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Miike Snow’s set "had the entire crowd dancing and singing along."
——UMP’s James Cheney
LEVEN’S SXSW DISPATCH: DAY TWO
Industryites Chime In With Their Fave Raves From Thursday’s Action
As I predicted, the virtual SXSW experience is a conflicted and strange one. I find myself alternately very closely monitoring email, twitter and the zillion websites covering the festival to see just what's going on or else hiding from the coverage to avoid focusing with pain on all that I'm missing. Still, the sporadic flows of communication seem to suggest a few common themes. The Crash Kings seem to have killed it at the Roxy showcase, while the buzz that has surrounded Neon Trees for much of the year seems to follow them to their SXSW performances. My colleague and former uber-rock-critic Richard Grabel gave a shout out to the Smith Westerns, while pointing out proudly that our very own Local Natives have more than justified the breathless press they've gotten this week (for that band, the only thing bigger than last year's SXSW buzz seems to be this year's).

 Multiple reports celebrated Miike Snow's show last night. "[It] had the entire crowd dancing and singing along," said Universal Music Publishing's James Cheney, who also flagged Free Energy's Fader party set as another standout. Downtown A&R honcho Michael Howe gave high marks to Megaphonic Thrift, Chasing Kings and Yawn, while my longtime Texas buddy and talented manager friend Jed Peters raved about Dallas band Little Black Dress' show at the Hideout Theater last night. "The band has recently replaced its drummer with a Roland and it seems to be for the better," he notes. Supposedly Andrew W.K.'s set last night was so raucous that it actually BROKE THE STAGE. So far no reports of an Ozomatli arrest to mirror their infamous 2004 conga line bust by Austin's finest, but their new album is hot enough that the show could bring some havoc regardless. Other standout shows seem to include the Drive-By Truckers' set at Stubbs, Hayes Carll, Fighting With Wire and Band of Horses—and as I'm writing this, there seems to be a lot of traffic en route to the Get Busy Committee set.

 Meme of the week: at least 70% of the tweets, emails and dispatches describe one band or another "killing it." Clearly "it" has been gunned down in every way, shape or form.

 In secret show news, Superchunk made a surprise appearance at the Merge party, while Robby Krieger's mini-set of Doors tunes added a twist to the Stone Temple Pilots gig. Also, some folks seemed a bit preoccupied with Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning's apparently surprise appearance at the Runaways screening. As in years past, it seems that SXSW is the best possible place to do promo on a music pic!

 As the music community continues to adjust to the passing of Alex Chilton, early word suggests that Big Star's weekend set may still go on, perhaps featuring a notable stand-in as a tribute. There's solace in numbers, perhaps, and certainly the festival is as good a wake as a musician of his caliber can have. At any rate, as my once-removed coverage continues, I do get a sense that the more things change, the more perhaps they stay the same. A thousand bands a zillion fans, BBQ, Shiner Bock and the Austin sun are a combination that never wears thin. And as I monitor it from afar, my own sacrilegious Passover-inspired mantra continues… "next year in Austin, next year in Austin…"

ANOTHER BILLIE BANGER? (UPDATE)
Are you free Wednesday afternoon? (11/12a)
BIEBER BY CHRISTMAS?
How's that for a tease, Bieber Nation? (11/12a)
NEAR TRUTHS: MEET
THE NEW BOSSES
Not the same as the old bosses (11/12a)
CMA CENTERPIECE
CARRIE UNDERWOOD
This sure feels like her moment. (11/12a)
WHO'S GETTING ZERVAS?
It's down to two bidders. (11/12a)
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH KANYE
And lo, there was much earned media.
MOE, MARSHMELLO AND MONEY
The story of a "faceless" brand that got very, very big.
THE NEW WORLD OF A&R
The trap they all fell into.
GRAMMY NOMS
Who deserves consideration in the genre categories?
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