Tyler, the Creator had a suggestion for our small business. "Do you guys do porn?"
I hate to make light of anybody's personal suffering, but a breakup could very well be the best thing for Katy Perry's sound. "Wide Awake," the pop singer's latest offering, is a primer for a more grown-up sound.
What has been particularly vexing about Perry's career is the inescapable nature of her "cuteness," which even has its way with "Part of Me," her current single. Any legitimate sound of pain can come off as cootie-boo-hooing, with that excessive flip on her high notes or the come-hiterhing of a bridge. Her presentation at the Grammys pointed to an angry underpinning, fully realized in the wake of her divorce from Russell Brand.
Now there's "Wide Awake," a title that's packed with multiple meanings. Not only is the dream over, but there's a coming-of-age, of becoming somebody else when you wake up, you're 27, you're at the top of your game, and you just had a very public celebrity divorce.
Maybe Johnny Depp and Marliyn Mason are vain. And maybe it's you, my friend. The industrial/heavy-rocker and the actor/musician have combined together to record a very unlikely cover: Carly Simon's "You're So Vain."
The track will appear on Manson's forthcoming eighth studio set, "Born Villain," out on May 1, though it's not currently available for listening yet. While it may not be worn on his sleeve, Depp is actually a big Manson fan, their bromance going back to at least 2001 when Manson's "The Nobodies" was in Depp's "From Hell"; the award-winning actor actually took Manson to the 2006 premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" as his date.
The announcement of this song proceeds the recent unveiling of "Born Villain's" first single, "No Reflection," which I actually like a lot. It's crunchy, accessible, and with a lot of that Manson signature character, an actually good reflection on production. Manson; longtime collaborator and former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna; and bassist/producer Twiggy Ramirez (aka Jeordie White) were behind the decks for this effort.
More that 2,000 artists performed at the South By Southwest music conference this year. Sadly, I only saw a few dozen, and in bits. (However, more and more I'm led to believe that the 20-minute set is the way to go.)
For those of us who survived, another South By Southwest Music Conference has come and gone, with a new slate of happenings for next year's programmers to topple. Check out 2012's biggest happenings below, from the Boss to Weezy.
+ Bruce Springsteen had some fine guests on the second big date of his "Wrecking Ball" tour. After an afternoon of delivering the keynote address, he was able to finally rock out and see some friends -- like Arcade Fire, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely, Tom Morello, Jimmy Cliff, the Low Anthem and the lead singer of the Animals.
+ Rick Ross -- speaking of Bawse -- was the surprise guest at Fader Fort on Saturday night to perform more than a dozen tracks.
+ Alejandro Escovedo had a visit from Springsteen earlier in the week, and then played host to a number of other musical cameos: R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Mike Mills, Jessie Malin, Jon Langford and Lenny Kaye all showed. Johnny Depp… maybe did?
+ 50 Cent was joined by several special guests, including Eminem, Kidd Kidd, Precious Paris and Governor, during his performance of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" from front to back.
AUSTIN -- Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and members of Old Crow Medicine Show had themselves a Railroad Revival reunion during SXSW, and like many family reunions, they took the opportunity to introduce new additions. The roots-based groups convened on the lawn of the LBJ Library, where their road doc "Big Easy Express" filmed in advance of short sets from the former two full bands, a presentation by MySpace.
Mumfords performed three new songs from their forthcoming sophomore set. "Lovers Eyes" had a little of the "quiet rage" that its lyrics suggested, frontman Marcus Mumford lamenting "Love was kind for a time… we're too young / our heads too strong / to bear the weight of these lover's eyes." It, like a handful of songs from "Sigh No More," gives way to the stomps and the sixths, all four singers busting out into harmony. "Lover of the Light" featured Marcus behind the drums for an overall soft-rocker with a big build, and "Ghosts That We Knew" falls in line with some religious-tinged imagery in the British band's songs, about hard hearts, soft lovers, darkness and light:. "You saw my pain washed out in the rain… saw blood run from my veins."
AUSTIN -- With the intervention of Fuse TV and this Texas capitol's noise code, 50 Cent's performance of "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" was an exercise in efficiency -- even with the preeminence of special guest Eminem.
The Queens-bred rapper/actor/businessman made a major return to his craft on Friday night, performing his debut album in full for about 4,000 fans at the Shady 2.0 SXSW Showcase at Austin Music Hall. Additionally, the cable music network fired up the engines around 11 p.m. for a live broadcast, which almost certainly helped keep festivities on track for an approximate midnight finale. Thus, Fif and his friends settled on a bullsh*t-free format, banging out the hit-after-hit that commanded that 2003 album.
50 Cent bounded on stage in a Yankees ballcap and a camouflage bullet-proof-vest -- natch -- proceeding a minute of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York." The tracklist unfurled in its original order, which meant an early arrival of Slim Shady, on third track "Patiently Waiting." Sporting a gray hoodie up over his head and embracing the warm weather with a pair of cargo shorts, Em lurch onto the stage to the sound of shrill excitement. He later returned for "Don't Push Me" (sans Lloyd Banks) and the short-lived encore "Crack a Bottle," which earned him and Fif a Grammy in 2009.
