<p>Bruce Springsteen with Alejandro Escovedo and Joe Ely</p>

Bruce Springsteen with Alejandro Escovedo and Joe Ely

Credit: AP Photo

Arcade Fire, Jimmy Cliff, Tom Morello join Bruce Springsteen onstage at SXSW

The Boss' keynote address, stage-diving, populism and... rap?

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.

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<p>Tenacious D</p>

Tenacious D

SXSW Music Day 2, Thursday: Bruce Springsteen, Tenacious D, Kendrick Lamar

Check out music recs, from Grimes to the Punch Brothers to Dev to A.Dd+

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.

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<p>Fiona Apple at Stubb's during SXSW</p>

Fiona Apple at Stubb's during SXSW

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Fiona Apple performs three new songs at first SXSW performance

Review: The singer-songwriter's first large-scale bow in six years was hard-fought, triumphant

AUSTIN -- Fiona Apple made a return to a large-scale stage for the first time in six years last night (March 14), for an audience eager for an early answer: Will the singer-songwriter be a "best" or "worst" of 2012? For attendees at the South By Southwest Music Conference, there is rarely anything in between, as hype forms hyperbole and fans are converted to fanatics.

The NPR showcase at Stubb's was Apple's opportunity to bow new material from her forthcoming full-length "The Idler Wheel," which has a tentative ETA in June. It proceeds her last album "Extraordinary Machine," out in 2005, evidence of just how much credence the Los Angeles-based gives to traditional album release schedules. Her set list boasted three new songs along with a mix from her three previous efforts, including tracks from her debut "Tidal," an album that still seers with lust, sexual abuse, self-abuse and coming-of-age. Apple, now 34, was ever-emotional on stage, consistently embracing all the instability and jitters of her late teens and early 20s, with endearing snarls and that patented, quivering vibrato.

As is custom, Stubb's had embarrassing sound problems. Apple continued screwing her in-ear monitor back onto her head though she and her four-piece backing band showed no unprofessional attitude, let alone revealed any error in-set. During instrumental jams, the artist would bury her head in her arm on top of the full length piano, or close her eyes and smooth her skirt. Her slender arms would slash Xs in front of her, or she's flail her high ponytail as she restively put her hands on her hips.

You've got to hand it to someone who makes their home in uncomfortable places. For all the volatility that comes with a "comeback," she, well, makes the most of it.

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<p>Santigold performs at Fader Fort today</p>

Santigold performs at Fader Fort today

Credit: Katie Hasty

SXSW Music Day 1, Wednesday: Tennis, Reggie Watts, Future of the Left

Recommended, even if you're not there: Jimmy Cliff, Mux Mool, Bear Hands, Zola Jesus...

Take your antacid and grab a water bottle: SXSW Music programming officially kicks off today, Wednesday, March 14.

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 form Tennis, Fiona Apple, Santigold, Reggie Watts, Machine Gun Kelly, Future of the Left, Bear Hands, Jimmy Cliff and more...

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.

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: Danny Clinch

2012 SXSW headliners: Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Fiona Apple, Jack White

Tenacious D, Nas, 50 Cent, Skrillex and more: When do they play?

The earlier conceptions of the South By Southwest Music Conference had more of a level playing field -- the emphasis was more on connecting breaking bands to industry, and industry to fans. Obviously, that idea has shifted SXSW getting bigger and bigger every year, catering not to just music wayfarers to audiences seeking many of the same trappings of any major music festival.

Hence the headliners -- or "headliners" -- that crop up every year, often directly before the conference takes place.

This year is no exception, with some enormous names gracing stages around Austin, Texas, and even a few more to-be-announced. Bruce Springsteen is keynote speaker, plus he's confirmed that he and his E Street band will be bopping around. Jay-Z is throwing a large-scale concert, but for SXSW Interactive Conference-goers. Jack White will be performing one of his first major public shows as a solo artist, Fiona Apple will be bowing new material and Tenacious D will be re-introducing themselves after a brief hiatus.

