SXSW Picks & Sleepers

They Might Be Giants, Wednesday, March 13, La Zona Rosa, 11:30pm
They Might Be Giants, Wednesday, March 13, La Zona Rosa, 11:30pm

WEDNESDAY PICKS

All showcases subject to change

AREAOLA 51: This unruly Sangre De Toro spinoff features Max Brody, Brett Bradford, and Jeff Pinkus. Yes, that means you've got current or former members of Ministry, Scratch Acid, and the Butthole Surfers sharing the same stage. Add Pong's Jason Craig for a set-within-a-set gig by Insect Sex Act, and that spells chaos. The good kind. (Emo's, 8pm) -- Ken Lieck

MORTVILLE RECORDS PRESENTS: It's business as usual for one of the best local punk rock labels at one of the best local punk rock dives. Mortville has not so quietly herded up a stampede of hard-knocking, post-blues, soul-kicking DIY-ers, including the Ends, Slum City, the Put-Downs, Teen Cool, and kid-kicking scene faves Ignorance Park. Denton's Riverboat Gamblers are no exception, busting punkish chord progressions and red-devil rhythms that plenty of bands shoot for, but few put forth. The same could be said for Mortville. (Beerland, 8pm-1am) -- Jerry Renshaw

THE DISMUKES: Loud, thundering, jackhammer rock & roll. That's what this Austin trio produces in prodigious quantities. Erik Conn is as fierce and hard-hitting a drummer as you'll find, and Jacob Shulze and Tobin Scroggins on guitar and bass dish out the aural assault just as calm as you please. These guys plain rock. You need it. (Chile Pepper, 9pm) -- Christopher Hess

THE PEENBEETS: Don't believe the hype: You won't find Austin's pop sellouts on TV. Rather, this funnymen foursome, together in various incarnations since 1993, are following in the footsteps of the once-great Who by singing jingles and spoofing sitcoms for our greater amusement. Tempting fate, the 'Beets are releasing their second CD, The Peenbeets Get Cancelled (Starco), just in time for SXSW. (Opal Divine's, 9pm) -- Dan Oko

KITTY GORDON: Although their debut EP made them one of SXSW 1999's most buzzed about acts, Kitty Gordon (ex-Borrowers Nina Singh and Mark Addison) are a fiercely independent pop group heading up an artist-run label they helped create, India Records. Said label released last year's full-length Weather, intelligent modern pop that translated into a SXSW spent schmoozing in the Four Seasons lobby. (Iron Cactus, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

SXSW AND HIP-HOP MECCA PRESENT: Over the last two-plus years, Hip Hop Humpday has engulfed the Mercury stage every Wednesday night with spontaneous rhyming and hip-hop-jazz fusion. A local institution, the Humpday crew maintains home-field advantage by hosting a SXSW lineup that kicks off with DJ tandem Faust and Shortee. Included are the re-emerging Turtleheads, a local duo that's impacted the hometown scene with imaginative theatrics, and Circular Records' Seattle subsidiary Smoke, a journeyman who embodies the old hip-hop proverb, "It's not where you're from, but it's where you're at." Houston's K-Otix bring the noise. (Mercury, 9 pm-1am) -- Christopher Coletti

UNCLE SMITHEE'S ESOTERIC MUSIC EMANCIPATORS: Just in time for conference exploitation/promotion, ex-Bad Liver and all-around mensch Mark Rubin has put together a loose collective of Austin acoustic music groups devoted to traditional, vernacular, and roots music. The White Ghost Shivers play string band music of the Twenties and Thirties, while Dark Holler waxes nostalgic with country, bluegrass, and gospel. The critically acclaimed Shorty Long also focuses on novelty/jazz styles of the Twenties and Thirties; last year's Chickenboxer suggested real range and genuine comedy. Rubin's contribution is the Western-swingin' Ridgetop Syncopators, a fiddle-driven Thirties-styled outfit featuring Rubin's banjo and lead vocals. Dave Biller & Les Niglos, a sixpiece dedicated to Django Reinhardt "gypsy jazz" closes the show. (Gingerman, 9pm--1am) -- Andy Langer

