tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

tUnE-yArDs @ Celebrate Brooklyn

tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
tUnE-yArDs performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on Aug. 8, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

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Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

Sylvan Esso @ Celebrate Brooklyn

Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sylvan Esso performs at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 25, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

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Screaming Females performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

4Knots Music Festival 2015

Surfbort performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Surfbort performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Surfbort performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Surfbort performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Heaven performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Heaven performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Heaven performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Heaven performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Heaters performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Heaters performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Heaters performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Heaters performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Meatbodies performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Meatbodies performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Meatbodies performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Meatbodies performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Happyness performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Happyness performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Happyness performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Happyness performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Screaming Females performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Screaming Females performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Screaming Females performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Screaming Females performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Mikal Cronin performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Mikal Cronin performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Mikal Cronin performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Mikal Cronin performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Twin Peaks performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Twin Peaks performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Twin Peaks performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Twin Peaks performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Super Furry Animals performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Super Furry Animals performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Super Furry Animals performs at Village Voice's 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Super Furry Animals performs at Village Voice’s 4Knots Festival at Pier 84 in New York, NY on July 11, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

Continue reading “4Knots Music Festival 2015”

"Weird Al" Yankovic performs in the Gotham tent stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

Governors Ball 2015 | Day Three

Strand Of Oaks performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 7, 2015.  (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Strand Of Oaks performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Strand Of Oaks performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 7, 2015.  (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Strand Of Oaks performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sturgill Simpson performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sturgill Simpson performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sturgill Simpson performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sturgill Simpson performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Royal Blood performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Royal Blood performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Royal Blood performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Royal Blood performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Tame Impala performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Tame Impala performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Tame Impala performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Tame Impala performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
"Weird Al" Yankovic performs in the Gotham tent stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
“Weird Al” Yankovic performs in the Gotham tent stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
"Weird Al" Yankovic performs in the Gotham tent stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
“Weird Al” Yankovic performs in the Gotham tent stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
"Weird Al" Yankovic performs in the Gotham tent stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
“Weird Al” Yankovic performs in the Gotham tent stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Hot Chip performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Hot Chip performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 7, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Future Islands performs in the Gotham tent at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

Governors Ball 2015 | Day Two

White Lung's Mish Way performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 6, 2015.  (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
White Lung’s Mish Way performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
White Lung's Mish Way performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 6, 2015.  (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
White Lung’s Mish Way performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Fans wave and sing along to J. Roddy Walton & The Business at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Fans wave and sing along to J. Roddy Walton & The Business at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
J. Roddy Walton & The Business performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
J. Roddy Walton & The Business performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
J. Roddy Walton & The Business performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
J. Roddy Walton & The Business performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Festival goers playing cornhole early on Saturday afternoon at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Festival goers playing cornhole early on Saturday afternoon at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Marina And The Diamonds performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Marina And The Diamonds performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sharon Van Etten performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sharon Van Etten performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Little Dragon performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Little Dragon performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Little Dragon performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Little Dragon performs on the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Future Islands performs in the Gotham tent at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Future Islands performs in the Gotham tent at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Future Islands performs in the Gotham tent at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Future Islands performs in the Gotham tent at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Future Islands performs in the Gotham tent at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Future Islands performs in the Gotham tent at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Fireworks from afar during Bjork's set at the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Fireworks from afar during Bjork’s set at the GovBallNYC stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Ryan Adams performs on the Honda stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Ryan Adams performs on the Honda stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 6, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
St. Vincent's Annie Clark performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

Governors Ball 2015 | Day One

The Governors Ball sign was as a key meeting place. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Governors Ball sign was as a key meeting place. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

As far as destination music festivals go, Governors Ball is an odd duck. Where Coachella and Bonnaroo have become behemoths of camping and partying all night, Gov Ball feels smaller in scope — in part, because music ends promptly at 11 p.m. and everyone leaves for the night; and in part because the layout make everything feel a little less sprawling. Don’t get me wrong, that frequent hike to and from the Honda or the Big Apple stages to the main GovBallNYC Stage will wear you out, especially when navigating through obstacles (maybe with, for instance, a bunch of camera gear). But it’s manageable.

On the other hand, Governors Ball may be at a popularity tipping point: During the weekend’s biggest, and therefore most-crowded sets (Drake, Lana Del Rey, Tame Impala, The Black Keys, among them) that same relatively compact confines creates bottlenecks that made it incredibly difficult to navigate through the dense hordes of concert-goers, or just people standing around day-drinking, standing in long lines, or just chilling (passed out?) in the grass. Every festival has this, of course, but footpath flow could be rethought. Similarly, there was the inevitable sound bleed from stage-to-stage — something Ryan Adams (half-jokingly?) addressed during his Saturday night set, which was scheduled opposite the thundering bass and beats of Deadmau5.

Governors Ball is clearly getting bigger every year, but it may need to find a better sweet spot to accommodate its fans.

All that said, Governors Ball provided more than enough of top music highlights to overcome logistics. Besides Drake’s star-power on Friday night, Florence And The Machine and St. Vincent were the true favorites, each demonstrating exceptional nuance and grace amid their powerful songs — especially as Annie Clark matched her gnarled, noisy melodies with subtle robotic choreography.

St. Vincent's Annie Clark performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
St. Vincent’s Annie Clark performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

And My Morning Jacket, after a long hiatus, returned with a set that mixed newer songs and nostalgic classics — including the soaring “Wordless Chorus” from 2005’s Z.

My Morning Jacket's Jim James performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 5, 2015.  (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
My Morning Jacket’s Jim James performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

Saturday seemed low key in comparison: While the early morning rain created a slurry of mud in the grassy fields, it thankfully never descended into full-Woodstock ’94 madness. The day brought loud rock from White Lung and J. Roddy Walton & The Business, and also calmer moments from Sharon Van Etten, Conor Oberst, and even Bjork — who brought out a brand new ornate costume and entire chamber orchestra to deliver live arrangements of her otherworldly hits and melancholy songs from Vulnicura, all synced to inventive animations, music videos and even fireworks. While a giant festival may not be the most ideal place to hear music that delicate and open-hearted and quiet, it was stunning to see so many turn out at the big stage to catch a glimpse of an icon — even if from afar.

Then, the party really got going, with EDM from SBTRKT, hip-hop from Flume and Atmosphere, and Future Islands doing its synth pop thing to a tent full of aspiring magnificently awkward dancers. And then, if you weren’t into the grinding wub-wubs and deep drops of Deadmau5, Ryan Adams rolled through a career-spanning set — from the alt-country rockers of Heartbreaker and last year’s self-titled record to Cold Roses‘ winding Grateful Dead jams — on a stage adorned with vintage arcade game consoles and an old Dr. Pepper vending machine.

Sunday picked up again, with Sturgill Simpson crooning country songs, Flying Lotus melting your mind with dark and jazz-inflected electronic tapestries, and Hot Chip getting the crowd moving with buoyant electronic pop jams. The other clear favorites were The War On Drugs’ guitar anthems, and Tame Impala’ tripped-out riffs for maybe its largest crowd yet.

Another big highlight was the venerable comedy legend “Weird Al” Yankovic, who delivered a phenomenal and smile-inducing performance of his parody songs — both from last year’s Billboard No. 1 album, Mandatory Fun, and jam-packed medleys of older hits like “White & Nerdy” and “Fat,” for which he gamely adorned that hefty suit and makeup from his old video. Needless to say, me at ages 8, 13, 20, and, now 30-something me were kinda geeking out simultaneously.

