SXSW Picks and Sleepers

Thursday Picks

All showcase times subject to change. Please check official SXSW schedule.

NARAS PRESENTS: … the Austin Music Awards' new Super Bowl champs, Del Castillo, Austin's explosive version of the Gipsy Kings. Jorge Moreno brings Miami next, and he better bring plenty, going on before Monterrey's Tejano version of Slipknot, Big Circo, accordions, black T's, mime make-up y todo. Headlining this annual outdoors piñata for la gente, David Lee Garza. (Auditorium Shores, 6-10pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

LOOKOUT! RECORDS SHOWCASE: Though the Berkeley, Ca.-based label remains steeped in East Bay pop-punk, this year's Lookout! showcase branches out considerably from the Green Day/ Operation Ivy axiom. Oakland's Communiqué mixes New Wave with a hint of soul and a lotta pop on their recent six-song EP, A Crescent Honeymoon. Also from Oakland, the Cost plies a darker, angrier prog-punk dynamic reminiscent of D.C. bands like Fugazi and Gray Matter on their debut full-length, Chimera, which leaves you tense and breathless. Tampa's the Washdown takes garage punk and combines it with the dirty grind of Jon Spencer and Mick Taylor-era Stones. The quintet's debut EP from last year is a bright light that burns out before you make it to second base. Led by singer/guitarist Roman Kuebler, Baltimore's the Oranges Band have an upcoming full-length debut, All Around, that's more pop-oriented than their earlier art-punk. Pretty Girls Make Graves is a hypercaffeinated punk troupe from Seattle that combines the hypnotic angularity of Six Finger Satellite with the boy-girl tension of Buttsteak. Their debut, Good Health, may be the best punk album you didn't hear last year. Closing is the incredible Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. Though the Jersey-bred songwriter conveys the frustration of forbears like Billy Bragg, Leo's golden ear for pop gives his political songs transcendent heft. His new Hearts of Oak is a wellspring of beat-happy intrigue. (Emo's Jr., 8pm-2am) -- Greg Beets

BUBBLE CORE SHOWCASE: Brooklyn's Bubble Core label has carved itself a unique niche in the cluttered world of electronic and post-rock music. "Less House, More Home" ought to be their motto, with artists such as the trippy, breezy Nautilis ("20,000 Leagues Under the Beat?"), Tijuana-based Murcof/Leaf (whose remix work includes the Kronos Quartet), the melodic pop-tone indie blast of the Swirlies, and Fat Cat DJ Alex Knight, as well as Seen and DJ Tony Morley also on this hectic, eclectic bill. (Maggie Mae's, 8pm-2am) -- Marc Savlov

SALLY CREWE: London's Sally Crewe spent a holiday in Austin last year to record her debut, Drive It Like You Stole It (12XU), with Spooners Britt Daniel and Jim Eno. As Daniel and Eno explore their inner Elastica, Crewe's Shirley Manson feistiness and Lush-ous charisma announce the arrival of an impressive new talent. She also drives Sir Paul's old Aston Martin. (BD Riley's, 8pm) -- Christopher Gray

JAY FARRAR: In the annals of, it's hard to overestimate the contributions of Jay Farrar. Along with fellow Belleville, Ill., native Jeff Tweedy, he founded Uncle Tupelo way back in 1989 and went on to Son Volt. Now that Son Volt has set, Farrar carries his stark, rural sensibilities on to Artemis Records for Thirdshiftgrottoslack. (Austin Music Hall, 8pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

SWORDS PROJECT: Seven members strong, the Swords Project is the Godspeed You! Black Emperor of Portland, Ore., only with fewer strings and a more soothing edge. Their compelling debut EP on Absolutely Kosher was recorded a month after their formation, and the brand-new Entertainment Is Over If You Want It is set for release in May on the Arena Rock Recording Company. (Buffalo Billiards, 8pm) -- Michael Chamy

THE WOGGLES: Kicking around the Southeast since 1987, Athens, Ga.'s Woggles traffic in Sixties-style trash rock, with plenty of garage and R&B in their PBR-soaked souls. Cheap guitars, dime-store Farfisa organ, and plenty of butt-wiggling beats keep things going at a Woggles show. (Emo's Main, 8pm) -- Jerry Renshaw

