NPR logo My Morning Jacket, Yo La Tengo at SXSW

My Morning Jacket, Yo La Tengo at SXSW

Hear the Concerts

A warm swell fills the room when a My Morning Jacket album comes on. The band's songs possess unmistakable roots in American music forms — country, folk, classic rock — wrapped in reverb and Jim James' soaring voice. Hear a concert recorded live at the Austin Music Hall in Austin, Tex., on March 13, 2008.

Formed in the late '90s, My Morning Jacket attracted cult popularity with its first releases, including The Tennessee Fire and At Dawn. At the time, the band was frequently lumped in under the "alt-country" label (alongside Whiskeytown, Lambchop, Old 97's, and countless others), but following the trajectory of It Still Moves and Z, My Morning Jacket has grown into a rock act with epic ambitions.

In addition to performing with full-size symphony orchestras — not to mention James' appearance in the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There — My Morning Jacket releases its new album, Evil Urges, in June.

Yo La Tengo

It seems as if Yo La Tengo was destined to become the prototypical indie-rock band. With an affinity for The Velvet Underground, a fierce independent streak, and incredible record collections, guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley have crafted a consistent discography of smart pop music and noisy rock.

During the course of its 24-year existence, Yo La Tengo has released 11 full-length studio albums, collaborated with legends from Ray Davies to Jad Fair, played The Velvet Underground in I Shot Andy Warhol, and given back to its Hoboken, N.J., community by participating in marathon drives to support its local freeform radio station.

The Whigs

Within months of coming together, The Whigs' members were already packing clubs in their native Athens, Ga., as well as its metropolitan neighbor, Atlanta. Local fans just couldn't argue with the band's clever mixture of Pixies, The Replacements, and Spoon — an easy sell for a crowd looking for something both accessible and enthusiastic.

Dave Matthews took notice and signed The Whigs to his label, and just recently released the group's second album, Mission Control. Despite the disc's familiarity, there's a bigger sense that a lot of energy went into its recording. Mission Control's pop charms show through its meaty production.