And to close things out was The Black Keys, doing what The Black Keys do best; simply put: rock.

While there were a few decent surprises and discoveries along the way, Governors Ball is made for these sort of big tentpole moments. And for that, it completely succeeded. Festivals can be a pain at times, sure, but Governors Ball, like many other big fests, exudes this odd summer camp feeling: When it’s over, you’re totally ready to go home, but still a little bummed to return to reality. I guess there’s always next year.

Here’s a gallery of my favorite photos from day one of Governors Ball, on Friday, June 5, 2015.

The Decemberists' Colin Meloy performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Decemberists' Colin Meloy performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Already taking a nap on the first day of Governors Ball. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Already taking a nap on the first day of Governors Ball. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
St. Vincent's Annie Clark performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York, on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
St. Vincent’s Annie Clark performs on the Big Apple Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
My Morning Jacket's Jim James performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall's Island, New York on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
My Morning Jacket’s Jim James performs on the Honda Stage at Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, New York on June 5, 2015. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

(Note: This was originally published over at WNYC’s Soundcheck.)

Empress Of performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Main during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2013 | DAY FIVE

Saturday night at South By Southwest often offers the biggest surprises and blowouts to end the festival that everyone ends up gushing about. This year was no different. There was Justin Timberlake‘s much-rumored not-so-secret secret show for MySpace and the Smashing Pumpkins playing Red Bull’s Sound Select: 120 Hours stage to celebrate frontman Billy Corgan’s birthday. And there was Prince, performing an exclusive show at La Zona Rosa — which also featured A Tribe Called Quest — that lasted until 3 a.m. and ended, predictably with a singalong of “Purple Rain.”

There was also a rumor about a solo performance from The Flaming Lips‘ frontman and spirit guide Wayne Coyne. Until there wasn’t… when that never materialized.

I get the appeal of seeing these megastars in intimate spaces for special one-off shows, but very few actually get a chance to see these. I love Timberlake or Prince’s music as much as most people, but for me, I was just uninterested in committing to staying in one place all night in hopes of catching an up-close glimpse. As cool as it might be to say “Yeah, I was there,” I’d walk away with the same feeling of “Yep, Prince is still pretty awesome.”

Instead, with so much music to hear, I packed in as many shows as I could on Saturday day and night. I started the morning with the noisy rock of Brass Bed, accidentally saw Toronto punk band METZ for a third time, and ended my late afternoon with Telekinesis (again). And all in between, caught sets that included grungy rocker Mac DeMarco; the heavy obliterating feedback of A Place To Bury Strangers; propulsive rock of The Thermals, sparkly dancepop of Empress Of; hazy indie rock of Widowspeak; droning, Indian-tinged psyche rock of Elephant Stone; and Dallas indie band Air Review, who must have drawn an unlucky straw by having to play it’s set in a banging, over-crowded dance club full of people ready to party, rather than see them. Such is the SXSW experience though. Then late Saturday night, Denton, Texas folk band Seryn decided to treat its quiet, attentive audience at St. David’s Episcopal Church to a much more intimate set than normal, to calm the nerves with something serene and almost spiritual.

Still with so much attention going to bigger stars, I actually came away thinking about how much amazing new music I heard from young bands. Ultimately at the end of the whole week, I actually saw about 72 bands — some full sets, some only a single song. But cannot wait to see some of these artists again the next time they roll through town and catch some of the bands I missed, too.

Here are a few other highlights:

Micah P. Hinson performs at Red Eyed Fly during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Micah P. Hinson performs at Red Eyed Fly during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

MICAH P. HINSON @ Red Eyed Fly

I have heard about Abilene, Texas-based singer-songwriter Micah P. Hinson for years, and I’m positive I may have a few of his records thanks to a friend and former colleague, who absolutely adores Hinson. But it wasn’t until his set Saturday night was I won over by his peculiar singing voice — sometimes deadpan like Bill Callahan, or warbling like Vic Chesnutt — and his heartbreaking lyrics. Hinson played his folky country songs mostly solo in a too noisy bar patio, but when he brought his wife up on stage for a duet — sung into the same old-timey microphone like Johnny and June Carter Cash might’ve — the entire place went more-or-less silent. It was a lovely moment for a songwriter that most people still do not know, but really should.

Houses performs at the A.V. Club day party at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Houses performs at the A.V. Club day party at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

HOUSES @ The Mohawk

A few years back I came across and fell in love with the music of Houses — a Chicago-based electronic pop duo Dexter Tortoriello and Megan Messina — when I heard All Night, a superb, subtle and dreamy record constructed while living briefly in a cabin in Hawaii. But I had never seen the band live. In a set that showcased new songs — such as “Beginnings” from the upcoming album A Quiet Darkness, Houses displayed one of the prettiest and outright earnest sets all week.

Fear Of Men performs at the A.V. Club day party at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Fear Of Men performs at the A.V. Club day party at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

FEAR OF MEN @ The Mohawk

In the new discovery department, Fear Of Men is a band I knew very little about besides wanting to check them out. The London/Brighton band fronted by singer Jessica Weiss makes gauzy, heart-swelling and bittersweet pop music that a friend described as ’60s girl groups meets shoegaze. The show was intimate but as the sound swirled around the small room, it was clear this band was build for a larger hall. It turned out to be a great surprise I’m anxious to hear more of.

Brass Bed performs at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Brass Bed performs at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

BRASS BED @ The Parish

This Louisiana psyche pop band’s powerful and almost romantic sound reminded me of both Wilco and Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen, with songs like “Bullet For You” that burst into fantastic noise and gnashing guitar solos.

Empress Of performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Main during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Empress Of performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Main during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

EMPRESS OF @ The Main

On record, Empress Of’s music is a blissful mess of glittery synths, junky electronic drum machines, and echoing vocals. But as she bounced around on stage, her songs like “Champagne” proved far dance-ier and groovier, perfect for filling a giant club.

Merchandise performs at Beerland during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Merchandise performs at Beerland during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

MERCHANDISE @ Beerland

Merchandise, the punky Florida band told a crowd at Beerland “This is show number ten for us. We’re all out of pretty songs.” They then rocketed into an all-out assault of hard bashers and, no doubt, burned off some tired frustrations.

Elephant Stone performs at the Yahoo! showcase at Brazos Hall during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Elephant Stone performs at the Yahoo! showcase at Brazos Hall during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

ELEPHANT STONE @ Brazos Hall

Fronted by Rishi Dhir (formerly of The High Dials), Canadian indie rock band Elephant Stone somehow finds common ground between Elliott Smith, George Harrison and The Stone Roses — while incorporating elements of traditional Indian music including the sitar, tabla, and dilruba. With stirring melodies, droning guitars, and lyrics with tinge of melancholy, this band is has a unique, yet loveably familiar sound.

Air Review performs at Shakespeare's Pub during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Air Review performs at Shakespeare’s Pub during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

AIR REVIEW @ Shakespeare’s Pub

In some ways, this was a hometown show of sorts for Dallas indie pop band Air Review. Too bad the noisy crowd was mostly spillover from the club in the next room, and drown out the subtlety of this band’s emotional and immersive songs. The album, Low Wishes — and the song “America’s Son” — document the rigors of everyday life. Vocalist Douglas Hale’s deeply introspective lyrics are rife with themes of shattered dreams and disillusioned hearts, all amplified by music of piercing beauty.

