8pm, Palm Door on Sabine Despite not appearing on the compilation, Sonny Knight stole the show at a release party for a 2012 Secret Stash reissue of lost Twin Cities funk and soul rarities. The retired bus driver, 65, fronted a Sixties doo-wop group and later sang for Seventies R&B outfit Haze. An upcoming LP features dance floor groovers and a slow funk flip on Rodriguez' "Sugar Man."
8:30pm, the Main Rhyme partners Godemis and Ubiquitous of Ces Cru have been terrorizing mics and burning Kansas City kush for more than a decade. The duo signed to Midwest mogul Tech N9ne's Strange Music in 2012, trading kamikaze raps about bath salts and a loofah "made of entrails" on last year's Constant Energy Struggles. As Godemis raps on "Lotus," "They might've been local forever but Tech swooped 'em."
8:30pm, Saxon Pub When he arrived in the late Eighties, hard-headed Texas troubadour McMurtry was already talented and insightful beyond his years. Since then, his songwriting has grown even more fearless, and he's emerged as a skillful guitarist and bandleader who understands the value of a good groove. Signing with the new Complicated Game label, he's working on the belated follow-up to his 2008 mini-masterpiece, Just Us Kids.
8:40pm, the Main II Partners in life and music, Chaka and Qi Dada emanate a spiritual side to Riders Against the Storm, giving extra weight to the term MC. The marrieds, who baptized listeners with "Holy Water" on last year's self-titled EP, hold beats and rhymes in reverence. Run, RAS, run.
9pm, Esther's Follies CLB hasn't lost any of the biting, if obvious, humor from late-Eighties gem "Damn, I Wish I Was a Man" to the Aughties' "When Did Jesus Become a Republican?" She's still "anti-folk-shel," but as interesting as her playing SXSW is her participation in the Crawdaddy!/Paul Williams panel. Berryhill's partner – Williams – passed last year after a bike injury led to a degenerative brain condition.
9:25pm, the Main II It's been more than a decade since Seattle rapper Sleep met Josh Martinez at SXSW, teaming up for dexterously kinetic duo the Chicharones and becoming a mainstay at the festival. The Portland, Ore., duo's shows are predictably unpredictable, with live band backing and a trough of stage antics adding to the bitingly satirical back and forth that trips 2012's Swine Flew.
9:30pm, Saxon Pub The primary project of former Gourds frontman Kevin Russell finds him in the role of a jocular Flannery O'Connor, spinning Gulf Coast Gothic with a biting sense of humor and social justice. The Austin country-swamp quartet, which includes Gourds drummer Keith Langford, has been touring relentlessly on the back of its sophomore release, 2013's Gulf Coast Museum.
10pm, Lucille New iteration of Swedish singer/songwriter Dennis Lyxzén, late of Refused and the (International) Noise Conspiracy, INVSN eschews hardcore and garage rock ferocity for anthemic passion, drawing on the sky-reaching theatrics of the Eighties British Invasion. Lyxzén's passion for radical politics and social injustice remains unchanged, however, as evidenced by the band's eponymous debut.
10pm, Parish Underground TB&WY practically swept the Austin Music Awards in 2009 with its Jerry Harrison-produced, art-punk debut, which conquered local radio and led to festival appearances. Half a decade, a near-breakup, and a couple of albums later, the quartet moved closer to the dance floor and regained some of its early momentum on January's Strange Figurines (Modern Outsider).
10pm, Clive Bar Lee Fields doesn't garner as many headlines as Sharon Jones or Charles Bradley, but few are putting out better R&B music today than the North Carolina soul man. Of course, he's had 45 years of practice, first cutting a James Brown cover in 1969. 2012's Faithful Man is a sublime slice of cinematic soul backed by the Expressions, the Truth & Soul house band that poaches players from Budos Band, El Michels Affair, and Menahan Street Band.
10pm, Palm Door on Sabine In the late Sixties, Houston's Kashmere High School band channeled contemporary soul into powerful big-band arrangements that paralleled the birth of funk. With sparsely distributed vintage LPs rediscovered by contemporary hipsters and sampled by hip-hop artists, the group prompted 2011 documentary Thunder Soul and has been reborn as a live unit featuring many alumni from the original ensemble.
10pm, Elysium The ever-upbeat Peters last visited America as frontman of the reconstituted Big Country. He's back at the helm of his original Welsh anthem-rock combo, which won stateside attention in the Eighties. His original bandmates are long gone, but the current Alarm includes members of Sisters of Mercy, the Mission, and Gene Loves Jezebel.
