SXSW Picks & Sleepers

Scared of Chaka
Scared of Chaka

Saturday Sleepers


A.SCOTT MILLER: Onetime member of the V-Roys, A. Scott Miller's solo work has a natural appeal for its stark lyrical content and his penchant for melodies that recall the best work of John Prine and Loudon Wainwright. Look for his solo debut, a live album, this spring. (Broken Spoke, 8pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

GRAVY BOAT: Gravy Boat is 100% South Austin rock & roll, tastier than Güero's and sturdier than singer/guitarist Jerry Renshaw's black Dodge pickup. Game enough to participate in a recent Monkees Hoot Night, the veteran quartet (Tallboy, Jesus Christ Superfly) just released its self-titled debut, which pulls a Drive-By on some Truckers as it tears down South Congress. (Buffalo Club, 8pm) -- Christopher Gray

MIKE PETERS: Back when pop musicians thought they could change the world (end starvation, fight nuclear holocaust, etc.) Mike Peters fronted a particularly angry outfit called the Alarm. In addition to reissuing the Alarm catalog, he recently did the soundtrack to Flesh and Blood and released a 3-CD live set. (Atomic Cafe, 8pm) -- Michael Bertin

THE SHINS: The dreamy, 4AD pop of Albuquerque's Shins is in good company on Sub Pop's current Sub Pop Singles Club release schedule, alongside Jonathan Richman, Bright Eyes, the Promise Ring, and the Mountain Goats. Lots of terrain there, with the Shins staking theirs to the right of Bright Eyes and left of Promise Ring. (Emo's, 8pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

SEXFRESH: The strength of this San Francisco-based quintet is its dry and darkly nuanced arrangements. By turning some modern tricks on conventional blues and jazz, they get good mileage out of the minimalist input. Bonus points for their inventive version of "Baby, Please Don't Go." (Lucy's, 8pm) -- Michael Bertin

THE CRACK PIPES: Loaded with more fuzz than a Research Blvd. donut shop, Austin's Crack Pipes are at least as harsh as their well-chosen namesake. But lurking down deep underneath the sleaze are the pristine songwriting talents of Ray Colgan, a blue-eyed soulman with the heart of a punk rocker and the clothes of a washing-machine repairman. One hit just won't be enough. (Room 710, 8pm) -- Christopher Gray

TEYE & VIVA EL FLAMENCO!: "El Gitano Punky" is what Andalusian gypsies nicknamed the Dutch-born, Austin-based Flamenco guitarist when he studied their technique in Spain. Teye proudly wears that title with honor whether playing with Joe Ely or his own Viva El Flamenco! His Flamenco is a lush, but spirited foray into the classical style. (Azucar, 9pm) -- Margaret Moser

MO JAMAL RUMI BAND: Austin is blessed to call this international talent one of its own. A visual as well as sonic artist, the Iranian-born Jamal draws from both Persian and Western classical traditions, found in his original scores for solo violin and chamber orchestra, and two new self-released solo violin albums. In a group setting, Jamal also has a penchant for jazz sound sculpting. (Elephant Room, 9pm) -- David Lynch

TONY CAREY: Remember Planet P Project? No? Okay, let's try again -- do you remember "Why Me?" That starting to ring some bells? Good. Anyhow, Carey's been making music before and since the Eighties hit put him on the map, and for this SXSW, you'll get to hear what he can do "unplugged," with a few more years of musical experience under his belt. (Atomic Cafe, 9pm) -- Ken Lieck

RICO BELL AND THE SNAKEHANDLERS: British expatriate and sometime Mekon Rico Bell squeezes a mean accordion on his Bloodshot CD Dark Side of the Mersey. His songs have a eerie romanticism and a load of energy that belie the melancholy bourbon-soaked lyrics. Strange … he's British, lives in San Francisco, but his songs always make you think of some dank Chicago bar. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 9pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

ROY HEINRICH AND THE PICKUPS: Honky-tonk with humor. Still, Heinrich and company play it poker-faced, coming across like some hybrid of Johnny Cash and Ray Price. If you've never seen these Austinites at Ginny's Little Longhorn, catch 'em at SXSW. (Saengerrunde Hall, 9pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

JOHN HAMMOND'S WICKED GRIN: If you missed Tom Waits' brilliant SXSW show two years ago, this is the closest you'll get, and Hammond won't mind. His latest album, Wicked Grin, is an homage to producer Waits, and therefore makes up a good part of his set. No word who's in Wicked Grin, but accompanists on album and tour included Augie Meyers. (Continental Club, 9pm) -- Margaret Moser

