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SXSW Picks & Sleepers

Fri., March 16, 2001

Streetwalkin' Cheetahs
Streetwalkin' Cheetahs
Photo By John Carrico

Friday Picks

ALL SHOWCASES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO: For many, Buckwheat Zydeco (née Stanley Dural, Jr.) is the embodiment of the widely popular black, South Louisiana accordion-driven music. Dr. Zydeco has appeared on the world's biggest stages (including the Olympics), so headlining night two of the Outdoor Stage earlies should be no problem. His latest album Trouble, on his own Tomorrow Recordings, is due in April. (Waterloo Park, 6pm) -- David Lynch

BELLS OF JOY: Arguably the old-time gospel group in Central Texas, the Bells of Joy are synonymous the quartet-style gospel music that hit it big and beautiful in the post-WWII era. One of their first releases was an eponymous LP on Checker in 1960; since then, they've released about an album a decade, choosing to work more in the church and around town. (Scottish Rite Theater, 7pm) -- David Lynch

ROD MOAG: Anyone who's heard Moag's Country, Swing & Rockabilly Jamboree show on KOOP knows that the UT faculty member is a wellspring of knowledge when it comes to vintage country. The pickin' professor puts his knowledge to good use on his new CD, A-Haa! Goes Grass: A Bluegrass Tribute to Bob Wills, and appears here with Western swinger emeritus Johnny Gimble. (Broken Spoke, 8pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

JUNIOR BROWN: In a world of talented guitarists, Junior Brown stands out, because he plays the holy bejesus out of his inimitable guit-steel -- whether an Ernest Tubb-flavored ballad or a frenetic medley of Hendrix and surf tunes. His albums are respectable, but onstage is where to catch him in action -- at the Grand Ole Opry or on David Letterman with Stone Temple Pilots. (Waterloo Park, 8pm) -- David Lynch

THE FUCKEMOS: For almost a decade now, the Fuckemos have stood (or stumbled) at the vanguard of the slurred, obscenity-spewing, drug-addled phylum of Austin punk documented in Bob Ray's indie feature Rock Opera. Their 1993 debut, The Fuckemos Can Kill You (re-released on Man's Ruin), is nothing less than a classic. Señor Kozik recently released Airshow 2000, the fourth album from a band no one in their right mind imagined could last this long. (Emo's, Jr., 8pm) -- Greg Beets

SPINART SHOWCASE: The lineup of NYC label spinART's showcase is an unholy split between sugary pop and dark-minded twang. The dandy pop of the Flashing Lights, from up Ontario way, is about as candy-coated as the happiest of Britpop bands, though they manage to keep the fuzz pedal down in the decidedly more free and giddy arrangements on '99's Where the Change Is. The Orange Peels hail from California, and the sunny brand of pop on their brand-new So Far is all about life on the southern end of the West Coast -- the pursuit of simple, uncomplicated pleasure. Born of the Elephant 6 collective, the Minders take an only slightly rainier view of this world on Golden Street (figures … they're from Portland, Ore.). Here's where things get a little weird. The layabout, cello-tinged country whine of New York's Clem Snide is as different from sunny West Coast pop as could be. Last year's Your Favorite Music was a brilliant development of their Nick Drake meets Hank Williams aesthetic, with frontman Eef Barzelay's nasal rasp and guitar both becoming more accomplished and assured. The end of this night will see Athens, Ga., iconoclast Vic Chestnutt, who puts the grit and the pain back in country where it belongs, will show every young crud who came before him just what writing and singing a song is all about. (Buffalo Billiards, 9pm-1am) -- Christopher Hess

TAMIZDAT SHOWCASE: The real heroes of SXSW are those who travel their ass off to play for unknown audiences and chump change. No, we're not talking about driving (God forbid) from L.A., we're talking about those who travel across oceans, at their own expense, to share something new, with help from nonprofit arts agency Tamizdat. In this case, it's the best of experimental music from Central and Eastern Europe. Starting off is Slovakia/Texas group Skulpey, masters of Sunday-afternoon indie rock, followed by the rumbly, urban, and edgy Ewa Braun from Slupsk, Poland. Next comes Polish experimental sonic crafters Projekt Karpaty Magiczne, then Prague-based Ecstasy of St. Theresa, whose song "Seven" is melodic, angsty glory. (Ritz Lounge, 9pm-midnight) -- David Lynch

