SXSW Picks & Sleepers

Michelle Malone
Michelle Malone

Thursday Sleepers


RED PLANET: San Francisco's Red Planet pens melodic guitar-pop songs festooned with New Wave revival keyboards, harmonica, and even sitar ("Be My Yoko"). Taken as a whole, though, 2000's Revolution 33 makes it clear that the quartet loves the late-Seventies power pop of bands like 20/20 most. Combined with nostalgia-soaked lyrics about vinyl and schoolboy crushes, Red Planet takes you back. (Emo's Jr., 8pm) -- Greg Beets

DJ JACQUELINE: The woman behind local house legends Ladybug Productions hasn't exactly been a fixture on the scene of late, which makes her SXSW slot all the more notable. Slippery, phat grooves as delicious as this don't come around often, and Jacqueline is rightfully heralded as one of the River City's finest, funkiest haus-fraus. (Texture, 8pm) -- Marc Savlov

JESS KLEIN: Not to be confused with local Jeff Klein, although they're both singer-songwriters and even once roomed together in Boston, this Klein is female and still lives in Beantown. Last year's Rykodisc bow Draw Them Near earned both critical acclaim and solid AAA radio play for its deft mixture of rock, folk, and pop. (Iron Cactus, 8pm) -- Andy Langer

HAYSEED/DIXIE: Originally AC/Dixie, this band from Tennessee's Appalachian Mountains melds the songs of our favorite Aussie hard-rockers to bluegrass instruments. Whether it works or not is up to the listener, but it's an original idea and these boys do have serious chops. (Maggie Mae's, 8pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

DIXIE WITCH: This power trio is Denton's prime entry in the burgeoning Texas School of Big Dumb Rock. The name reflects their Southern-fried pedigree, but the fist-pumping formula pays homage to John Rutsey-era Rush. Their solo-heavy noise is the perfect soundtrack for a heavy metal basement keg party that gets broken up by the cops. (Red Eyed Fly, 8pm) -- Greg Beets

THE DISHES: Not to be confused with the Eighties Houston kitsch-pop group, Chicago's Dishes are a sneering garage-punk quartet driven by the clean-cut angularity of Wire. Vocalist/guitarist Sarah Staskauskas sings herky-jerk tunes like "French Kissing" with a tortured, angry sensuality that shouldn't be missed. Alternative Press named them a "Band to Watch" in 2001. (Emo's, 8pm) -- Greg Beets

PALOALTO: More often than not, Rick Rubin knows best, and he didn't just sign this Los Angeles pop act to American, he also produced their self-titled debut. The result is one of last year's most grossly overlooked albums, a fine collection of sharp songcraft that nicely bridges Matthew Sweet, Foo Fighters, and the Flaming Lips. (La Zona Rosa, 8pm) -- Andy Langer

CARGO RECORDS SHOWCASE: Cargo Records is a San Diego-based umbrella group that includes the Headhunter, Tackle Box, Earth Music, Grilled Cheese, and Re-Constriction labels, so it's no surprise they can easily fill up their own showcase. This one begins with North Canton, Ohio, (near Cleveland) trio Sparechange00, whose brand of crunchy guitar, kinetic drumming, and emotional, screamy vox in some ways recall a young Hüsker Dü. Charlotte, N.C.'s Lou Ford continues with twangy harmony vocals couched in orchestrated pop and folky rock. Potential future touring mates of Son Volt or Wilco, Sacramento-based Forever Goldrush keeps things going with their open-hearted lyrics delivered like Hothouse Flowers. The showcase bows out with Chicago's the Firebird Band, who exude gadget-friendly Windy City indie rock. (Blind Pig Pub, 9pm-midnight) -- David Lynch

VIOLET CROWN: Seems like former Standing Wave Larry Seaman got "86ed" from this year's Austin Music Awards tribute to the local alt.scene of the mid-Eighties. No matter, Seaman's been making "New Sincerity" sounds ever since, his latest venture taking a page from last year's AMA all-star guest John Cale and featuring a cello. (Rainbow Cattle Co., 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

THE YOUNG HEART ATTACK: At their first and only gig in January, this all-star assortment of Austin rockers (ex-Sixteen Deluxe, ex-Barkers, Fastball) blew the back doors off the Hole in the Wall and raised the real possibility that frontman Chris Hodge is the reincarnation of Bon Scott. (The Metro, 9pm) -- Christopher Gray

