SXSW Picks & Sleepers

4th Avenue Jones
4th Avenue Jones

Thursday Picks

ALL SHOWCASES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

CHARLIE ROBISON: After 1998's Life of the Party proved a late bloomer, Austin country maverick Charlie Robison earned a call-up from Lucky Dog to Columbia proper. His Step Right Up bows April 10, with a cover of NRBQ's "I Want You Bad" paving the way. It's a good bet it'll sell strong out of the box, and that he will prosper the good old-fashioned way; on the strength of how irresistible his songs are. He's twice as charming onstage. (Waterloo Park, 7pm) -- Andy Langer

JEAN CAFFEINE: If Austin has an answer to Chrissie Hynde, it's Jean Caffeine and her mature punk snarl. Of course as a longtime Texan, there's a solid rootsiness to her terrific songcraft, but then she was always a Stones freak. Last year's outstanding Ideé Fixé followed up the hard-to-follow-up Knocked Down Seven Times, Got Up Eight with enough grit to make you salivate like Pavlov's dog. (Saegerrunde Hall, 8pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

CENTRO-MATIC: Stepping up from behind the drum kit of Dallas' Funland, Will Johnson surprised everybody with Centro-matic's inexhaustible repertoire of polished, endearingly raspy pop songs. The North Texas darlings have built a statewide following, releasing five LPs in the past three years, including last year's gem All the Falsest Hearts Can Try, and have three more releases due in 2001. (The Mercury, 8pm) -- Michael Chamy

THE INCREDIBLE LEROY MOSES: It'd be too trite to say this one's all in the credits of Moses' Artemis advance, Electric Pocket Radio: produced by Keith Cleversley (the Flaming Lips, Spiritualized), Joey Waronker (Beck, Elliot Smith) & Wally Gagel (Folk Implosion, Eels). Really, it's the music -- Beck, Elliot, Cibo Matto -- the whole studio genius thing with wild pop aspirations. If not "Incredible," then definitely inspired. This one's a hit. (Metro, 8pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

ROCK EN ESPAÑOL: One of the undisputed SXSW highlights of the past dos años, the four-alarm Scholz Beer Garten/Saengerrunde Hall Rock en Español tag-team has moved down south to Sixth Street for a copa. Once again sponsored by Austin's Latino Rock Alliance, this year's rocanroll revolution fires the first round with L.A.'s Union 13 and their Epitaph-style bilingual thrash. Mexico City's Ely Guerra asks the musical question, "What's Spanish for breathy ingenue?" while Picas o Platicas finds Monterrey's Genitallica reprising their Wednesday night showcase with early Chili Peppers/ Beastie Boys spazz-outs. Los Rabanes, from Panama City, serve up good-natured ska with bueno bounce, and Lima, Peru's Libido finish up with their rich, acoustic Dave Matthews/Maña mulch. Raza roc, todo el way. (The Drink on 6th, 9pm-1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

ROCK EN ESPAÑOL DOS: With a slap of the hand, the second half of this Rock en Español masked wrestling match looks to be as fierce as its sibling. Maldito would be a good word for Mexico City's Riesgo de Contagio and their militant, take-no-prisoners funk roc, while suave comes to mind for Bogota's Aterciopelados (the Velvetey Ones) and their beguiling, oceanic pop. Cabrito Vudu is listed as pop-rock from Monterrey, so one hopes they're as good as neighbors Genitallica -- their name is, anyway. Judging from headliner Candy 66's demo, the Caracas crew has the cojones but not the cash to produce that heavy Genitallica thump, so maybe this round is on you. Andale! (The Living Room on 6th, 9pm-1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