SECRETLY CANADIAN SHOWCASE: Another Bloomington, Indie-ana label whose roster is bulging with accomplished acts who receive huge accolades from small, informed segments of the population. Opener June Panic from Fargo, N.D., plays sensitive, jangly pop that echoes the Bevis Frond as much as the Kinks. The jarring, twisted sensibilities of Indianapolis' Marmoset embody the best qualities of early Sebadoh, halting time and dissonant guitars building a teetering jungle-gym for Jorma Whitaker's odd, brown-paper-bag vocals. Dave Fischoff engulfs his delicate vocal and guitar style with electronics and found noises to dazedly happy effect, while fellow Hoosiers the Panoply Academy Legionnaires play skronky rock songs that are fractured as glass under a hammer, as last year's outrageously rockin' Concentus so ably pounded out. The homemade Midwestern pop of Dayton, Ohio, duo Swearing at Motorists will sound like a welcome friend to any GBV fan, though their music, such as the recent Number Seven Uptown, is more comfort- than thrill-seeking. Songs:OHIA close out the showcase on a dire note, hopefully using the percussive arrangements augmenting leader Jason Molina's aching vocals on last year's Ghost Tropic. (Copper Tank North, 9pm-1am) -- Christopher Hess

HARVEY SID FISHER: He's incredibly polite, dresses impeccably, loves golf, and sings very funny and observant songs in a pre-rock & roll style. So what's he doing in today's music business? Perhaps only he knows for sure, but increasing numbers of fans of the extraordinary Hollywood cult figure (among them David Byrne and Richard Donner) have resulted in his regular SXSW stops these past few years. Do I even need to mention his legendary Zodiac Songs video? Didn't think so. (The Living Room on 6th, 9pm) -- Ken Lieck

KRISTIN HERSH: Hersh's voice is as beautiful as it is disarming, and impossible to replicate. After almost 10 years of heading the Throwing Muses, one of the few American bands in 4AD's ultra-arty stable, Hersh is now exclusively a solo artist, with her just-released Sunny Border Blue in the same inimitable vein as her earlier work. (Texas Union Theater, 9pm) -- Phil West

BARE JR.: Few songwriters wear their frustration on their sleeves as boldly as Bobby Bare Jr., and few so-called alt.country acts rock as hard as he and his Nashville associates. Their 1999 debut Boo-Tay spawned a hit in "You Blew Me Off," but their new Brainwasher is more sophomore slam than slump: witty and sarcastic, while skillfully capturing the raw aggression of their live shows. (Stubb's, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION: Though their intoxicating debut All About Satellites and Spaceships circulated among the national underground, Seven Percent Solution have remained a closely guarded local secret. They continue to weave bewitching threads of atmospheric melodicism that merge in awe-inspiring stellar alignment. (Saengerrunde Hall, 9pm) -- Michael Chamy

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: Emerging rapidly as critical darlings, this band pairs two of Vancouver's most active musicians, Carl Newman and Dan Bejar, into one fledgling supergroup. Their lauded Mass Romantic album featured Neko Case on vocals. Jimmy Swaggart, by writing the anti-rock screed Music: The New Pornography, gave them one of the best band names of anyone here. (La Zona Rosa, 9pm) -- Phil West

TOM FREUND: Singer-songwriter Tom Freund is part Walter Salas-Humara and part Mark Eitzel, only he's a little safer than the former and a much less of a bring-down than the latter. By no means breaking new ground in the field, he is much better than average when it comes to the turn of a phrase. (Waterloo Brewing Co. Upstairs, 9pm) -- Michael Bertin

Junior Brown
Junior Brown

STEPHEN BRUTON: Austin's Stephen Bruton has never been one to rest on his laurels. He spent the bulk of 2000 working with old friends T-Bone Burnett, Geoff Muldaur, and Delbert McClinton, while continuing to anchor Austin's biggest phenomenon, Bob Schneider's Lonelyland. He's about a month away from beginning work on his second New West effort, the follow-up to 1999's criminally underrated Nothing but the Truth. (Continental Club, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

JAMES INTVELD: Intveld was playing roots rock well before it became fashionable. Since the fad has passed, it's ironic he's just released arguably his finest work to date, 2000's Somewhere Down the Road. He's still a SoCal version of Dale Watson, not some kid in a Fifties haircut who doesn't even remember the Seventies. (Cactus Cafe, 9pm) -- Michael Bertin

WILLIS ALAN RAMSEY: Perhaps the ultimate Texas cult singer-songwriter, Willis Alan Ramsey is working on the time-between-albums world record. When your 1973 debut, Willis Alan Ramsey, influenced an entire generation from Lyle Lovett on down, why be in a hurry? (Momo's, 9:30pm) -- Christopher Gray

