<p>Wild Flag</p>

Wild Flag

Credit: Merge

Best of the rest: SXSW features Sallie Ford, Jean Grae, Wild Flag

Check out thoughts on The Head and the Heart, Yellow Ostrich, Theophilus London

I didn't go to bed on Saturday night. The Kanye West/Jay-Z love-in stole my soul at about 11 p.m. that evening and then sent my broken and music-battered body back into the streets around 4 a.m., an hour before an airport shuttle was to whisk me away to a hipster refugee camp, aka the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The thousands that thronged at that abandoned power plant was a massive contrast to the rest of the shows that weekend (though Spring Break crowds flooded 6th Street and its offshoots with more than 200,000 people according to some reports.)

Among the many BBQs and day-parties juggled, I rarely watched acts for their entire set. But Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside were the exception to this rule, one reason being their, well, sound outside. With free tacos, a cold mid-day beer and the hottest heat yet of the fest, she and her smile-less band performed tightly. Ford has this ultra-quirky voice, a throwback to rockabilly and the odd tensions of Jolie Holland. It's hip-dancing music rather than head-bobbing, with clappy melodies that name-check Jets to Brazil and have you reaching for Wanda Jackson.

They didn't move much on the tiny Barbarella stage, and maybe it was the temperature, but there was something so moderated about Ford's embarrassing amount of raw musical talent, it was slow-burning to see it manifest as it did.

A little later, the nubs that used to be my feet needed a rest indoors, and Dolorean took the stage about this time. I spent a lot of time with their most recent EP "Anticipation Blues," trying to decide if the dolor of their name was too much for me to enjoy them on the whole. From a nice, cool booth, I could see no less than three trucker hats on their stage. But I could hear a lot of noise, a lot. It was a series of kiss-off songs that wanna sign of on romance with a bang and not a whimper.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lil Wayne</p>

Lil Wayne

Listen: Rick Ross joins Lil Wayne on 'If I Die Today' from 'Tha Carter IV'

Find out where Weezy lives

It's only natural Lil Wayne and Rick Ross collaborate on new "If I Die Today"; it picks up right where the Teflon Don's track "I'm Not a Star" leaves off. Or, rather, it's a direct lift with a twist or two.

The "Tha Carter IV" song is the latest to surface from the much-anticipated album, and promises more collaborations of this caliber, pun intended.

In "Die," it's all heavy sex, guns and blow, Ross and Weezy sharing two verses a piece. The latter revails where he's been living since the clink (his home for a year after gun charges): "AK-47 is my f*cking address." Ross retorts: "The bigger the bullet the more that b*tch gonn' bang/ Red on the wall, Basquiat when I paint." Arty!

[More after the jump...]

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<p>O-M-G shawty's such a freak<br />
<br />
She says she wants to go back to my C-O-N-D-O</p>

O-M-G shawty's such a freak

She says she wants to go back to my C-O-N-D-O

Watch: Snoop Dogg with Far East Movement on 'If I Was You (OMG)'

So that's how you spell 'booty'

Attention: women are no longer mere sex objects. They are paradoxically denominations of money, and also the reason you have no money.

Far East Movement is responsible for "Like a G6." Snoop Dogg posted new music with Wiz Khalifa this week.

[Video after the jump...]

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<p>J.J. Abrams</p>

J.J. Abrams

Credit: AP Photo

J.J. Abrams talks 'Super 8' inspiration, '70s rock and Area 51

The man really, really doesn't like wearing a suit

At the "Super 8" preview in Manhattan last night, J.J. Abrams made it abundantly clear that he's not really a suit-and-tie guy. After a flattering introduction from Paramount mega-brass Brad Grey, the "Star Trek" revitalizer plucked confidently at his black suit collar, shaking his head and the quasi-formality of the "road show"event. That was right before he dropped the f-bomb a half a dozen times.

When I asked Abrams during the reception why the stop-off was scheduled for New York and not L.A., he laughed. "What, did I not dress the part?"

Aside from the wardrobe compunction, the director/writer/producer displayed a sense of ease during the event, and after the extraordinary sneak-peak, there's no reason for him to feel otherwise. With Steven Spielberg on board as producer, "Super 8" has the elements of wide-eye mystery and the promise of intimidating creatures of "Cloverfield" capacity, all through the lens of middle school-aged kids and small-town folk. (Heck, and the "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" looked fun, too.)

Check out my full thoughts on the footage here.

Abrams met Spielberg back when he was but a teen, working with collaborator Matt Reeves on Super 8 films. They in one way or another got roped into restoring the "E.T." director's early 8mm clips "Firelight" and "Escape to Nowhere." Fast-forward a couple dozen years, and Abrams found himself ultimately pitching Spielberg on "Super 8," the coming together of two different ideas.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa</p>

Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa

Listen: Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa's 'Weed Iz Mine' from 'High School' flick

Future stoner film collaboration is smokin'

It was inevitable that Snoop would star in his own stoner comedy. So it will be so. The hip-hop vet has linked with rising Wiz Khalifa, for the flick, dubbed "High School," a title which itself has been puffed and passed around.

