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SXSW Thursday showcases

Bulked up: Thursday night SXSW showcases

Fri., March 16, 2012

Barsuk

7:45pm, Red Eyed Fly

Since 1994, Seattle's Barsuk has been one of the premier names in the Pacific Northwest label game. Fellow Seattleite Say Hi has been building rinky-dink bedroom-pop long before it was hip, most recently on last January's Um, Uh Oh. Rough-and-tumble feedback warriors Yellow Ostrich muster a liberating New York grit on newly minted sophomore LP Strange Land. Portland, Ore.'s overlooked Menomena offshoot Ramona Falls is responsible for some of the most brightly melodramatic prog-pop in recent memory. The indie-rock band's indie-rock band Cymbals Eat Guitars channel Doug Martsch riffage and a wild-eyed stare, directly imported from Staten Island – high schoolers use their tunes as therapy. Chicago's Maps & Atlases tops the bill with the liquid rhythms of its still-strong 2010 debut, Perch Patchwork. Underappreciated guitar bands, you couldn't have hit Barsuk's ethos more precisely. – Luke Winkie

Mexican Summer

8pm, Red 7

Over the past two years, Kemado Records' vinyl-only subsidiary Mexican Summer has become indie rock's first responder, issuing limited-edition releases by the likes of Best Coast and Washed Out. The Brooklyn imprint just released singer/guitarist Mike Wexler's second album, Dispossession, a lucid wash of psych pop with considerable depth and spectral texturing. Boston's Quilt gave a slow nod to the late Sixties on its sleeper debut last year, rendering homespun folk with the familial appeal of Jefferson Airplane. Husband-and-wife duo Peaking Lights stretch dub rhythms on guitar and synths to Krautrock extremes, while the James Murphy-endorsed Light Asylum previews its forthcoming full-length with a 12-inch single, "Shallow Tears" b/w "Genesis," which sounds like a more operatic New Order. Headliner Oneohtrix Point Never shouldn't be missed. The alias of composer Daniel Lopatin, his latest, Replica, warped found television ads into an ambient song cycle of elegant piano passages, synthetic and stunning. – Austin Powell

Leafy Green

8pm, the Bat Bar

San Francisco-based booking agency Leafy Green overtakes the Bat Bar for a cross section of primarily California bands who approach rock from skewed directions. Bay Area Maus Haus builds tilted dance-pop on wobbly beats and touches the textures of the seasons on its Sea-Sides EP. More straightforward are the Soft White Sixties, a hooky fivepiece that works in quick-stepping bluesy rock. An incredible string band, the Curious Mystery, do the pastoral lo-fi thing, psych thing well and have two albums on famous independent outfit K to show for it. Also basking in the acid afterglow are Sleepy Sun, whose sunburned desert anthems are appropriately epic. Long Beach's Crystal Antlers are festival veterans at this point but are still on the upswing. Latest Two-Way Mirror was produced by Ikey Owens of the Mars Volta. Headlining are Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, the latest project from garage-rock icon Brian Tristan (the Cramps, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds), consumed with Mexi-punk promise. – Adam Schragin

Carpark/Paw Tracks

8pm, 512 Rooftop

Washington, D.C.-based labels Carpark and the Animal Collective-run Paw Tracks mix seasoned vets with fresh blood for this year's mash-up. Soulmates Ear Pwr are a bouncy electronic antidote for anyone still mourning the break-up of Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard. Spiritual sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson weave their learnings from a childhood spent on a Hare Krishna farm into ambient, danceable new age. Continuing the free-spirited vibe is New York vagabond band Young Magic, who bonded over love of traveling and ethereal, delicate sounds. Class Actress takes her sultry pop to the stage, followed by Dent May, who recently dropped His Magnificent Ukulele from his name but is sure to charm with or without his longtime companion. Closing is the youngest act of the label. At 20-years-old, Dylan Baldi leads buzz band Cloud Nothings with youthful enthusiasm but a perceptive and watchful eye. – Abby Johnston

Manitoba Music

8pm, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room

Situated smack in the middle of Canada, Manitoba is the prairie province, considered the gateway to the West. The capital city of Winnipeg, once a fur-trading outpost, offers some solid evidence that flat doesn't necessarily equal boring. Kicking things off is Hope Atlantic, a power-pop quartet with a penchant for horn-rimmed glasses. Throw a little français in with your Motown-influenced girl pop and you've got Chic Gamine, a quintet with four frontwomen and a drummer dude. Les Jupes offers up lo-fi, reflective indie rock with Michael Falk's unsettling baritone demonstrating that yes, it's possible to sing a rock song about Khruschev. On trippier beats, you've got Royal Canoe navigating its way through experimental pop waters with quirky syncopation and intricately layered vocals. Imaginary Cities builds castles in the air with Marti Sarbit's sweet-tart vox and Rusty Maytas' lovingly arranged instrumentals. Finally, Cannon Bros aren't siblings. Think a younger, unmarried, less angry Quasi aesthetic and you're close. – Melanie Haupt

Woody Guthrie Centennial Tribute

8pm, St. David's Bethell Hall

July 14 this year marks the 100th birthday of Woody Guthrie, the most important folk singer of the 20th century. To celebrate the event and to keep his memory alive the Grammy Museum has partnered with the Guthrie family for a series of events honoring his life and songs. Tonight's program will have an Austin tinge to it but only because artists like Jimmy LaFave and Michael Fracasso have ongoing Guthrie productions on their own. Still the range of performers, 17 in all, is sure to make this tribute exceptional. From the New York City streets there's Garland Jeffreys; and from a Texas bar stool, there's Ray Wylie Hubbard. Mississippi's represented by soulful songwriter Shannon McNally and New Mexico by newcomer Max Gomez. Several brand-new acts will share the spotlight, including supertalented New York duo the Mastersons and the underground supergroup of Jon Dee Graham, Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill, aka the Hobart Brothers & Lil' Sis. The many styles represented prove once again Guthrie's genius and that his songs are adaptable to just about anyone who chooses to sing them.
Jim Caligiuri

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