TOM HOUSE: Nashville resident Tom House is a singer-songwriter that paints vivid images and possesses a dark world-view, yet portrays them filtered through a curious type of jug-band music. His third release, 2000's 'Til You've Seen Mine, had critics comparing him to the likes of Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt. (The Hideout, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

TIM EASTON: Although dislocated to the West Coast, Easton's music is replete with the fearless honesty of his better Midwestern singer-songwriter contemporaries. Easton has a deft ability to bring you far down lyrically and keep you bolstered musically. His latest, The Truth About Us, featuring Wilco (minus Jeff Tweedy) as his backing band, is out on New West. (Continental Club, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

TIFFANY ANDERS: Pedigree alert! Daughter of filmmaker Allison Anders, brand-new debut produced by none other than the divine Ms. PJ Harvey, and Funny Cry Happy Gift out on always down-with-it Northwest indie, Up. Oops, forgot one: drums by J Mascis. Not tough to guess what ol' Polly Jean saw in her young New York admirer: a protégé in the making. (Blind Pig Pub, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

NEIL HALSTEAD: Halstead's appearance at SXSW will be just that -- solo, sans Mojave 3's other five members -- but chances are he won't be any less mopey. Popular wisdom has it that ethereal guitar swirlings once known as "shoegazer" are in the past, but those who've rung the recess bell have forgotten the battered creepers still on their feet. 4AD's new Mojave disc Excuses for Travellers is prime Brit-mope that either portends a coming break with love or celebrates it after the fact. (Texas Union Theatre, 10pm) -- Marc Savlov

DAVID GARZA: Austin's Davíd Garza was a charismatic showman fronting dynamic bands long before he could legally drink in the bars he played, but he appears to have outdone himself. For his sophomore Lava/Atlantic set due this summer, he's backed by Living Colour's Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun. It's a safe bet it's more rock-oriented than 1998's pop-driven This Euphoria, but see for yourself -- word is the dynamic duo will be there for this live preview. (Stubb's, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

RICK TREVINO: Thanks to the Los Super Seven project, local boy gone hat act came back to the fold with the South of the Border roots music of his father. The Tex-Mex answer to the Buena Vista Social Club sounds especially Ry Cooder on the forthcoming Canto, on which the former little Ricky shines with his pure, delicate tenor. Can an LP of traditional Mexican ballads be far behind? (Antone's, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

STEVEN FROMHOLZ: Fromholz has seen 'em come and go in Austin, but his new release A Place In Your Heart finds him in the same sort of Lone Star frame of mind as always: a little humor, a little perspective, all wrapped around plain-spoken observations on the human condition. Most of today's Texas songwriter-pretenders can't measure up to Fromholz's aw-shucks talents. (Broken Spoke, 10pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

DON WALSER & THE PURE TEXAS BAND: Austin's world-famous yodeling country crooner has released a string of fine albums on Watermelon and Sire. His old-timey style has such an honest, up-to-date sensibility that fans are equally likely to hear him and his crack band at local cantina Jovita's or punk cave Emo's. Maybe that's why the National Endowment for the Arts recently awarded him the National Heritage Award. (Broken Spoke, 10pm) -- David Lynch

BEAVER NELSON: After years of false starts, this scruffy and resilient Austin singer-songwriter is on a roll. Last year's Little Brother swiftly followed 1998's critically acclaimed Last Hurrah, both albums full of swagger, torment, and cautious optimism, not to mention plenty of smart hooks. Better yet, even when not recording, Nelson never ceases playing live, making him the rare singer-songwriter who's also an undeniable showman. (Opal Divine's Freehouse, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

STREETWALKIN' CHEETAHS: One of the greatest moments in SXSW history occurred in 1999 at Emo's when L.A.'s Streetwalkin' Cheetahs called MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer to the stage for an ecstatic marathon workout of "Looking at You." The Cheetahs learned well from their Motor City forebears, and their raucous, bottle-breaking performance at last year's L.A. Weekly Music Awards show furrowed many a brow. The quartet's second studio album, Waiting for the Death of My Generation, will be released on Triple X this month. (Emo's, 10pm) -- Greg Beets

COBRA VERDE: Best remembered for backing and co-producing GBV's Mag Earwhig, Cleveland's Cobra Verde are CBGB rock -- "avant-glam" they call it, equal parts T. Rex, NY Dolls, and Alice Cooper. Their 1999 Motel Record CD, Nightlife, got raves in the national press, but there's a better pair of leather pants in 'em yet. (Living Room on 6th, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

