PMA's SXSW 2012 Guide

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SXSW 2012

We hope you’re hydrated, wearing sensible footwear, and have RSVP’d to at least 900 parties, because it’s officially SXSW season, and we’re going to help you wheedle through the truly nuts amount of options blogs, record labels, and booking companies are presenting to you in order to help you find the true meaning of life – um, we mean, your new favorite band – with a series of party recommendations and playlists over the next few days. Let’s do this!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 2012

Consequence of Sound kicks SXSW off in style with a showcase at Beauty Bar that starts bright and early at 11:30AM, with sets from newly brutal pop-punk powerhouse Cloud Nothings and New Jersey’s finest Shakespeare disciples Titus Andronicus, as well as performances from the Men, Screaming Females, Mr. Dream, and Princeton. Or you can check out the first of Under the Radar’s three day parties at Flamingo Cantina, which features The Drums, Hooray for Earth, and Trust.

At night, Seattle Sub Pop affiliate Hardly Art have a great lineup playing at Hotel Vegas, with Brooklyn’s K-Holes and our favorite surfy lo-fi trio Jacuzzi Boys. KCRW’s also got a great thing going at Haven with Blood Orange and Oberhofer. As if that weren’t enough, Frenchkiss Records will show off their roster at the Stage on 6th Street – with Pittsburgh power-poppers 1,2,3 and the smart, atmospheric jams of Chicago’s Young Man, as well as Suckers, Crocodiles, and another set from the busy boys of the Drums. And Hype Machine, in conjunction with Feed the Beat, will host Brooklyn’s Friends as well as Tame Impala offshoot Pond, Miike Snow, and Penguin Prison at their very own Hype Hotel.

MP3: Penguin Prison - "Don't Fuck With My Money"
MP3: Princeton – "Remembrance of Things to Come"
ZIP: 20 Free MP3s of Bands Playing Wednesday

THURSDAY, MARCH 15 2012

SXSW Thursday presents you with a truly insane amount of choices. During the day, head over to Club De Ville for an awesomely diverse showcase thanks to Insound and Oh My Rockness – rave maven Dan Deacon presides over an afternoon lineup that also includes Beach Fossils side project Dive, garage rocker Mikal Cronin, Trust’s chilly, undulating grooves, and ex-Mika Miko sister act Bleached. Elsewhere, Google Music and YouTube are putting on on a free show in a parking garage on 9th and Trinity that’ll feature the Gossip, Titus Andronicus, and Cults. If you want another chance to see Cults live today, you’ve got one – the people behind Fun Fun Fun Fest are reprising their yearly Mess With Texas party at 1100 East 5th Street, which they headline, along with appearances from Girls, Chairlift, and the Men.

And that night – Pitchfork boasts a rare live appearance from Fiona Apple to open their official showcase at Central Presbyterian Church, which’ll also feature sets from Grimes, Charli XCX,Nicolas Jaar, Purity Ring, and The-Dream. Secretly Canadian’s also got a great lineup at the Mohawk, with the atmospheric drones of Exitmusic, the irresistible, cutting guitar interplay of Gauntlet Hair, and Gardens & Villa’s slinky electropop. Our money, though, is on Mexican Summer’s showcase at Red 7, which boasts sets from Light Asylum, our favorite on-the-rise purveyors of flawless electrofunk, the sexy dub of Peaking Lights, and Quilt’s creepy-catchy freak folk. As we mentioned, we're helping out at Audible Treats' Hip Hop showcase at Kiss N Fly featuring rising stars THEESatisfaction, as well as celebrated vets Talib Kweli and Souls of Mischief.

If you’re already feeling like spending all day in one place, you’ve got options too – Austin Psych Fest and Adhoc.fm are putting on a show at Spiderhouse Ballroom that runs from noon to 2am and features a truly nuts amount of the best lo-fi and psych-rock acts we can think of on three stages – White Fence, the Fresh and Onlys, Psychic Ills, Turbo Fruits, Quilt, and Night Beats are just a few of our favorites.

