SXSW Picks and Sleepers

Saturday Sleepers

All showcase times subject to change. Please check official SXSW schedule.

HEIRUSPECS: Falling off the same Twin City tree that's brought us a Midwest movement of garage-hop with bleeding heart poetics, Heiruspecs brings another new sound to hip-hop. Bluesy live instrumentation, including flute, bass, guitar, and DJs keeps a tempo that MCs like Slug and Sage Francis are dying to flow around. (Zero Degrees, 7:30pm) -- Christopher Coletti

OTIS TAYLOR: Boulder's Otis Taylor won last year's "Best New Artist" honors at the W.C. Handy Awards, and thanks to the John Lee Hooker-meets-Corey Harris acoustic blues of his Respect the Dead, he's up for "Acoustic Artist" and "Contemporary Blues Album" this year. (BD Riley's, 8pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

BLACK-EYED SNAKES: What do the trashin', screamin', distorted Delta sounds of the Black-Eyed Snakes and the slowcore sounds of Low have in common? Both bands are fronted by Duluth, Minn.'s Alan Sparhawk, who released It's the Black-Eyed Snakes in 2001 on his Chairkicker's Music label. (Beerland, 8pm) -- Michael Chamy

PEELANDER-Z: Residing in NYC, this Japanese trio is CBGB rock: Ramones' tempos scuzzed à la Johnny Thunders. Apt to be wearing plastic hair, wrestling masks, and any other sort of rock & roll kabuki accouterments, PZ is cartoon punk for a SXSW Saturday night. (Elysium, 8pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

HOLOPAW: Holopaw was "discovered" in Gainesville, Fla., by Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, who facilitated the band's demo, which he then delivered to Sub Pop. The final product is a layered accumulation of heartbreaking songs as varied and mysterious as the Deep South itself. (Red Eyed Fly, 8pm) -- Melanie Haupt

ENTRANCE: Guy Blakeslee, 21, releases his first solo album, The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken by Storm, on Tiger Style this spring. And what a breathtaking debut it is. Part of the new anti-folk movement that started in New York, Blakeslee bears a startling physical resemblance to Tim Buckley and combines languid blues guitar with earnest, wrenching vocals that channel Robert Plant. (Mercury, 8pm) -- Melanie Haupt

TARA ANGELL: This snarling NYC singer-songwriter has earned a reputation for the unlikely combination of heartbreaking songs and a spunky live set. Her upcoming disc, Come Down, was produced by Joseph Arthur; Daniel Lanois described it as "the darkest and truest record I've heard since early Black Sabbath." (Lounge, 8pm) -- Andy Langer

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: Too jangly to be garage punk and too earnest to be quirky, Austin's the American People are best described by an anonymous Web review: "This band fed my inner desire for lusty politico-gunwah on a level yet to be achieved by any artist in any genre visual, aural, or otherwise." Their worthy debut, Because We Can, was followed this year by Thought We Could. (Privilege Patio, 8pm) -- Margaret Moser

BUCK 65: Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Buck 65 has held hip-hop down in our northern neighbor since his start as a B-boy in 1982. A decade later, Buck grabbed the mic, boards, and turntables for a deep, lavish study of the Language Arts. Stepping past the Centaur in 2002, this Canadian bacon gets sizzling by showcasing "synesthetic" scratches and rhymes. (Zero Degrees, 8:15pm) -- Christopher Coletti

SWEDISH NIGHT NO. 2: And ... action: Stockholm sweeties Pineforest Crunch come out kicking girl-pop, while the Mo follows with Billy Joel/Rufus Wainwright pianistics. The Thousand Dollar Playboys lasso clean, North-countrified Blue Rodeo moves. Another Stockholm girl, Marit Bergman, leads into the Divinyls-like slap of blonde Linda Sundblad and Lambretta. (Maggie Mae's, 9pm-midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

CHRIS WHITLEY: Whitley has been busking since God was a boy, starting out with a blues vibe and evolving into something more rocking and electronic. Da blues orientation never totally went away, which is evident on Whitley's seventh record, Rocket House, which is also his debut on Dave Matthews' ATO Records. (Aussies, 9pm) -- Melanie Haupt