And more photos from the day and night:

Mac DeMarco performs at the Hype Hotel during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Mac DeMarco performs at the Hype Hotel during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
A Place To Bury Strangers performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Main during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
A Place To Bury Strangers performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Main during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Thermals performs at the A.V. Club day party at The Mohawk patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
The Thermals performs at the A.V. Club day party at The Mohawk patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Baths performs at the A.V. Club day party at The Mohawk patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Baths performs at the A.V. Club day party at The Mohawk patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Widowspeak performs at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013.
Widowspeak performs at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
METZ performs at the Hype Hotel during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2013 | DAY FOUR

For me, Friday at South By Southwest was another day of missing out on sets that I heard from others were great — CHVRCHES, Surfer Blood, The Flaming Lips (again), Savages, The Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines in a church covering a Jeff Buckley song! And hell, The Afghan Whigs freaking played Usher’s hit “Climax” with Usher. This is always an ongoing theme of SXSW: With so much going on, how you curate your day and night completely depends on logistics (“If I hike down to Auditorium Shores for Flaming Lips, that’s the only thing I’ll see tonight”) and sometimes lack of access, like when the line for Merchandise and CHVRCHES was too long to make it worth the wait.

With SXSW, you could spend your entire week seeing nothing but indie bands, or hip hop, or metal, or folk, or whatever. While on paper, I like to try to mix it up and see a variety of things, a day like yesterday turned out to be, more or less, a day of loud for me. And more, this week in general has mostly been giant noise, big tapestries of sound, booming electronic beats, and I’ve noticed my moments of quiet, ruminative, downright pretty music has been relatively fewer than normal.

With one exception: I caught literally the last two songs of Rhye, who on record is the work of a duo of enigmatic pop songwriter-producers Michael Milosh and Robin Hannibal. Rhye is known to to keep its own identity mysterious — they leave themselves out of their provocative videos and any press photos. And when you first hear the music, it’s clear they are playing with sexual identity, leaving the songs’s lyrics gender neutral, and the voice so impersonates that of a female, you’d swear it was.

On stage at Buffalo Billiards, however, Rhye was a band of seven musicians, and the singer Michael Milosh, obviously male. In the two songs I caught, the set was something of a master class in economy and sparse adornment of arrangements — players only played when they needed to as they accompanied the warm croon of Milosh. It was an enticing tease of what Rhye could do live, and I hope to catch them again in a fuller concert setting soon.

A few other highlights:

Phosphorescent performs at the Filter showcase at Bar 96 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013.
Phosphorescent performs at the Filter showcase at Bar 96 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

PHOSPHORESCENT @ Bar 96

The way Phosphorescent‘s Matthew Houck sings in his ragged, road-weary voice seems perfectly suited for songs that could easily have come from lonely late-night laments. An Alabama native now based in Brooklyn, Phosphorescent’s first few records have been more beholden to twangy country and folk, a sturdy sound but more focused on the weighty lyrics. Now with his superb new album Muchacho, Houck is increasingly darker and expansive in scope. And in front of a crowd at Bar 96, Houck and his band built those new songs, and especially “Song For Zula” into slow-boiling rockers with grand power.

METZ performs at the Hype Hotel during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013.
METZ performs at the Hype Hotel during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
METZ performs at the Filter showcase at Bar 96 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013.
METZ performs at the Filter showcase at Bar 96 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

METZ @ Hype Hotel and Bar 96

I rarely go see a band twice during a week of South By Southwest, let alone twice in one day. But here I was at 10 p.m. last night, tagging along with a friend to see the Toronto-based punk band METZ for a second time that day. The day started with seeing METZ at the Hype Hotel, a gigantic unrefined space in a brand new building near the Convention Center where Hype Machine and various blog partners, in this case Stereogum, curate lineups all week. Here, the stage was huge, the lighting rigs enormous and bright, and with Taco Bell as a corporate sponsor, there were free samples of Doritos Locos tacos for everyone.

Seeing a band like METZ, you want to feel those sludgy and brutal punk songs, and have a crowd react. And while METZ managed to give an enormous, high-octane jolt to the early afternoon, the environment was perhaps a little sterile — it was hardly the devastating live show the band is known for. So later that night, with METZ playing again at Bar 96, a slightly more isolated and cramped spot, it had the feeling of something far more authentic. Sure enough, as soon as the band started banging and thrashing away on stage its taut, turn-on-a-dime songs, the energy in the room just erupted, complete with a mini mosh pit. And even despite shredded, SXSW-ravaged voices, it was a far more intense and exciting showcase of what the band does so well.

A few more photos from the day and night:

Kitty Pryde performs at the Hype Hotel during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013.
Kitty Pryde performs at the Hype Hotel during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
PHOX performs at Holy Mountain during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013.
PHOX performs at Holy Mountain during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Girls Names performs at Flamingo Cafe during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013.
Girls Names performs at Flamingo Cafe during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
KEN Mode performs at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013.
KEN Mode performs at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Ex Cops performs for a video shoot at Farewell Books in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest on March 15, 2013.

EX COPS: ‘SPRING BREAK (HAPPY BIRTHDAY)’ @ SXSW

Watch the Brooklyn band perform “Spring Break (Birthday Song)” in a funky bookstore in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest 2013. This video was originally created for WNYC’s Soundcheck for its SXSW coverage.

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Ex Cops: Jangling Pop In A Bookstore

by Michael Katzif for WNYC Soundcheck

South By Southwest can be an unrelenting week of loud music and hordes of people. So it was a rare, if temporary respite from the madness on Friday morning when I met up with Ex Cops at a funky bookstore called Farewell Books. This relatively new and minimal shop and gallery space — just east of the highway to be out of the way from the mayhem of Downtown Austin — is decked out in arty prints, a handsomely curated book selection, and an old boxy television set looping retro psychedelic imagery.

It turned out to be the perfect place for the music of Ex Cops.

Fronted by Bryan Harding and Amalie Bruun, the Brooklyn band’s brisk and snappy songcraft blends shimmery dream pop with memorable, singable hooks. On stage with a full band, Ex Cops is capable of wielding edgier guitar distortion and savvy drumming to cut through with some teeth.

But here, even stripped-down to Harding and Bruun’s vocal harmonies, Ex Cops’ rendition of “Spring Break (Birthday Song)”– a sweet jangly song — made for an engaging and wonderfully fresh take on the indie pop sound.

Credits: Producer/Editor/Videographer: Michael Katzif; Audio: Rachel Neel; Special Thanks to: Farewell Books, Austin, Texas.

Telekinesis performs at the Merge showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2013 | DAY THREE

As South By Southwest continues to trudge on and ramp up heading into the weekend, the main streets already feel packed and difficult to navigate, and the lines — even those for official SXSW badge and wristband attendees — are becoming discouragingly long. At one point around 10 p.m. I ran over to The Belmont, in hopes of getting in to catch The Flaming Lips perform its masterpiece album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots in its entirety. Once there, the line just for badge-wearers was an entire block length and showed no signs of moving. Denied! Oh well, it’s not like Yoshimi is one of my all-time favorite records or anything. (Yes it is.)

Instead, I hoofed it back over to Red 7, to see part of Foxygen‘s set, where I was met with another long wait — albeit shorter than if I had stayed in that line for the Lips — followed by a total onstage meltdown from frontman Sam France, which was so frustrating I left early.

