Sticking it to the Fat, Lazy Americans

International Acts at SXSW



WALTARI (Helsinki, Finland): Waltari's 1996 release was titled Yeah! Yeah! Die! Die!: Death Metal Symphony in Deep C. It's just what the name implies - a full metal symphony - and it was composed by Finns Kärtsy, Janne, Jariot, and Roope; not Nigel, David, and Derek. (Back Room, 10pm)

ALTAN (Donegal, Ireland): When you're a band and you're getting glowing press from the Wall Street Journal you've just about topped out. With a handful of albums and almost every accolade imaginable to its credit, Altan is pretty much the standard by which all other Irish bands playing traditional music are measured these days. (La Zona Rosa, 10pm)

Maggie Mae's

MUMMY POWDER (Helsinki, Finland): These guys have to be outcasts in their Finnish homeland - irreverence, vulgarity, even (gasp!) detectable displays of emotion. The Finnish equivalents of the Doughboys, they are true to their staid nationalistic form in some respect: They plug in, turn up, and don't screw around much. (9pm)

THE LOCOMOTIVES (Oslo, Norway): Recently nominated as "Best Newcomer Act" in the homeland, the Faith No More-ish Locomotives have been Top 10 staples in their native Norway as of late. Recent relocators to the U.S., back home they claim they've already opened for Bowie (presumably David) and Mansun (not Charles). (10pm)

THE NOTHING BASTARDS (Ghent, Belgium): Belgian band with a Puerto Rican frontman writing part-American-jazz-part-Sino-noise-punk that have Spanish titles but are sung in English. (Midnight)


BASS ODYSSEY (Dublin, Ireland): More the latter (odyssey) than the former (bass), this DJ duo's first release, Twilight, sold out its first pressing in its native Ireland and has begun to seep across the rest of the continent. (11pm-1am)

RAZOR (Dublin, Ireland): Another DJ from Ireland and a Quadrophonics Records compatriot of Bass Odyssey. (1am)



photograph by SOMEPHOTOGRAPHER / illustration by SOMEARTIST

LIBIDO (Bergen, Norway): Hormonally overcharged? Not really. The trio from Bergen, Norway pulled their name from an episode of a German detective show called Deadly Libido. Their first single "Supersonic Daydream" has generated a "blur" of excitement across Europe. (Atomic Cafe, 10pm)

EURO BOYS (Oslo, Norway): This Norwegian four-piece wins the award for brilliant "reinterpretation" of the Seventies with a predominantly surfy flair, as well as the award for best song title maybe ever: "Girlfriend in Tacoma." Herman the German fans might want to compare covers of "Hava Negilah" (Iron Cactus, 10pm)

SHOW OF HANDS (U.K.): The acoustic duo of Steve Knightley and Phil Beer has seven albums and at least enough fans to sell out the Royal Albert Hall (occupancy 4,000 according to "A Day in the Life"). Far richer and more intense than the nondescript coffeehouse filler of many an acoustic duo. (Cactus Cafe, 10:30pm)

COLORSOUND (U.K.): A new project from Mike Peters and Billy Duffy, formerly of the Alarm and the Cult, respectively, that sounds (surprise!) remarkably like the Alarm and the Cult. (Atomic Cafe, 11pm)

I AGAINST I (Dordrecht, Netherlands): This Dutch trio fires off big, fat, punk power-chord riffs then starts singing with the glee of the Monkees. They're playing their instruments, though, and yes, they were named after a Bad Brains song. (Emo's Jr., 11pm)

ROBYN HITCHCOCK (London, U.K.): Hitchcock remains the only person in popular music to use the words "large intestine" in a lyric and rhyme them. Although "popular" may be a bit of a stretch for the post-Egyptians Hitchcock, who has been hovering around cult status for a few years, he is nonetheless a genius at splicing together the mindless and the peculiar, and draping it over a great pop melody. A SXSW frequenter, this year's appearance is in conjunction with Jonathan Demme's documentary, Storefront Hitchcock. (State Theater, Midnight)

