"We've been doing catchy songs to the point that no one is saying a damned thing anymore," he says. "I used to trip off of the food [for thought] a group like Public Enemy would provide us."
Second album Niggahlaws establishes Money's rule No. 1 as faith in a higher power. "I came up singing in the gospel children's choir at my mother's church," he recounts. "As a kid, I was more or less going through the motions, sleeping in the pews in three-piece suits. Now that I'm older, it's a whole new ball game."
Maturity in service of conceptual mastery doesn't just put Money in a similar category as his idol Devin the Dude but brings to mind the animated forays of Parliament's long-players. Musical ace Kerav Shimon dishes out saucers of live instrumentation, providing Money leverage to launch chest-first into uncharted stratospheres of sweaty-sticky funk, detailing things people do to get over.
"There's lots of folks doing bad right now," Money says. "So with that, I do a lot of songs about struggling. It's that human factor I'm trying to capture."
Both 2004 debut The Porch and his new album raise the bar on just how deep Texas rap can delve, into both flesh and psyche, to near Fishbone levels. Money sings in a smoky blues tone, but his raps snap like provoked rattlesnakes.
Taken together, in his own words, it's "Southern music on the cool." Robert Gabriel
5:45pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores Shrouded in tribal robes and Parliament samples, X Clan drops Afrocentric knowledge by the ton. Carrying the torch for recently departed Professor X, Brother J ignites '06's Return From Mecca with lyrical lessons dating back to X Clan's epic 1990 debut, To the East Blackwards. Robert Gabriel
7:45pm, Exodus Nellie McKay, the precocious pianist with a penchant for wry humor, wants to be adult-contemporary music's Lucille Ball, with her sophomore effort, Pretty Little Head (Hungry Little Mouse/Sony), aspiring to the female clown crown. McKay delivers a sassy live show, where her humor blossoms with the aid of her rubbery face and conversational vocals. Melanie Haupt
7:45pm, Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores What happened to "Don't Believe the Hype" as a rap slogan to live by? Public Enemy reminds us that young black males in 2007 are still caught in the crosshairs of a racist society, just as they were in the summer of '89. Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X, and their S1W security force take Auditorium Shores by storm. Robert Gabriel
8pm, Hideout There's nothing like being an underground legend from the golden age of psychedelia to add a little DayGlo to the résumé. For Powell St. John, a local exported to the Bay area, that means pointing to the holy grail of psych, the 13th Floor Elevators, and saying, "I wrote songs for them." His recent Right Track Now proves his chops are still sharp and quick. Margaret Moser
8:30pm, Cedar Street Courtyard Viktor Krauss has performed with Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell, Elvis Costello, John Fogerty, and his sister, Alison. While in demand in Nashville as a hired gun in the studio and out, Krauss now concentrates on his own work as composer and bassist, evidenced on the eclectic II (Back Porch). Jim Caligiuri
9pm, Austin Music Hall Ballroom So you think you've heard it all before, but when Seattle's Brandi Carlile comes on the radio with her spectacular "The Story," it's love at first listen. The Story is also the title of her forthcoming CD, and it's enough to set the star-making machinery in motion. Alert fans of Kathleen Edwards and Lucinda Williams. Margaret Moser
9pm, Buffalo Billards While Eef Barzelay plays solo gigs, disbands, and rebands, Clem Snide persists. The results are the same opiate-soaked tempos of Americana that are sad, smart, and sweet all at once. Lose Big, the band's first release of new material since End of Love, is scheduled for 2007. Michael Bertin
9pm, Molotov Lounge For more than 20 years, Michelle Shocked has followed her muse with both success and setbacks. Her latest releases are an ambitious trilogy of discs from 2005, and '07 promises to find the native Texan/current Los Angeleno again in the spotlight with a Live From Austin City Limits CD and DVD. Jim Caligiuri
9pm, Parish Bill Janovitz real estate agent, erstwhile rock star, and frontman for post-college pre-indie trio Buffalo Tom has made fate his bitch. Sporadic hiatuses for the veteran band have been thankfully interrupted by the Boston trio's writing of new material. Michael Bertin
9:30pm, Stubb's Chicago virtuoso and former Squirrel Nut Zipper Andrew Bird uses loop pedals, like bandmate Martin Dosh, to create a Bowl of Fire; glockenspiel, xylophone, violin, electric guitar, and whistles climax with incineration. His seventh LP and first for Fat Possum, Armchair Apocrypha, aims for the heavens. Austin Powell