BMI SHOWCASE: BMI's annual SXSW showcase begins with Australia's the Tenants, who are followed by Omaha's Neva Dinova, an emotive fivepiece that plays like a sprawling, Great Plains version of Radiohead. Nashville quintet modlang trades in slick, ethereal pop; their self-released Chelsea Days EP just hit the streets. Owing as much to Atari as Kraftwerk, Portland's the Helio Sequence is a discombobulated retro-techno pop duo that coaxes more out of their instruments than their ranks would suggest on their fine 2001 effort, Young Effectuals (Cavity Search). Dallas-based hard rockers Jibe combine the slow-burning ennui of Soundgarden and Alice in Chains on their fourth full-length, Uprising. At closing time, London's Happylife eschews the snappy pop of their homeland in favor of harmonic alt-rock in the vein of Bush. (Speakeasy, 8pm-12:30am) -- Greg Beets

KAKI KING: Already respected at hallowed guitar temples like North Hampton's Ironhorse and NYC's Knitting Factory, this nimble-fingered 23-year-young detuned, retuned one-woman wunderkind is coming off a California jaunt with David Lindley. Get ready to scrape your jaw off the floor. (Mercury, 8:30pm) -- Kate X Messer

POP CULTURE PRESS SHOWCASE: If you're an aficionado of pure pop music, the Pop Culture Press showcase is likely to be your SXSW money shot this year. We start off with the Golden Apples, an Austin quartet that mines the legacies of Badfinger and the Small Faces. Next up is Nashville's the Shazam, whose 1997 debut was one of the decade's best Anglo-American pop concoctions. Kentucky's Bill Lloyd was one-half of the top-selling Eighties country duo Foster & Lloyd, but he never lost his soft spot for power pop. Tulsa's 20/20 put out their self-titled debut in 1979, hitting a bull's-eye with New Wave nuggets like "Yellow Pills" and "Remember the Lightning." Bassist/vocalist Ron Flynt is now based in Austin. Another native Tulsan, Dwight Twilley, closes the show "(I'm) on Fire." (Aussie's, 9pm-2am) -- Greg Beets

MICHAEL PENN: Though songsmith Michael Penn hasn't released an album since 2000's MP4, he's been all over compilations recently, paying tribute to everyone from the Beatles to the Boss. No matter how strong these tunes may be, this man's strength is in his own written words and melodies. (Austin Music Hall, 9pm) -- Christopher Hess

CORY BRANAN: Equal parts Jack Ingram and John Prine, this Memphis singer-songwriter's debut, The Hell You Say, stands as one of last year's lost gems; it's an instantly engaging collection of witty, self-effacing narratives that suggest "lost" isn't likely to apply much longer. (Pecan Street Alehouse, 9pm) -- Andy Langer

THE PROM: The pristine chamber pop of Seattle's the Prom awaits a follow-up to 2002's Barsuk eye-opener, Under the Same Stars, and with the breakthrough of thoughtful indie orchestrations by tourmates like Bright Eyes, piano lovers will be primed for the Prom's sad-eyed and sincere wallflower waltzes. (Mother Egan's, 9pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

THE SIX PARTS SEVEN: There's no shortage of superlatives to pin on Kent, Ohio's the Six Parts Seven. The septet's songs are things of beauty, a series of movements that flows like transcontinental air masses. Last year's Things Shaped in Passing is instrumental indie rock at its most honest and pure. (Roxy, 9pm) -- Christopher Hess

SUPAGROUP: This New Orleans hard rock act combines the jackhammer assault of AC/DC with the pelvic twang of the Black Crowes. Led by guitarist brothers Chris and Benji Lee, Supagroup self-released their second Jack Endino-produced CD, Rock & Roll Tried to Ruin My Life, in January. (Red Eyed Fly, 10pm) -- Greg Beets

STARFLYER 59: Despite his Fashion Focus, Jason Martin is not a man of the cloth. He may be on Christian stronghold Tooth & Nail, but Martin's simply a purveyor of first-rate pop. He's known to pray at the altar of shoegaze, yet recent releases peel back some of the sonic layering, allowing the pop to shine on. (Hideout, 10pm) -- Michael Chamy

SIMIAN: Simian may not be monkeying around, but that doesn't mean they don't get off on public masturbation in a cage while 10-year-olds loft overripe bananas their way. OK, it does, but their sophomore CD, Astralwerks' new We Are Your Friends is still god-awful fun despite the overboard pop-song restructuring that make their guitar-and-melody-driven Brit pop sound like Supergrass on Ecstasy. (La Zona Rosa, 10pm) -- Marc Savlov

