Picks & Sleepers

Okay, take a deep breath. Hold it. Exhale. Again. There. Feel better? Look, just calm down. So what if there are over 700 bands playing this year's South by Southwest conference? You are only one person, with two legs, three days, and four nights. You couldn't possibly see every act you want to, so you're gonna have to make some hard decisions: Tony Bennett, Junior Brown, and Peter Wolf at the Austin Music Hall Thursday night, or the Grand Royal showcase at the Electric Lounge in the same time slot? And what about the Tejano Concert at the City Coliseum that same night -- all night? Matador showcase at Liberty Lunch on Friday or Amphetamine Reptile Presents... at Emo's? What's a person to do? Read the Chronicle's "Picks & Sleepers," of course, because herein are clues to nearly 300 bands playing SXSW. Combined with a spoken word round-up, dozens and dozens of record reviews, and last week's "Picks & Sleepers" and International Band Preview, we've provided information on over two-thirds of this year's performers. The rest is up to you. On second thought, start panicking.... -- Raoul Hernandez THURSDAY PICKS

JESSE DAYTON: Houston-by-way-of-Beaumont boy Jesse Dayton has the indelible stamp of a Texas musician: little bit country, little bit rock & roll, little bit blues -- even a little Cajun and Latin in there. (No wonder Doug Sahm guests on his album Raisin' Cain.) Singing for Houston's Justice label, the Rounder of the Southwest, Dayton's roadhouse rhythms stick to your ribs like good chicken-fried steak. (Brazos Street Stage, 7pm) -- Christopher Gray

SARAH BROWN: On the heels of her understated but top-notch solo record for Blind Pig, Sayin' What I'm Thinking, bassist Sarah Brown emerges in the spotlight as a songwriter -- R&B queens Irma Thomas and Ruth Brown have both recently recorded her compositions. Sarah Brown's bluesy sensuality was honed in Ann Arbor's famous Sixties blues-rock scene; over 15 years in Austin has given her a subtle finesse that borders on sublime. (Antone's, 9pm) -- Margaret Moser

LIZARD MUSIC: If you've ever suspected that Shannon Hoon didn't really OD, but merely devised an acceptable and permanent escape from Blind Melon, then I suggest you look for him in New Jersey. I think he's changed his name to Eric Paparozzi and is now fronting this very good, very arty punk band called Lizard Music, whose new World Domination release, Fashionably Lame, was recorded by Steve Albini. (Electric Lounge, 9pm) -- Melissa Rawlins

SKREW: As the industrial underground spewed forth bands with volcanic force, the molten lava sound of Skrew roared furiously on their last Metal Blade outing. That bodes well for the band's upcoming spring release, but even better for the Austin-based outfit's all-too-rare live appearances. Without the Skate Nigs, Skrew is the great drone hope. (Back Room, 9pm)

-- Margaret Moser

THE LIVING PINS: As the proud owner of a raspy, smoky voice that whispers, wails, and sometimes sings along with her guitar, Austinite Pam Peltz is a legend-in-the-making. Combine her rawness with Sixteen Deluxe's Carrie Clark, back it all up with contrapuntal keyboards and drums playing exotic rhythms, and you get sex: funny, lazy, crazy aural sex. (Maggie Mae's West, 9pm) -- Melissa Rawlins

EL FLACO: Since the release of 1995's Thub on the now-defunct Sector 2, El Flaco has been one of Austin's best unsigned bands -- although ZZ Top's Lone Wolf Management, in a recent deal, has vowed to change that. The resulting Lone Wolf demo should garner the band the belated attention they deserve, mostly because it captures the sonic weirdness and neo-Cream quirk of El Flaco's live show. (Katie Bloom's, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

SAND RUBIES: Tuscon's Sidewinders -- another band broken by their label folding and having to change names. Finally, the reunion. It's about time, guys; Dave (Slutes) this is Rich (Hopkins). Remember? Dave's got the voice of pent-up rage, Rich has the Crazy Horse guitar to go with it, and I still have and adore my Witchdoctor, and Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall CDs. (Hole in the Wall, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

VOLEBEATS: Few bands in the alt-country realm pull on the heartstrings by the sheer strength of melody as deftly as the Volebeats. The Detroit band's new disc, The Sky and the Ocean, its second on the Safe House label, chimes, rings, and radiates with songs that shine like a summer sunset; on a previous EP, they even managed to turn Barry White into pure pop. (Driskill Hotel Crystal Ballroom, 10pm) -- Peter Blackstock

THE FROGS: Milwaukee's Frogs caused a bunch of people to jump by releasing the controversial It's Only Right and Natural, containing "I Don't Care If You Disrespect Me (As Long As You Love Me) " years before Imperial Teen kissed you like a man, boy. Their take on grunge, pop, and alterna-matters in general goes far beyond skewed to downright subversive. "Lord Grunge," "Raped," or any one of half a dozen tracks from the new Starjob pegs them at the top of 120 Minutes' most-wanted list. Not for airplay, for extermination. (Liberty Lunch, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

EXTRA FANCY: Last May, Atlantic issued Sinnerman. Three weeks later, they inexplicably dropped Extra Fancy and support for the album. Now, the band with the openly gay/HIV-positive frontman/superhero, the oil-tank bangin' Brian Grillo, is selling five-song demos via the Internet. It's too bad, because Extra Fancy is one of Silver Lake's only acts to actually render metallic punk that's as interesting and lively as their reputation. (Emo's, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

JUNIOR BROWN: I once saw a review of Junior Brown that just said, "Not half bad." Exactly, he's not half bad, he's only about 1/100th bad. The rest is Brown pickin' music from hillbilly to hellfire on his custom guit-steel guitar. It takes some kind of savant to infiltrate Nashville and end up on CMT actually playing real country music. (Austin Music Hall, 10:30pm) -- Michael Bertin

DWIGHT TWILLEY: It's been maybe 22 years since Twilley's first hit, the throbbing pounder "I'm on Fire," and probably 12 since his freak, mid-Eighties MTV hit, "Girls." So, yeah, Twilley is due his hit single for this decade, which you'd think would be his, given how much of a revival the power-pop genre he inadvertently invented has seen of late. His music was always less skinny-tie callow than it was a celebration of an era when rocking hard didn't preclude an ability to pen an airtight pop tune. They called it `rock & roll' back then, I believe. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 11pm) -- Tim Stegall

ROBBIE FULKS: Country Love Songs, the Bloodshot Records debut by this Chicago artist, was as solid a salvo as any across the bow of the country mainstream, indicating that songwriters outside Nashville's inner circle are kicking down the proverbial door. Like Roger Miller, Fulks covers both comedic and heartfelt territory, with a smooth country croon that underscores the power of his pen. (Stubb's, 11pm) -- Peter Blackstock

BREEDLOVE: The critics may be divided about this Austin quintet's bluesy brand of rock but audiences are not: Their popularity on the radio and the packed club gigs are testament to Breedlove's potential. Voted "Best New Band" in the Chronicle's Austin Music Awards last year, this band is just beginning to achieve its promise with a rich blend of thick, contemporary blues spread over loping funk. (Steamboat, 11pm) -- Margaret Moser

DEL McCOURY BAND: Straight-ahead, no-nonsense bluegrass. But then, what would you expect from someone who got his start under Bill Monroe's tutelage in 1963? McCoury has that classic, lonesome tenor from the old school and plenty of hot picking, as evidenced on his recent Rounder album, The Cold, Hard Facts.

(La Zona Rosa, 11pm)

-- Lee Nichols

KIM RICHEY: Lately, I've been referring to Sheryl Crow as the Linda Ronstadt of the Nineties. Well, I was wrong. Kim Richey is the Ronstadt of the Nineties. And this time, it's a compliment. Richey has that same feisty kick of Ronstadt's classic Seventies material, only the twang is more pronounced -- a twang and spirit that brought me back often to her Mercury debut from '95. (Continental Club, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

T.D. BELL: Guys like Austin's T.D. Bell are getting fewer and farther between. The mold was broken sometime back in the Forties or Fifties, when every club was a blues club or juke joint and people were lied to, cheated on, and messed with. Now, people still get lied to, cheated on, and messed with, and Bell sounds as good as ever, his blues the kind that never wears away. (Victory Grill, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

SLOBBERBONE: Last year's showcase of this hard-rocking country/grunge Dallas band was so packed, I had to listen to them from the sidewalk outside. It was damn good out there -- it must have been incredible inside. Last year's Crow Pot Pie on Doolittle was a solid piece of work. (Driskill Hotel Crystal Ballroom, 11pm) -- Lee Nichols

CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE: Born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis, Musselwhite cut his teeth in southside Chicago blues dives, and for the past 30 years he's been fixture on the active Bay Area blues scene. With credentials like these, it's safe to say this Alligator recording artist is a blues harp legend. (Antone's, Midnight) -- Jay Trachtenberg

C.C. ADCOCK: It's much too easy to slip into a bunch of clichés about a "gumbo" of influences when talking about Lafayette, LA-based C.C. Adcock. But the bayou bite of his lyrics, crossed with the unabashedly inbred qualities of his Gulf Coast guitar bravado, shines eerily like foxfire in the swamp. Did I mention he's a babe? (Roadhouse, Midnight) -- Margaret Moser

GENO DELAFOSE & FRENCH ROCKIN' BOOGIE: Unlike his peers in zydeco's young upstart generation, Delafose isn't going for the newfangled, hip-hop influenced sound. He's a preservationist, an archive of both Creole classics such Amédé Ardoin's repertoire and Cajun material from the likes of Iry LeJeune. If he does modernize, it might be to cover roots sympathizers Los Lobos, while his own material has many classics-to-be. (La Zona Rosa, Midnight)

-- Lee Nichols

GRETCHEN PHILLIPS: If dykes could be landmarks, Gretchen Phillips would be the goddamn Capitol building -- as Austin, Texas as the sniper's (oops, I mean UT) Tower, yet now 100% Golden Gate Bridge. Yup, our last Nice Girl deported herself to the West Coast. Who knows what's in store for this homecoming engagement? Plaintive, pondering, acoustic fa-la-la? Y-chromosome arena rock? Acid-drenched psychedelia? One thing's certain: It'll rock and there'll be lots of babes. (Maggie Mae's West, Midnight)

-- Kate X Messer

PERMAFROST: This Boston band is like X (the band, you wastoid), though it should be XX, as in chromosomes, because, while Permafrost revolves around a male-female axis, in this case, they're wisely skewed toward the female. Think Garbage's Shirley Manson with a better voice, more anger, and without the accent. (B-Side, Midnight) -- Michael Bertin

MARYANNE PRICE: Just listing Austinite Maryann Price's resumé (Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks, the Kinks, Asleep at the Wheel) is probably enough, but her more recent turn into straight-up vocal jazz deserves equal emphasis. I haven't heard her new albums, Hot `n' Cole and Jazzland, but Etched in Swing (Watermelon) was one of the best albums of 1993. (Victory Grill, Midnight)

-- Lee Nichols

FIREWATER: You've likely been sucked in by Get off the Cross, We Need the Wood for the Fire, 1996's happily twisted collaborative recording by members of Cop Shoot Cop, Soul Coughing, and the Jesus Lizard. But just because you've seen any of those bands live, don't assume that the slightly Klezmatic punk hybrid will play the same ol' tune when it hits Austin. (Emo's, Midnight)

-- Melissa Rawlins

KRISTIN HERSH: Thanks to Hersh's pregnancy last year, the Throwing Muses' last album, the tight `n' taunt Limbo, didn't get the push it deserved. She's no doubt got new material by now, but let's hope some of this "older" stuff gets that special acoustic treatment for which the Cactus is so good. (Cactus Cafe, Midnight)

-- Raoul Hernandez

SWAMP DOGG: Don't ever count on Swamp Dogg to join the genteel, ain't-nothin'-but-a-party crowd at the House of Blues. His excellent,
25-year career retrospective Fuck the Bomb, Stop the Drugs (Pointblank Classic/Virgin) proves that point without even striking a note. Dogg's iconoclastic life view and musical identity have taken him from the swamp rhythms of Muscle Shoals to the funk of Henry Stone's Miami to the old-school hip-hop of the Bronx and back again. (Antone's, Midnight) -- Greg Beets

DAVID GARZA: He's back again for the home court advantage, but this time, Garza will be previewing a new record -- his Atlantic debut, due this summer. And while Craig Ross and Malcom Burn have been putting the finishing touches on it locally, this showcase ought to be a great look at what the suits in New York are so excited about: a maturing showman with the consummate band and strong songs. (Steamboat, Midnight)

-- Andy Langer

OLD 97's: Dallas' Old 97's may look to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash for inspiration (and who wouldn't?), but when they play, it's closer to Primus' Les Claypool, who slaps the bass in a pool of his own sweat. Blood, toil, tears, and yes, sweat have paid off for the 97's, who just recorded the follow-up to 1995's Wreck Your Life, and work the so-called "insurgent country" vein as hard as ever. (Stubb's, Midnight) -- Christopher Gray

20/20: Their pre-Plimsouls set at SXSW '96 was a definitive festival highlight that belied every negative connotation about reunions within the first three minutes. 20/20's bop-happy paeans to yellow pills, beautiful girls, and nuclear angst circa 1979 are pure at heart, easily quashing any attempt to make the band prisoner to an era. (Waterloo Brewing Co., Midnight) -- Greg Beets

SPOON: Telephono, the new Soft Effects EP, and another bass player are in place for the second push it takes to get this Austin trio to the forefront of rock consciousness where they belong; you'd think being on Matador would've already done this. (Katie Bloom's, Midnight)

-- Christopher Hess

DOWNSET: Live, these Los Angeles-based road warriors simply rage against the machine. Yet, with last year's Do We Speak a Dead Language? (Mercury), they temporarily put their social politics aside for a look inward, which not only seems to have fostered some personal growth, but also the unveiling of a tighter musical force that better understands and appreciates their hardcore, hip-hop, punk, and graffiti influences. (Back Room, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

DALE WATSON: Austin has no shortage of crusaders for real country music, but Dale Watson is probably the fiercest and most outspoken. If Merle Haggard was dead, Watson would be his reincarnation. Last year's Blessed or Damned (Hightone) was excellent; his live shows are even better. (Speakeasy, Midnight) -- Lee Nichols

CAROLYN HESTER: Currently from Los Angeles but raised in Central Texas, and a veteran of the Kerrville Folk Festival (as well as a friend of Buddy Holly and an early inspiration for Nanci Griffith), Carolyn Hester is a folkie with a distinguished history. (Bob Popular's Headliners Room, 12:30am) -- David Lynch

VALLEJO: Last time I tried to see Austin's version of a mid-Seventies, AOR-bound Santana, I couldn't get past the #$%!?@^&* register. You'd have thought it was Woodstock or something. Perhaps that's why TVT, better known for groups like Underworld, has just reissued Vallejo's hard-groovin' debut. These boys are going places -- if they can ever empty the club... (Steamboat, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