DELE MANDEYAH (Kingston, Jamaica): Think you've got a passion for making music? Rastaman Mandeyah went AWOL from the Jamaican Defense Force so he could hook up with a U.S. tour. Afterwards, his desertion got solitary confinement for over a year, then, when he got out, he found his wife and son had abandoned him. That still wasn't enough to deter Mandeyah from making reggae music. All you have to do is probably sleep in a van every now and then and eat Ramen. (Flamingo Cantina, 12:25am)

Maggie Mae's

BELL BOOK & CANDLE (Berlin, Germany): It's tough to decide which is more gorgeous: singer Jana Gross' voice or her cheekbones. Think ABBA meets Natalie Merchant in Berlin; either that or BB&C could be the answer to the question plaguing mankind: "What happened to T'Pau?" (9pm)

CORDRAZINE (Melbourne, Australia): Melbourne quartet with a knack for throwing everything into its sprawling pop mix: majestic strings, breezy piano, flavorful mellotron, and Celtic show tunes. (10pm)

STEREOPHONICS (Cwmaman, U.K.): Everybody say it together: Cwmaman. That's the village in South Wales where the three guys in Stereophonics come from. Actually, they all grew up on the same street. The familiarity breeds a tightly wound and well-punctuated buzz-pop with lots of small-town colloquialisms. (11pm)

GROOP DOGDRILL (Doncaster, U.K.): "Sleazabilly" - it's somebody else's term for this, but it's so perfect that it's worth stealing. Want proof? "You move like a dancer, baby/ And you've got a great ass" (you'll just have to imagine the blazing cowpunk that goes along with this). Your inner pig will love it. (Midnight)

JUNKIE XL (Amsterdam, Netherlands): Junkie XL was hand-picked to open for several Prodigy dates in Europe last year. It takes about two seconds of Saturday Teenage Kick to figure out why. A fierce blend of house, metal, and PE, it's not recommended for people with heart conditions, pregnant women, or the elderly... unless maybe your grandpa is one hardcore motherfucker. (1am)

Maggie Mae's West

JACK L (Dublin, Ireland): Mark Eireztel or maybe Gordon Eirefoot. (9pm)

THE PRAYER BOAT (Dublin, Ireland): Excerpts from the Prayer Boat's press kit read like a blockbuster movie ad: "Stunning," "Extraordinary," "Euphoric," "Irish." Okay, Hollywood would never use that last one, but it's accurate here nonetheless. Unfairly slagged during the band's infancy in its homeland for being watery-Waterboys, the Prayer Boat is "Irish," and yes, "Stunning" as well. (10pm)

THE FRANK & WALTERS (Cork, Ireland): "Bring on the Frank and Walters headless and blah blah blah." Singer Paul Linehan is a shoo-in to win an Ian McCullough sound-alike contest, were anyone ever silly enough to hold such a thing. And the Frank and Walters are closer in feel to the Euro bands of the late Eighties than to the derivative megastar bands of the mid-Nineties. (11pm)

CRUSH (Dublin, Ireland): The Dublin trio was called the next U2 by one publication, and "one of the most exciting bands your [sic] ever likely to see" by another. Of course, a third piece of press says they "may not be the most visually riveting band ever to tread the boards." (Midnight)

K'LA (Dublin, Ireland): K'la has gotten all kinds of ink in their homeland for infusing some new life and style into Celtic music, and justifiably so. On Tóg É Go Bog É (which translates as "Take it easy"), K'la really pushes the boundaries of the traditional by incorporating things like Afro drum beats and Dixieland horns into an already frenetic sound. (1am)

Tropical Isle

LAUB (Berlin, Germany): This duo of Antye and Jotka is about as whispy and sultry as anybody could ever hope to be with electronic music. (9pm)

KANTE (Hamburg, Germany): Kante's bio is so German it's brilliant: "Among other things, Kante attempt to implement the organizational methods of electronic music using rock instruments while maintaining and reinforcing an element of direct communication, without being expressive in a typical rock manner." (10pm)

TARWATER (Berlin, Germany): Seriously, the description these German bands give themselves makes Mike Myers look like a genius: "Tarwater are the masters of magical transformation... danceable in a complex but amusing way." Touch my monkey. Touch it. Love it. (11pm)