JOHN VANDERSLICE: Last year's SXSW found John Vanderslice packing the Ritz Lounge. What was the draw? Was it his late-Nineties tenure in SF's MK Ultra? Perhaps it was last year's soft-spoken The Life and Death of an American Fourtracker, which was a compelling display of the singer-songwriter's lyrical and instrumental depth. Whatever it was, it's on the other side of Sixth Street in 2003. (Mother Egan's, 10pm) -- Melanie Haupt

RAY WYLIE HUBBARD: One of the songwriters that made Texas legend among singer-songwriter circles, Ray Wylie Hubbard is about to deliver another one-of-a-kind album, this one titled Growl. Producer/guitarist Gurf Morlix was integral to its greasy grooves and shrewd wordplay, but be warned, Growl also contains an anthem liable to replace "Redneck Mother" as the song Hubbard has to sing every time he hits the stage: "Screw You, We're From Texas." (Antone's, 10pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

1001 NIGHTS ORCHESTRA: This Middle Eastern ensemble recently released the instrumental Music From the Middle East & Beyond (Kamooli), a compendium of the Austin collective's repertoire: folk, traditional, and original works from Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Russia, Macedonia, Greece, Afghanistan, Spain, Bulgaria, and the Arab world. (Opal Divine's, 10pm) -- David Lynch

COY WEST: Spinner of bumpy, grindy deep house for the better part of a decade, Coy West is one of the capital city's most respected DJs. He recently spearheaded the creation of the Austin Nightlife Coalition to fend off increasingly inhibited rave hassles from federal and local law enforcement. (Zero Degrees, 10pm) -- Marc Savlov

WINSLOW: Featuring gripping songwriting and a mind-bending psychic vortex, Winslow has emerged as a live favorite among Austin's indie rock faithful. Zack Logan's and Ken Hatten's guitars are like a shower of pure energy, while Justin Bankston's authoritative basslines bring home this wondrous package of sonic bliss, sealed with a lysergic stamp. (Tequila Rock, 10pm) -- Michael Chamy

EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT: Last year's sophomore effort, Love for the Last Time, finds these Austin shoegazers with a sharper songwriting edge. Vocalist Rachel Staggs and guitarist T.J. O'Leary form a tasty tag team à la MBV's Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields but with a more floaty dream-pop feel. Set the controls for the heart of the sun. (Club DeVille, 10pm) -- Michael Chamy

SCHATZI: Last year's Fifty Reasons to Explode detonated with crunchy guitars and spot-on harmonies that culminated in the apocalyptic closer "Guitars vs. Humans." Since then, the Austin quartet has been writing, loving, working day jobs, and recording their fourth full-length all in sunny Lincoln, Neb. (Blender Bar, 10pm) -- Melanie Haupt

BRUCE ROBISON: With twins on the way from wife Kelly Willis, his "Travelin' Soldier" the latest Dixie Chicks single, and the perpetual mailbox money of "Angry All the Time," these are good days for Bruce Robison. While it's a wonder he has time to write, this advance look at his follow-up to 2001's luminous Country Sunshine ought to be a fine preview of tomorrow's hits today. (Stubb's, 10pm) -- Andy Langer

THE GLORIA RECORD: The weepy falsetto of frontman Chris Simpson (ex-Mineral) rises up from a thick, atmospheric brew to create some of the most effective mood-pop this side of Sunny Day Real Estate. Last year's fine Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, the Faint, Rilo Kiley) produced Start Here on the Arena Rock Recording Company was their first full-length after two EPs on Crank! Records. (Buffalo Billiards, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

THE RAPTURE: NYC has more than the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The Morgan Geist remix of the Rapture's "House of Jealous Lovers" has become something of a dance anthem, mixing up old-school disco with rock guitars, Bowery punk ethos, and a chaotic stage show that, unsurprisingly, the British music press went mad over. (La Zona Rosa, 11pm) -- Marc Savlov

SWIRLIES: Somewhat forgotten in the shoegazer puzzle, Boston's Swirlies were always quite mad with their über-trebly, melodic eccentricities and odd time signatures. They finally return with their first album in seven years, Cats of the Wild Volume 2, due on Bubble Core Records in April. (Maggie Mae's, 11pm) -- Michael Chamy

MERRICK BROWN: Founder of Tektite Recordings and co-founder of Chalant Music, Brown's Austin residencies have encompassed everything from house to beat, electro, hip-hop, funk, and beyond. His opening slot for the 2001 Fatboy Slim show nearly blew Stormin' Norman off his revolving stage. (Zero Degrees, 11pm) -- Marc Savlov

