SXSW Picks & Sleepers

Blurbing SXSW 04 music – Wednesday only

WEDNESDAY PICKS

All showcase times subject to change. Please check www.sxsw.com.

Rhymesayers

8pm-2am, Emo's Main Minneapolis-based hip-hop powerhouse Rhymesayers has been racking up the accolades in bunches these past couple of years. Their lead act Atmosphere has been ripping up the underground circuit, most recently with 2003's Seven's Travels drawing many indie rock fans with personalized, emotive rap. Eyedea & Abilities are an MC/DJ tandem who have expanded upon their bare-bones foundation with fully fleshed concepts pushing the hype of their forthcoming album E&A. 2003 witnessed the emergence of Soul Position, a collaboration between Blueprint and RJD2 that manifested itself in the form of 8 Million Stories. Brother Ali, meanwhile, via Shadows on the Sun, garnered many album-of-the-year citations from those enamored by his energetic rhyme-flow. Atlanta's Micranots, who specialize in the rawest cultural warfare, are the most recent recruits to the Rhymesayers roster, accentuated by their new album The Emperor & the Assassin. But what will surely stand out as the highlight of this showcase will be the presence of one MF Doom. Building on his early-Nineties genesis as a member of KMD, the former Zevlove X is everywhere these days. One minute he's Viktor Vaughn, the next he's King Geedorah. His work with Madlib as Madvillain couldn't be more anticipated, and then there's still his impending Rhymesayers debut, MM Food. Expect a mouthful. – Robert Gabriel

Suplecs

8pm, Red Eyed Fly New Orleans' metal masters took a hit when the Man's Ruin label capsized a few years back. But with a cage-rattling live show and a steady work ethic, the trio hasn't let their decadelong history go to waste, releasing Sad Songs ... Better Days in 2002. – David Lynch

Super Secret/Mortville

8pm-2am, Beerland Super Secret and Mortville are two Austin-based labels specializing in sneering, Lone Star-fueled punk. Austin trio Manikin soups up said subgenre with killer surf guitar licks and foggy despondency more akin to Eighties Manchester than modern-day Texas. Their 2002 self-titled debut is worth seeking out. The Winks are four saucy punk vixens who pen gritty, Ramones-style ditties about getting what they want from boys. The alluringly aggressive Austin quartet released a punchy four-song vinyl EP last year. Another Austin band led by girls (with a token boy drummer) who could out-drink you then kick your ass is Slum City. Their 2002 full-length, Hot Beef Rejection, is a surly, growling affair that recalls purveyors of garbled mayhem like Fang and the Germs. The Sweethearts offer a poppier, more romantic take on punk, but vocalist Linette Liendo is still razor-sharp. The quartet's 2003 debut, L.U.V, turned busted hearts into pure pop-punk jubilation. Dallas quartet the Kickz build a formidable wall of raucous noise alternating between punk and power pop. Their upcoming "One Day" single is backed with a cover of the Replacements' "Don't Ask Why." Openers Pink Swords turn minds into mush with their nonstop rocket ride to hell by way of the Dwarves. The quintet's debut, One Night High, was last year's quintessential Austin punk slab. – Greg Beets

Tight Spot/Peek-a-Boo

8pm-1am, Caucus Patio This is Austin rock 101, a showcase of ATX's two premier "classic indie rock" labels. Pesky quartet Bedbug kicks off the Tight Spot portion, readying Kiss You on the Lips, the follow-up to 2001's Pavement-ish Happiest of Hours. Subset kicks the daylights out of Death Cab for Cutie with a tart power pop mix found on last year's Dueling Devotions that resonates with the suburban kids as well as the club junkies. Everybody in this scene gushes about the well-oiled rock engine of Fivehead, whose new Guests of the Nation drops next month, bringing back the mid-Nineties fun of Superchunk and Sebadoh. Travis Higdon's Peek-a-Boo has been kicking for a decade now, and one of his best signings is the Octopus Project, whose Identification Parade from 2002 crossed the electro-spazz-post-rock bridge between Trans Am and the Mice Parade. Palaxy Tracks moved from Austin to Chicago in 2001, but every SXSW they return to rock, this time with last year's Cedarland in tow. Minor-chord ruminations are decorated with creamy layered effects, like Slowdive, Yo La Tengo, Nick Drake, and the Tindersticks rolled into one delicious ball. – Michael Chamy

Erik Friedlander

9pm, Emo's Annex Genre-bending cellist/composer Erik Friedlander was an integral part of NYC's explosively creative downtown jazz scene of the Nineties and has recorded seven acclaimed albums. He'll be performing his new Brassland project, Maldoror, improvisations inspired by the surrealist poems of Isidore Ducasse. – Jay Trachtenberg

