SXSW Picks & Sleepers



All showcases subject to change


1pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores This prolific Houston trumpeter/arranger/bandleader was a session musician at fabled Duke/Peacock Records, has toured extensively with B.B. King as musician/arranger, has won several esteemed Living Blues awards, and has long led this full-blown blues orchestra. Owens' latest self-produced Orchestra album, I Ain't Gonna Be Yo' Dog No Mo', is reason enough to check out one of the few remaining regional blues juggernauts. – Jay Trachtenberg


2pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores Since forming in 1975, the Grammy award-winning BeauSoleil has earned its reputation as the pre-eminent band playing Cajun music. Fronted by multi-instrumentalist Michael Doucet, who was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the NEA in 2005, the Lafayette-based sextet blends zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, blues, and more into an irresistible sound that's moved feet worldwide. – Jim Caligiuri


3pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores Lafayette, La.'s multi-instrumentalist Buckwheat Zydeco was a prodigy at 4, ultimately backing Joe Tex and Gatemouth Brown. Since forming his own band three decades ago, it's been all gravy: gracing stages with Eric Clapton, performing at the Olympics, winning Grammys, etc. In addition to more zydeco boogie, his new Jackpot! (Tomorrow Recordings) demonstrates Buckwheat's deft hand on the Hammond B-3 organ. – David Lynch


4pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores For more than three decades the Dirty Dozen Brass Band has galvanized the storied Storyville brass band tradition with jazz, funk, and intrepid collaborations (Dizzy Gillespie, David Bowie, Modest Mouse). In 2004, Ropeadope released the 10th album by the Big Easy octet – trumpets, trombone, saxes, sousaphone, snare, and bass drum – the stunning, all-spiritual Funeral for a Friend, for founding member Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen. – David Lynch


5pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores Serving up the sweet 'n' greasy funk that made New Orleans famous, Ivan Neville – son of crooner Aaron – and his Crescent City quintet shake the rafters and your ass. Compendia released 2003's Scrape, featuring Keith Richards, Michael Brecker, Bonnie Raitt, George Duke, and Leo Nocentelli. The real deal, y'all. – David Lynch


6pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a group of Crescent City musicians dubbed themselves the New Orleans Social Club and celebrated their city's indomitable spirit by recording Sing Me Back Home (Sony BMG). A tribute to NOLA, it includes members of the Meters and Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball, Dr. John, Henry Butler, the Subdudes, and many more. – Jim Caligiuri


7pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores The quintessential New Orleans pianist graces River City with much more than his tutelage as a protégé of Professor Longhair. Beyond penning Crescent City standards "Java" and "Southern Nights," Toussaint may be best known for producing Lee Dorsey, the Meters, and LaBelle. A legend. – Robert Gabriel


7pm, Central Presbyterian Church LZ Love may be new to Austin, relatively speaking, but she's an old hand at spreading the gospel. And rhythm & blues. And jazz. And just about anything the ex-Bay area resident chooses to wrap her remarkably rich and soulful voice around. Love's credentials include singing backup for Motown queen Mary Wells and late disco queen Sylvester. My Higher Ground is her latest. – Margaret Moser


7:30pm, Habana Calle 6 Patio Ultra-vivid Denver pop quartet Dressy Bessy curbs the twee and ups the sass factor on their 2005 LP, Electrified (Transdreamer). Like a schoolteacher after one too many whiskey sours, Tammy Ealom's trademark hyper-sweet vocals are now imbued with a patina of throaty suggestion that's not entirely safe for Saturday morning. – Greg Beets


7:45pm, Redrum This group of schoolchildren from Austin's Palm School is more than just a choir. They back up their sweet, tender harmonies with their own band and accomplished musical performances that placed them in the Austin Music Awards Top 10 several years running. With a repertoire from classical to contemporary, Palm School Choir is one of those delights of SXSW. – Margaret Moser


8pm, Parish Last summer, when everyone was dying on the series finale of Six Feet Under, we sobbed ourselves into oblivion accompanied by Sia's gorgeous, expansive "Breathe Me." The Australian chanteuse released her sophomore album, Colour the Small One (Astralwerks), a thing of fragile beauty, sensuous and searching. – Melanie Haupt


8pm, Continental Club Originally from NorCal, the Weary Boys have become one of Austin's most beloved acts for their unrestrained performances of acoustic-based country music. Their latest, Holy Ghost Power, a collection of both traditional and original gospel tunes, was a departure of sorts with clear harmonies and subtle spirituality, yet with the rough edges still visible. – Jim Caligiuri


