SXSW Picks & Sleepers

Friday


FRIDAY PICKS


All showcases subject to change

HARRY SHEARER'S LE SHOW LIVE

6pm, Central Presbyterian Church Perhaps better known as Derek Smalls, the most important completely noninfluential bass player ever, Shearer brings to SXSW his weekly KCRW Le Show filled with song parodies, skits, and real estate listings to town for a live broadcasting. The Dome is pushing 20, but so are Charles Montgomery Burns, Wayland Smithers, and Ned Flanders. – Michael Bertin

THE LITTLE WILLIES

7pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores When the Little Willies hit the stage the spotlight will be on Norah Jones, but with Lee Alexander (bass), Jim Campilongo (electric guitar), Richard Julian (guitar, vocals), and Dan Rieser (drums), the New York-based band are an all-star concoction that bill themselves as a group of friends with a common love for American music. Their self-titled debut, a mix of covers and originals, was just issued on Milking Bull Records. – Jim Caligiuri

LI'L BAND O' GOLD

7pm, Continental Club This all-star act from Lafayette is often billed as Louisiana's answer to the Texas Tornados. With swamp pop legend Warren Storm, Cajun Wildman Steve Riley, songwriter David Egan, and smokin' guitarslinger C.C. Adcock backed by Richard Comeaux, Dave Ranson, Classie Ballou, Roy Head, Archie Bell, Lil Buck Sinegal, and the St. Martin Horns with Dickie Landry, they're, well, good as gold. – Margaret Moser

BETTYE LAVETTE

7:30pm, La Zona Rosa This Detroit soul stirrer's criminally neglected career has been burnished and renewed by a pair of exceptional albums: 2003's A Woman Like Me (Blues Express) and last year's Joe Henry production, I've Got My Own Hell to Raise (Anti-). A recent Austin gig raised questions as to Lavette's sticking power, but don't doubt she's still got something to prove. – Dan Oko

EUGENE MIRMAN

8pm-2am, Red Eyed Fly New York-based funnyman Eugene Mirman combines the button-down mind of Bob Newhart with the absurd insurrectionary humor of David Cross and a cadence that occasionally recalls Emo Phillips. Mirman's Suicide Squeeze debut, The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman, was one of 2004's comic highlights. Recently signed to Sub Pop, Mirman recorded the follow-up to Absurd in October. – Greg Beets

JELLO BIAFRA

8pm-2am, Jackalope Miraculously, having watched irony die and more than a few elections go the "wrong" way since his heyday fronting the groundbreaking Dead Kennedys, Biafra's relevant again. He's dropped the spoken-word harangue of recent years in favor of tearing the roof off the sucker, in great vocal form on last year's Sieg Howdy! (Alternative Tentacles) with the equally iconic Melvins. – Dan Oko

THE FLAIRZ

8pm, Caribbean Lights School of Rock, schmool of rock. These kids have already placed out. What are you? Twelve? Maybe 13? You barely look that. Don't be fooled. On their debut EP, Rock and Roll Ain't Evil (Lefroy), the Perth, Australia, trio kicks like the valedictorians of Roger Corman's Rock 'n' Roll High School. – Michael Bertin

THE MENDOZA LINE

8pm, Maggie Mae's The Mendoza Line's Shannon McArdle and Timothy Bracy vocal play sounds more and more like the East Coast version of the New Pornographers' Newman and Case. The bands seventh, the 2005 Misra release Full of Light and Full of Fire, might be the best album you didn't hear last year. – Michael Bertin

POLYSICS

8pm, Zero Degrees Tokyo-based Devo devotees Polysics are custom-made for the inevitable remake of Logan's Run. Their performances are a dystopic sci-fi spectacle of futuristic jumpsuits, electronic blips, and breakneck synth-punk rhythms. The quartet's new album, Now Is the Time! (Tofu), is sure to spawn legions of poorly executed robot dances. – Greg Beets

TARANTULA A.D.