NARAS URBAN SHOWCASE: Hey, is that Steve Francis hanging out backstage? Save journalists, the Rockets superstar could be the brokest guy in the room at this Grammy-hosted showcase for some of Houston's heaviest hardcore rappers. Joining headliner South Park Mexican, who got well-deserved national pounds for 2000's The Third Wish, are many of his friends from the Dope House Records side of town: Grimm, Rasheed, Austin's Pimpstress, the Lone Star Ridaz, and Low G. Also demonstrating why it's not called Hustletown by mistake are the Leprechan featuring Li'l Flip, Tow Down, and Little O. Note: SXSW badge cords don't make good thongs. (Austin Music Hall, 9pm-midnight) -- Christopher Gray

4TH AVENUE JONES: Melky Sedack with teeth, Lucy Pearl with grit. Dropping their debut on Interscope. Opening one of the best bills of SXSW 2001. Do I need to draw you a map? (Stubb's, 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

SILVER SCOOTER: For several years running, this trio has been one of the most intriguing and appealing of Austin's never-ending supply of unapologetically nerdy pop bands. Staying loyal to local heroes Peek-a-Boo Records, and now puffed up to a quartet, new effort The Blue Law is their third and perhaps best album. (Opal Divine's Freehouse, 9pm) -- Phil West

PORTASTATIC: Superchunk's Mac McCaughan is not afraid to reveal his quiet side, and as Portastatic, he dabbles in a more mellow and eclectic sound than his main band's increasingly pedestrian output. In a decidedly un-Chapel Hill move, his recent De Mel, De Melão EP featured songs by Brazilian tropicalianistas Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, delivered in Portuguese by the Merge daddy himself. (The Mercury, 9pm) -- Michael Chamy

LAIKA & THE COSMONAUTS: Not all the best surf bands hail from the Golden State, and no band proves that to a greater geographic degree than Finland's Laika & the Cosmonauts. Laika Sex Machine (Yep Roc) is the latest in a series of twist-worthy releases going back to 1988. The quartet's ultra-orthodox take on Dick Dale-style instrumentals will put frozen tundra between your toes. (Continental Club, 9pm) -- Greg Beets

MICHAEL HALL & THE WOODPECKERS: Back in the day, Hall was partly responsible for two of the best ever non-Reivers (aka Formerly Zeitgeist) Austin songs in the heyday of what was then termed "college music": "Let's Take Some Drugs and Drive Around" and "I'm Sorry I Can't Rock You All Night Long." His latest LP with the Woodpeckers, last year's Dead by Dinner, is another walk on the wild side through American roots pop. (Copper Tank North, 9 pm) -- Michael Bertin

SARA HICKMAN: Since adopting Austin as home, Sara Hickman has added "mommy" to her résumé. Her last album of lullabies, Newborn, was for babies, while her most recent, Toddler, is a collection of international children's songs. Hickman built her career on mature, polished balladry with a winsome humor that permeates her music, so let her rock you and your baby. (The Hideout, 9pm) -- Margaret Moser

SLAID CLEAVES: Cleaves toiled long enough in Austin's singer-songwriter salt mines to turn out an exceptional album, last year's Broke Down. It was his second album for Rounder offshoot Philo, and earned him more well-deserved critical praise for his lyrical finesse and solid craftsmanship as well as Gurf Morlix's sterling production. Cleaves has a good shot at breaking out on that alone, but he hasn't forgotten how to entertain. (Cactus Cafe, 9pm) -- Margaret Moser

Vinicius Cantuaria
Vinicius Cantuaria

MIKE ROSENTHAL: Low profile? Austin's Mike Rosenthal has no profile. Which only seems to make his songwriting cut deeper. It's easier to speak the unflinching truth when no one seems to be listening. Richard Buckner he's not, especially when Rosenthal's rocking with his band, but the local's songs, found on last year's self-titled/released debut, are the kind other songwriters are generally startled by. "Damn, this guy can write." You bet your publishing he can. (Waterloo Brewing Upstairs, 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

JIM LAUDERDALE, RADNEY FOSTER, JEFF BLACK: Jim Lauderdale is flat-out one of the best modern songwriters out of Nashville today, and Del Rio's Radney Foster might as well be. Jeff Black, another Nashvillian, has been swept up by the music industry label wars the last few years, but he's ready to prove his mettle on this songwriters swap, which oughta have more pop-twang than the Beatles doing Carl Perkins. (Maggie Mae's, 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