9:30pm, Jovita's Jesse Dayton has been on a roll the Gulf Coast groove of 2004's Country Soul Brother, soundtracking Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects as one-half of zany hillbilly duo Banjo & Sullivan but his duets album with Austin honky-tonk thrush Brennen Leigh may beat them both. Due soon on Dayton's Stag Records, it brims with Johnny & June vitality and George & Tammy sensuality. Christopher Gray
10pm, Central Presbyterian Church A devout Buddhist who levels scathing critiques of the religious right via his singing and songwriting performing at a Protestant church-cum-venue. The irony is fitting for his reflective pop aesthetic, evidenced on last year's anthology, Brighter/Later (Rhino), which serves as a reminder for listeners to fully experience every emotion, even raging against the machine. Melanie Haupt
10pm, Red 7 The M's have been busy since their myriad appearances at last year's SXSW. Along with Lollapalooza replete with horns, strings, and backup singers the Chicago quartet toured with Wilco. Supporting 2006's Future Women (Polyvinyl) and debuting new songs, the M's answer the question: What if the British Invasion began in a basement apartment in Chicago's Ukrainian Village? David Lynch
10pm, Eternal Red Hunter became Austin famous for staging shows in strange locales, but there's little gimmick to the gorgeous tunes of his first official release, Lightness (Worker's Institute). His follow-up, tentatively titled Sun Chasers, again features the sublime vocals of Dana Falconberry, and there's nowhere to go but up. Doug Freeman
10pm, Elephant Room The New Orleans-raised, London-based trumpeter/vocalist blends jazz, hip-hop, and blues into a sound steeped in the Deep South. He'll perform a few from his new release, Ride! Ferris Wheel to the Modern Day Delta, with his Delta Blues Trio. Wilson's debut, Jazz Warrior, was nominated for both the MOBO and BBC Jazz awards. Jay Trachtenberg
10pm, Visions Austin rappers K. Paul and Pimpin' Pen flick pancake batter into ears starving for Southern hospitality. Their local radio hit "Whoop" added spaghetti Western bravado to the typical menu of '06 country fare. V.I.P.'s latest, 02 Block Edition Vol. 1, teams with emerging East Austin talents Ryno, Gerald G, and Black Mike. Central Texas rap is on the rise. Robert Gabriel
10:30pm, Stubb's Perry Farrell is finally launching his Satellite Party. The group's debut, Ultra Payloaded, which lands in May, features guest appearances from Flea, John Frusciante, Peter Hook, and Fergie and tells the story of the Solutionists, whose cosmic quest for enlightenment, love, and world peace sounds as far out as the music. Austin Powell
11pm, Elephant Room Birmingham saxophonist, rapper, and MC is at the forefront of a British scene mashing jazz and hip-hop. His ambitious new album, A Life in the Day of B19: Tales of the Tower Block, weaves a stirring narrative by way of cutting-edge jazz, raps, and spoken word. Debut Conversations With the Unseen was nominated for a coveted Mercury Music Prize in 2003. Jay Trachtenberg
11pm, Antone's Repeated exposure to the groove-driven drone of Austin's Black Angels is likely to result in a mass outbreak of involuntary nods. The explosion of their plastic beatnik vibe was inevitable. The sextet's debut sermon, Passover (Light in the Attic), ranks among 2006's best. Greg Beets
11pm, B.D. Riley's This ironically named Cardiff, Wales, trio drums, bass, guitar are trashy in a most brilliant way, their self-titled debut showcasing three-part harmonies, stark and edgy instrumentation, and crowd-pleasing lyrical topics: burying the dead, children with learning disabilities, and prohibition. David Lynch
11:15pm, Visions Internationally renowned as a mixtape mechanic, Austin's Rapid Ric promises an all-original Whut It Dew Family album soon. The rising tide of tongue-twisting freestyle-champion Gerald G gains momentum with the recent online release of Ric's tsunami of a Mr. 512 mix. Rappers Magno, Chalie Boy, Mr. Blakes, Black Mike, and Ryno complete the Dew Music cipher. Robert Gabriel
11:30pm, Opal Divine's Freehouse You didn't see too many women playing guitar when 20-year-old Beaumont native Barbara Lynn had a No. 1 R&B hit with her 1962 ballad "You'll Lose a Good Thing." Covered by the Rolling Stones and sampled by Moby, Lynn was also a big favorite of Clifford Antone's. Her 2004 Dialtone album, Blues & Soul Situation, proves the left-handed pioneer hasn't lost her touch. Greg Beets
12mid, Visions Oakland rap crew Zion I always keeps a step ahead of the hip-hop evolution curve. When backpackers were deriding southern keyboard beats, Zion I producer Amp Live utilized his MPC sampler as a live instrument. Rappers Zion and Deuce Eclipse speak old-school slang and aren't uncomfortable addressing an electro-hyphy environment. Robert Gabriel
12mid, Bourbon Rocks With the voice and wisdom of a million troubadours before him, baby-faced Toronto singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith is as prolific as he is comforting. Tenth LP Time Being comprises melody, structure, and unexpected triumphs in folky turns that echo Hugh Grant romantic comedies projected off a granite cliff in the Badlands. Darcie Stevens