There was a good stretch of about two hours between seeing bands just because of walking, waiting in lines, and then of course, a nightmarishly long soundcheck. This bit of logistical planning and taking gambles in hopes of just getting inside to see some music, can be one of the more frustrating aspects of SXSW. Still there were plenty of highlights for me on Thursday at South By Southwest.

Night Beds performs at the Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans showcase at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013.
Night Beds performs at the Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans showcase at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

NIGHT BEDS @ Red 7

There’s no shortage of brash punk bands, bass heavy hip hop and electronic music, and metal at South By Southwest. As such It can be hard to find a quiet place, let alone find a quiet band that can hold the attention of a big bar crowd. And yet, the soaring and emotional vocals of Night Beds‘ Winston Yellon has that capacity to enrapture the room into silence. With stunners like “Ramona” and “Even If We Try,” Night Beds’ blend of quiet folk songs that built to a lovely catharsis was a welcome respite of introspection and calm.

Foxygen performs at the Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans showcase at Red 7 patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013.
Foxygen performs at the Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans showcase at Red 7 patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

FOXYGEN @ Red 7 Patio

South By Southwest is a grueling week, especially for young emerging bands, who sign up for dozens of gigs — often many in one day — and are supposed to play in so many different settings and conditions, for so many types of people who expect something special each and every time. Some concert goers are only passing through for a few songs, are tired and grumpy, dehydrated or drunk, and ultimately difficult to please. It’s not a surprise that as the week goes on, bands are simply exhausted. And it’s no wonder bands begin to fray or feel a little disillusioned by the whole thing.

On Thursday night at the Secretly Canadian\Jagjaguwar\Dead Oceans showcase at Red 7, I witnessed the psychedelic indie band Foxygen have something of a meltdown following an endless, nearly hour-long soundcheck where both fans and the band got testy. It boiled over when, after a song or two, singer Sam France bantered about his road-ravaged voice and a someone in the audience yelled for him to just play a song, which in turn prompted France to lash out at him and threaten to fight. Later, France bizarrely walked off stage, ended the show, only to return to finish out the set. The band later cancelled the rest of its performances at SXSW, disappointing many fans eager to see this band.

It was an unfortunate moment for a talented young band, especially one with a very well-liked record and getting a lot of attention right now. But it does call into question just how much pressure is put on these bands by the fans, the record labels and media to deliver and impress all in the hopes that people will fall in love with their music.

Telekinesis performs at the Merge showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013.
Telekinesis performs at the Merge showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

TELEKINESIS @ The Parish

After awhile, it’s easy to feel a little numb from the assault of noisy punk bands on busted PA’s. So it can be comforting to drop by a set from an already-favorite artist that you know is sure to be great. For me, that band was Telekinesis. So I made it a point to make the Merge Records showcase at the Parish — one of my favorite, and best-sounding venues in Austin — one of my last stops on Thursday night, so I could catch this set, and see Michael Benjamin Lerner sing and play drums at the same time. Simply put: This is a band I always love hearing live.

On his third album, Dormarion (produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno), Lerner plays practically every instrument. But for this tour, Telekinesis has a fantastic new lineup that includes keyboardist Rebecca Cole, who’s best known for The Minders and Wild Flag. Her addition is a perfect tonal fit for these new songs, especially the synth-heavy “Ever True,” or the album’s first single “Ghosts And Creatures.” Mixing fuzzed-out power pop with fizzy synth pop, Telekinesis plays these fun, sometimes sentimental songs full of big beefy distortion, memorable guitar hooks, and impossibly catchy, fist-pumping choruses.

And again, it was another perfectly chosen cover song — this time INXS’ “Don’t Change” — that lifted the room to new heights, all before closing with the garage rock banger “Tokyo.” Telekinesis is one of those bands I’ve seen plenty of times, but always delights. Last night was no different.

Here’s a few other photos from the day and night:

Beach Fossils performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Junior during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013.
Beach Fossils performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Junior during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Small Black performs at the Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans showcase at Red 7 patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013.
Small Black performs at the Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans showcase at Red 7 patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Bleeding Rainbow performs at Valhalla during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013.
Bleeding Rainbow performs at Valhalla during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Waxahatchee performs for a video shoot at Yellow Jacket Social Club in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest on March 14, 2013.

WAXAHATCHEE: ‘SWAN DIVE’ @ SXSW

Watch an intimate, early morning performance of “Swan Dive” at a bar in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest. This video was originally created for WNYC’s Soundcheck for its SXSW coverage.

Waxahatchee: Heart-Wrenching Intimacy On A Spring Morning

by Michael Katzif for WNYC Soundcheck

Finding time for quiet reflection is practically impossible in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest. That is, unless you get yourself outta bed early before anyone else is even thinking about waking up, and hoof it across to the east side of highway to meet up with a musician. It was a crisp, spring morning — about 8:30 or 9 a.m. — when Katie Crutchfield rolled up to the shady, abandoned patio of the Yellow Jacket Social Club, a bar near the train tracks and a colorful, always-morphing graffiti wall. With a halo of sunshine just peaking in the sky, this out-of-the-way location made for quite a tonal shift from the busy streets of downtown the night before. And it seemed just right for Crutchfield’s lovely and intimate songs.

The Philadelphia-based (by way of Birmingham by way of Brooklyn) Crutchfield, now 24, has been writing music for roughly 10 years — playing in the D.I.Y. punk band P.S. Eliot, which included her twin sister Allison. Now recording and performing as Waxahatchee, Crutchfield’s emotionally exposed songs reflect themes of isolation and self-doubt, of anger and frustration, and of the messiness of love and regret. Equally innocent and disillusioned, Waxahatchee’s songs like “Be Good” and “Grass Stain” from 2012’s superb American Weekend — are rough and thread-bare: Bedroom-style recordings with only an acoustic guitar and a trembling voice that felt urgent, as if captured minutes after writing so they would not dissipate and be forgotten.

This year’s excellent follow-up, Cerulean Salt, retains that spirit while asserting some power and confidence behind the fragility. Now a three-piece band, Waxahatchee’s songs shift from acoustic to distorted electric guitars and the drumming of Crutchfield’s boyfriend Keith Spencer (of the band Swearin’). The record proves to be another heart-wrenching, yet beautiful batch of songs that deal in uneasy feelings, dysfunctional relationships, and devastating honesty.

Sitting on a picnic table, with birds chirping and a subtle din of distant machinery, Crutchfield retrofit one of her new songs — the stunning “Swan Dive” — paring it back to simply an electric guitar and her un-mic’d vocals. The result is a winning and earnest performance that splits the difference between both Waxhatchee sounds. It was the perfect start to the day.

Credits: Producer/Editor/Videographer: Michael Katzif; Audio: Rachel Neel; Special Thanks to: Yellow Jacket Social Club, Austin, Texas.

Le1f performs at the NPR Music showcase at Stubb's BBQ during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2013 | DAY TWO

Wednesday at South By Southwest was my first day for day parties — the events thrown by labels and PR firms, blogs and magazines, and mega-companies trying to sell you a new flavor of chips or energy drink. While not officially part of the SXSW lineup, day parties are a great way to bounce around to multiple venues and see a bunch of young bands perform, and/or make do with shoddy PA systems in spaces not meant to be music venues.

With a well-mapped out schedule, it’s possible to squeeze in 2-3 bands into an hour, especially when some parties have multiple stages of simultaneous music. If you are someone who comes prepared with a wish list of artists, daytime shows are one of best ways to try something new — such as brash punkers Paws, the theatrical Parenthetical Girls, or the dreamlike electronic pop of Braids — before heading to a major showcase with bigger headliner-type acts.