SCOUT NIBLETT: Scout Niblett, an intriguing lass from Nottingham, England, will remind some of Chan Marshall, and others of a young Polly Jean Harvey. It all depends on her mood, whether she's quiet like her 2001 debut, Sweet Heart Fever, or letting loose onstage with discordant thrashes. (Buffalo Billiards, 9pm) -- Christopher Hess

ALBERT & GAGE: The Austin duo of Christine Albert and Chris Gage go in many directions. Most likely you'll hear grownup duets from Burnin' Moonlight and Jumpin' Tracks since it's too unseasonable for their charming Christmas songs. Still, some of Albert's French recordings would be nice among their lovingly crafted compositions. (Cactus Cafe, 9pm) -- Margaret Moser

FRUIT BATS: Although their lush new album Mouthfuls isn't due until April on Sub Pop, Chicagoan Eric Johnson and keyboardist/bassist Gillian Lisee's folk experiment is on its seventh national tour. (Red Eyed Fly, 9pm) -- Melanie Haupt

NOAM WEINSTEIN: Singer-songwriter Noam Weinstein, 25, currently calls NYC home, but he grew up in the cradle of latter-day folk music, Cambridge, Mass. In 2002, he released his second CD, Above the Music, which features new superstar Norah Jones throughout the disc. (Pecan St. Ale House, 9pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

THE FRIENDLY: This Albuquerque trio draws inspiration from New Mexico's open rugged beauty. While their punchy drums, Stratocaster shards, and beefy bass sound like they digested Rush's Caress of Steel and Beat-era King Crimson, their aural landscapes are heavy on inspired interplay. (Club DeVille, 9pm) -- David Lynch

GINGERSOL: Brooklyn's Gingersol plays delightfully melodic, rough-edged rock that recalls the Replacements, early Wilco, or a more scruffy Gin Blossoms. 2001's The Train Wreck Is Behind You was their most confident work. (Opal Divine's, 9pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

LOUD HOUSE RECORDS PRESENT: Looking for something a little different? The Loud House Records showcase is where you want to be, and here's why: Mike Kindred is one of Dallas' truly underrated talents, a keyboard demon with killer songwriting chops who co-authored SRV's "Cold Shot." Ex-Loose Diamond Troy Campbell is an Austin-based singer-songwriter with rock leanings and an unexpectedly lyrical edge. Nashville bluesman David Olney has his first release out for the label, The Wheel, a solid offering of acclaimed songwriting being compared to John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, and Randy Newman. Austin accordion king Ponty Bone & the Squeezetones close the night with the Texas-flavored Cajun riffs and rockin' soul honed on his Loud House CD Fantasize. (BD Riley's, 10pm-1am) -- Margaret Moser

THE SILOS: Walter Salas-Humara has kept the Silos going in one form or another since the late Eighties, playing an infectious folk-rock hybrid that often defies categorization. 2002's Ask the Dusk is their ninth release. (Opal Divine's, 10pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

REX HOBART & THE MISERY BOYS: Kansas City's Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys are arguably the best honky-tonk band the Midwest has to offer. With Hobart's deep, strong vocals out front, theirs is heartfelt, slightly threadbare country music. The new Bloodshot offering, Your Favorite Fool, was produced by Dwight Yoakam's right-hand man, Pete Anderson. (Mother Egan's, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

EARLY DAY MINERS: The quiet, restive rock made by Bloomington-based Early Day Miners uses hushed vocals and creeping, stirring structural soundscapes to create a mood so thick you could wear it like a hair shirt. These somber sonic netherworlds are taking a back seat on the band's new release, Jefferson at Rest, which moves in the direction of pop. (Buffalo Billiards, 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

MOTH WRANGLERS: Beghtol and Xefos aren't a pharmaceutical brand, they only sound like one. NYC's LD Beghtol (Flare/Magnetic Fields) and SF's Chris Xefos (ex-King Missile) make rich, red-eye (as in bicoastal), lo-fi, 2001's Never Mind the Context a dreamy floater found in your pop closet munching on your flannel Belle & Sebastian T-shirt. (Hideout, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

ERIN MCKEOWN: From Providence, R.I., Erin McKeown calls herself a mix of "Django Reinhardt and G. Love." Her blend of swing, jazz, edgy pop, and cabaret-inflected vocals is difficult to pigeonhole, yet is wholly original. Nettwerk will release her next CD, Grand, on June 10. (Lounge, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

