SXSW Music Festival

Picks & Sleepers


Friday Sleepers

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO AUSTIN: A faith-filled congregation of some of Austin's leading gospel evangelists would be an evening well spent any time, but the reason behind this Ballroom revival makes it even worthier. Austin attorney Greg Atkins is spearheading a drive to open a non-church-affiliated gospel music venue downtown, and has convinced upwards of 15 local believers to issue the fundraising CD, The Gospel According to Austin. With Tiffany & the Gospel Motions, Randy Phillips of contemporary Christian act Phillips, Craig & Dean, Malford Milligan & Lisa Tingle, all-time legends the Bells of Joy, and the Gospel Stars, it sounds like welcome spiritual respite from the rampant SXSW secularism. (Texas Union Ballroom, all night ) -- Christopher Gray

SAT...LITE: "Mezclando música electronica con el rock, le ha permitido empujar las fronteras musicales en este milenio," reads this L.A. trio's bio. Here's some translation: "mezclando" (mixing), "permitido empujar" (allowed to push), and "Satélite" (Maña gone studio). (Babe's, 8pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

WOODWORK: Self-described as a jazz-influenced "acoustic soul" band, Austin's Woodwork puts a new twist on the acoustic quartet format. Two words: cello and tabla. Along with talented picking and a strong lead vocalist, these non-typical instruments put a unique stamp on their music, as on their recent indie Edible Records release, Viewfinder. (Scholz Garten, 8pm) -- David Lynch

RED STAR BELGRADE: Despite the Eastern Bloc moniker, this band hails from Chicago, fronted by husband/wife team Bill and Graham Harris Curry, and a revolving cast of sidemen. Their Checkered Past debut, The Fractured Hymnal, finds them their trenchant observations mixed with country, pop, rock, and folk. Articulate, offbeat, and dark, dark, dark. (Speakeasy, 8pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

WITCHYPOO: Though this band has had a rotating membership over its 10-year-history, Olympia's Slim Moon, an artistic jack-of-all-trades, is the ringleader of this often inspiring and always experimental project. How they'll fit onto the Hole in the Wall stage is as latent a mystery as what they'll do to as they approach their second decade. (Hole in the Wall, 8:30pm) -- Phil West

PALAXY TRACKS: Slowly, quietly, Palaxy Tracks has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. Mixing the understated pop genius of Yo La Tengo with a slo-fi nod to the dearly departed Bedhead, frontman Brandon Durham assembled a sparkling batch of wistful odes on the band's brand-new full-length, The Long Wind Down. Gerard Cosloys of the world, take note, because Palaxy Tracks might just be headed in your direction. (Copper Tank North, 9pm) -- Michael Chamy

KEVN KINNEY: Even when Drivin' n' Cryin' was still a viable proposition, lead singer Kevn Kinney had his own solo albums. Now that Mystery Road has dead-ended, Kinney is a bona fide solo artist. For his latest, The Flower and the Knife, the earnest Athenian gets help from John Popper, Oteil Burbridge, and Edwin McCain. (Scholz Garten, 9pm) -- Michael Bertin


UPSILON ACRUX: Eschewing minimalism like it's the devil's work, self-described "maximist" band Upsilon Acrux fill up space with their noisy, exploratory, and very talented jagged rhythms. The San Diego-based quartet swims in an ocean of guitar-powered experimental music, releasing the dissonant harmonies and composed chops of last year's The Last Pirates of Upsilon. According to Thurston Moore, Upsilon Acrux is "amazing." (Atomic Cafe, 9pm) -- David Lynch

LUKAN: Duck to avoid flying riffs. Lukan has arrived from Nottingham, England, apparently to rock your ass. We traditionally like British bands to be young, but this band is so young, they've clearly never been to a roller rink. Else how could they so shamelessly pen such big-voiced r-o-c-k? (Soho Lounge, 9pm) -- Mindy LaBernz

MR. FABULOUS & CASINO ROYALE: Once upon a time he was Dino Lee, King of White Trash, the New Las Vegan, the ultimate burlesque extension of the Fat Elvis. He's dropped the irony from the act, settling into a much subtler sort of camp, and amazingly, Mr. Fabulous has found the perfect middle ground in a character that works both as unabashed cheese and as dead-serious would-be Sinatra. (Caucus Club, 9pm) -- Ken Lieck

RED DELICIOUS: The Pasadena trio of Sara Wallace, Steven Baca (Vanity Kills), and Rob King have one independently made album, Emotional Blur, to its credit. Bits of Garbage and Mazzy Star are clearly in the mix, but more than anything else, the spirit of Radiohead inhabits their songs. (Gallery Lombardi, 9pm) -- Michael Bertin

