Results for Austin, TX

interviews

Art Brut

This week's guests are the members of Art Brut: Eddie Argos, Ian Catskilkin, Jasper Future, Mikey B., and Freddy Feedback. Sound Opinions was anxious to get these Brits on the show after seeing them play at the SXSW Festival in Austin, TX. The band, which got its name from a French theory of outsider art, was in Chicago as part of its first U.S. tour, and just released its first album, Bang Bang Rock and Roll, in the U.S. earlier this week.

After lead singer and songwriter Eddie Argos warns the kids to "stay off the crack", we hear a bit of music by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Richman was a major influence on Argos as a songwriter. Argos explains that his career as a musician did not really come easily. After his former bandmates all left to go to university, Argos moved to London for a second try. But there were not many takers, because, as Argos explains, he is not much of a singer and can't play an instrument. Lucky for us, an inebriated Argos was able to convince a few people to join him, and so emerged Art Brut.

What Argos may lack in singing talent and musical ability, he certainly makes up for in personality. In the vein of singers like Damon Albarn and Lou Reed, Argos knows that attitude, wit and a voice are more important than formal training. That voice comes through in songs like "Formed a Band," where he expresses delight in the sheer act of forming a band.“Why not?”he explains to Jim and Greg.“Why can't we get on Top of the Pops?”People who have seen the band (who tours in a 40-foot tour bus) play live know that is a valid question indeed.

Go to episode 24

Protomartyr

In the 1990's, the musical attitude of Detroit was reshaped by artists like Eminem and Jack White. But now the Motor City's mood has changed even more, and the minimalist post-punk sounds of Protomartyr are at the fore. The four-piece made a big impact on Greg back at this year's SXSW in Austin, TX with an almost contradictory mix of urgency and restraint, courtesy of guitarist Greg Ahee's stripped down playing and vocalist Joe Casey's sometimes callous, sometimes cool vocals. The band is rounded out by bassist Scott Davidson and drummer Alex Leonard and Greg welcomes them into the studio for a conversation and performance of songs off their sophomore album, Under Color of Official Right. In addition to their connection to literary icon Elmore Leonard, the band also tells Greg about how they went from a somewhat nonchalant beginnings, to constructing a tightly arranged and thoroughly purposeful album guided by the philosophy of doing more with less.

Go to episode 470
specials

SXSW 2012

Streaming was also a big topic at this year's SXSW Music Conference in Austin, TX. Every year Jim, Greg and over 2000 bands converge upon the state capital for what proves to be the biggest music gathering in the country when it comes to bringing together industry professionals, fans and artists. At the "Pennies from the Celestial Jukebox" panel, representatives from streaming services and labels talked about this new revenue stream. It's not much, but pieced together could be significant. The problem is a lack of transparency when it comes to breaking down costs and revenues. So Greg wonders if the new boss is the same as the old boss.

And speaking of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen gave the SXSW keynote address this year. And it was an optimistic one, according to our hosts. He spoke alone for an hour, sharing wisdom and telling members of the music community that it doesn‘t matter what tools you use to make music, it’s all about having heart.

When not going to talks and panels, Jim and Greg are in the trenches-going to shows and listening for the next big thing. Here are their favorite discoveries of this year's fest:

Go to episode 330
lists

SXSW 2011

Music fans and industry insiders have been gathering at the SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin, TX for twenty-five years. While it has gotten too big for its britches in recent years, SXSW remains the place to hear new artists and issues facing the business. Jim and Greg didn‘t have high hopes for this year’s keynote speaker Bob Geldof. What has the Boomtown Rats done for us lately? Well, not much. But he provided one of the most insightful keynotes our hosts have ever heard. Geldof, who brought the world Live Aid, encouraged American musicians to wake up. He explained that rock ‘n’ roll needs to be against something – whether that's in reality or in spirit. Another noteworthy panel featured independent concert promoters from around the country, as well as Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard. The Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger was approved last year, and this panel attempted to find out how that has affected the concert industry. There were no concrete answers; ticket prices have skyrocketed but it's too early to attribute this to consolidation.

It's panels by day and music by night. Jim and Greg always return from SXSW with a truckload of new music. Here are their respective discoveries of artists to watch in 2011.

Go to episode 278

SXSW 2015

SXSW2015 For years now Jim and Greg have been making an annual exodus to the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, TX. And while they often have to battle crowds and overblown corporate promotions in order to see new, up-and-coming bands, this year was, thankfully, a little more subdued. But star power was still the draw at the 2015 keynote featuring rapper Snoop Dogg being interviewed by…his manager. Greg preferred the candor of industry veteran and panelist Henry Rollins, while Jim was fascinated to hear a conversation on the new music economy with Win and Will Butler of Arcade Fire and New York Times columnist, Nobel laureate and former Sound Opinions Rock Doctors patient Paul Krugman.

Each year Jim and Greg slowly limp back from SXSW with a list of new artists to watch. Here is the 2015 crop:

Go to episode 487

SXSW 2013

For years Jim and Greg have made their annual voyage down to Austin, TX for the SXSW Music Conference. The goal was always clear: discover great new musical acts. And, while they are at it, take the music industry's temperature. But in recent years, SXSW has gotten a little too big for its britches with over 2,500 bands and 10,000 registrants. And, as Jim and Greg explain, it's now become a platform for big name stars to advertise products. (Just check out this gross stage display.) But, if you can side-step the corporate elements (and St. Patty's partiers), there's still a lot to gain in Austin (including pounds from beer and queso). Jim and Greg were impressed with Dave Grohl's passionate keynote. And they have another list of up-and-coming bands to watch in the year to come.

Go to episode 382