BLACK KALI MA: Former Austinite Gary Floyd, already the force behind the Dicks and Sister Double Happiness, hit the trifecta last year with Black Kali Ma. The Bay Area trio's You Ride the Pony (I'll Be the Bunny) was a barnyard cornucopia of jagged riffs, steamrolling drums, and songs tangier than fresh roadkill jerky. (Room 710, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

Aztex
Aztex

AZTEX: The firm core of this Buda-based outfit is the husband-wife team of singer Sarah Fox and accordionist Joel Guzman. The couple has been playing together for decades, and it shows in their bilingual blend of Latino and American roots music. Featured on Los Super Seven's Grammy-winning album and resultant tour, the duo's own polished, heartfelt HighTone debut, Short Stories, was produced by Los Lobos and LSS producer Steve Berlin. (Azucar, 10:30pm) -- David Lynch

MURDER CITY DEVILS: This Seattle punk machine has everything: leather and tattoos, pomade and pyrotechnics, and a relentless onslaught of loud guitars. Last year's Sub Pop release In Name and Blood plays the punk ethos to the greasy hilt, pounding you into gleeful submission with keyboard-kissed guitar rock and snarling vocals. (Atomic Cafe, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

BRASSY: Riptides of Jimmy Page guitar, beats like an early Run-DMC record, and a singer named Muffin. Muffin? Aye: Muffin Spencer, sister of Jon, moved to Manchester and hooked up with some Brit B-boys to make Brassy. This year's Got It Made is a primo party album, Cibo Matto getting freaky in the basement with a drum machine, cello, and a Laverne & Shirley fetish. (La Zona Rosa, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

THE BULEMICS: Led by menacingly petulant vocalist Gerry Atric, these hardcore Austin garage punks specialize in the timeless fuck-shit-up vein of the Dwarves. In 1999, the Bulemics teamed with fellow travelers the River City Rapists to record the appropriately monikered Full On Hate Fuck (Man's Ruin). Last year's Talk Dirty to Me continues their reign of degeneracy in the name of beer. (Emo's Jr., 11pm) -- Greg Beets

RYAN ADAMS: With Whiskeytown's long-lost major label sophomore LP coming soon on Lucinda Williams' Lost Highway imprint, Ryan Adams can once again start believing his own press. As good if not better than '97's Stranger's Almanac, the long-finished Pneumonia is the now-Nashville-dwelling Adams in peak form: fiesty, meloncholy, and melodic. His Bloodshot album from last year, Heartbreaker, wasn't too shabby either. (Austin Music Hall, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

JON DEE GRAHAM: Since his 1997 solo debut Escape From Monster Island, Jon Dee Graham has often been referred to as "perhaps Austin's best singer-songwriter." Last year's Austin Music Awards voters stripped away the "perhaps" part, a due reward for his equally compelling sophomore set, 1999's Summerland. Listen for material from the New West album he's expected to begin recording next month. (Continental Club, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

BLUE MOUNTAIN: Blue Mountain's Laurie Stirrat really can't help but have a connection to Wilco unless she were to disown her family; her brother is Wilco bassist John Stirrat. The subtler moments of her band's albums tend to get left behind onstage, when the group's post-punk affinities emerge. (Opal Divine's, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

JORMA KAUKONEN: As lead guitarist for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, Jorma Kaukonen was essential to the development of the San Francisco Sound (the Airplane's "Embryonic Journey" remains his signature work). During the Nineties, he recorded several solo acoustic folk albums, including 1998's Too Many Years (Relix). Today, when he's not gigging, Kaukonen runs the Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp in Ohio with wife Vanessa. (Cactus Cafe, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

WILL SEXTON: It's about time. After six years of false starts, this Austin singer-songwriter recently returned with Scenes From Nowhere, a collection of wonderfully foreboding and fatalistic songs that get more haunting with each listen. Even better, its translation to the stage has been flawless; he's been teaming with the same team as on the album, ex-Borrowers Mark Addison and Nina Singh. (Speakeasy, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

RON SEXSMITH: Toronto's Ron Sexsmith is perhaps the most critically acclaimed songwriter of the past five years. He's been compared to Ray Davies and Bob Dylan, and even Elvis Costello raves about him. Recently finished recording an album of Steve Earle-produced songs, he's also reissued Grand Opera Lane, a collection of older songs, on his own label. (Rainbow Cattle Co., 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