SLO-MO: Doo Rag without the clank or vacuum cleaner, Philly's Slo-Mo is Marah's man of steel/dobro Mike Brenner and DJ Vincenzo, who Beck it up with some Skeleton Key quirk and They Might Be Giant lyricism. Nerd rock for hipsters. (Iron Cactus, 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

TARBOX RAMBLERS: Tarbox Ramblers' music is so old-school that it's one room. The band's Boston base belies the authority with which they re-create decades-old gutbucket Delta blues with an occasional hint of hillbilly folk. Their low-end visceral sound is so authentic it's almost vulgar. (Momo's, 9pm) -- Michael Bertin


JE SUIS FRANCE: Mais, non, this Athens combo rocks, which as we all know is decidedly un-French. Once compared to Archers of Loaf, these frogs' instro-grooves pulse and pound like good indie alterna-bash, locking into pounding jet stream of sound that'll whip your head up, down, back, and forth. (Speakeasy, 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

YETI: Straight out of the Cowtown of Fort Worth comes a damaged progressive mindwarp guaranteed to scare the bejesus out of any shitkicker. Tolkien himself couldn't have crafted a finer invitation into a nether-region where The Court of the Crimson King is assaulted by a cadre of deranged Goblins weaned on obscure European psych-rock. Last year's Two Ohm Hop release offered a glimpse of Things to Come … (The Mercury, 9pm) -- Michael Chamy

MERCOVA: Former Bowery Electric touring bassist Peter Gannon, who has done time in DFW bands the Falcon Project and the Factory Press, has helped assemble an atmospheric trip-hop project featuring the soft vocals of songwriting partner Daphne Gere. Fans of Perfume Tree, Bowery Electric's recent work, or mellow, suave trip-hop of any sort should check this one out. (Ritz Lounge, 9pm) -- Michael Chamy

GFIRE: gFire's penchant for slammin' Goa trance tracks enlivened scads of legendary Austin after-hours shows and park parties. After a lengthy hiatus, she's back with more of the same, only different. Seriously, you're unlikely to find a better trance DJ in the tri-state area, and her newfound production stylings only serve to make her that much more of a local cause célèbre. (Texture, 9pm) -- Marc Savlov

THE HARD FEELINGS: Not every band gets to record its debut for Sympathy for the Record Industry, but Austin trio the Hard Feelings belonged there from the get-go. Last year's Fought Back and Lost was a menacing, baying bit of swagger that went down as smooth as Pappy's hooch. (Room 710, 9pm) -- Christopher Gray

SLOW ROOSEVELT: These burly Metroplex bashers exemplify the DFW "hard-edge" aesthetic that spawned Pantera. Their One Ton Records releases and endless string of gigs have hemp-friendly heshers and scowl-faced kids from Greenville to Denton moshin' to their blistering riffs and uncompromising screams. (The Metro, 9pm) -- Michael Chamy

DR. DIDG: This English-based trio mixes hi-fi loops, beats, samples, and guitar with the otherworldly sounds of the didgeridoo, the long-blown wind instrument of the Australian Aborigines that's basically a chunk of eucalyptus carved out by termites. 1994's Out of the Woods (Hannibal), landed them a spot playing with the Grateful Dead. Ravey follow-up Serotonality is out now. (Scholz Beer Garten, 9:30pm) -- David Lynch

DIRK HAMILTON: Austin's Dirk Hamilton is a veteran singer-songwriter who"s done the major-label two-step enough to know when to wear cleats. He's got a long string of albums to prove it, the most recent being the sly SEXspringEVERYTHING, a discerning collection of tender ballads, good humor, and an occasional stab at the folk establishment. (Opal Divine's Freehouse, 10pm) -- Margaret Moser

SARAH HARMER: Unlike a lot of women singer-songwriters these days, Kingston, Ontario's Sarah Harmer has a lot to say, and has found an interesting way to say it. Formerly with Canadian act Weeping Tile, her U.S. debut You Were Here (Zoe) displays a rare amount of intensity and spirit that makes her a diamond in the rough. (Momo's, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

STUMPTONE: On Stumptone's 1999 debut, singer-songwriter Chris Plavidal shows off the hazy stripes that have him pegged as a musical visionary à la Skip Spence. But he doesn't forsake his space-rock past with Denton veterans MK Ultra, as his band's wild forays into supercharged drone-punk and mind-expanding jams attest. (The Mercury, 10pm) -- Michael Chamy