NERF HERDER: The three members of this Santa Barbara band all had more serious bands, and chose this vehicle to cut loose and sing about girls with nose-rings who won't date them, loving Van Halen until Sammy Hagar joined, and golfing. Naturally, the joke band was the one that clicked -- and with spot-on popmanship and shamefully catchy lyrics, it's no wonder. (Liberty Lunch, 1am) -- Phil West

JOSH WINK: Philadelphia deejay Josh Wink got a lot of attention for his acid house powerhouse "A Higher State of Consciousness" and then squandered a lot of that good will on an album, Left Above the Clouds, that buried the dance grooves in drecky New Age poetry. This deejay gig will probably prove it was no more than a temporary setback. (Bob Popular's, 1am)

-- Jeff Salamon

ROYAL CROWN REVUE: These young swingers from Los Angeles appeared in The Mask, and like Jim Carrey himself, they can't restrain their exuberance. They've almost become mainstays at the Continental Club, but this appearance should expose their big-band jazz beyond the neo-retro martini-and-cigar set. (Scholz Beer Garten, 1am) -- Ken Hunt

JAMES POLK TRIO: Local living legend James Polk will be one of only a few Austin jazz acts at this year's conference, and we couldn't ask for a better representative. Polk is an unsung master, he's been pounding out the cool in Austin for decades, and in a trio format his fluid playing will, however subtly, command the spotlight. (Victory Grill, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

BIM SHERMAN: With only two confirmed dates in the U.S. at this juncture, Bim Sherman's appearance here is a real rarity. Known primarily for his influential On U Sound productions, with their crunching bass `n' drum action and the requisite trippy headcharges, Sherman is now doing "reggae unplugged" with strings, acoustic guitars, and subtle Eastern/Indian underpinnings that permeate the sound -- all found on his new Beggars Banquet release, Miracle. Performed live, this music should be absolutely stunning. (Scholz Beer Garten, 1am)

-- Jay Trachtenberg

SKELETONS WITH DAVE ALVIN: Springfield, Missouri's most famous bar band (see Buick MacKane) led by Lou Whitney just became one half of the Blasters with the addition of Mr. Hightone himself, Dave Alvin. If you don't know the legend, go experience it, but prepare to be hung over. (Speakeasy, 1am)

-- Raoul Hernandez

STEVE RILEY & THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS: Like his compatriot Geno Delafose playing before him, Cajun Steve Riley is trying to preserve the heritage of his forebears. His material ranges back to the earliest days of Acadian culture; you'll feel the ghosts of long-dead Cajuns dancing on the floor next to you. And you will be dancing. (La Zona Rosa, 1am)

-- Lee Nichols

SEXTON SEXTET: If it's possible to make brash predictions about musical careers, Will & Charlie Sexton are the sure thing. The brothers are currently label-shopping for their first collaboration together, and have spent the last few months hammering out songs that link their individual careers with well-crafted songwriting that will no doubt supercede their aren't-they-gorgeous appeal. (Stubb's, 1am)

-- Margaret Moser


EVIL MOTHERS: One of the bands that gives "Satantonio" its reputation, this five-piece switches between double-drummer heavy metal and Crash Worship-style industrial percussion jams. And let it not be said that they lack a precise sense of fashion on stage. (Back Room, 8pm)

-- Ken Hunt

LOST LONELY & VICIOUS: About 10 seconds into "Do You Know Me," the lead-off track from Lost Lonely & Vicious' self-titled debut, you're half expecting to hear Richard Butler sing. Surprise. That would have to be Mrs. Butler. Actually, as the album progresses, it ends up not sounding much like the Psych Furs at all. Lush, or maybe a tripped out Belly, would be better comparisons. (Copper Tank, 8pm) -- Michael Bertin

THAMUSEMEANT: Hot on the heels of their new CD, Breakfast Epiphanies, ThaMuseMeant hope to solidify their Austin audience and extend the trail that seems to draw them westward and beyond. Epiphanies is an interesting collection, aptly reflecting the quirky and confident rollicking folk-swing of their live shows. But see them first, buy the disc later. (Steamboat, 8pm)

-- Christopher Hess

GLOSSO BABEL: This shapeshifting ensemble, led by wordsmith John Cutaia and percussionist Sean Summers, will try just about anything, from all-percussion beatnik jams to free jazz to world beat. What form they will take in this year's festival is anyone's guess. Cutaia's cynically romantic worldview, given over to eerie fantasies or miniature vignettes, filters everything through a consistent lens. (Mojo's, 8pm) -- Ken Hunt

WOOKIE: The only thing that stands between Austin's Wookie and the Smashing Pumpkins is thousands of dollars worth of equipment. They need stacks and stacks of Marshalls to hit that magnificent wall of stardoze they're climbing. Alright, and maybe they don't write songs as good as Billy Corgan, but, hey, who'd want to be that fucked up anyway? (Emo's, 8pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

SUNFLOWER: This young and likable Austin outfit has grown steadily and naturally over the past three years or so, from a weak Alice in Chains rip-off into something far more ethereal -- but still sort of like Live on a metal tear. And because it's their live show, and healthy regional touring schedule that's fostered this maturation, Sunflower may be just the kind of band that's worth checking back in on each SXSW for signs of growth.... (Steamboat, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

THE HANGDOGS: Rig Rock? Rockabilly? Country Blues? To help you define their sound, you have two choices: Listen to their EP, Same Old Story, or see the Brooklyn boys play. Either way, you can't help but feel the eloquence seeping through the bourbon. (Driskill Hotel Crystal Ballroom, 9pm) -- Melissa Rawlins

EURIPIDES PANTS: A band cannot live on schmaltz alone. Euripides Pants may play to the martini crowd, but they transcend the trend with an irreverent, punk-infused dynamic that's more akin to the Schaefer swillers. The lounge movement is merely a springboard for this local band to fearlessly tread the tightrope between avant-cool and selfish over-indulgence. (Scholtz Beer Garten, 9pm) -- Greg Beets

SILVER JET: A fact stolen from the bio: Before recording their Virgin debut, Pull Me Up... Drag Me Down, Silver Jet were asked by their producer to choose four focus words for the session. They chose "big, dry, youthful, and fun." Good bio story, and it's apparently true, because the album's young flair makes it somewhat of a modern pop gem. This ought to be a worthwhile showcase even if they only manage to nail two of their focus words live. (Babes, 9pm)

-- Andy Langer

ASTROPUPPIES: And you thought Hightone was strictly rockabilly. Silly girl. Kelley Ryan is no Kelly Willis -- try Tonya Donelly. Spry licks, snappy vocals, and bounce -- happy, belly-rubbing, tail-wagging music. True blue, just like Ryan's did-it-herself gem of an eponymous CD from last year. I like Hightone better all the time. (Speakeasy, 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

FULFLEJ: A self-taught, DIY band that mixes influences as diverse as hardcore punk, hip-hop, and house music, the Richmond, Virginia-based fulflej explores the fringes of the contemporary music scene on their recently released, oddly original James Iha and D'arcy-produced Wack-Ass Tuba Riff. (Liberty Lunch, 9pm) -- David Lynch

BELL: Singer Vanessa Vaselka has lived several distinct lives already: as a runaway living under a bridge in Portland, a coffeehouse singer in Alaska, and an industrial band chanteuse in Austria. She's parlayed that accumulated wisdom into the Seattle-based Bell, where her husky vocals and aware lyrics get the center ring and all available spotlights. (Club Universe, 9pm)

-- Phil West

MIKE NICOLAI: Nicolai wrote a song called "Too Damn Good," and he means it. He's not too damn good for the Elbow Room, the incessantly low-lit sidecar to the Electric Lounge he's played just about every Saturday since at least Ed Hamell left town or the Gourds' suspicious rise to popularity began. He's perfect there; It's intimate, cozy, and a little spooky. He's too damn good for more people not to know about him. (Bob Popular Upstairs, 9:30pm) -- Christopher Gray

FLAMETRICK SUBS: So I was doing the nasty with the devil's wife the other night, and after my lamprey o' love returned to its natural hue, we got to talking about music and such: "Steve Earle may have less teeth," she whined, "but for my money, honey, there ain't no lower-down, fuel-injected, rip-snortin' swamp demons what can kickstart your rockabooty like them Flametricks." "Why's that, sugar?" "Hellfire, devilboy," she replied testily. "Everyone knows my hubby writes all their songs his ownself!" Just then Gene and Eddy dropped by to suck the sheets clean, but I swear on a stack of Chick Tracts, it's all true. (Scholtz's, 10pm) -- Marc Savlov

HORMONES: Tim Stegall may not agree with this, but I say he does the best damn scissor kick in rock & roll since David Lee Roth. And speaking of kick, his band the Hormones kicks NBA style -- Nuthin' But Ass. Punk rock so prickly and punchy you have to check for puncture wounds, and lyrics so full of piss and vinegar that Sid Vicious would be... well, he'd be kicking himself. 'Cept Sid's done kicked already. (Flamingo Cantina, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

16 VOLT: Portland's loudest fivesome have long since dropped dancefloor stylings for the mosh pit, much in the manner of evident mentors Ministry. In performance, they're a no-nonsense audio terrorism front, with synthetically complemented drums and white noise guitars. Get ready for electronic catharsis. (Back Room, 10pm)

-- Ken Hunt

THE LUCKY STRIKES: One of Austin's first lounge bands, in the true sense of the word. A smart, swinging little combo doing standards from the Forties and Fifties, and singer Craig Marshall does a knockout Frank Sinatra. (Ritz Lounge, 10pm) -- Jay Trachtenberg

GOLDEN ARM TRIO: Before it took on gay cultural implications, the word "Out" meant an entirely different thing. Out music. Out punk. Out jazz. Out there, man. No wave. Usually cast as renegade outcasts and sometimes houseband for Austin's Performance Art Church (Pe.A.Ch.), Golden Arm Trio plays one of the town's smoothest jazz venues. It will be lovely to see the Austin jazz badboys making themselves at home. (Elephant Room, 10pm) -- Kate X Messer

PANTIES: Let's not call them girls or even grrrls anymore. Let's use something else lest we upset them further. Portland's Panties are beating the crud out of their instruments and playing songs like "Dead Men Don't Rape." Yikes. (Copper Tank, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

BRAVE COMBO: The undisputed kings of the new polka revolution, Brave Combo balances a sense of humor with a reverence for the world's dance grooves for years, be they cumbia, tango, or what have you. Even Rolling Stone began to take notice in the early Eighties, while rumps everywhere have continued to shake in their wake. (La Zona Rosa, 10pm) -- Ken Lieck

BRENDA KAHN: After a string of folkish indie records, Kahn discovered the rare middle ground between singer-songwriter fare and punk aesthetics with Destination Anywhere, an album recorded for, but never released by, Sony. And although Shanachie wound up putting it out last year, with the promise of a late-spring follow-up, it's a good bet the Sony shaft has put even more fire in Kahn's arsenal. Could this dangerous lyricist and impressive showman be even more menacing live? (Bob Popular's Headliners Room, 10:30pm) -- Andy Langer

CANDY 500: The Portland-based quartet, like lead vocalist Ursula Wehr, bursts at the seams with ripe, fat, punky attitude, which sizzled and popped the last two times I saw them play. Tough-as-nails if defiantly uneven, Candy 500 have always given compelling performances that seem to step just a little further toward the dark Hole each time. (Flamingo Cantina, 11pm)

-- Margaret Moser

JONNY LANG: Seems as though the old blues masters have left the kids minding the store, 'cause these cats are getting younger and younger. Sometimes, though, as in the case of Minneapolis' Jonny Lang, they've been blessed with an old soul, and an old voice to go with those old licks -- played with sass and spice, not speed, on the boy's A&M debut, Lie to Me. (Antone's, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

THE JACKMORMONS: From Salt Lake City, this four-piece is already known around the underground singer-songwriter circuit for lead singer Jerry Joseph's booming voice and his fatalistic lyrics. Think good bar rock with a splash of bellicosity. (Club DeVille, 11pm) -- David Lynch

SUBMINUTE RADIO: They don't look old enough to drive, let alone get the attention of some Seattle scene heavyweights, but like Seaweed, another band who broke from Tacoma-area high schools to Seattle stages, Subminute Radio has a lot of energy and even more confusion about whether they're pop, punk, and metal. (Club Universe, 11pm ) -- Phil West

CARMAIG DE FOREST: If there were any justice in the music industry (how's that for a false premise?) funnyman Carmaig de Forest would be where They Might Be Giants are now. His classic 1987 debut, I Shall Be Released, introduced a caustic singer-songwriter-ukeleleist who was equally at home skewering young lovers and an elderly president. The brand-new El Camino Real does the same for his home state of California. (Bob Popular's Headliners Upstairs, 11pm)

-- Jeff Salamon

SIX VOLT SUNBEAM: Not to be confused with Six Finger Satellite, although in places, L.A.'s Six Volt Sunbeam are nearly as hostile. The music carries a surprising amount of texture, encompassing jangly, melodic pop, surf twang and yell-a-long rock (with frequent nods to that soft-loud-soft-loud song structure made de rigeur by Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins). The alternative kids will be happy. (Electric Pavilion, 11pm)

-- Ken Hunt

HOARSE: Detroit's Hoarse would have been right at home on Cruz Records had they been around seven or eight years ago, and also if they could had been able to stand the comparisons to hypothetical labelmates Big Drill Car, to whom Hoarse sounds more that just very similar. The guitar parts are smart and the beats-per-minute brisk. (Copper Tank, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

THE LADYBUG TRANSISTOR: On its second Merge release, Beverly Atonale, Brooklyn's the Ladybug Transistor, displays some shades of Idaho -- not the state, the band. L.T.'s small twist on the wide-open, barren, and meandering sound is the inclusion of some carousel keys, which strangely enough are made to sound wide open, barren, and meandering as well. (Liberty Lunch, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

THE ABE LINCOLN STORY: Walking billboards for functional schizophrenia, this odd L.A. combo puts the salve on topical culture lacerations like Dianetics, Southern Comfort, the NRA, and fridge mold. Equally confounding is their potluck fuck of punk, swing, lounge, and (eek!) whiteboy R&B/ska, which somehow makes peace with itself and works. Party music with a capital Pee Pee. (Emo's Jr., 11pm)

-- Kate X Messer

PORTASTATIC: Portastatic is just Mac McCaughan from Superchunk doing a four-track, lo-fi, DIY thing when he needs a little distraction. On stage it could just be McCaughan and a couple of instruments, or it could be him and a couple of friends in tow. It varies from show to show. Either way it's a lot less frenetic and a little more user-friendly. (Liberty Lunch, Midnight) -- Michael Bertin

JAMES INTVELD: The man who would be King. Bopping along like Elvis between wiring jobs, Intveld -- lead guitarist for the Blasters -- soaks up plenty of Hollywood sun, too. Still, his blue-eyed rockabilly melodies are as well-sculpted as his hometown's D.A., and Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, and Eddie Cochran must never be far from his mind, because they're never very far from his tongue. (Continental Club, Midnight)