BUDDY & JULIE MILLER: Nashville's Buddy and Julie Miller have had their songs recorded by the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack, and Jim Lauderdale and have toured and recorded with Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle. Onstage they provide a special type of magic, a fusion of Buddy's country soul and Julie's heartwarming spirit. (Stubb's, 11pm) -- Jim Caligiuri

ROB JUNGKLAS: Memphis' Rob Jungklas opened last year's simmering Arkadelphia (Madjack Records) with "Drunk Like Son House," then proceeded to pound the pulpit with wicked folk blues like a cross between Ben Harper and 16 Horsepower's frontman David Eugene Edwards. Pity monster bluesman John Campbell isn't still alive to growl along. (Pecan St. Ale House, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

RUTHIE FOSTER: The Tracy Chapman comparison is lazy; College Station breakout Ruthie Foster and her percussive accompanist Cyd Cassone are more like Sweet Honey in the Rock all in one. A sensitive, fun-loving, sometimes raucous folk raconteur with an innate sense of song and performance zeal, Foster's Runaway Soul was one of Austin's best albums of 2002. (Cactus Cafe, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

FASTBALL: Back from his Nashville songwriting apprenticeship with the likes of Guy Clark, Fastball's Miles "Fire Escape" Zuniga has landed at the desk of bandmate Tony "The Way" Scalzo, and the two frontmen have started writing together for the first time in the platinum Austin trio's existence. The results are the acoustic gold of their new Live From Jupiter Records CD. (Texas Union Theatre, 11pm) -- Raoul Hernandez

VALLEJO: Who'd a thunk Austin's best-known bilingual rockers would be big in Japan? After a stab at the Latin territories via Emilio Estefan's Crescent Moon imprint, Universal Japan recently released their Stereo, an album so funky this paper suggested Vallejo had finally "tipped the bottle all the way back and ingested the worm at the bottom." (Steamboat, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

HONKY: Gap-toothed Central Texas guitar slingers Honky are just as responsible as the Drive-By Truckers for the improbable renaissance of redneck rock. Their devotion to rocking out like sunsabitches has lasted through four LPs -- most recently 2001's House of Good Tires -- and earned yee-haws untold from discerning shit-kickers far and wide. (Red Eyed Fly, 11pm) -- Christopher Gray

HOOKAH BROWN: This new half-American, half-Brit quartet features a pair of underrated talents -- Black Crowes' guitarist Rich Robinson and former Moke frontman John Hogg. Their downloadable debut single, "Black Cloud," is a swirling six-minute slab of soul suggesting a live band already worth more than the sum of its considerable parts. (Fox & Hound, 11pm) -- Andy Langer

THE YARDBIRDS: Keith Relf is 26 years dead; Page, Clapton, and Beck might as well be. What's left? Founding members Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, and bassist/singer John Idan, a Relf dead-on. Birdland, their first new LP since 1968's Little Games, camouflages worthy new originals with guest-starred heydays like "The Nazz Are Blue" and "Train Kept a Rollin'." It's no Roger the Engineer, but it hops harder than a Box of Frogs. Three of the album's axe mercenaries, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Slash, will be on hand(s) for the happenings 30 years time ago. (Austin Music Hall, midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

IAN MOORE ACTION COMPANY: Berkeley-born, raised in Austin, and now living near Seattle, Ian Moore has made the transformation from axe-slinging string scorcher in Joe Ely's band to melodic songwriter and bandleader working on his own terms. Moore is currently playing acoustic dates (Friday at the Lounge, 11pm) in preparation for a forthcoming acoustic album. (Fox & Hound, midnight) -- David Lynch

BILLY JOE SHAVER: Long considered one of the best songwriters of our day, true Texan Billy Joe Shaver is a survivor. He lost his wife and mother as well as his son and guitarist, Eddy, over the past couple of years, but as demonstrated by his latest album, Freedom's Child, the pain and suffering didn't affect his ability to write hard-hitting, deeply felt songs. (Antone's, midnight) -- Jim Caligiuri

IGUANAS: Somebody wake Huey Long! Everybody knows the Iguanas lugubriate the Continental Club annually Wednesday night of SXSW, not Thursday. There's also the small matter of a new Yep Roc Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart, the lizards' first since 1999's Cajun confectioner's delight, Sugar Town. Sexy bayou voodoo, this Heart will have the neighborhood faithful in heat. (Continental Club, midnight) -- Raoul Hernandez