THE PILOT SHIPS: Two members of Austin's Monroe Mustang collaborate with Brian McBride (Stars of the Lid) and Cheree Jetton (bees are black) to create a aural palette that's intensely atmospheric yet driven by a solemn, passionate melodic thrust. At their first live gig since 1998, they'll showcase their brilliant The Limits of Painting and Poetry, which features the centerpiece to the score of acclaimed indie film George Washington. (Ritz Lounge, 9pm) -- Michael Chamy

PEGLEGASUS: Flavors of the month may come and go, but Austin's Peglegasus can always be counted on for a tight-knit hoedown of SST proportions. Their new Waltzes features an invigorating hodgepodge of instrumental exercises ranging from the austere to the avant-garde. Their classic rock covers make no such pretensions. (Room 710, 9pm) -- Christopher Hess


THE CUTS: This Oakland-based garage-punk quintet borrows liberally from both the Nuggets-style punk of the Sixties, the Saints/Real Kids axiom of the Seventies, and the Lyres/Fuzztones sound of the Eighties. The result is a flurry of grunting vocals, crunching guitars, and harrowing organ tones that further enhance their slightly sinister appeal. (Emo's Jr., 9pm) -- Greg Beets

SUPAGROUP: Supagroup stands out like a lighthouse in my drunken SXSW 2000 fog, rattling the windows of the Warehouse District as they attacked Guns 'N' Roses' "Night Train." Or was it "Rocket Queen"? Whatever -- the New Orleanians (and frequent Austin visitors) specialize in ass-kicking cock-rock turned up to 11, so if you don't like it, don't block the damn stage. (Red Eyed Fly, 9pm) -- Christopher Gray

KEVIN FOWLER: His stint in Dangerous Toys now several lifetimes ago, this local country-radio darling offers a strong live draw and a knack for storytelling that's alternately witty and gritty. His two solos releases, One For the Road and last year's Beer, Bait, & Ammo, are full-on honky-tonk blueprints for Fowler's prime directive: "beer drinkin', hell raisin', and getting' rowdy." (Broken Spoke, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

SCHATZI: Austin's 101X has been spinning the title track from this hometown pop group's Death of the Alphabet EP since September, while a full album produced by Ed Rose is only awaiting a home. Word is it'll be an indie, but that hasn't stopped the major label vultures from circling. And who can blame 'em? Radio-ready pop acts with live chops this solid deserve the attention. (The Metro, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

GINO SITSON: Born in Cameroon and now calling Paris home, this multi-instrumentalist is cut from the same vocal cloth as Al Jarreau and Bobby McFerrin, but this former student of the Sorbonne also draws inspiration from his Central-West African birthplace. His unique form of mouth music is well represented on his second solo album, Song Zin', on French label Scalen International. (Ruta Maya Coffee House, 10pm) -- David Lynch

ELIZA: Hailing from Detroit, Eliza is a singer-songwriter in the mold of Patrice Pike and Joan Osborne; her brand of pop straddles the blues-rock fence. Her debut, I'm Waiting, is on legendary Motown songwriter Barrett Strong's Blarritt Records. (Lucy's, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

TROY YOUNG CAMPBELL: Man vs. Beast (1999) marked this former Loose Diamond's critically acclaimed transition from roots-rock to more experimental singer-songwriter fare. Plans call for a spring re-release of his first band the Highwaymen's 10-year-old Live Texas Radio, so here's a chance to sample new material before he leaves for eight weeks in Ireland. (Speakeasy, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

TAHITI 80: When French people aren't rioting in front of McDonald's, they're grooving to Tahiti 80. The Parisian popsters' burbling robodisco ode "I.S.A.A.C" is but one piece of their Minty Fresh CD Puzzle; so haute you half expect Serge Gainesbourg to come out of the speaker and start hitting on his daughter. Sacre bleu! (Waterloo Brewing Co., 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

ANDERS OSBORNE: Anders Osborne is a New Orleans-based blues/funk guitarist originally from Sweden. He's just released Ash Wednesday Blues, his third for Shanachie, which features guest appearances by Johnny Lang, Keb' Mo', Cyrille Neville, and Davell Crawford; it's another foray into his original blend of roots music filtered through the magic of the Crescent City. (The Hideout, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

DAMON RAY: If last year's dissolution of Chapel Hill stalwarts Jennyanykind marked the end of a small but influential indie rock institution, then the arrival of Damon Ray signals the start of another. Lead singer-songwriter-guitarist Michael Holland continues what he started with Jennyanykind's I Need You, mixing elements of dub with the Appalachian rock for new take on the "love song." (Copper Tank North, 10pm) -- Christopher Hess

