Archive for KGSR

SXSW: Time for the Craziness – and the Commercials

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2013 by 30daysout

Yeah, there really is a six-story-high Doritos stage that looks pretty much like this.

Although the big South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival starts today (Tuesday), we won’t have sneakers on the ground in Austin, Texas, until Wednesday. That’s okay – we won’t miss much.

Truth is, even if you don’t make it to Austin at all this week (and that’s probably a good thing, because Austin is kind of at capacity) you probably won’t miss much either, because some very big companies have stepped up to help you keep abreast of all the cool stuff happening at SXSW.

For example, one of the most noticeable landmarks in downtown Austin last year was a 62-foot-tall stage rigged up to look like a really huge Doritos vending machine. It’s back this year, and in addition to helping hawk all sorts of Frito Lay products, the stage will also host some cool music.

On Thursday (March 14), the Doritos #Boldstage will host a special concert by LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Ice Cube and Doug E. Fresh. But the lineup is the only thing that’s old school: fans can interact with the show by using social media. Doritos will allow fans to choose the opening act, as well as special lighting effects and even LL’s set list.

Concertgoers are encouraged to start making suggestions about what they would like to see at the show by using the hashtag #BoldStage on Twitter prior to the main event. The concert will also stream online at Doritos’ Facebook page.

Perhaps you’ve mellowed a bit since high school, and instead you enjoy some soothing Americana music. Well, Austin’s venerable Waterloo Records is the place for you, with four days of “day parties” March 13-16 featuring live music from a great lineup of artists.


If you get lost, helpful signs like this remind you where you are.

If you’re into that Americana we mentioned above, Friday’s the day for you – the lineup includes the great Richard Thompson, Billy Bragg, The Mavericks and Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell. If you’re in the mood for a little more modern stuff, try Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and Tegan and Sara on Wednesday, The Airborne Toxic Event on Thursday and The Zombies and Dawes on Saturday.

Click here to see Waterloo Records’ full in-store lineup, and while you’re there download a free digital sampler of artists performing there for SXSW.

One of the more exclusive parties each year is at a place called the Fader Fort, which is basically a big tent on Austin’s east side. The number of people lined up trying to get in is testimony to this party’s always-sturdy lineup. This year the Fort’s brought to us by The Fader blog and Converse and features acts like Sky Ferreira, French Montana, Delorean, Ra Ra Riot, The Afghan Whigs and Solange (Knowles), among others.

Click here to check out the full lineup for Fader Fort, then go to this place to watch the whole thing live on the internets.

The shoes/apparel company Vans is also a strong presence at SXSW every year, and this year the company is presenting a huge bill at The Mohawk club along Austin’s busy Red River Street.  The roster for the March 13 show includes Ghostface Killah, The Specials and Iggy and the Stooges, along with rising stars Japandroids join Middle Class Rut and Sky Ferreira. Check out the entire roster here, then tune in at the Vans SXSW site on March 13 for a webcast.

Pandora Radio and the TV show “The Voice” present the 2013 Pandora Discovery Den, with live streams of performances March 12-15. Artists include The Mavericks, The Lone Bellow, Surfer Blood, the Eagles of Death Metal and Third Eye Blind. Click here for a full lineup and to get hooked up with the live streams.


The official female uniform of SXSW.

Some other live streams: IROCKE features a full schedule of concerts including radio simulcasts from Austin’s KGSR-FM each morning, and Southern California’s KCRW-FM.

National Public Radio will offer streams of a number of events, including Dave Grohl’s keynote speech on March 14, and the official showcase on March 13 featuring Nick Cave, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Alt-J among others.

The über cool public radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle will offer live broadcasts from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop (yes, a real bicycle shop) March 13-16 with acts including Robyn Hitchcock, Chelsea Light Moving (one of our bands to watch this year), Iron & Wine, Telekinesis, The Zombies (yes) and Ozomatli, among others.

And finally, Austin’s own KUTX-FM has an awesome lineup of artists performing each morning March 13-16.

So you don’t have time to watch/listen in real time. You can still score some great downloads from artists playing SXSW:

SXSW 2013 on BitTorrent: 7.39 GB of Free Music

NPR’s The Mix: The Austin 100

Don’t Mess With Texas: The Daily Rind’s SXSW 2013 Music Sampler

SPIN magazine’s 60-Track Mixtape of SXSW 2013’s Hottest Acts

HGTV/Paste SXSW 2013 Sampler

Finally, you’re actually going to be here in Austin for SXSW this week. But you got in a hurry, became a little too careless and forgot your camera.

Don’t worry, you can still use your iPhone for photos. They won’t be super sharp like the pictures you see in your favorite music magazines, but you can still snap a few to show the folks at home which acts you caught.