It’s always interesting to look at the small, more workmanlike venues of day parties — bars and clubs, bike shops and pizza joints — and the large-scale showcases as an excellent window into the trajectory of some bands.

Here’s a couple highlights from the shows I saw on Wednesday at SXSW:

YEAH YEAH YEAHS @ NPR Music Showcase at Stubb’s B-B-Q

In a night full of excellent music — from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds‘ sinister and stunning set to Le1f‘s stripped down hip hop to Waxahatchee‘s stark punk-infused folk songs to the Mexican rock of Cafe Tacvba to the majesty of Alt-J‘s pop — it was Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ powerful performance at NPR Music’s showcase at Stubb’s that appeared to be the biggest shows of the night.

Platinum blonde and decked out in a colorful and sparkly yellow outfit, and wearing an oversized headlamp, it’s impossible to deny the stage presence of Karen O. She’s a true rockstar whom you simply cannot take your eyes off of as she writhes on the floor, gazes out to the front of the stage and twirls the microphone way above her head in the air. And in a set that pulled heavily from its back catalog, and the new song “Sacrilege,” this was one of the best and most commanding performances I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not hyperbole to say this was truly an all-time top ten show for me.

Wildcat! Wildcat! performs at Side Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Wildcat! Wildcat! performs at Side Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

WILDCAT! WILDCAT! @ Side Bar

Despite having some gear stolen — which let’s be honest, is a horrible way to begin any gig — and starting its impossibly early noon set late as a result, Wildcat! Wildcat! still managed to impress. On its original songs, the Los Angeles-based band’s soaring vocal harmonies were set atop layers of synths creating a solid indie-pop sound. And yet it was a superbly chosen cover of Tears For Fears’ hit “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” that won over fans.

Paws performs at the Force Field / Stones Throw day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Paws performs at the Force Field / Stones Throw day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

PAWS @ Red 7

This year has had no shortage of brash punk bands and grimey hardcore bangers — from returning bands like Cloud Nothings and Wavves to up-and-comers like Parquet Courts and Metz. But the raucous pop punk of Scottish trio Paws has a way with infectious hooks and some cathartically thrashy guitars. These songs are short bursts of energy, wasting little time winning me over.

Lucius performs at Side Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Lucius performs at Side Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

LUCIUS @ Side Bar

Coincidentally, another new favorite band, Lucius, performed at the same venue right after Wildcat! Wildcat!. Lucius is instantly joy-making, even before you hear them play, thanks to the band’s matching black shirts and yellow pants or leggings. But as soon as you hear the band’s catchy songs — such as “Don’t Just Sit There”, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the band’s charming pop songwriting. With the vibrant, almost ’60s girl group vocal harmonies from Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig and the guitars and thundering floor toms and backing vocals of Danny Molad, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri, Lucius delivered a short but endearing set that will have me seeking the band out again soon.

Parenthetical Girls performs at the Force Field / Stones Throw day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Parenthetical Girls performs at the Force Field / Stones Throw day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

PARENTHETICAL GIRLS @ Red 7

Much in the same way Nick Cave or Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O showmanship dominated their stellar sets at Stubb’s, singer Zac Pennington, of the dramatic art rock band Parenthetical Girls, has a charisma you cannot take your eyes off. Pennington is incredibly theatric on stage, flailing arms around, climbing on speakers, staring directly into audience’s eyes. Even on a far smaller stage than Cave played on, Pennington connected with the crowd just like a star.

Waxahatchee performs at the NPR Music showcase at Stubb's BBQ during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Waxahatchee performs at the NPR Music showcase at Stubb’s BBQ during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

WAXAHATCHEE @ Stubb’s BBQ

Katie Crutchfield’s music is so deeply personal and confessional that you sometimes feel as if you’re intruding. But her songs are also incredibly universal and heartfelt. Playing newer material like “Hollow Bedroom” and the distorted “Coast To Coast” show that Waxahatchee — now a boisterous three-piece — has begun to plug in and rock. And it never sounded better.

Le1f performs at the NPR Music showcase at Stubb's BBQ during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Le1f performs at the NPR Music showcase at Stubb’s BBQ during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

LE1F @ Stubb’s BBQ

Watching Le1f perform live at Stubb’s, it’s clear you’re witnessing something unique. The magnetic New York rapper commands the stage with choreographed dance moves and wild body gesticulations, often culminating with Le1f taking down his long hair and whipping it around in a cyclone of braids — all while spitting his idiosyncratic deep-voiced wordplay without skipping a beat. It’s all the more impressive because Le1f (born Khalif Diouf) takes his performance as seriously as his rhymes: he studied ballet and modern dance, earning a degree in dance from Wesleyan University; he’s a fashion icon with a so-called “hoodrat Tumblr aesthetic;” and he’s known in the LGBTQ community for being both out and proudly outspoken.

Now, following the unreal success of his “Wut” music video, and a stellar mixtape — 2013’s Fly Zone (another EP, Tree House is due in Sept.) — the MC and producer seems poised for a major breakout in 2013 and 2014. Le1f’s dance-ready music is edgy and experimental, mixing dark electronic tracks with big beats and rapidfire phrasing. And while the production is always ambitious and borders on the avant garde, these songs will still get you moving on the dance floor in a hurry.

Here’s a few more photos from the day and night:

Ski Lodge performs at Side Bar Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Ski Lodge performs at Side Bar Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sun Araw performs at the Force Field / Stones Throw day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Sun Araw performs at the Force Field / Stones Throw day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Braids performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Junior during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
Braids performs at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at The Junior during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Besnard Lakes performs at Swan Dive during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013.
The Besnard Lakes performs at Swan Dive during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Marnie Stern performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2013 | DAY ONE

In previous years at South By Southwest, Tuesday was a somewhat low key affair: The Interactive portion of the festival was winding down, and the Music portion just gearing up, with less music to enjoy. This year, Tuesday felt like SXSW was already in full swing. When I finally made it into downtown Austin, the streets were bustling with music fans, bands and weirdos all shambling from one venue to the next. Sure, compared to what 6th Street will be like on Saturday night, it’s far less stuffed with bodies.

But with some big names already performing, I hit the ground running.

Last night featured many of my new favorites from the past year — Cloud Nothings and DIIV, both playing bone-rattlingly loud sets that made me glad I packed those earplugs. Also: a couple new bands I’m eager to hear more from — Blue Hawaii, Guards and Indians.

But my biggest highlights from last night were actually two vastly different female artists: Marnie Stern and Torres.

Torres performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013.
Torres performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

TORRES @ Mohawk Indoor

Torres, the Nashville-based 22-year-old Mackenzie Scott writes songs that rip your heart out, but make you feel good about it. In a powerful set at Pitchfork’s opening night showcase, Torres enraptured a crowd with a voice full of raw trembling pain and deep guttural emotion. But this is no wispy folk music, thanks to her band, who helped build songs like “Honey” into these blissful climaxes of guitar noise and pounding drums. It was easily the most beautiful and affecting set I saw all night.