MOONLIGHTERS: New York City's Moonlighters feature former Helmet bassist Henry Bogdan and Bliss Blood, ex-vocalist for Texas noise-rock band the Pain Teens, but no punk here: The Moonlighters mix old-timey Hawaiian music and 1930s-style pop into a decidedly different blend that's both refreshing and modern. (Maggie Mae's, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

EARLIMART: This California quartet holds the flag high for those tired of music that doesn't rock. Earlimart took the gentle, stripped-down pop of their debut and integrated it into a ferocious caterwaul on last year's Kingdom of Champions (Devil in the Woods). The hooks emerge from the quagmire revitalized à la Incesticide. (Opal Divine's Freehouse, 10pm) -- Michael Chamy

HOUSEHOLD NAMES: Austin is so awash in hooky pop groups, all we need are red double-decker buses (we already have a Tower). Household Names aren't that quite yet, but 2000's The Trouble With Being Nice was something you could jam to in the car or kick back and enjoy live with equally stimulating results. And the keyboard player has a better Afro than At the Drive-In (Downstairs at the Loft, 10pm) -- Christopher Gray

CATHERINE TRAN: The U.K.'s Catherine Tran has been creating quite a buzz. In 2000, the young singer-songwriter was invited by Robert Plant to perform as opening act for his UK tour; she's also supported Van Morrison and Loudon Wainwright. (Pecan St. Ale House, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

RON WILKINS: There aren't enough young trombone players out in the jazz field of dreams currently, so lucky for Austin that Ron Wilkins lives just down the road in San Antonio and visits often. "More 'bone in the zone" should be his motto, because he plays it like he means it. (Elephant Room, 10:15pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

Clay Blaker
Clay Blaker

OH SUSANNA: Born Suzie Ungerleider in Northampton, Mass., Oh Susanna is a singer-songwriter from Ontario who creates and delivers an atmospheric mix of blues, country, and folk with a great deal of soul and sensitivity. Recently signed to the Catamount label, her third CD Sleepy Eyed Sailor comes out at the end of March. (Saengerrunde Hall, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

HADACOL: Named after a potent cough syrup that happened to be one of Hank Sr.'s drinks of choice, Kansas City's Hadacol lays on the melancholy twang while still rocking hard enough to require a shot of whiskey to steady the ol' nerves. For proof, take a shot of their Checkered Past disc, Better Than This. (Speakeasy, 11pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

MUNDY: This Dublin-based singer-songwriter offered Radiohead-style dramatics before Radiohead was cool, but despite rave reviews for 1997's Jelly Legs and a track on the multiplatinum Romeo & Juliet soundtrack, he's without a deal for his sophomore set. If preview "Mayday" is any indication, it shouldn't take long to find one. (Iron Cactus, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

RAGING SLAB: Austin, Pa.'s "Anointed Purveyors of Dynamite Monster Boogie" once led Butthead to observe, "Heh-heh, they're like Skynyrd … but cool." It's been 15 years since 1986's Assmaster and for the first time in four years, co-founders Greg Strzempka and Elyse Steinman are on the road supporting a new record, Dealer. (Back Room, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

GOUDIE: Last year, Austin's Goudie released a great album at the wrong time for radio; their pop-driven Peep Show was heavy and hard-rockin', but in a decidedly un-Bizkit way. That doesn't make frontman Johnny Goudie any less a rock-star-in-waiting, while a year of roadwork alongside Unified Theory has clearly made them a better live outfit. (Rainbow Cattle Co., 11pm) -- Andy Langer

MICHELLE MALONE: Atlanta's Michelle Malone is a shining example of a singer-songwriter whose career began not long before SXSW itself, and has used the festival to her advantage over the years. A contemporary of the Indigo Girls in post-R.E.M. Georgia, Malone's last CD was her seventh, 1999's Homegrown, with wry lyrics sandwiched between balladry and biting rock, dappled with jazz, blues, and strong pop inflections. (Maggie Mae's, 11pm) -- Margaret Moser

MEM SHANNON: New Orleans' Mem Shannon may have been a hack, but it's certainly no reflection on his songwriting. In fact, driving a Crescent City cab for years and years supplied him with a wealth of material he's put it to good use on a string of recent albums. Take him up on his offer to Spend Some Time With Me, and you won't regret it. (The Hideout, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

SERGE LOPEZ: Playing music of the Pyrenees, the mountain range bordering France and Spain, Serge Lopez throws in some North African rhythms for good measure (perhaps owing to his Moroccan birth). This gut-string guitarist also performed the music for the film Western, which won the Best Soundtrack award at Cannes, and his proficient confluence of flamenco and jazz can be found on recent album Baratillo. (Ruta Maya Coffee House, 11pm) -- David Lynch