KIM RICHEY: Richey recently released Glimmer, her third album for Mercury. Using studio hotshots like Waddy Wachtel, Glimmer sounds polished, but maintains the style of her previous outings, which made her appealing to thrift store cowboys and the Nashvillains. (Austin Music Hall, 9pm) -- Michael Bertin

THE STAR ROOM BOYS: Hailing from Athens, Ga., this fivepiece plays real country music, with Telecaster and steel weaving together and slightly weary-sounding vocals riding over the top of everything. The title of their Checkered Past disc Why Do Lonely Men And Women Want To Break Each Others' Hearts? says a lot about the band's outlook. (Speakeasy, 9:30pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

THE BARBERS: Lee and Elaine Barber moved to Austin a few years ago, bringing with them a uniquely bent sense of melody and a lyrical manner that finds humor in sadness. Their last release, You Know How It Is, was testimony to the creative depth of the pair, with Lee's pale but emotive vocals benefiting from a solidified band. (Empanada Parlour, 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

LUCKY STRIKES: Austin's Lucky Strikes were lounge before their was such a scene. And even that's a misnomer, because the Lucky Strikes have survived the swing backlash by schooling themselves in the idiom of the American pop standard instead of merely being musical tourists or bandwagoneers. (Caucus Club, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

SLUMBER PARTY: From Detroit, this band exemplifies the gentler side of the Kill Rock Stars punk ethos. Their songs are velvet smooth and VU spare, and judging from their debut, they'll fit into the panoply of girls with something to say. (Hole in the Wall, 10pm) -- Phil West

Locomotiv (Photo By John Anderson)

BROODERS: Mike Hall and Randy Franklin of legendary New Sincerity-era Austin band the Wild Seeds find themselves together again in this rocking outfit. Amongst their achievements, Brooders made history last year by instigating and being the primary musicians in a "Gloriathon" for the late Liberty Lunch, a 24-hour megaperformance of Van Morrison's classic song, featuring innumerable special guests including a phone-in by Morrison himself. (Copper Tank North, 10pm) -- Ken Lieck

FLAIR: If these Birmingham boys' Classic Trash disc Sew Your Wings On sounds a little Whig-ed out, it's because part of it was recorded at Afghan bassist John Curley's Ultrasuede Studios. With punchy tunes marinated in sarcastic feedback, they're another reason besides Verbena that Alabama is sweet home indeed. (Blind Pig Pub, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

CUPCAKES: Former Filter and Smashing Pumpkins drummer Matt Walker got serious about Cupcakes three years ago, landing a Dreamworks deal that finally results in a self-titled disc reaching stores in March. It's a radio-ready slab of anthemic pop, and Walker's assessment that his band sounds like a "futuristic George Harrison" isn't too far off the mark. (La Zona Rosa, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

HADACOL: Take Merle Haggard and string him up with a Tele, that'll get you Hadacol. Taking it's name from the potent little potion that used to sponsor Hank Williams' radio show back in the day, the Kansas City fourpiece's last for Checkered Past, Better Than This, was packed with blistering roadhouse twang, played with Sticky Fingers, and written with a honky-tonk heart and trailer park mind. (Speakeasy, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

BONEPONY: Six boots a-stompin', six hands a-playin', three mouths a-bellerin'. On their super duper CD Traveler's Companion, these Nashvillians display plenty of energy and grit, but not without plenty of melody and even the occasional tender moment. (Scholz Garten, 10pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

GLUECIFER: These "Scandanavian Rock Explosion" vets split a Man's Ruin single the Hellacopters last year before making their U.S. debut at SXSW 99 and then embarking on the Motörhead/Nashville Pussy tour. They've since signed to Sub Pop, and have a new album due in May. Their goal? According to their Web site, it's to "fight their way thru the stinkin' jungle of make-up, dreadlocks, K-mart S&M gear, and whimperin' until we plant the flag, Iwo-Jima-Style, on the pinnacle of the battlefield called modern entertainment." (Emo's, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

WILLARD GRANT CONSPIRACY: England's Willard Grant Conspiracy takes a group approach to the slow-paced acoustic melancholy that has been the a product of the U.S. Midwest. Like the Golden Palominos, WGC boasts rotating membership, the result being injections of new instruments and styles, as on their third album Mojave, released by Ryko imprint Slow River. Like a cross between the Waco Brothers and Wilco. (Ritz Lounge, 10pm) -- David Lynch

