Harry Houdini escape being buried alive” says My Jerusalem founder and singer Jeff Klein. “They wanted the small chance of seeing him killed by the weight of the earth on top of him.” Behold the concept behind Preachers, the second full-length... Read More →


Thursday March 19, 2015 5:00pm - 5:40pm
Auditorium Shores Stage Lady Bird Lake Riverside Dr & S 1st St

6:00pm

8:00pm

Spoon
How many times in musical history has the most acclaimed act of an era peaked in its 20th year? We’re not talking a reunion, return to form, twilight years surprise or any of that. We’re asking how many times has a critically and publicly adored band—one still in its prime--released (arguably) its best album at the start of its third decade?
To save you valuable Googling time: It’s happened once, it is in fact happening now, and unlike Haley’s Comet streaking by or whatever, you are fortunate enough to be able to hold it in your hand or on your hard drive. It’s called Spoon: They Want My Soul (out August 5 on Loma Vista).
Yes, the new album from the single most favorably reviewed musical force of the previous decade (Metacritic numbers don’t lie: http://www.metacritic.com/feature/best-music-of-the-decade) already being hailed as “perfect” (Rolling Stone) and "fantastically infectious… perhaps the most confident point of its career” (NPR) also falls roughly on the 20th anniversary of Spoon’s barely-released 1994 debut EP, Nefarious.
So on to the obvious questions: How and why does this happen? After a 20-year streak of unerring excellence in the form of albums like Telephono, A Series Of Sneaks, Girls Can Tell, Kill The Moonlight, Gimme Fiction, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Transference (not to mention EPs like the indispensable Soft Effects, Love Ways, Don’t You Evah and Got Nuffin), how does They Want My Soul raise the bar with surprise premiere first single “Rent I Pay” (http://www.npr.org/event/music/318886316/spoon-premieres-new-song-live), current chart climbing summer anthem “Do You” and the sublimely trippy “Inside Out” (all three of which comprise the 45RPM 10" currently flying out of indie record retailers as part of the http://www.spoontheband.com/vinylgratification/ program)?
Maybe the answer lies in the rejuvenation provided by a first-ever break following a grueling 10-year run that kicked off in 2001 with Girls Can Tell and saw the band plow tirelessly through the 2002-2010 releases of Kill The Moonlight, Gimme Fiction, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Transference, and the ever expanding tours supporting each album, all without a pause. Sure, the momentum was as irresistible as it was self-induced: spurred on by singles like Kill The Moonlight’s “The Way We Get By,” Gimme Fiction’s “I Turn My Camera On,” Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’s “The Underdog” and more, sales were progressively doubling from album to album, hitting an incredible peak when Transference entered the U.S. album chart at #4.
So who would even think about jumping from that runaway train… until it just happened: at the end of the Transference tour, Britt Daniel, Jim Eno, Eric Harvey and Rob Pope all went their separate ways. No consulting one another on next moves, when the band would re-convene, or even if it would at all. Spoon had effectively gone on a naturally occurring indefinite hiatus.
Mind you, even Spoon’s hiatuses defy convention. The band members were anything but idle: Britt formed Divine Fits with Dan Boeckner (late of Handsome Furs, Wolf Parade) and Sam Brown (ex-Gaunt, New Bomb Turks) and recorded the brilliant A Thing Called Divine Fits with producer Nick Launay (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Public Image Ltd., etc.). And speaking of producers of renown, Jim continued his ascent in that arena, taking advantage of the downtime to go full-time at his own Public Hi-Fi, producing records by Polica, !!!, Telekinesis and others while releasing a series of Public Hi-Fi Sessions on the studio’s own label banner. Rob opened a (new) bar and embarked on the adventure of family life, Eric released the solo Lake Disappointment and worked on visual art in Dallas.
So a few years of passion projects, traumatic break ups and even a new marriage later, the members of Spoon started to succumb to whatever force it is that inexorably draws them to one another. And this time there was a significant addition, fifth member Alex Fischel, found on the side of a highway being raised by wolves by Britt, who taught him to play keyboards, gave him a job in Divine Fits, and in turn exacted Alex’s blood oath to play by his side in everything he does from that point.
The result has moved the likes of NPR to call They Want My Soul "unmistakably a Spoon record” while noting that the band is "challenging itself and stretching its sound, particularly with synth textures courtesy of the band's newest addition, Alex Fischel.” But lest the new guy get too big a head too, there were other forces at play in making the new disc such a mind blower. They Want My Soul found Spoon working with not one but two new producers: Grammy winner Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT, Tame Impala) and Joe Chicarelli (White Stripes, The Shins) were both enlisted, one sonic innovator known for his psychedelic palette, the other a big rock producer known for his arsenal of monolithic tones. The two producers' individual styles couldn't have been more dissimilar, and here they were each crafting half a Spoon record—a band whose signature style made sense with neither of them.
The resultant shake-up was as necessary as it was revitalizing. It accounts for that new energy crackling in every groove of They Want My Soul, a wild card frequency underlying every familiar groove and melody… and one that serves to bolster that overall sentiment that this is the best record the band has ever made.
It also shouldn’t be overlooked that a good share of They Want My Soul’s alien vibe may come as the result of the extended periods of isolation they endured during its recording—one man’s pastoral paradise is a primarily Austin-born and bred band’s dark night of the soul. The guys spent a lot of time at Fridmann's Cassadaga, NY (pop. 625) outpost, much of it snowed in and some of it punctuated by incidents involving True Detective/Blair Witch style teepees and stick structures, mysterious trails of bloodstains in the snow… Details are fuzzy and cabin fever is a real thing, so suffice to say the five men who made that trip are not the same five men who came back from it.
Anyway, whatever happened up there was evidently worth it, as the band that turned heads by leaping from Matador to Elektra nearly 20 years ago (only to begin its true ascent on Merge roughly a year later) now triumphantly resurfaces on Loma Vista for album number eight. But hey that’s Spoon, “one of the most consistently great bands in indie rock” (Rolling Stone) yet one not necessarily on an indie label or making records that sound particularly “indie," the kings of the underground whose music has wormed its way into your brain on Veronica Mars and Saturday Night Live, the band that has conceived and executed the Vinyl Gratification campaign in the age of the digital pre-order incentive… If there’s a tried and true formula for anything in this business, look for Spoon to be coming in an opposite lane or direction—but when a band is making records as undeniably classic as They Want My Soul, does any of that matter?