8pm, Buffalo Billiards If classic metal borrows from the orchestral, then Tarantula A.D. are rocking it literally. The New York trio combines cello, glockenspiel, and piano, along with guitar and bass, for their battle-scarred classically-brained LP Book of Sand (Kemado). Chamber music set to the pace of Metallica's Ride the Lightning. Call it Stratovarius rock. – Audra Schroeder

GIANT DRAG

8:30pm, Emo's Jr. The dirty pop rock of Cali duo Giant Drag saturates on latest LP Hearts and Unicorns, from the dronetastic pomp of "Kevin Is Gay" (MBV reference?) to the slow-burning "YFLMD" (Google it). Singer/guitarist Annie Hardy and drummer Micah Calabrese combine hazy drone with gritty pop, and like the album cover conveys, Giant Drag are adorable, but they'll also cut you. – Audra Schroeder

HEAD OF FEMUR

9pm, Habana Calle 6 Head of Femur might be the world's first pop-art-rock band. No arrangement is too lush. No melody too ductile. The Chicago octet's 2005 SpinART effort Hysterical Stars is what Pet Sounds might have sounded like had it been done by Captain Beefheart. Or if Brian Eno had done too much speed. – Michael Bertin

NICOLAI DUNGER

9pm, 18th Floor @ Capitol Place There are buzz acts at SXSW this year, and then there's Nicolai Dunger. The Swedish singer-songwriter's latest, Here's My Song, You Can Have It ... I Don't Want It Anymore/Yours 4-Ever Nicolai Dunger, hits the streets just as the conference starts, but don't let the genre affiliation sway you from the soulfully jazzy edge to his rock balladry. The collaborative effort with Mercury Rev results in a neo-cabaret sound that's quite seductive. – Margaret Moser

SUSAN TEDESCHI

9pm, Eternal Routinely and rightly compared to Janis and Bonnie, New England belter Susan Tedeschi remains her own woman. Laying aside her guitar on last year's bluesy Hope and Desire (Verve), she managed to stay strong and supple, serving up swaggering, evocative covers of Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and Aretha. It doesn't hurt that she's working with songwriter-turned-producer Joe Henry. A star is reborn. – Dan Oko

OXBOW

9:15pm, Emo's Jr. Stalking the stage in a (often naked) rage, Oxbow frontman Eugene Robinson has been known to wrap audience members in a headlock. Meanwhile, the band hammers through arty death noise that recalls Black Sabbath and the Birthday Party. The San Francisco quartet's first album in four years, Love That's Last: A Wholly Hypnographic and Disturbing Work Regarding Oxbow (Hydrahead), came out in February. – Greg Beets

BILLY BRAGG

9:30pm, Cedar Street Courtyard Englishman Billy Bragg has spent the last two decades writing and performing passionate, socially conscious music. More punk than folk, yet rooted in the activist tradition of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Bragg possesses unique wit and an uncanny way with melodies. Yep Roc has just re-issued his first four releases as well as a seven-disc box set that includes two bonus DVDs with previously unavailable live footage. – Jim Caligiuri

TAYLOR HAWKINS & THE COATTAIL RIDERS

10pm, Austin Music Hall If Hawkins' name sounds familiar it might be because you've seen it somewhere on a Foo Fighters album, as Hawkins terrorizes the kit for Dave Grohl & Co. Well, he's stepped out from behind the kit for a solo go. Actually, he's still behind the skins. Same rhythms, different guitars. – Michael Bertin

AFRIRAMPO

10pm, Flamingo Cantina Noisy and talented products of Osaka, this Japanese export features two sisters who perform in scanty outfits and scream like the bastard progeny of Johnny Rotten. Last year's Kore Ga Mayaku Da (Tzadik), focuses on lust, poison, and death; there's probably a good story as to how John Zorn discovered Afrirampo, whose name translates into something like "naked rock." – Dan Oko

SOUL POSITION

10pm, Emo's Main When not crafting critically acclaimed solo efforts like Dead Ringer or Aceyalone's Magnificent City, RJD2 partners with fellow Ohio native Blueprint as Soul Position. The producer and MC tag-team emerged in 2003 riding a wave created by their full-length debut, 8 Million Stories. Promising in 2006 that Things Go Better With RJ and Al (Rhymesayers), Soul Position shapes rhythmic surfboards of exploratory hip-hop. – Robert Gabriel