Division of Laura Lee

9pm, Stubb's Gothenburg, Sweden's answer to the MC5 scored a stateside hit with last year's "Need to Get Some," off Epitaph barn burner Black City, and has been a staple of the Austin Music Network ever since. Lead singer/guitarist Per Stålberg fuses Iggy with Trail of Deadisms for a hook-heavy punk barrage that'd send country mates the Hives running for the calamine lotion. – Marc Savlov

Merge Records

9pm-2am, Parish Chapel Hill's Merge Records is celebrating 15 years as one of the best indie labels in the industry. This showcase demonstrates the breadth of the label's roster, impressive for one that started out as an indie rock beacon. L.A.'s Radar Brothers kick things off with their gracefully textured songs of melancholy. Their much-anticipated fourth full-length comes out later this year. Portastatic is the solo project of Mac McCaughan, who also happens to play guitar in Superchunk and co-owns Merge. By working with a variety of sidemen, Mac shows some different sides of his musical personality. The Rosebuds are an indie-pop trio from Raleigh, N.C., whose debut, Make Out, came out last fall. They combine influences ranging from late-Sixties pop to mid-Eighties New Wave and early-Nineties punk. Dan Bejar is the prime motivator behind Destroyer. Some may know him as one of the New Pornographers, but here his work has been tagged as David Bowie meets Bright Eyes. His sixth album, Your Blues, just hit the streets. Briefly an Austinite but now calling Brooklyn home, Richard Buckner is the latest signing to the label. A new disc, recorded with a group of Austin noise rock all-stars is on the schedule for this fall. – Jim Caligiuri

The Von Bondies

10pm, Stubb's There are probably better ways to promote a major label debut than getting punched in the eye by Jack White, but as they say, any press is good press. No tabloid dustup should obscure the fact that the Jerry Harrison-produced Pawn Shoppe Heart (Sire/Reprise) soups up the Motor City quartet's theatric garage rock attack to Sonic Boom proportions. – Greg Beets

Drums & Tuba

10pm, Rockstars Established in 1996, these former Austinites made the mutually beneficial move to Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe Records in 2001. More iconoclastic albums arrived, less proggy punk and more jazzy electronica. From their current home in the Big Easy, their dazzling live show nabbed them a recent spot at Bonnaroo. Just self-released is mix collection Gas Up, Blow Up. – David Lynch

Speedealer

10pm, Red Eyed Fly Born in Lubbock and raised in Dallas, Speedealer pushes a potent hybrid of metal, punk, and hardcore strategically engineered to rock the snot out of you. The group's fifth release, Bleed (Dead Teenager), was recorded with ex-Butthole Surfers/current Honky bassist J.D. Pinkus; the band's own revolving bass chair is currently filled by the Unsane's Chris Spencer. – Greg Beets

A Tiger Named Lovesick

10pm, Bigsby's Ian Curtis may be little more than sackcloth and ashes these days, but Austin-based A Tiger Named Lovesick's powerful combination of Joy Division and PiL never lets the dangling one stray too far, sonically speaking. Punishing drum work from Nathan Roberts combined with darkly melodic song structures are pure 1980 Manchester, minus the noose. – Marc Savlov

Hobble

10pm, Room 710 What is it about knee socks and schoolboy shorts that makes girls weak in the knees and boys ready to rock? Oriah Lonsdale knows, and he's no good at keeping secrets. Last fall's near-impeccable Gods Work is chock-full of odes to religion, cowboys, and, above all, sex. Thank God for priorities. – Darcie Stevens

Paper Lions

10pm, Elysium Prior to Kindercore's lawsuit-riddled demise, Athens, Ga.'s Paper Lions were the prime aesthetic torchbearers for the label's attempt at a louder, edgier rebranding. The quartet eschews the twee for a post-punk direction influenced by the sharp turns of Gang of Four and the intensity of Fugazi. Their 2003 debut, The Symptom and the Sick, is a convincing exhibition. – Greg Beets

Mimicry

10pm-2am, Emo's Annex Culling some of the best odd, unique, and downright iconoclastic bands around, Bay area specialty/experimental imprint Mimicry presents a broad but cohesive sonic palette. Launching things are Dengue Fever, a sixpiece late-night jazzy rock band with a Cambodian female lead singer. This combination earned the band an L.A. Weekly Best New Artist nod and a new contract with Slash. Fun, experimental, and with chops galore, Santa Cruz's Estradasphere sails an ocean of influences. The arrangement on the frenetic "King Krab Battle," from '03's Quadropus, would make Duke Ellington smile; "Crystal Blue" is from Brian Wilson's lost songbook; and crunchy "Bodyslam" is a blow to the head. Oakland avant-garde performance-artist circus Sleepytime Gorilla Museum ratchets up the weird knob with their angular rock sensibilities, homemade instruments, and dazzling technique. John Cage-like performance pieces could be followed by tunes with the staggered syncopation of a King Crimson tone poem. SGM's live shows are legendary, if not scary. Topping things off are San Fran's Secret Chiefs 3, an investigational collective trio of Mr. Bungle members who've played with everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Cephalic Carnage. Exotic, challenging, and highly enjoyable – like Mimicry itself. – David Lynch