Pop some aspirin and call that girl that gave you her number (time's running out!): SXSW Music programming heads into its second day, Thursday, March 15.
Below I've outlined some more artists to watch, Some shows will overlap, some are a haul, but... you paid extra for the SXSW Teleport, didn't you? Check out shows from
Thank you again to Unofficial SXSW, for having a nearly-perfect accuracy and navigable scheduling interface.
Day shows sometimes require badges or RSVP -- check the links where applicable. Badges for most of the night shows.
1 p.m.: Fat Tony at (Formerly) TOPS (Mess with Texas)
Southern rapper from Houston keeps it weird
1:30 p.m.: The Men at Barbarella (MFG/Guns in the Sun)
They ruined my hearing earlier this week
2 p.m.: Reptar at Stage on Sixth (Paste/Sennheiser)
Vagrants fizz bang buzz punk boom
2:15: Davinci at Beauty Ballroom (Iheartcomix)
Smooth psych-rap all over the map
2:30: Strand of Oaks at Home Slice Pizza
Slow-burning folk blow-out
2:54: 2:54 at Fader Fort (you read that time AND name right)
Fat Possum's newest signee
3 p.m.: Revival Tour (Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano, Cory Branan, Nathaniel Rateliff, Audre Mae, Tim Barry) at Ballroom G in Convention Center
All these songwriters are better than you
4 p.m.: J Roddy Walston and the Business at Jo's Coffee at the San Jose
Rock 'n' Roll and whiskey and blood and sex
4:40: Tiger Waves at Dogwood (Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie)
Fine, here's your damn Austin band. Shoegaze, jangle, deep.
5 p.m. Andy Rourke at the IFC House
Dude's from the Smiths. You never played in the Smiths, DID YOU?
5:30: Southerly at Side Bar (Mostly Harmless)
Rightly playing a showcase called Mostly Harmless. Only some dark-hearted harm.
5:30 Big K.R.I.T. at Stubb's (SPIN)
Not so good at the set times, but this is about the hour you'll get drunk and have the good kind of headache
6:15: Bad Weather California at Side Bar
Definitely tell you something that they signed to Akron/Family's new label
7 p.m. Dwellers at Headhunter's Patio
Heavy, dark, metal-lovin'
7 p.m.: Doors for the Shady 2.0 at Austin Music Hall
If you're there for 50 Cent, just start parkin' now.
9:30: The Mynabirds at Lamberts
Saddle Creek's melody
10 p.m.: Grupo Fantasma at Copa
Latin gone haywire but still sounds like a party
10:25: Carter Tanton at Lamberts
Made the soundtrack to your life and you didn't even know it
10:30: El-P at 1100 Warehouse
Hip-hop vet bowing new tunes and you can stay after for…
10:35 Kurt Braunohler at Esther Follies
Dammit is this man funny.
11 p.m.: Spank Rock at 1100 Warehouse
Urban dance that will just make you feel naughty
11:30: Lucero at Bar 69
Drinking music with a country soul
11:45 p.m. Jack White at The Stage on Sixth
Solo and loving it
12 a.m. midnight: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
Blue-eyed soul with a songbird of a singer
12:40: The Pierces at Stubb's
Want some sugar in your bourbon?
1 a.m.: Cloud Nothings at ND
Have been getting big buzz all week for their stellar live show
1 a.m.: Whiskey Shivers at Maggie Mae's
String band on speed
AUSTIN -- For a man with so many famous friends, it's a wonder that Bruce Springsteen hasn't taken advantage of the talent saturation at the South By Southwest Music Conference before. The Boss not only delivered the festival's keynote address Thursday day, but performed for just shy of two-and-a-half hours with his E Street Band at night, along with a few pals from his collection. Arcade Fire, Alejandro Escovedo, Jimmy Cliff, Tom Morello, Joe Ely, Eric Burdon and more all took the stage at ACL Live, most notably and abundantly on the Boss' frequent cover and closer "This Land Is Your Land."
This Austin stop was only his second on the newly launched "Wrecking Ball" tour, but alone was a companion piece to Springsteen's keynote speech from earlier in the day. At the convention center, the songwriter articulated his own artistic journey as he unfurled a general genealogy of American popular music, in delectable poetry, in bits of song and -- at times -- sexually charged metaphor. At 62, he still expressed some teenaged glee and wonderment of SXSW's abundance and the dizzying multitude of subgenres for every palate. He advised, "Rumble, young bands, rumble... stay hungry. Stay alive. When you walk on stage tonight to bring the noise, treat it like it's all we have. And then remember, it's only rock n roll."
And he spoke of how just about every one of his songs, including those on "Wrecking Ball," were really just revamped versions of The Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."
And wouldn't you know it, The Animals' Eric Burdon showed up, to perform just that.
Take a shower, you already smell bad: SXSW Music programming heads into its second day, Thursday, March 15.
Below I've outlined some more artists to watch, Some shows will overlap, some are a haul, but... you paid extra for the SXSW Teleport, didn't you? Check out shows from Bruce Springsteen, Tenacious D, Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, the Punch Brothers, Dev, Alberta Cross, Yellow Ostrich and more.
Thank you again to Unofficial SXSW, for having a nearly-perfect accuracy and navigable scheduling interface.