Alas, another SXSW is in the books. A wild frenzy of live music, panel discussions, pedicab rides, tacos (and beer), networking, late nights, and crowded bars – somehow it all makes for the premier music conference in America.
As Music Director, it’s invigorating to step away from our basement studios to appreciate the profound difference KCRW makes for independent music around the world. I was especially gratified to be able to move through different music communities in attendance at SXSW. From Alternative Rock, to Electronic, Folk, and World Music, staged at countless venues, all thriving music scenes with the sincerest appreciation for the station.
This year we were intent on having a greater presence overall at the conference, and to that end KCRW curated two official showcases along with various sponsored events and live broadcasts. Highlights included (but were not limited to) Ozomatli at our Galaxy Room showcase, the live broadcast of The XX from Tequila Mockingbird studios, Scottish band Frightened Rabbit at the Filter Magazine/KCRW event, and Australian band The Middle East at our first ever day showcase at the Convention Center. Outstanding team work by a small but committed cadre of KCRW staffers made all the difference in our success this year.
Of course, beyond representing the station with these various events, the promise of SXSW is in discovering the next big thing in music, and for that you have to hit the streets of Austin with a vengeance. In my adventures, Surfer Blood, Neon Indian, Phantogram, Minus the Bear, and Local Natives all established themselves as bands to watch, while somewhat more established groups like The Temper Trap, Broken Bells, and Miike Snow continued to build momentum.
In retrospect, attending SXSW gave me renewed faith in music in a pure form, and an assurance that the business will find it’s way despite the dire predictions. There is no doubt in my mind that we are enjoying a golden age for independent music, and KCRW is committed to bringing you the best of the crop from all points of the globe. Stay tuned!
Jason Bentley, KCRW Music Director