D:Fuse

10:30pm, Zero Degrees Austin's supastah DJ with the cowpoke hat now has his own channel on Delta Airlines Sky Radio. Melding progressive house, trance, and techno into a whole new vibe, D:Fuse opened for Paul Oakenfold on his 2000-01 world tour, and his new, 2-CD People 2: Both Sides of the Picture (System Recordings) has been touted by no less than Oakie himself. Word. – Marc Savlov

Single Frame

11pm, Bigsby's Formerly Single Frame Ashtray, this Austin band dropped the habit in time for a deal with surf/skate clothing company/record label Volcom Entertainment and a ride on this summer's Warped Tour. Volcom will be re-releasing the band's 2002 debut, Wetheads Come Running, a well-received effort that ranges from New Wave Fugazi to the Modest Mouse-isms of "comm.jet," finding a Rapture-ous middle ground. – Michael Chamy

Oranger

11pm, Tambaleo It's one thing to play tuneful pop songs in the Beatles/XTC tradition, but quite another to rock them out live instead of treating them as museum pieces. Jim Lindsay's Keith Moon drumming provides the perfect counterweight to guitarist/ vocalist Mike Drake's eternal summer pop aspirations. Last year's Shutdown the Sun provides strong evidence for the S.F. peelers. – Greg Beets

Gavin DeGraw

11pm, Antone's A year ago, this New York piano man rode into town on a grand wave of Clive Davis-induced hype. Rather than fold under the pressure, he turned the intimate SXSW 03 Lounge into a stadium – showing enough charm and charisma as a solid career artist. A year of nonstop touring will no doubt have made an already strong live show even better. – Andy Langer

The Dears

11pm, Buffalo Billiards Montreal sextet the Dears upstage pretty much anyone with "the" in their name and a heart on their sleeve. Their No Cities Left is full of the mildly mournful guitar-driven woe that used to be what Francis Healy and his Travis mates got by on before they charged $30 a ticket. Breakup sunsets are all the rage now, but the Dears make it all sound relevant to the less-than-brokenhearted again. – Marc Savlov

Shane Bartell

11pm, Lava Lounge Shane Bartell could rightly be labeled the Crown Prince of Austin Heartbreak. His 2004 full-length debut Too Soon to Say is a lush, moody meditation on affairs of the heart that almost always end in regret and remorse, but Bartell delivers them with unflinching honesty and amazing grace. – Christopher Gray

The Deathray Davies

11pm, Club DeVille Dallas' Deathray Davies are certifiable experts at blending the horn-rimmed nerd chic aesthetic with a refined-but-not-rarefied appreciation of garage pop through the ages. Founded in 1999 by songwriter/multi-instrumentalist John Dufilho, the Davies' fourth and most-realized LP, Midnight at the Black Nail Polish Factory (Glurp), came out last spring to hosannas from pop fetishists in the Metroplex and beyond. – Greg Beets

The (International) Noise Conspiracy

11pm, Stubb's Sweden's answer to, "What the fuck are you looking at, Halliburton?" this sextet of punk rock, neo-noise Situationists wouldn't be caught dead wearing a pair of wooden shoes. Their latest, Live at the Oslo Jazz Festival (Moserobie) highlights the manic, politicized diatribes of Dennis Lyxzén (late of the Refused) with enough buzz saw guitars to render the Bush administration permanently sterile. – Marc Savlov

Baboon

11pm, Room 710 Denton noisemongers Baboon have aged well, with their most accomplished album coming in the form of 2002's Something Good Is Going to Happen to You. As their cacophonous legacy gets the melodic treatment, the band's aural schizophrenia persists through singer Andrew Huffstetler's poignant admissions. – Robert Gabriel

ST 37

11pm, Blender Balcony @ the Ritz The only active band to earn the distinction of Texas Spacerock Legends™. After 2001's space-pop treatise Down on Us (Emperor Jones), The Insect Hospital has finally seen release on Italy's Black Widow label. Featuring a complete live score the band composed to accompany Fritz Lang's Metropolis, it shows off the more atmospheric and garagey sides to this Austin institution, established 1987. – Michael Chamy

Particle

11:15pm, Rockstars This relentlessly touring California foursome has had a mercurial rise on the jam band scene with their high-energy mix of funk, rock, and electronic sound textures that's been dubbed "space porn." Particle's Or Music debut, Launchpad, blasts off later this month. – Jay Trachtenberg