ELIZA GILKYSON

10pm, Parish To say that Eliza Gilkyson is on a roll overlooks the lifetime of effort she's put into her music. The Austin-based singer-songwriter scored big again last year with Paradise Hotel (Red House), a recording of lyrical conscience and remarkable beauty that saw "Man of God" emerge as one of her signature tunes. Live, Gilkyson is engaging, intelligent, and capable of astonishing emotion. – Margaret Moser

ERIC BACHMANN

10pm, 18th Floor @ Capitol Place The former Archers of Loaf frontman has reinvented himself as a sensitive singer-songwriter type and now performs with a revolving cast of players as Crooked Fingers. Last year's Dignity and Shame (Merge) was easily one of the year's best, featuring melancholy, Spanish-tinged Americana. – Melanie Haupt

RIVER CITY TANLINES

10pm, Beerland Since Memphis is probably the new Brooklyn, it makes sense that the sounds coming from the South are dirty and amplified. River City Tanlines singer/guitarist Alicja Trout's former duties in the gritty Memphis quartet Lost Sounds have prepared her for the equally chaotic Tanlines. A series of seven inches has served as a sampling until Dirtnap put them all on CD last fall. Fry. – Audra Schroeder

CHRIS BROKAW

10pm, Club de Ville Chris Brokaw has been around the traffic-jammed block a time or two. With stellar beginnings in New York's Codeine to a stint with the New Year, the Bostonian is now working Incredible Love (12XU), an acoustic, guitar-driven splay of emotion that rocks harder than his past might insinuate. – Darcie Stevens

PHOSPHORESCENT

10pm, Maggie Mae's Athens, Ga.'s Phosphorescent is a warm Southern breeze rousing the spirits of poets long dead. Matthew Houck's breaking voice matches Will Oldham's in emotion, but lures Elliott Smith fans with his painful candor. Rustic folk with a bit of alt.country in the mix, last year's splendid Aw Come Aw Wry (Misra) opened hearts to the rotating band and raised voices in joyous exclamation. – Darcie Stevens

ARIEL PINK

10:15pm, Fox & Hound Twenty-seven-year-old Ariel Rosenberg has been recording four-track songs at home for years, and from the sound of his latest, House Arrest, it sounds like it was recorded off of a boom box inside a karaoke club. Still, Ariel's got charm: he's a record-collecting fiend who just so happens to write songs that sound like Donovan, Weird Al, and the Cure, all at once. – Audra Schroeder

LUCERO

10:30pm, Red 7 Few bands document the vicious cycle of touring and not touring as well as these Replacements-loving Memphis road hogs. 2005's Nobody's Darlings (Liberty & Lament) was the quartet's third account of sweated blood, broken relationships, and white-line fever, a cautionary fable of men who love what they do even though it's killing them. Poignant companion DVD Dreaming in America drives this point home tenfold. – Christopher Gray

ANA EGGE

10:30pm, Momos After stints in New Mexico and Brooklyn, Ana Egge recently returned to Austin, where in 1998 she won Best Singer-Songwriter and Best Folk Artist at the Austin Music Awards. In 2005, she released her fourth LP, Out Past the Lights (Grace), her most mature work yet, with a combination of worldly sounds, honey-and-smoke vocals, and lyrics thick with a poetic bent. – Jim Caligiuri

JOLIE HOLLAND

10:45pm, Cedar Street Courtyard A hi-fi phonograph echoes from the room next door. Unpolished boots sit lonely on the dusty, wooden planks of the motel floor. And San Francisco's Jolie Holland rocks in a chair, barefoot, patiently strumming legends and love songs. Still floating atop the acclaim of 2002's Escondida (Anti-), the former Be Good Tanya and native Texan drinks whiskey with Billie Holiday. – Darcie Stevens

CLEM SNIDE

11pm, Habana Calle 6 Hearing Clem Snide's heavy-sweater melancholia you'd be hard pressed guessing they started as a power punk trio. Six albums later, Eef Barzelay has perfected the vocal sound of Thorazined heartbreak, most recently on the solo Bitter Honey, just out on SpinArt. The band's finishing up its next one, but in the meantime rustle through miscellaneous debris from the past, Suburban Field Recordings. – Michael Bertin

