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If you see me in Austin, then I’m not dead. Not technically, anyway. If I’m swooning to The Posies, The Hives, Pete Yorn, Dan Wilson, The Shore, The Thrills, The Southland, The Veils, Big Star, Clearlake or any of the above-mentioned bands, please don’t take it personally if I don’t notice you (unless you can get me into the Franz Ferdinand show at Emo’s).

IVANA'S MIND IS SPOTTED BY THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF BEING IN AUSTIN FOR SXSW

She Tries to Erase Her Memories and Replace Them With Some of Elefant, Hanson, Franz Ferdinand, Sugarcult, Autopilot Off

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
I’m leaving for SXSW in the morning, and since I’m becoming more distracted in my dotage, assembling a checklist so I won’t forget anything that's critical. Upgrade flights—check; FedEx clothes to hotel in advance (including every possible color combination of C&C California T-shirt)—check; Load iPod with music meant to quell my horrific fear of flying—check; Pack the copy of Barry Glassner’s The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things Jenni lent me, bookmark the chapter on flying—check; Benadryl—check; Melatonin—check; Jody Denberg’s cell-phone number—check; Store hours for By George—check; Performance schedules for every SXSW appearance by The Polyphonic Spree, Calexico, Keaton Simons, Jon Langford (for David Cohn) and Aqualung—check! There’s no way my plane will explode in mid-air when it’s bringing me to the Spree, right?

Statistically, it’s a million times more likely I’ll die in a fiery car crash (or a fiery furnace!) than on a plane, but that didn’t keep me from braving Friday traffic (and five hours of my life I’ll never get back) for a pilgrimage to San Diego, where my pals Garett and Halloran were waiting to accompany me to the sold-out Elefant show. Ever the gentleman, Halloran offered to carry the box of CDs I was holding, quickly pulling out the soundtrack for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, so he could put the new Beck track immediately on KBZT, as well as some other CDs he didn’t think I’d notice were missing (I did). Once in Garett’s office, I commandeered the stereo and played DJ, assuring them that not every song I wanted to play was by The Polyphonic Spree (just most).

We listened to everything from Hanson ("Underneath," the song they co-wrote with Matthew Sweet) to Franz Ferdinand to JC Chasez (Halloran thought it was the Human League), with Wheat, Sia (new solo CD from one of the vocalists in Zero 7), TV on the Radio, Elefant (hard to hear over Halloran’s Morrissey impersonation), Air (one of my all-time favorite bands), Aqualung, The Ordinary Boys, Danger Mouse, among others, thrown into the mix, and finishing with The Von Bondies’ "C’mon, C’mon" (which Halloran declared, "is the best Detroit rock song in decades!") Hours spent geeking-out on music, followed by a hearty meal, was the bolt of energy we needed to meet Palm PicturesGreg Seese at the club for Elefant’s midnight set. Without question, Elefant singer Diego is the most compelling front-man you’ve never seen. Lucky for me, I grew up in the era of the "rock star," and it’s quite a shame that there are so few in music today. Diego’s presence isn’t contrived, mannered or forced, it just is. "Misfit" could/will be a PoMo smash, I have absolute faith.

Hooray to Rob Goldklang and our Warner Bros. friends for another genius week on Muse’s "Time Is Running Out," including Q101, KNRK, WPBZ, CIMX, WSUN and many more. Muse plus Fire Theft equals the exciting and vital return of prog! "I love that song—it’s in 13/8 and I can’t possibly dance to it!"

Speaking of the aforementioned Franz Ferdinand, there is no better song this year than "Take Me Out." The incomparable Epic gang will have the privilege of working this extraordinary CD, which has been launched Stateside with a big KROQ add this week. Did you hear the band’s live performance on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic yesterday? It was incredible! More cheers to Joel, new dad J.J. and Margie for another tremendous Modest Mouse week, as K-Rock, KPNT, KUCD, among others, added "Float On."

 A breakthrough week for another favorite, as Aaron Scott at Universal reeled in 99X and KTBZ on "Mad World"... Sherri Trahan is quarterbacking the Sugarcult single, "Memory," which was added at WFNX, KEDJ, WZNE, WBUZ and every other station whose PD I’m buying drinks for at SXSW… Yellowcard’s "Ocean Avenue" is exploding. Too bad you’ve already made up your mind (and you’re wrong, by the way)… Island switched Autopilot Off’s "What I Want" to Most Added this week. This song was co-written with Tim Armstrong from Rancid (who used to mean something to you, before you abandoned music for the sake of beer money)…

If you see me in Austin, then I’m not dead. Not technically, anyway. If I’m swooning to The Posies, The Hives, Pete Yorn, Dan Wilson, The Shore, The Thrills, The Southland, The Veils, Big Star, Clearlake or any of the above-mentioned bands, please don’t take it personally if I don’t notice you (unless you can get me into the Franz Ferdinand show at Emo’s).

SONG TO HEAR: Keaton Simons’ "Currently"… 

PEOPLE TO WATCH: Melody Lee, Toby Ryan, Nic Harcourt, Johnny Knoxville, Roger Alan Wade, Matt Smith, Geordie Gillespie, Tim DeLaughter, Jim McGuinn, Gaby Skolnek and Jody Denberg.

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