Pelican

11:20pm, Emo's Jr. After a well-received debut EP, Chicago trio Pelican, descendents of area hypergrinders Tusk, expanded their instrumental drone-metal into more finely sculpted forms on their new Australasia album. These guys are not your typical metallers, more in love with sound than aggression. Not surprisingly, they have a home at Hydra Head Records, the challenging hardcore/metal domain of Isis' Aaron Turner. – Michael Chamy

Honky

Midnight, Red Eyed Fly Just when we thought every band in Austin was going soft – nothing but keyboards, emotional lyrics, and dance beats – we're reminded that the heart of Honky still feeds off of women, whiskey, and rock & roll. With ex-Butthole Surfer J.D. Pinkus slappin' the Flying V and GMC man Bobby Rock providing the beard and geetar, Honky fills the shoes of Skynyrd and Hatchet in a very handsome way. – Darcie Stevens

Cordero

Midnight, Momos The brilliant, all-over-the-map (literally!) nature of Ani Cordero's punchy Latin indie pop delivered on her new Daemon release Somos Cordero skids across continents, from surf-tinged Roxy Music to sun-kissed Astrud Gilberto. Anybody who's pals with hot horn guys Antibalas Afrobeat is A-OK by us. – Kate X Messer

[DARYL]

Midnight, Vibe Dallas New Wave quintet [DARYL]'s new Idol EP Uneven Surfaces helps solve the longstanding mystery surrounding the fate of Bono's white flag. Though they'd rather write about Natalie Wood than Northern Ireland, Dylan Silver's vocals are as expansively earnest as War, his bandmates attacking their instruments with the same kind of martial drive. Look for further unforgettable fires on forthcoming LP Ohio. – Christopher Gray

The Spiders

Midnight, Room 710 The Spiders reside at the Boone's Farm-scented intersection of Marc Bolan's feather boas and shrunken Blue Öyster Cult T-shirts, but their distillation of these influences is seriously fresh. The San Marcos-bred quartet rocks out like they're playing a Bicentennial kegger, their second platter, 2003's Glitzkrieg (Acetate), having garnered glowing national press. – Greg Beets

Li'l Cap'n Travis

Midnight, Club DeVille Those who think alt.country is dead need to hear Austin's Li'l Cap'n Travis. Take the spirit of Americana from the Beach Boys to the Flaming Lips, add pedal steel, mix vigorously, and you get one of Austin's most original bands. – Jim Caligiuri

Pleasant Grove

Midnight, Caribbean Lights After their last album Auscultation of the Heart was released in Europe only on Glitterhouse Records, Dallas' Pleasant Grove got a break, inking a deal with the emerging Badman Recording Co., and with good reason. The band's moody songcraft is lush, crystal-clear, and as sincere as Pavement or Grandaddy at their most pastoral and heart wrenching. – Michael Chamy

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

12:30am, Stubb's From her pioneering work in the Runaways to "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" to serving as room mother for most every one of her female rock successors, Joan Jett has never stopped being a badass. Last year's 2-DVD anthology, Real Wild Child, vividly illustrates Bratmobile's sentiment that she's still the "Joanest Jett around." – Greg Beets

Ana Egge

1am, 18th Floor @ Crowne Plaza With three breathtaking albums under her belt and having shared spotlights opening shows for Shawn Colvin, Richard Thompson, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jane Siberry, George Jones, and more, Ana Egge's unparalleled songwriting; smoky, sensual voice; and tenderly baffling guitar work are not of the typical folky singer-songwriter mold. Are you listening, indie pop? – Kate X Messer

The Volebeats

1am, Fox & Hound Detroit's Volebeats have been acclaimed and influential practitioners of alt.country for more than a decade. Late in 2003 they released Country Favorites, a collection of originals mixed with eyebrow-raising covers of the 13th Floor Elevators, ABBA, Funkadelic, Slayer, and Serge Gainsbourg. They're currently working on a follow-up for Turquoise Mountain. – Jim Caligiuri

Bob Schneider

1am, Antone's Already a larger draw nationally than his local critics admit, Bob Schneider's follow-up to his Lonelyland debut – the goodbye Universal, hello Vanguard, I'm Good Now – might just be smart enough to spark the bigger breakthrough that's eluded him. And if it doesn't happen, you'd still be a sucker to bet against him here: Nobody's better connecting the dots between KGSR, Waterloo, and Antone's. – Andy Langer

Pong

1am, Room 710 If there were ever a question of who's keeping Austin weird, Pong's the answer. When Larry Strub, Lyman Hardy, and Gary Chester of Ed Hall merged with Pocket FishRman Jason Craig and Moist Fister Shane Shelton, Red River's retro darling Pong was born. It's like Kubrick directing Devo. You just haven't danced 'til you've shaken that thang at a Pong show. – Darcie Stevens

The Pretty Please

1am, Caucus Patio Carrie Clark went through the rock & roll wringer with Sixteen Deluxe and came out the other side to found one of Austin's most promising new bands. Her hard-won wisdom shines through in hypermelodic songs like "The Rock Star Guide to Falling Apart," while Kevin Whitley (Ed Hall, Cherubs) and Matt Hovis (Cotton Mather) supply the rhythmic wallop. – Christopher Gray

Volcano, I'm Still Excited!!

