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South by Southwest 2012: What to expect

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Topline Stars
Bruce Springsteen
In addition to delivering the music conference’s keynote address, the Boss will play with his E Street Band at a still-unannounced intimate venue — or at least more intimate than the Meadowlands.

Norah Jones
Her upcoming Danger Mouse-produced album, …Little Broken Hearts, hints at an edgier Norah than we’re used to.

The Shins
Reconfigured and recharged, the James Mercer-led indie champs return from a five-year recess to headline a free riverside show.

B.o.B
The ”So Good” rapper hits up the fest for the second straight year, ensuring the ATL flag flies high in ATX. (Fellow Atlanta MCs T.I. and 2 Chainz will also be in town.)

Nostalgia Acts
Fiona Apple
1997’s favorite vegan songstress plots her comeback with several shows, including one in a historic Austin church.

Dinosaur Jr.
Nearly 30 years in, the noisy underground heroes (reunited as of ’05) are still giving loyal Freak Scenesters a reason to call the babysitter.

Big Star tribute
A coalition of musicians (including members of R.E.M. and the dB’s) will pay their respects to the hugely influential power-pop band, whose frontman Alex Chilton died days before a slated SXSW show two years ago.

The Cult
England’s beloved pirate-shirted post-punkers will bring (we hope!) ”She Sells Sanctuary” and other gems to their third — yes, third — reunion since their late-’90s breakup.

Next Big Things
Grimes
Claire Boucher’s recent electro-pop debut, Visions, is already a blog favorite; now fans will get plenty of chances to see her IRL.

Black Hippy
Odd Future hit it big last year, but there’ll be a whole new L.A.-based rap collective — featuring Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and other up-and-comers — soaking up the hype this month.

Tanlines
The band’s name says it all: warm, globally informed dance pop built on textured synths and pulsing rhythms. Consider it a good use of all that SXSW sunshine.

A$AP Rocky
This 23-year-old Harlem phenom has an elite East Coast rap pedigree — his mother named him Rakim, as in Eric B. & Rakim — but the kid’s woozy, Houston-influenced sound will please listeners all over the map.

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