ASOBI SEKSU

11pm, Elysium Armed with a colloquial Japanese moniker that loosely translates to "playful sex," New York's Asobi Seksu packs plenty of allure into jet-screaming pop that recalls My Bloody Valentine and Lush. Vocalist/keyboardist Yuki's pastoral tone provides blissful contrast to guitarist James Hanna's screaming fields of feedback. New Citrus (Friendly Fire) is a clarion call for shoegazers everywhere. – Greg Beets

METRIC

11pm, Stubb's If you haven't yet seen this Toronto-based power-pop quartet, fronted by every indieboy's favorite smart girl Emily Haines, well, frankly Mr. Shankly, you're a total fuckwit. Sophomore CD Live It Out is pure bliss, like "Ex-Offender"-era Blondie meets "Tattooed Love Boys"-era Pretenders for a broken-glass brunch at Cheap Trick's crib. Godlike! (Or is that Goddesslike?) Whichever. – Marc Savlov

TOM RUSSELL

11pm, Parish For more than 30 years, Tom Russell has fascinated music fans with his brand of poetic country, Tex-Mex, and folk. Currently a resident of El Paso, Russell releases his 19th album, Love & Fear (HighTone), in May. Chronicling the lives of outsiders that intertwine with his own, it's filled with dreams, passion, and redemption. – Jim Caligiuri

THE EVANGELICALS

11pm, Maggie Mae's Norman, Oklahoma, has regularly produced talented bands that never get much exposure. Hopefully, the Evangelicals won't be one of them. The trio's manic guitar/keyboard/drums mixture of Sixties psychosis and early Modest Mouse jangle found its way to Austin's Misra label, which will release their debut, So Gone, in June. – Audra Schroeder

DMBQ

11pm, Flamingo Cantina Bouncing back from a fatal wreck last fall, which resulted in the loss of DMBQ and Shonen Knife drummer Mana "China" Nishiura, Tokyo noise rockers DMBQ aren't about to throw in the blood-stained towel. The 18-year-old fourpiece isn't afraid to forgo melody for psych-gut, as heard on last year's sake-tinged acid trip, The Essential Sounds From the Far East (Estrus). – Darcie Stevens

DRUMS & TUBA

11pm, Opal Divine's Having an unparalleled reputation for successful instrumental experimentation (trash-can drums, simultaneous guitars, pocket trumpet, samples), New Orleans' Drums & Tuba took a radical step on their new, three-years-in-waiting disc, Battles Olé (Righteous Babe): they added vocals. Don't worry: the trio still chases oddly-timed grooves while displaying their monster chops. – David Lynch

EDITORS

11pm, Blender Bar @ the Ritz Sure, they sound like Interpol, but Birmingham, UK's Editors don't seem to mind. Some might say that the death of retro New Wave dance-pop sits just across the horizon, but this fourpiece is lapping out of the buzz bowl with 2005 debut The Back Room (Kitchenware) and sinking their well-shined heels into the gritty, urban pavement. – Darcie Stevens

CHARANGA CAKEWALK

11pm, Copa The ivory tickler behind John Mellencamp, the BoDeans, Paul Simon, the Rembrandts, and Patty Griffin, Austin's Mexican-American multi-instrumentalist Michael Ramos finally gets his muse on with Charanga Cakewalk, beautifully realized in 2004's Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge (Triloka Records), urban grooves based on the ultimately danceable cumbia clave. – David Lynch

RYE COALITION

11:15pm, Emo's Jr. With titles like "Between an I-ROC & a Hard Place" it shouldn't be at all surprising the Rye Coalition hails from Jersey City. The Zep aspirations on the Dave Grohl-produced Curses (Gern Blandsten) are unmistakable. – Michael Bertin

ZAKARY THAKS

11:20pm, Continental Club The kings of South Texas garage rock in the mid-Sixties, Zakary Thaks also contributed two of the best 45s in the state's jukebox history with "Bad Girl" and "Face to Face." Their fuzz-laden sound rode the airwaves across Texas and beyond and, 40 years later, is hard to beat. Lately, Thaks has been hinting at a new release of contemporary and classic material. – Margaret Moser

