Saturday Picks

SXSW picks & sleepers


Picks for March 19

All showcase times subject to change

CALVIN OWENS BLUES ORCHESTRA

4pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores Calvin Owens has had quite a prolific career. The Houston trumpeter was a session musician at Duke/Peacock, has toured extensively with B.B. King as musician and arranger, and has long led his own orchestra, heard on his latest album, The House is Burnin'. – Jay Trachtenberg

ALEXI MURDOCH

5pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores There aren't many new singer-songwriters who understand the importance of sparseness and subtlety like this Scotland-born, L.A.-based KCRW favorite. His "Orange Sky" has been on Dawson's Creek and in Garden State, but deserves a fuller life on his soon-to-be-completed debut LP. – Andy Langer

DEL CASTILLO

6pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores Thanks to impassioned performances, a surplus of Latin grooves, and the speedy guitar work of brothers Rick and Mark del Castillo, this 2003 Austin Music Award-winning sixpiece has earned national buzz. 2004's Live DVD includes footage filmed and edited by Robert Rodriguez. – David Lynch

THE NEVILLE BROTHERS

7:30pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores Enjoying a recent renaissance, New Orleans' Neville Brothers have just released one of their best albums, Walkin' in the Shadow of Life (Back Porch). Brothers Art, Charles, Aaron, and Cyril, plus Aaron's son Ivan hit Austin with the funk stick twice in the last six months. – David Lynch

APOSTLE OF HUSTLE

8pm, Momos Broken Social Scene guitarist Andrew Whiteman departs Toronto to unveil his Apostle of Hustle. Folkloric Feel borrows heavily from the BSS catalog of off-kilter melodies and percussive reach-arounds, but Apostle is more pensive, precious, and special. It's the reason everyone loved Broken Social Scene. – Audra Schroeder

KINGS OF CONVENIENCE

8pm, Antone's Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye make music for metrosexuals, combining a little disco, a little indie rock, and European haircuts on their third LP, 2004's Riot on an Empty Street (Astralwerks). Bøe and Øye utilize their svelte harmonizing to humorous effect on Riot as they examine the plight of pretty, brainless people. – Melanie Haupt

TRACHTENBURG FAMILY SLIDESHOW PLAYERS

8pm, Eternal This genuine family band acquires photo slides from estate sales and junk stores and makes up musical stories to go with them. Dad sings and plays keyboard, Mom runs the projector, and their young daughter plays drums. Nothing quite like 'em.

– Jay Trachtenberg (no relation)

CHIP TAYLOR & CARRIE RODRIGUEZ

8pm, Cactus Cafe Veteran songwriter Chip Taylor and his youthful musical partner, Carrie Rodriguez of Austin, have cut two magic discs of ingeniously crafted songs, no surprise since Taylor's been making hits since "Wild Thing." New on the market is EP Angel of the Morning, reviving another of Taylor's gems with Rodriguez's gorgeous voice. – Margaret Moser

JOHN BUTLER TRIO

8pm, Stubb's John Butler is a dreadlocked, blue-eyed, rockin' soul singer from Down Under, who plays lap slide guitar like Ben Harper and sings nouveau hippie-rock jam anthems. His U.S. debut EP, What You Want (Lava), includes a looping cover of Lennon/McCartney's "Across the Universe," and Lava just released his first domestic LP, Sunrise Over Sea. – David Lynch

YUPPIE PRICKS

8pm, Jackalope Austin's Yuppie Pricks are punk's version of Bob Roberts. Trading junk chic for junk bonds, Trevor Middleton & Co. embody the virtues of noncompassionate conservatism. Their country-club charm wooed noted leftist Jello Biafra, who just put out Brokers Banquet on his Alternative Tentacles imprint. – Greg Beets

PINK SWORDS

8pm, Beerland Austin's Pink Swords dish out a remarkably calculated full-frontal assault on the senses before packing up and leaving you with the check. 2003 debut One Night High (Mortville) struck with the rapid-fire ferocity of a black mamba. A winter tour resulted in a Vegas bar brawl and a deal with Gearhead Records. – Greg Beets

ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO

8pm, Flamingo Cantina The former heavy metal guitarist for Testament has forsaken his head-banging ways for a more genteel and respectable jazz trio – that covers Floyd, Priest, Sabbath. Skolnick's latest, Transformation, which also includes fresh originals, demonstrates he still scorches the frets at will. – Jay Trachtenberg

TIA CARRERA

8pm, Whisky Bar This improv metal trio has been one of the leading (loudest) lights of Austin's Red River scene. Their psych-infused jams were digitized on 2003 debut The November Session, followed last year by a vinyl-only live record. Tia Carrera pulls it all off without rehearsal, and without a hitch. – Margaret Moser

RELAPSE RECORDS SHOWCASE

8pm-2am, Room 710 Guitar World has the extreme good sense to sponsor Philadelphia's Mastodon metal factory, Relapse Records, now halfway into its second decade of mining cataclysm. Firing up with the wraith Maiden of Austin's Ignitor, chased by the new molten thunder of ATX's the Sword, the Relapse begins with a short film. Or rather the Carpenter-esque soundscapes of Pittsburg's Zombi, whose Cosmos (2004) runs spidery synthesizer narratives through a prism of Dario Argento's Tangerine Dreaming. The motorcycle kick-drum grind of Denver's Cephalic Carnage, whose fourth paint-peeler, Anomalies, is due now, back-to-backs with the excoriating gore metal of Virginia trio Pig Destroyer, whose third LP was truly Terrifying. Alabama Thunderpussy headlines on Fulton Hill, which found vocal Skynyr Johnny Throckmorton replaced by grinder Johnny Weils, and the band's liquid sixth gear still rolling eyeballs back to their ecstatic whites. – Raoul Hernandez

THE SWORD

9pm, Room 710 Watching Austin's Sword dole out their epic, black mass, ritual sacrifice dirges, you might wonder how this normal-looking foursome hails from Texas and not some Norwegian fishing village where the men wear embroidered sweaters and have beards and write songs about giant squids that eat entire seaside towns. – Audra Schroeder

APOCALYPTICA

9pm, Flamingo Cantina It's been nearly a decade since these Finnish classicists debuted with Plays Metallica by Four Cellos. Now a trio playing their own pieces, they're no less heavy or imaginative: new Reflections features a four-song suite with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. – Andy Langer

JAKOB

9pm, Whisky Bar It just seems fitting that epic guitar instrumentals should come echoing from far away places – like Napier, New Zealand. Founded in 1998, the trio's tidal rock was recently pressed as a 7-inch on the Datsuns' Hellsquad label. See ya at the merch table. – Raoul Hernandez

GRADY

9pm, Continental Club Grady has not so quietly stepped up solidly in the ranks of Austin blues. The band, including former Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, plies a wicked, tough – loud – blues at home in both juke joint and urban bar. 2004's Y.U. So Shady? was hot and beefy. – Margaret Moser

THE MEAT PURVEYORS

9pm, Parish When Bloodshot released Pain by Numbers last year, it was the rich, creamy, beer-flavored frosting on the Meat Purveyors' catalog of countrified punk sounds. Capable of bluegrass meltdowns to make Ralph Stanley tumescent, this Austin fourpiece also pulls off Ratt, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, and Lou Reed. – David Lynch

BUCK 65

9pm, Emo's Main One of the most intriguing hip-hop discs of 2005 is a collection of reworked older material from a Nova Scotia-based MC who draws more comparisons to Tom Waits than he does Eminem. Buck 65's This Right Here introduces chills, deep thought, and big belly laughs. Also worth noting is that he's his own live DJ. – Andy Langer

MONTAG

9pm, Copa Montreal's Montag, aka Antoine Bédard, is currently rubbing elbows with labelmates M83, neighbors Stars, and Sixtoo, who mastered his new LP. The ambient Alone, Not Alone (Carpark) is just that, Bédard's transformation from synth machine to participatory music maker. – Darcie Stevens

GITOGITO HUSTLER

9pm, Beerland As if their charming stage presence and kewpie expressions weren't enough, the four badass babes of Gito2 hit their SXSW showcase last year in matching pink Burberry suits (handmade by drummer Fusa)! Tokyo's GGH is also armed to the teeth with dangerously precise lead riffs and spot-on scissor kicks. – Kate X Messer

