More Flava Than Juicy Fruit

Wednesday Night SXSW Picks & Sleepers

MC Overlord
MC Overlord


HIP HOP HUMPDAY: Since last summer, the place to get live on Wednesday nights has been the Mercury, as the Hip Hop Humpday bunch brings more flavor than Juicy Fruit and Doublemint combined. Spurred on by the rhyming of Bavu, Garyson, Tee-Double, and any number of pickup MCs, the DJ/funk-band fusion keeps the ones and twos on the threes and fours just when Goodie Mob said "They Don't Dance No Mo." Ain't no party like a Humpday Party, 'cause ... you know the rest. Especially this one, because joining the regulars is a cast of thousands, including live acts MC Overlord, Lynx Squad, and Chicago's j. davis trio, thick-dreaded Austin MC Trey God, Wax Werks scientist Dr. Mic Livingston, Sac-town's The cuf, and Don Blas and Kingdom down from Denver. Go with the flow. (Mercury Ent@Jazz, 8pm-1am) -- Christopher Gray

BELLA UNION SHOWCASE: Ex-Cocteau Twins Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde, whose record label sits on the banks of the Thames, showcase their roster for the unintiated. Most notably, Guthrie has found a new chick for his new project, Violet Indiana, performing for the first time in the U.S. since his ex refused to sign on for the final Cocteau's album, and the band split. Ramonde's band, the Autumns, are also on the bill, as is the "dub-bass-heavy-techno duo," Sneakster, and conference repeaters the Czars. Departure Lounge, whose dreamy lead singer recently recorded vocals for Kid Loco's new album, adds a melodic twist to the vibey evening. (Maggie Mae's East, 9pm) -- Mindy LaBernz

DEEVA/UNLIMITED SHOWCASE: Austin and Dallas unite for one smooth night of new jack flavor. Representing the home team by way of ATX promoter Dee Brown's Deeva Entertainment will be the R&B stylings of Top Notch and low-ridin' message rap from Quarter Ag. From the shadow of Texas Stadium come Arlington's Immortal Soldierz, as well as Zeno Gonzalez of Puppydog Unlimited, a label bankrolled by Pro Bowl Dallas Cowboy defensive back Kevin Smith. All this and an appearance from Sacramento's Mr. Dizz, part of Sac-turned-Austin MC Smackola's Waay Foul crew. (Top of the Marc, 9pm-1am) -- Christopher Gray

AMERICAN ANALOG SET: The subdued and introspective sounds of locals American Analog Set are far more than a mere soundtrack for sleep -- their loose-flowing melodies and somber lyrics are gorgeous enough to make you weep and even, sometimes, as on their Emperor Jones release of last year, The Golden Band, make you shuffle your feet. (Emo's, 9pm) -- Christopher Hess

Deborah Kelly of Damnations TX
Deborah Kelly of Damnations TX (Photo By Jana Birchum)

THE CORNELL HURD BAND: Cornell Hurd is no stranger to Austin honky-tonkers. His latest release, At Large in South Austin, TX, combines country, Western swing, and shuffles in the inimitable Hurd fashion (who else would think of doing the Flintstones theme next to Bob Wills and Marty Robbins numbers?). For a shot of goofball humor and pure-D Texas swing, shuffle on down to see Hurd & Co. (Broken Spoke, 9pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

LI'L BRIAN & THE ZYDECO TRAVELERS: Taking zydeco to the streets, and vice versa, Lil' Brian Terry of Barrett Station, Texas is a major contributor to the heavy zydeco/hip-hop cross-breeding taking place right now -- as much as the Swizz Beats crew is jacking Hollywood classical scores back East. But he's got respect for his elders, too, evident on the new, Buckwheat Zydeco-produced Funky Nation, a grease-sopping fan-boat ride through Creole country circa 2000. (Lucy's, 9pm) -- Christopher Gray

DAMON BRAMBLETT: Johnny Cash. There, it's been said. And you'd be deaf not to notice the vocal similarities. But Bramblett ain't no shameless rip-off artist. He's a gifted Austin songwriter in his own right, who evokes Waits and Westerberg as much as he does Waylon and Willie. (Broken Spoke, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

ANA EGGE: One of Austin's fastest rising talents, Ana Egge is a singer-songwriter with a magic touch. Her dusky vocals, masterful guitar playing, and wonderful songs belie her relatively young age. Most recently, she was chosen as the opening act for the Flatlanders reunion tour. Her latest album is Mile Marker, on her own Grace label, a collection of live performances that show off her remarkable talents with a simple honesty. (Antone's, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

PRESCOTT CURLYWOLF: Austin's venerable veterans continue to churn out charmed rock & roll for one reason only: Because it's fun, goddamit! Balls-out guitar rock that pulls no punches and shies away from no cover -- Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls" being the latest and greatest in what has become a string of showstoppers -- P-Wolf is reportedly working on the follow-up to 1998's outstanding Funanimalworld. (Stubb's, 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