TRALALA

11:30pm, Red 7 It shouldn't take four girls and three guys to make the two-chord, doo-wop party rock of these Brooklynites self-titled debut. As long as the ladies turnout lyrics like "Just enough money left to get drunk/ Got a teenage boy locked up in the trunk," then, hell, they can bring circus monkeys on stage to shake it with them. – Michael Bertin

RODNEY CROWELL

12mid, Parish "Don't get me started," sings Rodney Crowell on 2005's excellent The Outsider (Columbia), but that's exactly what he wants. Too sophisticated to be country, too conscience-plagued to be rock & roll, the Houston Kid's third straight A-plus album despairs over current events and finds salvation in little things like love. Drafting Emmylou Harris to duet on Dylan's "Shelter From the Storm" doesn't hurt. – Christopher Gray

PATRICIA VONNE

12mid, Copa Last year's Guitars & Castanets continued Patricia Vonne's conquering of Texas border rock with gorgeous, bilingual panache. The willowy Chicana cracks the whip on galloping rhythms and romantic lyrics and corrals them into a stylish performance that's as unforgettable as she is. Arriba!Margaret Moser

JAMIE CULLUM

12mid, Eternal This spunky singer and jazz pianist had phenomenal success with his Verve debut, Twentysomething, which he previewed at SXSW in 2004. The new follow-up, Catching Tales, finds the Londoner leaning in a more pop direction while retaining his credible jazz chops and effusive demeanor. While cognizant of the Sinatra/Connick Jr. tradition, Cullum forges his own style of youthful exuberance and panache. – Jay Trachtenberg

THE MOST SERENE REPUBLIC

12mid, Spiros The innocence of Death Cab for Cutie, the quirkiness of the Flaming Lips, and the freedom of Broken Social Scene coalesce in Toronto sixpiece the Most Serene Republic. A mixture that seems as natural as it is refreshing, 2005 debut Underwater Photographer (on Canadian superimprint Arts & Crafts) bubbles chlorinated waves like a Canadian Fourth of July. – Darcie Stevens

BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE

12mid, Bourbon Rocks Maybe the best band name ever is more than just a clever phrase. While 40-some-odd people have revolved through the door of the Bay area's BJM, Anton Newcombe has, for 12 albums up to last year's We Are the Radio EP (Tee Pee Records), stayed true to a fixation with the Stones' psychedelic phase. He's also turned the act of living into a sport not for the weak of heart. – Michael Bertin

ZZZ

12mid, Dirty Dog Bar What if Joy Division's Ian Curtis had been Dutch? What if Jon Spencer recorded in the Eighties with Ministry? For the third time, Amsterdam's zZz bring their dark, Euro-techno/industrial sound to SXSW with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The duo's upcoming Sound of zZz menaces and divinely pounds meaty, muscular, drums-and-keyboards into the universe's black maw. – Margaret Moser

SHEARWATER

12mid, Maggie Mae's Led by songwriter Jonathan Meiburg, also a member of Okkervill River, ATX's Shearwater mixes beauty and sadness, country and pop into an unexpectedly fascinating whole. Using a cornucopia of instruments, from guitars and violins to keyboards and glockenspiel, the young quintet creates soundscapes that teeter from curiously fragile to a mighty wail. Palo Santo (Misra), their fourth CD, is set for release in May. – Jim Caligiuri

WHITE GHOST SHIVERS

12mid, Habana Calle 6 Patio Midnight New Year's Eve, a transformer exploded and an East Austin warehouse went dark. Since Austin's WGS didn't have anything to plug in, the octet continued undeterred, their natural frothing energy transforming the place into the hoppingest gin joint this side of Chi-town. 2005's Live on the Radio (Chicken Ranch) was a tasty appetizer to next month's Everyone's Got 'Em!Christopher Gray

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS

12mid, Antone's It's perpetually 1972 for those so wrapped up in James Brown-styled funk that they literally exist to relive the gutbucket phenomenon. Bassist and songwriter Bosco Mann leads the Dap-Kings as their throwback tendencies launch singer Sharon Jones into frantic states of spiritual release. The New York group's second album, Naturally (Daptone), teems with soulful exuberance that merely points to the transcendental quality of their live shows. – Robert Gabriel