Our friend Art Meripol has been a professional photographer for more than three decades. The former Southern Living shooter got his start snapping rock concerts for newspapers in Arkansas and Texas back in the day, and he has some tips for instantly improving those iPhone photos:

1. The photo is taken the moment you let off the button, not when you push it. So to better time a shot keep your finger on the button and let off at the best moment.

2. Before shooting, gently touch your subject on the screen to focus and expose for that exact spot. You’ll see a quick pulsing box as you do that lets you know it’s done. Then let off the button.


Photo of Robert Earl Keen at John T. Floore Country Store, taken with my “eyePhone.” Should have gotten closer.

3. You can ‘lock’ the focus and exposure for your subject and then recompose a shot. When you touch the area you want to be correctly exposed and focused, keep your finger on it a bit longer until you see a second larger ‘pulsing’ box. You can then move the camera around for better composition and keep focus and exposure where you want it.

Lots of people use the Instagram app on their phones to shoot photos. However, Art isn’t a fan of Instagram for image filtering. “You end up with photos that look like everyone else’s,” he says.  “Too narrow a field.” Besides, Instagram wants you to edit a photo right then and there, which is inconvenient for location photography.

He uses Google’s Snapseed, which allows multiple ways to adjust an image depending on what look the photographer seeks. “That way my images don’t look like anyone else’s and thus stand out,” Art explains. “It takes some practice but it’s well worth it. And I can adjust with forethought at my leisure and just concentrate on shooting in the moment. I do use Instagram for sharing, not filtering or adjusting.”


iPhone photos taken in broad daylight look a lot better.

Now remember, when shooting with an iPhone (or “eyePhone” as Art calls it) you are going to need to get as close to the subject as you can. Wait for a peak movement or a pose to snap, to avoid blurring. And for gosh’s sake, put away the darn phone after a few snaps to enjoy the music and avoid irritating your fellow concertgoers. As Tom Morello said at SXSW last year: “Put away the cell phones and live in the moment.”

Good stuff. Check out Art Meripol’s online photography gallery, and his blog.

Check out our coverage on Popdose

Our special Flickr photo account for SXSW

Spring Break! And SXSW Free Music!

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2012 by 30daysout

This is Austin's version of spring break.

In most places, spring break means warm weather, scantily clad college girls and drunken frat bros with an effective projectile puke accuracy radius of 20 yards. Not in Austin, Texas. Here, spring break means lots and lots of live music, free food when you can find it, and sheer insanity. Plus all of that other stuff above.

Next Wednesday, the big ol’ South by Southwest (SXSW) music event kicks off, and in this year of Twenty Aught Twelve the SXSW has grown to such incredible proportions that “epic” is simply not sufficient to describe it. What started out 26 years ago as an industry conference designed to spotlight unknown and unsigned music acts has morphed into an orgy of superstars, has-beens, wanna-bes and never-wills. And that’s just the music event – the SXSW interactive and film conferences start today.

This year, more than 2,000 music acts will play the official part of the festival, but there are hundreds of unofficial side parties that will feature at least a couple thousand more performers. SXSW music emanates from Austin’s downtown area to its South Congress neighborhood, to spacious Auditorium Shores park, to the up-and-coming east side and beyond.

Spotted in Austin just last week!

Start at the top of the list of performers and you have Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Lionel Richie, Jay-Z, Santigold, The Roots, Jimmy Cliff, Norah Jones, the Cult, Counting Crows, of Montreal, The Shins, Mumford and Sons, Blitzen Trapper, the dBs, Skrillex, Ingrid Michaelson, the Alabama Shakes, Best Coast, Fiona Apple, Dan Deacon, Andrew WK, various members of R.E.M., Alejandro Escovedo, Jesse Malin, Garland Jeffreys, Billy Joe Shaver, Gary Clark Jr., Chuck Prophet, Lil’ Wayne, Nas, Big K.R.I.T., Tom Morello and many, many more. Multiply each of those names by about 10,000 fans and you will get a picture of what it’s like.

Wish you could be here – you might be better off if you aren’t. So here’s the next best thing: some links where you can get free music from acts playing SXSW. In past years friendly corporate sponsors allowed you to download free MP3s of acts, but this year they seem to have figured out how to stream more stuff live. We have listed as many as we could find here:

Spinner’s SXSW 2012 Free Songs

Ioda Records SXSW sampler (via

SPIN magazine’s 32 Songs From Must-Hear Artists at SXSW

Stereogum’s 25 Bands We’re Most Excited To See at SXSW 2012

Paste magazine’s Twenty Must-See Bands at SXSW 2012

NPR’s “The Austin 100: A SXSW Mix” (some songs downloadable)

“Let’s Get Messy” SXSW party mixtape

Canadian Blast @ SXSW artist sampler

And here are some streaming events (local time, ya’ll):

Jay-Z – Sponsored by American Express and YouTube, Jay’s concert will be streamed live on Monday, March 12, at 7 p.m. CDT. Here is the link. Go early and Tweet your request, maybe he’ll play it live. Here is another link.

