As is the case every March, Austin, Texas, has become the center of the musical universe for one week, as the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival attracts thousands of bands, bloggers, and industry bigwigs for several days of debauchery and tunes.  And, as is the case every year, the ostensibly “indie” fest has thus far been more notable for the established artists who show up for surprise sets or impossible-to-get-into concerts.  Below, we’ve amassed a roundup of the big-name-news that marked the fest thus far.

  • Earlier this week, we reported that while speaking at SXSW, the insufferably pretentious Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan asserted that he was part of a musical generation that “changed the world,” and all rock musicians after him are “posers.”  Nice.
  • During her NPR showcase at Stubb’s, Fiona Apple dropped three new songs from her upcoming record (her first in seven years), and Pitchfork noted that “in no time the trademark live-action Fiona was in full force, complete with exaggerated trembles and shakes, singing that hovered close to growling or screaming, minutes-long jam-outs (she brought along a full band), full-body heaves of breath and demonic facial contortions.”
  • For some reason, Billboard thought the best way to make a splash at an indie fest would be to hold a Lionel Richie concert with a guest duet with Kenny Rogers.  Nothing makes sense anymore.
  • According to Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen, who is set to play an intimate show at SXSW, made waves by “making a surprise appearance on lead guitar and occasional vocals during Alejandro Escovedo‘s closing set at the 30th annual Austin Music Awards, at the Austin Music Hall on March 14th.”  Which pretty much solidifies Springsteen as the coolest geriatric rocker, well, ever.

What do you think of the SXSW news?