8pm, Oslo Forget hip-hop. If you're ready to accept turntablism as an art, then don't miss 34-year-old Bronx native Jason Kibler, aka DJ Logic, an un-beat-able artiste. Having worked with string-string masters like John Scofield and Vernon Reid, with whom he formed the Yohimbe Brothers, and a host of jam bands, Logic's forthcoming release, Zen of Logic (Ropeadope), aims for ethereal heights. – Dan Oko


8:15pm, Emo's Annex "Are we having lots of fun now, baby?" is the question Ohio duo Swearing at Motorists poses on "You Will Not Die Tonight (Probably)" from last year's Last Night Becomes This Morning (Secretly Canadian). The answer is yes and no: The disc deals with the vagaries of indie-rock stardom. – Dan Oko


8:50pm, Lava Lounge Patio Did you want the Yeah Yeah Yeah's debut to be dirtier, the sort of thing that made parents nervous? Denton-to-Austin trio Faceless Werewolves play garage rock like they are trying to shake the thing from its foundations. It's the Detroit Cobras with a little more rawk in the howl. Bass? They don't need no stinkin' bass. – Michael Bertin


9pm, Buffalo Billiards Three gorgeous women who dance with daggers and break plates, Toronto's Magneta Lane is the younger generation's reaction to slick, eyeliner mall rock. Not as angry as Sleater-Kinney, Magneta Lane's sophomore release, Dancing With Daggers (Paper Bag), is just the right amount of grit and priss to garner attention from their indie rock elders. – Darcie Stevens


9pm, Club One 15 Fourteen years removed from Arrested Development's explosion onto the boho-rap scene, Speech touched the sky with '05's The Vagabond (Bluhammock), straddling classic Southern soul as if it were a rocket to the heavens. The Atlanta mainstay remains on the positive tip. – Robert Gabriel


9pm, Continental Club The first lady of rockabilly returns to SXSW on the heels of I Remember Elvis (Cleopatra). Jackson toured with and dated Elvis in the mid-Fifties, so her jumpin' tributes of "Too Much" and "Heartbreak Hotel" pack authoritative weight. Having Blondie drummer Clem Burke on board doesn't hurt. In person, the Oklahoma-bred Jackson still growls out "Let's Have a Party" and "Fujiyama Mama" with conviction. – Greg Beets


9:20pm, Austin Music Hall Chicago's Sybris describe themselves as art rock, Eighties heavy metal, and folk. Or picture an indie rock Ekova/Cocteau Twins mix, with added Muffs angst. The quartet's psychedelic pop is fashioned from serious sonic wizardry and the angular, melodic vocal flights of Angela Mullenhour. Their strong eponymous debut was recently released by Flameshovel Records. – David Lynch


9:30pm, Flamingo Cantina Kicking off an illustrious career as a rap producer in '88 with beats provided for 7A3's Coolin' in Cali, DJ Muggs soared to even greater heights during the early Nineties as the creative force driving classic LPs by Cypress Hill, House of Pain, and Funkdoobiest. The one-time West Coast DMC champion returned to form in '05 with Wu-Tang Clan's GZA on Grandmasters (Angeles). – Robert Gabriel


10pm, Central Presbyterian Church Birthed in NYC's East Village in the immediate wake of 9/11, this collective of divergent musicians draws its inspiration from the rich traditional of rural American roots music – folk, gospel, bluegrass, and blues. 2004's eponymous, T-Bone Burnett-produced debut on DMZ/Columbia garnered rave reviews. – Jay Trachtenberg


10pm, Bourbon Rocks Part midway hawker, part one-man band, Austin's Guy Forsyth is also a founding member of the vaudevillian Asylum Street Spankers, with whom he's been playing once again. Accompanied by his own quartet, Forsyth delivers a hot plate of blues-based new rock, well-documented on last year's local favorite Love Songs: For and Against (Small & Nimble). – David Lynch


10pm, Copa Originally from New York, Tom Freund now hangs his hat in Venice, Calif. Critically acclaimed for his diverse, inventive songwriting, his latest disc is Sweet Affection (Surf Road), a collection of new songs and live recordings that feature Victoria Williams. – Jim Caligiuri