SCARED OF CHAKA: Albuquerque's Scared of Chaka have one foot in the Estrus-style garage punk of the Nineties and another in Eighties teenage heartbreak hardcore. Last year's Seven Stories Tall compiles the trio's 7-inch output from 1994-99. Expect plenty of woofer-blowing punk energy and an equal amount of catchy pop hooks. (Red Eyed Fly, 10pm) -- Greg Beets

EVIL BEAVER: It's cock rock all right, only there's a slight hitch: this Chicago-based metal-ish duo is actually a couple of chicks, Laura Ann Beaver on drums and Evie Evil on bass. For a twosome, they've got an unbelievably full sound somewhere between Nashville Pussy and the Breeders. They recently followed up their debut EP Smells Like Christmas Spirit with Lick It. (Hole in the Wall, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

THE GO: Latter-day purveyors of vintage Motor City mayhem, the Go have been labeled as derivative in some quarters, but is aping the Stooges and the MC5 ever a bad idea? Sub Pop doesn't think so. (Emo's, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

MAD FOR THE RACKET: Supergroup alert! Guns 'n' Roses, the Damned, MC5, Blondie, the Police. Actually, the SXSW version won't have members of all those bands, but the touring lineup for this outfit includes MC5 bossman Wayne Kramer, Damned founder Brian James, Blondie's Clem Burke, plus Primal Scream's Mani and ex-Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna. (Atomic Cafe, 10pm) -- Ken Lieck

JUAN MARTIN: Austin has Joe Ely sideman Teye for Flamenco with dance accompaniment, and London has Andalusian guitarist virtuoso Juan Martin. A journeyman six-string gypsy king, Martin is giving a 40-minute lesson here, no doubt. (Azucar, 10:15pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

Dr. Didg
Dr. Didg

FALCON PROJECT: The Falcon Project is led by Wanz Dover, former guitarist of Mazinga Phaser and a leader of the ongoing Texas psychedelic renaissance. Last year's Idol LP Lights Karma Action showed them shying away from the overt noise blasts of Dover's former group, leaning in a grittier direction inspired by the drug-addled blues of Spacemen 3 and the temporal disorientation of Seventies innovators Faust and Cluster. (The Living Room on 6th, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

PLEASURE FOREVER: The impending June release from Pleasure Forever, formerly Slaves, is surprisingly straightforward, blues-inspired indie rock. Unafraid of either skittering piano intros or ground-out fuzz-guitar finishes, the nervous, schizophrenic sounds will be right at home at Saturday night's Sub Pop showcase. (Emo's Jr., 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

E.C.F.A.: Jazz Is Dead! So proclaimed local record store/indie stronghold Sound Exchange in a series of snide promotions aimed at Ken Burns' snub of modern jazz. Joining the crusade is saxophonist Carl Smith, who leads a duo and trio on an assault of local clubs, record stores, coffee shops, and theatre houses in an exhaustive effort to share a vision of absolute musical freedom that continues to pump fresh blood into the heart of jazz. (Elephant Room, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

KID 606: Having released a pair of albums on Ipecac, the label run by the enigmatic Mike Patton of Faith No More, Kid 606 isn't exactly your typical "genre-safe" electronic artist. And he's not afraid to goof on the pretentiousness of the electronic scene either, his sound shifting from avant-minimalism to all-out nihilistic noise blasts. (The Limelight, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

JULIE DOIRON: Remember when Halifax, Nova Scotia, was proclaimed the next Seattle? Great bands did emerge from the Eastern Canada city, including the sometimes unsettling Eric's Trip. Band principal Julie Doiron, now relocated to Montreal, has embarked on a solo career that has brought her critical acclaim and a Juno award. (Blind Pig Pub, 11pm) -- Phil West

COLD BLOODED ANIMAL: For a straight-ahead rock band, this Chinese trio shows a lot of versatility in going from slash and burn Blue Cheer power chords to a union of sexy basslines that would make Greg Dulli drool. This is not your father's cultural revolution, unless your father was a Chinese roadie for Budgie. (Buffalo Club, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

DAMESVIOLET: This Austin quartet ranges from 17 to 20 years old, features brothers Beaux and Zak Loy up front and on guitar, a Creed-style flair for AOR dynamics, a stamp of approval from KLBJ's Dudley & Bob Show, and management from local bigwig Mark Proct (Arc Angels, Vallejo). Let the bidding war and jealous backstabbing begin! (The Metro, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

THRALL: Once a bully, always a bully, and former God Bully Mike Hard will bully-pulpit any crowd into submission faster than you can say conversion. The paranoid poundings of Thrall used to climax with Hard and his bass-playing wife simulating sex onstage. Now reformed, that was the only thing Thrall "simulated." (Atomic Cafe, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