MIGAS: This dynamic duo isn't exactly the wall of sound Phil Spector had in mind. Their window-rattling barrage is more construction site than concert hall, but it's a great way to pacify that boisterous part of your id that still gets off watching something get beat to a pulp. (Ruta Maya, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

LOKOMOTIV: A Chapel Hill foursome by way of Oslo, Norway, Lokomotiv comes at you with all throttles open: steely Euro-guitars, Tar Heel tunnel-vision pop, and sleek, sexy vocals/harmonies. Their Mammoth debut What's Your Good Luck?, due in June, is worth the ride: Radiohead-meets-Gomez-meets-Superchunk. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

The Frampton Brothers
The Frampton Brothers

FRANKIE MACHINE: The right balance of spit (lugey) and polish ($tudio), L.A.'s Frankie Machine were courted by Hollywood Records, who eventually deferred to Mammoth Records. It's easy to see why, too, these energetic hooksters sounding very Fastball when the Austin trio was still a pop-punk band trying to Make Your Momma Proud. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

MIKE ROSENTHAL: This native of Maine is more urbane than the "" tag he's hung with would suggest. He recently released a self-titled CD of well-crafted countryish pop that's quietly one of the best-kept secrets around Austin. (Empanada Parlour, 11pm) -- Margaret Moser

NUMBER GIRL: You can probably tell all you need to know about the Japanese fourtet Number Girl from the title of its most recent CD, Distortion Freaks. Whereas most Japanese acts popular on this edge of the Pacific Rim are into reassembling old sounds or finding new ways to establish a groove, Number Girl just wants to rock. (Mercury, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

DEATHRAY: Last SXSW, there was plenty of buzz about guitarist Greg Brown and bassist Victor Daminani's first post-Cake project. At the time, they had a smart, Moog-driven single and a deal with Capricorn. By waiting nearly a year for said debut's release, the buzz is back; the self-titled album is a fine collection of energetic retro-pop (think Cars), and last year's showcase seems to indicate their live show is equally spunky. (Iron Cactus, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

ALVIN YOUNGBLOOD HART: One of the new breed of acoustic bluesmen revitalizing the style originated by Charley Patton and Leadbelly, Alvin Youngblood Hart has developed into an eclectic and versatile performer. Territory, on the Hannibal label, runs the gamut from gut-bucket blues to country swing to reggae all performed with self-confidence that's striking and highly listenable. (Top of the Marc, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

44 LONG: Hailing from Portland, this fourpiece might land in the column, but there's more to them than meets the eye. Their Sideburn Records CD, Inside the Horse's Head, has its share of twangy pop hooks, but melancholy lyrics add a brooding side to a band that has more in common with Elvis Costello than Bloodshot Records' stable. (Copper Tank North, 11pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

SPEEDEALER: This Dallas-by-way-of-Lubbock quartet could shatter Buddy Holly's glasses with one giant Southern-fried power chord. Though they share an aesthetic resemblance to Nashville Pussy, Speedealer forgoes the sexuality and fire-breathing to focus on speeding down a highway of destruction fraught with hairpin curves. (Red Eyed Fly, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

SHIVAREE: Not only did their 1999 Capitol debut have the year's best title, I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump, but it also unveiled frontwoman Ambrosia Parsley. She's got both a seductive voice and a real sense of irony, and her band's Southern gothic sound has led to comparison to Sparklehorse, Lisa Germano, and even Sheryl Crow. (Pecan St., 11pm) -- Andy Langer

TEMPTRESS: File this one under guilty pleasure. This Boston band, composed of what very possibly might be the world's ugliest drag queens, kick out the jams in capable yet campy fashion. They have make-up, go-go dancers, big amplifiers, and no serious social messages to speak of. We also have them for a return SXSW visit, which makes us darn lucky. (Opal Divine, 11pm) -- Phil West

Graham Reynolds (l) and Peter Stopschinski's Golden Arm Symphony
Graham Reynolds (l) and Peter Stopschinski's Golden Arm Symphony

M. WARD: It's a young, independent artist's dream: giving your demo tape to your hero and having them not only release the album on their label, but offering an opening slot on their tour as well. That's what happened when this Portland duo slapped their back-porch-blues-country-folk-rock into the hands of Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, who'll release their Duet for Guitars #2 on his Ow Om label this spring. (Austin Scottish Rite, 11pm) -- Kim Mellen