JAGJAGUWAR SHOWCASE: Bloomington, Indiana's Jagjaguwar is all over the friggin' place. Manishevitz throws down quirky, upbeat avant-folk on their new release Rollover, pitting stripped-down indie-pop against elegant string arrangements. Singer-guitarist Adam Busch's vocals creak and grate, intellectual where labelmates Monroe Mustang are visceral. This Austin quintet turned yet another sonic corner with last year's De Avonden 091099, recorded live in the studios of Dutch Public Radio (VPRO). A mostly acoustic effort, each song glides and drones at a lusciously ethered pace, stark and dazed as ever. Patrick Phelan, of ambient post-rock outfit South, released his solo debut on Jagjaguwar last year, Songs of Patrick Phelan. To turn the rest of the evening completely on its ear (before kicking it square in the balls), Brooklyn "loft party" belligerents Oneida close things out with an assault of drunk, slobby, wonderful rock & roll. (Ritz Lounge, 10pm-1am) -- Christopher Hess

J MASCIS: The ex-Dinosaur Jr. frontman finally crawled out of his fossil shell again last year, and brought with him More Light, an album as taut and focused as anything since Green Mind. The Purple One is never shy about bustin' out the classic Sludgefeasts of yore, and he'll be joined by classic punks Mike Watt (Minutemen) and special guest Ron Asheton (Stooges), so expect the original alt-guitar god to return to his hardcore roots. (Emo's, 10pm) -- Michael Chamy

TRAIN: This S.F.-based touring machine claims it's most comfortable onstage, but they're no slouches in the studio either; the March 27 follow-up to their platinum Aware/Columbia debut Drops of Jupiter is melodic, vibrant, and most of all, custom-fit for multiple radio formats. (La Zona Rosa, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

THE COMAS: I first heard the Comas' A Def Needle in Tomorrow late one night in Chapel Hill when their roommate put us up for the night. I came away with a solid breakfast and a groovy pink band T-shirt with a lemur on the front. Their self-described "mesmerizing, lazy indie-pop" feels as cozy as their house, a study in melodic mellow guided by dreamy boy/girl vocals. Feel the lemur. (Continental Club, 10pm) -- Mindy LaBernz

WILLARD GRANT CONSPIRACY: Gorgeous, lush arrangements surround the serious baritone of Robert Fisher on Boston ensemble Willard Grant Conspiracy's recent Rykodisc release, Everything's Fine. Death and despair carry the weight and resonance they did in the old Appalachian tunes that resonate throughout the record, made golden by every song's musical magnitude. (Buffalo Club, 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

BILL MORRISSEY: In today's folk music, Bill Morrissey stands out for his lyrical vision and remarkable songwriting. A bluesman at heart, instead of the Deep South, he's from the New Hampshire backwoods, lending his work a rustic charm. His new Rounder CD, Something I Saw or Thought I Saw, is due in April. (Cactus Cafe, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

HAYSEED: That Lucinda Williams thinks he's on par with the likes of Dylan, Young, and Morrison should be enough for anyone to take Christopher Wyant, aka Hayseed, seriously. If that ain't enough, one listen to the Kentuckian's debut CD Melic will change your mind. As apt to quote T.S. Eliot as Gregg Allman, Hayseed blends poetic, gospel-tinged lyrics with traditional melodies for original songs loaded with conviction. (Saengerrunde Hall, 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

LAZY LESTER: He calls Michigan home now, but there's no mistaking the Louisiana drawl in Lazy Lester when he puts his lips to that harp of his. He can glide from lean blues to saucy soul and back in one breath, and never blows two notes when one hard one will do. Hear "Sugar Coated Love" from the man himself. (Antone's, 10pm) -- Margaret Moser