HARLEM SLIM: Houston's Harlem Slim is a master of pre-WWII blues as performed by Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, and Johnny Shines. (Antone's, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

LOWERY 66: This Austin sixpiece's patchwork of violin-driven earthiness and alt-rock textures has quickly earned them the respect of their peers. As encouraging as their dynamic live sets is their first recording, June's Holiday With Genie, a collection of bittersweet, melodic, pop. (Iron Cactus, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

SUPAGROUP: Let's see, the first album was a live outing called We Came to Rock You, followed up with last year's Rock & Roll Tried to Ruin My Life. If you miss Bon Scott's AC/DC, New Orleans' Supagroup is for you. (Red Eyed Fly, 10pm) -- Michael Bertin

ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES PRESENTS: Jello Biafra's babies take over the last three-quarters of this night of mayhem at the 710. First up are the grandsons of Grand Punk Railroad, the Fleshies, followed by the long-awaited return of everyone's favorite frat-freakin', weenie-choppin' dyke-u-drama kings from Frisco, Tribe 8. Tuckin' it in tightly will be the manly sounds of Jad Fair's new pop thang, Strobe Talbot, while the Sabbath-meets-Spyro Gyra sounds of veteran jazz-punk pummelers Victims Family wait in the wings to crack your head open. (Room 710, 10pm-1am) -- Kate X Messer

YOUNG HEART ATTACK: An Austin supergroup of sorts that features members of Fastball and Sixteen Deluxe, Young Heart Attack is an exciting new addition to the local music scene. Their self-described goal is to "bring back simpler rock & roll," and their loud rawk squawk sound recalls the glory days of Humble Pie and Big Star. (Hard Rock Cafe, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

ZULU AS KONO: Though the name suggests Hawaiian intrigue, Zulu as Kono's cacophony is Rust Belt decay exemplified by bands like the Jesus Lizard. The Austin septet's sophomore disc, II (Perverted Son), showcases a knack for darting and weaving like an out-of-control machine with a vendetta. Their live shows are a sight (and sound) to behold, but be sure to bring OSHA-approved ear protection. (Elysium, 11pm) -- Greg Beets

CUTTHROATS 9: After dissolving Unsane following a decade of punishing, overdriven noise rock, frontman Chris Spencer moved from NYC to SF and started up the Cutthroats 9, channeling Unsane's dark, unforgiving brutality. Cutthroats 9 continues the power-trio legacy, with Spencer's heavily distorted vocals and super-fuzzy riffage leading the charge as always. (Emo's, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

MINK LUNGS: GBV by way of the Feelies. The four-track charm of this Brooklyn-based fourpiece is inescapable, but even with their Nineties DIY aesthetic, Mink Lungs feels a little out of time, like it's from a previous pop era. (Red Room, 11pm) -- Michael Bertin

GOD DRIVES A GALAXY: Don't climb in this cruiser if high-speed games of back alley chicken frighten you. Once upon an Austin, these indie guitar manhandlers woulda been the commercial side of Trance Syndicate, but last year's high octane debut, It's Late But I Feel Early, handled those deadman curves with the help of the equally local and Hydra-headed India Records label. (Iron Cactus, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

WE TALKED ABOUT MURDER: Having sliced onto the Austin rock scene a couple years ago with the sharp stab of their self-titled EP, We Talked About Murder sort of disappeared again. Shame it was, but it looks like they're giving locals another chance. They rock like Slint rocked -- intense, overwhelming, head-scratching shit. (Maggie Mae's, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

ORANGE MOTHERS: Long the reigning kings of quirky Austin rock, the Orange Mothers eschew obsolescence and prove a more vital musical force every time they rear their messy heads -- as with their most recent batch of delightful pop, Big Blue House. This band at this bar is a quintessential Austin music experience. (Hole in the Wall, 11pm) -- Christopher Hess