10pm, Hotel Vegas Patio Some bands' careers are just a blur, but inspired by the Clash's infamous 1977 Irish tour, then calling it quits in 1981 after misguided support slots and label bullshit, Belfast's melodic punks Protex were rightly namechecked alongside peers like the Undertones and the Boomtown Rats. Reformed, with their lost LP Strange Obsessions finally released, Protex pogos again.
10pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary In her Fifties heyday, this rockabilly firecracker made key inroads into the boys' club of first-generation rock & roll, opening doors for several decades' worth of subsequent female rockers. At 76, she's no longer the hip-shaking hellion of her youth, but she still sings the bejeezus out of such vintage anthems as "Let's Have a Party" and "Fujiyama Mama."
10pm, Half Step; Fri., TenOak, 1am There are two kinds of casket girls: the pale, consumptive women sent over as prospective wives to French colonists in New Orleans in the 18th century, and the fuzzy Southern Gothic psych-rock trio from Savannah, Ga. The latter means blonde sisters Elsa and Phaedra Greene and producer/instrumentalist Ryan Graveface (Black Moth Super Rainbow). The debut record, True Love Kills the Fairy Tale, dropped in February.
10:25pm, Scoot Inn Chattanooga, Tenn., native Rashad's brand new Cilvia Demo is already making waves in rap for its laid-back, gently twisted Southern rap. Indebted to Outkast, Goodie Mob, and an album-oriented success like Kendrick Lamar, Rashad locks down a sticky, addictive flow. "Tranquility for a Brutus, and hard road for Caesar."
10:30pm, Saxon Pub Austinite Eliza Gilkyson is recognized worldwide for her political activism and as a leading voice in today's folk circles. Next week Gilkyson, the daughter of famed composer Terry Gilkyson ("The Bare Necessities"), releases her 20th album, The Nocturne Diaries, a pensive and restless collection that the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter says are personal reflections inspired by nighttime.
10:45pm, Scoot Inn; Thu., Half Step, 11:30pm Last year's debut #LeagueShit was nothing short of a triumph. The soulful ATX street rap conglomerate traded verses with Dead Prez on "Still Bigger" and celebrated fallen brother Esbe Da 6th Street Bully on "I'm Alive." Look for the eight-man League to follow the Tao of Wu, next releasing a slew of Reggie Coby productions from solo members and affiliate groups like SouthBound and Da C.O.D.
11pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary Make no mistake, Willie Watson and his quavering high/lonesome tenor and graceful songwriting was the crucial element in Old Crow Medicine Show. Since exiting the celebrated folk band in late 2011, he's been commercially quiet, but now emerges as a solo performer, reportedly working with Gillian Welch's other half, David Rawlings, on a forthcoming project.
11pm, Esther's Follies Hip hip hooray, the carnival's in town. Austinites can file 2012's The Band Called Out for More right next to the Asylum Street Spankers' vaudeville rock, but British ringmistress Gabby and her immaculately-costumed merry travelers burst out of the Spiegeltent scene with their own raucous and sly twist on circus swing.
11pm, Karma Lounge Angry brothers from Brooklyn are making excellent rock music. The Kinks (ahem, also brothers) meets Ramones meets the Buzzcocks. They probably didn't get along once they met, but a big part of being punk is hating shit, right? Last year's tense and turbulent Blowout is essential listening for the young and annoyed.
11pm, Parish Underground This jagged, local post-punk trio formerly known as Follow That Bird stood out even in the superlative atmosphere of Gerard Cosloy's 2010 compilation, Casual Victim Pile. Rechristened as Mirror Travel, they made good on the promise of "The Ghosts That Wake You" with last year's Mexico (Modern Outsider). Guitarist/vocalist Lauren Green cuts an arresting presence as the band cloaks hooks in a fog-shrouded sizzle.
11pm, Elephant Room A preeminent member of Austin's jazz scene, native son and tenor saxist Elias Haslanger has performed with a remarkably diverse group that includes Ellis Marsalis, Asleep at the Wheel, and Alejandro Escovedo. His free Monday night residency at the Continental Club Gallery led to the highly lauded Church on Monday CD. Haslanger's prepping a live set, recorded at the Gallery late last year.