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Bands
avatar for Spoon

Spoon

How many times in musical history has the most acclaimed act of an era peaked in its 20th year? We’re not talking a reunion, return to form, twilight years surprise or any of that. We’re asking how many times has a critically and publicly adored band—one still in its prime--released... Read More →


Thursday March 19, 2015 8:00pm - 9:30pm
Auditorium Shores Stage Lady Bird Lake Riverside Dr & S 1st St

9:30pm

10:30pm

11:30pm

The Twilight Sad
The Twilight Sad - Biography - July 2014
Jack Urwin
“The Twilight Sad approach the darker side of growing up with consideration and dignity, and manage to maintain a proper perspective. ‘As my bones grew, they did hurt/ They hurt really bad,’ an angst-filled songwriter from another generation once sang; the Twilight Sad do a tremendous job of remembering that ache.” - Pitchfork, 2007
Scots, as a rule, are not noted for their emotional communication; straying rarely from a sort of safe - albeit repressed - stoicism. So when James Graham stood before a sold out London venue earlier this year, awed by the level of support for his band, it was really quite a spectacle to see the Twilight Sad frontman fighting back the tears as he thanked the crowd from the bottom of his heart. A decade after the band first started playing together and seven years after the release of their debut album, the band had decided to tour Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters in its entirety across the UK to coincide with its vinyl re-release. The shows saw fans flying in from countries as far flung as the USA, Israel and all across Europe to catch them.
“If I'm honest I didn't realise how special the gigs would be and just how much that album means to people,” Graham says. “We'd had a pretty rough year as a band in 2013 and that was the first time we'd toured this year, so to see so many people come out and support the band at those gigs was a really big thing for us. We're very lucky that the people who like our band travelled far and wide to see us and we want to make sure that it's worth it every time we play.”
Fourteen Autumns is something of a paradox. Such is its status as a classic amongst long-time followers of the band that it feels much older than its seven years, while each listen carries with it something new and thrilling. Indeed, Pitchfork noted the band’s instant familiarity coupled with their ability to take this in “unexpected and exciting directions”. Its wildly dynamic production sees cascading walls of sound give way to quiet moments of sombre reflection, Graham’s thick Glaswegian accent and evocative storytelling a powerful display of anger, sadness and despair. The themes of childhood angst and suffering suggest a confessional folk record, but transposed onto Andy MacFarlane’s shoegaze-influenced guitars and Mark Devine’s powerhouse drumming Fourteen Autumns is something else entirely. While the band didn’t become an overnight chart-topping sensation, the vast level of critical acclaim and constant calls from fans hungry for vinyl (eventually spurring its re-release) highlighted how important a part of their career the record has become.
Forget The Night Ahead was released in 2009, a discordant and gloriously unsettling followup to the band’s debut. Graham wrote at the time: “One thing that I can promise is that the lyrics are very dark, but you might have to look into them a bit to realise. They are mainly based around things that have happened to me over the past two years, revolving around losing people and being none too proud or happy with myself about my antics and situations I’ve found myself in. So if you’re looking for a record with a lot of hope and happy songs then fuck off, cause you won’t find it here with us!” Once more, it drew praise from across the press, NME lauding its “much darker ambience, with big melodies and vast romantic landscapes”, while The AV Club wrote that it showed “a band capable of muscling up without losing a fascination with fragile, fleeting moments”.
In February 2012, the band brought out their third studio album No One Can Ever Know. It marked a significant shift in direction, eschewing the previously dominant wall of sound production in favour of what MacFarlane called a “colder, slightly militant feel”. Its more electronic arrangements took influence from the likes of Public Image Ltd, Liars and krautrock pioneers Can, with electronic producer Andrew Weatherall (Primal Scream, Fuck Buttons) acting as a consultant during the album’s studio inception.
