TERENCE TRENT D'ARBY
Liberty Lunch, Sunday 19If Terence behaves, this one will be great. At a New York City show this past summer, D'Arby plowed through a two-hour set with remarkable flair -- high kicking and ivory tinkling just as convincingly as he sang his ass off. That night, D'Arby was the complete soul package, and surprisingly humble to boot. Ordinarily, D'Arby's attitude is his own worst enemy, so let's just hope he doesn't mistake Austin's non-coastal geography and the Lunch's intimacy as an excuse for a short set and a big ego. Johnny Goudie opens. -- Andy Langer
UT Union Ballroom, Friday 17Something must've gone right for Tarika last year at the Cactus Cafe, because this time around they've been bumped upstairs to the much-bigger space of the UT Union Ballroom. No room for dancing downstairs in the velvet Cactus? Probably. And, believe me, dancing room is needed for this Madagascar quartet, who ply their own brand of "roots" music -- Malagasy roots music that is, played on valiha (bamboo zither), marovany (box zither), kabosy (guitar), jejy (gourd dulcimer), and sodina (flute). And yes, their music is as exotic as their instruments.
SUNFLOWER, MOTHER HIPS
Steamboat, Friday 17Austin's Sunflower have already found that funk-blues groove that runs deep between Steamboat and the Black Cat, so they've invited some friends to do the same; their Chico, CA. counterparts, Mother Hips, whose good showing on H.O.R.D.E. and solid jam Part-Timer Goes Full CD (on Rick Rubin's American label), reveals that the Ugly Americans have got company out there.
STARK RAVING CHANDLER, DAN BERN, BRIAN CUTEAN
Waterloo Ice House 38th, Friday 17Cross Woody Guthrie with Johnny Rotten and you'd get something like Chris Chandler. On the eve of his new CD, the bald-pated anti-folker from Georgia is joined by spouse Amanda Stark and stream-o-consciousness raver Dan Bern. Then, to settle the adrenaline out of your system, San Marcos folkie Brian Cutean goes gentle on your mind with quirky, zen-flavored tunes. -- Steve Brooks
Continental Club, Saturday 18Well, then, what better place for the Continental Drifters to play than the Continental Club? All right, maybe La Zona Rosa at the tail-end of SXSW, which is where many locals have seen New Orleans' answer to the Band over the years. Peter Holsapple and Susan Cowsill still anchor this "alternative country" band, and while their last record didn't come close to capturing the harmonies and musical magic the Drifters are capable of, the band is fielding offers from labels as we speak, and their day in the sun is still to come. Greg Trooper opens.
SPOON, ADULTS, FUNLAND
Hole in the Wall, Saturday 18Spoon's Britt Daniel stops by to deliver a sampler from the Adults forthcoming CD, but I'm onto it because I have their slamming Back to the Basement 7-inch (see "7 & 7 Is"), so I tell 'em to bring me a copy of Spoon's demo instead. And he does. Holy shit, it's as amazing as everyone says (a signing, anyone?). Just as amazing will be the energy, sharp-witted songs, and blunt riffs these two Austin bands will generate at the Hole. Steely hard and mad, Funland from Dallas open.
Antone's, Sunday 19If you think the years have slowed Barrence Whitfield, consider his drinking molten wax at a show recently to incite a crowd (at least that's the story). Of course, if the band's brand of molten R&B -- Screamin' Jay Hawkins meets the Cramps -- doesn't do it, then the wax thing just might be show enough. And what a show it is.
KARP, APE HANGERS
Emo's, Tuesday 21Don't expect to stand still and nod your head for L.A.'s Ape Hangers, whose CD, Ultrasounds, has two speeds; fast and didja-git-the-license-number? Do expect to be totally charmed by some of the brightest guitar pop this side of the Ramones. Karp from the Northwest spawn south to headline this one. -- Chris Gray
ROSIE FLORES, WANDA JACKSON, DERAILERS
Antone's, Wednesday 22Still exposing her Austin roots music to the rest of the universe, the unflappable Rosie Flores returns, paired up with one of her major influences, country legend and Fifties Elvis-rocker Wanda Jackson -- a good combo found on Flores' new Hightone CD, Rockabilly Filly. Derailers open.
Black Cat, Thursday 23As with Little Sister, Quatropaw's singular, steady rhythm of metal fattening into R&B is brought about by a natural yin-yang closure of female vocalist and male axe-wielder melding into one. Some good oneness on this Austin quartet's debut, All Night Living. The Black Cat is a place where those grooves are born and grow. ALSO PLAYING
Friday: Wilco, Paul Kelly, Liberty Lunch; James Cotton, Sue Foley, Antone's; Pam Hart, Cafezino
Saturday: New Bomb Turks, Emo's; Gretchen Phillips, Ruta Maya; Bluerunners, White Rabbit
Sunday: Tex Thomas & Dangling Ramblers, Continental Club, Little Jack Melody, Gingerman Pub; Johnny Gimble, Old Settler's Park (Round Rock)
Monday: Don Walser, Babes
Tuesday: Breedlove, Pearl's
Wednesday: Ted Roddy, Saxon Pub
Thursday: Jon Blondell, Elephant Room