11:30pm, Old School Bar & Grill As Elvis Presley's only child and Michael Jackson's ex, LMP remains better known for her tabloid notoriety than for her musical output, but her three albums suggest she takes recording very seriously. Most recent release, 2012's rootsy, T-Bone Burnett-produced Storm & Grace, reveals an introspective edge that may force skeptics to rethink some of their assumptions.
11:50pm, Red 7 Patio; Thu., Red 7 Patio, 9pm No band can fill the gap left in the emo heart when Thursday faded, but Burbank's post-hardcore, Geoff Rickly-approved Touché Amoré comes pretty close. Third album Is Survived By could be their Spiderland, with producer Brad Wood giving new clarity to Jeremy Bolm's confessional tone poem lyrics, and a math-rock switchback vibe to their two-guitar tornado.
12mid, Barcelona; Thu., Elysium, 10:45pm These days, dubstep is more associated with titanic wobble, video-game trailers, and limited edition Nike dunks, but don't forget guys like Machinedrum, who keep advancing that old, pre-crossover bass music. Travis Stewart makes his home in North Carolina, and makes his music with little more than a rat-a-tat drum machine and a collection of ghostly vocal samples. It's head-knock music, outfitted with an audio engineering degree.
12mid, Karma Lounge While any woman knows that a singer as endearing and charming as Charlie Brand is probably bad news, when he sings "I wanna make it with you" in this Brooklyn indie-pop quartet's summery new single "Swimming Pool Blues," the urge to go skinnydipping is undeniable. The group's fourth LP, Cruel Runnings, drops in late May.
12mid, St. David's Historic Sanctuary; Fri., Saxon Pub, 10:30pm Fullbright's 2012 debut studio From the Ground Up broke hard, garnering Grammy nods and establishing the former Turnpike Troubadour as an emerging Americana star. The Oklahoma songwriter can kick red-dirt country and blues behind a pounding grit, yet also cut moving ballads against a weary drawl stretching beyond his 25 years, winding tales of the beaten and the blessed with a wry slant.
12mid, Clive Bar Rare is the path from underground hip-hop to straight-up pop stardom, but that's precisely where Aloe Blacc finds himself. The former Stones Throw artist won over anyone within earshot of 2010's sunny soul release Good Things and its hit single "I Need a Dollar," but forthcoming major label bow Lift Your Spirit poises the California native to become a household name.
12mid, Haven Samuel T. Herring unfurls his poetry in a coarse, throaty burp, equal parts Shakespeare and Sideshow Bob. The Baltimore trio's 2011 album On the Water is crammed with the drama, stakes, and melancholy that indie-rock frequently lacks. It's a passionate album for passionate people, with a reputation for a great live show.
12mid, Cheer Up Charlie's; Thu., Clive Bar, 10pm; Thu., Red 7, 12:50am When you become the "it" dude of indie rock, the backlash invariably begins almost immediately. Somehow, the Philly guitarist has managed to avoid it. Maybe his low-key persona invites folks not to bother, but last year's Walking on a Pretty Daze was a near-perfect spacious and never stodgy melange of Malkmus, Wareham, Fahey, and Kilbey.
12mid, Headhunters Patio You'd be forgiven for mistaking hard-touring riff lords the Blind Pets for Blue Cheer, wandering into one of those revival meetings they call a "gig." That's no snake frontman Joshua Logan's handling, however. It's a Gibson SG, and the only tongues these guys babble are the glossolalia of primal riffs and the big beat. Tunes like "Marshall Law" have a kill radius of 50 miles.
12:30am, St. David's Bethell Hall; Thu., Vulcan Gas Company, 1am Austin's a special place for multi-instrumentalist mood-setter Federico Aubele. It's here the relationship between the Argentine expat and his now wife, singer Natalia Clavier, moved beyond musical collaborators. Expect sparks to fly again as the couple and the rest of his Brooklyn-based band breathe life into the brooding compositions of last year's 5, his fifth full-length of downtempo global grooves on Thievery Corporation's ESL imprint.
12:30am, Rowdy's Saloon Blues rock originator Johnny Winter's 40-plus-year career was just commemorated with a 4-CD box set, True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story. With 57 tracks from 27 albums, it follows the albino Texas guitar legend from his earliest days in Beaumont to recent collaborations with Derek Trucks and Vince Gill, while graphically demonstrating why he's one of the most influential axe men of all time.
12:30am, Vulcan Gas Company A decade on the charts and two in the courts, the New Romantic torchbearers morphed from post punk to saxophone-powered smooth jazz before imploding. With inter-band lawsuits settled and documentary Soul Boys of the Western World debuting in the Film Festival, the revived British quintet returns for its first U.S. gig in 30 years.
