SXSW Thursday Picks & Sleepers
S.H.I.T. – So Happy It's Thursday blurbs
7pm, BD Riley's Brothers Peter O'Doherty and Reg Mombassa formed Dog Trumpet in 1990 after a successful run with Eighties Australian hitmakers Mental as Anything. Far-ranging pop smarts and a slightly askew worldview makes for near-instant engagement on 2013's double LP Medicated Spirits, which was nominated for the Australian Music Prize on the strength of extra-catchy baubles like "What Falls Away" and the hilariously poignant "Ray Davies and the Kinks."
8pm, Quantum Lounge Texas shriek continues to rise in the form of Houston's Venomous Maximus, an occult metal nightmare of groovy proportions. Originally self-released, the four-headed hellbeast's debut LP Beg Upon the Light got a worldwide re-release via metal specialist Napalm, allowing declamatory vocalist Gregg Higgins and his band of brigands to spread the anti-gospel like a sweet, sulphuric disease.
8pm, Red 7; Thu., St. David's Historic Sanctuary, 11pm For 20 years this Welsh weirdo has turned psychedelia upside down and taken the junk from its pockets to create something new with Super Furry Animals, Neon Neon with pal Boom Bip, and an eclectic group of one-off collaborations. After winning the 2011 Welsh Music Prize for his disc Hotel Shampoo, he's due for a follow-up.
Hamell on Trial
8pm, Velveeta Room SXSW seems like the only way to get former Austinite Ed Hamell back to town, but that's what happens when an artist takes off in Europe. From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival award-winning performance piece The Terrorism of Everyday Life to new album The Happiest Man in the World, Hamell on Trial gives one guy/one guitar more power, passion, and wit than any 50 folkies.
8pm, Elephant Room Pivoting on jazz-grass legend Slim Richey and fronted by the breathy vocals of Sarah Sharp, Austin quartet Jitterbug Vipers revels in the smoky haze of Thirties "viper," which hearkens back-alley tea rooms and smooth, slinky rhythms. Last year's Phoebe's Dream marked the band's return after a 2012 hit-and-run accident sidelined Richey, but his guitar-playing remains a marvel. Toke 'em if you got 'em.
9pm, Cheer Up Charlie's; Sat., Elysium, 8:30pm After releasing synth joint "Champagne" as an art-pop YouTube video that would shame Lady Gaga, Brooklynite Lorely Rodriguez went on to drop four-song EP Systems and secure a brief opening spot for borough-mate Autre Ne Veut. The debut's startling in its brevity, specters lingering long after the 13 minutes is up. Rodriguez's haunting alto comes in both English and Spanish.
9pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary Observing Seattle singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas' learning curve has been compelling. His haunting, bravely queer balladry has come from ramshackle beginnings to become bigger and bolder, yet more vulnerable as well. Matador's website hints we may be lucky enough to hear some post Put Ur Back N 2 It material.
The Baseball Project
9pm, Continental Club A baseball-themed side project featuring members of the Dream Syndicate, Young Fresh Fellows, and R.E.M. doesn't sound like the recipe for an enduring career, but this alt-rock supergroup has gotten considerable mileage out of the sports thing, a third album on deck for a late March release.
Kirin J Callinan
9:15pm, Cheer Up Charlie's Released by Grizzly Bear Chris Taylor's imprint Terrible, Kirin J Callinan's debut Embracism may briefly give you a hug, but it soon thrusts you back against the wall. The Aussie rotates between lush David Lynch-ian cuts worthy of Twin Peaks and prickly, writhing electronic bumps, all performed with an accent as thick as it is deep.
10pm, Rowdy's Saloon Attention A&R types: You're in luck. Gold Beach is shipping a new album, and it's ready for the big screen. Ryou Canon arrives darker and moodier than 2011 sleeper Habibti, meticulously assembled by breathy songwriter Michael Winningham with help from Brian Deck (Iron & Wine) and Danny Reisch (Shearwater). It's yearning indie rock that sounds like Arcade Fire back before Win Butler and company learned to dance.