SURROGAT (Berlin, Germany): Greg Dulli über alles. Deutsch trio Surrogat has the Afgan Whigs' swagger down pat. It's a little looser, and the guitars aren't as heavy, but it's got all of the sexuality, foreign tongue and all. (Midnight)

ROPE (Berlin, Germany): Atomosphereo-acousto-electro-acid-dub-hip-hoppy-blues-lounge-jazzabilly. That ought to about cover it. (1am)


LIMBO ZAMBA (Mexicali, Mexico): This will make you wonder if the Chili Peppers know how hugely influential they are in Mexicali, Mexico. About the only difference is that toughgirl Rosa Arias' voice is a lot more luscious than Anthony Keidis'. (Maggie Mae's West, 8pm)

NICK LOWE (Brentford, U.K.): If all he had ever done was pen "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace Love and Understanding" and "Cruel to Be Kind," Lowe could have called it a rock & roll day. Instead, from his cowboy outfit to being a party of one, as well as working in or with, oh, Elvis Costello, Rockpile, Little Village, Paul Carrack, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Pretenders, and John Hiatt, Nick Lowe has made himself a pretty big cake to ice. (Austin Music Hall, 9pm)

SHERRY RICH (Melbourne, Australia): Australian Rich has been recording with non-Australians Wilco lately, which is probably sufficient information to clue you in to what she's all about and maybe who will be backing her here. (Copper Tank North, 9pm)

THE BIG SIX (London U.K.): This is the British version of Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys or Big Bad Voodoo Daddy or Big [insert rest of band name here]. What's scary is that they're imitating Fifties swing on the other side of the pond with more realism than nostalgia-loving kids in its native land are. The Brits have better plaid suits, too. (Texas Union Ballroom, 10pm)

HEADSWIM (London, U.K.): Essex fourtet with just more than a passing similarity to Pearl Jam, but if you were really bummed out about Jeff Buckley's death last year, you might want to check out Headswim, as singer Dan Glending has an uncanny resemblance to Buckley on occasion. (Waterloo Brewing Company, 11pm)

GUITAR NAKISISA (Unitedville, Belize): Afro-Belize folk singer with wonderfully unsophisticated lyrics like: "My music is hot/ My music is sweet/ Anytime you hear it/ You have to move your feet." (Ritz Lounge, 11pm)

NRA (Amsterdam, Netherlands): Dikepunk. No, it's not a sexual-preference slur - that would be dyke with a "y." They're Dutch. Dike. Get it? Not only does NRA play it fast and furious, just like Handsome Dick Manitoba used to, but with the name, NRA could probably pull off one of the greatest direct marketing schemes in history. (Atomic Cafe, 1am)

PROPELLERHEADS (Bath, UK): These guys are all the rave or rage or whatever. Recent Dreamworks (yep, that Spielberg conglomerate) acquisitions have a serious penchant for incorporating the soundtrack sounds of the Seventies into their dance mix. Is it live or is it DJ? (La Zona Rosa, 2am)

Bob Popular


mOa (Reykjavik, Iceland): Under the name Bong, Reykjavikers mOa and Eythor Arnalds tried taking classically influenced club stuff to the Icelandic countryside. Apparently, cutting-edge dance music doesn't fly in Icelandic fishing villages. So mOa headed back to the city and decided to team up with a synth programmer named Bjarki. The result is a straightforward but sexy dance mix worthy of a techno diva. (9pm)

purity (London, UK): Techno grrrls. The first non-U.S. act signed to Tommy Boy Records, the three ladies in purity pound out hard-edged breakbeats. (1am)

Electric Lounge

SOLEX (Netherlands): Perusing the song titles from Solex's Matador debut ("One Louder Solex," "Solex Feels Lucky," "Solex' Snag," "Some Solex," "Peppy Solex," "When Solex Just Stood There"), it's clear that some ephemeral sound collage artist in the Netherlands has a bit of an ego problem. Good debut, though. (9pm)

ARAB STRAP (Glasgow, Scotland): Adian Moffat and Malcolm Middleton's debut, The Week Never Starts Around Here, is a sparsely soundtracked but hard-edged self-portrait of a couple of hard livers. Expect the same from the duo's just-finished sophomore effort for Matador, Philophobia. Is that fear of love or love of fear? (10pm)