AMY RIGBY

9pm, Cactus Cafe Amy Rigby has been compared to everyone from Elvis Costello to Carole King, but the Nashville singer-songwriter has few peers. She composes songs full of truth, fury, humor, lust, and melancholy, filling five albums and a new, as-of-yet-untitled project. – Jim Caligiuri

AIMEE MANN

9pm, Stubb's 2002's Lost in Space (SuperEgo) was a temperamental, melancholy album that revealed what is most charming about Aimee Mann: She's unafraid to step down off the pedestal female artists find themselves upon. Live at St. Ann's Warehouse 2-DVD/CD set came out late last year, featuring songs slated for a new studio album. – Melanie Haupt

DAVID GARZA

10pm, Cactus Cafe Last year, this charismatic Austinite offered his Strange Mess of Flowers, a 4-CD box set with a brilliance-to-bloat ratio that reminded us David Garza might still be this city's best-kept secret. – Andy Langer

THE SILENT LEAGUE

10pm, Exodus The richly animated pomp of recent Flaming Lips colors this Brooklyn collective's chamber pop (and everything else lately), ebbing and flowing on 2004's The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused (File 13), but early Syd Barrett is a silent partner. – Raoul Hernandez

PICCOLA ORCHESTRA AVION TRAVEL

10pm, Tambaleo This sixpiece's unique catalog is built upon vintage Italian songs, with dashes of French vocal music, indie pop, tango, lounge, and electronics. Avion Travel numbers eight albums, including 1999's feted Cirano and 2003's Poco Mossi Gli Altri Bacini (Universal). – David Lynch

SAUL WILLIAMS

10pm, Emo's Main Seven years after starring in Slam, Saul Williams continues the transformation from spoken-word poet to full-fledged MC. The L.A. transplant's self-titled album last year bridges the gap between punk rock and hip-hop, filled with vehement calls for revolution. – Robert Gabriel

DEVIL IN A WOODPILE

10pm, Parish Chicago's DIAW interpret, update, and rocket-power some of the best music from between the Great Wars. Not dependent on electricity, the trio plays tunes from Son House to Zeppelin. The band just released their third, In Your Lonesome Town (Bloodshot). Blues, country, ragtime, hot jazz, etc., it's all fair game. – David Lynch

THE GORE GORE GIRLS

10pm, Continental Club The Gore Gore Girls are all beehives and tight sweaters, and they've got your boyfriend's number. The Motor City four roughed up the sweet Sixties girl-group image by kicking a little Detroit rock in its face on 2002's Up All Night. Last year's EP, 7x4, stuffed its head in the toilet and flushed. – Audra Schroeder

DASH RIP ROCK

10pm, Jackalope Dash Rip Rock has survived novelty status for more than 20 years. The Louisiana-based trio packs a potent style of Southern rock that blisters even while inducing laughter. Bar bands are capable of wielding rock & roll with panache, and Dash is one of the best. – Margaret Moser

THE WALLFLOWERS

10:30pm, Stubb's Jakob Dylan's L.A. outfit has floundered in recent years, but that doesn't mean they're lying low. The quartet recently recorded its first album in three years, Rebel, Sweetheart, slated for a May release. – Melanie Haupt

SALLY CREWE & THE SUDDEN MOVES

11pm, Friends Sally Crewe's songs are as sleek and souped-up as the slick European sports cars she favors and sang about to brilliantly saucy effect on 2003 debut Drive It Like You Stole It. She's relocated to Austin from London, mixing upcoming 12XU effort Shortly Before Take-Off with Spoon's Jim Eno. – Christopher Gray

WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS

11pm, Velvet Spade Despite the fact that this chatty quartet has only been together two years, they're enjoying quite the local upswing. 2004 debut Trying to Never Catch Up is passionate, Jeff Buckley-inspired indie rock. – Melanie Haupt

THE PANDA BAND

11pm, Nuno's Quirky pop from Down Under along the lines of Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips, Perth's PB is proclaimed an "Artist to Watch" by Rolling Stone. This February saw the release of eclectic Sleepy Little Deathtoll Town EP, a hometown descriptor, perhaps? – Darcie Stevens