-- Christopher Gray

LOVE BATTERY: The band that trend forgot. Love Battery was Seattle and Sub Pop when being Seattle and Sub Pop was cool and lucrative. Despite the Mother Love Bone/Green River heritage and a damn fine debut, Dayglo, Love Battery missed the grunge gravy train. A couple albums later, Love Battery has more texture and sonic depth than its geographical and genre brethren, and should eventually earn what others had handed to them. (Club Universe, Midnight)

-- Michael Bertin

MERCHANTS OF VENUS: When it comes to the rash (and I mean that in the scabbiest, most pus-filled sense) of lounge bands that have surfaced like worms after a deluge, it's all too easy to dismiss the music and its practitioners as crap and crappers. But Austin's Merchants of Venus might convince you otherwise -- it's a musical form for these guys, not a schlocky comedy act with an awful and incidental soundtrack. (Ritz Lounge, Midnight)

-- Christopher Hess

HEATHER EATMAN: New York resident Eatman is actually a small town Texan, though only by birth and not by voice. Her songs are big-city bleak and brutal; her characters are pathetic to the point of comic. Eatman, who records for John Prine's Oh Boy label, tells lots of stories about drunken females in NYC and does it with the authenticity of Lou Reed. (Bob Popular's Headliners Room, Midnight) -- Michael Bertin

DEAD MOON: Actually, it must be a blue moon shining down this eve, as these Portland garage legends never tour, unless your continent happens to be Europe. Instead, they seem perfectly content to make smoky powerchord albums cut in mono on equipment reportedly used to record Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues." Fitting, considering every Dead Moon release sounds like that baby-killing classic's proper follow-up. Led by one who should know, too: Fred Cole, active since the era from which they draw primary inspiration. (Flamingo Cantina, Midnight) -- Tim Stegall

THE MAGNOLIAS: Another Minneapolis pop/rock quartet with a little punch behind them. The Magnolias had to spend the late Eighties in the shadow of the city's more famous sons, but the TwinTone refugees have always been good for some catchy songs and a spirited live show. (Trophy's, Midnight)

-- Michael Bertin

LAZY: This enthusiastic Cincinnati trio recalls many shades of the heady days of Eighties college radio. Their 1996 Roadrunner release, The Lazy Music Group, bounces you around like a pinball from one sweet identity to another. Such frenetic pacing is what lifts Lazy to the echelon of pedigree in the woefully overcrowded indie-rock genre (Copper Tank, Midnight) -- Greg Beets

TROY CAMPBELL: As half of the Loose Diamonds' twin-guitar attack, Troy Campbell sticks to his roots while never losing his edge. Solo, perhaps he'll be a bit more introspective, but that won't change the inherent beauty and intrinsic melodies of his work. (Bob Popular's Headliners Upstairs, Midnight) -- Christopher Gray

FLUFFER: Something's been breeding in the world of women-led guitar pop lately -- a sort of serpentine darkness in a sugary coating presented first by Veruca Salt and now Fluffer. Laura Galpin is a commanding vocalist, switching among a shoegazer whisper, feral roar, and disquieting singspiel; the Link album Ask Me What It Feels Like combines her voice with minor-key, slightly noisy riff barrages. Heavens to Betsy! Highly recommended. (Copper Tank, 1am)

-- Ken Hunt

BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE: The Brian Jonestown Massacre are nothing if not reverent. Incorporating more than three decades of Britpop and a couple of American tunes presumably for diplomacy, the BJM throw in everything from the Hollies to Pulp to go with plenty of Rubber Soul, 12X5, Something Else, and Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy. And whatta name. (Flamingo Cantina, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

CHER UK: These trouble rockers from Kansas City have opened up so many cans of whup-ass that they had to make Austin their second home just to release more of it. Their recent Berdella EP finds their melodic punk just getting better and better. Watch out for them after they hoist a few. (Trophy's, 1am) -- Ken Lieck

SUICIDE KINGS: Rumor has it that this Phoenix hick outfit was accepted to this year's conference on the strength of their classic "Even Hookers Say Goodbye." Personally, I prefer the one about the "leather-wearing Jesus, bastard son of man." Either way, these laid-back, Johnny Cash "I Walk the Line(rs)" sound like they're definitely worth a shot -- of whiskey, I mean. (Roadhouse, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

SUKIA: Their recent release, Contacto Especial con el Tercer Sexo, was co-produced by the Dust Brothers and Jerry Finn. Clearly, these four Californians like to play with sounds, textures, and hooks (try keeping a straight face while drinking a martini and repeating the words "Spank me," and "I'm feeling free!"). They also have fun with visuals: When the techno lounge lizards played Las Vegas last month, their pasties were actually kiddie sunglasses and their G-strings were tight! (Electric Pavilion, 1am) -- Melissa Rawlins

TA MÉRE: Why is the swing thing so contemporary in jazz? Because, played well, swing tunes effect you the way all good music does -- it moves you both emotionally and physically. But swing music never left, it's always been with us, albeit in slightly different incarnations. One of them is the rich rolling salsa swing jazz of Austin's Ta Mére. (Ritz Lounge, 1am) -- David Lynch

SLUTS FOR HIRE: When these L.A. trashpunks skidded through Emo's last spring, they featured a lineup practically dripping with ex-Leaving Trains members (like any rehearsal studio in Silverlake), as well as a wonderfully tacky glampunk image, a sense of the absurd, and an unwillingness to relinquish their good-natured amateurishness. Fun beyond belief, Sluts for Hire are loaded with sparkle-coated rock power and personality. Plus, frontperson Miss CoCo could've been a "Creem Dreem" in a previous lifetime. (Emo's Jr., 1am) -- Tim Stegall


SKELETON KEY: The modern version of the blues is a bug-eyed, freaky, fucked-up beast, and no more so than New York's Skeleton Key, who, after one skittery 6-song EP on Motel, got signed to Capitol. Witness their alt-bluez live, though, with percussionist Rick Lee banging on industrial metallic waste like Keith Moon, and you'll know why this railroad jerk is speedin' down to those fabled crossroads. (Stubb's, 8pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

ROY HEINRICH & THE PICK-UPS: Roy Heinrich's voice is so deep, so mellow, it begs you to kick your boots up onto the table and have another Lone Star. Last year's Listen to Your Heart on Stockade Records, packed solid with good, workingman country songs à la Merle Haggard or early Johnny Paycheck, is just like a night at the Chapparal Lounge on South Congress, with almost as much genuine, South Austin, dirt-in-your-fingernails grit. Almost. (Driskill Hotel's Crystal Ballroom, 9pm) -- Christopher Gray

TRISH MURPHY BAND: Like watching Gretzky play junior hockey. If success in the biz were based on rationality instead of randomness, you'd say Murphy is a can't-miss talent. It may take a little time for her to develop, but if you extrapolate the current trajectory, then you get Murphy ending up among the Lucindas of the world. (Ruta Maya, 9pm) -- Michael Bertin

TUBE TOP: Ex-Popsickle, ex-Yellow Snow, ex-Peach, ex-Flop, ex-Posies, ex-Love Battery, current-Fastback. This Seattle all-star band has a new album due out soon on Laundry Room Records (some of it produced by Peter Buck), which churns out intelligent, crafty pop of the Beatles or Elvis Costello variety. You can also expect a guitar or two. They're from Seattle, after all. (Copper Tank, 9pm) -- Christopher Hess

THE WEIRD LOVEMAKERS: No bio, no glossy, and one hand-scrawled tape from Tuscon. Aging, curmudgeon writer is handed said lack-of-glitz and pow! Bloody Great Punk Rock! Like Big Boys great. Like Descendents and Black Flag great. Like The Damned great. Really. The Weird Lovemakers make the best punk rock I've heard in, like, 20 years. (Trophy's, 9pm) -- Kate X Messer

JORMA KAUKONEN: Founding member of Jefferson Airplane, Kaukonen is a bona fide rock & roll legend. Well, at least the people at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame thought so. Kaukonen survived psychedelia well, but traces of it are still audible in his nimble blues and folk fingerpicking. He's still very active, touring regularly with partner Jack Cassidy as part of Hot Tuna, and doing solo shows like this one. Kaukonen's fluid acoustic guitar melodies played at frantic paces are a delight. (Cactus Cafe, 9:45pm) -- Michael Bertin

FASTBALL: One of the most talked-about bands to emerge from Austin, Fastball shoots out of the gate with an engaging sound that runs a thin line between hard pop and slick Sixties garage rock. Their first album, last year's Make Your Mama Proud more than delivered on the promise of their live shows. (Club Universe, 10pm)

-- Margaret Moser

JACK INGRAM: It'll take you exactly 10 minutes of watching San Antonio native Jack Ingram work a big ol' stage and a big ol' crowd -- like those at the Austin Music Hall -- to know this boy is a grade-A, bonafied star. All those years on the Party Circuit paid off, and with his songwriting skills, stage presence, and countrified, All-American appeal, Jack Ingram is going straight to the top. Garonteed. (Austin Music Hall, 10pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

HELIUM: Mary Timony, vocalist for the Boston-based Helium, looks and sounds for all the world like an ethereal kewpie doll cutie pie. That is until you get past the squeaky-clean timbre of her voice to what she's actually singing. There you'll find sensibilities as fractured as U.S.-Mexico drug policy relations and lyrics as cutting and biting as a February wind off the Hahbah. (Liberty Lunch, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

ART ALEXAKIS: Alright, everybody who was mean to ol' Art here, apologize. Those Nirvana rip-off cracks, y'know, about Everclear, were uncalled for. Over the course of two CDs, Mr. Alexakis has proved he can write a song -- many songs -- so here's your chance to see him do it with an acoustic and say you're sorry. (Cactus Cafe, 10:30pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

VICTORIA WILLIAMS: The only thing more personally definitive than Williams' quirky backwoods narratives is her enchanted voice, a signature sound that's part Louisiana twang and part wide-eyed-little-girl wonder. Her songs have been recorded by Lou Reed, Pearl Jam, Michelle Shocked, and others, but her music is most powerful when it's being delivered by the unique spirit of Williams herself. (Texas Union Ballroom, 10:45pm) -- Peter Blackstock

DAMON BRAMBLETT: My pick to be the next Derailers/Dale Watson/Wayne Hancock. You don't know who he is now, but after you hear his driving, guitar-heavy material that just bleeds Texas, you'll starting marking his gigs on your calendar. Record label execs take note -- but please, don't block the dance floor. (B-Side, 11pm)

-- Lee Nichols

DERAILERS: A major player in the explosive rebirth of Austin's country scene, the Derailer's album Jackpot was on numerous year-end lists around the country. Out-of-towners who want to get a taste of Austin's dance scene should head here -- this is one of the bands of which the natives can't get enough. (Antone's, 11pm)

-- Lee Nichols

ROBIN HOLCOMB: The lovely Ms. Holcomb is no newcomer to the business of entertaining -- if not mesmerizing. She's known for producing beauty, like 1992's Rockabye on Elektra, a collection of poetry supported by groovy and comforting original music. This showcase will most certainly be a treat to write home about. (Victory Grill, 11pm) -- Melissa Rawlins

MALACODA: Beats. Drum `n' Bass, trip-hop, ambient, organic, analog, synth dub. Dance music. Drug music. Electronica. Total millennium mind-fuck. Did I forget any of the buzz words? (Bob Popular, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

LOLLIPOP: 1996's Dog Piss on Dog (AmRep) was the most ribald demonstration of high-volume, shit-kicking punk swagger since the Dwarves bought the farm. Lollipop's live prowess is reputed to be even more extreme. Their songs tremble with a feral, Detroit-style abandon that's easily capable of making good children into bad children (Friday, Emo's, 11pm)

-- Greg Beets

BAD LIVERS: The Bad Livers are a bit of an odd duck: an acoustic bluegrass trio that has a special place in the heart of every steel-toed, Misfits-shirt-wearin' Emo's-goer. After three great albums on Quarterstick, their new Sugar Hill CD Hogs on the Highway shows no signs of either slacking off or letting up. (La Zona Rosa, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

WANNABES: What's a band to do? Wannabes' fans know they're the greatest band in Austin, if not the world. Their Popsucker disc won Best Alternative Rock album in the last N.A.I.R.D. awards. Magazines all the way up to Rolling Stone have taken notice of their Replacements/Buzzcocks/power pop blastings. So why aren't you listening to them right now? Get with it, bwah! (Electric Pavilion, 11pm) -- Ken Lieck

DON WALSER: As long as he's still doing his thing, I'll keep saying it: Austin's Don Walser is The Greatest Country Singer in the World. When he yodels, the heavens will part, a ray of light will come down upon your head, and all things will be revealed unto you. (Antone's 11pm)

-- Lee Nichols

LAURIE FREELOVE: It's fitting that one of the best-known local songwriters would play at the best-known coffeehouse in town. Like a good cup of java, Freelove's songs warm you right away. You can taste her dreamy, folksy flavor on her new Chocolate Records release, Songs From the Nineline, but her songs are heartier performed live on a hollow stage. (Ruta Maya, 11pm) -- Melissa Rawlins

MARLEE MACLEOD: A singer-songwriter in the county-rock-folk vein, Marlee MacLeod's strange twang is endearingly southern with the rough edge of a midwesterner -- just like her music. Her songs boast country mannerisms and roots, only they remain rooted in the bleak honesty of rock & roll traditions. No, no, no, it's not alt-country, it's just something that's not entirely anything else. (Katie Bloom's, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

GIANT SAND: Reveling in many forms of high desert weirdness over their 17 years together, Tucson's Giant Sand continued to push the envelope of obscurity with last year's Volume One: Official Bootleg Series, an eclectic, limited-edition album of outtakes, live tracks, and remixes. Iconoclastic front man Howe Gelb's penchant for musical spontaneity leaves the barn door wide open for anything from psyched out roots-pop to sprawling blues jams. (Texas Union Ballroom, 11:45pm) -- Greg Beets

WHISKEYTOWN: The alt-country explosion just keeps pumping out the bands. If the talent pool is in any danger of drying up, Raleigh, North Carolina's Whiskeytown offer no evidence of it. Loud, raunchy country rock -- with elegant whispers -- that might make you say "Jay who?" (Waterloo Brewing Co., Midnight) -- Lee Nichols

SWELL: These moody Californians have an admitted crush on Uma Thurman, as well as an intellectual side that you have to chuckle with. Album titles like 1991's soothingly thoughtful Well? and their newest, slightly edgier Beggars Banquet release, Too Many Days Without Thinking, tend to be indirect challenges; and their live shows swirl you around the rocks until you're stuck in just the right headspace. (Scholz Beer Garten, Midnight)

