Before the plane lifted off for a flight back to NYC from Austin’s South By Southwest Music Festival, the airline attendant joked via loudspeaker: “You all look so hip and cool.” Some passengers laughed, but probably no one disagreed. How could a flight with members of TV on the Radio be anything else? In fact,the packed plane felt like a microcosm of the festival itself, where thousands of bands, industry executives, celebrities and music fans worked and played for five days at parties in clubs, bars and makeshift venues like parking garages.
We have more details on Hanson’s SXSW benefit for Japan. There’s no live concert element to the show that fans can attend — it’s a live-streaming telethon only. Hanson has taken over a studio in downtown Austin at the SXSW music fest, inviting musicians to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami by either performing or stopping by for a chat from noon on Saturday (March 17) through noon on Sunday (March 18).
Among those participating are Michael Stipe of R.E.M., John “JoJo” Hermann of Widespread Panic, the North Mississippi Allstars, The Boxer Rebellion, AWOLNATION, Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jr. and many others. Hanson will perform multiple times throughout the telethon. An album of performances from the telethon will be available for download at iTunes. Donate at SXSW4Japan.org, proceeds go to the American Red Cross.
We ran into two-thirds of Hanson at Rachael Ray’s SXSW party this afternoon, and brothers Isaac and Taylor were making a serious effort to get the word out about teaming up with the music fest for a last-minut, massive benefit concert for Japan. Details are scarce at the moment — there’s not even a press release out yet. But the concert will start tomorrow (Saturday, March 18) at noon and will run a whopping 12 hours. It will also stream live for the entire show. Isaac says an album of the concert will also be available for download from iTunes. There are more than 2,000 acts at SXSW this year, so it’s the perfect opportunity to pull off a “We Are the World”-style benefit.
Update: Hanson.net is reporting that Widespread Panic, the Boxer Rebellion, Ben Folds and the Courtyard Hounds were the first to sign on. The stream will include live and pre-recorded performances as well as messages from musicians. Watch and donate at SXSW4Japan.
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At SXSW, we’ve learned that The Strokes are back (10,000 went to their set last night), Dave Grohl is the nicest guy in rock (according to the VH1 crew who interviewed him) and people can’t stop talking about Kanye West, who’s allegedly doing a secret show tonight or tomorrow. We’ve also noticed there’s no lack of gorgeous performers and celebs flaunting eclectic, wild styles. We’re bummed we couldn’t get close enough to snap pics of country-garage threesome Those Darlins, who put on a raucous show last night that closed with their ode to sex and parties, “Nightjogger.” But with thousands of artists performing simultaneously, it’s impossible to capture more than a fraction of the action.
Oh Land interviews with VH1 News
(Photo: Matt Muro for VH1)
See more pics after the jump and check back here later for updates.
Most artists have a better chance of winning the lottery than selling out stadium-sized shows, a feat Hanson accomplished as young teens thanks to their single “MMMBop.” Despite the success, brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac broke with their major label over creative differences and started their own (3CG Records) instead of signing with another. This makes Hansona rare phenomenon — a boy band turned indie act, which puts them right at home at SXSW. Last month, Hanson released a video for “Give A Little” to support their most recent album,Shout It Out.
If you’re not in the music business, you may have never heard of Benny Blanco. But there’s no way you haven’t heard his music. As a writer and producer, he’s helped create some of the biggest pop hits in recent years, including Katy Perry‘s “Teenage Dream” and “I Kissed A Girl,” Britney Spear‘s “Circus” and Ke$ha‘s “Tik Tok.” Benny is also in Bangers & Cash, a duo with Spank Rock that produced a raunchy EP based on 2 Live Crew samples. Benny isn’t performing at SXSW (he’s just attending), but we’re interested to find out who’s on his short list.
According to the guys in Jaill, they had been making their danceable blend of bedroom indie-rock for friends only for close to a decade before signing with Sub Pop, which released their debut album, That’s How We Burn, last year. The album’s single, “The Stroller,” has an up-tempo beat with stabbing Dick Dale-esque guitars. It’s an indie-rock take on classic surf rock by a crew from Milwaukee. Fitting, then, that the song’s video features the paste-y white boys superimposed over a fake beach scene.
After the jump, Jaill’s Vinnie Kircher gives us the band’s SXSW picks. Read more…
Hunx and His Punx take their cues from ’60s girl groups, doo-wop and garage. The band’s three-chord, three-minute songs are mostly about kids hooking up. While the music doesn’t stray far from the genres from which it’s inspired, Hunx subverts the naivety of early 60s pop by spinning it with a gay theme. Hunx and His Punx are set to release their debut album, Too Young To Be In Love, on March 29. The retro sound combined with kitchy lyrics like “I thought you knew that I liked to lick ‘em up just like an ice cream cone” make this album a John Waters soundtrack waiting to happen. It might be tempting to dub Hunx a clever concept/party band– but their songs are too good.
Theophilus London is not your average MC from Brooklyn. An adept rapper who has a penchant for skinny pants and nerd-rock glasses, fans (and detractors) might not categorize his music as hip-hop at all. This makes sense considering his non-mixtape debut, Lovers Holiday, features guest appearances by indie-rock luminaries like Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) Sara Quin (Tegan& Sara) and Glasser. Theophilus raps on all of his songs, but this EP feels less inspired by hip-hop than Prince‘s eclectic mix of R&B, pop, rock and New Wave.
After the jump, find out which SXSW acts this mixed bag MC is excited to see.
If you’re into witch house, whatever that is, then you may already know the new producer/DJ duo CREEP, which recently released Days, an EP featuring vocals by the xx‘s Romy Madley Croft. It seems no one knows quite how to label CREEP, but the Brooklyn-based duo, featuring Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard, say the genre that most closely represents their music is trip hop. Regardless, it’s clear the Laurens have listened to plenty of Goth and industrial in their day. The duo’s debut video is dark, sexy and sinister – just like their music.