MP3: Peaking Lights – "All The Sun That Shines"
MP3: Nicolas Jaar – "With Just Once Glance"
ZIP: 20 Free MP3s of Bands Playing Thursday

Click here to check out our picks for Friday and Saturday, plus 40 more MP3s!

FRIDAY, MARCH 16 2012

Start off your day with some strong coffee – SXSW’s still going, and you should be too! The people behind San Francisco festival Noise Pop are bringing some of their 2012 artists to Austin’s Red Eyed Fly for a solid, diverse showcase this afternoon – 2011’s MVP of the remix Star Slinger will deliver one of his infamous solo sets, ex-Menomena member Brent Knopf brings his new band Ramona Falls to the stage, and Javelin will do their indie-rave thing. Under the Radar truly blows it out of the park at the Flamingo Cantina, with Of Montreal performing their record The Sunlandic Twins in its entirety, as well as sets from Youth Lagoon, La Sera, and Django Django. Filter will take over the Lustre Pearl all day for maybe the most solid of their weeklong events, with sets from one-man electro machine Diamond Rings, everyone’s favorite helter-skelter apocalypto-pop quartet Deerhoof, and the surf rock dudes of the Drums in the afternoon, and Exitmusic and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at night. Or check out New York venue and label Cake Shop’s evening official showcase, with the garage-pop scuzz of Bleeding Rainbow and the electrifying lo-fi soul-pop of Ava Luna. Sub Pop’s got a great offering too, at Red 7, with brand new signees THEESatisfaction, Fleet Foxes affiliates Father John Misty and Poor Moon, and Blitzen Trapper. IGIF’s got a great party at the Hype Hotel as well, with Caveman, White Rabbits, Lower Dens, Neon Indian, and another set from Star Slinger. But our money’s definitely on S.O.TERIK’s party at Clive Bar, which’ll feature sets from YACHT, Grimes, and MNDR, among others.

Or, if you still feel like staying in one place all day, And So… has got you covered, with their nearly-twelve-hour showcase at the Spiderhouse Ballroom – sets from unstoppable punk quartet Thee Oh Sees, Austin locals the Strange Boys, Seattle’s Grave Babies, San Francisco’s Burnt Ones, and Atlanta’s Carnivores, among countless other bands and comedy acts, run all day and night long.

MP3: YACHT – "Dystopia"
MP3: Ava Luna – "Clips"
ZIP: 20 Free MP3s of Bands Playing Friday

SATURDAY, MARCH 17 2012

Whatever you do, don’t sleep through SXSW’s last day – the festival’s saved the best for last. Get up early to check out the AV Club’s showcase at Club De Ville: don’t worry, the promise of headliners’ White Rabbits’ percussive jams will keep you awake, and sets from Cymbals Eat Guitars and the War On Drugs (not to mention the stylings of host Andrew WK) should get you going too. Or check out another showcase from Filter at the Cedar Street CourtyardOberhofer’s unstoppable live set of delirious ramshackle pop will definitely tide you over until headliners Built to Spill take the stage. Urban Outfitters closes down their weeklong festivities at 2406 Guadalupe with sets from Eleanor Friedberger, Hot Chip off-shoot New Build, Light Asylum, and Grimes, and MWTX call the festival over at 1100 East 5th Street with A$AP Rocky, Tanlines, and Pure X.

At night, Captured Tracks take to the Parish starting at 6pm to show off their fantastic roster – the hypnotic dream pop of Beach Fossils, Dive, and Craft Spells and the Mazzy Star-meets-Wild West aural nostalgia of Widowspeak are not to be missed. And at 8pm, booking company Panache takes over the Mohawk’s two stages for an impressive showcase featuring sets from Ratatat-meets-Dirty Projectors alchemists Delicate Steve, the Strange Boys and side project White Fence, sissy bounce’s finest Vockah Redu, and Jack White protégés the Black Belles. And over at the Hype Hotel, Hype Machine and Feed the Beat present Fanfarlo, Best Coast, Wavves, and Chiddy Bang.

MP3: Oberhofer – "Runaway" (Kanye West cover)
MP3: Tanlines – "All of Me"
ZIP: 20 Free MP3s of Bands Playing Saturday