Love it or hate it, but you can’t deny that SXSW is the biggest event of the year for music and technology. Nowhere else do so many music nerds and tech geeks gather in such numbers, for so long. As the veteran of more SXSWs than I can remember, I have even started buying footwear specifically intended to help me survive it.
We’ve seen plenty of ways to listen to the bands that play SXSW, including the massive torrent file that appears each year. We’ve also seen apps, like this one, which was shut down by SXSW, that purport to apply your personal taste to all of the bands playing at SXSW, to make it easier to figure out which new artists to listen to. Perhaps having been inspired by those (including the now non-functional SXSW.fm), SXSW has launched its own streaming radio service, called SXSWfm, at audio.sxsw.com/player.html.
Compared to the internet radio we’ve become accustomed to, SXSW’s radio web app is annoyingly non-configurable. There’s no “skip,” “favorite,” or anything of that nature. If not for the “buy” button at the bottom of the screen, this could be a standard FM radio station.
However, half the fun of listening to digital music is that you can rotate between as many apps as you want, rather than relying on the same stale old iPod. In that context, SXSWfm is worth checking out, if only because SXSW knows which bands played there in the past, and which bands might play there next year. If you like to stay on the cutting edge, you’ll likely find something worth exploring further, if you listen for long enough.
As I write this, I am enjoying a nice jam called “Big Talk” from a band called Red Baraat, courtesy of SXSWfm. I’ve never heard of them, but now I’m considering adding them to my Rdio collection. See? It works. Sometimes.
If you’re into a specific genre (indie rock, hip-hop, Americana, or EDM), SXSWfm might be able to help you even further — but you’ll have to remember to tune in at a certain time, just like grandpa used to do with his favorite AM and FM programs. None of the following are available on-demand.
Still, if you remember to add them to your calendar, SXSWfm now includes the following specialty programs:
Indie/Psych Rock and more
Tuesdays at 6am, 12pm, & 6pm CDT
Wednesdays at 12am CDT
The Backbeat is SXSWfm’s rock specialty show that will air weekly on Tuesdays at midnight, 6am, noon, and 6pm CST. The show specializes in genres including psychedelia, punk, garage, indie, and electronic rock. You can tune in to hear artists such as Black Lips, Fear Of Men, Youth Lagoon, Natural Child, A Place to Bury Strangers, and more.
In music, a backbeat is a syncopated accentuation on the “off” beat and can be heard in much of today’s music played on the snare drum. This type of beat first arose in the late 1940s and has spanned across genres including jazz and rockabilly.
The Backbeat’s host, Jessica Pickett, is a SXSW Music Festival Assistant Coordinator.
Host of Tha Fixx Radio
Tha Fixx Radio
Wednesdays at 6am, 12pm, & 6pm CDT
Thursdays at 12am CDT
Tha Fixx Radio is SXSWfm’s weekly hip-hop show airing every Wednesday and hosted by B. Hobbs. Tha Fixx Radio will feature the hottest new music from SXSW hip-hop performers past and present. B. Hobbs will be premiering exclusive tracks and sitting down for interviews with some of today’s biggest hip-hop stars. From Kendrick Lamar and Big K.R.I.T. to Talib Kweli and Bun B, Wednesdays on SXSWfm will be your place for everything hip-hop.
B. Hobbs is an Assistant Music Festival Coordinator here at SXSW.
Kevin Connor, Host of
Americana World Headquarters
Americana World Headquarters
Thursdays at 6am, 12pm, & 6pm CDT
Fridays at 12am CDT
Americana World Headquarters, hosted by Kevin Connor, is SXSWfm’s weekly show focusing on the roots-oriented sound when folk, rock, country, and blues come together. The show features some of the artists nominated for the Americana Music Association’s annual awards, including Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, John Fullbright, and Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale. And you don’t have to be from America to be Americana. You’ll hear Richard Thompson, Kathleen Edwards, Mumford & Sons, and the Dunwells, too.
The host of Americana World Headquarters, Kevin Connor, is SXSWfm’s Programming Manager and a Saturday morning DJ on KUTX.
Host of EDJ
Electronic Dance Music
Fridays at 6am, 12pm, & 6pm CDT
Saturdays at 12am CDT
EDJ is SXSWfm’s hour of complete EDM. Featuring sub-genres from garage, jungle, and drum & bass, to the original chillness of dubstep, right alongside the new hip-hop beats of trap. Whilst appealing to the SXSW community and highlighting the constant transitions of Electronic Dance Music, EDJ illuminates the fact that all EDM eventually forms from one sub-genre to the other, and that SXSW has experienced that evolution for the past 27 years.
Hosted by Dempsey Jones, SXSWfm’s Music Coordinator and a SXSW Volunteer Coordinator.