12:50am, Red 7 Patio Long before Tom Gabel became Laura Jane Grace, Against Me! had already undergone a colossal shift in identity when the onetime crust-folk outfit stylistically U-turned on 2007's New Wave then lost mascot-like drummer Warren Oakes. Following a stretch of mediocrity (White Crosses) and several chemistry-killing lineup changes, Grace is again sounding inspired and writing from the heart, demonstrated on the recent Transgender Dysphoria Blues.
1am, Scoot Inn Be thankful Gunplay's not incarcerated. After video surfaced of him pistol-whipping an associate, it seemed like the manic Floridian rapper might not see the light of day for a long while, but his chaos continues to reign. Gunplay raps like he's the apocalypse's arbiter, burning everything in his wake. There's nobody hungrier – or more malicious – but both make him great.
1am, Half Step For a band whose members were born well after David Lynch's serial drama first hit airwaves, Twin Peaks managed an impressive albeit brief debut, Sunken, released in mid-2013 by Autumn Tone. The Chicago quartet's lo-fi garage pop captures that hazy, early-morning dream state.
1am, Maggie Mae's For a moment, the Pains were everywhere. Following up a perfect homage to Eighties twee-pop with an equally perfect homage to teary Nineties locker-rock anthems, the Brooklynites have pumped the breaks. Now, three years after Belong, the reemergence has begun. Their new album, Days of Abandon, drops next month, so expect new songs.
1am, St. David's Historic Sanctuary; Thu., Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn, 10pm; Thu., Red Eyed Fly, 11:40pm A prolific veteran of the Southern chitlin' circuit, blues/soul/funk maverick Rush embodies both a bigger-than-life personality and a restless creative spirit that's yielded all manner of raucous, bawdy gems. His latest, Decisions, teams him with fellow Louisiana native Dr. John and West Coast R&B revivalists Blinddog Smokin'.
1am, Remedy Not to be confused with the popular DuPont home siding product, Tyvek serenades suburban slow rot with eternally frustrated punk pathos. The Detroit trio's early material strikes the perfect balance of frayed aggression and unbridled exhilaration. 2010's Nothing Fits mustered a passing nod to no-future hardcore before 2012's On Triple Beams pulled it all together in a clarion call for docile citizens to take up drywall-kicking.
1am, Flamingo Cantina; Sat., Holy Mountain, 1am Fishbone frontman reemerges with the Brand New Step, whose tasteful new album Sacrifice brims with buoyant soul and includes autobiographical lines like, "They say that the whole world is my stage, but behind these bars, the stage has become my cage." His career has had ups (the Eighties) and downs (broke and living with mom), but this Brand New Step is in the right direction.
1am, the Hideout Ex-Boredoms vocalist Yoshikawa Toyohito founded this teeming Osaka collective that specializes in morphing delicate post-rock pastorals tinged into violent fits of fully-orchestrated immolation. The lineup also features fearsome dual drummers Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins) and Talow the Tornado (Nice View). 2011's acclaimed Alchemic Heart boasted Japanoise pioneer Merzbow and ex-Swan Jarboe. Vampillia's latest, Some Nightmares Take You Aurora Rainbow Darkness, was recorded in Iceland.
1:15am, Hotel Vegas; Sat., Hotel Vegas Patio, 10:30pm This Nashville retro rock trio led by the greasy-haired, dual-singing frontline of bassist Wes Traylor and guitarist Seth Murray plays triumphant bar rock with the swagger of your older sister's high school boyfriend. They resin-hit the good times and channel the boogie of Canned Heat and the sexuality of the Stones. New platter Dancin' With Wolves countrifies their style with pedal steel and keys.
7:30pm, Red Eyed Fly Since appearing in 2005's Rock School Nashville-based Diaz has polished her increasingly original single-girl indie pop. A multi-year SXSW veteran, she released two LPs in 2012: Plastic Moon and We Threw Our Hearts in the Fire. A recent deal with Nettwerk Records suggests an earnest new chapter.
8pm, Maggie Mae's; Fri., Latitude 30, 8pm In the New Testament, one of Jesus' miracles arrives practically a trope: healing a man with a withered hand. Scotsman Dan Wilson, who endured an isolated Jehovah's Witness upbringing, brings a quest for secular healing and redemption to February's New Gods.