-- Melissa Rawlins

JAMES MCMURTRY: It was a crime. McMurtry pens Where'd You Hide the Body, a stark, urbane genius of an album, then gets dropped by Columbia. He rarely gets mentioned in the same Texas singer-songwriter circles as either Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Townes Van Zandt on the one side or Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett on the other. For storytelling full of the drama and disappointment of the average life, however, McMurtry is better than all of them. (La Zona Rosa, Midnight) -- Michael Bertin

THAT DOG: Anna Waronker says the L.A. band is branching away from their former artiness. How many times have we heard that before? But on listening to their upcoming release, Retreat from the Sun, it's clear that Waronker's grounded in reality -- as well as in pure pop. Thank goodness she's got a violinist, bassist, and percussionist accompanying her less-than-Phairness. A good dose of arty is, well, good. (Electric Pavilion, Midnight) -- Melissa Rawlins

RADISH: Mercury spent a fortune on this teenage Dallas trio last year, and now it's time to see the band put their mouths where their wallets are. Their upcoming debut, Restraining Bolt, is an excellent start, with a batch of clever tunes that manages to ride the line between Helmet and the Gin Blossoms. Live, frontman Ben Kweller's got just the charm to match his songwriting. The album's due April 22, so like it or not, payday could be just a little over a month away. (Club Universe, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

BIG FOOT CHESTER: Walter Daniels' harp (that's short for harmonica, you heathens) drives this lo-fi, hi octane spin-off of Jack O Fire, presenting gospel, blues, and rock through that AM speaker filter of time and space. (Hole in the Wall, Midnight) -- Ken Lieck

TED RODDY'S TEARJOINT TROUBADORS: Ted Roddy's new joint filters barrelhouse country through a fine cocktail strainer, mixes it with a pair of female vocalists, and brings it together with Charlie Rich goodness. Austin's own renaissance roots man brought a love of nightclubs from The Naughty Ones and his cowboy hat from Teddy & the Talltops; what he's come up with is an absolutely intoxicating concoction of honky-tonk soul. (Driskill Hotel Crystal Ballroom, Midnight) -- Christopher Gray

REBECCA GATES: As one-half of the Spinanes, Gates brought the songs to the perfect pop duo. She makes the solo transition with aplomb and trademark distant humor. Abstract expressionistic lyrics and a contorted, languid guitar style -- think Helium without the fuzz blanket -- put Gates at the locus of folk and post-punk. (Ruta Maya Coffee House, Midnight) -- Ken Hunt

ASYLUM STREET SPANKERS: With a rotating membership that usually ensures at least eight members on stage, the Spankers deliver a vaudevillian energy rarely beheld in today's world. Decrying "demon electricity," they belt out chestnuts and lost gems from the Thirties with only the amps God gave them. With individual talents like Guy Forsyth, Christina Marrs, and Wammo sharing the spotlight, the Spankers take you out to a secret back porch where music never lost its innocence (or its bawdyness). (Antone's, 1am) -- Ken Lieck

DIESELHED: Every few years they event a new category: punk, New Wave, alternative -- Americana. And every year, a few dozen great bands slide under the banner of one of those headings, even though they're beyond category -- like this odd, Bay Area band who could only be described as the Ass Ponys or The Gourds if they were from the backwoods, tripping really hard on moonshine and mushrooms. Great stuff. (Ritz Lounge, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

CORNELL HURD: Amazingly, Cornell Hurd doesn't have a nickname. Maybe that game of "Musical Jeopardy" he plays with steel player Bobby "Scrap Iron" Snell has left him fresh out of ideas. But his deadpan delivery of songs such as "I Cry, Then I Drink, Then I Cry" and "Seven Nights to Rock" have won him a spot as one of Austin's best-loved honky-tonkers, and one of its best-kept secrets. But he still needs a nickname. (Driskill Hotel Crystal Ballroom, 1am)

-- Christopher Gray

COMET: Their album hasn't even been out a year, but Chandelier Musings has awakened spaced-out critics and flattered its producer, Mercury Rev's David Baker. Their beautiful noise begs the question: What is rock & roll? Find an answer when the four boys from Mesquite, TX play their home state. (Electric Lounge, 1am)

-- Melissa Rawlins

GREAZY MEAL: More than just a post-Prince project for New Power Generation keyboardist Tommy Barbarella or post-Westerberg gig for bassist Ken Chastain, Minneapolis' Greazy Meal is an astonishingly funky eight-piece outfit in their own right. On their stellar debut, Visualize World Greaz, it's easy to visualize Prince himself, D'Angelo, Bad Mutha Goose, the Big Boys, and the Commodores. P-Funk last year. Greaz now. Who said SXSW ain't funky? (Katie Bloom's, 1am)

-- Andy Langer

ZONY MASH: Wayne Horvitz has long been part of NYC's "downtown" jazz scene and an alumnus of John Zorn's Naked City. Now based in Seattle, this band copped its name from an obscure Meters song. With Horvitz on Hammond organ, we can expect a funky ride on the groove jazz vibe -- just like their new Knitting Factory CD, Cold Spell. They'll also be backing up Robin Holcomb at 11pm. (Victory Grill, 1am)

-- Jay Trachtenberg

JO CAROL PIERCE: The last time I saw Jo Carol, she unzipped my skin and let herself in. Just a glance, a sly smile, a crack in her voice, sent rivulets of salt and woe streaming down my face. Sure, I'm a maudlin fuck, but Jo Carol sings right to that. Right there. Do yourself a favor and do not leave this town without acquainting (or reacquainting) yourself with our Texas treasure. (B-Side, 1am) -- Kate X Messer

CHERI KNIGHT: I'm still pining over the breakup of the Blood Oranges nearly three years after the fact -- but as long as Knight keeps penning those aching, lonely from deep in her Appalachian-possessed soul, I'll have my salve. One of the defining artists of No Depression country. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 1am) -- Lee Nichols

SOUL COUGHING: One of the biggest names at the conference this year, Soul Coughing is also one of the best live bets. Last year's Liberty Lunch show and Irresistible Bliss album painted more than a few intelligent quirk collages -- of New York City street scenes, jazz, 90210, hip-hop, and rock excesses. That M. Doughty, despite the pretentious surname, is one of rock's most engaging frontman doesn't hurt either... (Austin Music Hall, 1am)

-- Andy Langer

HAMELL ON TRIAL: The man, he is back to recite and attack and to pound his guitar 'til it bleeds. He'll be out in the tent, so the poles will be bent and the canvas will tear at the seams. Ed Hamell's the name, and if you're of the lame and lethargic show-goer kind, well, you'd better stay clear cuz the Truth you will hear, and I'm sure it will damage your mind! (Electric Pavillion, 1am)

-- Christopher Hess

TERRY ALLEN: Texas' ultimate renaissance man; at any given time, Allen might be working on a film, acting in a play, or creating a sculpture destined for the world's premiere art galleries. Here, we'll get to hear him sing the songs he's mined from the dark, eerie recesses of his Lubbock mind, a world of cowboys, drunks, and long stretches of highway. He'll paint it stark and twisted, much like a Flannery O'Conner Southern novel. (La Zona Rosa, 1am)

-- Lee Nichols

COWS: Mad. Cows shows aren't so much enjoyed as they are endured. The AmRep mainstays are complete `fuck you,' chemically-enhanced chaos on stage. Their noise-ridden commotion is obnoxious, boorish, and enthralling. They are at once repulsive, potentially damaging, and unbelievably entertaining. (Emo's, 1am)

-- Michael Bertin


CHARLIE LOUVIN: Pitfall, pitfall... aww... what are you gonna do? See the littler of the legendary Louvin Brothers, Charlie, who recently acknowledged that the vocal harmonies just haven't been the same since Ira died in 1965. The best country/gospel Stone Mountain, Alabama can muster. (Antone's, 8pm) -- Taylor Holland

THE TENDER IDOLS: A couple of years ago, the thing was to be West Coast but sound like throw backs to British punk (à la Green Day and Rancid). The Tender Idols, being from Atlanta, decide then to go the other way with it and do British pop, right down to the Sixties artwork on the CD sleeve and the "I Am the Walrus" vocal production on "Careful." (Electric Lounge, 8pm)

-- Michael Bertin

CATTLEGUARD: Beer-fueled rock like they used to make it. Shades of the (drunk) Replacements with hints of some prime Texas and Bay Area punk sounds. Catch 'em before they pass out. (Copper Tank, 8pm) -- Ken Lieck

THE ETHEOPEANS: This Tennessee-based quartet and its Gin Blossoms-y, Live-ish stuff is radio ready. There's nothing here to "get." The Etheopeans have no tricks and no gimmicks, just the occasional wah-wah pedal. (Steamboat, 8pm) -- Michael Bertin

SERVOTRON: If you thought Man... or Astroman? couldn't get any spacier, so to speak, they've run off and beamed up some helpers from Supernova, kind of like the Mystery Science Theater crew helping MUFON out. Last time through Emo's, they landed their spaceship right on stage (to cut down on touring costs) and crawled out to deliver a set of tunes perfect for the Silver Surfer's Walkman. This time, who knows what they'll do? (Emo's, 8pm)

-- Christopher Gray

MIDDLEFINGER: To call this experimental Houston group's new 3 Martini Lunch album "eccentric" is an understatement -- it's outright bizarre. But in the context of their live show, which has made multiple Austin stops lately, their ska, funk, metal, and jazz tendencies make more sense, in that they're giving the middlefinger not to the listener, but just to conventional pop structures. (Back Room, 8pm) -- Andy Langer

HAZELDINE: If you saw a band called Blister at SXSW 96, you might have seen Hazeldine. There were two Blisters here last year. The one from Albuquerque lost the coin toss to the one from L.A., and had to change its name. So if you saw the Blister from N.M., you saw Hazeldine playing that stuff called Americana. This version has some female harmonies over the slow and sad, and occasionally the rough and angry. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 8pm) -- Michael Bertin

TERRI HENDRIX: This Texan's Two Dollar Shoes CD features, in addition to many smart and ambient folk songs, some of Austin's best and brightest players -- Erik Hokkanen and Mark Rubinstein to name two -- contributing to the atmosphere. And it is atmosphere, because the music is merely a backdrop for Hendrix's lyrical musings. (Cactus Cafe, 8:15pm) -- Christopher Hess

ALLIGATOR GUN: Although this Chicago outfit is a fairly pure pop band, Alligator Gun's metallic tinges and smart rhythm section has created a somewhat surprising fanbase in the punk/ska crowd -- a phenomena helped along by a long Mighty Mighty Bosstones stint and a run at last year's Warped Tour. And Onehundredpercentfreak, the album they made for Relativity in 1995 just before the label dropped its rock roster, still stands up as proof they've got the songs to back up their oddly punk attitude. (Ritz Lounge, 9pm)

-- Andy Langer

HOLLOWBODY: Sometimes all it ever takes is a song title, and I'm still tickled by this veteran Austin band's "Hotwheel Named Desire." Okay, so I'm simple. Sue me. But simple is also a good word for Adam Sultan's clever lyrics and Ted Cho's needling melodies -- straightfoward and simple. Just like your favorite early-Eighties English MTV pop bands. (Electric Pavilion, 9pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

HOT BUTTERED RHYTHM: Forget the polls, many a local musician will argue that J.J. Johnson and Brannen Temple are Austin's two best drummers -- masters of diverse skills and rare style. This funk and jazz jam features both men, plus two bassists and two keyboard players. They're still calling it an experiment, but with this kind of professional artillery, it's a showcase that hardly carries any risk. (Victory Grill, 9pm)

-- Andy Langer

QUANGO DJ JASON BENTLEY: Bentley, an exec at Island dance subsidiary Quango, has put together a compelling soundtrack to the forthcoming film, City of Industry, that features acts you've heard of (Massive Attack, Lush) and those you probably haven't (Lionrock, Photek). His deejay set should prove a good time to catch up with those much-ballyhooed club sounds coming out of England. (Bob Popular's, 9pm)

-- Jeff Salamon

BOBGOBLIN: Alumni of last year's ASCAP showcase -- a gig they might as well call "The Future Stars of Rock Showcase" -- these uniform and helmet wearin' Dallasites bring their Cheap Tricks back to SXSW in preparation for their new Thirteen-Point Master Plan, an album that supposedly builds on the mysterious Black Market Party agenda they founded on last year's Jet. Hokey, but fun. (Atomic Cafe, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

UNITED STATES THREE: Pop may be the genre-of-choice this SXSW, but few have a better variation going than Indianapolis' US3, an intriguing trio that, even at their worst, fall somewhere between Matthew Sweet and Southern Culture on the Skids. And their best? Twisted multi-dimensional pop, bubblegum one moment and space-rock the next. They're tight enough to stop on a dime, and challenging enough to be a great wild card showcase pick. (Babe's, 9pm)

-- Andy Langer

KELLY JOE PHELPS: Headquartered in Vancouver (with an adopted home of Portland, Oregon), but putting in long road hours all over the continent, Kelly Joe Phelps plays acoustic country blues and lap-slide guitar. If you need an endorsement, B.B. King hired him to play the opening slot on a recent tour. (Cactus Cafe, 9pm)

-- David Lynch

DEATH VALLEY: Voted Austin's Most Gorgeous Boy Band by my poll of one! Joe Emery does The Chicken, stomps his feet, and sweats on the kids in the front row. The rest of the boys (swoon) do Dick Dale-proud numbers that'll peel the metallic blue flecked paint right offa both your little GTO and your Millennium Falcon. Wheeeeeee! (Roadhouse, 9pm) -- Kate X Messer

THEY EAT THEIR YOUNG: If a fan of Joe Jackson or Graham Parker had a brief but educational fascination with heavy metal, got over it, and then joined a band, they might sound a bit like this. On their '96 release, The Last Supper, TETY sing songs about the things we all think about, though singer Dave Mountain growls a bit more than most of us. (Hole in the Wall, 9pm)

-- Christopher Hess

GRUPO CENTZONTLE: A local band made up of one guitarist/vocalist/percussionist, two percussionists/vocalists, and a bassist/accordion player. Their energetic, melodic, and pulsating Latin music will fill your head and force you to move your feet. Look for the accordionist to steal the show. (Speakeasy, 9pm) -- David Lynch

JOHN BUNZOW: The victim of a major-label shakeup a couple years ago, country singer Bunzow got dropped just before his Pete Anderson-produced debut was due out on Liberty. Never should have happened; this guy has the songs and voice that could help give mainstream country a good name. (Austin Music Hall, 9pm)

-- Peter Blackstock

NAUGHTY ONES: It would be too easy to write them off as a mere "lounge act." In fact, they were "lounge" long before lounge was cool. Comprised of an all-star contingent of Austin roots rockers, they're more of a tongue-in-cheek beatnik/strip joint/jazz dive sort of band. Their premier CD, I Dig Your Voodoo, was an Austin radio favorite. (Continental Club, 9pm)