SOULIVE: NYC-based jazz/funk/soul organ trio headed up by brothers Alan and Neal Evans are a favorite of the jam-band circuit. Their new self-titled Blue Note album will be out in April. It's all about the groove. (Mercury, midnight) -- Jay Trachtenberg

DJ ME DJ YOU: L.A. duo DJ Me DJ You pair electronic beats with trippy, oddball studio noodlings and come up with a whole new way to mess with your head and move your rear. If 1,000 monkeys played 1,000 tape loops in 1,000 high-end studios for 1,000 years, they still wouldn't come up with anything half as unique as these guys' brilliant Can You See the Music. (Privilege, midnight) -- Marc Savlov

NADA SURF: Armed with a new album, Let Go, on Death Cab for Cutie home Barsuk Records, Brooklyn's Nada Surf are proving they're more than the one-hit wonder that delivered the sardonic high school satire "Popular" back in 1996. Let Go is a sweet-and-sour bit of grownup indie rock from a trio of guys who've been making music together for more than 15 years. (Mother Egan's, midnight) -- Melanie Haupt

CONVOY: This San Diego quintet's 2001 release, Black Licorice, doubled as a how-to guide to power-pop anthemics. While its underwhelming commercial performance is still a mystery, there's no questioning their work ethic; two years of touring with everyone from the White Stripes to Aerosmith has turned Convoy into a fine-tuned and seriously formidable live act. (Hard Rock Cafe, midnight) -- Andy Langer

TREMBLING BLUE STARS: Word is that sad-sack Brit and former Field Mouse Robert Wratten, whose vocal timbre is reminiscent of Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant, wrote all his forlorn love songs about a woman who broke his heart years ago. While the band's most recent full-length, Alive to Every Smile (Sub Pop, 2001), tends toward the overproduced, the brokenhearted can find plenty to relate to on 2000's lovely, gossamer Broken by Whispers. (Momos, midnight) -- Melanie Haupt

SEEN (AKA HIM): What started as a sound experiment performed by the members of Rex has shifted so many times it's tough to know exactly what it is. Formerly known as HIM, this project of best-damn-drummer-around Doug Scharin, also of Rex and June of 44, is far more tribal and jam-oriented than you might expect from a résumé like his. (Maggie Mae's, midnight) -- Christopher Hess

THE MOONEY SUZUKI: Chock-full of fuzzy guitars, nostalgic harmonies, and balls-out energy, the Mooney Suzuki is late-Seventies New York punk with a 21st-century edge thanks to Graham Tyler's relentless guitar, Will Rockwell's punishing drums, and best of all, Sammy James Jr.'s sexy, scratchy vocals. (Venue, midnight) -- Melanie Haupt

THE FLAMING SIDEBURNS: How modest are Helsinki's the Flaming Sideburns? Their U.S. debut on Jetset is called The Flaming Sideburns Save Rock 'n' Roll. As they've already earned deference from the Hives and the Soundtrack of Our Lives, can the rest of civilization be far behind? (Blender Bar, midnight) -- Christopher Gray

BLUR: Battle hardened by years of scraps with "those Gallagher lads," Damon Albarn, the forever-unwell Alex James, Dave Rowntree, and touring guitarist Simon Tong of the Verve replacing founding member Graham Coxon, are unwrapping the new Think Tank and are poised to conquer the colonies again. (La Zona Rosa, midnight) -- Marc Savlov

THE AISLERS SET: Lovers of delightful and unabashed pop music: Rejoice and look no further. The Aislers Set, a Bay Area quintet, spins songs like cotton candy. Their new album, How I Learned to Write Backwards, is starry-eyed indie pop that could be the soundtrack to your little sister's first school dance. (Roxy, midnight) -- Christopher Hess

LEE ANN WOMACK: Lee Ann Womack may have detoured a little too far into Faith Hillville on her new album, Something Worth Leaving Behind, but after the runaway success of "I Hope You Dance," it's probably about the only option she had. Besides, the Willie Nelson collaboration, "Mendocino County Line," shows the Jacksonville native still has plenty of East Texas in her. (Stubb's, midnight) -- Christopher Gray

PETE DROGE: Seattle-based singer-songwriter Pete Droge combines sleek pop aspirations with hints of homegrown twang and lighthearted philosophizing. In addition to his 1994 almost-hit, "If You Don't Love Me (I'll Kill Myself)," Droge had a bit part in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. Droge's fourth full-length, Skywatching, is just one of many projects he's working on. (18th Floor Plaza, 1am) -- Greg Beets