Naturally, the two will be releasing a collaboration soundtrack to the effort. No word when an actual drop date is, though efforts are obviously under way.

Below is a stream of "The Weed Iz Mine," which bums it's title off of "The Boy Is Mine" and "The Girl Is Mine." If you're gonna be like that, then nobody gets the weed/boy/girl, OK kids?

Khalifa told Rolling Stone that "High School" is "about pot, of course... But it’s about me and [Snoop's] relationship, spin-off of us being cool in the industry, smoking a lot of weed, and being around a lot of weed. We’re going to try to have fun with it and also try to enlighten people at the same time, not just get everybody high."

Just transcribing that sentence got me high.

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<p>From Rise Against's &quot;Help Is on the Way&quot;</p>

From Rise Against's "Help Is on the Way"

Watch: Rise Against reveals compelling 'Help Is on the Way' music video

Footage from Hurricane Katrina doesn't fail to inspire, remember

This week Rise Against celebrates a No. 2 start of "Endgame" on The Billboard 200, but also remembers with solemnity a fearful part of American history.

The music video to "Help Is on the Way" follows the general lyrical thread of the single, featuring a family struggling with the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina over a day during the disaster.

"Directed by the esteemed Alan Ferguson, our film crew went to New Orleans and filmed what became a dramatic and compelling narrative of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of a family. As a band, we opted out of being a part of the piece for fear our role might diminish the importance of this video and skew it's reception. What follows is another video we are proud to put our name on," reads a statement on the punk-inspired rock act's website.

The story is simple and simply told, a poor family pushed up through its home as the waters rise, after the levees break. They pray for rescue and flip through their own family history as dead bodies float in the water and other stragglers seek refuge on their roof. Rise Against leave it off with a message to encourage donations.

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<p>Rebecca Black: black &quot;Friday&quot; indeed</p>

Rebecca Black: black "Friday" indeed

Rebecca Black's 'Friday' and the spoils of our dumb internet

SXSW couch-surfing and inane cornballing: We did this to ourselves

I've quipped this before, but in the future there will be courses in college devoted to Internet Classics. One man's "Shreds" is another man's "The End of the World," is another man's "Shrimp Running on a Treadmill with the Benny Hill Theme," and only time will tell which intentionally funny clips will remain embedded in our short little attention spans long enough to make it into the canon.

Of the unintentionally hilarious front , we've just added Rebecca Black to the 101 coursework. In less than a month -- and mostly over the past week -- her "Friday" video has logged more than 36 million YouTube view (and good for the top of Melinda Newman's Power Rankings last week).

I don't need to go in much as to why "Friday" is funny, but it's worth talking about why it's sad.

Going beyond the fact that Black's mom paid a bunch of hacks $2,000 to pop out a pop turd and matching video, her family gets to line those pockets with even more padding. Forbes and Billboard have weighed in on the statistics, and it looks like digital sales of "Friday" could fetch $25,000 a week at this rate, moving around 43,000 units on Amazon and iTunes. The millions of YouTube views could be $20,000+.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Will Butler</p>

Will Butler

Arcade Fire's Will Butler fields 'Suburbs' film questions at SXSW

Multi-instrumentalist talks Spike Jonze and the gap of time between albums

AUSTIN -- For those who sought shelter from the heat and Spring Break insanity of 6th Street in Austin for South By Southwest, there was always the option of heading to the "Suburbs," inside a movie theater.

"Scenes from the Suburbs" -- the short film by Arcade Fire brothers Win and Will Butler and director Spike Jonze -- made its debut during the movie and music fest, included in a shorts program. The 30-minute clip mixed nostalgia, teenaged dreams and a city at war with other American cities.

The younger Butler was on hand to take questions about the clip, which he said sprung in part from an image that came to Jonze's head, of “kids riding around on BMX bikes with BB guns." It's a scene that opened up "Scenes," and an indicator of the interpersonal strife between friends that erupts later on. He said that he and band had really wanted to work with Jonze, and it all started with the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" music vid. Jonze had famously said that he was inspired by Arcade Fire as he developed "Where the Wild Things Are."

The multi-instrumentalist said that they recruited the young actors from Austin skate parks and schools, and allowed those new friendships to take their natural course over two weeks. The result are some silly and sincere riffing in the scenes. “When you have to shoot a scene with four teenagers in a car talking, it’s hard to get them to focus,” Butler explained. He and Win grew up in Texas, before making their way to Montreal.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Credit: VEVO

Jay-Z joins Kanye West in ‘Beautiful, Dark’ fan-friendly SXSW finale

John Legend, Bon Iver, Kid Cudi, marching band, emo on hand for un-Austin, late-night set

There’s no word yet when Kanye West and Jay-Z collaboration set “Watch the Throne” will finally drop for sure, but live, things are definitely underway. 