Keep checking in to SXSW's site and HitFix throughout the festival: there will undoubtedly be many big, last-minute additions and secret shows galore.

Check out a "headliner" rundown below.

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<p>50 Cent's &quot;Get Rich or Die Tryin'&quot;</p>

50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'"

Credit: Interscope

50 Cent performing 'Get Rich or Die Tryin'' in its entirety at SXSW

Eminem's Shady 2.0 SXSW gets Yelawolf, Slaughterhouse, Big K.R.I.T. in da club

50 Cent will be in Austin next week to remind fans that, once upon a time, he was still making music, even amazing music.

The rapper-turned-movie exec will be performing his 2003, 8x platinum Interscope debut "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" in its entirety for the Shady 2.0 SXSW Showcase, courtesy of Eminem's Shady Records. Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse -- who were the two big new signings to the label last January -- are also confirmed to help headline the March 16 (Friday) show at the Austin Music Hall.

Big K.R.I.T., Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Don Trip, STS and The Foodchain are also on the bill.

The performance of "Get Rich or Die Trying" boggles the mind in a few ways. First, 50 Cent has been edging away from music altogether in recent years, in lieu of launching Cheetah Vision, his film production company and acting in almost a dozen films in the last three years. He continues to support other ventures like G-Unit clothing and releasing a memoir.

Part of the delay on releasing something new has to do with disputes with Interscope, which 50 has publicly admitted to. The differences may be creative: he has threatened a dance-inspired album, which never came to pass, instead of a straight-forward "Get Rich"-inspired rap album, which will be his fifth and first since 2009's "Before I Self Destruct."

So this showcase may signal that Interscope/Shady and 50 Cent have made nice and are ready to proceed with re-building the brand of 50 Cent As Rapper. "Discovered" by Eminem at the turn of the century, Marshal Mathers may even be present to help prop up on songs like appropriately titled "Patiently Waiting." Now if Dr. Dre could get his cards stacked right...

It could be a larger indication of big movements from Shady Records on the whole. The signing of Hip-Hop's New Class member Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse (one half of which is Royce da 5'9", who spent last year recording and touring with Eminem as Bad Meets Evil) in 2011 was the first indicator, but with Em in working order, back from tour, producing and championing newer, younger acts, we could see more and more powerhouse signings, perhaps of talent showing up in Austin.

This show will surely be one of the most sought-after, well-attended spots at the festival this year; the potential for stage-crashers and collaborations is optimal. Will you be there?

<p>Metallica's James Hetfield</p>

Metallica's James Hetfield

Credit: AP Photo

'Predators' director Nimród Antal helming Metallica 3D film

Shooting begins in August -- not in conjunction with Orion Music + More fest

At this point in Metallica's decades-long career, the band seems to be both breaking out of their usual album cycles and forming a longer-lasting impression of their storied history. While it was, largely, a sonic nightmare, last year's collaboration with Lou Reed on "Lulu" showed a willingness on the band's part to try something new and combine with other artists; they also recently announced their own curated music festival, the Orion Music + More event in June, which exposes their tastes to fans and expands on their legacy as a metal staple. So while the reception of their last album "Death Magnetic" in 2008 was frequently mixed, Metallica now seems to be focused on telling and remixing their own story.

And now the band has a film director attached to one of their next projects in expanding their enduring brand. In January, Metallica had announced that they intended to make a 3D film with producer Charlotte Huggins, and this week they named Nimrod Antal as the as-yet-untitled project's helmer.

Antal was behind 2010's "Predators," the fifth film in the franchise starring Adrien Brody. He had also previously released Hungarian language film "Kontroll," which collected the Award of the Youth honor at Cannes in 2004, plus 2007's "Vacancy" (with Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson) and 2009's "Armored" (Matt Dillon).

What pushed Antal over the edge to become director? Was Darren Aronofsky busy?

"I've been a fan of Nimróds since his first Hungarian film, Kontroll, showed up at Cannes in 2004 and blew everybody away, said Metallica's Lars Ulrich in a press release. "I've watched with excitement his career in Hollywood blossom over the last few years.  Within five minutes of meeting him I was addicted to his enthusiasm, his take on the creative process and his 'thinking outside of the box' personality.  Let's get on with it!!!"