KACY CROWLEY: This Austin singer-songwriter's sophomore set is worth the four-year wait for its title alone: Boys in the Attic. Crowley and producer Fred Maher have conjured up an ambitious adventure into radio-ready pop that has everyone who's heard it humming ka-ching! Go just to preview first single "Drunk," a sing-along that may just wind up among the year's guiltiest pleasures. (Iron Cactus, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

PRESCOTT CURLYWOLF: On-again-off-again beer-soaked cacophony or simply the best rock band in Austin? Lately, this long-running quartet is refueled by a big batch of new songs, an upcoming release, and the usual array of amazing covers, so this showcase promises great, loud, raucous things. (Rainbow Cattle Co., 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

HONKY: This Texas trio combines punk swagger with the Simple Man-nerisms of Southern rock. Not only did they get into an imbroglio with a few Windy City women over a misheard lyric while opening for L7, they deftly released a live album documenting the fracas called Attacked by Lesbians in a Chicago Bowling Alley. Their latest studio LP, House of Good Tires, comes out this month. (Red Eyed Fly, 10pm) -- Greg Beets

VINICIUS CANTUARIA: There's a reason Vinicius, featuring guest stars Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Brad Mehldau, Joey Baron, David Byrne, and Cantuaria's employer for 10 years, Caetano Veloso, sounds like it was cut for jazz major Verve: The Brazilian bossa nova man's last LP was. A similiar affair, the Transparent Music Label's Vinicius finds its 49-year-old singer/guitarist bridging Antonio Carlos Jobim with his own influential rock group from the Seventies, O Terco. Stan Getz, RIP. (Azucar, 10:15pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

RAY WYLIE HUBBARD: Wimberley resident Ray Wylie Hubbard's 1999 Philo CD Crusades of the Western Nights found him staying true to his roots as one of the pivotal figures of Seventies progressive country. Given his raucous performance at last year's Austin Music Awards, don't miss the chance to see the man who gave the world "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother." (Cactus Cafe, 11pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

GUY FORSYTH: Austin's Guy Forsyth has emerged as one of the generational links in modern blues, halfway between elders like the Vaughans and the young axis of upstarts like Andrews-Lang-Shepherd. On record and in person, Forsyth cuts a clean swath on his harp, sliding from urban to country blues and still rocking. Small wonder he's reigned locally as Best Blues Act for a couple of years. (Momo's, 11pm) -- Margaret Moser

Libido
Libido

JUSTIN TREVINO & JOHNNY BUSH: One country legend and one country legend-to-be. Bass player and guitarist Justin Trevino may be blind, but he recognizes a stone country classic when he hears one, and more importantly, the opportunity of a lifetime when he sees it. Case in point is Trevino's brand-new Travelin' Singing' Man, produced and guest-starring the one and only Johnny Bush. They don't make gorgeous, achy-breaky voices like Trevino's anymore; plus, he's a monster on the bass. (Antone's, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

SWAG: This will most likely get pegged as Ken Coomer's post-Wilco project, but truth be told, it not only predates his departure from the band, but also features some other players with pedigrees -- most notably Tom Peterrson of Cheap Trick and Robert Reynolds of the Mavericks. Names aside, their outstanding Yep Rock debut isn't just pop music -- it's damn buoyant pop. The Liverpudlian kind, circa 1965. (Continental Club, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

ANA EGGE: Onetime Austinite Ana Egge has now relocated to Silver City, N.M. A singer-songwriter with a heart of gold, she possesses a smoky voice that belies her relatively young age and lends her songs a dark tinge. Egge has a self-released new collection of songs, 101 Sundays, that once again displays her capacity for fashioning moods of austere beauty. (Pecan St. Ale House, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

KNIFE IN THE WATER: Gliding along the foggy dreamscape between ambient country, narcotic rave-ups, and pure pop, Austin's Knife in the Water have greatly assisted the ongoing experiment of rebuilding roots music. The quintet's second release, Red River, possesses an intricacy and maturity that suggests a much older, world-wearier band, but also a spark that signals the mere beginnings of musical exploration. (Scottish Rite Theatre, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