1am, Blender Bar @ the Ritz This Brooklyn-by-way-of-Austin trio kicks out foppish pop jams with sparse instrumentation, warm harmonies, and intriguing arrangements that have the fuzzy air of caffeinated insomnia. Their new self-titled LP on Polyvinyl is an exhilarating pony ride that goes from minutelong Casio bleats to compositions performed by the City College of New York Orchestra. – Greg Beets

Atombombpocketknife

1am, Copper Tank North Sounding like an apocalyptic, post-punk Philip Glass one moment and shattering glass the next, this import from Chicago's Ukrainian Village purports to burst onto SXSW like both devices in their name. We bet they're thrilled to not be scheduled opposite Mission of Burma. – Kate X Messer

Grand Champeen

1am, Club DeVille By the time SXSW 04 starts, Grand Champeen will have returned from their first West Coast tour, and it's about time, given the length of their tenure here in Austin. Last year's The One That Brought You (Glurp) was a triumph of sweaty, bar-rock goodness for this local quartet, a great thwack in the sweet spot that should lead to greater things in the near future. – Melanie Haupt

The Cynics

1am, Jackalope Hard to believe the Cynics have been at it for 20 years now, playing their brand of garage rock when the current Johnny-come-latelies were still in preschool. Their Pittsburgh roots have no doubt informed the visions of bitter breakups, alienation, and hard living on 2002's Get Hip release, Living is the Best Revenge. – Jerry Renshaw

Masonic

1am, Lava Lounge Those Mason brothers have off and done it again: The critically acclaimed 2003 release, Too Far. Too Fast. Too Soon, is something of a pop masterpiece. With dreadlocked beauty Leah Bogan stepping up to the mic and new bassist Mike Norfleet holding down the low end, Kevin Mason's keys and lyrics are given life and handed a handkerchief and a lollipop. – Darcie Stevens

The American Analog Set

1am, Buffalo Billiards AmAnSet's Promise of Love (Tiger Style) escorted us through last summer, offering cool breezes when most needed, and now this hometown delicacy is looking to comfort us once again. Soon to garner as much attention as tourmates Death Cab for Cutie or Rolling Stone favorites Explosions in the Sky, the bicoastal (as in East and Third) wizards of melodic pop promise inspiration. – Darcie Stevens

Modest Mouse

1am, La Zona Rosa It's been a rough year for the lovably weird and angry trio from Issaquah, Wash. Drummer Jeremiah Green went away mad and was replaced by Ben Weikel (Helio Sequence), but the group toured anyway last summer and debuted material from their forthcoming album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News (Epic). Isaac Brock unleashes his jaded poetic prowess yet again, backed at times by a Dixieland band. Yeah, it's that good. – Melanie Haupt

WEDNESDAY SLEEPERS

Tangiers

8pm, Hard Rock Cafe Hot, new Sonic Unyon signees Tangiers are enjoying the blast and rumble of Hot New Spirits and only piling atop their new "sexiest rock band" status in their native Toronto. Rump-shaking buzzes of cocks Jim Carroll, the Kinks, the New York Dolls, and Richard Hell crank the testosterometer way the hell up. – Kate X Messer

Rojo, Caliente y Verde: Generacion Alternative

8pm-2am, Exodus Subtitled Red, Hot & Green: Generation Alternativa, BMI's Rock en Español sampler bookends a quartet of bandas from Monterrey, Mexico, with a pair from L.A. The scrappy, femme-bop of Los Abandoned opens, while the brassy, street-party cumbia-rock-hop of Ozomatli closes, after which the bill then pairs up. There's Vaquero, Monterrey's Redd Kross, bubblegum kids going from jangle to power ballad in a snap, crackle, pop (subtitles not required), and Zoé, who add Veruca Salt to said menu. Cartel de Santa, meanwhile, duo hip-hop; if you don't like it, instructions on their '02 debut prescribe a cucumber suppository. Finally, there's Monterrey's Wright Brothers, Plastilina Mosh, whose "Peligroso Pop" from '03's Hola Chicuelos pegs the electro tag-team: dangerous, pre-Air melodies. – Raoul Hernandez