PURE REASON REVOLUTION

11pm, Buffalo Billiards The Chorus/Les Choristes got robbed at this year's Oscars, but Reading's choral rock keepers of the Floydian flame are "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning," avenging wrongs in long, grandiose flourishes. – Raoul Hernandez

PETTY BOOKA

11pm, Elysium Japanese girl ukulele duo Petty Booka has proffered their unique interpretations of pop standards for years now. From a bluegrass version of "Material Girl" to a country version of "Born to Be Wild," nothing from them is quite what you'd expect. – Greg Beets

SOUTH AUSTIN JUG BAND

11pm, Mother Egan's Forget the jug part; the SAJB's eponymous debut dispels the notion that this is just a good-time outfit. Produced by the Dixie Chicks' Lloyd Maines, the album leads a gritty journey into their bluegrass-newgrass country roots-rock turf with songs like "The Ballad of Eddie Mullet." – Margaret Moser

RAUL MALO

11pm, 18th Floor @ Crowne Plaza The Mavericks, who reunited last year, were the great Latin-accented country act of the Nineties; the lingering sound of the band is Raul Malo's voice. Malo intends to perform this showcase acoustically, but if you're hoping for a souvenir, you'll have to wait for June's new album. – Margaret Moser

KEREN ANN

11pm, Tambaleo This Parisian's Blue Note debut, Not Going Anywhere, is a mix of quiet ballads and love-struck idealism-gone-awry so achingly lovely it'll likely make poor Serge Gainsbourg spin in his grave with envy. Subtle and heartbreaking, new CD NOLITA only improves on Keren Ann's recipe for fabulous romantic disasters. – Marc Savlov

CHARLIE SEXTON

11pm, Opal Divine's Freehouse Joining Joe Ely's band when he was 13 years old, Charlie Sexton recorded Pictures for Pleasure with Keith and Woody two years later. After the Arc Angel toured with Bob Dylan, Back Porch added the guitarist to their deep stable, with his first solo album in years due this summer. – David Lynch

GARY LUCAS & GODS AND MONSTERS

11pm, Drink Former Captain Beefheart six-stringer Gary Lucas is a Grammy-nominated composer. Playing solo and with bassist Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers) and drummer Billy Ficca (Television) as power trio G&M, the New Yorker's new Improve the Shining Hour (Evolver/Rykodisc) features Nick Cave, DJ Spooky, and David Johansen. – David Lynch

NIEMINEN & LITMANEN

11:30pm, Elephant Room An instrumental twosome, this delectable Finnish duo's film-inspired riffs on their self-titled debut (Grandpop) – composed solely from Hammond organ and trap set are the type of James Bond-meets-Stax soul revue you'd want at the big shindig. – Kate X Messer

ZION-I

11:50pm, Zero Degrees On Mind Over Matter (2000) and Deep Water Slang (2002), Oakland's Zion-I dangle enterprising raps over tidal pools of drum & bass innuendo, courtesy of MPC ace Amp Live. When MC Deuce Eclipse joins the hubbub, pandemonium expresses its sense of humor. – Robert Gabriel

ERYKAH BADU

12mid, Austin Music Hall Summoning the spirit of late-Sixties Motown, four-time Grammy winner Erykah Badu leads by example in promotion of a true Worldwide Underground. Joined by New Orleans MC Jay Electronica, the self-dubbed "analog girl in a digital world" is much more than a throwback. – Robert Gabriel

SUSAN GIBSON

12mid, Mother Egan's This CenTex singer-songwriter penned history's most successful country song, "Wide Open Spaces." She released her solo debut, Chin Up, on her own imprint, as well as its new follow-up, But a Dream. – David Lynch

RON FLYNT

12mid, Habana Calle 6 As bassist for L.A. New Wave/power pop stalwarts 20/20, Oklahoma-bred Ron Flynt unleashed cult classics like "Yellow Pills," "Nuclear Boy," and "Remember the Lightning." Now living in Austin, Flynt's L.A. Story (Zip) traces the arc of 20/20 in an engaging pop song-cycle that reconciles the wild ambition of youth with the revelations of adulthood. – Greg Beets