10pm, Velveeta Room Apart, they've worked with Son Volt, Jack Ingram, Kelly Willis, and Slaid Cleaves. Together, married duo and Austinites Eleanor Whitmore and Chris Masterson are both a band and important part of Steve Earle's Dukes and Duchesses. Following up 2012 debut Birds Fly South, the native Texans release Good Luck Charm in June, demonstrating impressive growth in songwriting and performance.
10pm, BD Riley's Hailing from Perth in western Australia, the Chevelles celebrate 25 years of punk and power-pop with what they're calling the Garage Rock Invasion Tour, which ends in Spain. In 2008, the foursome signed with Little Steven's Wicked Cool Records and have since released an anthology of older tracks as well as their latest, Accelerator.
10pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary It's unnerving at times, the level of intimacy and trust Christopher Owens puts in song. He's a broken-hearted street poet who, despite all the damage done, leaves arms wide open. After three near-perfect records as Girls, Owens channeled the San Francisco band's overnight success into a loosely autobiographical concept for his solo debut, last year's Lysandre, which he followed with an acoustic version and accompanying tour.
10pm, Shotguns In Eighties Austin, the Wagoneers paved alt.country before that notion even existed, releasing two albums and disbanding before their time. Reconvened for the 2011 Austin Music Awards, the local quartet renewed its chemistry, re-released some catalog, and began recording a new one. Fresh single "Biggest Little Word" showcases frontman Monte Warden's impeccably infectious songwriting and voice that remains as generous a twanged tenor as there is in Texas.
Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin
10pm, Continental Club Before sibling rivalry drove them apart, the Alvin brothers created classic Eighties roots-rock with the Blasters. They still share a mutual love for seminal bluesman Big Bill Broonzy, which brought about Common Ground: Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy, their first new recordings together in three decades.
10:30pm, Central Presbyterian Church With gut-bucket soul making a comeback thanks to previously unheard veterans Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, and Lee Fields exploding out of the shadows, the young Turks quickly followed. Curtis Harding comes knocking with a background in Midwest gospel and an LP coming on hipper-than-hip indie Burger Records. The Atlantean singer/guitarist may be the next great soul sensation.
11pm, Hotel Vegas; Fri., Speakeasy, 9pm Tinariwen ain't the only multi-guitar collective from Mali. The co-ed group Imarhan hails from Timbuktu, armed with a similar style of African psych-trance. Lighter on its feet than its desert-bred brothers, Imarhan feels deeply spiritual regardless of the language barrier. The band took to Indiegogo to finance both its debut and a trip to SXSW.
11pm, Quantum Lounge To visit the bizarro world of Kayo Dot is to fall down a rabbit hole of happily pretentious, dizzily genre-defying mindwarp in which black metal, experimental classical music, avant-garde jazz, and prog join tentacles for a 30-point program to destroy your sanity. Ten years on, the NYC ensemble still rejects compromise – see latest slab Hubardo for corroboration.
11pm, Maggie Mae's; Fri., Swan Dive, 12mid My Bloody Valentine released its first new album in more than two decades last year, but No Joy put out the shoegaze album of 2013. The Montreal trio's triumphant Wait to Pleasure (Mexican Summer) added clarity and widescreen expanse to Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd's soft-focus vocals and wind-tunnel distortion. It's no fluke either: November EP, Pastel and Pass Out, keeps the momentum going.
11pm, 18th Floor at Hilton Garden Inn After breaking for motherhood, New York-via-Nashville alt.country songbird Cantrell recently bounced back with the sublime No Way There From Here, her first album of original tunes since 2005. Having begun her career as a knowledgeable stylist with a deep affinity for old-school country, Cantrell has evolved into both a subtly authoritative performer and a melodically distinctive, emotionally resonant songwriter.
11pm, Esther's Follies Austin is dusting off its brief winter frost, and young local Emily Wolfe played a small part in the defrost with dreamy new single "Swoon." Still charging from 2013 EPs Night & Day and Mechanical Hands, the rocker guitarist and bandleader layers her quasi-blues pipes over joyous Nineties femme songs.