Bruce Springsteen – His keynote speech will be streamed live on Thursday, March 15, at noon CDT. The entire event will be available at NPR Music, via the NPR Music iPhone and iPad apps and at The NPR Music broadcast will also air on many public radio stations across the country, including WXPN Philadelphia and WFUV New York (check local listings). NPR Music critic Ann Powers will host a blog during the keynote, and will take questions from audiences around the world.

Warner Music Showcases – Warner Music and Nikon will stream SXSW showcases at La Zona Rosa for three consecutive nights at 7:30 p.m. CDT starting on Tuesday, March 13. Headliners on Tuesday include Santigold and Chuckie; Dr. John and Gary Clark Jr. on Wednesday; and T.I. and B.o.B on Thursday. Go to The Warner Sound captured by Nikon site for updates.

The Fader Fort – One of SXSW’s most popular side parties, the Fader Fort will feature 50 Cent, Santigold, Big K.R.I.T. and many more. Fuse TV will stream music from The Fader Fort Wednesday through Saturday March 14-17 . Go to the link for the complete lineup.

Mess With Texas – Just a stone’s throw from Fader Fort, the Mess With Texas party is another very popular unofficial SXSW event, featuring alternative/punk/rock acts. Vans and will stream daily select sets live Thursday-Saturday at the Mess With Texas official website. Among the artists planned to perform are Built To Spill, ASAP Rocky and Cults (check the site for schedule).

South by San Jose – One of our favorite unofficial side parties, this year’s event features Alejandro Escovedo, the Alabama Shakes, Billy Joe Shaver and more. Check the schedule here then go to Radio Free Texas and listen (requires a free registration).

KGSR Live Morning Broadcasts – The hip-cool Austin station will commence its live morning broadcasts at 6:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday-Friday, and 8 a.m. on Saturday. This year’s lineup includes Kat Edmonson, Tom Morello, Bob Schneider, Delta Spirit, Ingrid Michaelson and more. Check the complete lineup here and listen live to KGSR from its home page. You can also play music from a bunch of SXSW artists here.

Waterloo Records– Austin’s coolest independent record store sets up a big stage in its parking lot and lets fly with great in-stores all during SXSW. This year’s performers include Jimmy Cliff, The Little Willies (with Norah Jones), Chuck Prophet, Ruthie Foster and more. The fun begins Wednesday, check the lineup and the live stream at the Waterloo official website.

Orchestral Maneuovres in the Dark in Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop.

KEXP Live – Another one of our favorites, the Seattle radio station does its live shows in Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. This year’s performers include Howler, Of Monsters and Men, Shearwater, Youth Lagoon and others. Check out the lineup and tune in Wednesday-Friday at the KEXP Blog.

KUT Morning “Live at the Four Seasons” – The radio station of choice for many Austinites, KUT-FM will feature 30-minute sets from the likes of Justin Townes Earle, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and others with only two names.  They go Wednesday-Friday at 7 a.m. CDT, and 8 a.m. Saturday. Check the schedule here; KUT’s complete SXSW coverage schedule is here. To listen live at any time, just mosey on over to the KUT official home page.

NPR Live Showcases – Yeah, NPR again – this time they will stream live Wednesday and Thursday nights. Wednesday’s lineup from Stubb’s BBQ begins at 7:45 p.m. CDT and is scheduled to include Fiona Apple, Andrew Bird, The Alabama Shakes, Dan Deacon and Sharon Van Etten. Thursday’s showcase from the Parish begins at 12:30 p.m. CDT and is scheduled to include The Magnetic Fields, Polica, Sugar Tongue Slim and La Vida Boheme. Check ’em out at the NPR Music website.

Review: Christmas Closeout

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2009 by 30daysout

Going to take a whack at the last few new releases that’s caught our attention in the past few weeks … a lot of old-guy stuff, a new blues-roots classic and a pretty good anthology from the Lone Star State:

Neil Young has been endlessly releasing archive material the past year or so, and his newest, Dreamin’ Man Live ’92 is a live show from the 1992 solo tour that preceded the album Harvest Moon.  Impeccably recorded and performed in the same order as the studio album, the songs here match or in some cases surpass the studio versions.  At the time Young performed these songs he received more than a few catcalls and gripes from audiences hoping to hear his greatest hits.  None of that animosity appears on Dreamin’ Man, though, and it’s too bad – that would have been a welcome spark to a live set that needs a little more life.

Stream the entire Dreamin’ Man album at Never Get Out Of The Boat!