10pm, Pecan St. Ale House Maybe all you need to know about Terri Hendrix is that the best sideman in Central Texas has produced and worked with her for nearly a decade. Her songs may be breezier, but they're as heartfelt as those of the distinctly Texan singer-songwriters – the Guy Clarks, the Robert Earl Keens. – Michael Bertin


10pm, Eternal Lisa Germano is a singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who follows her own crooked path. Touring and recording with the likes of John Mellencamp, Indigo Girls, Iggy Pop, and Giant Sand, her solo work remains imaginative and seductive. The L.A.-based Germano is set to release her seventh collection of songs, In the Maybe World (Young God), this summer. – Jim Caligiuri


10pm, Elephant Room Radiohead playing in Austin's basement jazzatorium? A few songs anyway. In the nimble hands of this L.A. pianist, 2003's True Love Waits and '05's Hold Me to This proved that Yorke & Co.'s reinvention and subsequent deconstruction of modern rock were every bit as revolutionary as we all thought. Now he's on to Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute. Xoxoxo. – Raoul Hernandez


10pm, Karma Lounge This magical Edinburgh quintet utilizes everything from traditional fiddle-work, keyboards, and the requisite guitar and percussion, then overlay spunky, sexy male-female harmonies to create a bittersweet poke at love gone good, bad, but never indifferent. Last year's debut Young Forever (Rough Trade) was the soundtrack to much sweaty summer lovin' and is soon to be followed up by an as-yet-unchristened sophomore crush. – Marc Savlov


10pm, Antone's It's been a long time since the Essex Green's sophomore release, The Long Goodbye (Merge), came out in 2003. Who knows what the Brooklyn quintet, which specializes in lovely, nicely turned chamber indie-pop, has been up to since then? Look for the group's latest, Cannibal Sea, on Merge this spring. – Melanie Haupt


10pm, La Zona Rosa When your breakthrough rains down crystalline guitar pop in the key of Britain, 1980, success will school you. Montreal's Stills survived 2003's Logic Will Break Your Heart (Vice), but just barely. Without Feathers, due late spring, doesn't produce another "Lola Stars and Stripes," or "Still in Love Song," but its earnest complexity doesn't want to. "It Takes Time" comes closest, perhaps, and live, Feathers will fly. – Raoul Hernandez


10pm, Maggie Mae's This Portland quartet sneaked onto the scene back into 2003 with Solid Guild (Startime), a collection that was a little bit Pavement and a whole lot of attitude. They followed that up with last year's With a Cape and a Cane. Rather than regurgitating Nineties college-rock sounds, the Joggers have taken a more angular, post-punk approach. – Melanie Haupt


10pm, Emo's Main Not even Zeppelin's John Paul Jones helming their second V2 disc, Outta Site/Outta Mind (2004), could alter the fact that conquering America from New Zealand is no day at the zoo unless you're Peter Jackson. No. 3's currently being assembled, so expect new material, hope for "Blacken My Thumb" and "Freeze Sucker," and duck when the two-guitar foursome goes off like Thin Lizzy. – Raoul Hernandez


10pm, Velvet Spade We love some Motown. Although Austin fivepiece the Nervous Exits are more garage than street, singer John Yaklin howls from the gut, and the guys all know the electric slide. A heavily anticipated debut LP is on the way from ATX's Super Secret Records. Dirty, sweaty, and tastes great with Lone Star. – Darcie Stevens


10pm, Parish If the sparse, minimalist electro-beats of UK retrograde darlings Hot Chip don't get you, their dangerously punning lyrics and song titles ("Crap Kraft Dinner") surely will. It's as if Kraftwerk had moved to Detroit circa Computer World and set up shop next to Derrick May and Steve Wozniak. – Marc Savlov


10:15pm, Emo's Annex Stephen McBean's apex is his Axis of Evol (Jagjaguwar). Seems he needed a mellower outlet than his other rock band, Black Mountain. The quietly strange Vancouver songwriter does hell, drag queens, and drugs with a measure of apathy that is understandable and distressing. – Darcie Stevens


10:15pm, Cedar Street Courtyard With one hand and foot, Austin's D-Madness keeps rhythm, while his other hand programs a keyboard loop of his drum combos. The busy octopus/man then grabs a bass guitar to fill in his break with a heartbeat of its own accord. Smiling into the mic, D's melodic words elicit young children running about a schoolyard. The entire soul-funk package rolled into one visually-impaired genius, D-Madness is the truth. – Robert Gabriel