CORNELIUS (Tokyo, Japan): While Japan's banking industry teeters on the edge of collapse, CFOs can take solace in knowing that their country's youth is way out in front of the rest of the world. Okay, the elders probably don't give a shit about cutting-edge punks, but there's a crop of Japanese musicians that are on the frontiers of sound collages - boy wonder Cornelius being one of them. Not just cutting and pasting dissimilar sounds together, Cornelius assembles miscellaneous bits - heavy guitars, sappy harmonies, electro cascades, pure noise - into something wholly coherent and musical. (11pm)

Flamingo Cantina

CHRIS COMBETTE (Martinique, French Guyana): Without even checking it out in any back files, it's probably safe to say that Chris Combette is the first French Guyanan to play SXSW. And aren't you curious about what they're playing on the radio down in Martinique? Answer: reggae, kompa, and zouk. Your not knowing what two of those styles are is reason enough to check out Combette. (10:15pm)

KREYOL SYNDIKAT (Paris, France): Some American reviewers have cast aspersions on Kreyol Syndikat's ability to catch on in this country because they don't sing in English. First, the fact that they're on Tuff Gong should give them all the legitimacy they need, and more importantly, reggae as a vibe can clear any language hurdle. (11:30pm)

The Library

CHERYL BEATTIE (London, UK): London's Beattie has a rich, expressive voice with great emotional range, and she uses all of it on a little demo that's flawlessly produced. (Midnight)

DIANA AH NAID (Australia): This girl is Ani DiFranco's musical twin - style, phrasing, vocal inflections, guitar-playing style - everything. (1:30am)

Maggie Mae's

JW ROY AND THE ONE NIGHT BAND (Utrecht, Netherlands): Ah musician, know thyself. Seems that with an album subtitled "songs about lovin' and leavin' in the Nineties," JW Roy has pegged his own material - songs that rely on uneasy truths more than unnecessary dramatics - more aptly than anyone else could have. (9pm)

HUMAN ALERT (Amsterdam, Netherlands): Here's a little sampling of the title track to the Dutch punkers' latest: "Bravo Boys/ angels of love/ Bravo Boys/ monsters of rock/ Bravo Boys/ they wanna fuck/ Bravo Boys/ they wanna fuck shit up." Sorta makes you feel all warm inside, don't it? (10pm)

TUESDAY CHILD (The Hague, Netherlands): Wow, the Dutch can do Brit-pop just as well as the British themselves. The continental variety may be equally as derivative, but damn if it isn't less pompous. (11pm)

JOHAN (Hoom, Netherlands): Named for soccer star Johan Cruyuff (it was either that or keep their original name, Visions of Johanna), Johan, the band, sounds a little like the Feelies with distortion boxes; very non-threatening and likable stuff. (Midnight)

Scholz Beer Garten

THURINGIAN ALPHORNS (Erfurt, Germany): "Reeeee-coh-laaa." (9pm)

17 HIPPIES (Berlin, Germany): They're lying, there aren't 17 hippies. There are 18 - plus one person called an ehrenhippie and three more called vizeersatzhippies. There will actually be 24 hippies in all for the SXSW showcase; the growth is consistent though, as this acoustic orchestra of the absurd began as a trio. Their repertoire includes works of Nino Rota and Bela Bartok as well as the polka classic "Who Stole the Keeshka." (11pm)

Tropical Isle

TENGOKU JACK (Yokohama, Japan): Fast, cheap, and out of control, Tengoku Jack is Japan's official "drastic rock band." That's what they say, anyway. (8pm)

THE KOKESSIES (Osaka, Japan): Osaka's Kokessies is made up of four darling Japanese girls with a penchant for acoustic instruments and childlike innocence not only fully intact but also musically manifest. (9pm)

BALBORA (Osaka, Japan): This is verbatim off of Balbora's bio: "Carried out Tokyo tour every other month remaining a base in Osaka." They butcher punk rock the same way they butcher English, but it's a wonderfully noisy and perfectly trashy hatchet job filled with big cacophonous outbreaks. (11pm)