MacFarlane says: “We initially got Weatherall on board to produce the record as we were trying to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to go for a more sparse approach the sound. He would send over mix tapes of early Factory Records releases and other songs from that era, to show the direction he thought we should go, and would come in the studio so we could bounce ideas off him. We ended up producing it ourselves, but it was useful having someone with his experience to be there to reassure us that we were doing the right thing.”
“Purer than innocence and richer than gold, No One Can Ever Know confirms that the Twilight Sad are simply too good to remain a-little-less-than-well-known,” Drowned in Sound wrote, while BBC Music described the songs as “more than ostentatious angst; they’re doors onto shadowy, eerie scenes”. A limited edition tour EP as well as No One Can Ever Know: The Remixes followed in November, seeing tracks from the album reworked by the likes of the Horrors, Com Truise, Breton and Liars.
The same year, the band found an unlikely partner in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, performing a series of intricate arrangements of their songs as part of The Spree festival at Paisley Abbey in October. For a group whose noise-laden live shows are synonymous with the tight unity afforded by a small stage, adding 89 members to the band and playing to a former monastery seemed unprecedented, even risky; but in the sweeping strings, brass flares and tuned percussion of the RSNO the Twilight Sad took on a cinematic quality. The live recording of the show which surfaced last Christmas was an indicator of a band willing to venture into unchartered territories and coming out the other side stronger than ever before. Where NOCEK demonstrated their comfort in minimalism, the RSNO collaboration showed a band able to succeed at the opposite end of the spectrum. For now, it’s all eyes ahead as the band ready their fourth album, Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.
“We spent a lot of time at home when writing this new record, we got to hang out with old friends and get back to some sort of normality, which I think really helped me clear my mind and focus in on writing these new songs,” Graham says. “I had a lot I wanted to get off my chest and I've done that with this new record.”
Where each album prior to NWTBHANWTL saw the Twilight Sad tackling new sounds and ways of writing, their latest work draws from their entire career. MacFarlane says: “Over the 8 years we've been touring, our live sound has taken on different forms, from full on noise/feedback, to a sparse, synth led sound, to a stripped back set up with just keys, drum machine and guitar, to playing with an orchestra, and to just an acoustic with vocal. We wanted to try and capture all of those elements and develop them in some way to make the new record.” Opting to stay in Glasgow, the album was produced at Mogwai’s Castle Of Doom studio, engineered by live soundman Andrew Bush, mixed by Peter Katis (also responsible for Fourteen Autumns), with touring member Johnny Docherty playing bass.
Despite critical acclaim accompanying all of the band’s releases to date - not to mention their exhilarating live shows - mainstream popularity has largely evaded the Twilight Sad, while the scene from which they hail has become more of a force on the international circuit. As their fellow Fat Cat brothers Frightened Rabbit parted ways in favour of a major label deal, former TTS bandmate Martin Doherty found fame as one third of Chvrches. Both have remained firm friends of the band, the latter inviting Graham to join them onstage at their recent T in the Park appearance, and there’s certainly no bitterness or envy on the Twilight Sad’s part - but it does seem like an injustice has been served for a group so talented.
“Do I want our songs to played on the radio? Yes I do. Do I want our band to have features in magazines and websites? Yes I do. The only reason I want that is so that more people can learn of and discover our music,” Graham says

Bands
avatar for The Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad - Biography - July 2014 Jack Urwin “The Twilight Sad approach the darker side of growing up with consideration and dignity, and manage to maintain a proper perspective. ‘As my bones grew, they did hurt/ They hurt really bad,’ an angst-filled songwriter from... Read More →


Thursday March 19, 2015 11:30pm - Friday March 20, 2015 12:10am
Emo's 2015 E Riverside Dr

12:30am

 
Friday, March 20
 

6:00pm

Jackie Greene
Listen to Call Me, Corinna

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Bands
avatar for Jackie Greene

Jackie Greene

Jackie Greene. Jackie Greene began his career in his mid-teens working the bar and open mic circuit in and around his hometown of Sacramento. Since then, he has recorded seven albums and two EP’s, released a DVD, and published a book of lyrics. Upon witnessing his performance at... Read More →


Friday March 20, 2015 6:00pm - 6:40pm
Auditorium Shores Stage Lady Bird Lake Riverside Dr & S 1st St