Stubb's, Friday 30
Forget all this `alt' stuff. Go see Pavement or hit a computer keyboard if that's what you're into. The Old 97's are not `alt.country'; They're country as a livestock auction -- just ask Don Walser or Waylon Jennings, who both found the Dallas quartet plenty country enough to share a mike/studio/stage with. Better yet, get a taste of the group's upcoming Elektra debut Too Far to Care, and you'll be too far into the crackling licks and catchy songs to care whether it's `alt' or not. Their former labelmates on Bloodshot, Arizona's Grievous Angels -- out in support of the gritty New City of Sin -- open.
Emo's, Friday 30
Just before dawn, when the stars are invisible and the sky is light, there's a moment when one is caught between heaven and hell. The Sabbath album? Not exactly, but Maryland's Trans Am draw as much from that as from prog-rock and jazz. The trio's instrumental prowess, captured recently on Thrill Jockey's Surrender to the Night, could be termed "space rock," but really, theirs is netherworld music. Golden, Enduro, and the Lonesome Organist support. -- Raoul Hernandez
JO CAROL PIERCE,
Flipnotics, Friday 30
Texas women who tell the truth are either labeled bitches or prophets (sometimes both). Jo Carol Pierce's stunning honky-tonk manifesto Bad Girls Upset by the Truth makes it clear she's no stranger to the first option, but with disarming honesty and some pure West Texas sonorous songwriting, she winds up a lot closer to the second. Jean Caffeine, who tells it like it is on Knocked Down 7 Times Got Up 8, opens.
CORNELL HURD BAND, HORSE WRECK
Hole in the Wall, Saturday 31
Cornell Hurd is Country Soul Brother No. 1: He put the wit back into western swing while teaching Austin's hypertensive country crowds it's okay to laugh at themselves. Showcasing songs from his forthcoming album, Hurd & co. make a rare appearance north of Town Lake. Singer-songwriter duo Horse Wreck, smooth as George Jones' glasses of brandy, open.
OFFSPRING, L7, A.F.I.
Austin Music Hall, Saturday 31
With the amount of rancor Orange County's Offspring generated by signing to Columbia, you'd think they reunited 20 years after defining a genre. Not to worry, though, their major label debut Ixnay on the Hombre is a hard-hitting successor to '94's megaplatinum Smash, and a couple of bands who know plenty about life in the punk-rock trenches, L7 and A.F.I., warm things up. Don't be a punk and not show.
Laguna Gloria Amphitheatre, Sunday 1
Let this be the first reminder that June is Jazz Month in Austin (it certainly won't be the last). To get things started off right, Tina Marsh and her Creative Opportunity Orchestra -- featuring compositions and performances by Randy Zimmerman, John Mills, Bob Rodriguez, and more -- bring their musical explorations and instrumental acuity to the idyllic, tree-shaded eaves of Laguna Gloria.
POSTER CHILDREN, FAILURE, SIXTEEN DELUXE
Electric Lounge, Monday 2
Although the Poster Children's enhanced CD RTFM! sidestepped somewhat unceremoniously into stores last month, the Champagne, Illinois foursome's return won't be nearly as low-key. Providing the pepper to their home-style, chunky-guitar stew, RTFM's occasional forays into danceably heavy crunch are guaranteed to shatter eardrums. L.A.'s Failure, whose mildly experimental bass-driven guitar rock meshes well with our own pedal-pioneers Sixteen Deluxe, are in the middle slot. -- Christopher Hess
Emo's, Wednesday 4
And you thought John Stockton was a dirty player. He is, but try putting Taz Bentley and Kirk St. James from Tenderloin (who'll make up their canceled Stubb's show later this month at Emo's) together with Kevin Strickland of the late great Mule and see what kind of raw sleaziness develops. That's Whore for you, better than yet another technical from Sir Charles. Get lowdown first with Buzzcrusher and Horseshit Gunfire, picking your pockets and rolling your ass.
Hole in the Wall, Thursday 5
Hole in the Wall ... the final frontier? Seems like it, at least on Thursday, when 7% Solution, who just get dreamier and more ethereal with time, headline an evening of envelope-stretching sounds with ST-37 (releasing a new record) and Govinda, the eclectic musical amalgamator with the new Move Divine CD.
Friday: Pavement, Bis, Royal Trux, Liberty Lunch; Eric Johnson, Backyard; Borrowers, Saxon Pub
Saturday: Super Sluts, Classified, Blue Flamingo; Gourds, Damnations, Beaver Nelson, Electric Lounge; Trish Murphy, La Zona Rosa
Sunday: Johnny Rodriguez, Keith Gattis, Broken Spoke; David Wilcox, Paramount Theatre
Monday: Jake Andrews, Stubb's
Tuesday: The Scabs, Liquid Soul, Antone's
Wednesday: Julianna Sheffield, Top of the Marc
Thursday: Devo Hoot Night, Blondie's; Son Yuma, Stubb's; Jimmy George, Ruta Maya