-- Jay Trachtenberg

LESS THAN JAKE: A Pez-obsessed and well-traveled band from the student murder capital of the country (Gainesville, Florida), Less Than Jake play three-chord, punk-ska music with pop sensibilities and a bunch of horns. A big draw for crossover audiences who like the three-minute sprint of blaring horns and upstroke guitar. (Stubb's, 9pm) -- David Lynch

SKEETERHAWKS: The Skeeterhawks' solid position as one of Arkansas' premier roots-rock bands merely enhances the trio's charm. Lead Skeeter Greg Spradlin leads his audiences down the well-trod blues-rock-country path with a short stop at gospel, but makes the listener sit up and pay attention to their fresh and earnest harmonies. (Club DeVille, 9pm) -- Margaret Moser

DON MCCALISTER: Sometimes he's doing the singer-songwriter thing, sometimes he's doing jazzy Texas swing, but he's always doing it great. One of the unsung heroes of Austin's country music scene, as he showed on last year's Love Gone Right. (Driskill Hotel Crystal Ballroom, 10pm) -- Lee Nichols

SAVE FERRIS: Ska from Orange County? Don't tell me. Problem is these cats ran into some cross town rivals, The Swing Gang. The brawl was ugly until Monique Powell stepped in the middle and turned some heads with her sweet words. Now, everything is copacetic. (Back Room, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

HARVEY DANGER: Voltaire once said, "That which is too silly to be said is instead sung," but then Voltaire never got to hear Harvey Danger. Singer Sean Nelson wraps his novel-worthy lyrics around a core of tightly-wound guitar, and whether they go slow or fast (they do both with equal aplomb), they're more infectious than mono. (Ritz Lounge, 10pm) -- Phil West

MISSILE COMMAND: Once Austin's wildly popular ska-punk jumpabouts, Gals Panic, Missile Command has streamlined their sound a bit, going full-bore SoCal punk à la Bad Religion or Rancid. And with frontman Jeremy Pollet riding this band like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove, who knows where this rocket is headed. (Flamingo Cantina, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

RICHMOND FONTAINE: A rising star on the Portland, Oregon, scene, this trio has gone from young upstarts to a proven talent in the past year with their debut album, Safety. Singer Willy Vlautin's weary lament carries the weight of chord changes that tend toward countrified whine, even as the rhythm section powers his songs through a postpunk landscape. (Club DeVille, 10pm) -- Peter Blackstock

SIR FINKS: Surf music is like playing basketball: Anybody can do it, but only a handful have a handle on it. Austin's Sir Finks aren't Michael Jordan, to be sure, but their slippery guitar runs, bouncy chord progressions, coasting organ riffs, and clickety-clack percussion, shoot waves better than either Kobe or Garnett shoots hoops. (Roadhouse, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

SUMMERCAMP: With a knack for deft switches between their rock and pop edges, Santa Barbara's Summercamp mine a well-controlled chaos that still sounds like it could break into a fine wall of sound live. Their radio-ready song structures are probably what convinced Maverick to pull out their wallets last year and sign them to the house Madonna built. (Copper Tank, 10pm)

-- Andy Langer

HEATHER BENNETT TRIO: Clad in black velvet, these Austin women tune their piano, bass (six-string & upright), and drums to the blue note. Since you can't hear their recently recorded New Light just yet, you'll want to catch their progressive-without-the-piercings jazz, now -- otherwise you'll have to wait 'til Ms. Bennett makes it big in Manhattan, later this year. (Elephant Room, 10pm)

-- Melissa Rawlins

KACEY CROWLEY: In just under two years, this rockin' singer-songwriter has gone from Sixth Street busker to a respectable circuit staple. Why? Because she's got undeniable stage charm and a knack for honest storytelling. And one listen to her stunning new record, Anchorless, and "buzz" seems like an understatement. (Ruta Maya, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

CATHY CROCE: Her cabaret-style blues-cum-pop brings to mind Lyle Lovett's quirkiness. And oh-so-appropriately, Putting Words in My Mouth, her album on a Seattle-based indie, features a catchy tune called "Going to Austin," in which she croons, "I'm going to Austin to be in a band/I'll be drinking an iced tea next to a fan." You won't want to miss this woman's witty musical circus act. (Bob Popular's, 10pm) -- Melissa Rawlins

SILVER SCOOTER: Denizens of a dreamy pop world where John Lennon, Stephen Malkmus, and Syd Barrett can all live as one, Austin's Silver Scooter reconciles the heart-on-the-sleeve philosophy of the Seventies with that staple of the Nineties, irony. Most bands do this and turn into ironic wimps; all Silver Scooter does is forge gems like "Pumpkin Eyes," beautiful songs that do justice to both their influences and their vision. (Hole in the Wall, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

THE HAYNES BOYS: Sure, go ahead, believe that Columbus, Ohio's Haynes Boys are trying to slip through the door that Wilco has thrown wide open. Like Jeff Tweedy is the only guy who grew up on country garage rock -- he probably couldn't play a Skynyrd song to save his life. (Waterloo Brewing, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

DC TALK: Except that it's esoterically attractive, this isn't your usual SXSW fare. Still, it will be a throw-down. Party-music will be provided by Disciples for Christ, the Southern white rappers whose latest radio hit, "Jesus Freak," was on a album called, believe it or not, Jesus Freak. Single-admission tickets will be available at the 2,500-capacity venue on the day of their showcase. (City Coliseum, 10pm)

-- Melissa Rawlins

WALT WILKINS: Centered in Austin, Walt Wilkins plays original, low-key, and slow, country-fried folk tunes with personal and uplifting lyrics played on acoustic and electric guitar, fiddle, shuffle snare drum and bass. (Bob Popular's Headliners Room, 10:30pm) -- David Lynch

DIANA JONES: In an increasingly in-your-face, over-the-top word, understatement can be the biggest blessing of all. Diana Jones' lilting, husky alto, and spare accompaniment only accentuate the reserved beauty and quiet elegance of her songs. (Bob Popular's Headliners Upstairs, 10:30pm) -- Christopher Gray

PRESCOTT CURLYWOLF: Although their new demos are more Guided by Voices than guided by what Mercury would've wanted, Prescott Curlywolf still has the same gift for the under-three-minute pop song that yielded last year's criminally underheard and underworked 6ix Ways to Sunday. And because their talent and passion for scary twang & pop crunch hasn't swindled, even after a difficult 1996, this show could very well be the start of an exciting comeback. (Club Universe, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

THE MARGINAL PROPHETS: Bay Area hip-hop that samples music made for nerds -- that's a new concept! And this trio does it well. A sample of their samples: Men Without Hats, Camper Van Beethoven, Yes, The Violent Femmes, King Crimson, Billy Squire, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Slick Rick, Isaac Hayes, and ZZ Top -- all incorporated into a big ol' party à la Digital Underground. No way I'm missin' this show. (Maggie Mae's, 11pm)

-- Melissa Rawlins

MINERAL: The local underground stalwarts in Mineral combine the fury of punk rock with melodic, slow-building song structures to move beyond the two-minute hate. Their basic musical ideology seems to stem from bands like Fugazi, but Mineral's knack for uniting disparate aural layers is unusual and distinguished. (Atomic Cafe, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

BLUE MEANIES: Chicago's Blue Meanies have been grinding it out for at least eight years now, and the groove-heavy funk has turned more metallic with age. The abrupt and erratic time changes get more complex and the guitar gets louder and moves closer to center-stage. And while they can thrash it up with the best of them, the slithery side of their ska is sorely missed. Still, thank you, Meanies, for groovin' on my street. Yeah, yeah. (Back Room, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

THE EXOTICS: Matching shindig vests. Longhorn Danelectro. Midwestern, squeaky-clean, boys-next-door. Brylcreem. Fender Mustang. Apple-pie proud. It's a little too twisted. But these Milwaukee boys venture to pull it off, straight-faced, and soaked in a marinade of reverb and Martin Denny. (Roadhouse, 11pm) -- Kate X Messer

FLAMING JUNE: Has anybody coined the term "arternative" yet? It' so obvious it must have been done already. Anyway, Flaming June is arternative-music for people concerned with how it sounds as opposed to how it rocks. For guys who are such big Smiths fans, Flaming June pull a good number of Steve Howe's old tricks out of the bag. (Electric Lounge, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

CHARLIE BURTON & THE TEXAS TWELVE-STEPPERS: Charlie Burton came to Austin from Lincoln, Nebraska, where he was something of a New-Wave folk hero. He's traded in his skinny tie for an old hollowbody guitar and a pair of cowboy boots, and today he interpolates the ideals and standards of great masters Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee, and Beethoven with some of the driest, funniest lyrics around. (Driskill Hotel Crystal Ballroom, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

WESTON: These New Yorkers shout out power pop that pushes the punk rock envelope, wanting to cross the line but not willing to give up the cuter, nicer side of their melodies. The lyrics encompass new striped Tees, childhood girly obsessions, and the bus ride to school. High energy and minimal focus -- the makings of a fun, fun rock show. (Club DeVille, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

COWARD: Too Much Joy. It sounds like Too Much Joy. It's full of self-deprecating fun like Too Much Joy ("I'm so boring"). It's often sarcastic like Too Much Joy ("When I was a kid I wanted to be a lawyer"). It's Too Much Joy only better. No. Wait. Weezer. It's Weezer. It sounds like... (Trophy's, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

JUD NEWCOMB: Whether picking for Toni Price, or on his own, "Scrappy" Jud Newcomb approaches his acoustic guitar the same way Brooks Robinson did his glove or Louis Pasteur his microscope. As a frequent "Best Acoustic Guitarist" winner at the Austin Music Awards, it's clear Newcomb is approaching the level of master guitar craftsman. (Bob Popular's Headliners Room, 11:30pm)

-- Christopher Gray

CHARLIE ROBISON: This long, cool local boy may not be as well known as Dale Watson, Wayne Hancock, or even his brother, Bruce, but Charlie Robison has written what goes down in my book as a true Texas classic -- "Bar Light, Bar Bright." And he's got a few more, so get off the bar, and check 'im out. (B-Side, Midnight)

-- Raoul Hernandez

HIGH NOON: Every good diet needs at least one staple, and Austin's rockabilly scene would be seriously malnourished without the rock-steady rhythms of its premier power trio. Rockin' like it was still Sun Studios time and all the cats are Dixie-fried, High Noon doesn't do anything fancy, but like a good bowl of soup, they leave you happy and satisfied. (Antone's, Midnight)

-- Christopher Gray

REEL BIG FISH: On their clever Mojo debut, Turn The Radio Off, this seven-piece ska outfit from Huntington Beach takes a bunch of sarcastic shots at the music industry -- from "Everything Sucks" to "Alternative Baby." In fact, on "Sell Out," they invite their lovers to "sell out with me tonight, the record company is going to give me lots of money and everything is going to be alright." Imagine that in a room of the biz's best weasels? Sounds like must-see SXSW irony. (Back Room, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

CORREO AEREO: Possessing an awesome knowledge of "that Latin sound," Austin's Madeleine & Abel play shamelessly classic, yet quirky renditions of old-time jaropos, jarroches, and golpes on harp, quatro, maracas and violin -- all of which you can hear on their beautiful tape, Provinces. Let's face it: merengues don't have to produce sweat or lust to work magic, and if you're lucky enough to see this Austin duo perform their five-beat version, you'll learn the power of sophistication. (Speakeasy, Midnight)

-- Melissa Rawlins

WILL TAYLOR: Unless you're a hardcore Jean Luc-Ponty fan, stringed instruments such as the violin and the viola are not the first thing you think of when the term jazz is mentioned. However, jazz doesn't refer to a particular pantheon of instruments but rather to a style of playing. And jazz music is what you'll hear when such compositions as "Raga" are brought forth from the bow. (Elephant Room, Midnight) -- David Lynch

THE NO-NOS: Don't even think about it. Yes, there are a couple of girls in the band, including the singer, but the Go-Gos were never this hard or this tough. So don't go thinking there's any similarity just because the names are close. When Robin Bowser sings with an innocent voice, it takes some grate off of the guitar drive and when she wails and screams it just fuels the fire. The beauty is that she knows when to do which. (Copper Tank, Midnight) -- Michael Bertin

BOX THE WALLS: How does a four-piece pop band from California distinguish themselves these days? Try subtle texture, memorable writing, and clever production, all of which are on Box the Walls' latest demo -- as is Wendi Colter's smart and confident phrasing. And although they're back for their second SXSW unsigned, word is there's a bunch of labels just now taking a well-deserved look. Perhaps well worth a look yourself.... (Katie Blooms, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

NATTY NATION: Does the thought of a good reggae band from the "Land of Cheese," i.e. Wisconsin, sound oxymoronic? Natty Nation advises: "The message in the music is to set the mind free. Take a listen within." They have potential, but whether they can take it to the next level -- a soul shakedown party -- in the heart of Texas has yet to be seen. (Flamingo Cantina, Midnight) -- David Lynch

GLUEY BROTHERS: The fusion of funk, rap, and metal is hardly a new trick, but what make California's Gluey Brothers one of the smarter novelty acts to come along recently is their deftly delivered performance art shtick: wild, prop-driven theatrics that are both offbeat hilarious and well-rehearsed. Best of all, dual frontmen MC Tahina and Hing Hummus seem virtually telepathic, never missing out on a shared punchline. Once upon a time, the Beastie Boys were also this much fun. (Maggie Mae's West, Midnight)

-- Andy Langer

HARVESTER: These are four boys from Portland have founded the unholy alliance of R.E.M., the Buzzcocks, and the Byrds, with a nod to certain bands from that city just north. The music is complemented by thoughtful, intelligent lyrics (how often do bands discuss primatology?), sung by all four. Their DGC album Me Climb Mountain fairly describes the accomplishments so far of this young band. (Club DeVille, 1am) -- Ken Hunt

THE FRIGGS: Friggin' A! Imagine your teenage sister has just caught the bouquet at the wedding of the Runaways and the Fleshtones. When one of the ushers from Thee Headcoats puts the moves on her, she leaps out of the crowd, whaps him upside the head with her fuzzbox while the flowers reside safely in her teeth, and her white go-go boots suffer nary a scratch. That's New Jersey's the Friggs. (Steamboat, 1am) -- Kate X Messer

BUCK O NINE: A four-year component of the burgeoning San Diego music scene, Buck O Nine uses ska rhythms and beats as a foundation to explore upbeat punk, rock, and reggae flavored tunes. (Back Room, 1am) -- David Lynch

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY: If Southside Johnny traded his Jersey sneer for some Memphis jump and West Coast sheen, Voodoo Daddy might've toured with Springsteen in the early Eighties, and.... Huh? Well, if Jack Ruby had taken up music and gone straight... (Continental Club, 1am) -- Kate X Messer

MICHELE SOLBERG: Ms. Solberg's got talent to burn and good looks to boot. Her greatest handicap: She's not in a band. Well, she has one, but isn't in one. The difference is that by playing under her own name, she probably gets written off by most people as just another female singer-songwriter in a town where two of every three service jobs are already held by wannabes going for anywhere between a Sinead O'Connor to a Patsy Cline thing. It's stupid, really. (Ruta Maya, 1am) -- Michael Bertin