BRAVE COMBO: These Denton polkaholics have been getting nods from the rock press and music industry since their humble beginnings playing the "Purple Haze Polka" at Central Texas frat parties. While never ignoring their sense of humor, they're now Grammy winners and flexible enough to back up just about anyone, from children's performers to Tiny Tim. (Waterloo Brewing Co., midnight) -- Ken Lieck

ORANGE MOTHERS: In the longstanding tradition of Austin oddballs (Roky Erickson, Butthole Surfers, Daniel Johnston), Ethan Azarian is a musical visionary projecting pop visions from his own reality. Like a whimsical, neo-psychedelic folk playscape, Azarian's Orange Mothers LP from '00, Big Blue House, landed the longrunning local institution both on the Chronicle's cover and in the hearts and imaginations of a fawning hometown fanbase. (Texas Union Theatre, midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

... AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD: With 1999's brilliant Madonna (Merge), Trail of Dead has managed to morph into a band with honest-to-god hooks (in the traditional sense) and still retain the chaos and bombast from when they w1ere regularly haunting places like the Blue Flamingo. If Interscope had any brains, they'd have already inked these guys. (Red Eyed Fly, midnight) -- Phil West

THE FLAMETRICK SUBS: Holding court at Sixth Street club the Black Cat for years, the Flametrick Subs are one of the few consistently worthwhile musical acts in what has become a cheesy shot-bar ghetto. The black-leather-and-studs Subs' scorchin' rockabilly is the soundtrack for Elvis on an Easy Rider bender in Vegas. (Hole in the Wall, midnight) -- David Lynch

TSOL: Who woulda thunk vocalist Jack Grisham and his cadre of Huntington Beach, Calif., punks would be playing in 2001, a full 22 years after True Sounds of Liberty formed? Though original drummer Todd Barnes died in 1999, original guitarist Ron Emory and bassist Mike Roche are still around. Expect plenty of Orange County classics, like "Abolish Government/Silent Majority," "Silent Scream," and necrophiliac anthem "Code Blue." (Atomic Cafe, midnight) -- Greg Beets

Buckwheat Zydeco
Buckwheat Zydeco

THE BLACK CROWES: The Black Crowes are about to tour with English royalty (Oasis), and their NYC gig last month was attended by Mick Jagger, Howard Stern, and Chris Robinson's new mother-in-law Goldie Hawn. Their SXSW crowd will likely be less glamorous music-biz weasels, but they're here to drum up early notice for their sixth studio set (and first for V2), Lions. Being Don Was-produced, it's likely slicker than normal, but after a year beating new life into old Zeppelin covers, there's no reason to expect the show to be. Expect a long set. (Stubb's, midnight) -- Andy Langer

LUCINDA WILLIAMS: After 1998's Grammy-winning Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, the current Nashville resident toured relentlessly for two years then took a break to recoup and refresh. She's taking a break from recording now, and armed with a new band, expect some old and some new if not something a little blue in this context. When it comes to Southern Gothic in modern music, no one does it smarter than Lucinda. (Austin Music Hall, midnight) -- Margaret Moser

SHAVER: With the passing of guitarist Eddy Shaver last December, the future of Shaver the band is in some doubt. But Billy Joe Shaver, considered by many one of the best songwriters of the past 50 years (and an electrifying performer as well), soldiers on. The band's CD The Earth Rolls On, completed before Eddy's death, is due in April on New West Records and is posthumously poignant. (Continental Club, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

JAD FAIR & JASON WILLETT: Does half of Half Japanese equal 1/4 Japanese? No telling, but Jad Fair promises this duo will provide a wide variety of music, trimmed down to duo-appropriate action and served with intense nervous energy. Fair's been exciting his ever-growing cult since you could name-drop Half Japanese and prove you were ahead of anyone on your block. Now, there's even been a movie about them (The Band That Would Be King), but the music is as good as ever. (Room 710, midnight) -- Ken Lieck

GOLDEN ARM TRIO: An avant-garde jazz combo and experimental orchestra; new works for string quartet, soundtracks, and live film accompaniment -- it's all Graham Reynolds, simultaneous pianist and drummer, composer, catalyst, and sole permanent member of Golden Arm Trio. His SXSW showcases have such a reputation that he got this special extended time slot. When art and pop culture collide, it can be a lovely mess. (Elephant Room, 12:45am) -- Christopher Hess