THE MARTINETS: Being in the Scooch Pooch pound pretty much barks for itself, but then so does being honorary Ramone Daniel Rey, gee-tar, and King Missile's rhythm section, drummer Roger Murdock, and bassist Dave Rick (also of Bongwater fame). I can't decide whether to break out a skinny tie, a scarf, or just wear leather. Bring that lower East Side sound, boys. (Hole in the Wall, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

JOHN VANDERSLICE: Former MK Ultra singer/ guitarist John Vanderslice garnered plenty of raves for his 2000 solo effort, Mass Suicide Occult Figurines (Barsuk). He also managed to stir up press by claiming he was being harassed by Microsoft for the song "Bill Gates Must Die" before revealing the whole thing was a prank. His multitextured body of off-kilter pop songs is just as clever. (Buffalo Billards, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

MOKE: Promoting their self-titled debut for Ultimatum Music at SXSW 99, these Brit-rockers played six shows in conjunction with the festival, which made Austin one of the strongest markets. They return with an as yet-untitled July follow-up produced by Paul Stacey (Oasis). (The Metro, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

FIVER: It's no coincidence Fiver inhabits the same Modesto, Calif., town as Grandaddy. The same brand of naive slack-pop is here, using the same ingredients: delay pedals, distortion, and warm analog synths. They haven't hit a Sophtware Slump yet, but 2000's Strings for Satellites was a step in the right direction. (Opal Divine's Freehouse, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

AMERICAN STEEL: Founded in 1996, this Bay Area band does full-throttle punk with the occasional ska tune thrown in for variety. Despite their scorched-earth mentality, American Steel's 1999 Lookout! release, Rogue's March, manages to exude a remarkable degree of hope in a genre whose second nature is detached hopelessness. (Emo's Jr., 11pm) -- Greg Beets

SPEEDEALER: Dallas' Speedealer tries to out-Zeke Zeke on their self-titled CD, all paddle-beat drums, overheated guitars, and kerosene vocals. Know what? They give them Seattle boys a run for their money. Watch your eardrums. (Red Eyed Fly, 11pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

CLAY BLAKER: New Braunfels' Blaker may not be a household name for most folks, but he's penned songs for the likes of George Strait, Mark Chesnutt, LeAnn Rimes, and Clay Walker. His new CD Welcome to the Wasteland shows he has a voice to back up his songwriting abilities. He surfs, too. (Maggie Mae's, midnight) -- Jerry RenshawGWENMARS: This L.A. trio returned to the racks just last week with Driving a Million, a collection described in their bio as "shoegazer drone, fuzz-drenched grunge, mod power-pop, punk rock, and synth-pop gurgle." Equally promising is word that this hard-touring outfit travels with their own array of strobe lights, fog, and bubble machines. (The Metro, midnight) -- Andy LangerCRUD: One of the best frontmen of the last decade was Detroit's Vinnie Dombroski, who as lead singer of Sponge did Iggy 'n' Ziggy better than anyone 'til Jonathan Rhy-Meyers in Velvet Goldmine. Reunited with a couple of his bandmates and Motor City's Robbie Graham of Hoarse, Dombroski's gone White Zombie. Given that live, Rob Z comes off like Ray Benson with lots of pyrotechnics, Dawn of the Dead comes early Friday morning. (Lucy's, midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez


GLEN PHILLIPS: Last seen at L.A.'s Largo, haven for the fallen and/or unsung pop songwriter, Glen Phillips opened at Jon Brion's birthday gig. This wee one, once of Toad the Wet Sprocket, seemed as heartsunk as ever. Still, upon request, he pulled out Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke." A live album of his Largo gigs is available on the Internet, as is an album of new material. (Iron Cactus, midnight)0 -- Mindy LaBernz

DUMPTRUCK: Through thick and thin, Austin's Seth Tiven has kept Dumptruck alive. Their latest release, Lemmings Travel to the Sea, is one disc of new material that's lyrically dark, rocks hard, and twangs in some places, just like always. The second disc features live performances recorded in 1986 and 1988 at CBGB's and is a must-listen for longtime fans. (Opal Divine's Freehouse, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

SHANNON WRIGHT: This ex-Crowsdell songstress cut a remarkably edgy album in last year's Quarterstick release Maps of Tacit, which teeters on the brink between introspection and outburst, thanks to an imaginative series of dissonant chord progressions. (Scottish Rite Theatre, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