11pm, Buffalo Billiards; Fri., St. David's Historic Sanctuary, 10:45pm Husband-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley's storied romance marks four years, but their sun-drenched songs still land them in the honeymoon phase. Along with drummer James Barone, the Denver love birds share tracks from late 2013 EP Small Sound, which furthers a crunch found with the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, who produced second LP Young & Old.
11pm, Palm Door on Sixth; Fri., Buffalo Billiards, 9pm After waxing biographical on debut 1977 and spitting verbal bullets on the politically charged La Bala, Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux is back with a vengeance on this month's Vengo, her third album of Spanish-language hip-hop bangers. The title track proves she has the pen of a poet but even the "no hablo Español" crowd will recognize that the boom bap enthusiast spits poisonous paragraphs.
Ty Dolla Sign
11:15pm, the Main II TDS offers a pop star bred and born for 2014. The Angeleno has deft social media skills, an auto-tuned croak, and steadfast concern for his brand. As "Paranoid" steadily climbed the charts, the legend of Dolla Sign seemed inevitable. Here's a 28-year-old dude who discovered the exact way to massage the music industry into giving him a look. Don't worry boomers, it will all be okay.
Dale Watson & His Lonestars
11:30pm, Saxon Pub Dale Watson cuts his own path, exuding a stubborn independence in sound and attitude that over his 20-year tenure in Austin has made him a Texas icon. Carving his Ameripolitan style from the twin oaks of outlaw country and dance floor honky-tonk – exemplified on last year's El Rancho Azul – Watson's low croon bites and settles like warm whiskey chased with a swinging six-pack of Lone Star.
11:45pm, Parish Like their namesake's state tree, this Baltimore dream-rock duo, Andy Stack (drums/keys) and Jenn Wasner (vox/guitar), has grown from an unassuming seedling into a strong force of nature. They branch out upon "Spiral," their bold, swirling contribution to Adult Swim's free singles series, on Shriek, their proggy, big-statement new album.
11:50pm, Red 7 Most bands try to turn it up to 11. Steve Gunn's Time Off taps out around a five, but it rocks – quietly. Best known as the lead guitarist in Kurt Vile & the Violators, his solo catalog runs equally deep, with shades of Jack Rose and John Fahey. His latest with longtime collaborator/drummer John Truscinski and bassist Justin Tripp is deceptively complex progressive psych-folk, hushed but commanding.
11:50pm, Avenue on Congress Rooftop Baton Rouge's Kevin Gates has been around forever, one of those everyday soldiers dedicated to their craft, even if it means rapping for nobody but themselves. That changed last year with the release of The Luca Brasi Story, a strong, lyrics-first mixtape stuffed with sorrow, loss, and plenty other solemn truths. It was still distinctly Southern, and undeniably fun.
12mid, Bungalow; Sat, Parish Underground, 12mid Broncho kicked off 2011's stellar debut LP, Can't Get Past the Lips, with a declaration to fight. The Oklahoma quartet has scrapped its way to the top of the garage punk heap behind raw hooks and spit-soaked anthems. A new single for their anticipated follow-up this year on Fairfax leans back toward more melodic slacker tones, but no less punched with jagged aggression.
Bugs of Phonon
12mid, Hideout Taiwanese instrumentalists Bugs of Phonon take their name from the mindbending subatomic phenomenon where sound and quantum physics merge. Cerebral yet emotional, their 2010 debut That's a Nation What We Saw was late-era Pink Floyd done right, while 2012's Midnight Town blends the flowing textures of Boris with the swirling majesty of Caspian masterpiece Tertia.
Jessica Lea Mayfield
12mid, Lamberts The release of 2011 sophomore LP, Help Me (Nonesuch), launched Jessica Lea Mayfield to national attention, a subtle yet aggressively smoky voice laced with fire-branded guitar and Dan Auerbach production. The Ohio native's follow-up, Make My Head Sing, makes the move to ATO Records in April, and plays between similar tensions of breathy, lingering vocals capsized by waves of raw power and distortion strafing riffs.