PEPE DELUXÉ: With the cancellation of Señor Coconut, Emperor Penguin labelmates Pepe Deluxé stand as the Euro electronic act everybody thinks is from Latin America. Pepe don't sound too Finnish, but on last year's Super Sound the trio drops phat block-rockin' beats over Helsinki with their mix of groovy samples, crisp breaks, and spy-flick suaveness. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

764-HERO: In this band's native Seattle, this is the phone number for civilians to report solo drivers illegally driving in the carpool lane. Though not the first Seattle group to cop their name from a highway sign (that would be Apple Maggot Quarantine Area), they're one of Up Records' best bands, with a new batch of hooks on Weekends of Sounds. (Room 710, 11pm) -- Phil West

HAMELL ON TRIAL: A literal one-man army, former Austinite Ed Hamell plays an acoustic guitar and its partnered amp-stack within inches of their lives, whether in brutally frank autobiographical tunes or Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." Think of a cross between John Lennon and Ani DiFranco, and then some. (Texas Union Theater, 11pm) -- David Lynch

ALL: Though they've never hit commercial pay dirt, it's hard to imagine groups like Green Day and Blink-182 without the Descendents/All expedition. Having almost single-handedly defined the SoCal pop-punk axiom, All continues to tour relentlessly, with Chad Price currently on vocal duties. Their 12th LP, Percolator, came out last year on Epitaph. (Scholz Garten, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

ROCK*A*TEENS: Hailing from Cabbagetown, Ga., this fuzzed-out, reverb-drenched quartet excels at elevating garage pop to razor-sharp melodrama. Last year's Sweet Bird of Youth (Merge) was a finely layered sour-cream cake of adolescent heartbreak. Their bass-free lineup gives the band a tinny, AM-radio sound that hearkens back to listening to Top 40 on a loudspeaker at the swimming pool. (The Mercury, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

BLACK EYED PEAS: Young L.A.-based Black Eyed Peas are students of the Nevilles/Meters sound, but also dig Portishead and Stereolab and hang out with Macy Gray; their 2000 disc Bridging the Gap featured Wyclef Jean and De La Soul. Their secret is blending African-American, Philippine, Hispanic, and Native American points of view with vast touring experience and hip-hop, jungle, and trip-hop beats. Pass the Peas, please! (Stubb's, 11pm) -- David Lynch

LOS SUPER SEVEN: Composed of Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, and Austinites Rick Trevino, Ruben Ramos, Joel Guzman, and Joe Ely, Los Super Seven is the Latin American supergroup. Their new Canto is even better than their RCA debut, and features South American royalty Caetano Veloso and Susanna Baca. Neither will make the showcase, but expect to see a guest or two at this Buena Vista Social Club-type throwdown. (La Zona Rosa, 11pm) -- David Lynch

THE EAST SIDE BAND: The house band of Austin's famed East Side Lounge, the East Side Band ain't serving up dusty, jazz-instilled Texas R & B. Led by saxophonist Larry D.C. Williams and guitarist Clarence Pierce, plus the formidable talents of jazz trumpet and flugelhornist Martin B. Banks Jr., this outfit is all about having a good time and booty shakin', as on their latest, No Sleep (Prevatt). (Elephant Room, 11:30pm) -- David Lynch

JURASSIC 5: With Reflection Eternal, Common, Dilated Peoples, Xzibit, Del, and a dozen or so others, 2000 will be remembered as a watershed year for intellectual rap. It was Jurassic 5's Quality Control that made the biggest strides, though, as the L.A. crew linked hip-hop with Bing Crosby and Benny Goodman through "Swing Set" and Austin via a stop at Stubb's last October. (Stubb's, midnight) -- Christopher Gray

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: Like Olympia and Aberdeen, Bellingham is one of those small, soggy Washington state towns that inexplicibly spawns strong, smart, and self-aware indie-rock bands. Critical darlings Death Cab for Cutie, fresh from collecting numerous best-ofs for LP We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes and Forbidden Love EP, make their second trip to Austin in a month. (Buffalo Billiards, midnight) -- Phil West