MANDARIN: What begins as a gentle trickle of sound, punctuated by Jayson Wortham's velvety vocals, gradually surrounds the listener and morphs into a raging river. The Denton fivepiece shows a slick Thrill Jockey surface but a volcanic Krautrock interior on its crisp Two Ohm Hop debut Driftline. (The Mercury, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: A veritable melting pot of garage-rock heads of state, Austin's star-spangled American People boast dignitaries from Cher UK, Handful, and the Wannabes. Had the revolution really happened, they probably would've ordered Marshall stacks for all chiefs of staff and an MC5 ballistic system to defend the White House. Power to the people! (Opal Divine's Freehouse, 11pm) -- Kate X Messer

TRIGGER HAPPY: Saddle up! Loaded with ringers including Elvis freak Eddie Cute up front, guitar whiz supreme Dale Allen, and bass goddess Cindy Toth, Austin's Trigger Happy fires off rousing rockabilly at an impressive clip. Bang bang. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

CHRIS LEE: Formerly of the Carolina band Pine State Boys, Chris Lee used his acclaimed 2000 self-titled solo debut on Misra to reinvent himself as something of a blue-eyed soulster. Tunes like "The Sexual Politics of Me" ooze falsetto please-baby pleas amid a luxurious cushion of heavenly jangle. (Scottish Rite Theater, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

THE CASH BROTHERS: Toronto's Cash brothers, Andrew and Peter, sound like a couple other blood ties: not the Louvins, a couple other Nashville siblings come to mind -- the Delevantes. But where the D's tread traditional paths, the post-Byrds country rock found on the Cashs' Rounder Records Zoe imprint, How Was Tomorrow, recalls the tangy harmonies of Marc Olson and Gary Louis, onetime Jayhawks axis and blood brothers. Those two split ages ago, but the Cash boys have ties that bind. (Momo's, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

SPRAGUE BROTHERS: Southern California's Sprague Brothers are an anomaly among today's rock bands in that they're really brothers: Frank on guitar and Chris on drums. Last year's Forever and a Day, their second CD for Hightone, showcases their interest in the Everlys' brotherly harmonies, Jan & Dean-style surf, and British invasion pop. (Continental Club, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

MATT POND: Philadelphia's Pond is a sensitive singer-songwriter in the Elliott Smith mold. His band, Matt Pond PA, added a cello and French horn on last year's File 13 release Measure, which not surprisingly, eked out a following among fans of sensitive songwriters in the Elliott Smith mold. (Ruta Maya, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

The Go
The Go

YOUNG GOD SHOWCASE: Michael Gira, visionary behind New York's highly influential Swans, also heads the Young God label, and has assembled a formidable roster that includes sometime Austinites Windsor for the Derby. At this showcase, NYC's Calla features a cast of transplanted Texans, and their new album Scavengers is a collection of morose, enthralling strummers highlighted by smoky vocals and a creeping shadowy ambience. Then Flux Information Sciences celebrates its debut, Private/Public, a black-leather pastiche of Sleep Chamber perversion and primitive Test Dept. beats that recall a deranged Kubrick short. (Ritz Lounge, midnight-2am) -- Michael Chamy

ALEX WOODARD: Seattle's Alex Woodard is a singer-songwriter in the mold of Dave Matthews and David Gray. His self-released Nowhere Near Here features backing from members of Sunny Day Real Estate, the Posies, Fountains of Wayne, and the Gigolo Aunts, and has already generated radio play nationwide. (Scottish Rite Theatre, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

SUPER XX MAN & METRONOME: Scott Garred of local indie rockers Silver Scooter lays every last ounce of naked fragility on the line as his solo alter ego Super XX Man. Eric Metronome is the frontman of Columbus, Ohio's like-minded Tiara. The duo collaborated on an album as part of local label Post-Parlo's enticing split-CD series HOME, in which Metronome plays a heavier-handed melodic foil to Garred's spare delicacy. (Blind Pig Pub, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

CATH CARROLL: Cath Carroll currently calls Chicago home, but she got her start in her native England, where she's perhaps best known for the band Miaow. Her latest, self-titled release caused The Chicago Reader to label her "extremely intelligent mood music." (Pecan St. Ale House, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

JAI ALAI: Where New Orleans once giveth to Chicago, the Windy City now giveth back in the form of an entrancing post-rock combo. Jai Alai stands out in the Crescent City with its mellifluous flow of interlocking themes propelled by a crisp, soothing rhythm section, adorned with flourishes of synthesizer or breathy vocal touches. (Ruta Maya, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

