SXSW Picks & Sleepers

Picks & Sleepers

Saturday Sleepers

All showcase times subject to change. Please check

Rachael Yamagata

7:30pm, La Zona Rosa
Save Dizzee Rascal, this Chicago singer-songwriter may have appeared on more 2004 artists-to-watch lists than anybody playing this SXSW. For good reason: Last year's introductory EP for Private Music featured whip-smart songwriting and graceful performances. – Andy Langer

Danish & Norwegian Night

8pm-2am, Drink
Whether it's folk, garage punk, dance pop, or death metal, Scandinavia continues to churn out an array of sounds with worldwide resonance. Copenhagen folk duo Hush recalls Stevie Nicks and Jewel with intimate acoustic ballads, while Norwegian singer-songwriter Thomas Dybdahl combines intricate fretwork with delicate, longing vocals to create a lilt all his own. The alluring Randi Laubek presents an artful mix of R&B, smooth jazz, and electronica both subtle and catchy. Oslo's Silver crank up a dramatic blend of arena rock, punk, and glam custom-made for sullen youths kicking beer bottles down the railroad tracks. Denmark's Defectors are steeped in Farfisa-fueled Sixties garage rock. Their third album, Turn Me On! (Bad Afro), hits the streets March 29. And it wouldn't be a proper Scandinavian smorgasbord without mind-melting metal from Oslo's El Caco, who rose to prominence supporting Nebula in 2002. – Greg Beets


8pm, Buffalo Billiards
Story has it that these three antipodean punkaroonie Kiwi ladies met in "college" (high school to us Yanks), bonded over Patti, Poly Styrene, and Kathleen Hanna, and recorded a demo on a Dictaphone. – Kate X Messer


8pm, Caucus
Once merely the "other" project of ST 37 bassist/vocalist Scott Telles, Bahrain has coalesced into its own formidable beast with a psychedelic post-punk sound bigger than the OPEC lynchpin they're named after. – Michael Chamy


8pm, Maggie Mae's
After shows with Pinetop Seven, American Analog Set, and My Morning Jacket, Dolorean's Yep Roc debut, Not Exotic, captured the melancholic Portland, Ore., trio's darkly hued sonic paintings, like "Hannibal, MO," the chilling tale of a suicide pact gone awry. – David Lynch

Attic Ted

8pm, Caucus Patio
This San Marcos quartet throws down blurry pulsating noise using everyone from the Jesus Lizard to Kraftwerk as connecting points. Their new The Bastardized Country Carnival is a neon-lit jamboree best enjoyed after eating corn dogs and spinning 'til you're dizzy. – Greg Beets

Angel Dean & Sue Garner

8pm, Coyote Ugly Saloon
Longtime friends and soul sisters Sue Garner (Run On) and Angel Dean (Last Round Up) blend harmonically heavenly voices into an intoxicating elixir of country fifths and pre-No Depression sensibilities on Pot Liquor (Diesel Only), due later this month. – Kate X Messer

That 1 Guy

8pm, Texas Union Theatre
And now for something completely different. That 1 Guy plays his "magic pipe," a labyrinthine strung metal pipe of his own design that produces otherworldly sounds and overtones. His self-released Songs in the Key of Beotch serves the electric road warrior well. – David Lynch


8pm, Caribbean Lights
With their debut, Republic of Love, flexing sinewy rhythms, Atash are at the forefront of ATX's vibrant world music scene. "Atash" means fire, and the sixpiece smolders in a confluence of Middle Eastern, classical Western, and all that jazz. – Margaret Moser

Dead Whale Tide

8pm, Club DeVille
Austin's Dead Whale Tide comes off as a thick, swirling miasma of effects-heavy shoegazer melodies swaddled in sackcloth and basses. Beautiful but ungainly, throbbing, and liable to shatter that Guinness glass before you can drain it. – Marc Savlov

The M's

8pm, Rockstars
This Chicago quartet pens airy, Brit-leaning glam-pop with a nod to forbears like T. Rex. Like the Faces after a few too many pints, the M's 2003 self-titled debut has garnered mad accolades for its energy and deadpan wit. – Greg Beets

