SXSW 2012: The Alternate Side Wrap

Check out The Alternate Side's coverage of SXSW 2012 featuring exclusive interviews with Built to Spill, Yukon Blonde, Django Django, Sharon Van Etten and Poliça. Plus TAS in Session with Michael Kiwanuka and Friends, who visited the TAS and WFUV studios prior to their Texas travels. We also have Austin-brewed band blogs courtesy of Spanish Prisoners, Exitmusic, AU, Jonquil, Bishop Morocco, Zeus and Sleepy Sun.  And finally, live performances from Alabama Shakes and Shearwater, thanks to our sister station WFUV.

Sleepy Sun: SXSW 2012 Blog

The visceral, stormy psychedelic rock of Sleepy Sun was very much a part of SXSW this year; the San Francisco band had five gigs in three days. Sleepy Sun is on the brink of releasing a powerful new album, Spine Hits, due out on April 10 on The End Records, and they're in the thick of a long tour which takes them in New York on April 9 (Glasslands Gallery) and April 10 (Mercury Lounge). We asked bassist Jack Allen if he'd blog about the good, bad and ugly of this year's SXSW and he turned us on to mind-and-hair blowing bands (Howlin' Rain), cool Austin bars (Blackheart) and, most tauntingly, amazing avocado tacos.

Zeus: SXSW 2012 Blog

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Toronto's Zeus seemed to have the right idea about this year's SXSW: a good soak in a hot tub after every long day hauling equipment around and racing through short sets. The prog-leaning rockers, who began as Jason Collett's backing band, release their sophomore album, Busting Visions, on March 27 on Arts & Crafts and used their time in Austin wisely, not just playing scads of shows, but checking out friends like Yukon Blonde and The Sheepdogs and loading up on a year's worth of BBQ. The Alternate Side asked Mike O'Brien if he'd keep a blog of the band's mythic musical and gastronomic travels through Austin.

Jonquil: SXSW 2012 Blog

British indie-popsters Jonquil arrived in Austin from the slightly more tranquil environs of Oxford for a dual purpose; not only has the band just released a new album, Point of Go, on Dovecote Records, but frontman Hugo Manuel also has his own excellent solo endeavor, Chad Valley. Gigs galore ensued in Austin, but Jonquil will also stick around Stateside for a while; the band kicks off a US tour tomorrow, March 19, in Atlanta,  heading to Brooklyn's Glasslands for an April 2 show. The Alternate Side asked Jonquil if they'd blog about their SXSW experience for us and bassist/trumpeter Sam Scott sent on some carb-fueled observations (and a cry for decent brioche).

Bishop Morocco: SXSW 2012 Blog

Toronto's Bishop Morocco, founded by James Sayce and and Jake Fairley, signed with Arts & Crafts this winter and last week, just in time for SXSW, released a six-track EP, Old Boys. The band has added on guitarist Ian Worang and drummer Jon McCann and had a productive week of showcases in Austin, including the Arts & Crafts gig on Friday. The Alternate Side asked James Sayce if he'd keep a blog for us ... which included a lot of beer and breakfast.

Spanish Prisoners: SXSW 2012 Blog, Day Two

The Alternate Side salutes Spanish Prisoners' frontman Leo Maymind for being so diligent with his SXSW blog, especially with their two-gig schedule today, March 16. The Bushwick band took a slight detour from their current tour to take on Austin's annual week-of-chaos to showcase their dreamily handsome debut album, Gold Fools. Spanish Prisoners, who have the BirdDog promo show earlier this afternoon, play Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie at Crowbar at 9 p.m. CT tonight and on Saturday, March 17, they play Boston in Austin at the Treehouse Pub at 7 p.m. CT.

AU: SXSW 2012 Blog

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After a somewhat lengthy hiatus, the Portland, Oregon, duo of AU — Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka — will finally release their gritty, gorgeous and heart-accelerating third album, Both Lights, via Hometapes/The Leaf Label on April 3. The pair are in the thick of the SXSW scrum at the moment, with a very busy three-gig day today, March 16, with shows at the Terroreyes Day Party (4:45 p.m. CT), STOUH By SMES Shout 2 (8:45 p.m. CT) and the Redefine Magazine Party (10:45 p.m.). The Alternate Side asked if AU could blog about their Austin walkabout and Wyland kindly obliged.

Spanish Prisoners: SXSW 2012 Blog

Brooklyn's Spanish Prisoners have taken a detour from their current tour to dip into chaos of SXSW and, thanks to frontman Leo Maymind, they'll be spilling all (well, some) of their Austin secrets via a blog for The Alternate Side. The Bushwick quartet, who recently self-released their dreamily handsome debut album, Gold Fools, are slated to play the Paper Garden Records and My Old Kentucky Blog showcase at Uncorked Tasting Room and Wine Bar in Austin, today, March 15, at 5:15 p.m. CT with three more gigs to follow Friday and Saturday.

Exitmusic: SXSW 2012 Blog

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New York's own Exitmusic, the beguiling duo of Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church, finally release their beautifully temperamental debut album, Passage, on May 22 via Secretly Canadian. The Alternate Side asked Palladino, who also stars on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," if she'd keep a blog for us detailing some of Exitmusic's Austin discoveries. Check out the blog, Palladino's photos and the track "Passage," from their soon-to-be-released album, after the jump.

TAS Takes On Valentine's Day With Not-So-Silly Love Songs

Ah, Valentine's Day. A time of crushes, Cupids, chocolate and champagne. Or a depressing night spent with a dopey Katherine Heigl rom-com while polishing off a pint of Chunky Monkey. No matter what your take on the loveliest - or most loveless - of days, The Alternate Side staff has pulled together some of our favorite songs that we feel express the best and worst of romance.

