SXSW 2008

Vampire Weekend (above), the buzziest of current buzz bands, was one of the hot acts I caught at the South by Southwest Music & Media Conference. For 4 nights in 80 venues, the Texas town of Austin - the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World - hosted the biggest music festival in the world.

This year's fest was the 22nd annual installment, and I'm proud (and a little bit weary) to say that I've now attended the last 11. And this year, I covered it by doing the daily Bitstream blog, baby. So click on the links below for the full scoop on every one of the 30 acts I saw - as well as the keynote interview with none other than Lou Reed. (Vampire Weekend photo by Ebet Roberts.)

The Night Before My Top 5 Personal Rules for Doing SXSW, including Rule No. 1: Do Not See R.E.M. or Any Other Huge, Already-Superstar Bands.
Day 1: From Dragonette to Be Your Own Pet Also up: Bo Pepper, Paul Kelly, Great Lakes Myth Society, and much more. And what's this? 43 Songs About 43 Presidencies?
Keynote Interview with Lou Reed When it comes to sound quality, "the technology is taking us backwards," says Reed. "It's making it easier to make things worse." Soon, "people who like good sound are gonna be thought of as some kind of strange zoo animal."
Day 2: Soiled Mattress & the Springs? I'm not making that up; that's a real band name! Or perhaps you prefer Glossary or Gowns? Boys in a Band or Uh Huh Her? Then there's the attack of the Y's: Raya Yarbrough and Yeasayer!
Day 3: Scamp? Tramp? A Weekend of Vamp! Yes, it's Friday, and the long-awaited official Vampire Weekend showcase is here. Does the band deliver? Plus everything from Bear in Heaven to Vancougar. And who is Basia Bulat?
Day 4: International Night Brooklyn calling - and Brazil, too. Not to mention Hanne Hukkelberg (from Norway) and The Soundtrack of Our Lives (from Sweden). Hang on for a festival-closing span of the globe, also taking in a bit of Mexico and almost running by Iran!