Start a Band--and 5 Other Things to Do This Week, Since You're Not at SXSW

Julia Mullen Gordon
Wish you were here?
For those of us unlucky enough to be missing Journalists' Spring Break 2K11, aka South by Southwest, turning on the computer can be pretty depressing this week. The pain started yesterday, with multiple postings of Austin's sunny-and-80 forecast on Twitter, and will last through Sunday, when everyone trickles back to their respective hometowns in vans or via the insanely crowded Austin airport. While they're gone, we're stuck holding down the fort in rainy Seattle. But don't get too bitter! There's still plenty to do in a city largely emptied of musicians and their chroniclers. Here are a few ideas to take your mind off what you're missing:

1. Go to work. Yep, while everyone else is partying in the sun and drinking free Shiner, you're behind your desk as usual. They're probably all eating delicious breakfast tacos. Dammit! OK, you can be a little bitter. Obviously I am.

2. Catch up on First Listens. If you're feeling left out on all the new bands you're not seeing, why not preview some new albums courtesy of NPR? From Wye Oak to Kurt Vile to the Dodos to The Joy Formidable . . . if those aren't cool, I'm sure you could find something to listen to. There are a lot of albums on there.

3. See a show. This is an obvious one. Even though it seems as if all the bands in the country (and to some extent, the world) are in Austin right now, and Capitol Hill is suspiciously depopulated, there's still tons of stuff happening in town this week. You could see Destroyer or Warpaint. Or you could take a chance on any number of bands you've never heard of, which is probably what you'd be doing in Austin anyway.

4. Have a Twitter conversation with Robin Pecknold. Follow @fleetfoxes and engage their frontman on the subject of your choosing. Eric Grandy did it just this week on the topic of audio fidelity. Other suggestions: people who are good at acoustic guitar, the music industry, whether the new album has leaked.

5. Start a band. By this time next year you could be piling in the Windstar and driving the 2,000 miles to Texas.

6. Start saving. If you're not musically inclined, start saving now and you could have enough cash in your change jar for next year's plane ticket. If you don't spend it all on beer at the Capitol Hill Block Party.

Just to rub it in: Check out pics from SXSW (Michael Cera, Civil Wars, Dearling Physique and more.)

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