SENSE FIELD: Heavy ever since hardcore was cool, Orange County's Sense Field is just now getting its due with the Warner Bros. re-release of last year's Building, a fine Andy Wallace-mixed collection that puts them somewhere between Face to Face, Tool, and Helmet. (Atomic Cafe Nightclub, 1am) -- Andy Langer

FIVE-EIGHT: Time again for the federally mandated Five-Eight plug: The Athens, Ga. quartet, a perennial fave to break, has somehow managed to avoid stardom. So, what's wrong with the weirdos? Nothing. Five-Eight delivers more of that oh-so beloved power-pop, but -- and here's the kicker -- they can do it using more than three chords. (Copper Tank, 1am) -- Michael Bertin

CRAZY ADULTEROUS GIANTS: You can't swing a dead cat these days without hitting a Jon Langford side project. The venerable leader of the Mekons, Waco Brothers, Skull Orchard, and other ongoing concerns has teamed up with members of Austin's Bigfoot Chester plus former Wild Seeds guitarist Randy Franklin for this hell-on conglomeration that rocked the Hole hard in its debut performance last November. (Hole in the Wall, 1am) -- Peter Blackstock


PETE MAYES: Texas guitar slinger whose credentials include a long stint as session musician for Duke/Peacock Records. He's still active on the Houston scene and is currently recording a new album for Antone's records. (Antone's, 8pm)

-- Jay Trachtenberg

ELYSIAN FIELDS: Gary Kurfist, Radioactive godhead, is no dummy. He knows a good thing when he hears one (Ramones, Live, etc.), and Jennifer Charles is so good she's scary. Haunting actually, that voice, dripping with snake charm and innuendo while her band simmers quietly in the background giving her plenty of room to work her siren's charm on you. Have someone tie you to the mast or else all is lost. (Bob Popular, 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

LAVELLE WHITE: Miss Lavelle (as she's known 'round these parts) is a wonderful soul/R&B songstress who recorded for Duke Records in the Sixties. Her new Antone's/Discovery CD, It Haven't Been Easy, has been getting rave reviews. Don't accept imitations, Miss Lavelle's the real deal. (Antone's, 9pm) -- Jay Trachtenberg

WINDSOR FOR THE DERBY: The name's the first clue that you might not be in for the most straightforward rawk experience. From their careful aesthetic of atmospherics to their oblique song titles, Windsor is one smart band of trance, and Trance Syndicate rockers. (Emo's, 10pm)

-- Phil West

CANDYE KANE: This show is likely to feature a number of new tunes from the San Diego-based country-blues belter, whose past as a stripper and porn star is belied by the decidedly feminist and humane philosophy of her sometimes raucous and ribald but always entertaining barroom banter. The sultry Kane slips easily between torchy blues and honky-tonk tearjerkers like an NC17-rated Lady Day. (Antone's, 10pm) -- Margaret Moser

RICH HARNEY/BETH ULLMAN QUARTET: Harney is one of Austin's best jazz pianists and composers whose fluid, soulful playing owes much to Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver. Ullman is a singer with a beautiful voice who really has a way with ballads. Their next album, I Love You Too Much, is due out any day on Cymekob Records. (Elephant Room, 10pm)

-- Jay Trachtenberg

LIQUID SOUL: Most of what passes for Acid Jazz is so watered down it might as well be called Placid Jazz; not so Chicago's Liquid Soul, who are firey and actually interested in improvisation. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 10pm) -- Jeff Salamon

MARK EITZEL: I'm still bitter. While cooling my heels at Stubb's waiting through Mary Lou Lord for the Fugees' SXSW showcase, I missed Mark Eitzel playing just down the street. The ex-American Music Club-ber's first solo album, the piano lounge, gin-soaked 60 Watt Lining, then went on to become one of my favorite albums from last year. Now, supporting his new collaboration with Peter Buck, Eitzel is back, so don't give me any @#$%&* hype about anyone -- just let me soak in his new Elvis Costelloisms. (Texas Union Ballroom, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

ABRA MOORE: Sweet little Abra Moore is a monster. A monster talent. One listen to her Bohemia Beat CD from a couple years ago, Sing, confirmed that. Now, the ex-Poi Dog gal has her second album due soon on Arista Austin, a shit-hot band led by guitarist Mitch Watkins, and the sky as her limit thanks to her voice, presence, and supreme song-writing talent. (La Zona Rosa, 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

DAMNATIONS: The dogs will be howlin', wooin' and whistlin' to get in to this show. The Damnations are gonna take this town by country-storm and it's about goddamn time. The Boone sisters can break your heart and make you see God with their harmonies, and if yer lucky enough to be witness to an X cover, well, let's just say you won't soon forget it. (Stubb's, 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

ANGELA STREHLI: It's always a treat when this blues chanteuse returns to her old stomping grounds. A long-time Austin favorite and Antone's mainstay now based in Marin County, California, Ms. Strehli will be coming home to soulfully serenade us. Welcome home! (Antone's, 11pm) -- Jay Trachtenberg

JOHNNY RENO: Reno may have gotten his best PR as sideman/comic sidekick for Chris Isaak, but the Fort Worth sax master has been running one of the most distinctively smooth sounds for years. The smoky wail that the handsome Reno gave Isaak's moody sound is well-tempered with cocktail hour panache -- though he's capable of performing just about any genre he chooses with ease. (Continental Club, 11pm)

-- Margaret Moser

6 STRING DRAG: 6 String Drag's self-titled debut is the closest thing to an Exile on Mainstreet that any band who has fallen off the wagon has been able to produce. The North Carolina band caught Steve Earle's ear enough for him to sign 'em to his E-squared label recently. (B-Side, 11pm)

-- Michael Bertin

JENNYANYKIND: Last time through Austin there was a fourth one, a keyboard-playing Jennyanykinder, lending that full piano sound this Chapel Hill band came up with for last year's outstanding Revelater. Think that there are no new directions in rock music? You're wrong. The Holland brothers, et al., create some wonderfully unique tunes, and their live shows are epiphanies to the uninitiated. (Electric Lounge, 11pm)

-- Christopher Hess

KRIS MCKAY: I love Kris McKay -- let me just say that. She's as original and energetic and inspired a singer-songwriter as you're gonna find in this town, and Austin has no shortage of good ones. Her last single, "Testing 1, 2" didn't get all it deserved, and her contribution of "When Doves Cry" was a highpoint to the outstanding Do Me Baby: Austin Does Prince compilation. Wait 'til you hear it live! (Katie Bloom's, 11pm)

-- Christopher Hess

THE GOURDS: Traditional? Roots? Redneck? Too little gee-tar for y'alternative and too exciting for folk. They're probably best suited to headline your next hootenanny, but like the Spankers, Austin's Gourds do something that nobody else in this town does, and they do it well. Their October release, Dem's Good Beeble, made just about every local year-end Top Ten. (Stubb's, 11pm)

-- Michael Bertin

SWEATY NIPPLES: Austin's got the Pocket FishRmen, Portland has Sweaty Nipples. Similar styles, yes, but you can mainline on the Nipples' darker, speedier version of modern-day punk. And both bands take that old-time attitude beyond the street-corner and all the way to the loony farm. Yet while the FishRmen are terrible teases, the Nipples straight-out invite you to touch their cum. Don't be a wuss. (Scholz Beer Garten, 11pm) -- Melissa Rawlins

SHOULDERS: After a lengthy hiatus, Austin's legendary Shoulders have returned with a new (kinda sorta) CD and an impressive array of revamped material. Ever wonder what it would sound like if P.T. Barnum and Tom Waits got all liquored up and mated? Here's your chance, farmboy. (Liberty Lunch, 11pm) -- Marc Savlov

STRETFORD: Considering the tragedies which have befallen various members of this Austin pogo pop institution, the follow-up to their two-year-old debut, Crossing the Line, may end up more mordant than your average Nick Cave album. Their live shows, however, remain a celebration of everything hard, fast, and melodic in rock & roll, from The Who Sing My Generation to Singles Going Steady. Finest use of horns in punk since the second Saints LP, too. (Hole in the Wall, 11pm) -- Tim Stegall

ESTROJET: Summoning up the Geraldine Fibbers or Scrawl, Baltimore's Estrojet -- rising from the defunkt Womyn of Destruction -- suck you down into their vortex of guitar mayhem with the help of last year's galvanizing She Played With Matches. Only instead of the Fibber's fiddling, you get Spoon Popkin's accordion pissing off singers Andriana Pateris and Naomi Maistros. A don't-miss. (Copper Tank, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

THE AMERICAN ANALOG SET: Last year's The Fun of Watching Fireworks got this Austin band some well-deserved attention, and since then, their moody, ethereal sound has been classified many ways. But all that aside, it's really an entire mind-adjustment. You have to tune in and settle down to the loping beats and looping chords, the soft tap-and-thump drums and the wandering drone of the keyboards. Once you've arrived, it's a beautiful state that you won't soon want to leave. (Emo's, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

KILLER BEES: Austin's reigning kings of reggae/world beat. The heart and soul of this band has been together for well over a decade, and during this time they've recorded several albums and have played festivals worldwide, including Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica. They remain active members of the Austin scene. (Flamingo Cantina, Midnight) -- Jay Trachtenberg

BUICK MACKANE: America's greatest bar bands are a fabled bunch. Stooges, Skeletons, Replacements, whichever one you want to name, they thrash and burn to no acclaim because they're blue collar rock & roll and that's no marketing scheme. Rykodisc, on the other hand, God bless 'em, have discovered perhaps the premier bar band in the country, featuring Alejandro Escovedo, Glenn Benevides, Joe Eddy Hines, and David Fairchild, and if you don't go an see 'em now, it'll be like having missed Iggy in Detroit all those years ago. (Steamboat, Midnight)

-- Raoul Hernandez

AMY RIGBY: This ex-Sham could be the postergirl for the post-punk, post-jangle, post-feminist, post-Gen-X crowd with her poignant and pointed songs about post-slackerdom and suburBohobia. And with the anti-star-studded cast of characters from her debut CD, Diary of a Mod Housewife (Elliot Easton, Ira Kaplan, John Wesley Harding, Andy Paley), it'll be interesting to see who joins her onstage.... (Katie Bloom's, Midnight) -- Kate X Messer

KELLY WILLIS: Showing range in a way that would make Alicia Silverstone curl up whimpering, local country siren supreme Kelly Willis has recently (occasionally) been fronting Austin's primo lounge-pop band 81/2 Souvenirs, and her aching voice fits just as well into Parisian cabaret show-stoppers as it did on the Kendalls' "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" or fronting Son Volt and Sixteen Horsepower on last year's Fading Fast EP. Jay Farrar and Serge Gainsbourg, who knew? (Stubb's, Midnight)

-- Christopher Gray

LISA LOEB: Hard to believe, but it was three years ago that Loeb was the buzz of the conference, with a soundtrack song slowly climbing the charts. "Stay," a monster hit just weeks later, and her likable Tails debut, may seem like old news now, but the batch of new songs and the stage comfort she displayed on the recent Lyle Lovett tour and an Austin City Limits appearance seem to indicate she's more than worthy of a renewed buzz status. (Texas Union Ballroom, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

PETER CASE: Although best known for his work with the Nerves and the Plimsouls, Case's finely-textured vagabond chronicles might actually be best suited to the acoustic folk and blues that earmark his solo albums. His 1986 eponymous solo debut and 1989's The Man With the Blue Postmodern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar (Vanguard) are both sorely overlooked classics, but with the advent of the AAA radio format, Case's number may be up at any time. (Cactus Cafe, Midnight) -- Greg Beets

THE HONEYDOGS: They could at least try not to sound so much like the 'Mats. Okay, that's not entirely fair, as the Honeydogs could easily fit into the whole alt-country scene as well. But geez, you're from Minnesota -- don't be blatant. A pedal steel guitar is the biggest thing separating this from a Westerberg solo record. The good news is that last year's Everything, I Bet You is the best Westerberg solo record. Imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism. (Atomic Cafe, Midnight) -- Michael Bertin

GUY FORSYTH: The Asylum Street Spankers have captured the town's imagination with their patented, non-electrified approach, but we cannot forget that head Spanker Forsyth is a formidable bluesman in and of himself. Forsyth's distinguished honky-tonk wailings have won him worldwide accolades, not to mention the highly-coveted role of vocalist on KEYE-TV's catchy promotional jingle. (Antone's, Midnight) -- Greg Beets

24-7 SPYZ: The title of this pioneering funk-rock outfit's first album in five years says a lot: Heavy Metal Soul by the Pound. And although only guitarist Eddie Hazel and bassist Rick Skatore remain from the group's late-Eighties glory days, the album's consistent hardcore bump `n' grind more than indicates 24-7 Spyz is still a live threat. (Waterloo Brewing Co., Midnight) -- Andy Langer

ARCHERS OF LOAF: Chapel Hill's Archers of Loaf could very well be the saviors of modern rock & roll. Really. Last November, they blew the ever-lovin' roof off the Electric Lounge, and in continuing support of their stellar All the Nations Airports, the Archers will again commandeer the Lounge, taking the middle spot in the be-all and end-all triple bill of the weekend. (Electric Lounge, Midnight) -- Christopher Hess

SYL JOHNSON: A blues/soul legend of sorts. Johnson was a guitar-pickin' stalwart on the Chicago scene long before he hooked up with producer Willie Mitchell of Hi Records in Memphis. His many Seventies soul classics for Hi include "Take Me to the River" and "Back for a Taste of Your Love." He now records for Delmark Records in Chicago, and last year's SXSW showcase at the same venue was memorable. (Antone's 1am) -- Jay Trachtenberg

ROBERT EARL KEEN: REK is certainly the most popular Aggie in Austin, if not all of Texas. While fellow A&M grad (and former Keen roommate) Lyle Lovett has moved into more sophisticated, wry popdom, Keen hews closer to the straight and narrow of folk-and country-influenced songwriting. Yes, the Greeks love him, but so do people like Cowboy Junkie Margo Timmins, who guests on his forthcoming Arista Austin release, Picnic, an album that should put all the dumb Aggie rumors to bed once and for all. (La Zona Rosa, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

81/2 SOUVENIRS: A true Austin original and one of our most popular club bands in recent years. Imagine Django Reinhardt, Ray Campi, and Moon Mullican all in the same band and you have some idea of what's in store. Their debut release, Happy Feet, on Continental Records has long been a best seller in Austin. (Continental Club, 1am) -- Jay Trachtenberg

DASH RIP ROCK: There are no surprises with Dash Rip Rock, only the assurance that their decade-plus years of touring have imbued this New Orleans trio with the kind of wicked and demented humor we all hope for but rarely get in music. "(Let's Go) Smoke Some Pot" may have gotten the public's attention, but the band's sheer entertainment value won't disappoint those who take a second listen to some of their lyrics. (Scholz Beer Garten, 1am) -- Margaret Moser