Marnie Stern performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013.
Marnie Stern performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

MARNIE STERN @ Mohawk Outdoor

The first thing you’d say to describe the music of Marnie Stern is “she can totally shred on the guitar.” And that’s completely true. Armed with thrashy riffs and dexterous finger-tapping skills that mimic the melodies she’s singing, Stern is an impressive guitarist. But she’s also guitarist who understands how to integrate those fiery chops into songwriting that doesn’t just feel like an excuse to jam out. The standout of the set was Stern’s “Year Of The Glad” — the opening track on her superb, and hilariously titled new album, The Chronicles Of Marnia — an energetic blast full of looping voices and noisy textures. In an outdoor venue, it sounded amazing.

Here’s a few other photos from the night:

Sirah performs at the Warner Sound showcast at The Belmont during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013.
Sirah performs at the Warner Sound showcase at The Belmont during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Indians performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013.
Indians performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Blue Hawaii performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013.
Blue Hawaii performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
DIIV performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013.
DIIV performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Cloud Nothings performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013.
Cloud Nothings performs at the Pitchfork showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 12, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Mucca Pazza plays at globalFEST 2013 at Webster Hall in New York, NY on January 13, 2013.

GLOBALFEST 2013

On Sunday, Jan. 13, New York City’s Webster Hall was overtaken by 12 diverse musical acts from all over the world as part of globalFEST 2013. While I only recognized a small handful of names on the bill, the setup at globalFEST is perfect for wandering from stage-to-stage and sampling little tastes of bands without worrying about missing too much. And that’s exciting — it was a night of pure discovery.

The evening had a lot of memorable moments (NPR Music was there filming a whole slew of sets from the night, well worth checking out), but few as instantly winning as Mucca Pazza, a 30-piece Bizarro World circus of musicians and weirdo hipster cheerleaders, all decked out in colorfully clashing retro marching band uniforms. The Chicago-based group — which gets its name from the Italian phrase for “crazy cow” (also a name for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) — has been banging around for years, but this was my first exposure to its visual and musical mayhem. It was a total blast.

Mucca Pazza plays at globalFEST 2013 at Webster Hall in New York, NY on January 13, 2013.
Mucca Pazza plays at globalFEST 2013 at Webster Hall in New York, NY on January 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

Seeing this irresistible band of horns and violins, guitars and accordion all parade in and eventually take the stage is infectious, chaotic fun. But it’s also an incredibly coordinated and choreographed performance full of cheers and bursting with energy that is easy to get caught up in.

Typically my musical tastes default to introspective, darker music full of layers of noise and distortion and all of that. Yet watching Mucca Pazza reminded me of many similarly giant, celebratory acts I’ve seen over the years: The Flaming Lips and its confetti canons and furry animal costumes; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ sprawling community singalongs; the gypsy punk anarchy of Gogol Bordello; and the roving What Cheer? Brigade who’s enlivened the grounds at the Newport Folk Festival with funked-up renditions of TV theme songs.

Mucca Pazza also brought to mind two big dance-friendly, smile-inducing bands that have won over crowds at globalFEST in previous years: The Ethiopian funk rock of Debo Band and the “Brooklyn Bhangra” group Red Baraat. And of course, all of these acts share some DNA with both traditional and modern genre-blending New Orleans brass bands that have been playing “forget about your worries and dance” music since, like, forever.

You can see and hear all of that in Mucca Pazza’s music. Yet what stood out the most was not only the feel-good aesthetic of Mucca Pazza’s live show, but how outright wackadoodle and entertaining it could be. If only my high school marching band was this crazy and fun.

Check out some other photos from the night:

La Santa Cecilia plays at globalFEST 2013 at Webster Hall in New York, NY on January 13, 2013.
La Santa Cecilia plays at globalFEST 2013 at Webster Hall in New York, NY on January 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Stooges Brass Band plays at globalFEST 2013 at Webster Hall in New York, NY on January 13, 2013.
Stooges Brass Band plays at globalFEST 2013 at Webster Hall in New York, NY on January 13, 2013. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

For more photos, visit Flickr.

Buke & Gase performs at NPR Music's showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012.

CMJ MUSIC MARATHON 2012

For the hundreds of bands, music industry insiders, college radio programmers, DJs, and music fans who descend upon New York City every Fall, October means one thing: It’s time for the CMJ Music Marathon. Every year, a staggering number of showcases and parties, not to mention all the shows that normally are happening in the city, all with great music well worth checking out.

The appeal in a festival like CMJ is discovering relatively unknown baby bands and up-and-coming artists with a ton of upside. Some could become that “next big thing” that we’ll hopefully be talking about for the next year. And some may simply fade away.

Like Austin, Texas’ annual South By Southwest Music Conference, CMJ can feel logistically overwhelming when deciding where to go, and when (and how) to get there. But unlike SXSW and it’s relatively closely plotted venues, CMJ is far more spread out across Manhattan and Brooklyn — and so you may find yourself hoofing it all across town and over the river. So, (like SXSW,) you’ve got make choices and tightly map out your schedule if you hope to catch multiple things in a night.

My first CMJ was a total nightmare in some ways, mostly because I was expecting the ease of SXSW in terms of getting to venues, getting inside the venues, and seeing a ton of music back to back to back. Instead, I had to be more targeted, deciding on the one venue I wanted to camp out at and trust the showcase would present a lot of great options. Overall, I still saw a great deal of my favorite bands, and a lot of new discoveries.

Some highlights: Flying Lotus, Death Grips and Buke & Gase at NPR Music’s showcase; Telekinesis featuring Superchunk guitarist and Merge Records founder Mac McCaughan and Fred Armisen (of SNL and Portlandia fame) on bass! And a Brooklyn Vegan day party let me see a bunch of young bands — Hunters, Sinkane, Eternal Summers — and catch a packed but tiny show from R&B superstar on the rise Miguel.

Lawrence Arabia performs at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 16, 2012.
Lawrence Arabia performs at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 16, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Buke & Gase performs at NPR Music's showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012.
Buke & Gase performs at NPR Music’s showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

BUKE & GASE @ (le) Poisson Rouge

Some bands claim to be DIY, but Buke & Gase truly embody it. The experimental prog-punk duo is named for the Frankenstein instruments they use: Arone Dyer plays a tricked-out bass ukulele through an impressive array of foot pedals. Aron Sanchez plays a hybrid guitar-bass through two homemade amp speakers — one for the bass strings, one for the guitar strings. As if that wasn’t enough, both members also simultaneously bang and stomp on a kick drum or wrap their feet with shakers and a “toe-bourine.” On paper, this could risk sounding like a gimmick, but the intricate riffs and bottom-heavy clanking rhythms Buke & Gase creates capture the imagination like few indie bands right now.

On the band’s debut Riposte, and its brand new EP, Function Falls, Buke & Gase expertly envelops Dyer’s chanting vocals with a big, souped-up mess of distortion, and fuzzy melodies that turn sharp corners into unexpected places. But this is also what makes the duo so exceptional to see live. In this NPR Music and Soundcheck co-sponsored concert — recorded live Wednesday at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City during the week of the CMJ Music Marathon — Buke & Gase kicked things off with the hypnotic, aggressive “Hiccup,” delivering the perfect fiery jumpstart to the night’s lineup.

Buke & Gase performs at NPR Music's showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012.
Buke & Gase performs at NPR Music’s showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Death Grips performs at NPR Music's showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012.
Death Grips performs at NPR Music’s showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

DEATH GRIPS @ (le) Poisson Rouge

Sometimes you walk out of a show unclear what you just saw. This appeared to be the case for many in attendance for Death Grips’ stunningly pummeling set at New York’s (le) Poisson Rouge during the NPR Music/Soundcheck showcase during the CMJ Music Marathon. From the California group’s The Money Store — which has been among the year’s best hip hop records — or the recently self-leaked follow up, NO LOVE DEEP WEB, Death Grips is all about challenging the listener with its boundary-pushing music.