PATRICK PARK: On his recent Under the Unminding Skies EP, this Colorado-raised punk-turned-singer-songwriter makes a memorable first impression with a batch of slightly twangy but well-built tunes. (Pecan St. Alehouse, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

HANG ON THE BOX: Seems like "all-girl punk rock from Beijing, China" should be enough to get your goatee off that cell phone and your smarmy A&R ass down to the Elysium. (Elysium, 10pm) -- Kate X Messer

THE CHERRY VALENCE: Chapel Hill's Cherry Valence offers a generous dose of sloppy rock & roll skronk, with plenty of MC5/garage influences to be heard. Their self-titled Estrus release was followed by 2002's Riffin'. (Emo's Main, 10pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

WAKEFIELD: These mostly 18-year-old rock prodigies from Maryland sold over 10,000 copies of their debut EP. Now Arista's releasing their Matt Wallace-produced American Made, and it's easy to see why. It's exactly the type of guitar-driven, radio-ready pop-punk that never goes out of style. (Fox & Hound, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

THE REDNECK MANIFESTO: Formed in 1998 from the remnants of Dublin, Ireland, hardcore bands, this quartet uses rock instrumentation to explore loud sound in a jazzlike way. The results blend soundtrack etherealness and Isotope 217 like development, found on 2002's Cut Your Heart Off From Your Head. (Privilege Patio, 11pm) -- David Lynch

HIS & HER VANITIES: With more plugs than a bad hair transplant, this new/old wave generator from Madison, Wis., skronks a kind of future-rustic, modern revisionist take on old baldies like Wire and Sonic Youth, while keeping current with the latest coifs for 2003. (Hard Rock Cafe, 11pm) -- Kate X Messer

THE AEFFECT: Thatcher and Reagan collude/collide to take over the world in this body slam of early-Eighties Brit-synth-tech meets Southern U.S. jangle pop in ways they just couldn't back then. (Tequila Rock, 11pm) -- Kate X Messer

SINGLE FRAME ASHTRAY: Amid the biting calliope synth-rock of last year's self-titled debut, Austin's Single Frame Ashtray is singed with dark glee, like Oingo Boingo getting thrashed by Fugazi. (Club 505, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

ELEFANT: Just in time for Blur's return to Austin comes this sultry and swarthy band of NYC pretty boys with an elegant take on the poppier side of Roxy Music and the less foppish side of Todd Rundgren or prissy Morrissey. Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid is their first wicked full-length on Kemado. (Privilege, 11pm) -- Kate X Messer

TORA! TORA! TORRANCE!: Young, angry, libidinous Tora! Tora! Torrance! crosses prog-punk with arena rawk and throws in a lead singer who channels the self-abusing desolation of Pete Shelley. The Twin Cities-based quintet's debut, Get Into It (The Militia Group) is a twisting, raucous affair that makes you want to drink beer and brood. (Fox & Hound, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

GIT: Melbourne's Git is a three-girl, one-guy combo that's captured hearts down under and across the U.S. Their new CD, Flowers, captures their glorious three-part harmonies and infectious brand of country with a twist. (Speakeasy, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

TRAILER BRIDE: Don't take Melissa Swingle's weary warble for apathy. Chapel Hill's Trailer Bride is one of Bloodshot's stranger acts: bits of country, bluegrass, and a creepy crawl through the pine trees to where ghosts reside. 2001's High Seas is a weird journey indeed. (Mother Egan's, 11pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

SCOTT H. BIRAM: Ex-Bluegrass Drive-By picker Scott H. Biram breaks into Leadbelly, Lightnin' Hopkins, and "Brown's Ferry Blues" at Club DeVille, and it's hard to tell if it's 2003 or 1935. With hardscrabble rural authenticity -- the San Marcos native lives on a farm, for godsakes -- Biram carries on like a man possessed on 2002's self-released Preachin' and Hollerin'. (Opal Divine's, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW: This Nashville-based quintet has been raising a ruckus in Music City with their high-energy acoustic music. Boasting blessings from both Tommy Ramone and Ricky Skaggs, they've appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and are currently in the studio with David Rawling producing. (Aussies, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