FRIGG A-GO-GO: With 1999's Winning Cause (Scooch Pooch), this fiery garage-punk outfit from Lafayette, La., delivered a faithful approximation of a 1966 Friday night teen hop at the K of C Hall. Despite an isolated incident of indecent exposure that had gape-mouthed Japanese fans a-shutterbuggin' at their 2000 SXSW showcase, few bands better embody the fundamental tenets of the Standells/Seeds phylum. (Hole in the Wall, midnight) -- Greg Beets

PETER PAN SPEEDROCK: Lemmy Kilminster moves to the Netherlands. (Red Eyed Fly, midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

ADOLFO'S REVERSAL: This young Austin quartet has just released its self-titled debut EP on Sixgunlover, our local answer to Thrill Jockey. The silent-movie organ, weird time signatures, and overall eerieness make for quite a funhouse, but who is Adolfo? (Copper Tank Main, midnight) -- Christopher Gray

HOPEWELL: The gleaming rivers of fuzzy, effects-laden flourishes, and high-toned wispy melodies evoke the earlier, more rockin' incarnations of the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, whom Hopewell frontmen Jason and Justin Russo played with on tour and in the Golden Crickets. The New Yorkers' latest, The Curved Glass, has them revisiting this fertile ground with Technicolor-hued euphoria. (Room 710, 1am) -- Michael Chamy

PATRICE PIKE: Although Sister Seven continues to tour and record as if 2000's Wrestling Over Tiny Matters hadn't gotten lost in Arista's shakeup confusion, frontwoman Patrice Pike continues to squeeze in casual solo gigs when her schedule permits. Even those who don't dig S7 often report being impressed at the depth of her solo fare. (Iron Cactus, 1am) -- Andy Langer

MALFORD MILLIGAN: Malford Milligan's gospel-inflected blues have graced many a project, most notably Storyville, and most recently Funky London and Double Trouble's new album. His command coupled with powerhouse vocals make him a most in-demand player, not easy in a town packed with talent. (Momo's, 1am) -- Margaret Moser

CORY MORROW: Austin's Cory Morrow is one of the new breed of performers bringing Texas music to a wider audience. Influenced by Robert Earl Keen and Jerry Jeff Walker, he's generated quite a buzz and has developed a rapidly growing following among Texas college students. His latest, the double-live Double Exposure, shows both his acoustic and electric sides. (Maggie Mae's, 1am) -- Jim Caligiuri

THE PALADINS: San Diego's Paladins were doing the roots rock thing long before alt-country feebs discovered Western wear and Telecasters. Think the Blasters with more attitude, as on their '99 Ruf Records release Slippin' In, (Continental Club, 1am) -- Jerry Renshaw

RHYTHM OF BLACK LINES: Austin's ROBL spews forth a quirky brand of math-rock rooted as much in Neal Peart-style shifty time signatures as Chicago-style jazz-inflected post-rock. Their mostly instrumental Set a Summery Table has its share of erudite moments, but the band's propensity for the groove and a subtle sense of humor brands them a party band at heart. (Copper Tank Main, 1am) -- Michael Chamy

BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE: Easily one of the best-named groups in rock & roll, San Francisco mod-punks Brian Jonestown Massacre have themselves perpetrated a few things that would make even the Stones guitarist blanch, and he's been dead since 1969. (Hole in the Wall, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

ENEMYMINE: Enemymine was born in a baptism of fire and ice, with bassist Zac Sally of slo-core songsters Low hooking up with Mike Kunka of earth-scorching noise purveyors godheadSilo. Sally soon left the fold, but Kunka recruited a replacement lineup for recent full-length debut The Ice in Me, a titanium vessel stocked to the gills with Kunka's Northwestern brutality, yet tempered with an array of slowly-developing noble gases. (Waterloo Brewing Co., 1am) -- Michael Chamy

BEDBUG: Like their closest cousins Subset and Silver Scooter, Austin three (sometimes four)-piece Bedbug plays contemplative pop fixated on the precarious tension between getting older and acting younger. Their 2001 debut Happiest of Hours is good sitting at your desk, good late at night alone in your room, and twice as good at the Ritz or Red Eyed Fly. (Downstairs at the Loft, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

REV. KATHY RUSSELL: A long time ago, the Rev. was a member of seminal Austin junglista crew Rollers Redefined. These days the jungle queen has a slew of independent releases ("Much Ruffa," "Whirlwind") under her wing and heads her own production company, Manifest. Jungle dead? Nah, mate, the smell's just sumpin' in yer underpants, innit? (The Empire, 1am) -- Marc Savlov

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