FLO MOB: Whatchu know about syrup-synthesized scenes of bass-popping Coupe de Villes? Turning out the house in the South, Flo Mob's Machiavellian game of the West and laxed Southern flava, basks in all the scents and warmth of real pleather. "This song is dedicated to luxury cars, fine broads, and green leafs." (Back Room, 11pm) -- Christopher Coletti

MALFORD MILLIGAN & FRIENDS: The soaring tenor of Malford Milligan has been a part of Austin bands from Stick People to Storyville to Double Trouble. His rich, soulful tones are in much demand, as his latest CD, The Gospel According to Austin, Vol. 2 attests, or his shows with Funky London and most recently L.A.'s Boneshakers. (Steamboat, midnight) -- Margaret Moser

LIBBI BOSWORTH: One of Austin's most dynamic country stars, Libbi Bosworth returned to the scene in 2001 with her critically praised sophomore CD Libbiville. The Washington Post raved that she's "as Texas as armadillo eggs." So's her wonderful voice and sassy stage presence. (Broken Spoke, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

LORD DOUGLAS PHILLIPS: Between the three of them, drummer Terri Lord (Sincola, the Jitters), bassist Darcie Douglas (Swine King, Girls in the Nose), and guitarist Gretchen Phillips (Two Nice Girls, Meat Joy) have over 60 years invested in the Austin music scene. The super trio's shows are an exercise in rocking hilarity and uncommon wit. (Hole in the Wall, midnight) -- Greg Beets

CHRIS BROKAW: Always Come's secret weapon, Chris Brokaw steps out from under Thalia Zedek's shadows to showcase his prodigious musical talent. In addition to his underrated presence in Come, Brokaw has contributed to Pullman and the Willard Grant Conspiracy, as well as the excellent post-Bedhead troupe the New Year. (The Drink on 6th, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

THE GLORIA RECORD After a two-year incubation period, the Gloria Record, featuring frontman Chris Simpson and bassist Jeremy Gomez of emo pioneers Mineral, are ready to shine. Their debut full-length, Start Here (Arena Rock Recording Co.), wraps Simpson's voice in a bewitching keyboard-dominated mix that exudes raw emotion. (Red Room, midnight) -- Michael Chamy

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: John Linnell and John Flansburgh did much to expand their cult following by composing "Boss of Me," the insidiously catchy, Grammy-winning theme to Malcolm in the Middle. Last year's Mink Car (Restless), TMBG's first studio album in five years, captures the highly stylized pop geekiness of their 1990 breakthrough, Flood. This year, a boxed anthology and film, Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns, celebrate the duo's 20 years in music. (La Zona Rosa, 11:30pm) -- Greg Beets

THE FLAMETRICK SUBS: Formed in 1989 by vocalist Buster Crash and guitarist Clem Hoot, and currently featuring drummer Miss Fortune and bassist Peggy Suicide, this Austin psychobilly act has become a local institution thanks to Saturday slots with Satan's Cheerleaders at the Black Cat. (Hard Rock Cafe, 12:30am) -- David Lynch

DJ COLETTE: Hailing from a town where genuinely talented DJs have become as commonplace as awesome sunsets -- L.A. -- DJ Colette is memorable as much for the fact that she sings -- live, no less -- over the housy tracks she spins. A classically trained singer who began as a child prodigy, her Nettwerk debut, Our Day, fuses soaring vocals to a rock-steady progressive groove. (Element, 12:30am) -- Marc Savlov

THE HISSYFITS: When Greil Marcus calls your music "perfect," you distinguish yourself at Joey Ramone's birthday bash, and become one of the toasts of the Rockrgrl/Ladyfest set, Hissyfits are in order. Think Go-Go's if they were from NYC and belonged on the Bay Area's Lookout! label, from whence came the Donnas. (Red Eyed Fly, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

