Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The randomiser says “anyone for some breakfast tacos?”

It’s that time of year when On The Record’s thoughts turn to Texas and we haul ass over the Atlantic for the best binge-gigging session of them all. The South By Southwest music (SXSW) festival kicks off here in Austin …

Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 05:15


It’s that time of year when On The Record’s thoughts turn to Texas and we haul ass over the Atlantic for the best binge-gigging session of them all. The South By Southwest music (SXSW) festival kicks off here in Austin on Wednesday, but we got into town a few days early and have been checking out SXSW Interactive and SXSW Film.

I’ve already had two days of feeding my inner geek at SXSWi and have learned many new buzzwords (my favourite is “redneck proxy variable”). My next job is to find out what they all mean. I’d also like to know if there’s a name to describe hundreds of delegates walking around the halls looking at phones and iPhones rather than at where they’re going.

One unsurprising trend is the strong Obama vibe to the proceedings with panels examining what your start-up can learn from Barack Obama (including pointers from Blue State Digital’s Clay Johnson), how Twitter won the day (Twitter was, remember, a SXSW breakout success back in 2007 so it’s on every agenda here this year) and a fascinating, head-spinning, brilliant keynote from baseball-statto-turned-political-number-cruncher Nate Silver.

Some neat panels too involving someone from Facebook doing their level-best to not be irked when someone in the audience or on the panel bring up Nu-FB and Twitter lookalikability. Kind of takes some of the shine off announcements like Facebook Connect for iPhone. Lots of panels too about how to cope with an economy which is FUBAR, though many of the suggestions are flashes of the blindingly obvious. And naturally, there’s a bit of panel-tease too where panels just don’t live up to their billing.

On the film-front, I’ve seen one awesome flick (Sin Nombre – Cary Joji Fukunaga‚Äôs wonderful thriller/love story is set amongst Mexican gang hard-chaws and desperate immigrants on a train bound for the Amexico border), one very good flick (Moon – low-budget sci-fi thriller with an excellent Sam Rockwell as a Wall-E type dude going stir-crazy working on his own on the moon before strange things begin to happen) and one so-so flick (Alexander the Last – slight, predictable indie fare) so far. The best thing about the film fest is, without a doubt, the Paramount theatre, an old-school picture-house with all the dusty fixings and grandeur.

Question of the day: doesn’t Jack White’s business plan sound like the most lucid piece of commonsense to be applied to the music business in absolute yonks?

Snigger of the day: hello to the many Man-U fans who read OTR on a daily basis. We hope you had a good weekend. Ain’t it a pity that Liverpool can’t play Man-U and Real Madrid every week?

Free advice of the day: on the back of the weekend’s One for the Road benefit, some suggestions about what Road Records might do next to attract customers and business.

Housekeeping: please note this blog is now on US time so any morning comments will get updated early afternoon Irish-time.

Tune of the day: ooooooooooh! Here We Go Magic are also on the long (long) list of bands I want to see this week.

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