THE FRAMPTON BROTHERS: Fans of the Young Fresh Fellows, Too Much Joy, and the Mr. T Experience will be thrilled by this Pittsburgh quartet, whose File Under F (For Failure), an autobiographical album on the Cacophone label, is guaranteed to depress the members of any band that hasn't managed to even get one album out. (Park Ave., 11pm) -- Ken Lieck

BOB PERRY BAND: Former member of Eighties college rock band Winter Hours, New Jersey's Bob Perry has started his solo career with Light Fuse, Run Away. Released on Cropduster, a label he's started as a collective with like-minded artists, he recorded it with members of Luna and the Health & Happiness Show. Its rootsy feel has just the right amount of atmosphere to keep it interesting. (Maggie Mae's West, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

ZULU AS KONO: Double your pleasure with two guitarists, two bassists, and two drummers pounding out angular punk. The local septet has a gift for falling back and darting in at the most provocative point on the curve. Zulu as Kono's explosive live shows are a sight (and sound) to behold; you will need your earplugs. (Ruta Maya, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

LOLITA NO. 18: Lolita No. 18 is probably doing this SXSW on frequent flier miles. This is at least the fourth trip from Japan to Austin for the girls. Their too-cute pop punk usual endears them quickly to the annual Japan Night crowds. (Mercury, Midnight) -- Michael Bertin

CANDYE KANE: The big, brassy sound of Candye Kane is not easily compartmentalized, and that's probably just the way Miss Kane likes it. A vet of the San Diego scene, Kane fires off country, swing, blues, and rock with all the panache of a gunslinger -- only bigger and better. (Broken Spoke, Midnight) -- Margaret Moser

DUANE JARVIS: One of Nashville's most versatile players, Duane Jarvis has performed in the bands of Lucinda Williams, Rosie Flores, and Greg Trooper. A respected songwriter as well, he's set to release a new CD, Combo Platter, on his on label this spring. (Copper Tank North, Midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

SALTINE: What better calling card for a new pop band than a new 45 to make you lie on the floor of your bedroom imagining what it'd be like to inhabit a world of Beatles, Belle Sebastians, and Big Stars. Following last year's "Reveal Love"/"Find Yourself" single with an upcoming full-length, ex-Posie Ken Stringfellow's Saltine is a tasty morsel with or without Frosting on the Beater. (Park Ave., Midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

ROLLER: Charging with the ferocity of a rodeo bull whose nutstrap is several inches too tight, Dallas' Roller goes straight for the throat. They face stiff competition Friday from such swingin' dicks as Honky, Speedealer, and the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, but could be the ones to walk away with nary a scuff on their steel-toed motorcycle boots. (Red Eyed Fly, Midnight) -- Christopher Gray

NEBULA: Nebula takes great pains to insist they're not "Stoner Rock," even though the Orange County group can trace its origins directly back to bonglords Fu Manchu. Decide for yourself: On 1999's To the Center (Sub Pop), the riffs are thick as resin, the drums heavy as eyelids, and Monster Magnet seems to always be lurking with some killer green. (Emo's, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

WALTER TRAGERT: Austin's answer to Graham Parker, Tragert's voice may sound similar to that of the Rumour founder, but he shoots out his own distinct sparks that can truly burn up a stage. Health problems have repeatedly sidetracked the young performer's career, so take advantage of the somewhat rare chance to see him perform live. (Pecan St., 1am) -- Ken Lieck

JEFF BLACK: With the help of Wilco, Jeff Black put out a nifty Americana album two years back called Birmingham Road. You probably never heard it, because it came out as Arista Austin was being absorbed back into big brother. After getting lost in the shuffle, the Missourian is now on World Roots Pop. (Copper Tank Main, 1am) -- Michael Bertin

ANDREW BIRD'S BOWL OF FIRE: By turns überswanky and butt-ass skanky, this four-piece Chicago collective brews up a gilded cocktail of jazz, cabaret, calypso, and swang. Pick up 1999's Oh! The Grandeur (Rykodisc) and you'll find violin, languid lilting vocals, and a healthy dose of musical anachronism at least as dark and smoky as Uncle Earl's three-alarm Chipotle Chili. (Ritz Lounge, 1am) -- Jay Hardwig

DYANA DAFOVA: Bulgarian superstar Dyana was a child prodigy by the ripe old age of five, not surprising given both of her parents are professional musicians. Steeped in Bulgaria's copious folk tradition, tracks on her latest Charisma, call to mind the same stellar vocal harmonies of the now-legendary Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares. (Cue Lounge, 1am) -- David Lynch

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