THE ELECTED

12mid, Red Eyed Fly By now, anyone worth their hipster salt knows of Blake Sennett's (Rilo Kiley) charming side project, the Elected. The L.A. quartet's debut, Me First (Sub Pop), was a testament to good, old-fashioned indie rock. Follow-up, the new Sun, Sun, Sun, was recorded in motel rooms while Sennett was on tour, and its expansiveness reflects the influence of being wild and free in America. – Melanie Haupt

LADYTRON DJS

12mid, Karma Lounge A mixed-race Liverpool quartet of two guys and two girls, Ladytron give classic synth-pop an elegant 21st-century makeover. 2005's Witching Hour finds vocalists Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo lending warm humanity and feminine mystique to Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu's spare soundscapes, with traces of previous genre-benders like Lush and Stereolab lingering in the air like faint perfume. – Christopher Gray

ATMOSPHERE

12:30am, Emo's Main Posing pertinent questions, such as "What if Jesus forgot to put you on the guestlist?," Atmosphere turns hip-hop on its ear with self-critiquing poignancy. Shamelessly pining for old girlfriends, frontman Slug has become the posterboy for emo-rap. Along with his producer, Ant, the Minneapolis duo cries rivers of liquid revelry by way of their latest, You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having (Rhymesayers). – Robert Gabriel

TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS

12:30am, Red 7 Leo comes off to the kids like he's cut his teeth visiting the Mission of Burma, but older farts recognize his punk rock rips as much from early Joe Jackson as the Jam. He turned the corner with Hearts of Oak in '03 and skipped the slump with the solid Shake the Sheets (both on Lookout!) the following year. – Michael Bertin

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE

12:40am, Fox & Hound You know who you are: You've drunk all that Brooklyn Kool-Aid, and you're pretty sure that Animal Collective represents the soundtrack of your life. If you can't "grok" it, at least you'll find the harmonic melodies on the new Feels (Fat Cat) a more listenable affair than its predecessor, Sung Tongs. Still lost? Think of dance music for stargazers. – Dan Oko

BRANDI CARLILE

12:45am, Cedar Street Courtyard If you're looking for a sure winner, place your bets on this remarkable, young Seattle singer-songwriter whose excellent, self-titled Columbia release was among the brightest debuts of 2005. She possesses a distinctive, captivating, and unpretentious voice with more than a hint of Jeff Buckley running through it. – Jay Trachtenberg

EX-GIRL

12:45am, Jackalope Direct from planet KeroKero via Tokyo, eX-Girl's vivid burst of avant-pop absurdity is joyful and exhilarating. The multi-instrumentalist trio wears elaborate costumes that look pinched from Sid & Marty Krofft's storage space while playing upside-down rock interspersed with allusions to everyone from John Zorn to Pink Lady. Alternative Tentacles released eX-Girl's fifth LP, Endangered Species, in 2004. – Greg Beets

HELMET

12:45am, Redrum Annex Pile-driving metal patterns itself into barking anthems as Page Hamilton and crew keep the Helmet factory working overtime. Having recently bolted from an extended union with Interscope, Helmet symbolically unleashes itself from a chain-link tether. – Robert Gabriel

SPANK ROCK

12:45am, Oslo Brought up on Baltimore club sounds, the eccentric vocalist known as Spank Rock (aka Naeem Juwan) hooked up with fellow B-more expatriate Alex Epton and commenced to ripping uptempo electro punk tracks. Paying homage to "Rick Rubin" with their latest Big Dada single, Spank Rock takes no prisoners. – Robert Gabriel

ELANA JAMES

12:45am, Elephant Room Elana Fremerman changed names as neatly as she changed bands last year, going from Hot Club of Cowtown to her own Continental Two. The fiddler's effervescent presence onstage has charmed local and international audiences, much as her acclaimed bowing enhances bands from locals Heybale! and the High Flyers to Bob Dylan, with whom she toured extensively last year. – Margaret Moser

