Capsula performs at the Day Stage Cafe at SXSW 2010.
I can't imagine a music-related event on earth that requires more advance planning and preparation than South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. In the span of a mere four days — this year, the music portion of the festivities runs from March 16 to March 19, with events on the 15th and 20th, too — somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 acts will play the festival's official showcases on more than 80 stages, with hundreds more converging on peripheral events looking to bask in SXSW's reflected glory and be heard.
In the weeks leading up to SXSW, a bunch of us at NPR Music — including Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers, myself and others — have been gorging on the 1,300 SXSW MP3s we've gathered so far, and we're continuing to sift for gems. Next week, we'll showcase some of our discoveries in a new episode of All Songs Considered, but in the meantime, we've culled 100 of our favorite songs by SXSW artists and assembled them in an epic playlist we call The Austin 100.
At the top of our main SXSW page, there's a big rectangular box with an arrow in the middle; click that arrow and you'll get a randomly generated song, chosen by the NPR Music gang (and, when their backs were turned, me) for maximum excellence. We've got hip-hop, metal, power pop, dubstep, singer-songwriters, party bands, Hanson, bluegrass, garage rock, and a whole lot of subgenres in between. The one constant? Someone here thought it was terrific — and, if you disagree, wait a few minutes and the song will change. You can also snag some free MP3s; just look for the "Download MP3" links and save the song for your library.
Below is a rundown of the 100 songs in The Austin 100 — by no means a comprehensive list of our SXSW recommendations, in part because we left off a lot of names everyone already knows (TV on the Radio, The Strokes, et al) and in part because bands are still being added to the festival lineup at the last minute. But if you've got some SXSW discoveries you think we missed, please leave them in the comments section below, and we'll try to listen before SXSW begins in (gulp) less than two weeks. And, of course, check our SXSW page for a full schedule of the performances we'll stream live.
Adam Arcuragi, "Bottom Of The River"
Admiral Fallow, "Squealing Pigs"
Agalloch, "Into The Painted Grey"
Alexander, "Truth" [MP3]
Anna Calvi, "Blackout"
Apex Manor, "Under The Gun" [MP3]
Austra, "Beat And The Pulse" [MP3]
Big K.R.I.T., "Hometown Hero [Explicit]" [MP3]
Black Milk, "Keep Going" [MP3]
Bright Eyes, "Shell Games" [MP3]
Buddy, "Say A Lot"
Bun B, "Just Like That"
Carla Morrison, "Compartir"
Ceci Bastida, "Empieza a Amanecer" [MP3]
Chappo, "Come Home" [MP3]
Cheyenne Marie Mize, "Rest" [MP3]
Chris Bathgate, "No Silver"
Colin Stetson, "Judges"
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., "An Ugly Person On A Movie Screen"
Damien Jurado, "Cloudy Shoes" [MP3]
David Dondero, "Not Everybody Loves Your Doggie Like You Do"
David Wax Museum, "Born With A Broken Heart"
Delicate Steve, "Butterfly" [MP3]
Dessa, "Minefield II"
DeVotchKa, "100 Other Lovers" [MP3]
Diplomats Of Solid Sound, "B-O-O-G-A-L-O-O"
Dolorean, "Country Clutter"
Eliza Doolittle, "Skinny Genes"
Elizabeth & The Catapult, "You & Me"
Ellie Goulding, "Starry Eyed"
Esben And The Witch, "Warpath (Edit)" [MP3]
Fang Island, "Daisy" [MP3]
G-Side, "Nat Geo"
Gauntlet Hair, "I Was Thinking" [MP3]
Givers, "Up, Up, Up" [MP3]
Great Lake Swimmers, "Pulling On A Line" [MP3]
Grupo Fantasma, "El Consejo" [MP3]
Hanson, "Thinkin' 'Bout Something"
Houses, "Soak It Up" [MP3]
Ivan & Alyosha, "Fathers Be Kind"
James Blake, "The Wilhelm Scream"
James Vincent McMorrow, "This Old Dark Machine" [MP3]
Jeremy Messersmith, "Violet!"
Jessica Lea Mayfield, "Our Hearts Are Wrong" [MP3]
John Vanderslice, "The Piano Lesson"
Josh Ritter, "Rattling Locks"
Julianna Barwick, "The Magic Place" [MP3]
Khaira Arby, "Khaira"
Kurt Vile, "In My Time"
La Sera, "Devils Hearts Grow Gold" [MP3]
Laura Gibson, "Sleeper"
Liturgy, "High Gold (Edit)" [MP3]
Lord Huron, "Mighty" [MP3]
Lost In The Trees, "Fireplace"
Low, "Try To Sleep" [MP3]
Lower Dens, "Hospice Gates" [MP3]
Middle Brother, "Blue Eyes"
Mount Kimbie, "Maybes"
Noah And The Whale, "Blue Skies"
Owen Pallett, "A Man With No Ankles"
P.O.S., "Savion Glover"
Papercuts, "Do What You Will" [MP3]
Phantogram, "When I'm Small" [MP3]
Prince Rama, "Lightening Fossil" [MP3]
Raphael Saadiq, "Stone Rollin'"
Sage Francis, "The Best Of Times" [MP3]
Saint Vitus, "Born Too Late"
Sarah Jaffe, "Clementine"
Scala & Kolacny Brothers, "Creep (Live)"
Sea Of Bees, "Gnomes" [MP3]
Sharon Van Etten, "A Crime"
Smith Westerns, "Weekend"
Smoking Popes, "How Dangerous" [MP3]
Suuns, "Arena" [MP3]
Telekinesis, "Please Ask For Help"
The Antlers, "Bear" [MP3]
The Calm Blue Sea, "Literal"
The Dodos, "Don't Stop" [MP3]
The Fresh And Onlys, "Waterfall" [MP3]
The Felice Brothers, "Run Chicken Run"
The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger, "Jardin du Luxembourg" [MP3]
The Head And The Heart, "Winter Song"
The Heligoats, "Moon See, Day See"
The High Highs, "Open Season" [MP3]
The Joy Formidable, "Cradle"
The Kills, "Last Day Of Magic"
The Kopecky Family Band, "Disaster"
The Lonely Forest, "We Sing In Time" [MP3]
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, "Heart In Your Heartbreak"
The Raveonettes, "Forget That You're Young" [MP3]
Toro Y Moi, "Talamak" [MP3]
Trampled By Turtles, "Wait So Long"
Versus, "Invincible Hero" [MP3]
Wye Oak, "Civilian" [MP3]
YelaWolf, "Pop The Trunk (Clean)" [MP3]
Yellow Ostrich, "Whale" [MP3]
Young The Giant, "My Body" [MP3]
Yuck, "Georgia" [MP3]