The Magic Numbers
12mid, Palm Door on Sabine A double brother-sister pairing (Romeo/Michele Stodart & Sean/Angela Gannon), the Magic Numbers loaded bright harmonies atop easy pop melodies across their first two albums, a dulcet Sixties vibe that felt more California than their native London. The quartet expanded its sound on 2010's The Runaway, layering strings and lush orchestration, while a recent covers LP declares influences from Townes Van Zandt to Stephin Merritt.
12mid, Lit Lounge In 2013, Austin's My Jerusalem became a real band. Led by Jeff Klein, who previously released three albums as a solo act, the quartet became road dogs, taking their brand of post punk and Gothic soul to every part of the country. Working on a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Preachers, they recently had their song "Death Valley" featured on the SyFy Network's Being Human.
12mid, Velveeta Room; Sat., Cheer Up Charlie's, 8:45pm Twentysomething Houston quintet Wild Moccasins always leaned on a pop-rock base, but with the new 88 92, the hometown heroes ladle on nostalgia from the most glamorous parts of the Eighties. Sharing vocals with partner Cody Swann, Zahira Gutierrez seduces with the conviction of any of the era's divas, leading intoxicating licks that, without warning, evoke no small amount of Molly Ringwald dance moves.
12mid, Clive Bar Harlem shaker Kelis weaved in and out of the spotlight for years, caught in the pop star glut. This time she offers something more substantial than a "Milkshake" with her funky, mature new single "Jerk Ribs," off new LP Food, complete with a tie-in TV cooking show.
Ha Ha Tonka
12mid, Shotguns Ha Ha Tonka takes its name from a Missouri State Park close to their Ozark Mountain home. The quartet's fourth for Bloodshot Records, last year's Lessons, flared with renewed purpose, drawing on Maurice Sendak's thoughts on creativity for inspiration. Not your typical Americana band and definitely one willing to take risks while sounding unlike anyone else.
12:10am, Parish Underground; Fri., Hotel Vegas Patio, 9:35pm Speedy Ortiz are having a moment right now. Anchored by Sadie Dupuis' off-kilter poetry and spidery guitar work, the Massachusetts group stands as perhaps the best possible endpoint for Nineties nostalgia. It's a brisk mix of Pavement slackerisms and Slint doom, but sealed up in a younger, fresher package.
The Baptist Generals
12:15am, Cheer Up Charlie's Inside The Baptist Generals' return in 2013 was a surprise for fans of the Denton outfit, including a follow-up LP to 2003 Sub Pop debut No Silver/No Gold that many considered irrecoverably shelved. Jackleg Devotional to the Heart returns to familiar form, lo-fi indie rock braced by folk and filtered through 35 Denton founder Chris Flemmons' nasally askew vocals and songwriting.
12:15am, Palm Door on Sixth Patio If she was American, she'd probably be famous right now. Instead, Lourdes Hernández remains a 28-year-old Spaniard blessed with a beautiful, lilting voice and a knack for the acoustic guitar. She's not your average coffee-shop standby; the Feist comparison is especially prescient, the way her voice stretches outside of its range, and how her fingers bounce on the strings. Don't sleep on Madrid.
12:20am, Half Step The same guy who can pull Black Thought in for a verse – "Codes & Cab Fare," off last fall's No Poison No Paradise – is just as likely to show up in Austin undercover and spin a set at the Museum of Human Achievement. Once hailed as the next J Dilla, Detroit producer Black Milk has evolved into a most creative and prolific creator: a beatmaker, rapper, and free-form DJ whose quest for innovation has helped yield 11 albums in the past nine years.
12:30am, Hotel Vegas @ Volstead Never mind that you won't get the lyrics unless you're fluent in Hebrew, because this Israeli trio's shoegazing indie pop transcends language and cultural barriers. Recorded in a Tel Aviv apartment, the group's debut, The World Is Well Lost (Burger Records), evokes sepia-toned My Bloody Valentine, singer Juval Haring's nostalgic vocals anchoring snarling guitars and providing a glimpse of Israel beyond the news.
