Sometimes you feel like giving your ears a little break after South by Southwest, but you always come away with one, three or 15 new favorites and plenty of moments to share with your friends. Here are highlights from some of the people we had covering SXSW 2011:Michael Corcoran
OMD at the Spin party Friday. I was expecting to hate them, but on my way I thought I'd give them a song and stayed the whole set. "Enola Gay" was just what I needed.
Black Joe Lewis and the Relatives at Waterloo Records on Thursday. Lewis graciously let the Dallas-based gospel group steal a show that was great even before they took the stage.
Bob Geldof keynote address Thursday. An hour on the D-O-T and not a lull; best SXSW keynote yet.
Walking in as Robert Earl Keen played "Corpus Christi Bay" at ACL Live on Saturday. SXSW is my Corpus Christi Bay.
Foo Fighters at Stubb's on Tuesday. What a treat to see an arena band in a 2,000-capper. And the new album sounds great.Deborah Sengupta Stith
Echocentrics. Sultry and smooth vocals over fuzzed out jazztronic grooves, the perfect SXSW kick-off soundtrack on a breezy spring night.
Fishbone. Frenetic energy, tight harmonies and bombastic horn blasts, Angelo Moore and crew partied like it was 1991.
Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band. Cathartic, explosive soul that reaches deep and shakes you to the core.
Khaira Arby. Desert queen from Mali whose soaring vocal prowess is matched by a divine sense of natural grace.Peter Mongillo
Cults, Glasser and Tune-Yards at the Central Presbyterian Church. The music world is a competition for weirdos, but these three groups, representing rock, experimental music and pop, respectively, are pushing the envelope beyond the mainstream strange fed to us by Lady Gaga.
Carl Broemel at St. David's Bethel Hall. With help from bandmates Tom Blankenship and Bo Koster, the My Morning Jacket guitarist delivered a set of thoughtful, well-crafted singer/songwriter fare.
Deer Tick at Lustre Pearl. Billed as "Deervana," the Rhode Island rockers ended the festival in an unlikely way, with an entire set of Nirvana covers, and fired up the audience to a level rarely seen in recent years at SXSW.Joe Gross
Wild Flag.Their set at the Merge Records showcase was one of the best I have seen in years, an emotional wipe-out up there with shows by such world-class live bands as Fugazi, the Jesus Lizard and, well, Sleater-Kinney, yet it was completely different from all of those. The hype was justified.
The Cave Singers and Cult of Youth.The former played an official SXSW showcase at Red 7 for its label, Jagjaguwar; the latter played an unofficial showcase/party at Beerland for its label, Sacred Bones. Both play a mutant folk music that moved in interesting ways, the sounds of a land that doesn't actually exist.
Beardyman. A complete unknown to me, this English fellow played a day party sponsored by Billboard at Buffalo Billiards and live-looped his own human beatboxing to create a set across the electronic spectrum, from hip-hop to jungle and back. There was almost an element of stand-up comedy to his act, which almost knocked him down to novelty status, except that his riff on dubstep was one of the funniest, canniest de-pantsings of that particular genre I've ever heard. Good job, man.Chad Swiatecki
Charles Bradley. Pain and sorrow rarely sounds as inspirational as from this amazing soul man.
Screaming Females. Rumbling stoner punk from the most accurately named band at SXSW.
Black Angels. Too soon to call them stalwarts, but this Austin psych band is doing everything right at this point.
Telegraph Canyon. Big, wide open roots rock benefited from an unexpectedly excellent venue in Esther's Follies.John T. Davis
Second-line parading down Congress and Sixth St. with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux.
Watching Emmylou Harris in the intimate confines of Antone's, debuting an entire album's worth of new, unreleased material.
Late on Saturday night, beat and thoroughly tired of music, I was heading to my car on Nueces when a raucous musical blast from the tent behind Mellow Johnny's caught my jaded ear. I wandered inside and discovered the Extra Action Marching Band from Oakland, Calif. Part punk show, part New Orleans-style brass band, part guerilla theater gender-bending performance artists, the sheer outrageous theatricality of the troupe put the perfect surreal cap on SXSW 2011.Kelly West
Typhoon at Emo's annex day show. Any time 12 musicians cram on a stage and play incredible music, you can bet I'm going to enjoy it.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band in front of Paramount. I love the energy these guys bring. I wish the show could have been much longer!
Wanda Jackson at South by San José. I was surprised at the large crowd that gathered to hear a septuagenarian country singer, until she belted out her first song. I hope I'm even one-tenth that rowdy when I'm her age.
Deer Tick at Mess With Texas. This party had the best overall lineup of any day show I went to, and Deer Tick definitely brought their A-game. I think if that venue had lasted one more day though, the dust situation would have resembled a certain ACL Fest.
Red Bull dance party on Saturday night. Thousands of people dancing in the street? A most excellent way to end my SX.Jay Janner
Duran Duran at Stubb's. Simon Le Bon's performance of "The Chauffeur" stopped me in my tracks. I had to put down my camera and just enjoy.
The Bangles at Cedar Street Courtyard. They closed their set with "Walk Like An Egyptian." Silly lyrics but a totally rocking song live.
The Black Angels at the Convention Center. I was a little skeptical about seeing them in a huge room at the convention center at noon. They are more of a midnight-type band. But they were awesome as usual, and just what I needed to start my day off right.
Odd Future at The Scoot Inn. Not for their music but their stunts. The singer climbed onto the roof and jumped 12-15 feet down onto the crowd. Photographers love stuff like that.Brian T. Atkinson
Jesse Malin erased lines between folk ("Wendy") and punk ("Burning the Bowery") and rock ("Hotel Columbia") Saturday at Maria's. All forces colliding at once: Perfect.
Dave Alvin's stunning new material (particularly "Harlan County Line") nearly combusted Threadgill's back room on Thursday afternoon, but his tender moment ("Black Rose of Texas," written about late fiddler Amy Farris) resonated most.
Yoko Ono interview. Surreal. That talking to a such a cultural icon ranks third only emphasizes exactly how transcendent the top two were.
Billy Gibbons interview. Gibbons was agreeable and funny, thoughtful and interested, everything that a rock star should be. He might be the coolest one under the sun.
Texas songwriters: HayesCarll at Waterloo Records and Terri Hendrix at St. Vincent de Paul. Both are singular storytellers in peak form.
(Read Atkinson's previously published interviews with Ono and Gibbons @austin360.com/music.)
Watching Joan of Arc guitarist Victor Villareal noodle out the riffs that only he can after his extended absence from the band, hearing a live take on Lifter Puller's "Secret Santa Cruz" from Braids' Bob Nanna and taking a peaceful break from the South by Mayhem with Low in St. David's sanctuary.Patrick Beach
J Mascis at La Zona Rosa. The indie rock guitar god from Dinosaur Jr. showcased a new album of mostly acoustic songs and still shredded.
Chickasaw Mud Puppies at Speakeasy. Feet' stompin', rockin' chair sittin' and "we don't need to (bleeping) tune, let's go!"
Second line parade with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band downtown. A couple hundred people followed the band from the Ghost Room to Sixth Street and back starting at noon, creating Austin's happiest traffic jam. Hope they're on MoPac this week.
Dave Alvin at Dirty Dog. One of the world's greatest songwriters. About this there will be no argument.
Eddie Spaghetti at the Ginger Man. Half of the Supersuckers is better than none.