COCCO (Okinawa, Japan): Okinawan Cocco is going to step up to the microphone, looking frail and angelic. You're going to think, "Great, I'll relax and mellow out for a bit." Then boom!, this powerful and emotional voice just shatters that little plan and this big, fat, Queen-like theatrical and dramatic thing kicks in behind her, and you're floored, because you didn't get to properly brace yourself. Don't feel too stupid, she did it to a couple of hundred folks at last year's SXSW, too. (Midnight)

ZOOBOMBS (Tokyo, Japan): Too cool for words. Seriously. Not only are they too cool for words, but they make using them to describe their stuff next to impossible. One second Zoobombs sound like a Melvins sledgehammer, the next they're doing textbook hip-hop, then indie noise rock. And they will right-turn into anything and everything. (1am)



TOM NOVY (Munich, Germany): And more Deutsch dance music. (Austin Music Hall, 10pm)

TURBONEGRO (Oslo, Norway): The guys in Turbonegro come from a suburb of Oslo that has the highest suicide rates in the world. Now given that, calculate the probability that Turbonegro is a part glam, part speed metal band. This is perfect for turning the brain down and turning the libido up. (Emo's Jr., 11pm)

Billy Bragg

to rococo rot (Berlin, Germany): Berlin's to rococo rot (or: tor ococor ot spelled backwards) manufactures simple and hypnotic kraut-dub - some of it for the Trance Syndicate label. The band, centered around brothers Ronald and Robert Lippok, find one ambient melody, stick with it ad infinitum and texture it with occasional sonic burps. (Atomic Cafe, 11pm)

DEISHOVIDA (Graz, Austria): Impeccable musicianship combined with an incredible knowledge of traditional styles, resulting in a strangely alluring sound. It's part Celtic, part Klezmer, part gypsy, part jazz, and part - well, part just about everything else - funk, pop reggae, hurdy-gurdy music, etc. You name it and deishovida can improvise it better than many could ever hope to learn it. (Westside Alley, 11pm)

BILLY BRAGG (London, U.K.): College radio staple - nay, demigod - of the Eighties, and one of the more righteous poets ever to pick up a guitar, Bragg's visibility kind of dropped off after Don't Try This at Home, but then again so did the fashionabilty of socialism. Lately, Bragg has been working with Wilco, writing music to some of Woody Guthrie's never-recorded lyrics. (Texas Union Ballroom, Midnight)

DA HOOL (Bottrop, Germany): Das ist Deutsch. Es habe Melodie. Wir tanzen. (Austin Music Hall, 1am)

Electric Lounge:

MOJAVE 3 (London, UK): Mojave 3's 4AD album, Ask Me Tomorrow, has been out for a couple-a-three years now, and it's still the perfect prescription for those wanting to OD on Mazzy Star's sultry sway and those suffering through a winter hours morphine drip withdrawal. (9pm)

HIGH LLAMAS (London, U.K.): "High Llamas" is an anagram for "Pet Sounds." Technically it may not work in a rigidly alphabetical way, but a sampling of last year's Hawaii confirms that this is indeed the case. Highest High Llama (or maybe that's just front Llama) Sean O'Hagan's affinity for Beach Boys textural warmth is obvious, but the Mancini-isms are equally as prevalent on the band's albums. Whether they think it irony or humorless homage, critics eat this stuff up. (11pm)

La Zona Rosa:

PLASTALINA MOSH (Monterrey, Mexico): Wow, full-fledged R&B trip-hop from Mexico? This is the country that foisted "La Cucaracha" on the world and not much else, musically speaking, right? But, hey, this beats the hell out of that "giant sucking sound" we were promised. (9pm)

THE SPECIALS (Coventry, U.K.): The best thing coming out of the re-emergence of ska bands over the past few years is the re-emergence of the Specials. In fact, the Specials may be enjoying their biggest success ever in the U.S., seeing how despite sending singles to the top of the British charts at the turn of the decade, they never had much here. (11pm)

A3 (London, U.K.): Brits A3 (known to the rest of the world as Alabama 3) is an acid house blend of southern soul and gospel preaching a 12-step program to save the world with love and the word of the King - yes, that dead King from Tupelo, MS. A must see for anyone who never thought they'd hear a John Prine song turned into a soul-spiritualized dance number. (Midnight)