DWIGHT TWILLEY

12mid, Vibe It's been 30 years since Tulsa's Dwight Twilley hit the charts with "I'm on Fire," but his latest effort, 47 Moons, was released on the DMI label late in 2004. As was true of Twilley in the past, the songs are highly arranged pop featuring multitracked voices against a Spector-ish wall of sound. – Jim Caligiuri

BUDDY MILLER

12mid, Cactus Cafe Multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer Buddy Miller just released the spiritual Universal United House of Prayer on New West, after six fine albums of electric high lonesome on Hightone. He's backed Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle, composed for the Dixie Chicks and Hank Williams III, and collaborates regularly with Jim Lauderdale. – David Lynch

ANDERS PARKER

12mid, Drink Varnaline inventor Anders Parker has settled into Neil Young country, stripping down, spacing up, rocking out at will, all the while authoring a gritty, ever-lengthening chapter of post-punk Americana. The new Wounded Astronaut EP spins off from 2004's rugged, confident Tell It to the Dust. – Raoul Hernandez

BOBBY BARE JR.

12mid, Parish A son of Nashville, Bobby Bare Jr.'s From the End of Your Leash (Bloodshot) finds him blending rock, soul, and pop with his snot-nosed attitude and wicked sense of humor. Bare's world-weary vocals are a flawless match for his lyrics of loneliness, heartbreak, and dysfunctional relationships. – Jim Caligiuri

THE HIGH DIALS

12mid, Soho Lounge Montreal's High Dials mine a rich vein of psych-pop halfway between the Byrds' L.A. and Moby Grape's S.F. Despite that, the Dials resist the retro bag with 21st-century production and songs. The quartet's 2004 Fields in Glass EP (Rainbow Quartz) garnered airplay from both Rodney Bingenheimer and Little Steven. – Greg Beets

IDLEWILD

12mid, La Zona Rosa This Edinburgh quintet never captured the hearts and minds of the Yanks next door, but that should change with the impending release of Capitol's Warnings/Promises, a raft of epic, swirling tunes that should be filling stadiums across the continents. – Marc Savlov

I LOVE YOU BUT I'VE CHOSEN DARKNESS

12mid, Blender Bar @ the Ritz After generating a buzz at SXSW 03, this Austin fivepiece finally released their eponymous debut EP (produced by Spoon's Britt Daniel) on Emperor Jones last year. Blending indie rock with the darker guitar tones of Bauhaus, ILYBICD found the perfect marriage of atmosphere and danceability. – Melanie Haupt

MY EDUCATION

12mid, Velvet Spade Masters at creating gorgeous, ambient soundscapes with rarely more than guitar, bass, and drums, instrumental Austin sixpiece My Education can then turn around and level a room with extreme heaviosity. Italian, the long-awaited follow-up to 2003 EP 5 Popes, is due in April on Thirty Ghost Records. – Darcie Stevens

MOBIUS BAND

12mid, Copa Their new EP, City vs. Country (Ghostly International), starts off with a bang (literally) then plows through five smashing tracks of post-punk-pop that's simultaneously melancholy and uplifting. This Massachusetts trio creates meta-rock that lingers and aches like a broken heart. – Marc Savlov

THE BLACK HALOS

12mid, Emo's Jr. Vancouver's Black Halos released two LPs of Dead Boys-style glam-punk in 1999 and 2001 before splintering in 2002. Fortunately, the sneer-happy quintet resurrected itself last year with new guitarist Adam Becvare, former stand-in for Stiv Bators at a Lords of the New Church reunion. – Greg Beets

NASHVILLE PUSSY

12mid, Continental Club Nashville Pussy plays Angus-loving rock & roll. The husband/wife team of Blaine Cartwright (9 Pound Hammer) and Ruyter Suys (pro-nounced Rider Sighs) lost their fire-breather ages ago, but they continue churning out raunch & roll, last heard on 2002's Say Something Nasty. – Darcie Stevens

PERCEPTIONISTS

12:20am, Emo's Main Mr. Lif and Akrobatik are as apt to dedicate a number to their hometown New England Patriots as they are to antagonize Bush over the war in Iraq, and are nothing short of fierce on the mic, as demonstrated by their 2004 album, The Razor. – Robert Gabriel