Perverted Son

8pm-2am, Room 710
Homegrown, home-brewed, and hard as hell, Perverted Son Records is all Red River's fault – with a little help from parents J.D. Fanning and Josh Chalmers. Both psych rockers, with Brandon Crowe on drums, are Makin' It in the Scene in Oh, Beast!, one of the scene's heaviest freak-out acts. Likewise, Tia Carrera slams down hardcore psychedelic jam on The November Session with Austin all-stars Jason Morales on guitar, Andrew Duplantis on bass, and Erik Conn banging the kit harder than John Bonham on a bad day. Friends of the family, out-of-towners Grand Ulena and Cheer-Accident add to the dysfunction from St. Louis and Chicago, respectively. Grindcore math rockers Ulena released Gateway to Dignity on Family Vineyard last year, while Cheer pulled Steve Albini to produce their Introducing Lemon in the fall and Gumballhead the Cat on Skin Graft in the spring. Nothing can shock and awe more than Austin's Gorch Fock with their double-drummed assault on rock & roll. Tia's Morales joined the boys from Gong Li and cut a big debut last year. Brown Whörnet rounds out the night with their multiplayer, multi-instrumental, multipersonality avant-punk spanning many years and even more side projects. – Darcie Stevens


9pm-1am, Emo's Jr.
Hot cars and rock & roll have gone hand in hand for decades. Gearhead Magazine was onto that back in '93, encompassing muscle cars, B movies, and all other sorts of greasy pop culture ephemera. Putting bonus 7-inches in their issues from day one, it was a natural progression for the S.F.-based rag to start their own label. Behold Gearhead Records. This year's SXSW showcase includes San Diego's Dragons, featuring Mario Escovedo, youngest brother of Javier and Alejandro. Their Gearfest appearance at Emo's in '02 floored the label, and their album Sin Salvation came out last year. They toured with Sweden's Demons, a band ahead of the Scandinavian rock renaissance with its grimy mix of Nuggets-era punk and Stooges-style rawk. New York-based labelmates the Turbo AC's have been at it since the early Nineties with a raunchy, high-octane rock that's on 2003's Automatic. Rounding out the night is Britain's Wildhearts, featuring notorious glam-rock veteran Ginger. Their Riff After Riff is as heavy as a manhole cover, and their infamous reputation guarantees spilled beer, gasoline, and burnt rubber – all the things that make Gearhead great. – Jerry Renshaw

Rusted Shut

9pm, Caucus
Rusted Shut is pure filth. These longtime Houstonites transfuse the unyielding din and raw nihilism of their indescribably over-the-top live shows onto disc for the upcoming Rehab on Austin's Emperor Jones. – Michael Chamy

Chris Brokaw

9pm, Red Eyed Fly
In addition to drumming with the New Year and playing guitar for Consonant (fronted by Mission of Burma bassist Clint Conley), Boston's Chris Brokaw is accompanying longtime Come bandmate Thalia Zedek on guitar and playing one-man solo gigs. His second album, last year's acoustic Wandering as Water came out on Germany's Normal Records. – Michael Chamy

The Comas

9pm, Lounge
Must be Chapel Hill's proximity to both the beach and mountains that helps a band work up this kind of indie comfort pop. With the warmth of Neutral Milk Hotel and the explosive whammy of early Flaming Lips, 2000's A Def Needle in Tomorrow was recently followed up by "galactic pop opera" Conductor. Do tell. – Raoul Hernandez

The Love Scene

9pm, Club DeVille
That sincere Midwestern twang-rock made famous by the likes of the Replacements is actually from Jersey in the case of the Love Scene, but their Fenway Recordings EP Blood Is the New Black hints that they'd be a nice band to share a beer with anytime, anyplace. – Michael Chamy

Neil Cleary

9pm, Coyote Ugly Saloon
Currently of Burlington, Vt., Neil Cleary had his latest disc, Numbers Add Up, released by Brooklyn's Diesel Only. His is a twangy roots-rock amalgam underlined with lyrics that are literate and slightly goofy. Cleary also mans the drums for the Essex Green, Sunshine Fix, and the Neal Pollock Invasion. – Jim Caligiuri