12mid, Creekside @ the Hilton The dB's are once again recording and, as recent sold-out shows in New York and Chapel Hill, N.C., proved, actually performing together again. While there's no release planned, and the entire band won't be appearing, main songwriters Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey are sure to bring the jangle. Jim Caligiuri
12mid, Habana Calle 6 This wild-eyed quartet from Nashville delivers truckloads of garage-rock redemption. Fireballs like "You'll Never Be Famous" made the Clutters' 2005 Chicken Ranch debut, T&C, a sneer fest that venerated the Sixties without sacrificing the electricity of right now. Their equally hot follow-up, Don't Believe a Word, is due May 1. Greg Beets
12mid, Whisky Bar Imagine the Wedding Present as snot-nosed music schoolmates setting out to defy expectations of Nineties nostalgia and somehow, using the resources at their fingertips (MySpace? Trust funds?), inadvertently reinventing the whole shebang anyhoo. Kate X Messer
12:10am, Beauty Bar Alain Macklovitch is a Jewish boy with rhythm. As Kanye West's DJ and master turntablist, A-Trak dances from track to track, and DVD Sunglasses Is a Must documents every second. Then there's the clothing line and skateboards. With mixtape Dirty South Dance (Obey) in hand, A-Trak breaks from branding and globe-hopping to "Walk It Out" in the ATX. Darcie Stevens
12:30am, Eternal Few albums are as directly responsible for indie nation getting its groove on this decade than the Faint's chilly but infectious Danse Macabre. Then came Wet From Birth, the Omaha quintet (and sole beneficiaries of Saddle Creek's cosmetics budget) adding a sharp political edge without sacrificing any of its synth-powered precision. Christopher Gray
12:30am, Cedar Street Courtyard She's not just Austin's sweetheart made good; after three acclaimed CDs with Chip Taylor, she's got her own knockout solo debut, Seven Angels on a Bicycle, and a heap of her own four-star reviews to paste in the scrapbook. Singer, songwriter, violinist, muse. Margaret Moser
12:30am, Emo's Annex They may not be the best novelists, but NYC's Walkmen know how to rock a year's-best jam. We still have "The Rat" stuck in our heads. Currently rounding out their fourth proper LP, not counting 2006's track-by-track cover of Harry Nilsson's Pussycats, Hamilton Leithauser & Co. blast A Hundred Miles Off. Darcie Stevens
12:30am, Austin Music Hall Ballroom Lasting longer than most cults, the colorful chamber-pop collective led by former Tripping Daisy frontman Tim DeLaughter continues to build The Fragile Army. The band's upcoming third LP redefines the term "flower power." Together they're heavy. Austin Powell
1am, Bourbon Rocks The Chicago-based quartet shed enough of their Beatles and Oasis comparisons to fly on their own. 2005 release De Nova rubbed American-rock muscle with a dab of Liverpudlian and Manchurian cheek to create an exuberant sound. Margaret Moser
1am, Hideout There's no easy way to describe a Ralph White show. Goose bumps, flashbacks, and out-of-body experiences are all common side effects. Pick an instrument, any instrument banjo, kalimba, accordion, fiddle and the local former Bad Liver will play it with dexterity and heart. Audra Schroeder
1am, Elephant Room This versatile S.F.-based drummer boasts stints with Charlie Hunter, Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Nels Cline, and dozens more. He'll be leading a trio with keyboardist Erik Deutsch and bassist Viktor Krauss, and his most recent album, Believe, was released in 2005 to rave reviews. Jay Trachtenberg
1am, Emo's Main Room Moving away from the jazz/funk territory they've mastered, New Orleans' Galactic are currently in the studio with a variety of vocalists and MCs, including Jurassic 5's Chali 2na, Gift of Gab from Blackalicious, Mr. Lif, Lyrics Born, the Coup's Boots Riley, and Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets. Jim Caligiuri
1am, Momo's It's Rock Star: Supernova's loss. Pike's been a fixture on the Austin scene since the early Nineties when she headed up the rock-funk outfit Sister Seven and, later, Black Box Rebellion. On her latest CD, Unraveling, she unveils the award-winning "Beautiful Thing," exactly the sort of unrestrained performance that makes stars rock. Margaret Moser
1am, Buffalo Billiards Local indie rock faves sign to Capitol, release debut, get dropped. Last year's Movie Monster didn't quite transform the Austin sixpiece into an overnight success, but its hypnotic "TV Torso" and "No More Birthdays" still make us bounce. Sound Team replaced guitarist Sam Sanford and youngster Michael Baird with the even-younger Will Patterson (17), so expect some fresh beats to drop. Darcie Stevens
1:15am, Beauty Bar Patio Along with in-house superproducer Rick Rock, Northern California's Federation ushered an entire movement of high-energy Bay area rap with '04 hit "Hyphy." Federation rappers Goldie Gold, Stress, and Doonie Baby work crowds into ecstatic chaos as their '06 underground staple "18 Dummy" continues to catch on from the Bay. Robert Gabriel
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