The music portion of South by Southwest is always a slog, but now it's largely a slog in service to America's corporate overlords and celebrity elite. Along with presenting promising new artists, this year's Austin confab served as a tool for big names like Justin Timberlake, Iggy Pop, and Prince to grab eyeballs ahead of promotional cycles, usually with the help of some major brand. (Insert the name of your favorite heavily flavored corn chip, cellphone maker, or rebooted social network here.) Luckily, except for a certain big East Bay group, we stayed away from large shows and explored Austin's endless sea of small clubs, making sure to catch rising Bay Area artists who made the... More >>>