sxsw music

Carmen Martinez Fischer,

Update: Looks like Driver Friendly finally caught a break: the Austin-based band had their trailer full of missing gear returned to them this morning. 

"At 8:30 this morning an Austin Police Officer knocked on Jeremi's door notifying him that they had found our trailer WITH EVERYTHING IN IT!!!" the band says on Facebook. "We cannot believe this turn of events, and feel so blessed to not only have everything back, but to have been supported by, you, our fans, through all of this."

All the funds Driver Friendly raised online to cover their missing gear will be returned to fans.  

Original story (March 19): A band that calls Austin home can’t seem to catch a break.

That guy Prince has a sense of humor.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: "The Punk Syndrome" won the SXGlobal Audience Award. See pictures from the Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät concert, below.

Original Story  (March 15, 6:01 a.m.): A punk band from Finland is the focus of a film that’s showing at South by Southwest this week. The band is also playing a gig in the SXSW Music festival.

Extreme Airshots/SXSW

Free concerts at Auditorium Shores, a South by Southwest tradition, start this evening.

They get going at 5 p.m. with Jovanotti, followed by Bajofondo, Molotov, and then Café Tacuba at 8 p.m., all presented by NPR Music.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News\

At Austin’s South by Southwest Music conference this morning, Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl gave the annual keynote address.

Dismissing any state-of-the-industry somberness, Grohl offered his life story as a blueprint for kids who want to grow up playing music.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: With South by Southwest Music in full swing, throngs of music fans have descended upon Austin. And that gives marketers more crowds to pitch their products and experiences to.

"The whole experience is more like social media,” says GSD&M’s Matthew Childs. "It’s not to actually sell something. It’s to get people talking about you, to position your brand with the Venturi effect of the community at South By. If you’re inauthentic to the community, you’re going to get called out pretty quickly."

Companies attempting to ingratiate themselves to the SXSW community have been on display all week: everything from the edgy (like HBO’s Game of Thrones pedicabs) to the decidedly less so (brands like Oreo and Cap’n Crunch advertising at SXSW Interactive).

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was at the Paramount Theater yesterday for the South by Southwest screening of his new film "Sound City".

The documentary features the famed LA studios of the same name, where Nirvana, Queens of the Age, Rage Against the Machine and hundred of other bands recorded albums.

This week, about 2,000 bands from around the world are performing at various venues throughout Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest music festival. Many of the musicians are young and have had plenty of experience performing in public.

And then there's guitarist Harry Taussig, who is nearly 72 years old. On Thursday, he'll be performing live for the first time ever.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

If you’ve ever attended South by Southwest, then you know: Invitations to private events come fast and furious, and it’s hard to keep on top of them.

That’s where RSVPster comes in. It charges customers 30 to 40 bucks to respond to invitations to unofficial events during the SXSW Interactive and Music conferences. Though it’s the company’s third festival, founder Jennifer Sinski says it’s gotten its fair share of criticism since the service started.

Audio for The Austin 100 is no longer available.

It says a lot about SXSW's size and scope that this "sampler" of the annual music festival spans six and a half hours, but here we are: 100 songs by 100 artists worth discovering at this year's big event.

[This story originally ran on Feb. 22, 2013, but still applies today.]

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Valentine's Day cards that got returned with no forwarding address is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how music fans could and should approach SXSW, the gigantic music festival held every March in Austin, Texas.

KUT News

Here's a wakeup call: the South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive festivals are just about two months away.

If you want to be part of the action – but don't want to shell out the money for a badge – you can volunteer.

Courtesy SXSW

Tickets go on sale this afternoon for a music event being held in honor of a beloved member of the Austin music community.

SXSW Music Creative Director Brent Grulke passed away August 13 at the age of 51.

GrulkeFest is September 8 at ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Tickets start at $20 – proceeds will go to an education fund for Grulke’s seven-year-old son.

The line-up for the festival includes Doctors’ Mob, the Reivers and Wild Seeds.

Photo by KUT News

The Creative Director for South by Southwest Music has died. Brent Grulke died this morning from surgical complications.

Grulke had worked at SXSW since its launch in 1987. He became the music festival's creative director in 1994.

In a 2005 interview with KUT's Jennifer Stayton, Grulke explained the best way to enjoy SXSW and not feel intimidated by the festivals mammoth lineup of bands.

"I always tell people that if there are a couple things that they really want to see - just find a couple of things that you really want to see," he said. 

"I do music for women," said Timbaland, onstage at the Parish in Austin, Texas on Thursday afternoon to debut tracks from his as-yet-untitled and unfinished new album, likely coming this fall. "Y'all determine everything," he added, gesturing at a hoop earring-clad fan standing at the lip of the stage.

Day two for NPR Music's team at South By Southwest started on a high note and hardly ever flagged. After the Wednesday night showcase ran to the wee hours of the morning, Thursday's opening event, a keynote address by Bruce Springsteen, didn't start until after noon, local time.

For the NPR Music crew in Austin, Texas, Wednesday night was the official launch of South By Southwest 2012. But it wasn't really the start: SXSW has grown so much that Tuesday night acts as a warmup lap for the big event.

Photo courtesy Craig O'Neal,

Springsteen Delivering Keynote at SXSW Music

Need another sign South by Southwest Music is underway? 

Bruce Springsteen will give his SXSW keynote speech tomorrow at the Austin Convention Center, noon.  KUT will stream the talk live, and later than night, Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band will perform in Austin via a special ticket drawing.

You can follow KUT’s continuing SXSW coverage on this blog and at

More than a decade ago, an album came out recorded mostly on cassette in a house, never released on a major label — and until last month it had been out of print for almost that long. When Noel Gallagher of Oasis heard it, he declared it "amazing," and The Guardian called it "the best album The Beatles never recorded."