8pm, Central Presbyterian Church A self-taught singer looping live vocals and mouth-made sound effects, Moses Sumney possesses a mesmerizing voice and sublime falsetto. The native Angeleno, who spent a large chunk of his childhood in Ghana, has yet to release anything officially, but online snippets of folk-soul hint at Tune-Yards meets Michael Kiwanuka and explains why Sumney's a Questlove co-sign.
8pm, Lucille London duo Cloud Boat, comprising Sam Ricketts and Tom Clarke, pay homage to the dreamy electronica of their countryman James Blake. The pair's debut, the very mellow Book of Hours (Apollo), makes ambient sounds for an intimate pub or rainy-afternoon lounge, evidence of London's musical terroir.
Not to be confused with the domesticated pets of silver-screen fame, Milo & Otis consists of Chicago poet Jamila Woods (Milo) and producer/bassist Owen Hill (Otis) who met at Brown. 2012's The Joy brims with soulful ditties, warm grooves, and quirky delights. Chance the Rapper guests on "Lift Up" while "Black Sheep" informs, "No, you can't fucking touch my hair."
8:30pm, Hotel Vegas Patio Their Satanic imagery of upside down crosses and pentagrams aside, the metallic skate punk of Austin's Ditch Witch doesn't so much summon evil spirits as much as drains kegs. A party band through and through, they decimate stages with top-notch guitar shredding and apocalyptic shouts, then drunkenly skateboard the steps outside the club. Debut LP Sold Our Souls arrives this year on Aggressor Records.
9pm, the Majestic NYC-based Texpat John Peña started sole proprietorship Heavenly Beat after vacating the bass chair in Beach Fossils. Tasteful bedroom electro-pop on sophomore effort Prominence (Captured Tracks) arrives ladled with breathy falsetto vox and sleek Eighties reverberations. The whole thing would collapse in a gentle breeze if not for Peña's careful and alluring songcraft.
9pm, Javelina Jeneda and Clayson Benally, previously of punk "alter-Native" act Blackfire, started See-ha-szin, which means "hope" in Navajo, after unsuccessfully suing to block the construction of a ski resort on their tribe's sacred land near Flagstaff, Ariz. The bass-and-drum driven resistance-rock of Never Surrender (2013) features Navajo chants from the pair's father, famed medicine man Jones Benally.
9:15pm, Holy Mountain Backyard; Thu., Bungalow, 11pm Whittled down to a fourpiece when they were previously six, North Carolina's LITT released second album Past Life in February. Their sound remains rich, as electro-rock grooves and subtle atmospheres pulse underneath the angelic vocals of bandleader Ari Pickler, who sings of agonizing moments with unexpected beauty. Streamlined perhaps, but still emotionally rich and enveloping.
10pm, Palm Door on Sixth Patio; Sat, Esther's Follies, 12mid As long as there are garages, literal and metaphorical, there will be bands like Ivan & the Parazol. The Budapest quintet bashes out four-chord melodic rock & roll based more on Sixties values than sonics, and they're good enough at it to push "Take My Hand" up the charts in their homeland. First LP Mama Don't You Recognize Ivan & the Parazol smokes.
10pm, Javelina Self-described dream rockers from San José, Costa Rica, the Great Wilderness are making their second appearance at SXSW. Late last year, the young foursome self-released In the Hour of the Wolf, their first LP after a pair of well-received EPs. They've also garnered international recognition with appearances at Canadian Music Week, CBGB Festival, and Filter magazine's Culture Collide in 2013.
10pm, Flamingo Cantina An original member of the Specials and one-third of the Fun Boy Three, Jamaica-born guitarist/singer Golding was a key player in England's post-punk Two Tone explosion, and has in recent years collaborated with the likes of Damon Albarn and Lily Allen. He's currently collaborating with American reggae revivalists Contra Coup.
10pm, Latitude 30; Thu., Empire Control Room, 8pm Lawrence Rothman has released two singles and three videos, each one more bizarre and perplexing than the last. In the only readily available promo picture of the Angeleno, he appears bloodied and bruised as if just smashed with a brick. If deep depression has a soundtrack, this is it. "#1 All Time Low" is some of the saddest shit you'll ever hear. It's art rock and avant R&B, tortured soul music.
10pm, Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn A youthful quartet from Magnolia, Folk Family Revival takes the family part of their name seriously. Brothers Mason, Barrett, and Lincoln Lankford, plus childhood friend Caleb Pace, take their influences from such diverse sources as the Black Keys and the Band. Three years after first effort Unfolding, the group fully funded recently on a Pledge Music campaign and are set to record a follow-up.