THE GLANDS: Last year's indie prize (G division) probably went to Grandaddy, but the Glands secreted some quality slack on their psychedelic self-titled debut for Capricorn. It probably helps being from Athens, but learning the proper lessons from Chuck Berry, Neil Young, and the Velvet Underground hasn't exactly hurt. "Favorite American" is proof lo-fi doesn't have to mean low-concept. (Room 710, midnight) -- Christopher Gray

KISSINGER: Led by Chopper, a onetime member of Vertical Horizon, Kissinger's local debut Charm was is a slice of pure pop, with such disparate influences as the Cars, Pixies, and Cure, which led Texas Monthly to call it, "sugary, crunchy, and slightly explosive." (Rainbow Cattle Co., midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

Charlie Robison
Charlie Robison

BARBARA K: Last year, Timbuk 3 co-founder Barbara K stepped forward with her self-released solo debut, Ready, a funky cycle of songs about compassion, spirituality, and intuition. The longtime local is not only singing better than at any point in her career, she's also proven herself an equally compelling bandleader and guitarist. (Pecan St. Alehouse, midnight) -- Andy Langer

GURF MORLIX: After years of being a sideman and producer for the likes of Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen, and Peter Case, Gurf Morlix stepped into the spotlight with his solo debut, last year's Toad of Titicaca. There's hardly a more dead-on ear for production or a better slide player around, and it shows. (Saengerrunde Hall, midnight) -- Jerry Renshaw

SILOS: Now based in New York City and still led by Walter Salas-Humara, the Silos have been rocking the planet since 1986. Their new album, Laser Beam Next Door, set for an April release on Checkered Past, is as passionate and hard-driving as any of their previous work, while retaining a musical spirit that continues to be refreshing. (Speakeasy, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN: This Austin trio's music sounds like Django Reinhardt playing on the tailgate of an International Harvester. Hot jazz, traditional fiddle tunes, Western swing, and Tin Pan Alley, 1999's superfine Tall Tales was all this and more, augmented by savant steel player Jeremy Wakefield and Bob Wills sideman Johnny Gimble. (Broken Spoke, midnight) -- David Lynch

Asylum Street Spankers: The Spankers would go over huge in California right about now, seeing how they play without the aid of electricity and all. Alongside traditional steel guitars and string bass, the Spankers round out their rural orchestra with washboards, kazoos, and saws. What it lacks in volts it more than compensates for with its naughtiness and even good-natured contempt for all things bourgeois. (Texas Union Theater, midnight) -- Michael Bertin

BLAZE: Austin drummer Brannen Temple has a knack for assembling combos of amazing individual merit and collective chemistry, and Blaze, may be his best. The quintet's self-titled debut CD is straight jazz played sharp, and just a little bit funky. This lineup, including Ephraim Owens on trumpet, burns especially bright live. (Elephant Room, 12:45am) -- Christopher Hess

LA TRIBU: Austin's 14-piece, horn-fueled, big band Latin orchestra will kick your ass with tight playing, original compositions, stylish good looks, and ornate arrangements. Judging by their danceable and potent self-released debut Ataca!, La Tribu is more of a musical collective, blending Cuban timba, funk, R&B, Ellington, and salsa influences into a delicious wall of sound. (Azucar, 12:45am) -- David Lynch

ASS PONYS: Cincinnati's Ass Ponys have a checkered past dating back to 1988. After being missing in action for a couple of years, they're hitting on all cylinders. Primed to follow last year's critically acclaimed Some Stupid With a Flare Gun with Lohio, their edgy roots rock creaks with lead singer Chuck Cleaver's darkly humorous lyrics. (Speakeasy, 1am) -- Jim Caligiuri