Something’s up with the new Jimmy Buffett album, Buffet Hotel, and it’s not the apparent misspelling on the album cover (actually it’s a real hotel/whorehouse somewhere in Africa).  The 63-year-old singer/songwriter tries to return to his “roots” on this new album, and relies on co-writers to produce music that sounds an awful lot like the stuff he’s been releasing the last four decades or so.  You got yer summer song (“Summerzcool”), you got yer topical talking folk blues (“A Lot To Drink About”), and you got yer songs that are going to be live favorites on the next tour (“Rhumba Man,” “Surfing In A Hurricane”).  For Parrotheads only.

MP3: “Surfing In A Hurricane” by Jimmy Buffett

Continue reading

Review: “Ready For The Flood,” Mark Olson & Gary Louris

Posted in Review, SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2009 by 30daysout


This pair of excellent singer/songwriters founded Americana giants the Jayhawks way back in 1985 and this album is the first recorded collabosxsw1ration between the two since Olson left that band in 1995.  Ready For The Flood is a mostly acoustic album, putting the salt-and-pepper harmony of the two singers front and center.  Songs like “The Rose Society” and “Bicycle” are closest to the trademark Jayhawks sound, but the duo really stretch for some nice ballads, including “Saturday Morning On Sunday Street.”  At times, the songs evoke a Peter, Paul and Mary-Simon & Garfunkel 1960’s folk vibe and the program touches also on a little gospel and bluegrass.  This would be a nice album for a Sunday morning with coffee and the newspaper.

Mark Olson and Gary Louris will appear at SXSW in Austin, on Friday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Jo’s Coffee Shop.  They will also appear on KGSR radio, Thursday at noon. 

MP3: “Bicycle”

Mark Olson and Gary Louris on MySpace

30 Days Out Exclusive Interview: Alejandro Escovedo

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 24, 2009 by 30daysout


Alejandro Escovedo is the greatest musician working out of Texas today.  For more than 20 years, he has been a premier songwriter and a crack bandleader.  But his roots go back even farther – he comes from a musical family.  His father was a musician, his brother Coke (died 1986) was a member of Santana and the rest of his brothers are also musicians.  Alejandro was a member of seminal punk rockers the Nuns, who opened for the Sex Pistols’ last show in 1978, and alt-country pioneers Rank and File as well as the True Believers.

As a solo performer Escovedo has earned many kudos: No Depression magazine named him its “Artist of the Decade” in 1998 while last year’s Real Animal was atop many “best of” lists last year and it was Escovedo’s first effort to chart on the Billboard album lists.  He has worked with some of the biggest and most interesting names in music, and he recently took a few minutes to speak to us from his home near Austin.

30 Days Out: You had a pretty good year in 2008 … how do you turn around and top that?

Alejandro Escovedo:  I try not to top it, actually.  Just go ahead and keep playing gigs and enjoy the warm glow of last year and just try to write good songs, you know?

Continue reading

‘Broadcasts’ CDs Boast The Best of Austin

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2008 by 30daysout

Layout 1

One of the better radio stations in the country is Austin’s KGSR-FM, and one of the reasons that they’re so good is that they fully support local music.  By “local” I mean Austin and Texas music – every week KGSR features at least one live, in-studio performance by a local artist and Austin and Texas musicians make up the majority of the station’s playlist.

And like other radio stations across the country, KGSR annually packages their exclusive live performances on a CD (proceeds benefit a musicians’ medical care program).  KGSR always has so much to offer, each year they fill up two discs!  This year’s Broadcasts Vol. 16 is one of the best packages they’ve ever offered.  Featuring performances by the likes of Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Daniel Lanois, James McMurtry and many others, Broadcasts usually leans toward the mellow and acoustic side of country rock, but it’s a great snapshot of the Austin music scene. 

Some of the performers are not really Austin, but they’re world-class: R.E.M. shows up with “Supernatural Superserious” and Aimee Mann, Ingrid Michaelson, Shelby Lynne and Feist all turn in strong songs to show this was a year for the women.  Alejandro Escovedo also provides a highlight with his “Sister Lost Soul” live from the Continental Club.  This a great party soundtrack, two CDs full of great performances – don’t miss this one!

Listen to samples from Broadcasts Vol. 16

Order Broadcasts Vol. 16 from Waterloo Records

Rock Moment: When Radio Was ‘Live’

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2008 by 30daysout


Once upon a time, radio was the great communicator.  Radio was totally of the moment – in the late 1950s through the earthshaking times between 1967 and 1970 – and it conveyed an immediacy, an urgency, that seismic changes were taking place in the culture.  Television, on the other hand, was more uptight and conservative and born to follow.  Today, radio’s preeminence has been eclipsed by the internet.

Some radio programmers were not content to merely play the latest hits.  They wanted their music live, so they went to the source and plugged right in.  The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) in the 1960s pioneered this practice, inviting top-of-the-pops groups like the Beatles, the Kinks and the Moody Blues to perform in their studios with little or no overdubbing.  The live-to-tape shows were then broadcast as a package later.

Continue reading