On stage, Death Grips’ delivers a visceral assault on the senses thanks to deep, gut-rattling bass, serrated beats and samples and the brutal, stick-breaking drumming of Zach Hill. But even amid the caustic deconstructed grooves, the blinding strobe lights and visuals on dual monitors behind the group, it’s MC Ride who commands all the attention. Performing shirtless, the muscular and heavily tattooed MC is such a powerful frontman on stage, you cannot take your eyes off him as he flails and shouts with an imposing, unrelenting flow.

After the set, many in the crowd looked equally traumatized and totally blown away with huge grins, knowing they just saw something completely unlike anything they’d ever witnessed. Whether or not it’s “your thing,” that’s always the sign of a great show from a singular artist.

Flying Lotus performs at NPR Music's showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012.
Flying Lotus performs at NPR Music’s showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Ali Shaheed Muhammad performs at NPR Music's showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad performs at NPR Music’s showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Eleanor Friedberger performs at Merge Records' showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012.
Eleanor Friedberger performs at Merge Records’ showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Mount Moriah performs at Merge Records' showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012.
Mount Moriah performs at Merge Records’ showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Telekinesis performs at Merge Records' showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012.
Telekinesis performs at Merge Records’ showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

TELEKINESIS @ Mercury Lounge

“I’d like to thank Merge for getting me off my couch.” — Michael Benjamin Lerner, Telekinesis

At one point or another, we’ve all read about an extraordinary concert in some book, or in Rolling Stone, on Pitchfork, or just on social media and thought “Damn, I wish I was there.” It doesn’t make much sense fretting about missing out if Band X played its entire album front-to-back or Band Y played a surprise show at two in the morning. That’s life, right? Can’t be there for everything. But it is music geek human nature to feel the slightest twinge of regret.

Still, every once in awhile, if you go to enough shows, you luck into seeing something special that will make others seethe in nerd jealousy. For me, last night’s Telekinesis set — at Merge Record’s CMJ showcase at New York’s Mercury Lounge — was one of those times.

And it all started because I couldn’t get into the crammed-to-capacity Sub Pop showcase at Knitting Factory. Instead of waiting around in a line going nowhere, I sucked it up and hoofed it by L train and F train to see if I could catch one of my favorite bands play a few of my favorite songs.

When I walked in, I saw Fred Armisen milling about in the back during the end of Eleanor Friedberger’s set. Known to most from Saturday Night Live and Portlandia, I chalked it up to being a New York celebrity sighting — and him being a music fan. But soon, as Michael Benjamin Lerner — Telekinesis’ singer-songwriter and drummer, took the stage, I noticed Armisen pulling a Hofner “Beatle” bass out of its case. Whoa. Then, I noticed Mac McCaughan setting up stompboxes on the other side of the stage. McCaughan, guitarist and singer of Superchunk, and Merge Records co-founder, had played a solo set earlier that night, and obviously stuck around to lend a hand.

It was clear the room was in for a treat. I personally kinda lost my shit.

As Lerner explained near the end of set, he had not played a live show in a really long time, and was prodded by Merge to get off the couch, and fly here to New York for CMJ. But Lerner didn’t have a new working band yet — hell, most of his new songs weren’t really even finished yet. But instead of doing what he described as a “lame acoustic set,” he dropped a few emails to McCaughan and Armisen to see if they were interested in joining him for a few songs. Not only did they agree, they worked up an entire set of Telekinesis’ songs just for this night. No rehearsals either, just a bunch of scattered sheets of paper with the chord progressions mapped out.

They then proceeded to unleash a loose, exuberant set of some Lerner’s best songs (“Tokyo”, “Car Crash”) and even a new song from an album due out next April. Telekinesis’ real skill is in crafting perfect, bouncy power pop songs brimming with lilting guitar melodies and pounding drums and vocal melodies that you cannot help but sing along to. Lerner is one of the best out there creating indie pop melodies — and honestly it’s a bit baffling why he’s not huge yet. Hopefully with a new record coming next spring, he’ll reach more people.

Yet, as one might expect, there were a few awkward moments for a band that had never really played together. McCaughan and Lerner at one point realized they were playing two different (though admittedly similar sounding) songs — “Foreign Room” and “Coast Of Carolina.” Lerner joked that he just had a realization that two songs he wrote have nearly identical chord progressions. Other times, they missed a few cues or played a missed note, or were just not always locked in like a more fully practiced working band.

But really, no one seemed to care in the slightest: many in the crowd were just having a blast witnessing something special and rare — flubs and all. That raw energy and loose, jokey feeling carried through with many fans singing along to Telekinesis’ impossibly catchy choruses. It was just damn impressive and a boatload of fun. I still cannot believe I was there to see it.

Mac McCaughan performs with Telekinesis at Merge Records' showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012.
Mac McCaughan performs with Telekinesis at Merge Records’ showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Fred Armisen performs with Telekinesis at Merge Records' showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012.
Fred Armisen performs with Telekinesis at Merge Records’ showcase at Mercury Lounge during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 18, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Tashaki Miyaki performs at Brooklyn Vegan's day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012.
Tashaki Miyaki performs at Brooklyn Vegan’s day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sinkane performs at Brooklyn Vegan's day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012.
Sinkane performs at Brooklyn Vegan’s day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Choir Of Young Believers performs at Brooklyn Vegan's day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012.
Choir Of Young Believers performs at Brooklyn Vegan’s day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Eternal Summers performs at Brooklyn Vegan's day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012.
Eternal Summers performs at Brooklyn Vegan’s day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Eternal Summers performs at Brooklyn Vegan's day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012.
Eternal Summers performs at Brooklyn Vegan’s day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Hundred Waters performs at Brooklyn Vegan's day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012.
Hundred Waters performs at Brooklyn Vegan’s day party at Public Assembly during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, NY on Oct. 20, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Bleeding Knees Club performs at the Pure Volume House during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2012 | DAY FIVE

Bleeding Knees Club performs at the Pure Volume House during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012.
Bleeding Knees Club performs at the Pure Volume House during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Yellow Ostrich performs at the Baeblemusic day party at Peckerhead’s KnuckleRumbler Lounge during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012.
Yellow Ostrich performs at the Baeblemusic day party at Peckerhead’s KnuckleRumbler Lounge during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Psychedelic Horseshit performs at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012.
Psychedelic Horseshit performs at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Ceremony performs at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012.
Ceremony performs at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Widowspeak performs at the Captured Tracks showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012.
Widowspeak performs at the Captured Tracks showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Craft Spells performs at the Captured Tracks showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012.
Craft Spells performs at the Captured Tracks showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Men performs at Beerland during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012.
The Men performs at Beerland during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

For more photos, visit Flickr.

THEESatisfaction performs at the Sub Pop showcast at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2012 | DAY FOUR

Now Now performs at Firehouse Hostel & Lounge during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012.
Now Now performs at Firehouse Hostel & Lounge during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

NOW, NOW @ Firehouse Hostel & Lounge

Even before I managed to catch Now, Now at SXSW, the band’s fantastic record Threads was already on constant rotation. The Minneapolis trio — comprised of Cacie Dalager, Jess Abbott, and Bradley Hale — found the right recipe for songs that straddle fizzy power pop hooks and lush, yet disarming layers of sound — all while singing about some big universal themes sparked from quiet but deeply personal moments. In “Thread” and “But I Do” Dalager’s lyrics capture a sense of unreturned love and the fragility of relationships unraveling not all at once but one stitch at a time. Elsewhere, in songs like “School Friends” and “Separate Rooms” she sings of insomnia, and the confusing, often phantom limb feelings that still linger when seeing a former love and not knowing where things stand. Ultimately, it’s Now, Now’s live show — even in a half-full converted bar — that made this band’s taut, infectious melodies come to life. This band is one of the most confident and exciting new acts of the year.