Liberty Lunch

Buffalo Girls

MUDDY FRANKENSTEIN (Tokyo, Japan): Yeah, give me that MC5. Yeah, c'mon louder. Louder. Yeah. That's it. Now trashier. More garage. Fuck yeah. Turn it up. (8pm)

SEAGULL SCREAMING KISS HER KISS HER (Tokyo, Japan): How appropriate that S.S.K.H.K.H. has toured with Boss Hog, because on It's Brand New, frontwoman Aiha Higurashi is both Jon Spencer and Christina Martinez, and unbelievably good ones. (9pm)

BUFFALO DAUGHTER (Tokyo, Japan): Grand Royal band. That's probably enough info to fill the room right there, but if you're the type of person that said label affiliation doesn't help much, then neither will comparisons to Spacemen 3, Kraftwerk, the Natural Calamity, or the Dust Brothers. (Midnight)

The Library

THE WATCH MAN (Netherlands): Hey, it's an aging Val Kilmer portraying Leonard Cohen doing his nasal Dutch folksinger impersonation. (9pm)

NOELLA HUTTON (Derry, Ireland): Hutton's self-titled debut was produced by former Talking Head Jerry Harrison. The Irish singer-songwriter is carrying around a lot of the anger of countrywoman Sinéad, but, remarkably, Hutton releases it with even a stronger voice than Ms. O'Connor, and thankfully does so without the excruciating self-righteousness. Your Pope pictures are probably safe around Hutton. (9:30pm)

NICK KELLY (Dublin, Ireland): Dubliner Kelly, erstwhile of the soft rock outfit The Fat Lady Sings, has put out his first solo record, Between Trapezes, an emotional outpouring with all the throttle of the Blue Nile and all the lightheartedness of a tax audit. (10pm)

POLAR (Carlow, Ireland): Talk about sensitive. Irishman and Austrian resident Polar (aka Erik Linder) is in touch with inner entities most men probably don't even know they have. He doesn't speak in code or metaphors either, it's all right there and it's all bleak and slightly depressing, but that never stopped anyone from liking Morrissey, did it? (10:30pm)

MATT WALKER AND ASHLEY DAVIES (Melbourne, Australia): If Ian Moore didn't think his angst was quite so yummy, he might sound this cool. And this is cool, spontaneous, alive - and unbelievably, it's all Walker on guitar and Ashley Davies on drums. (11pm)

Maggie Mae's

ZITA SWOON (Antwerp, Belgium): The Belgian Vic Chestnutt, which isn't to say he has the same physical handicaps. (9pm)

CHINA DRUM (Ovingham Upon Tyne, U.K.): These guys are stupid. That's not a slam, it's a fact. When their van broke down after a gig in Sarajevo, they decided to play some football (soccer to you and me)... in a minefield - knowing it was a minefield. As for China Drum's music, it's built up around the ballsier remnants of the Manchester sound (no wimpy keys, though). For kitsch appeal they do a scathing cover of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights." (10pm)

CABLE (Derby, U.K.): Loud, fast, and somewhat artsy - a common description in their press - doesn't take into account this fourpiece's darker aspects. (11pm)

SUPERMODEL (Engham, U.K.): If Pavement ever decided to rock instead of posture, they'd be Supermodel. (Midnight)

MARTYN BENNET (Edinburgh, Scotland): Born in Newfoundland, raised in Scotland, Martyn Bennet came of age at the height of the rave scene in Glasgow. Therefore, it's only natural that the classically trained Bennet would fuse bagpipes and violins with modern dance music. Yes, it's only natural. (1am)

Maggie Mae's West

LOUISE ATTAQUE (Paris, France): For reference points think Négresses Vertes, Noir Désir, or Brel. If you're not French, think the Violent Femmes. And gee, who'd a thunk a bunch of guys calling themselves Lousie Attaque (translation: Louise Attacks) would be into the Violent Femmes? (9pm)

POOR RICH ONES (Bergen, Norway): Norwegians into bummer-pop à la Radiohead, Manic Street Preachers, and Geneva. Well, they're not just "into" it, they play it. (10pm)