The release describes the effort to be "a marriage of narrative and concert," to begin shooting in August and for release in the summer of 2013. That means there probably won't be crew on site at Orion, which takes place in June.

We'll see what this feature director can bring to the table with documentary footage.

This, of course, is not the first time Metallica has been the main subject on-film: gripping band-drama doc "Some Kind of Monster" was released in 2004.



Listen: Sufjan Stevens drops new tracks with s/s/s and Rosie Thomas

Listen: Sufjan Stevens drops new tracks with s/s/s and Rosie Thomas

Indie singer continues fixation with autotune

Always up for a bit of experimentation, indie godhead Sufjan Stevens has two new tracks out today that are superficially very different but both end up sounding roughly the same. Both are underwhelming.

First up is the debut song from his new collaborative group s/s/s, featuring Anticon label mates Serengeti and Son Lux. "Museum Day" is the first single off the "Beak & Claw' EP," which will be available March 20, and includes guests Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and adventurous Anticon rapper Doseone.

"Museum Day" is much too long at six minutes, featuring an extended opening that highlights Stevens' recent enthusiasm for autotune (is T-Pain somehow the most influential vocalist of the last decade?). Rapper Serengeti dominates much of the rest of the track with slow flows offering typically cryptic Anticon references and rhymes. Here it here:

Meanwhile, Stevens is also keeping it real on the traditional singer-songwriter side, releasing a split 7" with indie chanteuse Rosie Thomas. It won't be released until Record Store Day on April 21, but you can hear the first track ("Where Were You?") here:

Simultaneously low-key and anthemic, the overlong song also relies too much on the recent trend of artful autotune in indie rock (see: Bon Iver, Poliça), but fits in with the electronic leanings of Stevens' last studio album "The Age of Adz." Seriously though, Stevens has an amazing natural voice and, while autotune can be fun here and there, it just isn't something he needs to spend so much time using. 

The single's B-side has Stevens responding with "Here I Am." Cute. The single's cover is also cute:


<p>Fiona Apple</p>

Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple's new album title is really, really long

'When the Pawn' flashback, plus: almost all her shows are sold out

Here is the 23-word title to Fiona Apple's new album: "The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do."

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Jay-Z livestreaming concert from Austin during SXSW Interactive

Crowd-sourcing set list, Twitter-syncing: Hov returns to Texas

Jay-Z played South By Southwest last year but, this year, things will be a little bit different.

The hip-hop mogul has been tapped to play a solo concert by American Express -- in conjunction with Twitter and SXSW to launch a new AmEx syncing feature. Hov's show will take place on March 12 at the rap-ripe time of 7 p.m. CST from Austin City Limits Live.

For those playing at home, that's the day before the Music portion of SXSW begins, and one of the last days of the Interactive portion. Tickets are free, however you must 1) be an Interactive badge-holder 2) be an American Express cardholder 3) have a Twitter account that you then sync with your AmEx 4) endure a first-come-first-serve ticket line starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday (March 10) 5) hold your breath while you hop on your left leg for two minutes without losing balance as you hum the National Anthem.

For those that can't make any of that dream come true, AmEx will be live-streaming Jay-Z's concert on their specially launched Jay-Z Sync Show YouTube page, as well as broadcasting it on to a billboard on Austin's main drag, 6th Street.

Jay-Z fans will be able to Tweet their song requests, with the most-requested songs getting play. My suggestion: launching a national campaign for Crowd-Sourcing Awareness, where we all band together in one accord to demand "It's Raining Men." Hallelujah?

Jay-Z took the stage with Kanye West last year during VEVO's first SXSW concert series launch, marking their first live promotional effort in amping up Watch The Throne. VEVO is returning this year, lineup TBA.

The rapper has remained relatively quiet after the birth of his and Beyonce's first baby, Blue Ivy, on Jan. 7, though he did host a suite of historic solo concerts at Carnegie Hall last month. Do you think he'll be bowing new songs?