DOUG BROD, EDITOR, SPIN
Best Set: My Morning Jacket at Austin Music Hall
Best Discovery: (Tie) Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, the Heavy, and the Last Vegas (not officially part of SXSW, though)
Biggest Disappointment: Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong walked off after two songs.
Bummed I Didn’t Catch…: The Ting Tings
People Were Really Talking About…: How No Age were great and yes, they have tunes, really, swear to God!
STEVE KANDELL, DEPUTY EDITOR, SPIN
Best Set: Jay Reatard at the French Legation Museum: Rocked harder in 15 minutes than some bands will their entire silly careers.
Best Discovery: Sam’s BBQ in East Austin
Biggest Disappointment: Michael Stipe rallying against our depraved tabloid-damaged, celeb-obsessed culture…and then dedicating a song to Heath Ledger.
Bummed I Didn’t Catch…: Monotonix. if you’re gonna be crammed into a small space seeing something bizarre and unfamiliar, that sounded like the way to do it.
People Were Really Talking About…: How much better South by Southwest was five years ago, you know, before it got so corporate.
PETER GASTON, INTERACTIVE DIRECTOR, SPIN
Best Set: White Rabbits at Club de Ville
Best Discovery: Anthony Green of Circa Survive, performing a stripped down, surprisingly docile, solo set of all-new material on Friday.
Biggest Disappointment: Los Campesinos! Their spazzy singer needs to be turned down. A lot.
Bummed I Didn’t Catch…: Lord T and Eloise, whose aristocrunk was rocking my world pre-SXSW.
People Were Really Talking About…: The Cool Kids. Seemed like everywhere they played became the hot ticket for that hour.
MELISSA GOLDSTEIN, ARTS+CULTURE EDITOR, 7×7
Best Set: Tilly and the Wall at Habana Calle 6
Best Discovery: Hymns
Biggest Disappointment: R.E.M. It’s not that they were bad, but they also weren’t amazing.
Bummed I Didn’t Catch…: FM Belfast: mouth-wateringly described by a pal as “an Icelandic Hot Chip who decorate everything with Christmas lights.”
People Were Really Talking About…: The Helio Sequence
WILLIAM GOODMAN, EDITORIAL ASSISTANT, SPIN.COM
Best Set: Helio Sequence at the Sub Pop showcase Friday night
Best Discovery: Flowers Forever. Derek Pressnall has catchy art-rock tunes for days and wacky showmanship to boot.
Biggest Disappointment: Sadly, the Breeders. Saturday’s Mess with Texas set was no match for co-headliner NOFX.
Bummed I Didn’t Catch…: My Morning Jacket. I’ve STILL yet to catch the band’s legendary live show.
People Were Really Talking About…: No Age and Fucked Up’s wild 2 A.M. show on the bridge.