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SXSW, Hopeful Heroines, and Indy Music Awards




Maybe you went down to Austin for this year's South By Southwest music festival. Or maybe you just perused the list of 2,200-plus showcasing artists who performed for the 25,000 "industry representatives" in attendance.

In any case, you probably didn't notice a lot of Colorado Springs musicians on the roster.

That's because there weren't any. (Or at least none that turned up in my state-of-the-art document search.)

There are several reasons for this, such as:

• Tons of musicians apply each year.

• Many of them come from exotic foreign countries like, um, England, or hipster music meccas, like Brooklyn.

• SXSW judges may be as clueless as music critics.

• It costs a small fortune to take time off work, pay for gas to Texas and back, rent a couple Motel 6 rooms that are 40 miles outside of Austin, and then play for free.

Obviously, if you're a local musician, all of the above realities are beyond your control. But there's one other factor — the most important one —and that's the need to actually apply in the first place.

All of which brings us to the announcement that SXSW will begin accepting applications next Tuesday, July 9. The fee is $33, and you can find all the info at Granted, the cutoff point isn't until Oct. 11, but the application fee goes up along the way. And face it: If you start procrastinating now, you're going to forget all about it. Which means you won't be able to place the blame on judges, hipsters and foreigners. (Although I guess you still could, if you really wanted to.)

Moving along to more immediate opportunities, the Hopeful Heroines are reuniting for a one-off gig Sunday at the Pikes Peak Arts Fest.

"I know people have been curious about what's going on," says Heroine Xanthe Alexis of her and musical partner Harriett Landrum's three-month hiatus. "The real reasons are not nearly as dramatic as what I'm sure people speculate."

Among them, she explains, is her training as a trauma therapist, involvement in an integrative health clinic, and parenting responsibilities — a combination that's led to her setting aside music for a while.

"Also, Harriett has been working hard on her own solo material, which is really good stuff," she adds. "We are sisters and will never stop playing music together, but for now performances will be a bit more rare."

Other performers at the free annual festival, which runs Friday through Sunday at America the Beautiful Park, will include the Charlie Milo Trio, Ben Knighten, the Chauncy Crandall Band, Mistura Bela, Tribe, Molly Boyles & Lipstick Voodoo, the Haunted Windchimes' Desirae Garcia, Dog Days (an indie-retro-rock-pop band featuring fellow Windchimes founder Inaiah Lujan) and lots more. Find the full schedule at

Elsewhere, you can catch Joe Johnson celebrating his 10th anniversary in Colorado on Saturday at Front Range Barbeque. The Mississippi native and Creating a Newsense cofounder will be playing his first set solo, followed by a second set with his current band.

Meanwhile, Pueblo-bound hip-hop fans can celebrate the Fourth of July a day early when Minnesota turntablist DJ Abilities comes to Phil's Radiator this Wednesday. The Rhymesayers recording artist will be headlining a show with Bullhead*ded and other local favorites.

This being a holiday week and all, I should also mention that 4th of July, the impressive new alt-rock debut from Knight in Colors, is now available for download from both iTunes and the group's bandcamp site. You can also pick up a physical CD at a show or from

Also on the new-release front, local hip-hop emcee Reflecshaun is releasing an avalanche of new material to make up for the 15-month pause since the release of his Shards of Glass debut. His LoveHate LP dropped last week as a "name your price" download at And July 30, look for his Colorado Collabos Vol. 1 CD, followed on Aug. 20 by the Ibe Hustles-produced Mirrors Edge EP.

You should also know that now is the time to turn to the Indy Music Awards ballot here — and be among the first to vote for your favorite local musicians. Voting runs through July 19 at 11:59 p.m.

And in very much related news, the third annual Indy Music Festival will take place on Sept. 5. And yes, it will be bigger, it will be better, and it will be moving to downtown Tejon Street, where this year's winners will perform on several indoor and outdoor stages. So if you want your favorites to be among them, don't forget to vote.

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