ASTRONAUTILUS: Tucked away in the DFW suburbs, Astronautilus is an MC still in the shaping stages of flow. Fencing words over shifty production terrain, this newly 21-year-old malleable mic gripper rhymes over devious drum 'n' bass, dropping hip-hop poetics, and taking out sucka MCs across Texas. (Zero Degrees, 11:30pm) -- Christopher Coletti

DEAD MEADOW: Pavement this is not. Matador's newest signing from Washington, D.C., instead prays at the altar of Sabbath and Bardo Pond, loosing fuzzy psychedelic sludge feasts that blend into vocalist Jason Simon's echoey croon. Not quite metal, this is stoner-something for sure. (Privilege, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

YUPPIE PRICKS: Doling out some of Austin's most trenchant high-concept gutter punk, the Yuppie Pricks actually throw money at the audience. The fashion conscious may have seen the Pricks in the February issue of GQ. Their debut, Initial Public Offering, is just out. (Club 505, midnight) -- Greg Beets

DÆMIEN FROST: Dublin's Dæmein Frost is built around weird keyboard loops and quirky sounds -- not your traditional Irish fare. Their instrumentally frenetic calling card, Corpus Dæmo, evinces the quartet's bills with Trans Am and the Fucking Champs. Fans of Drums & Tuba, Tortoise, et al. take note. (Privilege Patio, midnight) -- David Lynch

LIVING THINGS: A trio of teenage brothers from St. Louis, Living Things shake some political action on Turn in Your Friends & Neighbors, an Albini-produced EP setting up their Dreamworks debut. With Lillian Berlin's deft balance of rage and complexity, they might be that blast of Cult AWOL from emo. (Steamboat, midnight) -- Andy Langer

ERASE ERRATA: Erase Errata are four chicks that rock, and for once they rock smart. No Donnas here, we're talking wild improvisation and wild time signatures that have pushed Erase Errata to the front lines of the current NYC buzz crop along with the Liars, Interpol, and the SXSWesting Rapture. (Emo's Annex, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

SHAT: With song titles like "Mouth to Cunt Resuscitation," "Gonorrhea Fountain," and "Oderous Yellow/Green Vaginal Discharge ..." you know exactly what to expect from this grindcore farce. The stage show is rated X. (Fox & Hound, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

COBRA VERDE: Cleveland's Cobra Verde combines the balls-out visceral impulses of hard rock with coliseum bombast and just enough quirk-laden pop. Robert Pollard drafted the quartet to replace the original GBV lineup on 1997's Mag Earwhig!. Cobra Verde's fourth full-length, Easy Listening, will be released on MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer's MuscleTone Records on April 15. (Filling Station, midnight) -- Greg Beets

ELECTRIC EEL SHOCK: There's nothing shocking about the hardcore garage grind of Tokyo's indie kings EES, but the vicious moray chomp of their live show took out the UK, where Kyuss and Black Sabbath set in just before the rock & roll convulsions. (Iron Cactus, midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

DIXIE WITCH: Denton's Dixie Witch is a Southern-fried hard rock power trio that holds its own with fellow travelers like the Suplecs and Alabama Thunderpussy. The group is currently laying down its follow-up to 2001's Into the Sun (Brainticket) with Honky bassist Jeff Pinkus at the board. (Room 710, midnight) -- Greg Beets

JESSE DAYTON: Originally from Beaumont, Jesse Dayton has marked out his own territory when it comes to Texas music. A first-class songwriter with impressive chops as a guitarist, Dayton can get gritty and let the sweat fly or charm the ladies with his steely good looks and smoldering emotional balladry. (Broken Spoke, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

TAWNYA LORAE: Formerly of Austin's all-grrrl Morningwood, Tawnya LoRae has taken a much more low-key direction as a solo artist. Her latest release, The Bear Claw Incident, is funky, organic, and inventive and features a few of Austin's best musicians. (18th Floor Plaza, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

SCRAPPY JUD NEWCOMB: Beginning with Austin's Loose Diamonds, Scrappy Jud's sideman credits include work with Lee Ann Atherton, Beaver Nelson, Michael Hall, Toni Price, and too many others to name. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, Newcomb is the consummate musician. (Speakeasy, midnight) -- Jerry Renshaw

RALPH WHITE: A founding member of Austin punk-grass band the Bad Livers, multi-instrumentalist Ralph White now records and performs his own music, while also playing fiddle with Austin's Gulf Coast Playboys. His debut Trash Fish (Terminus) is an eight-track manifesto that demonstrates White's prowess with the banjo and African thumb piano. (Opal Divine's, midnight) -- David Lynch