10:45pm, Caribbean Lights Can you be political, satirical, sexual, and still not bore the crap out of people? Jessica "Coco" Hansell and Ben "Erik Ultimate" Buchanan rap to a cheeseball Eighties techno bootybeat, so while 2005's Denim & Leather might come off like Princess Superstar or Peaches, it's far more clever and has a cheeky exuberance that most hip-hop of any flavor lacks. This shit is cool. – Michael Bertin


11pm, Elephant Room Critics worldwide have raved about this supremely talented, Florida-based jazz pianist/composer. Possessing a stunning, Bill Evans-influenced lyricism, Arriale and her trio, with veterans Jay Anderson (bass) and Steve Davis (drums), are celebrating their 10th anniversary together with the release of their ninth album, Come Together (Motema Music). – Jay Trachtenberg


11pm, Continental Club Andre Williams is a dirty old man. In fact, he's proud of it. The author of such underground funk classics as "Bacon Fat" and "Jailbait" hit the skids in the Eighties but mounted a comeback the following decade, teaming up with relative youngsters like Jon Spencer and the Sadies. – Michael Bertin


11pm, Stubb's He's an Aggie. He's divorced. That's as far as a smear campaign against Lyle Lovett is going to get. Lovett's slowly but inevitably approaching Willie-like status here in Texas, even if his appeal is more Cabernet than Lone Star. – Michael Bertin


11pm, B.D. Riley's Led by guitarist/vocalist Will Walden and featuring the hot Dobro style of David Hamburger, Austin's Grassy Knoll Boys are a trad-bluegrass quintet who perform a mix of edgy old-time Americana. They've recently been in Nashville working with famed producer Bil VornDick on a follow-up to their splendid debut, Buckeyed Rabbit (Genuine). – Jim Caligiuri


11pm, Bourbon Rocks In the late Seventies, NYC's Garland Jeffreys was considered a street-smart contemporary of Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen with radio hits like "Wild in the Streets" and "Ghost Writer." Although he's been out of the public eye since the early Nineties, Jeffreys' I'm Alive, a 14-track career overview with three new songs, is due this summer. – Jim Caligiuri


11pm, Antone's 2001 saw the band's last proper studio album, Here's to Shutting Up (Merge), and there's been no official word from the band on new material since. But, c'mon, it's Superchunk. They might still be the indiest of the indies. Start a band. Start a label. Put other cool bands on it. All while making perfect pogo punk. Still hyper enough to get it done. – Michael Bertin


11pm, Buffalo Billiards Are the Kinks suddenly getting their influential due, or is it just that anything worth listening to these days comes from folks who wore down the vinyl grooves on their copies of Muswell Hillbillies? Dallas' Deathray Davies make the retro sound crescent fresh. Or if you have no knowledge of anything pre-1988, think Superdrag with swagger. – Michael Bertin


11pm, Blender Bar @ the Ritz Norway's Jessica Fletchers sound like they walked straight off the set of Shindig into a time machine, dialed up 1.21 gigawatts of energy, and landed in Aughties. Really, if someone sneaked cuts from 2005's Less Sophistication (Rainbow Quartz) onto your Nuggets box set, you'd have absolutely no sonic cause to doubt its fitness there. – Michael Bertin


11pm, Beerland Like the Dictators: hard, fast, lots of distortion. The angry Canadians dish out the disses on their latest, Give It a Name (Gearhead Records), and what they lack in originality they more than make up for live. – Michael Bertin


11pm, Emo's Main Austin/Denton's Riverboat Gamblers don't command the stage as much as assault it, Motor City style. The quintet's anarchic flailings resemble the Dwarves, but the Gamblers are tighter, and they don't quit after 20 minutes. Their third album, To the Confusion of Our Enemies (Volcom), is due in April, and gamers can now hear them on Tony Hawk's Wasteland. – Greg Beets


11pm, Parish If the Clash had been a disco band? Maybe. Radio 4 isn't indie, and isn't punk. It's got rhythm, but also jagged guitars. Heck, you can dance to it. You should dance to it. The Brooklyn band's follow-up to Stealing of a Nation (Astralwerks) is due out in May. – Michael Bertin


