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SXSW 2014: See & Hear the Highlights

by Rita Houston
Photo by John Vettese/WXPN

It's hard to imagine another U.S. city that could host SXSW as completely as Austin does. Every bar, restaurant, parking lot, rooftop, hotel lobby, grocery store, record shop, coffee shop or abandoned building has a stage, a PA, and a band looking for an audience of any kind. Music becomes the primary focus of the entire city. There is nothing quite like it.

Ages and Ages at SXSW 2014

by Laura Fedele

Ages and Ages (@AgesandAges) calls themselves "a collective of like-minded souls [who] believe in the power of music to change the world and elevate the spirit." Their uplifting music, with lyrics by bandleader Tim Perry, delivers serious messages accompanied by handclaps, shakers and noise-makers.

Thumpers at SXSW 2014

by Laura Fedele

Childhood friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. regrouped in 2012 after their previous band fell apart, and the two began writing music that would become the first Thumpers (@Thumpers) songs via email.

Following a couple of well-received EPs, the London alt-pop duo just released their debut album, Galore, filled with bouncy melodies and fun, catchy songs. Their live show is known to bring any number of friends and bandmates to the party.

WFUV at SXSW 2014: Temples

by Rita Houston

Temples has generated a whole lotta adulation in a short time. Formed in Northamptonshire, England in 2012 by singer-guitarist James Edward Bagshaw and bassist Thomas Edison Warmsley, they've mesmerized the press and some heavy-hitting rock god fans as well.

Plus they look fabulous. It's like Marc Bolan has somehow been reincarnated with his guitar collection intact.

WFUV at SXSW 2014: Phantogram

by Rita Houston

New York's Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter record their trippy street-pop tunes in a creaky old barn upstate, which gives their sound an airy, organic feel. As Phantogram, they've released two full-length albums and four EPs, and they drew on some old and some new for the Public Radio Rocks showcase at SXSW 2014.

We think they're due to have one of the big songs of the year with "Fall in Love" -- take a listen and see what you think.

WFUV at SXSW 2014: The Hold Steady

by Rita Houston

Brooklyn in the house! There isn't much that's more fun in this world than a Hold Steady show. The first note of their set at the Public Radio Rocks showcase worked like a dog whistle, bringing their sing-along fans to the Convention Center to squash into the photo pit and generally wreak merry havoc.

WFUV at SXSW 2014: Lucius

by Rita Houston

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: We love Lucius.

The vocal team of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, whose voices blend like one,  are the center of the beautiful and enthusiastic combo that is Lucius. Dan Molad, part of the songwriting and production mojo behind the band, along with Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri, round out the sound and vision.

WFUV at SXSW 2014: Damon Albarn

by Rita Houston

Damon Albarn gets a big crowd wherever he goes, and we think it's because nobody knows just what he's going to do next.

From the big-influence, critical darling days of Blur in the '90s, to the massive success of 'virtual band' Gorillaz, to The Good the Bad and the Queen project, Damon has kept evolving. His musical journeys with African artists, his two operas, and his work as a record producer expand his world - and ours - even more.