Hov met Ye around 2:30 a.m., the beginning of the end of the South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin. The get-together poised West and his G.O.O.D. label cohorts in a unique position, literally: West’s concert was hosted at an abandoned power plant on the edge of downtown, a private party apparently out of the bounds of the Texas capitol’s typical Saturday required closing hour.
The high, metal, rib-like rafters and white-washed stairwells were host to reverberations and modern Go-Go dancers, respectively, the G.O.O.D. festivities started well after midnight, then blasting ‘til 4,
West’s repertoire almost exclusively stuck to “My Beautiful, Dark Twisted Fantasy,” his self-reflective 2010 opus, and from opener “Dark Fantasy” to “So Apalled” each opening strain forced a couple thousand revelers to yowl. (The wee hour and the week’s general strain could’ve been a factor, too.)
Guest Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, showed no wear even after an appearance earlier in the day at Fader Fort with his old-old band DeYarmond Edison, with refreshing backing vocals on “Get Much Higher” and beautifully looping his famed “The Woods”/”Lost in the World” sample. Openers Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi and Kid Cudi were all around to aid on their particular spots.

[More after the jump...] 

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<p>Wu-Tang Clan at SXSW</p>

Wu-Tang Clan at SXSW

Credit: Village Voice

Wu-Tang Clan joined by Erykah Badu at rattling SXSW show

Yelawolf howls, Fishbone breaks and Austin's entire stash of pot

Gambino aka Donald Glover gets paid to talk, but he'd better watch what he says at his next high-caliber event: the rapper claimed that all hands were on deck for the Village Voice's South By Southwest show featuring Wu-Tang Clan, but at least three major names were missing from that legendary roster.

Not to bash on the bash: the legendary New York troupe made for one of the biggest names at the Austin festival, headlining music hall and sating hundreds of fans, cheeks rosy from sun, the great North American amateur hour known as St. Patrick's Day and Austin's entire armory of weed. It was Wu-Tang's night, but nothing feels as low as undelivered high expectations.

Yelawolf performed as though it was his, though, as he howled through a satiating set of Southern rap party anthems and laments. The 'bama native gradually worked his way through a knit cap, then his plaid, then his T-shirt to reveal his infamous canvas of tattoos, the script "Heart of Dixie" ironically and prominently featured on his stomach.

"F*ck that bitch," he spewed after sending some heat to the "Abercrombie-wearing" squares that always seem to land The Girl. "I just wanna party," then launching into the "Trunk Muzik 0-60" (Interscope) track of the same name and spitting with the speed that put him on Eminem's Shady Records' map.

And a word of advice, for that new major label future: to borrow from your yearbook, never change, stay the same and keep in touch. He picks up the dude-ish banner that Kid Rock left behind, with all the lightning-fast raw talent of pre-Bieber Luda, those Southern gents that took a good thing and made some money off of it. "Love Is Not Enough," "Daddy's Lambo" and "Good to Go" are enough to get fans laughing and wailing.

After was Fishbone, whose legacy of more than 25 years has caught up with them. Granted, where Yelawolf would throw his hands at the crowd, Angelo Moore would throw his entire person into the crowd, three times, surfing like it was ska's hey-day.

The funk/soul/reggae/rock troupe peaked with "Alcoholic" and "Everyday Sunshine" but with the increasing mania opted for the feel-good tunes than the socially-conscious. The setlist veered toward tracks like "Fat Chicks" and a cover of Sublime's "Date Rape," causing some second-guessing my own credibility in the fact that I knew every word.

One by one, enter the Wu. Starting on schedule (and on schedule, I mean an hour late and around 1 a.m.), U-God stepped out to a sea of Ws, fingers pointing up and a swirling crew of superfans hugging the barriers. Taking a cue from between-set DJs Eclectic Method, Wu-Tang pushed the big numbers, for about two minutes each from there on out.

Missing was RZA (check), Method Man (who's been nurturing his recent solo effort lately) and Raekwon, and I'd like to hear his excuse. But there were hot minutes of all big hits and some small, from "Bring Da Ruckus" to Ghostface's "Winter Warz" to Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode" and "As High As Wu-Tang Get" (with green lighting, natch). "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F*ck Wit" got its spare minutes, sending the stoned crowd into an elbowing frenzy before the horn sample sounded and Cappadonna came in with something that wasn't as fun.

What was fun was a cameo from Erykah Badu (who was on hand to DJ the after-hours), as she aided on "Chechez la Ghost."

Wu-Tang's appearance overall wasn't the "Triumph" that they sent everyone home on: they sounded like business and less like pleasure, perhaps fueled by the predilection that all nine weren't on hand. But they said hi to Method with "Method Man" tipped their hats to Nate Dogg and to the late Ol Dirty Bastard with "Shimmy Ya." They did the hits, which showfolk like Duran Duran (from Wednesday) have taught themselves to do: that repertoire, plus the given rapport with their die-hards, ain't nothing to f*ck with.