Mar 122012

Yesterday (and today) AME brought you a list of local artists playing at SXSW 2012. Now it’s time for the really big names as we list our recommendations for national acts coming through town during this exciting week.

The Belle Brigade

Not sure if you’re aware, but The Belle Brigade’s self-titled debut was one of the best records of 2011. The L.A.-based, brother/sister duo are coming to SXSW 2012 to build off of last year’s momentum. They are playing Mike Galaxy’s 13th Annual Day Party on Thursday, March 15th at 4 PM. See the rest of the lineup here.

Friday, March 16th, 8:20 PM, Home Slice Pizza - A special secret show!

Saturday, March 17th, 10 PM, Clive Bar – The Belle Brigade performs in a lineup that includes Greylag, Kids These Days, Lissy Trullie and Graffiti6.

Of Montreal

Kevin Barnes’ prolific, eclectic, ambitious indie rock institution will also be at Emo’s East for the Polyvinyl Records Party on Thursday, March 15th. They are headlining a line-up that includes Deerhoof, Japandroids with Owen, Les Bonhommes and Dusted. That starts at 8 PM.

Saturday, March 17th, 6 PM, Clive Bar – The band is on at 6 PM as part of S.O.Terik Now.Art! Showcase. You can RSVP here, but beware: RSVP does not guarantee admission. Show up early.


If I may be terribly pretentious, I knew New York symphonic pop trio fun. was special nearly three years ago when their debut album, Aim and Ignite, contained some of the best music of 2009. Now the band is back with their second record, Some Nights, and a big hit in “We Are Young.” That single signals the sophomore effort’s more electronic, synth-based approach. Looks like fun. is well on its way to stardom, so expect their Friday, March 16 set at Stubb’s (11:00 PM) for the Paradigm Showcase to be pretty packed. They’ll play with a packed lineup: Ed Sheeran, Of Monsters and Men, Avalanche City, Delta Spirit, Elle King, Devin, The Drums, The Pierces and The Ting Tings.

There are a lot of other chances to see fun. Here’s the full line-up:

Wednesday March 14th, 2:50 – 3:20 PM, Warner Sound @ La Zona Rosa (More Info:

5PM – 5:30 PM,  Acoustic Set at Waterloo Records (More Info:

10PM – 10:40 PM, KROX Showcase at 1100 Warehouse (More Info:

Thursday March 15th, 4PM, Woodies Festival @ Red River & 1st Street (More Info / Stream Online:

M. Ward and The Shins

This one’s easy. The annual free shows at Auditorium Shores are always a treat, and this year there are notable guests on each night. However, the Thursday, March 15th lineup is this editor’s personal favorite. Dirty blues duo Little Hurricane will open the show at 5:45 PM, then it’s on to one of America’s greatest modern singers, songwriters and guitarists. M. Ward has been busy with She & Him and Monsters of Folk for the past few years, but he’ll be playing tracks from his forthcoming, new solo release A Wasteland Companion at the Shores.

And if we’re talking about forthcoming, anticipated releases, The Shins’ long-awaited fourth album Port of Morrow will drop on March 20th. That means James Mercer (speaking of great modern singer/songwriters) has an opportunity five days prior on Thursday to show the new songs. And the new band, as Mercer has effectively re-built The Shins since 2007′s great Wincing The Night Away.

The Beatles Complete on Ukelele

Appropriately, this one’s open for everyone. From noon to 6 PM at Hickory Street on Thursday, March 15th, Ukelele master and record producer Roger Greenawalt is going to play all 185 songs in The Beatles catalog. Holy crap. A backing band/rotating cast of guest musicians (including Kat Edmonson, Suzanna Choffel, Nakia, Lovely Liar, Leah Siegel, Gary Marcus, Lovely Liar and more) will back him up. The public is invited to join (if they can uke it up) for the Uke Mob on the first three songs. Free, no RSVP required.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

This goes out to Badge and Wristband holders only. And, honestly, even if you have one of those it’s gonna be hard to get in. It is the opinion of your editor that other than Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen is the best rock musician America has ever produced. He’s going to be the keynote speaker for 2012 on March 15th, and that’s going on at the Austin Convention Center. But that night he’ll play one of his legendary, probably 3-hour concerts. The chance to see an “intimate” concert with the E Street Band is not to be missed. Especially as they’re going to be playing material from the recently-released Wrecking Ball, the best album Springsteen has released in a decade. The venue is still being kept under wraps, and tickets must be obtained via entrance into a special raffle drawing. You can read the rules here. Good luck.

But if you don’t get into see Springsteen, don’t fret. Obviously, there’s a plethora of great things to pick from here. Chart your course and rock on.

Stay tuned to AME for more SXSW details.