Baby Robots

8pm, Blender Balcony @ the Ritz Recent Floridian-cum-Austinite Bobby Baker is a noise junkie. His recent Lakitu High 112š contains all manner of dense sound processing and demented skullfuckery, yet sometimes he lets slip spacey pop confection in the direction of a Yerself Is Steam-era Mercury Rev. – Michael Chamy

Magnolia Summer

9pm, Club DeVille A St. Louis supergroup of sorts, Magnolia Summer is led by singer-songwriter Chris Grabau, and buttressed by members of the Bottle Rockets, Nadine, Jay Farrar's band, and Hazeldine, among others, for a trip through old-time Americana that can be shiny and psychedelic or dusty and rustic. Magnolia Summer's debut, Levers and Pulleys, was released in mid-2003 on Undertow. – Jim Caligiuri

Viet Nam

9pm, Buffalo Billiards From a sevenpiece to a twopiece and now at a trio, Michael Gerner and Josh Grubbs have traveled from NYC to Philly to Austin only to return to the jungles of New York. The boys crawled out of the trenches last year with new drummer Mike Foss and a penchant for songs of the bizarre. The Nam is due a release on Vice Recordings. – Darcie Stevens

The Magnificents

9pm, Elysium Scotland's Magnificents, "a four-bit band with a stockpile of analog weapons," typify the emerging genre of Scot rock. All Eighties keyboards; jangly, spitting guitars; and four-four beats, their debut sounds like 1979 CBGB's transplanted to the land of Mark Renton. Far too poppy to be punk, too NYC to be purely pop, this is the missing link between Kraftwerk and Eighties Brit punk. – Marc Savlov

Excess Lettuce

9pm, Room 710 A little funk and a little rock & roll, Excess Lettuce is like chicken-fried steak from Hoover's: No matter how bad you feel, after a bite, the world looks a lot better. After years of local gigs and about the same number of self-released full-lengths, these boys from the Ritz are just about ready to leave the safety of Red River and Sixth and spread their rock worldwide. – Darcie Stevens

Bonny Holmes

9pm, Pecan Street Ale House Fifty years old takes a mandolin-wielding local singer-songwriter out of The OC demographic, but with her unmistakable Chrissie Hynde drawl, Austin's Bonnie Holmes belongs in a much wiser fan base. Boxful of Trouble is just such a debut. – Raoul Hernandez

Doe Montoya

9pm, 18th Floor @ Crowne Plaza Doe Montoya was born an entertainer. When she pounds melodies for fuzz rock outfit 20-Eyed Dragon, Montoya rocks with her 12-inch prosthetic out. Before the Dragon, Montoya strutted her slut as a Smugglette with the notorious Diamond Smugglers. This night promises Montoya's best: solo, with an acoustic guitar, cherub's vox, and minus the sex toys. – Darcie Stevens

Plan B

9pm, Caucus Automaton's James van Leuven, the guiding force behind Plan B, crafted Keepsake in his Seattle basement, and the five song EP, heavy on ethereal, ambient soundscapes, has the rainy melancholy that brings to mind the eerie solitude of the Pacific Northwest. Samples of children's voices mesh with undulating basslines and hushed beats for an eerily soothing ride. – Marc Savlov

Devil in the Woods

9pm-1am, Maggie Mae's Former 28th Day drummer Mike Cloward formed this Modesto, Calif.-based label in 1983, putting out homemade dubs on 10-for-$1 tapes. Last year, San Francisco ethereal pop quintet Loquat released swell EP Before the Momentum on DITW's limited edition Builder series. With the artfully refined vocals of Kylee Swenson, Loquat takes cues from Stereolab and Portishead for a languid, late-night vibe all their own. Portland, Ore.'s Minmae is another Builder band that caters to insomniacs, but their approach is a sparse, slurred version of late-Eighties collegiate pop's warm guitar wash. The full-length follow-up to the trio's True Love EP is slated for release this year. Frank Jordan the band turns up the volume, applying a Pixies' Bossanova fusillade to evocative, atmospheric song structures. The Sacramento trio released their second LP, Milk the Thrills, this month. Finally, L.A.'s Meow Meow festoons their expansive pop with the psychedelic guitar pyrotechnics of My Bloody Valentine. The quartet's Snow Gas Bones hits the streets in May. – Greg Beets

Marynka & Some Lovely Girls

10pm, Cedar Street Marynka Nicolai left her native Russia for Amsterdam, where she fell in with Texpatriate producer Mike Stewart. Marynka drafted Stewart as one of her Lovely Girls, and if "Lucky" is any indication of what she's got on tap, SXSWers are fortunate indeed. The odd mixture of woodwinds and strings with her alt-dance vocals are striking and memorable. – Margaret Moser

Nellie McKay

10pm, Lounge Nineteen-year-old singer and pianist Nellie McKay has created quite a stir in NYC with her songwriting skills, youthful charm, dark wit, and attitude to burn. She definitely has jazz and Triple A appeal. As the title and content of her Columbia debut, Get Away From Me, attest, Norah Jones she's not. – Jay Trachtenberg