LI'L CAP'N TRAVIS: What started out as harmless fun and a second gig for a handful of locals has turned into ... well, mostly still harmless fun. Li'l Cap'n Travis mixes warm rural-rock strums with self-effacing humor while raising lackadaisical to an art form. But don't go thinking it's some kind of joke. Be prepared for the greatest band in the history of Western Civilization. Funny, but true. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 1am) -- Michael Bertin

WHITE HASSLE: Singer/guitarist Marcellus Hall and drummer Dave Varenka took all the choppy charm and busted-up melodic habits of their old outfit Railroad Jerk with them when they formed White Hassle, an even more stripped-down version of noisy blues-soaked rock. Their EP Life Is Still Sweet is proof that jumping those tracks was not necessarily a bad thing. (Blind Pig Pub, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

GARAGELAND: Those lucky enough to hear 1997's Last Exit to Garageland couldn't get the hooks out of their heads for months. Informed by the pop sensibilities of fellow New Zealanders such as the Bats and the Tall Dwarfs, the future is now for this next generation of Kiwis. The fourpiece smokes at times with the ferocity of the Pixies and adds a dense My Bloody Valentine-style wall of sound, as their new Do What You Want attests. (Copper Tank Main, 1am) -- Michael Chamy

EX-GIRL: Tokyo's Ex-Girl is a blinding gem among the many Japanese acts making the trek to SXSW. While the trio's sound is an art-infested grab-bag of pop, punk, and noise, their garish, ultra-colorful presentation is the stuff of a Sid & Marty Krofft flashback. In fact, one side project is Punk Lady, a tribute to the popular Seventies Japanese duo Pink Lady -- who starred in a laughingly bad NBC variety show produced by the Kroffts. (Red Eyed Fly, 1am) -- Greg Beets

THE LIVING JARBOE: Searching for power and honesty in a female songwriter? Look no farther than Jarboe, the female perspective of Michael Gira's seminal Swans. After honing her craft behind the group's thick veil of sound, she's stepped to the fore with Disburden Disciple: One, exploring her favorite subjects: psychological torture, taboo behavior, and erosion of self-esteem. (The Ritz, 1am) -- Michael Chamy

DANNY BARNES: One of the most innovative banjo pickers going, Bad Liver Danny Barnes has put out a string of solo recordings since departing Austin for Port Hadlock, Wash., that are as impressive for the mind-bending stringwork as for the chances and directions taken in the composition and production. He's one of the few musicians in popular music who can reinvent an instrument, be it banjo or guitar, every time he picks it up. (Opal Divine's Freehouse, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

CORNELL HURD BAND: There are few, if any, Western swing bands in Texas that compare to Cornell Hurd's. This Austin ensemble combines humor and jaw-dropping musicianship in a way that makes them unique, not to mention a lot of fun. Their latest release, A Stagecoach Named Desire, features guest vocalists Johnny Bush and Martî Brom, as well as a tribute to the late Doug Sahm. (Broken Spoke, 1am) -- Jim Caligiuri

SLOBBERBONE: Over the past year, this Denton quartet has kept the alt.country flag flying higher than any band working similar territory. Slobberbone knows how to rawk, but keep it twangy (mostly), while frontman Brent Best's lyrics are straightforward and razor-sharp. Their 2000 CD, Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today, garnered nearly universal acclaim. (Continental Club, 1am) -- Jim Caligiuri

ZEKE: Two words sum up the mission and being of Seattle's Zeke: punk rock. Pure and simple, Zeke is about as straight-ahead as they come, outlasting scores of other Seattle bands through a career that spanned the entire Nineties and is still barreling along. (Atomic Cafe, 1am) -- Phil West

TEXAS TERRI & THE STIFF ONES: Crossing two Stooges and Cramps titles might best sum up Texas Terri's forte: the "Raw Power of Pussy." Despite the name, Terri's been out California way for many years now, through any number of backup bands and lineups, but still completely punk in music and lifestyle. A listen to her latest, Eat Shit (+1) on Junk Records will confirm the former, and a visit to any of her out-of-control, out-of-her-clothing live shows should just as effectively demonstrate the latter. (Emo's Jr., 1am) -- Ken Lieck

SONS OF HERCULES: San Antonio's garage-punk kings value consistency and excitement over buzz factor, and it comes through loud and clear in their superlative performances. Vocalist Frank Pugliese is a haggard stage veteran (his old band the Vamps opened for the Sex Pistols in '78) whose height commands a room's attention before he even utters a note. Their third LP, '99's Get Lost, was their third straight collection of two-minute gems. (Hole in the Wall, 1am) -- Greg Beets

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