Darden Smith

9pm, Hole in the Wall
With 2002's Dualtone debut, Sunflower, Austin singer-songwriter Darden Smith found the perfect balance of Seventies pop melody and wistful lyrics. The trend continues on upcoming follow-up Circo, a more contemplative affair that aches with affairs of the heart. – Raoul Hernandez

Patricia Vonne

9pm, Continental Club
Patricia Vonne is a real pistola. After a stint in NYC, the former model moved back to Texas and cut 2003's Patricia Vonne, a soulful commingling of roots rock, honky-tonk, and straight-from-the-corazon border ballads that proved big brother Robert Rodriguez is hardly the only talented one in la familia. – Christopher Gray

Eszter Balint

9pm, Soho Lounge
Working with producing Svengali JD Foster guarantees sultry vocals and warm, intimate arrangements. In the case of European-born, NYC-dwelling Eszter Balint and her sophomore release for Bar/None, Mud, Foster delivers once again, the sometime-actress (Stranger Than Paradise) haunting west side Americana with urban aplomb. – Raoul Hernandez

Kyle Riabko

9pm, Agave
Back home in Saskatoon, Canada, this 16-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist has been described as "James Taylor with Prince leanings." Indeed, there's earnest, skanky funk on his When I Grow Up EP. – Andy Langer

Western Keys

9pm, Tambaleo
This developing local quintet shows heaps of promise. Led by Ben Dickey (singer-guitarist and founder of Austin's Post-Parlo Records), Western Keys launched their debut EP, Damage, to critical accolades near and far. Think of a kinder, gentler Modest Mouse with pedal steel. – Melanie Haupt

Ron Wilkins Quartet

9pm, Elephant Room
Sliding up and down the brass spectrum from trumpet to tuba, the trombone is one of the most expressive yet underutilized instruments in jazz, and San Antonio's Ron Wilkins aims to change that. Readying the release of two new discs in '04, the CenTex educator also does the best Louis Armstrong this side of Nawlins. – Raoul Hernandez


9:30pm, Blender Bar @ the Ritz
Longtime St. Louis rockers Nadine have moved away from their roots into a harder, no less melodic, sound. Led by singer/guitarist Adam Reichmann, their latest album is 2003's Strange Seasons on Pete Yorn's Trampoline Records. – Jim Caligiuri

Lost John Casner

10pm, Broken Spoke
This Austinite has been working the honky-tonks around here since the Eighties, putting him alongside contemporaries Billy Joe Shaver and Blaze Foley. Don't Make Me Laugh While I'm Drinkin' features fiddler Johnny Gimble and guitarist Boomer Norman. – Jerry Renshaw

Michelle Malone

10pm, Fox & Hound
When Michelle Malone delivered Stompin' Ground last year for Daemon Records, she must have had surgery afterward for all the gut-bustin' she did. After nearly 20 years as Atlanta's "next big thing," Malone's cut her own beltin' groove of Southern rock with panache. – Margaret Moser


10pm, Cedar Street
Minneapolis' Honeydogs began as one of's shining lights with a twangy, garage-pop sound in the mid-Nineties. Led by Adam Levy and his brother, drummer Noah, the band's new 10,000 Years demonstrates an affection for Brazilian music as well as nods to German cabaret, Middle Eastern tonal flourishes, and Eastern European dance music. – Jim Caligiuri

Sally Crewe

10pm, Red Eyed Fly
London's Sally Crewe, who drives one of Paul McCartney's old Aston-Martins, befriended Britt Daniel on one of his UK swings, and it's easy to see why. She shares the Spoonman's proclivity for trenchant melodies and pointed lyrics, putting both in the service of her automobile enthusiasm on 2003's 12XU debut Drive It Like You Stole It. – Christopher Gray

The Ponys

10pm, Beerland
Cure, Echo, Joy: a new generation of garage rock. Of which Chicago's Ponys – not to be confused with Portland, Maine's Ponys (better fix that) – leads the field, if their '03 debut, Laced With Romance, is any indication. Sharp bell tones, droning riffs, and perverted soul keys wail from across the ocean and 20 years. – Raoul Hernandez