Leels

10pm, Blender Bar @ the Ritz Take the slightly bumpkin pop ditties of the Summer Hymns or Grandaddy, add in a weirdness quotient siphoned from Australian psyche-folkies like Pip Proud and Alistair Galbraith, and you have Leels. Featuring members of Florida cult indie pop faves Home and New Yorkers Meringue, their sophomore LP, Cannonballs and Silver Tongues, drops in May on Austin's Emperor Jones. – Michael Chamy

Rose Polenzani

10pm, Momos One of the leading lights of the fertile Boston folk scene, Rose Polenzani infuses her songs with a hazy mixture of sexuality and social commentary. At the center is a unique vocal style that ranges from breathy to a Rickie Lee Jones-like squeal that beckons instead of being pretentious. Although she has plenty of new material, Polenzani hasn't released a record since a self-titled disc in 2001 on Daemon. – Jim Caligiuri

Those Peabodys

10pm, Buffalo Billiards Those Peabodys rock harder than grandma after Thanksgiving turkey, but times they are a-changin'. After last year's Tiger Style release, Unite Tonight, the Peas have mellowed out a bit, added a pop sensibility into their ever-expanding set list, and cut some hair. Don't worry; the proof isn't in the haircuts. – Darcie Stevens

The Rite Flyers

10pm, Club DeVille Veterans of edgy Austin pop bands like Doctor's Mob and Balloonatic, Steve Collier and John Clayton's coming together in the Rite Flyers seems almost predestined. Produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno, their self-titled debut is flush with wit, whimsy, and melodies that burrow into the brain like a particularly tenacious termite. – Christopher Gray

Need New Body

10:30pm, La Zona Rosa Organ, drums, sax, bass, pots and pans, banjos, eight-bit video game consoles, junkyard percussion, absurd ranting, and campfire chanting coalesce in a mad fondue that recalls Frank Zappa and Faust. Musical spelunkers are required to catch these Philadelphia phreaks doing what they did on last year's File 13 album UFO. – Michael Chamy

The Go

10:30pm, Hard Rock Cafe Too often, the Go languishes in the shadow of fellow Detroiters the White Stripes, but their eponymous Lizard King release is some solid garage-inflected rock. There are snippets of R&B, Seventies rock, and well-realized pop hooks, and they come out swingin' with a great live show. – Jerry Renshaw

Gina Lee

11pm, Broken Spoke Austin's Gina Lee and her whimsically named Brisket Boys take up Western swing and cowboy genres as well as the well-trod honky-tonk and rockabilly veins. With veterans like Redd Volkaert and Cindy Cashdollar appearing on her Glee Club CD Where Ya Been, Lee's planted equally in roots and swing. – Jerry Renshaw

Julie Delpy

11pm, Lounge The smart money's going to arrive very early for what we assume will be the electrifying debut of "A Parisian Werewolf in Texas." You've seen her in Killing Zoe, Before Sunrise, and Waking Life, now here's your chance to catch the best French export since Brigitte Bardot in full singer-songwriter mode without having to renew your passport for a trip to the Left Bank. – Marc Savlov

I Am the World Trade Center

11pm, Elysium Having weathered both the post-9/11 press fury surrounding their once-innocuous moniker and the demise of the label one of them co-founded, I Am the World Trade Center continues to rock indie kids with their lo-fi laptop disco. The duo's latest salvo is a split 12-inch on Echelon with Paper Lions featuring a cover of the Human League's "Don't You Want Me." Their third full-length, The Cover Up, is due in April. – Greg Beets

The Silent League

11pm, Copper Tank North Shedding his Wayne Coyne suit after the opening title track to The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused, Brooklyn pianist/singer and ex-Mercury Rev member Justin Russo and his Brooklyn crew shuffle through barroom pop somewhere between Grandaddy's warm static cling and Kurt Wagner's lithium drawl. Their new debut for Chicago's File 13 Records will start the whisperings. – Raoul Hernandez

Les Messieurs du Rock

11pm, Pyramids They're calling themselves recent Paris transplants, but that's a tall tale. With new Sixgunlover release L'estase under their belts, Les Messieurs du Rock are the local spawn of Fugazi and the Rolling Stones with a little Riverboat Gamblers thrown in for entertainment's sake. Here's hoping the seductive Boom Chica Boom dancers join them onstage. – Darcie Stevens

Eugene Mirman

11:20pm, La Zona Rosa Best known as the "marvelous crooning child" at his EugeneMirman.com, this supertwisted New York comedian is a Conan O'Brien vet whose short films air regularly on Showtime. He's also brave enough to perform in rock clubs. This SXSW debut comes on the heels of a monthlong run with Modest Mouse. – Andy Langer