11pm, Fox and Hound It was almost creepy how much tongue wagging and frothy lathering were done in the press over these Nashville teens last year. Be Your Own Pet's under-18 chops cop to bands like T. Rex and Television, with singer Jemina Pearl's adrenal-punk vocals recalling some riot grrl gunk. Last year's self-titled shook the silverware off the tables at Waffle House, but not in a methed-up way. – Audra Schroeder


11pm, La Zona Rosa Completely oblivious to any music released after 1988, brit quintet Towers of London engendered the most unpleasant, if not accurate, bit of journalism ever typed: they "thrust Guns n' Roses' cock rock into Johnny Rotten's mouth and make him swallow." (Thanks, Village Voice. Can I shower now?) Comparing 2005's How Rude She Was (TVT) with the Darkness will only encourage them. – Christopher Gray


12mid, Room 710 Since 1992, Denver, Colo.'s Cephalic Carnage has built up shred cred in the metal world for their technically flecked, grindy, existential metal, which swims in sticky deep green smoke. Last year's Anomalies offered a hot batch of nouveau metal. – David Lynch


12mid, Continental Club This Riverside, Calif.-bred quartet kicks out the jams, and they never do it easy. Singer Lisa Kekaula maintains Patton-like command of the stage as the other BellRays unleash homicidal sonic assault. 2005's Red, White & Black (Alternative Tentacles) proclaimed "Maximum Rock n' Soul," which the BellRays always deliver live. – Greg Beets


12mid, Velvet Spade Kid Congo Powers and his Pink Monkey Birds drum up all shades of twisted hoochie-koo rock. That's no surprise to anyone familiar with the New Yorker's work as a founding member of the Gun Club, his stint with Nick Cave, his killer guitar work with the Cramps, and the wild panoply of other acts he's started. His latest recording is last year's Solo Cholo. – Margaret Moser


12mid, Fox & Hound This L.A. dance-rock duo could probably get along just fine without all the Interpol Jr. cracks, but when you're as enthralled of Joy Division as Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin, it's bound to come up. Their single "Tear You Apart" is sweeping across XM Radio like a brush fire, making this year's self-titled Geffen debut the must-have coaster for the black-eyeliner set. – Christopher Gray


12mid, Creekside @ Capitol Place Ghandaia (Gahn-die-ah) formed in Austin in 1999 and now has nine members, sometimes more on stage. These global groovers use many tools to create their conscious, carnivalesque sound: hand drums and horns, amps and acoustics, lyrics in Spanish, Portuguese, and English wrapped in Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, reggae, and funk styles. The collective is currently working on the follow-up to 2004's Uno (Xochipilli). – David Lynch


12mid, Copa "I'd Rather Be Your Enemy" and "Cold Hard Rain" highlight the Meat Purveyor's best platter, 2004's Pain by Numbers (Bloodshot). While not measurably different from three previous LPs, the breakneck mandolin, thumping bass, smartass singing, and hyper strumming from Austin's premier punk-grass quartet brewed up an all-too-potent moonshine. Intrepid onstage covers include ABBA, Ratt, the Velvet Underground, and Bill Monroe. – David Lynch


12mid, Opal Divine's Long ago, Knoxville's Scott Miller was a V-Roy. As a solo artist, his discs are equally witty, literate, and rockin', particularly the highly praised Thus Always to Tyrants (Sugar Hill) in 2001. Miller's intense songwriting reflects his love for the South, and with that in mind, his new Citation (Sugar Hill) was recorded in Memphis with Jim Dickinson. – Jim Caligiuri


12mid, Bourbon Rocks 2005-2006 are turning out to be as cruel as they are kind to singer-songwriter Susan Cowsill, blessing her with critically acclaimed CD Just Believe It (Blue Corn Music) and taking their toll on the terrible loss of Hurricane Katrina and two brothers. Cowsill's musical roots are deep and sweetly heartfelt, going back to her days in her family's Patridge-like pop band, and staying true over the years with bands like the Continental Drifters. Hang in there sister. – Margaret Moser


12mid, 18th Floor @ Capitol Place A nice combination of Waitsian songwriting and twang, Toronto's Luke Doucet calls himself "country verité," but really he's just a great songwriter. February's Broken (and Other Rogue States) (Six Shooter) is a dose of understanding strum and pretty pop interspersed with great and witty lyrics. – Darcie Stevens


12:15am, Emo's Annex Okkervil River issued one of 2005's best reviewed LPs, Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguwar), making them one of Austin's true breakthrough bands. Led by songwriter Will Sheff, the fourpiece manages literate, melodic, and mysteriously charming while creating country dreamscapes. – Jim Caligiuri