Conveyor performs at Uncorked during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012.
Conveyor performs at Uncorked during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Kishi Bashi performs at Uncorked during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012.
Kishi Bashi performs at Uncorked during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Gashcat performs at the Sub Pop showcast at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012.
Gashcat performs at the Sub Pop showcast at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
THEESatisfaction performs at the Sub Pop showcast at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012.
THEESatisfaction performs at the Sub Pop showcast at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

For more photos, visit Flickr.

Patrick Watson performs at St. David's Episcopal Church during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2012.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2012 | DAY THREE

La Vida Boheme performs at the NPR Music day party at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2012.
La Vida Boheme performs at the NPR Music day party at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Gardens & Villa performs at the Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian/Dead Oceans showcase at Mohawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2012.
Gardens & Villa performs at the Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian/Dead Oceans showcase at Mohawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Patrick Watson performs at  St. David's Episcopal Church during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2012.
Patrick Watson performs at St. David’s Episcopal Church during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

PATRICK WATSON @ St. David’s Episcopal Church

Patrick Watson’s deeply emotional and joyful midnight performance at St. David’s Episcopal Church has stuck with me more than any at this year’s South By Southwest. This beautiful sanctuary, lit from above by strings of Edison light bulbs, was the perfect setting for Watson’s imaginative and timeless chamber pop from this year’s masterful Adventures In Your Own Backyard. But near the end of the set, the singer and his band gathered in the aisle between church pews to do single mic renditions of “Into Giants” and “Words In The Fire,” — a stirring song about finding happiness living in the present. Sitting next to so many close friends, it was hard not to get caught up in that moment and realize how lucky we were to witness this special show. I still get choked up every time I put on “Words In The Fire.”

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Mr. Gnome performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2012 | DAY TWO

Mr. Gnome performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012.
Mr. Gnome performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at Red 7 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
White Arrows performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at the Red 7 Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012.
White Arrows performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at the Red 7 Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Typhoon performs at the Paste Day Party at The Stage On Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012.
Typhoon performs at the Paste Day Party at The Stage On Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Forest Fire performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at the Red 7 Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012.
Forest Fire performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at the Red 7 Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
La Sera performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at the Red 7 Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012.
La Sera performs at the ForceField/Terrorbird day party at the Red 7 Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Apparat performs at the Paste Day Party at The Stage On Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012.
Apparat performs at the Paste Day Party at The Stage On Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Hospitality performs at the Paste Day Party at The Stage On Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012.
Hospitality performs at the Paste Day Party at The Stage On Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 14, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

HOSPITALITY @ The Stage On Sixth

Many songwriters have mulled over the rootlessness of their youth, but few describe it with as much whip-smart and wistful sentiment as Hospitality’s Amber Papini does. Hospitality’s very fine debut is full of well-crafted songs such as “Eighth Avenue” and “Liberal Arts” that serve as intimate snapshots of living in New York City and the complicated feelings that come with transition. But “Argonauts” is the standout, for its lovely depiction of the Statue of Liberty as a symbol for the promise of reinvention and searching a new direction. This year saw so many songs that charted new ground, were perhaps more innovative, or took on weightier topics. But for me, “Argonauts” hit a certain joyful and sweet tone that I kept returning to again and again in 2012.

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Bear In Heaven performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2012 | DAY ONE

Teengirl Fantasy performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012.
Teengirl Fantasy performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Star Slinger performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012.
Star Slinger performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012.
Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Bear In Heaven performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012.
Bear In Heaven performs at the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase at Mowhawk Patio during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Silverbus performs at Headhunters during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012.
Silverbus performs at Headhunters during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Caveman performs a Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012.
Caveman performs a Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Caveman performs a Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012.
Caveman performs a Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2012. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

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The Luyas performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2011 | DAY FIVE

Kurt Vile performs at Auditorium Shores during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011.
Kurt Vile performs at Auditorium Shores during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Kurt Vile performs at Auditorium Shores during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011.
Kurt Vile performs at Auditorium Shores during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Sarah Neufeld performs with The Luyas at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011.
Sarah Neufeld performs with The Luyas at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Luyas performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011.
The Luyas performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Luyas performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011.
The Luyas performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 19, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

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Wye Oak performs at the Merge showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2011 | DAY FOUR

Sharon Van Etten performs at the A.V. Club showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011.
Sharon Van Etten performs at the A.V. Club showcase at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Wye Oak performs at the Merge showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011.
Wye Oak performs at the Merge showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Wye Oak performs at the Merge showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011.
Wye Oak performs at the Merge showcase at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Candy Claws performs at SoHo Lounge during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011.
Candy Claws performs at SoHo Lounge during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

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Julianna Barwick performs at the Pitchfork showcase at the Central Presbyterian Church during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2011 | DAY THREE

tUnE-yArDs performs at the NPR Music day party at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
tUnE-yArDs performs at the NPR Music day party at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Khaira Arby performs at the NPR Music day party at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
Khaira Arby performs at the NPR Music day party at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Antlers performs at the NPR Music day party at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
The Antlers performs at the NPR Music day party at The Parish during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
The Submarines performs at the Paste showcase at the Stage on Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
The Submarines performs at the Paste showcase at the Stage on Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
J. Mascis performs at the Paste showcase at the Stage on Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
J. Mascis performs at the Paste showcase at the Stage on Sixth during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Julianna Barwick performs at the Pitchfork showcase at the Central Presbyterian Church during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
Julianna Barwick performs at the Pitchfork showcase at the Central Presbyterian Church during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Julianna Barwick performs at the Pitchfork showcase at the Central Presbyterian Church during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
Julianna Barwick performs at the Pitchfork showcase at the Central Presbyterian Church during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Suuns performs at Nuvola during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
Suuns performs at Nuvola during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Suuns performs at Nuvola during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
Suuns performs at Nuvola during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Lord Huron performs at Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
Lord Huron performs at Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Extra Classic performs at Malaia during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011.
Extra Classic performs at Malaia during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

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Jack White performs at the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2011 | DAY TWO

Jack White performs at the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011.
Jack White performs at the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Jack White performs at the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011.
Jack White performs at the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Seasick Steve performs at the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011.
Seasick Steve performs at the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Class Actress performs at Lipstick 24 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011.
Class Actress performs at Lipstick 24 during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Yuck performs at Club de Ville during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011.
Yuck performs at Club de Ville during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Big K.R.I.T. performs at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011.
Big K.R.I.T. performs at The Mohawk during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

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Admiral Fallow performs at Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2011 | DAY ONE

Lost In The Trees performs at Skinny's Ballroom during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011.
Lost In The Trees performs at Skinny’s Ballroom during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Admiral Fallow performs at Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011.
Admiral Fallow performs at Bat Bar during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Esben And The Witch performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011.
Esben And The Witch performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)
Delicate Steve performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011.
Delicate Steve performs at Spill during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 15, 2011. (© Michael Katzif – Do not use or republish without prior consent.)

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