Lucero

Midnight, Buffalo Billiards In the Great Southern Explosion of 2003 spearheaded by the Drive-by Truckers, My Morning Jacket, and Kings of Leon, Lucero's That Much Further West (Tiger Style) was unjustly overlooked. The Memphis quartet's third LP is nothing fancy, just solid, tuneful heartland rock that thrills you at the club and consoles you on the lonely drive home afterward. – Christopher Gray

The TunaHelpers

Midnight, Agave One of Austin's most beguiling bands, the TunaHelpers combine elements of folk, punk, vaudeville, performance art, puppetry, and American Sign Language into a melting rainbow swirl of Bongwater-style high weirdness. The trio, led by lilting-yet-disturbing vocalist/guitarist Adrienne the Anemone, weaves an expansive, marine-based mythology through songs like "Tuna Stalker" and "Manatee." – Greg Beets

God Drives a Galaxy

Midnight, Soho Lounge God Drives a Galaxy frontman John Constant has the strangest, coolest voice on the Austin scene. It's in all its glory on the quartet's third release, Pale Blue Dot, released on StrangeLove Records, the imprint started by Constant and his wife in a display of true DIY grit (they also have a clothing line under the same name). Britty art-pop with pure rock drive. – Melanie Haupt

The Paybacks

Midnight, Jackalope The Paybacks were at the vanguard of the Detroit revival alongside bands like the Detroit Cobras, the Go, and the White Stripes. On their Get Hip release Knock Loud, singer/guitarist Wendy Case and crew mix equal parts of hooky melodies, rock swagger, and punk snarl for some potent Detroit gunk, thick as axle grease and hot as interstate asphalt. – Jerry Renshaw

Black Sun Ensemble

Midnight, Blender Balcony @ the Ritz After releasing three albums of psychedelia dominated by the guitar wizardry of Jesus Acedo, Black Sun Ensemble reformed in 2001. Last year's Starlight appeared on Camera Obscura Records, the band's latest compendium of Eastern-flavored improv, space rock, and generally frazzled explorations. – Michael Chamy

Beecher

Midnight, Saké on Sixth Ex-Paranoids Mark Fagan and Scott Adair are taking these Austin all-stars to class in Converse and well-worn Mudhoney T-shirts. With Bryan "Foot Foot" Lawhorn providing the onstage antics, funnyman Justin Andrews the backbeat, and Sixteen Deluxer Jeff Copas the Farfisa drone, expect heads to bop. – Darcie Stevens

Oliver Future

Midnight, Lava Lounge These guys love to play with things, for instance, the band's name: "all of our future." But playing with different genres of music is what's made them a local buzz band. Combining soaring vocals with guitar interplay and keyboards, they ignore the New Wave revival and achieve something else entirely. Their self-titled Lillywhite debut was released early in 2004. – Jim Caligiuri

Mike Kindred

1am, Pecan Street Ale House With a new solo album, Handstand, on Austin's Loud House Records, Mike Kindred's got reason to do cartwheels. The author of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Cold Shot," Kindred breaks the singer-songwriter stereotype by using piano as his axe and blues for his chops. – Margaret Moser

SpaceTruck

1am, Soho Lounge Tuneful, spacey, and most of all groovy, SpaceTruck has ensconced themselves as an Austin club favorite, dropping last year's debut Night Rider along the way. Full of analog effects, SpaceTruck's playfulness draws jammers and shoegazers alike. – Michael Chamy

The Fags

1am, Vibe Somewhere between Good Charlotte and Cheap Trick with a name sure to keep them off the airwaves, Detroit's Fags entertain with a pop punk aesthetic and a penchant for art pop album covers. Given their self-titled 2002 EP on Dallas' Idol Records, their harmonies and bounce should rock the Vibe. – Darcie Stevens

Matson Belle

1am, Cedar Street Fronted by Katy Belle, whose frosty blond prettiness is as engaging as the band's velvety and percussive pop, Matson Belle handily won Best New Band at the 2003 Austin Music Awards. The local quintet promptly released Architexture, whose tongue-in-chic title accurately reflects the radio-ready compositions of the band, which also collected awards for Best Pop Band and Best electronica band. – Margaret Moser

Mico de Noche

1am, Pyramids Before there were Migas with Austin's Jason Morales, there was Mico de Noche, Don Stewart's other two-man band. Straight from Seattle with their EP Stripper Wars on Austin imprint Perverted Son, the duo is a guitar-and-drum amalgamation of fierce and bloody blows to the head. – Darcie Stevens

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Wednesday Showcases
Wednesday Showcases

March 20, 2015

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Wednesday Interview
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Jim Caligiuri, March 20, 2015

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

SXSW, "Picks & Sleepers", Masonic

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