DYNAMITE BOY: It hardly seems like seven years ago that ex-Big Boy Chris Gates was telling everyone he knew about a young punk band called Dynamite Boy. While they find a deal for a recently completed LP, they've just released a punk cover of the Backstreet Boys, "I Want it That Way" from the Fearless Records, Punk Goes Pop compilation. (Emo's Jr., 1am) -- Andy Langer

LAZY COWGIRLS: L.A.'s veteran country-punkers at the Hole in the Wall? Where are the Hickoids? This bomb should go off like the time the Humpers almost tore the ceiling fan off the Drag-bound landmark club. Wear your beer-soaking duds. (Hole in the Wall, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

THE DWARVES: Proving that sleazecore isn't just a fancy trend, S.F.'s Dwarves, who with Blood Guts & Pussy are responsible for one of the most disturbing album covers ever, are still scarier at 90 second intervals than is probably safe. It's doubtful the band will need its full 40 minutes, as a good Dwarves show can clock in at 15 minutes before equipment starts flying. (Emo's, 1am) -- Michael Bertin

GAHDZILLA MOTOR CO.: Led by Texas Music Hall of Famer and Dangerous Toy Jason McMaster, Gahdzilla Motor Co. stand tall as Austin's most heavy and surprisingly melodic metal band. While they've sidestepped nü-metal gimmickry with no-bullshit old-school metal, why the phrase "unsigned" appears in their SXSW "Pick" yet again remains a mystery. (Metro, 1am) -- Andy Langer

BROWN WHÖRNET: Think Zappa, Dolphy, and Coltrane if they all drank too much malt liquor and maybe sniffed Liquid Paper. Austin's Brown Whörnet is probably not your mother's favorite band, but their gear-switching progressive punk skronk, squeak, honk, and blast is a unique brew worthy of having more than a few 40s at. (Elysium, 1am) -- Jerry Renshaw

THE PEE WEE FIST: The sprawling pop constructions of Boston collective the Pee Wee Fist leans threatheningly into the realm of masterpiece. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Peter Fitzpatrick is all over the place, having done time in Clem Snide and fronting his own "avant-klezmer" group, Naftule's Dream. It's not often that pop this imaginative and completely realized comes down the pike. (The Drink on 6th, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

+/-: Plus or minus is Versus guitarists James Baluyut and Patrick Ramos plus Tuscadero bassist Margaret McCartney and ex-local Chris Deaner on drums -- minus the decibels. Their Self-Titled Long-Playing Debut Album equals glistening, programmed pop. (Rehab Lounge, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

MY MORNING JACKET: Hooray for the new Americana. On their latest Darla effort At Dawn, My Morning Jacket main man Jim James looses a batch of reverb-drenched pastoral hymns that launch a subtle Neil Young twang into a soaring Galaxie 500 orbit. Like the Red House Painters last year, My Morning Jacket is the perfect tonic for drowning away the SXSW bustle in a sea of dreamy longing. (Buffalo Billiards, 1am) -- Michael Chamy

ZENTRUM: Austin is blessed to have the Friend of Dean Martin(ez) living here, steel squealer Bill Elm. Cursed, however, are those of us caught in the middle of his long-distance relationship with the rest of the band. For this liason with a few local buddies, Elm promises to go beyond FODM's instrumental outer limits. (Ritz Lounge, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

OVERLORD: Last April, this six-time Austin Music Award winner released his fifth, and most compelling set, the Vallejo-produced All Good Things. While he's still unsigned, the unapologetically popular 6-foot-5 MC just keeps moving forward -- playing with his funk band, testing out an alter-ego with his Black Day project, and working on All Good Things' follow-up. (Steamboat, 1am) -- Andy Langer

BUSHWICK BILL: Having put H-town on the hip-hop map with the Geto Boys, Bushwick Bill's propensity for spinning florid tales of extreme, misogyny-laced gore rival Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer in the ability to shock and disgust. Bushwick's latest album, 2001's Universal Small Souljah (Nu Wave) continues in this vein with tracks like "U Gonna Be My Bitch." (Back Room, 1am) -- Greg Beets

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