Wednesday SXSW 2014 Showcases
Stay planted for an evening
Burger City Rock N Roll7:15pm, Hotel Vegas
Don't get confused, young hipster! This isn't a showcase for cassette-centric California label Burger Records, which presents its third annual Burgermania on these same stages Saturday. Rather, we present local imprint Burger City Rock N Roll, who favor a similar raw and crude love of punk, garage, and power-pop stylings. Agape over this ambitious, triple-stage, 25-band bill, the question that immediately comes to mind: "Where in hell did these guys find Protex?!" How have they even heard of this late-Seventies Belfast band and their Ramones-ish bashing?! Well, they're a perfect fit on this bill. Austin gets represented by the Heartbreakers-esque Bad Lovers, Pharaohs' sandpapered pop, the two-gal pop of Gal Pals, and Ditch Witch's skate metal. Atlanta contributes Dinos Boys, who sound like they live on the Devil Dogs' catalog and Replacements' Stink. A strong Brooklyn contingent includes untamed Saints worshippers Foster Care, Johnny Thunders fans Dirty Fences, the ramshackle pop drive of Hector's Pets, Weeknight's darkwave electro, and the Ramonesisms of Shocked Minds. California contributions include the San Franciscan crude Cars pop of Warm Soda, L.A. cowpunk of the Abigails, Oakland's power-popping Big Tits, and the ethereal jangling of Fullerton's Cosmonauts. Memphis' Sheiks seem to share some Oblivians DNA. Also appearing: Nightmare Boyzzz, Natural Child, Raw McCartney, Liquor Store, and more!
BrooklynVegan7:30pm, Red 7 Patio
Way back in 2004, a vegan in Brooklyn started to blog about organic food options and live music around his neighborhood. Today, BrooklynVegan's expanded to two new locales, hosts an annual SXSW showcase, and remains one of the most recognizable music blogs in the game. Pennsylvanian quartet Placeholder makes vintage, sad-boy post-hardcore, the sort currently lumped in with the dubious "emo revival." Gainesville shit-kickers Frameworks mines the same nostalgic sector with their frenetic, shivering, and unmistakably emo hardcore. Harvey Sid Fisher opens, which might be the starkest tonal shift of the whole festival. The 73-year-old L.A. lounge lizard made a career writing soft little ditties about golf, smoking, and most famously, astrology. Floridian lifers Against Me! return as the spotlight starts to recede from Laura Jane Grace's dysphoria and the world refocuses on their perpetually great punk. The formerly scene-celebrated and now universally adored L.A. melodic hardcore quintet Touche Amore have earned their hero's welcome. Indie kids should be ashamed for banishing screamo for so long.
Roadhouse Management/Nuclear Blast Records7:30pm, Red 7
Distinctly psychedelic heaviness paints the inside of metal headquarters Red 7, an amp-frying roundup presented by international headbanging titan Nuclear Blast and Austin career guidance company Roadhouse Management. Rising hard rock locals the Well flows first, prepping its first full-length after having a hit with its doom-melodic EP First Trip. The black sheep of the showcase, Irish-born/Austin-based singer/journalist/DJ/bon vivant BP Fallon leads his rock & roll Bandits through the smoke and incense via songs from last year's Still Legal. The volume races back into the red and stays there with local hard rock hero Scorpion Child, supporting its eponymous 2012 Nuclear Blast debut. Berlin's Kadavar takes the stage and lesser lights to school, blazing on the acid garage rock incinerating second LP Abra Kadavar. The roof comes down under the auspices of night-blooming Orchid, the San Franciscans rattling the rafters with the sizzling proto-metal of its recent early career retrospective The Zodiac Sessions.
Single Lock Records7:45pm, Tap Room at the Market
Single Lock Records celebrates its first year, and what a year it's been. Based out of the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama, its brain trust boasts John Paul White of the Civil Wars and Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes. The direction continues to broaden. Austin's Dan Dyer plies blue-eyed soul on the keys, his songs filled with grit and colorful emotions. Originally from the Shoals, Donnie Fritts has worked with Kris Kristofferson, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, and too many more to list cover a career spanning four decades and songs covered by Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Dusty Springfield, and many more musical legends. St. Paul & the Broken Bones are one of SXSW's buzz bands this year, singer Paul Janeway looking like Drew Carey yet sounding like Otis Redding. New disc Half the City, produced by Tanner, draws from the Shoals' R&B legacy and drips honey. They hail from Muscle Shoals but in many ways Belle Adair recalls another famous band from the South: R.E.M. Last year's debut, The Brave and the Blue, jangled, twanged, and dreamt in all the right spots.