THE JAYHAWKS: Normally when a great songwriting duo splits, the two halves of the creative element kill the entity that they created. Long ago it was Lennon & McCartney, more recently it was Tweedy & Farrar. So that's what makes the Jayhawks so interesting. One of the two heads, Mark Olson, left; but the other, Gary Louris, kept the body from dying. With a new album due on American, Sound of Lies, it'll be worth checking out to see whether the Jayhawks lost all their feel or just one of the voices. (Stubb's, 1am)

-- Michael Bertin

THE SONS OF HERCULES: In February, two of the best rock bands in America came through town, and both had the misfortune of following the Sons of Hercules. True, the Humpers and the New Bomb Turks aren't exactly pussies, but after a set's worth of San Antonio-fried, garage-rock enchiladas, you'll forgive us if we don't get too excited. (Hole in the Wall, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

PENNY DREADFULS: In the mood for some metal? How 'bout some chewing gum, while you're at it? Take a pop break with these four girls from L.A., whose self-titled 1996 debut delivers hard-core fuzz, and if you feel like listening to the words, some very pretty sassiness. (Bob Popular, 1am) -- Melissa Rawlins

POSTER CHILDREN: Graduates of Albini High, Champaign's Poster Children have begun sounding a little more Bitch Magnet the last couple times around. Currently working on their sixth drummer (insert Joe "Mama" Besser reference here) for their sixth album, which comes out at the end of April. From time to time they -- how you say in English -- rock. (Electric Pavilion, 1am)

-- Michael Bertin

FURRY THINGS: They'll make your hips sway, your knees bend, and your feet shuffle -- or they'll make your head explode. The release of their Trance Syndicate EP, hedfones, signaled a definite turn in this local band's sound. And the danceable grooves they lay down live don't distract, rather they're the perfect complement to Ken Gibson's spacey, pedal-heavy lead guitar. (Emo's, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

SATURDAYSLEEPERS MONROE MUSTANG: Quiet. Soft. Soft. Quiet. Sweet falsetto boy vocals hoist up the John B sail and see how the main sail sets. Recent Trance Syndicate signees, the handsome Monroe Mustang capture the buzz and hummmm of early brothers Wilson and Gibb and set a course for octaves unchartered. Dulcet. Dulcet. Dulcet. Swoon. (Emo's, 8pm) -- Kate X Messer

HATE FUCK TRIO: For one thing, there are four of them, and they're actually closet intellectuals. No matter, though, the music on their Shaky Records debut, you know, for kids, is a solid blast of smarmy punk worthy of Mudhoney, with some funk and mutant swing thrown in for good measure. Denver shouldn't keep this treat to itself much longer. (Emo's Jr., 8pm) -- Ken Hunt

VERTICAL HORIZON: Dallas' offering for the next-big-thing-to-follow-the-Dead, or just a really talented, arena-sized folk-rock band? They definitely show a predilection toward the long song -- though more polished than yer Phish or yer Widespread Panic -- and the clean jazzy jams that feature a nice noodler at the helm. (Steamboat, 8pm) -- Christopher Hess

ZACH PHILLIPS BAND: To pull off memorable alt-pop, you've got to be virtually airtight, and in the tradition of the Davies, or even the Jacksons, these three Phillips brothers here have that non-verbal communication thing down. That their collaboration falls so subtly between Live and Toad the Wet Sprocket -- with something more in the hooks department -- makes it little wonder Phoenix radio is all over these guys. (Club Universe, 8pm) -- Andy Langer

HOME: New York's Home assumes many positions in the course of their Emperor Jones/Trance album Home X, but one constant is a manic strain of ambitious experimentation that makes the sum kind of like the score of some obscure Sixties art flick. Their preponderance of sharp left turns is befuddling, but somehow never alienating. (Emo's, 9pm) -- Greg Beets

BIG BACK FORTY: Like their neighbors the Haynes Brothers, Columbus, Ohio's Big Back Forty have hitched their tractor to the twangcore movement, only they're moving kinda slow, waiting for the pedal steel to catch up and Sean Beal's voice ooze up from its primordial depths. Seems they've turned up something in their plowing, a Polydor debut, Bested. (B-Side, 9pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

PUSHMONKEY: In the past year, Pushmonkey's secured powerhouse management in Lone Wolf, and ascended into the top tier of local draws with sold-out Steamboat shows. Better yet, their 5-song EP did brisk regional sales last year as well and KLBJ plays 'em as if they were national artists. Still willing to bet that hard rock's not due for a comeback? (Steamboat, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

THE HAMICKS: Witnessing this band's progress from quirky, nerdy New Wave trio from San Marcos to full-on Rohypnol rock has been a bizarre one. Frontman Bob Taylor still crafts jagged-nerve poptunes that could make him another David Byrne or Jonathan Richman, but the raging high-concept rock guitar work of Jonathan Tobin and skittering Farfisas and theremins have blown the Hamicks out into something louder and hairier. Flying a freak flag, but one more chordant and danceable than most others. (Trophy's, 9pm) -- Tim Stegall

THE COWSLINGERS: Hold on to your boots and bourbon, the Cowslingers are presenting their version of the honky-tonk hayride to hell and back replete with tasseled silk cowboy shirts. You'll enjoy this beer swillin' Burro Show as much as a fine cocktail or smut magazine. (Speakeasy, 9pm) -- David Lynch

OLIVE: Any band led by performance artists Kerthy Fix and Carol Gilson is bound to put on a striking show, and indeed, they'll either imbue the room with a sensuous vibe or scare the proverbial shit out of you. The local band's shimmering drones, marked by subtly fancy lead guitar work, amplifies the singers' antics without stepping in the way. Their video for "Smile," by the way, is the last word in makeovers. (Copper Tank, 9pm) -- Ken Hunt

COCKEYED GHOST: After impressing hometown crowds in Los Angles at last month's Poptopia festival, Cockeyed Ghost hits SXSW with a new record, Keep Yourself Amused, and a van full of post-punk wit. And while they're immediately likable for their tongue-in-cheek songwriting, there's also something charming about their live presence -- in just how much more rawk noise they make than the average act with dual falsetto vocals. (Babes, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

ARMCHAIR MARTIAN: Mmmm. Sugar-y. Goo Goo-y. Makes me hyper, makes me go fast, just like this Ft. Collins, Colorado band's self-titled Cargo debut. Whatever goes on down there in San Diego, where the band's label is headquartered, I just wonder if they have speed limits posted in the punk quarter. (Club Universe, 9pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

MARC OLSEN: A Seattle space-rock veteran, Olsen has done stints in the large, tribal-hippy outfit Sky Cries Mary and Sage, a trio which blended Blue Cheer-style rock with Middle Eastern motifs and jazz. As a solo artist, he's continuing in the same vein of angular songsmithing and capricious fingerwork, but at a much reduced volume and with a light blues touch. (Club DeVille, 9pm) -- Ken Hunt

BUZZCRUSHER: Pit bulls every one, the boys in Buzzcrusher choose to wield guitars inside Emo's instead of chains and lead pipes out back. Instead of your noggin, they pound out chewy, bloody hard rock by the chunkful, with plenty of that authentic Southern rawk grease baked right in. Best come on an empty stomach, 'cause Buzzcrusher'll fill ya up but good. (Back Room, 9pm)

-- Christopher Gray

THE KNIEVELS: There's nothing too obvious about the appeal of this local bar band. It's easy to allow yourself to write them off until you allow yourself to become immersed in the Knievels' world of vaguely horrific harmonies and handmade melancholia. Once that happens, it's hard to shake the deep subtleties of the web they spin (Emo's Jr., 9pm) -- Greg Beets

MISS XANNA DON'T & THE WANTED: Voted "Best Tease" in our very own "Best of Austin" yearly round-up, Miss Xanna is more than just an empty beehive fulla Dippity-Do. Sure, go for the hair, but stay for the soulful, sweet as strychnine country ballads aimed straight for your heart -- from Austin via Boston, with luv. (Ruta Maya, 9pm) -- Kate X Messer

TOM FREUND: Reaping the benefits of his tenure as the bassist in the Silos, this New Yorker is one of the most promising young rock & roll singer-songwriters in the country. His writing has a flair for non-linear yet passionate imagery, the feelings deepened by the rich resonance of his voice. (Cactus Cafe, 9pm) -- Peter Blackstock

JON DEE GRAHAM: Austin-based songwriter-guitarist Jon Dee Graham has a resumé to satisfy the most discriminating credential-sniffers: as Alejandro Escovedo's musical foil in the True Believers to John Doe's right-hand guitarist. Along the way, Graham left behind punk attitude, but took along its smoke and fire, burning an incendiary path that delivers to the final fade-out. (Stubb's, 9pm) -- Margaret Moser

VENICE: From Venice, California, these four Lennon cousins/brothers (all related to the Lennon Sisters) sing and harmonize together as their application to the Southern California pop/electric/folk music pantheon -- you know, Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, and The Eagles. (Cactus Cafe, 9:45pm) -- David Lynch

FOUR PIECE SUIT: Boston's Four Piece Suit played last year's SXSW "lounge" showcase, but I'm thinking their instrumental brew is much better suited to Austin's famed Continental Club, where hard-wailing sax and ricochet guitar goes over much better with the hipsters. Make sure they play "A Shot in the Dark" and "Hey Hey My My," both from their finger-snapping Ocean Music CD, Ready to Where? (Continental Club, 10pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

GARY HEFFERN: On his latest album, this Finnish-born, Seattle-based, European touring veteran teams with the likes of Peter Buck, Victoria Williams, and the Jayhawks' Mark Olson to give birth to his sometimes sensitive, sometimes nihilistic visions. In his nearly 20-year music career, Heffern's gone from punk to folk, but hasn't forgotten where he came from. (Texas Union Ballroom, 10pm) -- Phil West

THE DRAGONS: One-third of a bill which could be called The Escovedo Family Circus (including Alejandro's Buick MacKane and Javier's Sacred Hearts), youngest Escovedo brother Mario first brought his Dragons to town in '92, cleanly smashing in virgin heads with a high-octane guitar rock perched somewhere between the Humpers and Hanoi Rocks. To read their numerous mentions in recent issues of Flipside, the Humpers side of that equation is being emphasized far more, of late. But who's complaining? (Steamboat, 10pm) -- Tim Stegall

SCENIC: 1982, Los Angeles, and Bruce Licher's in one of the coldest, most brutish bands of his day: the challenging and righteous Savage Republic. Fifteen years later, Licher's pitched his tent a world away in eerily beautiful, impossibly calm Sedona, Arizona, establishing a band to reflect that move from clanging urban noise to the spacious otherworldliness of the red rock canyons. (Bob Popular, 10pm ) -- Phil West

THE RECLINERS: With a typical set including lounge versions of AC/DC, the Beastie Boys, and even Donna Summer -- alongside a handful of originals -- you'd think it's all gimmick. Then you watch singer Neil Mehta sell it with the perfect combination of camp and charisma. Most martini drinking poseurs are fairly lame, but Austin's Recliners give lounge a good name. (Speakeasy, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

PHIL BROIKOS: This guy is a one man musical army for the downtrodden (he plays all the instruments on his self-produced cassette, Puddlewonderful). Rochester's Broikos won't elevate your spirits, but if you'd like to join him and his drum machine in the depths, he's probably looking for some company. (Bob Popular's Headliners Room, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

PAUL K & THE WEATHERMEN: Some best-kept secrets are best kept that way. But if John Cale, Neil Young, Richard Thompson, and Nick Cave could all pour themselves into the same bottle of bourbon (Maker's Mark, of course, the K might stand for Kentucky), wouldn't you throw a party and tell the world? Then why the hell doesn't anybody seem to know about the sheer magnificence of Lexington's Paul K? (Atomic Cafe, 10pm) -- Kate X Messer

THE NEGRO PROBLEM: And the Academy Award for Best Name goes to L.A.'s psyche-silly-delic folk popsters, the Negro Problem, who get in your face with sweet melodies, hand-on-the-hip lyrics, and an accordion. (Babe's, 10pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

GERALD COLLIER: On Collier's C/Z solo debut, I Had to Laugh Like Hell, the first song concludes with a miserable cry of "I fucked up again," wailed over and over, and that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album. Musically, he tends to stay in one vein as well, his tender acoustic guitar occasionally augmented by some pretty steel or fiddle. Nice stuff, but definitely take your Prozac first. (Club DeVille, 10pm)

-- Lee Nichols

TEXAS MEAT PURVEYORS: Hot damn, hot Elgin sausage mama Jo Walston (Joan of Arkansas, Gretchen Phillips Experience) heads up this buncha 100% pure beef patties for a real Texas ho' down. Hell, that's not their tongue in their cheeks, they're just happy to see you and wanna lick the barbecue goo right offa your fingers. Yee-haw, y'all. (B-Side, 10pm) -- Kate X Messer

CLOVIS: The name may be new, but the faces are familiar. Clovis combines the considerable talents of Austin-based keyboardist/singer-songwriter Lisa Mednick, whose Dejadisc album of a couple years back was a diamond in the rough, and guitarist/singer-songwriter Kevin Carroll, who has made his mark as leader of roots-poppish band the Sleestacks. Two great sounds that sound great together. (Ruta Maya, 10pm) -- Peter Blackstock

DRIVING BLIND: Hailing from the coldest city in North America -- no not Toledo, Montreal -- the duo (augmented on stage with a full band) of Frank Ringgenberg and Andrew Frank, currently named Driving Blind (formerly know as Monkeywalk), play blue-eyed pop/jazz/trip-hop/funky blues tunes. (Cactus Cafe, 10:30pm)

-- David Lynch

LIDA HUSIK: The instrumentation may be some recombination of the holy guitar, bass, and drums -- or veer off into pure techno -- but Husik's music is always "ambient." Her lyrics take incidents from everyday life and transform them into surreal, sometimes otherworldly tales she can't quite explain herself. Rather like the first stages of R.E.M. sleep protracted to an hour. (Bob Popular's Headliners Room, 11pm) -- Ken Hunt

SACRED HEARTS: So there I was, standing down in front of the Emo's stage, watching Johnny Cash. Hurry up, I thought, looking down at my watch. I don't wanna miss Sacred Hearts. Can you believe it? True story. That's how much respect I have for one third of the True Believers, Javier Escovedo. Never made it, but I still wonder about that showcase. Thankfully, this year Cash ain't playing. (Steamboat, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

BIG GAME HUNTER: Proving hip-hop's not dead in Austin, this fairly new act has been packing them in at the Victory Grill with a unique set-up of two MCs, two bassists, and two percussionists -- combining for a freshly organic Das EFX-style that's leaps and bounds more professional than anything this city's rap community has seen yet. (Victory Grill, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

MIKE LADD: New York deejay/rapper Mike Ladd's new Mercury album, Easy Listening for Armageddon, is aptly named. While the space-dub backing tracks are a little tricky -- that dread pre-millennium tension -- they never overwhelm Ladd's sly rhymes and lyrical CNN sci-fi. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