12:45am, Emo's Jr. It's been nearly two years since Pedro the Lion's gorgeous, near-perfect Achilles Heel (Jade Tree) hit shelves. Since then, Seattle frontman David Bazan has devoted time to his all-synthesizer side project Headphones and has just gotten off the road with the Undertow Orchestra, a live, four-way musical conversation featuring Bazan, Mark Eitzel, Vic Chesnutt, and Will Johnson. – Melanie Haupt


1am, Oslo Whether backing drummer Brannen Temple and trumpeter Ephraim Owens with turntable cuts by way of the Blaze jazz ensemble or providing tools for DJs in the form of his Soundcraftsman vinyl series (Crowd Control Records), Austin's NickNack keeps it precise. His latest venture casts him as producer of 50 hip-hop-oriented instrumentals as he scores the forthcoming film Slam Planet: War of Words. DJ Tats supports. – Robert Gabriel


1am, Back Room Running down a line of undeniable Houston rap classics, the lyrical progeny of the late DJ Screw sport Big Pokey's collaboration with Paul Wall "Sittin' Sidewayz," Trae's "Swang," Hawk's "You Already Know," and ESG's "Getchya Hands Up." Mix in added rapping talents Lil Keke and Lil' O for good measure and the Back Room might as well put promethazine cocktails on their bar menu. – Robert Gabriel


1am, B.D. Riley's Now a trio, the Two High String Band has a sturdy yet earthy sound, combining stellar acoustic picking with fine song-craft. They've wowed audiences from Rockygrass to Merlefest with only two guitars, one mandolin, and three voices. Two High's second disc, Moonshine Boogie (Blue Corn Music), has just hit the streets. – Jim Caligiuri


1am, Pecan St. Ale House An integral part of the Austin roots-rock scene since transplanting from Oklahoma two decades ago, singer-songwriter and guitarist LaFave has culled a loyal following. His current Blue Nightfall (Red House) mixes heartfelt love songs with rockin' odes to the open road. He's also one of Bob Dylan's finest interpreters. – Jay Trachtenberg


1am, Hideout Seminal Elephant 6 outfit Elf Power sees itself rising from the rubble of a movement, reconstituted with a lineup that includes a mix of longtime members and two new players from other Elephant 6 bands. The Athens, Ga., quintet's most recent release, 2004's Walking With the Beggar Boys (Orange Twin), retains their playfulness and a dash of experimentalism. – Melanie Haupt


1am, Blender Bar @ the Ritz With 2005's sophomore-slump-busting War of the Wakening Phantoms (Rainbow Quartz), this modern-day psychedelic pop quartet from Montreal recalls the epic storybook qualities of Britpop classics like the Zombies' Odyssey & Oracle and XTC's Skylarking. Pure pop tunes like "Strandhill Sands" and "Sick With the Old Fire" succeed independently of their mind-expanding accoutrements. – Greg Beets


1am, Exodus Once notable participants in the early-Nineties Madchester movement, the Charlatans UK took a back seat to the popularity of their musical brethren the Stone Roses. Of course, that outfit self-destructed, and the Charlatans remain. Simpatico drops next month on Sanctuary Records. – Melanie Haupt


1am, Latitude 30 Armed with a sackful of touchstones like Cheap Trick and David Bowie, Austin's Real Heroes blast off on pure-pop-with-a-capital-P. Together with their quick wit and good looks, the quintet is the full package. The Real Heroes' hook-laden 2004 album, Greetings From Russia (Rec Center), got its second wind via distribution at Target stores nationwide last year. A follow-up is in the works. – Greg Beets


1am, Opal Divine's Last year's Alternative Tentacles release, Re-Cyclone, was a potent reminder that neither time nor changing labels can wither the Louisiana trio's rip-roaring rock & roll. DRR are the kings of depraved swamp rock with a heavy dose of humor. In this SXSW anniversary year, it's worth noting this was one of the bands that gave the conference unmitigated cool in its baby days. – Margaret Moser


1am, Bourbon Rocks Former/current members of the Mekons, KMFDM, Graham Parker's band, Dollar Store, and Jesus Jones use punk-pushed country to deliver biting commentary on all that's fucked up. One of the biggest acts on Chicago's insurgent cowboy imprint Bloodshot, the sextet released their eighth full-length, Freedom and Weep, last year. – David Lynch

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