11pm, Bungalow; Sat., St. David's Historic Sanctuary, 12mid Veterans of festivals like Newport and Bonnaroo, Nashville's Apache Relay issues its eponymous third album on April 22. The group draws from all sorts of Americana, from Philly soul to Phil Spector for songs that are arena-ready yet never bombastic, a combination that lands close to the Arcade Fire with Bruce Springsteen-like overtones.
11pm, Maggie Mae's Rooftop Joy Division crossed with an amalgam of every early Nineties band to make an appearance on the modern rock radio format? Maybe that's because of the lyric, "You've lost control of everything" from 2012's Garage Hymns. Still, as far as exploiting your influences, Chicago's Empires scores high.
11pm, Russian House Hailing from the Middle East nation of Azerbaijan, a nation of nine million just west of the Caspian Sea, 35-year-old Gochag Askarov specializes in Mugham music, a traditional style of his native country that combines classic poetry sung over improvised music. The singer incorporates drums, double-reed woodwinds, Middle Eastern variations on guitars, and other stringed instruments into his fluctuating ensemble of players.
12mid, Bungalow Clear Plastic Masks' opening set for White Denim in Portland last month damn near stole the evening – and that's no easy feat. The Nashville-via-NYC quartet's debut EP, CPM, boasts boozy storytelling and visceral garage rock in equal measure, and on stage, frontman Andrew Katz charges with the hell-fire rebellion of a preacher's son and the live-wire intensity of Thee Oh Sees. Keep a lookout for the band's side project with Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard, Thunderbitch.
12mid, Swan Dive; Sat., Russian House, 1am Ottawa trio DJ Shub, DJ NDN, and DJ Bear Witness meld the sacred chants and drums of their indigenous culture with punishing bass and EDM club sounds. The result, as heard on last year's Nation II Nation is intense, spiritual, and inherently political. Album opener "Electric Pow Wow Drum" sums it up.
12mid, Lit Lounge Upstairs On the surface, this adorable Boston trio, which was strictly a live act for a good four years before cutting a disc in 2013, specializes in fun, jangly garage pop and being cute. Dig more deeply into Feels Weird, the scrappy group's first LP, and you hear complicated wordplay, cutting jibes at other local acts, and a heaping dose of attitude.
12:30am, Swan Dive Patio; Thu., St. David's Bethell Hall, 11pm Canada's Timber Timbre crafts suave, enveloping soundscapes, compositions that haunt and mesmerize in the space opened between Taylor Kirk's low, smooth croon and Simon Trottier's stark arrangements and eerie electro-folk textures. The trio expands to a quintet on upcoming fifth long-player Hot Dreams (Arts & Crafts), accentuating their live sound as the lead single and title track drip with sensuality.
12:50am, Icenhauer's; Thu., Red 7 Patio, 11pm The DIY recording project of young Brazilian duo Fernando Almeida (vox) and multi-instrumentalist Benke Ferraz came to beautiful fruition on their Fat Possum As Plantas que Curam, a daydream of sun-baked psych pop with Ferraz's effect-heavy instrumentalism and Almeida's delicate vocals singing earnest poetry in English and Portuguese. Austinites best get acquainted; Boogarins are booked for Psych Fest 2014.
1am, Lit Lounge Upstairs He's moved back and forth between Seattle and Austin several times, but Jack Wilson calls Central Texas home these days. His music also alternates; sometimes he's Neil Young, other times he's chamber pop. 2013 LP Spare Key was dark yet daring, filled with lush harmonies, orchestral touchstones, and prodigious hooks. Wilson also mixed in a restrained amount of humanity.
1am, Haven This Brooklyn quartet just released its sophomore effort, Distraction. An amalgam of electronics and pop hooks with the tortured lyrics of Dylan Rau, it's not a huge move from their attention-getting debut, 2010's Burning Bush Supper Club. With road tested self-assurance, they expand the use of soundscapes to feed alternating feelings of high anxiety and unbound joyfulness.
1am, BD RIley's Leed's Dinosaur Pile-Up is given to moments of grunge reverence, but there's very little slack in the thrash. It's just clean enough, with just enough subtle melody for their musical Venn diagram to overlap more with the post-post-punk kids of Southern California than anything from the Pacific Northwest. See last year's Nature Nurture.
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