She played in one of the '90s most-celebrated indie groups, and now acts in one of TV's hippest new shows. However, former Sleater-Kinney guitarist and "Portlandia" star Carrie Brownstein credited another role for landing her a buzz at this year's South by Southwest Music Conference.

"Work for NPR, and you too get to play here in a band," she quipped Thursday, when her blasting new band Wild Flag played its first gig of SXSW at an afternoon party thrown by her other former employer, National Public Radio.

One of dozens of media outlets broadcasting or webcasting Austin showcases to the world this week -- even CNN got hip to SXSW this year -- NPR will also a free show on Auditorium Shores with Bright Eyes. Its Minnesotan music affiliate the Current 89.3 FM also sponsored sets inside the Austin Convention Centet with P.O.S. and DeVotchka.

As P.O.S. rapped inside, his cohort Sims delivered a sweltering mid-afternoon set outside on the roof of Maggie Mae's. A few doors down, fellow Minneapolitans the Rockford Mules could be heard blaring down Sixth Street from the Chuggin' Monkey.

Thursday's day parties followed a mish-mashed second night of conference showcases. R&B singer Raphael Saadiq (ex of Toni! Tony! Tone!) cemented his transformation into a hip retro-soul dynamo at Stubb's, where '80s pop stars Duran Duran also performed. True to SXSW's underground flavor, punk vets Bad Brains had a bigger line down the street at Emo's.

Other Wednesday standouts included San Francisco's dueling-guitars trio the Dodos and the MLB-themed Baseball Project, featuring two R.E.M. members (one of whom slammed the Twins).

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658