STAN RIDGWAY

1am, Creekside EMC @ Capitol Place If you only know singer/songwriter/American original Ridgway from his days on Mexican radio, you're a sap. DVD Holiday in Dirt (New West) showcases the Ross MacDonald-meets-roadside-prophet storytelling skills of the former Wall of Voodoo frontman's utterly unique voice and sensibility in a world where everyone's a sucker on the wrong end of the law. – Marc Savlov

THE SWORD

1am, Buffalo Billiards If you somehow missed our new favorite metal export, it's time to jump on the bandwagon. The Sword is mythological glory, throbbing stories of dragon slayers and knights. With long-awaited debut Age of Winters (Kemado) hidden beneath their mustaches, the Sword takes the "Iron Swan" up against Mastadon and Sabbath. Old-school metal tastes so good. – Darcie Stevens

WITCH

1am, Dirty Dog Bar J Mascis returns to the drumkit with this heavy new crone, featuring Asa Irons and Kyle Thomas of Feathers, and co-hort Dave Sweetapple. Hearkening back to his days in the pre-Dino Jr. band Deep Wound, Mascis and friends get monolithic on their self-titled Tee Pee Records debut, marrying the Massachusetts punk style of the Eighties with your acid casualty uncle's record collection from the Seventies. – Audra Schroeder

LI'L CAP'N TRAVIS

1am, Molotov Lounge Li'l Cap'n Travis is an otherworldly quintet. Longtime Austin faves, they're emotionally committed and stylistically eclectic, yet they make a joyful sound that abhors the in-jokes. The Cap'n has been in South Austin recording their next album, with Michael Crow of Grand Champeen producing. – Jim Caligiuri

ROGUE WAVE

1am, Red Eyed Fly When this Oakland quartet released its debut, Out of the Shadow (Sub Pop), it was too easy to write them off as Shins wannabes. Their latest, Descended Like Vultures, is a necessary reinvention: smart, buttery, waltz-like dream-pop with just the right amount of ambient production to grab the ear. – Melanie Haupt

THE WILLOWZ

1am, Beerland What do you get when you take four Anaheim punks and make them practice in the garage? You get Talk in Circles (Sympathy for the Record Industry), the latest album from the youthful Willowz. It's all Seventies Cali-sleaze romp-o-rama, with a bow to the Kinky Sixties, and it definitely adheres to the less talking, more rocking mantra. – Audra Schroeder

THE WOGGLES

1am, Habana Calle 6 Patio More punk in attitude than sound, the Woggles' musty mix of garage rock, Southern soul, and psychobilly is a code-violating burst of adrenaline. Since their 1987 inception, the Atlanta-based combo has released eight albums. Their jam-packed 2005 singles collection, Soul-Sizzling 7" Meltdown (Chicken Ranch), sports a great cover of Spirit's "I Got a Line on You" and was featured on John Peel's final BBC World Service show. – Greg Beets

THE AEROPLANES

1am, Spiros This Liverpool-based quartet doesn't quite shake the B-word with their harmonious pop-rock, but with tracks like "Don't Stop Me," they'll have the attention of Fab Four and Stereophonics fans. NME compares the Aeroplanes to a more contemporary La's, but with a track in Jeff Bridges' new film The Moguls, there's no mistaking the freshness and energy emanating from that side of the pond. – Margaret Moser

QUINTRON AND MISS PUSSYCAT

1am, Velvet Spade Patio You've never seen anything quite like this iconoclastic organ-and-puppetry show from New Orleans. Organist/inventor Quintron is a poor man's Raymond Scott, devising retro-futuristic roller boogie anthems that sound like Willy Wonka's Everlasting Gobstopper machine. Vocalizing puppeteer Miss Pussycat brings it all together with her kids-TV-show-hostess persona. – Greg Beets

CARNIVAL BEATS

1:30am, Back Room Bolstered by Salih Williams of Carnival Beats, the producer responsible for recent chart-topping hits by Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Bun B, Austin rappers Nac and Swift hope to build on the surging momentum. Nac's initial union with Salih yielded the syrup-laden "Got Karo," which took the Texas rap mixtape circuit by storm in 2004. Natasha and the Mo Drama Project support. – Robert Gabriel

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