THE SMUGGLERS: Hard to figure, a batch of Canadian beer-bust punk merchants so proud of meeting Alan Thicke that they'd feature it on their albums and press materials. Part of the goofy fun of these Vancouverites, not hidebound enough to Sixties purism to ignore the D.O.A. in their lineage, yet too fratrockish to be that scary. Should be a good, sloppy, hops-soaked night out, like a less Anglicized Billy Childish gig. (Emo's Jr., 11pm) -- Tim Stegall

JAKE ANDREWS: In his current run of Stubb's Mondays, Jake Andrews has shown tremendous growth as both a singer and blues songwriter -- and yes, he's still but a teen. Best of all, his new all-star backing band of bassist Jon Blondell and drummer Tommy Taylor also seems to be effectively pushing him towards a more conservative guitar approach, which in itself sets him apart from the teenage blooze pack. (Roadhouse, 11pm)

-- Andy Langer

RADAR BROS.: Already on NME's Top Fifty list, this L.A. band's self-titled debut hits these shores next month. The album's first track, a perfectly psychedelic acoustic trip, has a title that pretty much says it all about how the Radar Brothers' music makes you feel: "Lose Your Face Again." Guitarist and ex-Medicine man Jim Putnam has put together a fine trio who get on stage and simply stone you with their stripped-down Floydesque jams. (Bob Popular, 11pm)

-- Melissa Rawlins

PERFECT: That snotty little Tommy Stinson. Who the hell does he think he is? Sloppy, Westerbergian rock & roll -- the type found on Perfect's When Squirrels Play Chicken EP? What's the name of that old band from Minneapolis? Hmph. He's got a lotta nerve. Somebody oughta kick his skinny butt! (Bob Popular, Midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

QUATROPAW: From the grinding groove of "What What I Say" to the down and dirty blues-funk of "Texas to Chicago," Quatropaw is carving an ever-widening niche for themselves in the Austin music scene. Easily one of the most prolific bands around, their new, self-titled second release is indicative of why they never disappoint live. (Copper Tank, Midnight) -- Christopher Hess

ORBIT: The first time I saw Orbit they played an entirely instrumental set, and it was amazing. They friggin' rocked. So imagine my surprise when I got their A&M debut, Libido Speedway, and there were these, these -- vocals! Everywhere! Regardless, Boston's Orbit puts on a tight, fun, rock show, and the singing doesn't do much damage to the mix. If Rick Sims took over the Offspring, they just might sound like this. (Electric Pavilion, Midnight)

-- Christopher Hess

COWBOYS & INDIANS: There was a time when jazz invaded the world of country music and threw steel guitars and trombones on the same stage. Dallas' C&I have brought it back, swinging heavy. I want to say it's lounge for the alt-country crowd, but that really doesn't do them justice. (Speakeasy, Midnight)

-- Lee Nichols

JEFF BLACK: As the only artist signed to Arista Austin from outside of town, this Kansas City songwriter may be the upstart label's wild card with his Don Smith-produced (Tom Petty, Keith Richards) debut set for release later this year. Already, Black has established a rep as a AAA-destined, Leonard Cohen-meets-Son Volt kind of guy, who has a great buzz stemming from a batch of Wilco-backed gigs at Nashville's hot 12th & Porter. (La Zona Rosa, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

MARY LOU LORD: Lord came from the Boston subway set, playing for spare change before emerging as one of the wisest wise-girls with guitars from the Olympia triumvirate of DIY labels. Lord is one of the more enigmatic songwriters to dot the skyline in recent years, but she's also one of the more compelling. (Club Deville, Midnight) -- Phil West

DROPOUTS: Somebody say maximum R&B? Meet extreme R&B, aka the Dropouts. A San Antonio garage band that weds American gutter stomp and lots of "Back Door Man" ambience to just the right amount of Limey attitude, this is 21st Century blues done dirty and done right. Don't forget the straight razor -- this is one sharp band. (Hole in the Wall, Midnight) -- Christopher Gray

THE QUINSONICS: Birmingham's Quinsonics may not be the first to combine a punk energy with song-driven alt-country, but they're among the No (Manic!) Depression sub-genre's most convincing practitioners yet. And while frontman D. Braxton Harris' songs and folk-howl make him the runaway star of their acoustic debut, Cowboy Angel, witnessing the band live -- reportedly an REM-ish act -- ought to be an equally fulfilling discovery. (B-Side, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

THE ROCK*A*TEENS: Atlanta's Rock*A*Teens reverberate with the minimalist pop sounds of gangly 15-year-olds whose hopes and desires transcend the boundaries of age. Vocalist Christopher Verene's voice cracks with fresh young heartache as the band scratches its way through aptly-titled songs like "Arm in Arm, in the Golden Twilite, We Loitered On..." and a novel yet moving cover of James and Bobby Purify's "I'm Your Puppet" (Trophy's , Midnight) -- Greg Beets

INCH: Deja vu. Last year, an Atlantic Records advance of Inch's Dot Class "C" made the rounds before their SXSW appearance. Now, the San Diego band has landed on the San Diego-based Cargo, which just shipped advances of the same album. But that's good news, as SXSW gets a second look at Inch and the album's sharp guitar lines, metallic anthems, and punk rhythms. (Club Universe, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

KEVIN CARROLL & THE SLEESTACKS: Careful songwriting akin to that of World Party and the use of stylistic elements including but not limited to folk, country, blues, even a traditional Irish ballad make the Sleestacks consistently interesting. Carroll ponders things profound and petty in the penumbral periphery of pleasant pop. Whew. (Ruta Maya Coffee, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

NOT DANIEL JOHNSTON: This showcase could very well trick the unsuspecting who stumble upon it into thinking that NDJ's tremulous, angst-filled music is a joke! Nothing could be further from the truth!! Okay, that's a lie. It is a wicked knife between the ribs of songwriter worship and rock idolatry. And rumor has it that the object of that idolatry will be there in person to perform with his biggest fan. (Atomic Cafe, 1am) -- Margaret Moser

ACTIONSLACKS: The songs of this Berkeley band are reminiscent of the Jason side of Sebadoh (read: the more straight-ahead rockers and not the moody and sad genius of Lou). Last year's too bright just right good night was a bunch of good, slightly noisy pop songs with biting lyrics and high bass-driven melodies that pull together to create a sense that the dam is just about to break and your little town will be crushed. (Trophy's, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

PANSY DIVISION: Considered the core of Homocore (Look, Toto! We have our own genre!!), these San Fran frisky boys have been touring the pants off of themselves and recent converts alike. Fuck that pink shit. These boys whip out the big guns and recruit, to boot! (Emo's Jr.,1am) -- Kate X Messer

SMOKING POPES: Graduates from the Material Issue School of Pop (Illinois campus), the Smoking Popes make some guitar-heavy pop music that was catchy enough to land their single "Need You Around" on the soundtrack for the movie Clueless. (Electric Lounge, 1am)

-- Christopher Hess

JOHNNY GOUDIE: Even before Mr. Rocketbaby, Johnny Goudie was one of Austin's smartest pop songwriters. But at a new acoustic roundtable he's been heading up at Flipnotics, his new songs and retooled favorites have seemed even more mature and resonant, which, with the added assault of his electric outfit, could make this Goudie's best showcase yet. (Steamboat, 1am)

-- Andy Langer

CRUMBOX: In our accelerated times, this Universal City, California, quartet sounds almost nostalgic -- for the Eighties underground, that is. The jangly guitars and driving gang vocals on their eponymous debut would fit right in with R.E.M., Galaxie 500, and early Yo La Tengo broadcasting late at night from your local 10-watt college radio station. (Club Universe, 1am) -- Ken Hunt

JEREMY TOBACK: Beginning with the floating guitar sounds on "Butterfly Elephant," the first track on his RCA debut, perfect flux thing, one gets an earful of Jeremy Toback's unique pop songs and airy musical arrangements. The remaining tunes on his first solo release contain more dreamy soundscapes anchored by acoustic strums, well-placed rhythm parts, and personally abstract lyrics. And while not reaching the emotional or musical highs and lows of Jeff Buckley, Daniel Lanois, or Nick Drake, perfect flux thing is indeed just that. (Club DeVille, 1am) -- David Lynch

ITHICA GIN: J. Mascis from Carollton, Georgia, instead of Amherst, Massachusetts. Distorted guitars and nasal moan. The band's debut single on its homemade Red Dirt Records was produced by No Depression kingpin Jay Farrar. Is there a better, or perhaps more coveted endorsement around these days? (B-Side, 1am)

-- Michael Bertin

JUBILETTES: Five ladies dressed in black with tattoos, guitars, and the odd piercing? Maybe a strange way to introduce a gospel group, especially one that likes to throw Prince songs into the mix. Once they open their mouths though, and "The Shores of Jordan" or "Jacob's Ladder" pour out, no explanation is necessary. If Lyle Lovett ever makes a gospel album, the Jubilettes need to be his choir. (Victory Grill, 1am)

-- Christopher Gray

TINA & THE B-SIDE MOVEMENT: The girl can sing. The songs often drift into a distinctly Midwestern no-person's-land between country, rock, soul, and blues common to bands hailing from Wisconsin or Minnesota (here, Minneapolis), but any band that uses mandolin, horns, and a tuba is okay by me. Wonder if the tuba travels? (Katie Bloom's, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

GANGGREEN: Bartender! Four more beers! Boston old-school veterans Ganggreen continue to deliver souped-up hardcore with a bad attitude like it's still 1985, unlike many of their contemporaries who made a wrong turn toward hair band land and promptly faded away. If you're growing exasperated with the glut of sweater-pop clones, a swig of Ganggreen might be just the dab that does ya. (Back Room, 1am) -- Greg Beets


ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO: Now hear this all you walking checkbooks and guardians of taste: Alejandro Escovedo is between deals. No, he probably won't move Mariah Carey units, but neither does Dylan, Cohen, or Springsteen anymore, and it's time that audience was exposed to this charismatic performer and musical soul. After all, didn't y'all freak last year when he didn't do his SXSW closing ceremonies? See. Now give him the world. (La Zona Rosa) -- Raoul Hernandez

DO ME BABY! AUSTIN DOES PRINCE: The ironic genius of this closing hoot night is obvious: a barrage of cover bands after everybody's done searching for the next big thing. But the irony of Do Me Baby! Austin Does Prince is just how original a batch of local artists can sound while still doing Prince's songcraft justice. From Kris McKay and Monte Warden to the Fuckemos and the Adults -- as well as a host of other locals -- this show had 'em lined up around the block for the album's release party six weeks ago. (Electric Lounge, 8pm) -- Andy Langer

JAVELIN BOOT: In a town where cover bands make serious dough, Javelin Boot might just have more money than all of us put together. And playing all those covers pays off sometimes, like in being able to write songs, and this long-time Austin trio knows its way around a pop song -- just check their Pravda release from last year, Fundamentally Sound. (Hole in the Wall, 9pm)

-- Raoul Hernandez

THE GOIN' ALONG FEELIN' JUST FINES: For Ed Hall drummer Lyman Hardy III, this was initially a vehicle for him to get up from behind the drums, but with Ed Hall dearly departed, this is the prime outlet for one of Austin's most affable musicians, as well as the first great Austin space-rock supergroup. (Emo's, 9pm) -- Phil West

SUPEREGO: Anchoring the Sunday night Free for Alls -- one of the true focal points of current Austin rock -- Paul Minor's Superego has grown over the last year into a tight band totally unafraid to take on "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," "Sweet Virginia," and even a little Bad Company. They've become as much a part of Hole in the Wall as the "Checkpoint Bubba" sign, and as important to Austin as the Ice Bats. (Hole in the Wall, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

POCKET FISHRMEN: Don't bogart that bone just yet... Sure it's Sunday, the barbecue is lead in your belly, and that softball game proved you aren't as young as you've led the kids in A&R to believe. Get out there and rock it one more time, you old fart. The Pocket FishRmen -- the dripping buds of the Austin punk realm -- still kill evil and remain the world's premier pot-rockers, ready, willing, and able to precede your cottonmouth and conclude your conference. (Emo's, 11pm) -- Kate X Messer

PAPA MALI & THE INSTIGATORS: Austin's funk, reggae, and groove all-stars deliver booty-energizing Crescent City-spiced standards. Look for jammin' version of "Gilded Splinters" as well as a unique interpretation of "When the Levee Breaks." If you like to shake everything you got, bring it on down. (Steamboat, 11pm)

-- David Lynch

CRUST: These denizens of the Trance Syndicate stable (they boasted the first release by the label) aren't pretty, tasteful, or socially acceptable by any measure. Following in the tradition of the early Butthole Surfers, what they are is shrill, boisterous, and intent on offending one and all. Song titles like "Chlamydia Is Not a Flower" should have been your first clue. Their on-stage antics will provide many, many more. (Emo's, Midnight) -- Ken Lieck

BEAVER NELSON & THE BEAUTICIANS: A promising Austin songwriter who seemed to disappear from the scene for a while, and deserves to have a red carpet rolled out for his return. Somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and Townes Van Zandt lies Beaver Nelson. (Hole in the Wall, Midnight) -- Lee Nichols

DIAMOND SMUGGLERS: The only Neil Diamond band to cover "Rape Me" isn't even satisfied with adding Nirvana to Neil's repertoire. No, they make it into a medley with the Cars' "Let's Go" -- yet it's still pure Neil, or at least his evil twin. With a full stage show that makes a tiny club feel for all the world like an arena, these guys never fail to wow audiences with their pornographic takes on Diamond's classics, and their interpretations of songs they're betting he wishes he could do. (Electric Lounge, Midnight) -- Ken Lieck

ALIEN LOVE CHILD: Attention all you outta-towners. This is Eric Johnson's side project. Yes, that Eric Johnson, and in this setting, he likes to play da blues -- Cream, Mayall, and some ripping originals. Now aren't ya sorry you decided to leave town Sunday morning? (Steamboat, Midnight)

-- Raoul Hernandez

JESUS CHRIST SUPERFLY: Are they pure punk, are they pure rock, or are they pure punk rock? The debate has raged since their formation, but this local three-piece never disappoints in terms of volume or in producing short bursts of energy with melody. Co-vocalists Rick Carney and Ron Williams trade off vocal duties song by song, giving you a chance to decide whose stuff you like best. (Hole in the Wall, 1am)

-- Ken Lieck

BROWN HORNET: A Brown Hornet show is a little like getting married. It's not to be entered into lightly, as it contains an air of, shall we say, anticipation that ranges from "audience participation" to "assault and battery." Bobcat Goldthwait is less manic, and e.e. cummings' poetry has more clarity, but if it's a Ritalin-deficient, spaz-off, klezmer-deathrök show you're lookin' for, do like Fat Albert and call Brown Hornet to the rescue. (Emo's, 1am) -- Christopher Gray n

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