HENRI DIKONGU...: Blending his talents in Central African dance and folk music, as well as jazz and Western classical, this Cameroon native/Paris resident enjoyed a reputation as a top world-music draw last year. His reggae, samba, salsa, and soul-seasoned previous release, C'est La Vie, topped the European world-music chart, and his latest, Mot'a Bobe, is brazenly beautiful, in part because of famed African saxophonist Manu Dibango. (Ruta Maya Coffee House, 1am) -- David Lynch

MICHAEL FRACASSO: Involved in the Eighties New York folk scene, Michael Fracasso is known for his acoustic folk-country with rock leanings. Greatly influenced by Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, this Italian Texas tenor's 1998 World in a Drop of Water (Bohemia Beat) showcases more of his original music, including a working friendship with Charlie Sexton. (Pecan St. Ale House, 1am) -- David Lynch

NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS: The North Mississippi Allstars deserve credit for bowing to the Mecca of R.L. Burnside, Fred McDowell, and Junior Kimbrough rather than genuflecting at the altar of Vaughan. Live, someone's obviously slipped a good bit of Duane Allman in there as well. So what if they're cuter than Jonny Lang? (La Zona Rosa, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

RIDDLIN' KIDS: As the more lawsuit-friendly Ritalin Kids, this Austin pop-punk has been going since 1997, but officially earned next-big-thing status (and major-label interest) last year after 101X put "Blind" in regular rotation. After settling on Aware/Columbia, they recorded what looks like a June release with Paul Ebersold (Three Doors Down); advance listens suggest the hype is warranted. (Emo's Jr, 1am) -- Andy Langer

VOODOO GLOW SKULLS: Skanking ferociously out of the Inland Empire burg of Riverside, Calif., this hard-stepping act sounds like the bastard spawn of Suicidal Tendencies and Fishbone. Formed by brothers Frank, Eddie, and Jorge Casillas in the late Eighties as a hardcore act, VGS morphed into a ska-punk band and signed with Epitaph in 1995, with last year's Symbolic their most recent effort. (Atomic Cafe, 1am) -- Greg Beets

THE AMERICAN ANALOG SET: Taking cues from the dearly departed Bedhead, these Dallas-to-Austin transplants have whittled their own delicate niche in the realm of live-in-the-living-room aural somnolence. The group's 1999 release, The Golden Band (Emperor Jones), is a bit more pointed than previous albums, but their m.o. remains subverting the verse-chorus standard in favor of exploring emotions through subtle shifts in tone and texture. (Buffalo Billiards, 1am) -- Greg Beets

EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT: Soon after last year's SXSW, Austin's Experimental Aircraft lined up a deal with S.F. indie Devil in the Woods. This year they're thrust into the headlining slot at the label's showcase; expect them to provide layers of sonic amusement in the form of atmospheric hooks drenched in formaldehyde, piggybacking atop a snarling rhythm section. (Opal Divine's Freehouse, 1am) -- Michael Chamy

ELECTRIC WIZARD: Here's an easy one: What does the Back Room's Thursday 1am headliner have in common with Friday's Man's Ruin showcase "Special Guest" on the main stage? Dorset, England's sludge 'n' doom sect, Electric Wizard, whose new Dopethrone makes sucking on a bong sound like a ritual involving goat's blood and goth babes. Not for anyone celebrating Easter. (Back Room, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

BOBBY RUSH: The blues may well be Ken Burns' next maxi-series, but in the middle of the night, all those greasy licks and suggestive rhythms are meant for something way better than TV. Mississippian Bobby Rush's Handy-nominated 2000 CD Hoochie Man is the latest high (or make that low-down) point of a lengthy career creating music for when the lights are low and libidos are high. (Antone's, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

UNWOUND: They once wore the hat of up-and-comers, but now these 10-year veterans ply their dissonant craft as the elder statesmen of Olympia's Kill Rock Stars. They've stayed true to their off-kilter, atonal ways, and their upcoming double album Leaves Turn Inside You promises to be quite a statement. (Emo's, 1:15am) -- Michael Chamy

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