Apollo Sunshine

10pm, Rockstars
Boston's Apollo Sunshine is another entry in the Elephant 6 psych-pop field. The band's Spinart debut, Katonah, brims with unpredictable, manic energy and experimental touches. File next to Olivia Tremor Control. – Michael Chamy


10pm, Zero Degrees
The bleak Seventies/Eighties sci-fi filmic landscape is attributable to the composers of the time, as electronic music was exploding with innovations. Mike Dykehouse's Midrange (Ghostly International) reveals a one-man software upgrade, updating those soundscapes to fit in our brave, new Aphex century. – Kate X Messer

Paul the Girl

10pm, 18th Floor @ Crowne Plaza
Paul the Girl is one of the more gifted musicians to come from the UK in a month of Sundays. Her big, bold sonic manifesto Electro-Magnetic Blues (Inconvenient) got rave reviews across the pond as "rock-cabaret-folk-pop sex horror." That about sums it up. – David Lynch

Minnie Driver

10:40pm, Blender Bar @ the Ritz
In yet another case of The Powers That Be smiling down upon us all, Good Will Hunting's Skylar herself makes an appearance in full chanteusse mode, singing songs of loss, love, and other alliterative emotions. – Marc Savlov

Sluts of Trust

11pm, Friends
This Glasgow-based duo splays musical promiscuity in the form of Seventies glam bitch-slapped by Dischordant indie post-punk. Their banging debut, We Are All Sluts of Trust, was knobbed at Chemikal Underground studios with the Delgados' Paul Savage at the console. – Raoul Hernandez

Javier Escovedo

11pm, Saké on Sixth
With the other True Believer ailing and unable to perform, younger Escovedo Javier pinch hits with the perennial, guitar-driven post-glam punk rock that made his other band the Zeroes the bull's-eye of the L.A. basin. – Raoul Hernandez

Dr. Pepper Family

Midnight, B.D. Riley's
Behold! The Texas-Belgium connection! First, the name, and then the CD title, Taco & Red Beans (Kinky Star), making a red fusion of fuzz and whale noises straight outta labels like Matador and Rough Trade. – Kate X Messer


Midnight, Lava Lounge
Part of the same El Paso scene that spawned At the Drive-In, Siva stands in no one's shadow when it comes to intensity or volume. The foursome's ReStart debut Mosaic of Sleepers is a harrowing race through white-knuckle tempos, blistering guitar meltdowns, and fragile melodies. – Christopher Gray


Midnight, Elysium
Imagine Les Claypool on bass, Kurt Cobain on guitar, and Keith Moon on drums – but as Japanese ladies – and you get a sense of this loud and crazed Okinawa outfit. – David Lynch

Pee Wee Fist

Midnight, Hideout
Now that GBV has become a classic rock act, Boston sextet PWF fill the void with a high-pitched collage of voices, noises, and melody. Last year's The Rusty Bantam LP screeched like a Vampires on Titus-type backwoods fever in which Neil Young comes down with Elephant 6. – Raoul Hernandez

Fireworks Go Up!

Midnight, Lounge
This fresh-faced New York trio was formed around the edgy pop songcraft of ex-Joshua frontman Dan Coutant. Owing a lot to vintage pop stalwarts Squeeze and Split Enz, the trio's debut, You're Welcome, launches veteran producer John Agnello's new Baryon label. – Greg Beets

The Lilys

Midnight, Pecan Street Ale House
From their beginnings as a My Bloody Valentine rip-off, frontman Kurt Heasley has taken the Lilys through a number of styles, finally settling on the Sixties psych-pop that dominated '03's Precollection. The tall British émigré is as unpredictable live as his band's shifty sound. – Michael Chamy

John Wilkes Booze

Midnight, Buffalo Billiards
Free jazz country R&B is what this Bloomington, Ind., sextet crazies on their Kill Rock Stars debut, Five Pillars of Soul. Skronking, constipated vocals and curly-cue organ riffs assassinate all sobriety and peace of mind. – Raoul Hernandez

Buck 65

Midnight, Club DeVille
Drawing inspiration from Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Johnny Cash, this Halifax, Nova Scotia, MC crafts hip-hop that has more in common with the Beat generation than his own. That said, his Warner Bros. debut, Talkin' Honky Blues, is strangely ahead of its time. – Robert Gabriel

Gary Clark Jr.

