London-born Minneapolis transplant Guy Low played bass and wrote songs for a panoply of local bands over the years, from punk to post-preprotopunk, and even psychedelic shoegazepunk. But this time around he'd written songs for a band that didn't yet exist. This time he'd written songs simply to hear Amy Buchanan sing them. Duluth-born Amy Buchanan began singing on the Minneapolis scene when she was seventeen, and her work spans a myriad of styles from rock and pop to musical theater and cabaret. Her voice conveys considerable emotional range and power, fine-tuned with a deft yet sumptuous sense of delicacy.

The results in studio when Buchanan gave voice to Low's provocative lyrics burst the bonds of simple chemistry and spilled over into pure lead-into-gold alchemy. The smoky, lascivious vibe captured in those first sessions was absolute aural magic, and the pair set to work right away pulling together a live band in order to further develop that special 3am sound. Demonstration Suite is The Splendid End's first album, a thirteen song chronicle of empathy and excess, chiseled for the ages out of solid rock. The full band features Buchanan and Low along with guitarist Darren Harff, drummer Sam Ridenour, and keyboard wunderkind Ricky Carlson. The sound and vibe have coalesced, the tunes have been stage-seasoned, and now the first album has been recorded with loving care by Tommy Tousey of Silver Ant Studio, in the heart of the historic Minneapolis warehouse district. [Facebook Event]

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TUESDAY: Private Event


Take seven strangers and put them in a house, and someone who goes by Puck will become a household name. Lob the same amount of incredibly creative men together in one town, and you'll get something phenomenal, such as PigPen Theatre Co. The hilarious, creative, and endlessly inventive gaggle of gentlemen got their start at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, where their backgrounds as actors, musicians, and storytellers came together to form the multifaceted, unprecedented troupe they perform as today. With incredible songs, heartfelt stories and, okay fine, crazy-cute looks, this may be the closest we'll get to a boy band for the thinking girl — which, clearly, we're totally cool with. [Refinery 29]

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The Lone Bellow, Alabama Shakes, The Decemberists, Mumford & Sons


New York band Skaters want to be your new party soundtrack. Wait, scratch that—this trio doesn't want to deliver the late-night anthems only to you. [...] This particular brand of ear candy might be tough to pinpoint, but expect some irresistible pop-punk melodies mashed up with scuzzy guitar riffs, drums, and a rebellious rocker vibe. Not surprisingly, the band cites groups like the Ramones as a major influence ("They're just the total package, period," Cummings says), but they say New York itself is full of inspiration, from South Brooklyn Pizza to specialty underground magazine stands. It's going to be a while before they're back in the Manhattan, groove, though. [...] The one thing they won't be doing? Skateboarding. "We don't know how to skate, we don't skate, and yet, we've been asked this question approximately 300 times," Cummings says with a laugh."We just thought the name was cool." Agreed. [NYLON]

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FRIDAY: Arts & Crafts Tour feat. REUBEN & THE DARK, NO, and THE DARCYS

Arts & Crafts is proud to announce a North American tour featuring three of our exciting young artists, showcasing across the continent this March and April. The tour package is an extension of Arts & Crafts' long-standing collaborative spirit and is the latest in a tradition of A&C label packages that began with Broken Social Scene, Feist and Stars nearly a decade ago. Bands will share stages and rotate slots throughout the tour - which includes a stop at SXSW - collaborating on exclusives and offering fans a unique live experience driven by Arts & Crafts' continued commitment to fostering creativity and discovery.

Los Angeles six-piece NO released their debut album El Prado on February 18, having teased the anticipated record with first single "Leave The Door Wide Open" and a haunting cover of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." Toronto art-rock quartet The Darcys released its latest album Warring in late 2013 to critical acclaim, described by SPIN as a "pretty hybrid of Local Natives and Atoms For Peace" and recently hailed by NYLON as "your new favourite band." Emerging Calgary folk rock outfit Reuben And The Dark are building towards the Spring 2014 release of its anticipated debut full-length, already buoyed by the success of a North American tour with Paper Kites and incredible reaction to debut singles "Rolling Stone" and "Shoulderblade."

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Pickwick, Bad Suns, Broken Social Scene, Department of Eagles, Plants and Animals


There's the hair, then there are the glasses, but ultimately there is a person who is a magnet for positive energy, emotion, and creating stories. While he feels a deep connection to his past – Jake Clemons continues to make a deep connection in the present by living life to it's fullest through a musical journey. If you take the mysterious, rugged side of Johnny Cash and mix it with the soulful down to earth love child of Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons – shaken not stirred of course – you end up with the unique and talented Jake Clemons. He plays the guitar, sax, piano, and drums, he writes music, he sings, he loves rock 'n roll! If you are still wondering who Jake Clemons is then consider that he has shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Swell Season, The Roots, and Eddie Vedder to name a few. This is the roster of a man who is leaving a legacy of storytelling.

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Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band, Nils Lofgren


Perfect Pussy are one of the boldest and most intriguing projects to surface in recent years, garnering widespread critical acclaim following a self-released four song cassette-only EP, titled I have lost all desire for feeling. Veiled beneath layers of exquisitely abrasive noise, frontwoman Meredith Graves' lyrics are disarming, brutally honest and poetic, possessing a feverish intensity that can only be matched by her electric stage presence. The band's debut full length and first release on Captured Tracks, Say Yes to Love, is a frenetic and fast-paced juggernaut, capturing a pivotal young band just as it's ready to explode.

Hailing from Syracuse, New York, the band is comprised of members from the local punk, noise and hardcore community. Graves (26, ex-Shoppers) and bassist Greg Ambler (30, numerous grind/hardcore bands) founded the band and were joined by Ray McAndrew (guitarist, 21) and Garrett Koloski (drummer, 23), both of whom cite The VSS, Nick Cave and Sonic Youth as primary influences. Shaun Sutkus, the group's in-house engineer/producer, rounds out the five-piece and names influences ranging from Stockhausen to "science" and Glenn Gould, a combination that explains the band's consistent keyboards and layered noise textures. Mix this with Graves' magnetic stage charisma and unique approach to singing (her background is rooted in both theater and opera) filtered through an equal love of Kate Bush and Cro-Mags, and you'll see how they arrived at such a beautifully menacing sound.

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Fucked Up, Japandroids, Speedy Ortiz, METZ, White Lung, Ponytail