BIG SANDY & HIS FLY-RITE BOYS: West Coasters Sandy & Co. have gone from by-the-numbers rockabilly to a stew of Western swing, roots-rock, mariachi, bluegrass, and country. Their sound is marked by a breathtaking level of musicianship, while their fourth album, Night Tide, ventures into lyrical territory that's far darker than the cutesy wordplay of latter-day rockabilly. (Continental Club, 1am) -- Jerry Renshaw

MOONLIGHT TOWERS: With intelligent songwriting, beguiling melodies, and cohesive interplay, Moonlight Towers are one of Austin's newer live attractions. 2002's self-titled debut, recorded as a trio, blends classic and indie rock charms; local ringer Jacob Schulze is now aboard on lead guitar. (Club DeVille, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

STARLIGHT MINTS: Proof that Oklahoma doesn't get a fair shake in popular opinion (or that maybe the authorities ought to check that state's water supply for hallucinogens), the Starlight Mints, like their statesmen the Flaming Lips, make weird psychedelic pop out of samples, strings, and sass. Maybe the fivepiece will come out of hibernation to record a follow-up to their fun-as-hell debut, The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of. (Tequila Rock, 1am) -- Melanie Haupt

CALLA: Brooklyn-based ex-Texans Calla make music for the moments after -- after the other shoe has fallen, after the final word has been spat, after the end is over. On their new Arena Rock-er, Televise, Aurelio Valle's breathy vox and spare guitar backed by Sean Donovan's cloudy-day bass and Wayne Magruder's quietly threatening rhythms threaten commercial breakthrough. (Buffalo Billiards, 1am) -- Marc Savlov

THE GO: Lost in the stampede to White Stripes enshrinement is the fact that Jack White played one-half dual guitar fuzzbomb on the Go's 1999 Sub Pop debut, Whatcha Doin'. Slumping sophomorically enough that the label whacked No. 2 in utero, the Motor City quartet returned last fall on the UK's Lizard King Records with the furry Capricorn EP, more Marc Bolan than Fred "Sonic" Smith. (Emo's Main, 1am) -- Raoul Hernandez

NASHVILLE PUSSY: Like GWAR and the Impotent Sea Snakes before them, NP's scorched-earth live shows have become rite-of-passage events. They're the bastard child of the Misfits and Lynyrd Skynyrd; the quartet's third full-length, Say Something Nasty (Artemis), was released last year, followed by a tour with Reverend Horton Heat tastefully dubbed the "Reverend Pussy" tour. (Red Eyed Fly, 1am) -- Greg Beets

BROWN WHÖRNET: Austin-based Brown Whörnet are among the most adventurous and disturbed musicians around, mixing punk, avant-jazz, cock rock, and whatever the fuck else they want. This music mafia's newest, The Secret, comes out on Perverted Son. (Emo's Annex, 1am) -- David Lynch

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: The Seattle foursome hasn't released a proper full-length since 2001's lovely, aching The Photo Album -- frontman Ben Gibbard has been busy with adventurous new side projects like the Postal Service. But be sure to check out You Can Play These Songs With Chords, the re-release of a tape featuring never-before-released tracks dating back to the band's earliest days. (Mother Egan's, 1am) -- Melanie Haupt

WAXWINGS: Detroit's Waxwings have somehow sidestepped the garage rock frenzy engulfing southern Michigan and turned their minds in a more orchestral direction, releasing two albums of harmonically lush, spit-shined space pop. Their latest, 2002's Shadows of (Bobsled), drew favorable comparisons with Brit pop trailblazers the Stone Roses. (Lava Lounge Patio, 1am) -- Christopher Gray

MARK GARDENER: Andy Bell has since joined Oasis, but if you've been wondering what Mark Gardener, former co-leader of British shoegaze megastars Ride, has been up to since the demise of that band, here's your chance to find out. He'll be performing an acoustic set, a fascinating scenario coming from this pioneer of the walls and washes of guitar sound that were his former stock-in-trade. (Momos, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

PEDRO THE LION: David Bazan, guitarist and songwriter, has increased the stakes with every Pedro the Lion release. The simplistic use of chords on his first album, It's Hard to Find a Friend, has morphed into a sophisticated sense of melody and structure through subsequent outings. Last year's Control finds Bazan at an entirely new stage of musical accomplishment. (Roxy, 1am) -- Christopher Hess

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