SUB OSLO: Just as dub injected new life into reggae, Sub Oslo breathes new life into both genres. Their swirling, thumping Two Ohm Hop tour de force Dubs in the Key of Life has garnered accolades from such luminaries as Bill Laswell, Adrian Sherwood, and the Mad Professor, with whom they are slated to tour this spring. (The Mercury, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

AMOR BELHOM DUO: On the heels of last year's Tête à Tête, a collaboration with Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino, these Frenchmen-by-way-of-Tucson have struck a deal with Carrot Top to re-release two albums the duo recorded in '98 and '99. Theirs is a noirish, improvisational sound, ranging in mood from gentle to glib, with an air of Dischord-ish discontent. (Speakeasy, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

RED MEAT: This S.F. sextet of Midwest transplants might remind locals of the Derailers or BR5-49, but it's honky-tonk, not Americana -- from Bakersfield, not Nashville. The band's third release of no-frills twang, Alameda County Line, was produced by Dave Alvin. (Saengerrunde Hall, midnight) -- Michael Bertin

TUULI: These femmes fatale from up North gave the Donnas a real run for their babysitting money at Emo's last month, especially on cover of Garbage's "Only Happy When It Rains." Pour that misery down, girls. (Downstairs at the Loft, midnight) -- Christopher Gray

MEG LEE CHIN: Chin has been cast as the new torchbearer for Invisible Records, the industrial combine led by ex-Killing Joke/PiL drummer and Pigface leader Martin Atkins. She spent three years with Pigface and one day as lead singer for Garbage, and it's easy to see why, her ample vocal charisma meshing with a variety of doctored beats on last year's Junkies and Snakes. (Atomic Cafe, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

MONO: If you could figure out the midpoint between trance music and Rush, and that would be Farewell to Kings-era live Rush. Japanese fourpiece Mono is too conventional to be tagged experimental. Post-rock might be a more apt classification. It's hard to pass yourself off as "post" anything, however, if you're thoroughly capable of just plain "rock" Plus that delay pedal ain't fooling anyone. Those are melodies. (The Living Room on 6th, midnight) -- Michael Bertin

VUE: Vue act like they're big rock stars when they're just a bunch of skinny, punk-ass malcontents on a glam VU trip. Given their ringing, self-titled Sub Pop debut last year, and their sneering live shows, that works for me. (Emo's Jr., midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

SUPERDRAG: Superdrag are the boys with that buzz-bin song "Sucked Out." When the major-label folks didn't hear a single on their follow-up, the boys bailed from "Neglektra," lost their Afro'd bassist, and put out a new record on Arena Rock. They're out on their world domination tour, proving pop's not for quitters. (Buffalo Billiards, 1am) -- Mindy LaBernz

SISTER MACHINE GUN: Weren't these guys popular about the same time as Stabbing Westward and Gravity Kills? It can't be time for a Nineties revival already, but then Bill Clinton hasn't exactly gone anywhere either. (Atomic Cafe, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

THE HELIO SEQUENCE: This young duo of Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel has been making quite a buzz around Portland, Ore., partly due to their 1999 self-released EP Accelerated Slow-Motion Cinema. Their newest, the full-length Cavity Search Com Plex, offers more lo-fi, wall-of-sound power pop influenced by My Bloody Valentine and the Beatles. (The Living Room on 6th, 1am) -- David Lynch

UNIFIED THEORY: Not quite a "supergroup," UT features bassist Brad Smith and guitarist Christopher Thorn of Blind Melon and original Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen. Their self-titled debut hasn't quite caught fire, but it's not for lack of trying: They've toured tirelessly to mostly positive notices, many of which have gone to über-charismatic, but previously unknown, frontman Chris Shinn. (Stubb's, 1am) -- Andy Langer

THERYL "HOUSEMAN" DE'CLOUET: This veteran New Orleans soul crooner is best known as the lead singer of popular jazz-funk ensemble Galactic. His recent solo debut on Bullseye/Rounder, The Houseman Cometh, is a hodgepodge of funk, blues, and mellow Southern soul delivered with gravelly earnestness; his cover of K.C. & the Sunshine Band's "I Get Lifted" is a highlight. (The Mercury, 1am) -- Greg Beets

BASTARD SONS OF JOHNNY CASH: It takes some kinda cojones to pull off a name like that, but this bunch of San Diegans gets by with it. Their brand-new major-label debut shows them off with a few spooky ballads, but these Bastards are in their element when they're playing a whole passel of road-hoggin' honky-tonk raunch. The Man in Black not only knows about their name, but lets them use it. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 1am) -- Jerry Renshaw

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