Breaking Bands 2012: TAS Staff Picks Next Year's New Faces To Watch

Looking ahead to 2012, The Alternate Side staff — not normally betting folk — are gambling that bands and artists like Alabama Shakes, Daughter, Gary Clark Jr., Hospitality, 2:54, Zambri, Lucy Rose, The Cold and Lovely and Friends will making a significant impact over the next twelve months. At the very least, we're really looking forward to their debut (or next) albums. After the jump, check out our full list with audio streams and videos.

The Black Keys, M83, PJ Harvey And More On TAS Staff's Best Of 2011

The Alternate Side staff both loves — and dreads — the annual rush of ubiquitous end-of-year lists, sifting through the best albums and singles of the twelve months gone by. There are usually far too many records or songs we'd like to mention, so consider the following just a start of what we really enjoyed in 2011, leaping from The Black Keys to tUnE-yArDs to Elbow to Little Dragon. And feel free to add your comments on what you liked too — we'd love to hear from you.

Mavis Staples, The Head And The Heart, Dawes, Josh Ritter Shine At WFUV's Holiday Cheer

By the time Mavis Staples had transformed New York's Beacon Theatre into a sultry New Orleans gospel tent, carrying the show home with a spirited — and often spiritual — hour-long set, WFUV's 7th annual Holiday Cheer concert had already proved the invaluable bond between artist, radio station and audience. Dawes, The Head and the Heart and special guest Josh Ritter played powerful sets, both ruminative and rowdy, and declared their affection for The Alternate Side's sister station, WFUV, during the station's benefit event on Monday night, December 5. After the jump, photos and setlists.

Cosmo Jarvis On CMJ, Buskers And Bad Habits

Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, but raised in the UK, singer/songwriter Cosmo Jarvis has justly earned enthusiastic attention and increased airplay in Britain, thanks to viral videos and singles like the bittersweet "Gay Pirates" off of his second album, Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange?, out now on 25th Frame/The End Records. Touted on NPR's fall music preview, Jarvis has a wildly eclectic fanbase of folks like Brian Eno, Stephen Fry and Kylie Minogue. The Alternate Side asked the 22-year-old singer to report back on his three-gig CMJ Music Marathon experience, which involved buskers, the Beatles and the rediscovery of bad habits.

Everything Everything: TAS Interview

As lauded as eclectic, Manchester-based rockers Everything Everything are in Britain, the band still, mysteriously, remains under the radar in the States. In fact, Everything Everything don't even have an American label yet and, despite stops at 2010 festivals like SXSW, they've barely toured here. The Alternate Side caught up with frontman Jonathan Higgs — whose rapid-fire falsetto spurs on Everything Everything's UK hits like "Photoshop Handsome" and "Schoolin''" — and discussed the band's heady trajectory in their homeland, their second album and just when Americans might finally get to hear them here. Everything Everything play London's Relentless Freeze Festival tomorrow, October 29.

The Duke Spirit: CMJ Music Marathon Blog

London rockers The Duke Spirit don't release their third album, Bruiser, Stateside until January 17 (with a digital release slated for November 21), but the band made a quick trip to New York last week for the CMJ Music Marathon. The Alternate Side asked the quintet's charismatic frontwoman Liela Moss if she'd keep a blog of her speedy trip through New York, which included a Nylon magazine shoot, the "It's A School Night" show at Bowery Hotel and a gig at Brooklyn Bowl.

Radiation City: CMJ Music Marathon Blog

With their effusive, retro-60s girl group panache, Radiation City, out of Portland, Oregon, cut their own warm, distinctive path at this year's CMJ Music Marathon. The band plays one last CMJ gig today, October 22, at Spike Hill at 3 p.m., introducing New York to their confident debut album The Hands That Take You, out now on Tender Loving Empire/Apes Tapes. The Alternate Side asked the band if they'd document their virgin CMJ Music Marathon experience and they happily did. Exclusive photos and commentary (plus a couple of singles to check out) from the band after the jump.

ATP Festival's Anika Tours The States, Has Scary Asbury Park Flashbacks

Anika, who played the Portishead-curated ATP "I'll Be Your Mirror" festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey on October 2 and also had a show at Brooklyn's Glasslands on October 6, is in the midst of her first North American tour supporting her 2010 debut album, produced by Portishead's Geoff Barrow and members of Beak>.The one-time political journalist told The Alternate Side about her Asbury Park adventures, which seemed eerily akin to a Stanley Kubrick movie.

TAS Interview (CMJ Preview): Chad Valley

British singer, songwriter and remixer-in-demand Hugo Manuel has been very active doing double duty with two projects: his band Jonquil, which just finished recording a new album, and Chad Valley, his more experimental, electronic-leaning, solo alter ego. As Chad Valley, the Oxford-based Manuel, who wraps a North American tour with Active Child this week, has garnered enthusiastic praise for his most recent EP, Equatorial Ultravox. The Alternate Side caught up with Manuel to chat about his multi-tasking musical life and you can catch this intriguing, fast-rising artist when he plays the CMJ Music Marathon next month. He'll also join Friendly Fires and Theophilus London for a gig at Terminal 5 on October 26.

TAS Interview: Thomas Dybdahl

Singer and songwriter Thomas Dybdahl is a platinum-selling artist in his native Norway, winning the equivalent of his country's Grammy award. He's even borne quick comparisons to Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and Justin Vernon, but surprisingly, Dybdahl remains relatively unknown outside of Europe. That might change dramatically thanks to the release this month of his new album Songs, his debut in the States. Dybdahl, who kicks off his North American tour at New York's Mercury Lounge tomorrow, July 13, caught up with The Alternate Side and not only discussed what it's like to start anew ... but also revealed his past life as a devoted Metallica fan.

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