RAY WONDER (Umeå, Sweden): Ray Wonder is sort of a pop-musical nitrous oxide. Part spy theme ("Yeah, baby. Yeah"), part circus soundtrack on their '96 release, Good Music, this Swedish fourpiece is able to harness a sophistication with odd time changes and unusual chord voicings without weighing down the music or taxing the listener with atonalities. (11pm)

CLOUDBERRY JAM (Linköping, Sweden): Seriously, somebody in Sweden must be selling Dionne Warwick albums with Jon Spencer's name on them. Cloudberry Jam claims the latter one of their current faves and big influences, but Providing the Atmosphere is so far removed from the sweat of the Blues Explosion that the Swedes may want to offer up some clarification. The music is a completely divine, popped-up take on soft rock (think "My Beautiful Balloon"), but the Blues Explosion? Uh... no. Just no. (Midnight)

LARRYLAND (Copenhagen, Denmark): A Swede, a Dane, an American, and an Irishman walk into a bar, set up, and play. It's not supposed to be funny, it's not a joke. It's the actual national makeup of LarryLand, which, despite the diversity somehow decided to call Copenhagen home base for its folksy-pop operation. (1am)

Ritz Lounge

DEMI SEMI QUAVER (Tokyo, Japan): What mad mind has created this? Throw Tom Waits savvy with disorderly rhythms into a Torture Garden meets Diamanda Galas concoction. That's as close as you're going to get to an actual description of Tokyo's Demi Semi Quaver. It's akin to car-wreck curiosity - it's brutal, but you're drawn to it nevertheless. (9pm)

THE LITTLE RABBITS (Nantes, France): Three of the four songs on the Little Rabbits' la piscine EP could be dropped straight into Luna's last album, Pup Tent, and the only things that would make anybody notice are the occasional flute and a few turntable scratches. The odd one out sounds like an outtake from a Check Your Head done in French. (10pm)

FRANCOIZ BREUT (Nantes, France): Imagine Chris Isaak as a Frenchwoman. Well, you don't have to imagine it, you can go see it if you check out Nantes artiste Francoiz Breut. (11pm)

DOMINIQUE A (Nantes, France): Exactly what you think a male French pop musician singing in his native tongue sounds like. (Midnight)

DIABLOGUM (Toulouse, France): Hey, finally a reason not to hate French rock & roll. (1am)

Tropical Isle

ACAPELICANS (Melbourne, Australia): Other than the fact that this band is a trio (Simon Nugent, Sarah Liversidge, Carl Pannuzzo), and it's from Melbourne, is there anything you need to know about Acapelicans that you can't infer from the name? (8pm)

GLIDE (Sydney, Australia): A down under and slightly more musically intricate version of Buffalo Tom, Australians Glide piece together emotional stuff without resorting to cheap lyrical conventions. What's better is that they have mastered the skill of capturing and recreating the earnest warmth of a Big Star song. (9pm)


GARAGELAND (Auckland, New Zealand): Kiwis are great, just as people in general, that is. Oh, Garageland is pretty cool, too. There's a lot of Matador-isms on the debut Last Exit to Garageland, but there are also time-honored pure garage tactics as well. Go figure. (10pm)

BILL (Sydney, Australia): Aussies with more than just a bit of sarcastic bite to them (a song called "Jesus Chrysler"). Their latest, a five-song EP titled Lose My Mind [A Friend in London], features a wealth of shrieking and slurring guitars, as well as a nice little strumming number. (11pm)

SUBOTNIK (Brisbane, Australia): Until last year, this was a three-piece outfit that called itself Crop Circles, not that this helps you unless for some strange reason you are really well-versed in Australian bands. Should you know absolutely nothing on the subject, though, Subotnik's label, Biff! Bang! Pow! Records, sorta tells the story. (Midnight)

TE VAKA (Auckland, New Zealand): A 10-piece outfit of musicians and dancers fronted by the charismatic Somoan-born, New Zealand-raised Opetaia Foa'i (sort of the Fela Kuti of Oceana). Te Vaka's Pacific sounds have been praised by press from Europe to the Far East. (1am)

Some international acts playing this year's SXSW festival submitted no materials for review and therefore have no blurbs. Otherwise, all showcases are subject to change, so please double-check all times, dates, and venues.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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