THE CHICHARONES: Gearing up for the next stop in a never-ending tour, North-North American underground hip-hop artists Josh Martinez and Sleep of Ol Dominion, teamed up for a seven-track EP that flexes more than just MC capabilities. Martinez's keys and Sleep's guitar create multigenre-infused melodies to accompany their witty and picturesque subject matter. (Zero Degrees, 12:30am) -- Christopher Coletti

THE LASCIVIOUS BIDDIES: The Lascivious Biddies compose original songs and re-arranged midcentury standards, displaying mellifluous four-part harmonies, Juilliard School-technical proficiency, and a mélange of cabaret, jazz, and vocal pop. Their fun-and-refined debut, Biddi-Luxe!, came out last year. (Elephant Room, 12:45am) -- David Lynch

MARY MCBRIDE: Equally at home in the clubs of her adopted NYC or in a Texas dance hall, singer-songwriter Mary McBride has a rock & roll voice, but delivers a down-home, countryfied mix of all things American without becoming Americana. Her recent Everything Seemed Alright is building a fan base that ought to keep this young lady on the road for as long as she wants to be there. (Speakeasy, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

TOM FREUND: A singer-songwriter's singer-songwriter, Tom Freund opened his year with a long-overdue reissue of his back catalog, including 1998's North American Long Weekend. The former Ben Harper compadre and Silo has earned a reputation for turning in magnificent SXSW performances. (Pecan St. Ale House, 1am) -- Andy Langer

MARK MORRIS: It may have been a novelty cover that put Dynamite Hack on the map, but former frontman Mark Morris' solo turn is serious business: He's recently been playing acoustic shows, testing material that leans in the Badly Drawn Boy/Elliott Smith direction. (Lounge, 1am) -- Andy Langer

ULTIMATE FAKEBOOK: The Midwest's Little Apple, Manhattan, Kan., isn't exactly a hotbed of cool, but the boys of Ultimate Fakebook are busting out of the grain belt with last year's Open Up and Say Awesome, a driving, lighthearted masterpiece of hiccuppy-yet-edgy boy-pop. (Friends, 1am) -- Melanie Haupt

VHS OR BETA: The premise reads like a gimmick -- five Louisville lads playing house music live -- but VHS or Beta's live sets are as disinhibiting as Kentucky moonshine. The group's Le Funk EP says it best on two live tracks, but hinted at mad-hatter music skills to come. Everybody sweat now! (Tequila Rock, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

PEAK SHOW: While there's not much on the Net about this L.A. outfit, the standout is an LA Weekly mention of frontwoman Holly Greco's stagewear: a "Fuck the Olsen twins. I did" T-shirt. Their Atlantic debut sounds like the Neptunes producing Elastica. (Hard Rock Cafe, 1am) -- Andy Langer

LOCAL H: This Chicago-based duo has been around for nearly a decade, scoring a critical hit with "Smothered in Hugs" from the Sling Blade soundtrack, a tune that could be a lost work from Cobain's songbook. (Steamboat, 1am) -- David Lynch

MY EDUCATION: Having a two-man string section and a keyboardist with feet in both the avant-classical and rock waters gives My Education quite the Godspeed-like edge. Their helix of guitar swells is more Mogwai, but without the Spartan repetition. Their upcoming full-length builds on last year's debut, 5 Popes EP. (Elysium, 1am) -- Michael Chamy

RACEBANNON: This has got to be the hardest, insanest, balls-to-the-wallsest shit to ever come skidding full tilt out of Bloomington, Ind. Racebannon delivered a concept album with last year's Satan's Kickin' Yr Dick In, a screeching, shredding account of a young man named Rodney Mitchell and the pact he makes with the Dark Lord. (Buffalo Billiards, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

AWOL ONE: As a member of the ill-experimental Shapeshifter crew, AWOL One has represented all four elements of hip-hop while holding down the L.A. underground since 1988. Starting with B-boying and evolving into a calm, collected MC, he's capable of cruising over beats, cuttin' up the 1200s, and then retiring into the night to hit up walls with the "All-City" graffiti experience. (Zero Degrees, 1:30am) -- Christopher Coletti

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