Adult Rodeo
Adult Rodeo

SISTER 7: Sister 7 is no longer the jam band you thought you knew. After the VH1 and adult alternative radio success of 1998's "Know What You Mean," they return April 4 with Wrestling With Tiny Matters -- a potentially huge pop album for Arista that's full of compact, high-gloss songs that are both smart and memorable. Even if it doesn't get the respect it deserves on radio, you can bet they'll continue to make an impact on the road. (La Zona Rosa, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

HARVEY SID FISHER: Harvey Sid Fisher is a true cult figure in the best and worst senses of the word. His "Zodiac Songs" videotape, wherein the tuxedo-clad Fisher grins and grimaces his way through clever songs about all the astrological signs while women in strange costumes dance gaily around him, brought him to the public eye through airings on access TV and countless dubbed-and-passed-around copies. He's also appeared in television and film, including the Die Hard movies, and writes songs about other subjects ranging from sex to golf. What else is there, really? (Soho Lounge, 10pm) -- Ken Lieck

DYLAN GROUP: The gorgeous and intricate vibes-driven sound of New York-based duo Dylan Group has captured the musical minds of a hard-core group of fans over the past four years. Now that Adam Pierce (aka Mice Parade) and Dylan Cristy have brought bassist Scott McGovern and drummer/trumpeteer Tyler Pistilli along for the ride, as on the mindblowing Bubble Core release, Ur-klang Search, let's just say I'd show up early for this one. (Emo's, 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

TRISH MURPHY BAND: An "Outsider" no longer, this Houston transplant hit the jackpot with last year's sparkling Rubies on the Lawn. Couching straight-ahead rock chords in shimmering pop melodies, Rubies is an album to play in the car as you try to decide whether or not to leave a note on the windshield of that cute girl you followed home from HEB. Good luck, buddy. (La Zona Rosa, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

BASTARD SONS OF JOHNNY CASH: With a name like that, that's where the music writer's job gets easier. If their self-released, self-titled CD is any indication, this San Diego foursome plays honky-tonk and plays it close to the bone, with sparse arrangements, cutting lyrics, and fluid Telecaster chops. It's the kind of thing that makes you yearn for decent country radio. (Hole in the Wall, 11pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

Richmond Fontaine
Richmond Fontaine

HUMAN: They came, they saw, they left you quivering like a little pool of jelly spit up by your two-year-old nephew after a lengthy car journey. That was last year. Austin's own aggro-rock-industrial-mayhem providers are back for an encore that will doubtless include even more riffage to strip the polish from your boots and sear the little furry bits from your ears. How do I rock thee? Let me count the ways, motherfucker: One, ow! Two, oww! Three, hey, cut it out, you guys! (Flamingo Cantina, 11pm) -- Marc Savlov

PONG: Named after the Neanderthal video game, Austin's Pong is anything but simplistic. Rising out of the ashes of legendary millennial punk gods Ed Hall, Pong adds a guitarist/vocalist and a keyboardist/vocalist to Hall's deep rumble bass-drum-guitar format. Live, count on primal energy and the manic stage antics that made Ed Hall great. (Soho Lounge, 11pm) -- David Lynch

DON WALSER & THE PURE TEXAS BAND: Locals are blessed to have Don Walser playing for tips most every Tuesday at Jovita's; he's truly one of country music's hidden treasures, and every out-of-town music fan should seek him out. When you do, chances are you'll have Walser's inimitable twang and yodel echoing in your head much longer than any Next Big Thing you might be missing. (Broken Spoke, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

RICHARD BUCKNER: If there were any justice in this world, Richard Buckner would be on top of the charts and Christina Aguilera would be working in a box factory. Alas, the nomadic Northern Californian is too honest, too raw, too ... too ... too depressing for superstardom (and a bit too old for teen stardom). Despair has never sounded so moving and powerful. (Gallery Lombardi Lounge, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

PETE KREBS: The king of Portland, Oregon, has turned his attention from the rollicking roots of his band Golden Delicious, and apparently, from his last project, the Gossamer Wings, to strike out again on his own. With the wealth of material Krebs has to draw from, reaching back to his days in Hazel, the young singer-guitarist will no doubt put together a strong solo performance. (Buffalo Billiards, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

David Gray
David Gray

DAMNATIONS TX: With a justifiably potent live reputation and high lonesome harmonies that'll make you weep, Austin's pride and joy spews forth with high energy, acoustic heartland music for a foot-stomping good time. Led by sisters Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly, the Austin quartet's Half Mad Moon was on every worthwhile critic's Top 10 list last year. In the hands of the Damnations, punk, bluegrass, rock, soul, and country are all part of one luscious whole. (Stubb's, Midnight) -- David Lynch

