As I write this (and roughly a week before you read it), the mother of all music festivals is underway at Austin, Texas. It’s the South by South-West festival, commonly referred to as SXSW, and has been on for the past 23 years. In 1994, in addition to music, SXSW included film and interactive media conferences and has now become an important fixture on the world’s film festival circuit. But it is the music that is at the core of SXSW and what really excites me about this annual festival that happens in March. Read more

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Years back when I used to complain about friends not returning my vinyls, cassettes or CDs, my father used to tell me about how in the 1950s, a friend of his would simply carry empty sacks once a year to the homes of people he’d lent books to in order to recover them. “I have come to take back all the books you have borrowed and never returned,” used to be his oft-used line. There were other, more unreliable, ways of recovering books once lent. My father himself would browse the roadside second-hand book stalls in Calcutta and often find copies of books that he had “lost” turn up there, complete with his name written on the title pages. Of course, he’d have to recover them for a price! Read more

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In January I’d written how I couldn’t wait for the new album from Frightened Rabbit, the Scottish rockers whom I rate as one of the finest bands on the scene now. Well, The Winter of Mixed Drinks is out now and, as I write this (a week before you’re going to be reading it), it’s been rotating on my playlist for the past four days. Read more

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There are some bands that divide rock music fans into two unambiguous groups. One group that knows all that is worth (and even not worth) knowing about them; and, the other that hasn’t even heard of them. I can think of a few bands that are like that. Take Joy Division. These British harbingers of post-punk melancholic music were a band that was nipped in the bud (1976-80) when frontman Ian Curtis killed himself but their influence was huge. Yet, they’re a band that either you’ve heard and adore and know everything about (including how bad Control, the 2007 biopic on Curtis, was) or you’ve never even heard of them.

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