The Current at SXSW: Wednesday, March 15

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Har Mar Superstar crashes Britt Daniel's interview with Jade
Har Mar Superstar crashes Britt Daniel's interview with Jade at the Blackheart (Jay Gabler/MPR)

Hello from Austin! We're excited to be part of one of the world's biggest music discovery events, the SXSW Music conference. Every day this week, we'll be sharing updates on what's news and what's next.

Today is the second of four day parties we're co-presenting with Noisetrade at the Blackheart on Rainey Street. If you're in Austin, come by and see us!

If you're not at SXSW, you can watch The Current's Facebook page as Jade talks with several artists, starting at noon. Today, we're planning to talk with Garland Jeffries, Dams of the West, PWR BTTM, the Secret Sisters, Hippo Campus, and jeremy messersmith. You can also hear Jade check in from SXSW on The Current at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (thecurrentsnaps) for live reports on all the action.

Here's the lineup today at the Blackheart:

Indoor Stage
11:30 to 12 p.m.: Oliver John-Rodgers
12:30 to 1 p.m.: Allison Pierce
1:30 to 2 p.m.: Linying
2:30 to 3 p.m.: Sykes
3:30 to 4 p.m.: Adam Torres
4:30 to 5 p.m.: The Dig

Outdoor Stage
12 to 12:30 p.m.: Blank Range
1 to 1:30 p.m.: Dams of the West
2 to 2:30 p.m.: Nick Hakim
3 to 3:30 p.m.: The Secret Sisters
4 to 4:30 p.m.: White Reaper
5 to 5:40 p.m.: jeremy messersmith

SXSW Music is on full-force as of today, with showcases and events all over town. Minnesota artists are in the mix: Communist Daughter are at Lamberts, Poliça are at Mohawk Outdoor, and "hippy hop" Bloomington native Mod Sun is at Monster Energy Outbreak House.

The reunited Bash & Pop, fronted by Tommy Stinson, are at the Hotel Vegas patio; and Hippo Campus are playing the SPIN showcase at Empire Garage. Vagabon isn't from Minnesota, but she'll probably play her song "Minneapolis" (inspired by a rough MSP landing) at the Sidewinder.

Today's lineup on the Convention Center's Radio Day Stage includes Temples and Real Estate. NPR Music has a killer lineup at Stubb's: the New Pornographers, Big Thief, Lizzo, Sylvan Esso, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and PWR BTTM. Rag'n'Bone Man is at 800 Congress, in a showcase that also includes Tinashe and A$AP Ferg. Solange (!) and special guests will light up YouTube at Coppertank, and Spoon's showcase of surprises will continue at "Eno's."

For a little IRL Tonal Recall, Jimmy Eat World are at the Bungalow. Even more old-school: none other than Grandmaster Flash is at Clive Bar.

The singer-songwriter Pegi Young — formerly the wife of Neil Young, and a co-founder of the Bridge School Benefit Concert — is part of an alt-country showcase at the Hilton Garden Inn. Alt-country fans will also queue up to see the Avett Brothers headlining an Austin City Limits showcase at the Moody Theater. If you're more of an Anglophile than an Americana fan, check out the British Music Partnership showcase at Latitude 30, with Kate Nash and others.

For a complete lineup of today's official music events, see sxsw.com.

Tuesday's SXSW news

The day started bright and early as we loaded into the Blackheart.

Both stages of music were packed throughout the day, and Jade interviewed a fast and fun lineup of artists on the porch, shared via live video on Facebook.

Johnny Solomon of Communist Daughter talked with Jade, and also enjoyed seeing singles of the band's song "Roll a Stone" cut — on picnic plates.

A special highlight when Britt Daniel found his interview unexpectedly joined by his friend Har Mar Superstar.

Har Mar then stuck around for his own convo.

We enjoyed hanging out with other Minnesota friends throughout the day.

After clearing our gear, we wound down and chilled out for the night — after all, as Brian Oake likes to say, "It's a marathon, not a sprint." Still, the pull of live music was irresistible.

For my part, I headed to the Empire, where first I caught Anna Wise. She's best-known as the songwriter and vocalist who came out of seemingly nowhere as a significant collaborator on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, but her solo show makes clear that she doesn't need a single other person sharing the stage to shine. Her music combines ethereal vocals with lounge-ready beats, and she has a proclivity to jump down off the stage and join the crowd to sing along to her own vocal loops. Life lesson: if you're not your own biggest fan, no one else will be.

I then headed outdoors at the same venue to see Julie Byrne, whose quiet songs have earned critical raves — but were, as she noted from the stage, "pretty mellow tunes for the moment." The moment was Tuesday night at SXSW, at an outdoor stage that would soon play host to Sleigh Bells. A large crowd, however, remained rapt for Byrne's focused and gracious set.

Program Director Jim McGuinn writes about Ne-Hi at the Blackheart day party.

"One of the joys of SXSW is the unexpected discovery. Of course Spoon were awesome yesterday, but I knew they would be going in. It's the thing you find at random or by accident that melts your jaded 'been there (too often)' heart that you remember later, and Ne-Hi was my first of 2017. The Chicago-based quartet played ferocious indie rock like their very existence depended on it, flailing through their songs with abandon and joy. Though likely too young to know either, you can triangulate them somewhere between Pavement and Pylon, connecting with the audience and reminding us that — somehow — that old formula of boys playing guitars with verve can still resonate."

What will tomorrow hold? It's impossible to say, except that it's bound to be memorable.


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