CHARLIE BURTON & THE TEXAS TWELVE-STEPPERS: Charlie Burton makes a great straight man, sort of like if Marty Robbins and Bob Newhart had their brains fused by noted neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr (Sound it out). Unlike Jerry Lewis, Burton thinks women are plenty funny, as a good deal of his '97 Lazy SOB album Rustic Fixer Upper and '99's retrospective One Man's Trash... are spent musing over the honey-glazed deceptions of the fairer sex. (Broken Spoke, Midnight) -- Christopher Gray

SKATENIGS: Although they haven't released an album since 1993's Stupid People Shouldn't Breed on Megaforce, Austin's 'Nigs were always more about playing than recording. Never mind that Phil Owen recorded with Ministry on the seminal Revolting Cocks album Beers, Steers and Queers, his uncompromising approach transcends the industrial label and lands him squarely in the rock block. (Flamingo Cantina, Midnight) -- Margaret Moser

MC OVERLORD: The truth is that Austin's highest-profile, yet still criminally undervalued, MC keeps getting better. No local act has matured as consistently, and few MCs anywhere have balanced socially conscious lyricism and fully instrumented funk as deftly. Not only does he keep dropping self-released albums, unlike most local rappers he's also a formidable onstage threat. (Mercury@Jazz, Midnight) -- Andy Langer

MR. C: Where the party people at? Ah, they're right here, with the madcap Mr. C, former frontman of Nineties-era Brit electronic popsters The Shamen and owner of the coolest bistro in London Town. C brings his funky, housey, mad-as-a-hatter beats to the States, finally, and with any luck, he'll also be handing out gobs of free Ebeneezers. They're Goode, you know. (Velvet, Midnight) -- Marc Savlov


RUBINCHIK'S: Formerly known as Rubinchik's Orkestyr, this wholly unique outfit has experienced recent personnel changes, yielding a core trio of Don Weeds on accordion, Ben Saffer on clarinet and bass clarinet, and Bad Liver Mark Rubin as bandleader, string and balalaika bassist, and tuba-meister. Austin's Rubinchik's is renown for breathy, acoustic interpretations of Eastern European classical folk, and klezmer, klezmer, klezmer. (Ritz Lounge, Midnight) -- David Lynch

ADULT RODEO: Relatively new to Austin, Adult Rodeo made waves with their Shimmy-Disc debut from last year, The Kissyface. It's prime Shimmy-Disc material, too: weird, eclectic, and packed with hooks, bleeps, and an intelligent, poetic approach to lyric and melody. Like Jad Fair meeting Townes Van Zandt at a Ween show. Sort of. (Soho Lounge, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

BRAVE COMBO: These Denton, Texas, polkamaniacs have kept feet a-tapping for too long to count. Bosses of the bossa nova, teachers of the tango, headmasters of the Hokey Pokey (I'll stop now), they've long been tops in their field, garnering raves from Rolling Stone since their first indie release almost 20 years ago. They've only gotten better since. (Iron Cactus, 1am) -- Ken Lieck

JAPANCAKES: This Athens outfit is flirting with the post-rock genre. Japancakes began as an idea -- 10 musicians onstage playing the same melody for 45 minutes -- and evolved into a symphony of urbane pop understatements. The sound is a bit like Tortoise with a pedal steel injection, or at its more full-fledged moments, a bit like Stereolab. There, now just try getting into this showcase. (Emo's Jr., 1am) -- Michael Bertin

RICHMOND FONTAINE: This trio out of Portland, Oregon, makes music that enchants and intimidates, more with its intense sense of dread than any flashing of muscle. Hardened country injected with rambling, stream-of-consciousness lyrics, the songs on their latest Cavity Search release, Lost Son, feel like dire prophecy -- a narrative meant for draining a bottle of bourbon. (Buffalo Billiards, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

SLOBBERBONE: Denton's Slobberbone is colorful -- redneck, white-trash, blue-collar colorful. And they light it up like the mid-Eighties country rock bands (that's what they used to call them back in the day), bands like Jason & the Scorchers and Drivin' and Cryin' -- when they are drivin' and not cryin' that is. Take me down to the trailer park city, indeed. (Hole in the Wall, 1am) -- Michael Bertin

THE GOURDS: New Year's Eve at Stubb's, the Gourds rang in 2000 with a rendition of the Pogues' "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" so spot-on you could almost smell Shane MacGowan's breath. Equal parts Beaumont, Breaux Bridge, and Bocephus, the quintet's award-winning roots-rock always keeps 'em comin' back. And if you haven't heard their blunts 'n' Beam version of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice," best hurry before you fuck around and get caught up in a 1-8-7. (Stubb's, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

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