1am, Buffalo Billiards Like the true Yorkshiremen they are, Eagulls don't like you. Exploding on the scene with the ear-bleeder "Council Flat Blues" and an open letter to faux working-class British bands whose parents pay their bills, the English punk-psych gang are Iceage minus Pulp plus Killing Joke. Subtle as a beer glass smashed in your face.
1am, Continental Club Doesn't seem like a SXSW unless X's erstwhile bassist plays. Doe stands out on a Yep Roc showcase bristling with singer-songwriters schooled equally in punk and twang and exhibiting serious urban noir lyrical visions. Hopefully this signals a follow-up to 2011's aptly-named Keeper, which played like a highly literate Rolling Stones disc.
1am, Maggie Mae's Rooftop As one half of TNGHT, Lunice helped usher in a new, bonkers era in dance music. Trap, defined by loopy, off-kilter melodies, hellish brass, and a devastating payload of bass, turned out to be the music of choice for a generation permanently hooked up to the Internet. Lunice holds his own though, the Montreal lifer having issued more remixes than there are days in the year.
1am, Quantum Lounge A windmill full of corpses, the disintegration of everything we hold dear, feeling helpless under the cosmic pressure that defines our very lives. A massive untamed forest fire, a ruddy mix of sweat and bourbon, chain mail, stampeding elephants, and really tight pants. These are just some of the things I think about when I listen to Savannah sludge metal trio Black Tusk via Relapse Records.
1am, Maggie Mae's Gibson Denton sextet Seryn can hardly claim a lead singer. In each song, the six voices melt together in soaring, pitch-perfect harmonies. Debut This Is Where We Are from 2011 employed an unplugged stringed arsenal, the soft folk sensibilities providing a cradle for often grandiose lyrical harmonium. A full-length successor is expected this year.
1am, Velveeta Room; Fri., Half Step, 10:15pm On 2013 debut Medallius, Athens, Ga., duo Yip Deceiver dished up 11 tracks of pure dance floor goodness, all without a laptop. Working in full analog, Nicolas "Dobby" Dobbratz and Davey Pierce tumble back to the transition between Eighties neon and Nineties denim, drawing equally from R&B and New Wave cinematics à la Tears for Fears. Bust a move.
1am, Flamingo Cantina; Fri., Vulcan Gas Company, 12mid Will Holland, better known as Quantic, remains a one-man ambassador of tropical music. The British-born DJ/producer/multi-instrumentalist has lived in Colombia since 2007, where he recently finished Magnetica, the first LP under his own name in eight years. The interim's been filled with a myriad of projects celebrating the sounds of his adopted country.
Souls of Mischief
1:30am, Half Step Must be odd to peak so young. The Oakland kids laid "93 'til Infinity" to tape when they were still fresh-faced teenagers. Decades later, the instrumental remains one of the go-to showcase tracks for any up-and-comer's mixtape. Nineties worship never ends.
7pm, Headhunters Patio It sounds like a surreal joke: a Brit, a Swede, and an Australian walk into Kabul and form Afghanistan's first post-Taliban, western-style rock band. Yet the post-punk inflected rock & roll of White City, fronted by U.K.-born journalist Ruth "Ru" Owen, isn't kidding around. The trio stuck to its guns amidst anti-Western turmoil and founded the Sound Central Music Festival. Debut Landlocked dropped digitally in February.
The Barr Brothers
8pm, Lamberts; Thu., St. David's Bethell Hall, 12mid This Canadian quartet anchored by siblings Andrew and Brad Barr reformatted previous outfit the Slip into a lo-fi folk-pop combination almost a decade ago. Though they only have a single LP, 2011's eponymous effort on Secret City, the Barrs have built a fervent international fan base behind deft finger-picking, broad but deliberate orchestration, and gentle Simon & Garfunkel-inspired harmonies.
The Painted Redstarts
8pm, Shotguns Easy for the Painted Redstarts to rely on Austin music royalty credentials, led by William Graham and Marlon Sexton (sons of Jon Dee Graham and Charlie Sexton), but that wouldn't do justice to the local quintet's driving, raw sound and promising songwriting. The teen troupe graces the 2014 Austin Music Awards lineup as ambassadors to the next generation that's already making waves here in river city.
