The most average releases of March 2012

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Are we going to look back at 2012 as the year South by Southwest became irrelevant? All the usual trappings were there– bands playing a million shows until they fall down, free booze, free food, breakfast tacos, publicists-gone-wild – except for one: a really wild underground scene. OK, so Dan Deacon and Andrew WK and Grimes played in some field house far out of the center of Austin, and A$AP Rocky caused what seemed like a Vice-engineered riot, and the Imposition was really fun and everyone loved it and it was the best four nights of the whole festival, but what else? Many bands who didn't go have told us they were glad that they didn't bother. For the editors of Impose, it was difficult: what new bands did we get to see that blew our minds? It seemed like the corporate excesses had taken their toll and upped the need for draw so much that the whole point of the festival – independent bands getting new levels of exposure – was obscured behind Jay Z's stadium appearance. We're not saying we won't be back next year; someone has to keep the flame burning. But maybe we should consider lowering the price of entry, both literally, for attendees (passes cost a whopping $750 this year) and figuratively for bands, to keep the nominal reason why we all attend in place.

This month in eh…

Choir of Young Believers, Rhine Gold [Ghostly International]
The Shins, Port of Morrow [Columbia/Aural Apothecary]
Seapunk in the New York Times
The Odd Future tape, except for “Oldie” [Columbia]
Mike Wexler, Dispossession [Mexican Summer]
Ceremony, Zoo [Matador]
The Mars Volta Nocturniquet [Warner Bros]
The giant Doritos stage at SXSW
The Fader Fort at SXSW
The Spotify House at SXSW
The Google Parking Lot at SXSW
Madonna, MDNA [Interscope]
The Ting Tings, Sounds from Nowheresville [Columbia]
The Decembrists, We All Raise Our Voices to the Air [Capitol]
Lee Ranaldo, Between the Times and the Tide [Matador]
Tanlines, Mixed Emotions [True Panther Sounds] The Hunger Games, but even more to the point, The Lorax
Kaiser Chiefs, Start the Revolution [B-Unique]
Anti-Flag naming their record The General Strike [Sad OWS co-option]