DAARA J

1am, Caribbean Lights Senegalese griots Daara J spin grand tales of a worldwide movement, as conscious of the ways of reggae and soul as of American boom-bap. Their 2003 album, Boomerang, won a BBC Radio 3 World Music Award, galvanizing Daara J's global emergence. – Robert Gabriel

MATISYAHU

1am, Buffalo Billiards A Hasidic beatboxer may seem novel, but this 24-year-old Crown Heights reggae phenom is no novelty. His stunning debut, Shake off the Dust … Arise, introduces not just an artist with an unforgettably warm voice, but also one who can deftly juggle religious tradition and modern cultural consciousness. – Andy Langer

VANILLA ICE

1am, Cedar Street Courtyard Go ahead, make jokes, but Vanilla Ice has heard them all. He's even made his own, facing up to youthful storytelling that didn't overshadow his massive hip-hop crossover hit in the late Eighties, "Ice Ice Baby." Now married with a kid, he's actively pursuing his career and starring in the VH1 show Remaking. – Margaret Moser

BRAZILIAN GIRLS

1am, Eternal Born of the collective New York cultural club Nublu, the Brazilian Girls bring together two delicious aural traditions: the ambient jam band and the electronic diva. Like Madonna, Jane Siberry, Björk, and Suzanne Vega, Brazilian Girls' Sabina Sciubba steps out as a distinctive presence. – Kate X Messer

SHANE BARTELL

1am, Lava Lounge Patio Last year's Too Soon to Say (Lilywhite) was a song cycle of sleepy-sexy tales of love, accented by Bartell's buttery tenor, and was perfect for setting the mood, wink wink. The local indie singer-songwriter holds a long tenure at Ego's on Wednesday nights. – Melanie Haupt

THE BE GOOD TANYAS

1am, Fox & Hound This Canadian bluegrass trio hasn't recorded much since their thrilling sophomore album, Chinatown (Nettwerk), but they scored the opening spot on the soundtrack to the film Because of Winn-Dixie and will release their third album this spring. – Melanie Haupt

JOHNNY DOWD

1am, Drink Last year's Cemetery Shoes (Munich) is the eighth chapter in this Texas-born, Upstate New York resident's career as a shades-of-gray writer and bandleader who gravitates toward life's anti-bubblegum themes: despair, murder, self-doubt, injurious behavior, etc. – David Lynch

THE WACO BROTHERS

1am, Parish Emitting the kind of loud, fast, and irreverent music Johnny Cash and Joey Ramone would have made together, this Chicago sixpiece plays with such abandon and rust-belt power there's no tellin' when this train will derail. Last year's Uncle Dave's Nine Slices of My Mid-Life Crisis was released by Buried Treasure. – David Lynch

THE MUSIC

1am, La Zona Rosa Robert Harvey's keening vocals might put you in mind of PIL-era John Lydon if he'd had Geddy Lee's larynx, but what defines this UK act is their inability to craft anything but maximum rock & roll. Debut EMI/Capitol CD Welcome to the North is likely to blow the doors clean off your Mini Cooper. – Marc Savlov

AMBULANCE LTD

1am, Exodus Everyone got caught up in the Secret Machines, but '04 was better spent in Ambulance LTD, which pulled atop year-end lists on simple mechanics: riffs, hooks, and rock. No floodlights or Flaming Lips, just four boys from Brooklyn with their feet on the floorboards. – Raoul Hernandez

CRUISERWEIGHT

1am, Saké on Sixth Austin's Cruiserweight has delivered Sweet Weaponry (Heinous/Doghouse), a debut LP loaded with explosive hooks and as much lyrical depth, if not more, as their Hot Topic peers. Since three of the four are siblings, and the other one may as well be, this ride is likely just getting started. – Christopher Gray

HONKY

1am, Continental Club In 1985, the Butthole Surfers asked 17-year-old J.D. Pinkus to join. Since then, Pinkus has produced other heavy-duty artists, as well as fronting and playing bass in this nitro-boogie outfit. The local trio presently self-releases their third album, the multimedia Balls Out Inn. – David Lynch

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