Danny Schmidt & Carrie Elkin
8:30pm, Saxon Pub Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin both boast successful songwriting careers, with Schmidt's seven LPs offering a meticulous craft behind his bluesy, scuffed folk, and Elkin blossoming with the twanged country of 2011's third album Call It My Garden. Yet the Austin couple only recently began recording as a pair, beginning with last year's Together, steeped in gorgeous harmonies and acoustic strums.
9pm, Stephen F's Bar Rhode Island solo folkie Callery combines a mesmerizing voice, intricate guitar work, and a gently psychedelic songwriting sensibility. The result is bittersweet, intoxicating music that feels both earthy and mystical, with a fragile innocence that suggests the uneasy ambience of ancient, pre-Disneyfied fairy tales. Winning considerable acclaim in the UK and Europe, she's making her SXSW debut.
Hedvig Mollestad Trio
9pm, Headhunters Patio Not too many jazz bands get written up in the metal press, but Norway's Hedvig Mollestad Trio found an audience of headbangers despite being more challenging than the average power trio. Guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen's aggressive riffing and spiraling solos nod to obvious predecessors Nels Cline and Sonny Sharrock, but the roiling fusion of All of Them Witches sparks a supernova all its own.
Public Service Broadcasting
9pm, Latitude 30 Four-eyed, leather elbow-pad, bow-tie types setting the audio and video of hilariously stodgy public information films like 1961's The Bottle and the Throttle over live post punk and Krautrock instrumentals to endearing effect. Live, guitarist/programmer J. Willgoose Esq. and his trusty drummer Wrigglesworth rock out in front of a projection screen. 2013 debut was titled Inform-Educate-Entertain.
Sergio Mendoza y la Orkestra
10pm, Javelina; Fri., Speakeasy, 11pm Drawing on the golden sounds of Fifties Havana, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkestra is a massive brass-driven orchestra in the mold of mambo king Pérez Prado. The Tucson ensemble remains led by Nogales native and multi-instrumentalist Sergio Mendoza, who's earned indie bona fides working alongside Mexican Institute of Sound, Calexico, and Devotchka. A follow-up to 2012's Mambo Mexicano falls this spring.
10pm, Quantum Lounge Yautja was built by metal nerds. Featuring members from Coliseum, the Nashville trio's debut album, Songs of Descent, spills over with sludgy riffs, doom brutality, and even a bit of music major mathcore tech chops. They also take their name from Predator.
10pm, the Iron Bear Aaron Coady came to prominence during the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. On the heels of the reality show victory, the newly christened Needles released last year's club/housestravaganza PG-13, featuring the likes of Jayne County and former partner Alaska Thunderfuck.
The Lumiphonic Creature Choir
10pm, the Hideout Shades of early-Nineties multimedia evangelism abound in the Brooklyn-based Lumiphonic Creature Choir's melding of left-field choral music and interactive installation art. The centerpiece is a massive, 12-armed contraption that projects singing heads. MIDI interfaces allow both the live performers and audience members to interact with the disembodied, Brady Bunch-style noggins. The whole package retains a surprisingly emotive wallop even after the gee-whiz novelty subsides.
11pm, North Door Melissa Jefferson was born in Detroit and found her way to Minneapolis after a stint in Houston. Not surprisingly, there are obvious traces of all her geographic layovers (R&B, pop, purple drank) in her hip-hop. After her debut Lizzobangers, she spent part of last year in a strange arrangement opening for fake replacement Replacement Har Mar Superstar.
11pm, TenOak About a month after they met, Brisbane's Joe Agius and Jarrod Mahon wrote two songs over pizza. They recorded them then and there, went out and hastily shot a video, put it up on YouTube, then forgot about it. Until they got an email from Rough Trade a few weeks later wanting to sign them. It's so perfect it can't be true. And look at you, trying to cut your teeth playing four-hour sets at the Kaiserkeller. Ha, sucker.