Welcome to the South8pm, Scoot Inn
Save for female MC Aye Yo Smiley, a 20-year-old "Time Bomb" from D.C. debuting her first mixtape this summer, and Isaiah Rashad, the Chattanooga, Tenn., rapper intertwined within Kendrick Lamar's Black Hippy collective, the artists on this showcase hail almost exclusively from points around Texas, be they small as Hilltop (Lucky Loc) or big as Houston (Uzoy, Kleva). Repping the ATX is the League of Extraordinary Gz, whose 2013 debut #LeagueShit achieved "Best Ever" status around Austin, though their buzz may fall by the wayside of southeast Houston rapper Doughbeezy, creator of highly hyped mixtape Footprints on the Moon, a collection truly out of this world. Flanking him 20 minutes later is Footprints feature man Killa Kyleon, a leader in the race to re-brand Houston as "not always all about that candy paint." The 1am slot falls to Gunplay, the Miami rapper grown tight with Rick Ross, and whose debut LP Living Legend hits shelves this spring.
Relapse Records8pm, Dirty Dog Bar
Extreme metal specialists Relapse always give good ROARRRR and this year's showcase demonstrates extreme breadth in the Philly label's gaze. Brooklyn foursome Pyrrhon clears the deck first with its jazzily acidic and deliriously savage death metal, prepping ears for its forthcoming sophomore LP Mother of Virtues. More grim reaper rock comes next as Denver's growling Primitive Man pulls Scorn from its bowels, while Norway's Obliteration screeches fury over the Black Death Horizon. Rib cages not cochlea get a rest with the psychedelic shoegaze sounds of Philadelphia's Nothing, supporting new album Guilty of Everything. Led by Christine Davis' throaty rasp, Christian Mistress explodes trad metal out of the indie rock enclave of Olympia, Wash., with the chunky Possession. The evening wraps with dire doom, as Richmond, Va.'s Windhand – shrieking the guitar theatrics of Alabama Thunderpussy slasher Asechiah Bogdan and sirensong of Dorthia Cottrell – sink the Dirty Dog under the earth to the tune of its breakout Soma.
Sounds From Uruguay8pm, Speakeasy
Basking in the glow of international attention for puff-puff-progressive politics, Uruguay's finest strut the liberal nation's musical spectrum from experimental folk to rowdy psych rock. Folk songstress Ana Prada is on a mission to permanently crack the South American music scene, riding the wave of latest release Soy Otra, the last in her three-part series begun with Soy Sola in 2006 and continued with the striking Soy Pecadora (I Am a Sinner) in 2009. Her cousin and former bandmate, Daniel Drexler, mixes irresistible percussion and gentle vocals charged with electro-current on 2013's Mar Abierto. A decade ago, the cousins began their careers with a band called La Caldera led by Daniel, raising Prada's profile in the Uruguay folk scene and eventually leading to her collaboration with producer Carlos Casacuberta on the Soy series and a Best New Artist win at the Argentine Gardel Awards. Horn-infused experimental rock mob Cuatro Pesos de Propina showcases latest release Surcando, a crackling live wire. Alternative rockers Hablan por la Espalda meld native influences into their heavy grooves in 2012's Celebración.
KCA Artists8pm, Shotguns
Someone should have thought twice about booking Billy Joe Shaver into a club called Shotguns, since Waco's honky-tonk hero has history with guns in bars, incidents now both country music legend and song. Shaver defined outlaw country in the Seventies, and his songs remain for both Saturday night's parties and Sunday morning's penitence. The songwriter centers a showcase kicking off with Boston female bluegrass quintet Della Mae, offering traditional-styled tunes across last year's debut LP, This World Oft Can Be. BR549 co-founder Chuck Mead continues his honky-tonk turn with the Grassy Knoll Boys from 2012's Back at the Quonset Hut and debuts songs from new solo set of Kansas odes Free State Serenade. Nashville star Suzy Bogguss sets up Shaver with Lucky, her new LP of Merle Haggard covers, while the Black Lillies dig deeper roots with their Appalachian-tinged strings and harmonies. Last year's third LP, Runaway Freeway Blues kept the Knoxville quintet atop the Americana charts with sharp songwriting and stomping breakdowns. Nashville trio Howlin' Brothers close with the grassy stomp of fiddle, upright bass, and guitar from 2013's Howl.
Sounds From Brazil8pm, Icenhauer's
The Sounds From Brazil showcase befits the diversity of South America's largest country and this year's World Cup host. Boogarins hail from the interior town of Goiânia, a roughly 14-hour drive from the beaches and boardwalks of Ipanema. Vocalist Fernando Almeida and multi-instrumentalist Benke Ferraz peddle psychedelic pop full of hazy, sun-soaked melodies descended from Tropicália. São Paulo MC Emicida is one of the country's best hip-hop ambassadors, offering a glimpse inside the gritty slums Brazilian officials are so eager to hide for the futebol festivities this summer. Last year's O Glorioso Retorno de Quem Nunca Esteve Aqui (roughly "the glorious return of he who was never here") spins a polished product drawing on a rich musical legacy. "Hino Vira-Lata" and "Trepadeira," featuring Brazilian legend Wilson das Neves, mine funky samba-soul, while "Ubuntu Fristili" and the berimbau beat of "Gueto" tap into the African heritage of northeastern Brazil. A power punk trio from Paraiba, Zefirina plays fast and furious. Their SoundCloud page claims the band "uses a guitar all fucked up and makes a noise bastard." Semantics aside, there's little room to quibble with that summary.