Monday, March 18, 2013

manic mon #4: free sxsw music & three modern irish songs

Yesterday was the last day of South by Southwest a.k.a. SXSW, Austin's annual music festival that has now expanded into a multimedia extravaganza.

A lot of people have gotten great exposure and big breaks from performing at the festival, including Franz Ferdinand and John Mayer. (Actual success rates are debatable though, understandable when any event gets this big.)

[Sidenote, first paragraph from NYT ArtsBeat music blog:
If you want to know how far the South by Southwest Music Festival has strayed from its anti-corporate, indie rock roots, you need only consider this: One of the most popular shows on the final night of the festival was Justin Timberlake, playing a concert sponsored by Chevrolet to promote the newly revamped Myspace Web site.
Not that I madly despise all things corporate, but there is something sad and lost when the little things go big. Also, I am on the new Myspace, which I plan to share about in a future post.]

Thanks to a heads-up from FB, I learned that NPR has up for download The Mix, a hefty playlist of music from SXSW acts available until April 4:
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.

Handpicked from among thousands of artists, this genre-traversing playlist picks highlights, discoveries and future thrills from this year's festival — and, for the next 30 days, it's available for free download in its entirety, as one 813 MB zip file, right here. Of course, for those without that much hard-drive space, you can download each song individually, as well as stream The Austin 100 on this page and through NPR Music's various mobile devices.

I downloaded mine in a chunk with the zip file already, though I have yet to listen to it. Will share in the near future if I find any new favorites!

As a tide-over from this past weekend, here are three songs I like from modern Irish bands, two big names and one less well-known one that has a catchy, nostalgic sound:

The big one - U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," probably my favorite song by the band. "With or Without You" is also really lovely, but there's something about this song that has a different tinge to it. Something about putting to words a feeling that often seems so elusive.

"No Words" by The Script. This is from their latest album, #3, released last year, which also included the single "Hall of Fame" which you may have heard on the radio a few times. Lyrically, "No Words" isn't anything totally new, but it has an interesting sound and is my favorite off the third album. The Dublin trio first got big in the U.S. with the song "Breakeven," which imho is their best song to date.

Last video is another trio, this cute set called the Original Rudeboys. They do acoustic hip-hop and still mostly get local buzz and airplay, though there are some articles online about how they turned down an opening spot for Chris Brown. This is a live vid from the song "Stars in My Eyes" that they first uploaded on YouTube and which started the band:

Aren't they fun? Their sound is fresh for the current moment, though it also reminds me of melodic hip-hop/pop medleys from the 90s. I lahv the 90s, but man it's weird that it's the new decade to make a comeback.

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