The 69 Cats
11pm, Shotguns Death-tomb rockabilly featuring the Cramps' Chopper Franklin, Finnish goth-punk Jyrki69 of the 69 Eyes, and local guitarist Danny B. Harvey, who's ridiculously good. Signature hit "Bad Things" has already placed on True Blood, fitting for a band who effortlessly evoke Elvis Presley & the Blue Moon Boys scoring The Walking Dead inside Bela Lugosi's crypt. Creepy in the best possible way.
11pm, BD Riley's This Bangkok-bred quintet comprised of Thai and British musicians reflects the colorful chaos of their home base through a well-crafted prism of psychedelicized alt-rock. Like their late-Eighties Madchester forebears (opening for the Charlatans figures prominently in their press kit), the Standards meld insistent rhythms and hypnotic pop hooks to grand, skull-penetrating effect. 2013's action-packed SiRENS seethes with right-now energy just itching for TV/movie placement.
11:15pm, Cheer Up Charlie's Silent Diane emerged in a salvo of bands that fell in the short-lived witch house genre, popular late last decade. Though the classification may be gone, the Austin-based duo still creates electronic drones as mysterious as the Twin Peaks persona from which it took its name. Silent Diane picks cuts from two 7-inch releases from 2010 and 2011.
11:20pm, Parish Underground When Kristina "Teeny" Lieberson left her post as Here We Go Magic's keyboardist, she joined up with sisters Katherine and Lizzie and longtime friend Jane Herships to form the rarely jubilant Teen. With two EPs and 2012's full-length In Limbo, the Brooklyn quartet created hazy synth drones upstairs at Parish hyping for Fiery Furnaces' Eleanor Friedberger last June.
12mid, Blackheart; Sat., Speakeasy Kabaret, 8pm One of NYC's most popular live acts, Black Taxi mixes unbridled energy with hooky pop melodies and a previously unthinkable blend of genres. Comparisons to Talking Heads, Cake, and Daft Punk abound, with the foursome offering up massive beats, silky harmonies, and guitars set to stun. In the studio this winter, they expect a new album this summer to follow up EP Chiaroscuro.
12mid, Holy Mountain Backyard; Fri., Latitude 30, 11pm Imagine a fresh-faced, all-girl (okay two) version of the White Stripes. Ladies and germs, here's Honeyblood. Singer Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar out of Glasgow are playing some of their first stateside shows at SXSW and are sure to win over cynical yanks with their fuzzy, feminine garage rock. Is it too soon to hope for an opening spot on Frightened Rabbit's next tour?
Well Hung Heart
12mid, Headhunters Patio What happens when you blend the New Orleans glam-pop stylings of singer Greta Valenti with the British blues/grunge of multi-instrumentalist Robin Davey? Not only a busy videography studio called GROWvision, but the sultry sleaze of Well Hung Heart, whose second LP Go Forth and Multiply reeks of sex, salvation, and sin. Videos starring Exene Cervenka and Valenti's skyclad form help spread the love butter.
1am, the Hideout Hailing from Richmond, Va., these instrumental prog-rock carnivores rip with the combined fervor of Robert Fripp, Frank Zappa, and John Zorn. The sax-driven quartet tap dances around the threat of over-pressurization with a playfully adventurous approach to mathematical herky-jerkism. Frequently difficult but never unfun, last year's Is This Chocolate? EP earned regional acclaim with its jazzy, cinematic undertones and neck-snapping change artistry.
1am, Headhunters Patio One of Afghanistan's first post-Taliban-era rock bands, Kabul Dreams formed in the namesake city in 2008. They build upon a crunchy, pop-punk dynamic with occasional nods to their homeland's musical heritage and trenchant, hopeful lyricism. The gripping "Bomb Blast" from the new Target EP takes on heaps of added resonance when you consider the source. Thursday's show marks their U.S. debut.
1am, BD Riley's Oslo's premier all-girl garage group augments Vox-inspired fuzz with a souped-up pop-punk aesthetic on haymakers like "Marks on My Map" and "What Would Joan Jett Do." Commanding vocals, precision backbeats, and swirling organ atmospherics give the Launderettes a pronounced edge over the pack. No less than four of their tunes have been anointed "Coolest Song in the World" by Underground Garage proprietor Little Steven Van Zandt.