February 17, 2010
Anna Christopher, NPR




NPR Music and Five Member Stations to Cover Festival March 17-21
With Live Broadcasts and Webcasts, Artist Interviews and Performances

February 17, 2010; Washington, D.C. – For the third straight year, NPR Music will open the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference with a headlining showcase at Stubb's, and will present a daytime concert the following afternoon – featuring two of the most dynamic lineups of the festival. NPR Music will make both shows accessible to audiences everywhere through free live webcasts at www.npr.org/music and live streaming via the NPR iPhone App, as well as broadcasts on NPR Member stations across the country. All SXSW coverage, and archives of the past two years of music, can be found at www.npr.org/sxsw

NPR Music is joined by five NPR Member station partners – KUT Austin, WFUV New York, WXPN Philadelphia, KEXP Seattle and The Current from Minnesota Public Radio – in offering extensive coverage of the influential festival on-air and online. In addition to its concerts and events, NPR Music and the stations will have artist interviews, reports and live performance sessions throughout SXSW, all available at www.npr.org/sxsw and at the stations' web sites. All Songs Considered will report on the local scene via Twitter (@allsongs) and with a daily podcast wrap-up featuring roundtable commentary on the best discoveries from Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and Carrie Brownstein.

As previously announced, Austin's own Spoon will headline NPR Music's SXSW showcase at Stubb's on Wednesday, March 17 beginning at 7:45PM (CT). The concert will kick off Spoon's U.S. tour in support of its new album, Transference, and will be the first stateside performance of this new material. Sharing the stellar NPR Music lineup are Broken Bells, a collaboration between Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and Shins frontman James Mercer, in the duo's first announced performance. (Hear Broken Bells' entire debut self-titled album before it's released in an NPR Music "First Listen," March 1-9.) This barnburner also presents the body moving retro-soul of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, known for their intense live performances; The Walkmen, whose urgent and artful songs have made the band a perennial on critics' best-of lists; and Seattle power-pop band Visqueen. A SXSW badge is required to attend this official showcase.

On Thursday, March 18 at 12:00PM (CT), NPR Music brings together must-hear bands during its daytime concert at the Parish. Headlining the show is Brooklyn-based Sleigh Bells, the breakout duo of powerhouse vocalist Alexis Krauss and programmer-guitarist-drummer Derek Miller. The lineup includes four groups on the rise (with one additional act to be announced): Palm Beach indie pop band Surfer Blood, who earned quick praise for its hook-filled debut album Astro Coast; G-Side, a rap duo out of Huntsville, Ala.; Local Natives, a young L.A. quintet creating percussive rock (and whose sophomore album, Gorilla Manor, is streaming this week at NPR Music); and the charismatic string quartet Brooklyn Rider, which alternates between the classics (Debussy, Brahms) and its own fiery compositions. Line up early – this show is free and open to the public (21+).

Both concerts will be anchored by Bob Boilen, host and creator of All Songs Considered and its Live in Concert series; NPR Music "Monitor Mix" blogger Carrie Brownstein; and David Brown, host of Texas Music Matters on KUT.

This is the third straight year that NPR Music is presenting the opening night of SXSW at Stubb's, and introducing a new record from a major band in the process. Last year, the Decemberists played all 17 songs of its album, The Hazards of Love, in sequence, and in 2008, R.E.M. (in its SXSW debut) performed songs from the March 2008 release Accelerate. In 2008 and 2009 at Stubbs and its dayparty, NPR Music also webcast and broadcast live performances by Vampire Weekend, The Avett Brothers, My Morning Jacket, K'Naan, Heartless Bastards, Bon Iver, The Dirty Projectors, Blind Pilot, Blizten Trapper and many others. All past concerts, along with artist interviews and live audio and video performance sessions, are archived at: www.npr.org/sxsw

NPR Music celebrates great music in every genre and is an industry leader in music discovery. The free, multimedia web site at NPR Music offers 300 new features monthly and an extensive archive, in collaboration with NPR's newsmagazines, 12 public radio member stations and the passionate NPR community. NPR Music creates and distributes inventive music coverage across multiple platforms – from web, to radio, to podcast, to mobile, to social media, to live events – with first listens to new albums, live performances, concerts at the Tiny Desk, interviews, reviews and blogs.