Midnight, Agave
Austin's 20-year-old blues guitar revivalist Gary Clark Jr. is so well-versed in the ways of Jimmy Reed and Albert King that his tributes to them feel like re-animations. Clark's sophomore album, 101, showcases acoustic rants, electric jump-ups, and soulful harmonics. – Robert Gabriel

Bernie Leadon Band

Midnight, Continental Club
Leadon's name isn't the first mentioned when his former band the Eagles is brought up. Yet, as a singer-songwriter, Leadon was one of the most underrated in the band, having also done time with seminal acts Dillard & Clark and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Last fall's Mirror reflected the Nashville-based Leadon's well-honed songcraft and finely tuned lyrics. – Margaret Moser


1am, Broken Spoke
This is the kind of band that gets us country-loving Austinites plum spoiled. Players like Redd Volkaert, Earl Poole Ball, Tom Lewis, Kevin Smith, and Gary Claxton just doing fun country covers. Go dance yourself silly. – Jerry Renshaw

Slim Cessna's Auto Club

1am, Caucus Patio
Fronted by none other than Slim himself, a tall galoot with a white hat and a gold tooth, the Denver-based Auto Club declaims hellfire preachin' set to a country-punk fervor. Their 2000 disc Always Say Please and Thank You came out on Alternative Tentacles. – Jerry Renshaw

Slim Richey's Dream Band

1am, Elephant Room
Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nancy Sinatra haven't sounded this sweet for decades. Slim Richey is the one with the beard, joined by his wife and on standup bass and sometimes-vocalist Julie Lowery on vocals. Count Basie comes to life with some Hill Country flair. – Darcie Stevens


1am, B.D. Riley's
If the Handsome Family focused less on Appalachia and more on the Southwest, they might be confused with Dallas' Steven and Sherylin Collins, who create spacious country rock that imagines Western landscapes, church choir lofts, and the wasteland of Mexican radio. Their unreleased Our Eternal Ghosts is an ominous gem awaiting discovery. – Melanie Haupt


1am, Pecan Street Ale House
This Britpop quartet from Tel Aviv recorded four albums in Hebrew before switching to English with 2000's Supermarket. Mining everything from the Zombies to Squeeze, their new Nationwide (Rainbow Quartz), goes from delicate ballads to explosive psych-outs in a manner reminiscent of the Soundtrack of Our Lives. – Greg Beets

The Rocket Summer

1am, Copper Tank Main
Twenty-one-year-old Bryce Avary played all the instruments on the Rocket Summer's first LP, Calendar Days, being re-released on California indie Militia Group. His power-pop is so inviting that the Colleyville, Texas, native has quite a following in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Coming soon to a Death Cab-friendly venue near you. – Michael Chamy

Corruption Is King

1am, Lava Lounge
Radio-ready, yet heavy enough for Fugazi-raised faithful, punchy Austin up-and-comers Corruption Is King have earned a solid fan base and local airplay with a dense but melodic fusion of songcraft and melody. – Andy Langer

Ignorance Park

1am, Pyramids
Led by charismatic vocalist Johnny Walker, Austin's Ignorance Park are a highly evolved punk act that refuses containment by their genre's oft-stultifying limitations. 2000's superb Bad Luck ... Or the Plan? (Mortville) hit like a full can of beer thrown at your head. – Greg Beets

The Urinals

1am, Emo's Jr.
Together with X and the Germs, the Urinals helped codify the late-Seventies L.A. punk scene with memorable blasts of studied irreverence like "I'm a Bug" and "Ack Ack Ack Ack." The trio's first show away from home was actually at Austin's Raul's. Their first new album since '84, What Is Real and What Is Not, came out in October. – Greg Beets

Young Heart Attack

1am, Rockstars
Loud, fast, and out of control, Austin's Young Heart Attack has the songs, the look, the Les Pauls. Their upcoming XL debut, Mouthful of Love, covering all the bases – Who, Zeppelin, Humble Pie – is guaranteed to rattle the cage of the most jaded clove-cigarette-smoking hipster. – Jerry Renshaw

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