Friday Sleepers

SXSW Music Fest preview guide

All Showcases Subject to Change

Ray Sharpe

7pm, Opal Divine's Freehouse Ray Sharpe's appearance at SXSW is the very definition of a "sleeper" act. The Dallas-area veteran blues-rocker hit in 1959 with the righteous regional rocker "Linda Lu" (recorded by the Rolling Stones in 1978 but never released). With soulful vocals sounding as good as ever, Sharpe could be one of the conference's shoulda-been-there acts. – Margaret Moser

Thomas Dybdahl

8pm, Central Presbyterian Church Few artists can sound as smooth and graceful as Thomas Dybdahl. Three annual releases proved him one of Norway's most promising young songwriters, and Dybdahl's fourth LP, Science, has already garnered the elegant crooner a Norwegian Grammy for Best Male Artist. – Doug Freeman

Signal to Noise

8pm, Redrum The Denver quartet seems well-versed in recent history, as they come off a bit like Alkaline Trio or even Yelllowcard sans violin. They aren't aping their debut, Kodiak (Eyeball), so much as cutting a middle path between classic and indie. – Michael Bertin


8:35pm, Flamingo Cantina In the rich tradition of electro-cuties Zom Zoms, Xiu Xiu, et al., this Winter Park, Fla., duo is anything but monotonal. Best known for music that matches their black-and-white checkerboard MySpace page, the most convulsion-inspiring flash graphic this side of the Pikachu seizure incident, latest In the Reptile House follows suit. – Kate X Messer

The Finches

9pm, Whisky Bar The Finches' debut LP, Human Like a House (Dulc-i-Tone), fulfills the quiet promise of the San Francisco duo's stunningly wistful 6 Songs EP. Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs' voice is confidently gentle, shaded by Aaron Morgan's deeper calms. The Finches won't be flying under the radar long. – Doug Freeman


9:25pm, Flamingo Cantina In Tel Aviv, Israel, vintage grunge trio Monotonix still rocks like it's 1991. On the band's Kramer-produced debut, guitarist Yonatan Gat marches to Mudhoney's fuzz, while drummer Ran Shimoni plays his patented standing fivepiece set. Keep an eye for Ami Shalev; he's the frontman who likes to swing from rafters and sleep with your girlfriend. – Austin Powell


10pm, Whisky Bar Hard rock riffs, strategic synth, and guy/girl vocals come out smelling fresh on the Detroit trio's 2006 EP, Wise Up! Credit the tight interplay between charismatic guitarist/vocalist Augie Visocchi and keyboardist/vocalist Ko Ko Louise. – Greg Beets

Earl Greyhound

11pm, Friends Brooklyn's Earl Greyhound not only sound like classic rock gods, the group looks the part as well. Lead guitarist Matt Whyte (flowing locks), bassist Kamara Thomas (sexy 'fro), and drummer "Big Ricc" Sheridan channel Zeppelin through Sly & the Family Stone on debut Soft Targets. – Doug Freeman

Gruff Rhys

11pm, Bourbon Rocks Cardiff native Gruff Rhys may be best known for his tenure with Wales' Super Furry Animals, but his solo releases reveal a more substantial understanding of modern pop. His latest, Candylion, melds his Euro sensibility and sophisticated musicianship with a touch of electronica. – Margaret Moser


11pm, Redrum Austin symphonic-pop quintet Pompeii has a thing for lost-love anthems. With Caitlin Bailey's cello and Dean Stafford's please-don't-leave lyrics, Pompeii is toeing the line between heartfelt indie pop and grandiose classical orchestrations. 2006 debut Assembly (Eyeball) married hook with complexity. – Darcie Stevens


11:30pm, Beauty Bar Patio The self-proclaimed "schizophrenic tenant number one" puts his battle-tested rap pedigree to the test as he walks the thin line between hip-hop notable and has-been. West Oakland's Saafir settles into his Sunni Muslim self with Good Game: The Transition serving as a refinement of his Saucee Nomad, Golden State Warrior, and Mr. No No past. – Robert Gabriel


12mid, Habana Calle 6 Patio Power-pop pioneer Paul Collins played drums alongside Jack Lee and Peter Case in the Nerves before switching to guitar for the Beat. Self-titled 1979 CBS debut landed memorable punches in the form of songs like "Rock and Roll Girl" and "Don't Wait Up for Me." Collins revives that big jangle with a hint of twang on his new Get Hip album, Flying High. – Greg Beets


12mid, Maggie Mae's Rooftop With their first two albums, critics waited for Oxford's Goldrush to pick up the Britpop banner waved by Coldplay, with former Ride frontman Mark Gardener even recruiting the band to back his solo efforts. Latest The Heart Is the Place further bursts with Brit bombast and stadium orchestration. – Doug Freeman

Kraak & Smaak

12mid, Latitude 30 The name? Apparently it derives from a Dutch proverb and doesn't have any drug connotations. Blues and Soul magazine once dubbed the trio's Staxification of break beats as "the funkiest thing to come out of Holland. Ever." – Michael Bertin

Chin Up Chin Up

12mid, Maggie Mae's Are you ready for a relentless onslaught of eighth notes? On its second LP, This Harness Can't Ride Anything, Chicago fivepiece Chin Up Chin Up continues with a similar rhythmic leitmotif that defined its subtly buoyant debut. – Michael Bertin

Russian Circles

1am, Soho Lounge More angular than Chicago brethren and current tourmates Pelican but less transcendent than Explosions in the Sky, Russian Circles carve their own initials into the instrumental canon. The trio's debut, Enter (Flameshovel), captures complex crescendos. It's the "New Macabre." – Austin Powell


1am, Latitude 30 Amsterdam duo zZz's organ-and-drum racket feels like ice skating into hell. Their 2005 debut, Sound of zZz (Howler), sounds a lot like Suicide on steroids, but that's nothing compared to their shows. Resistance is futile, so stick some toilet paper in your earholes. – Greg Beets

The Mooney Suzuki

1am, Blender Bar @ the Ritz Fate has not been kind to the Mooney Suzuki. They were dropped from Columbia Records, guitarist Graham Tylor's father died of cancer, and just as they finished their new album, Have Mercy, the New York quartet learned their new label home, V2, had been shuttered. While the new album will still hit shelves, these guys deserve a drink. – Melanie Haupt

An Albatross

1am, Redrum True to its namesake, an Albatross' crossfire of free-jazz and free chaos has all the markings of a bad acid trip. The Philadelphia noise outfit jars together psychedelic organ grooves, sped-up stoner riffs, and torturous death metal yelps on their Ace Fu debut, Blessphemy, which unravels through two equally hemorrhaging movements. – Austin Powell

Beach House

1am, Tap Room @ Six Baltimore duo Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand hit between Sixties doo-wop and millennial electro experimentation with their self-titled debut. It's the sound of cold sand and colder waves, with Legrand's alto sweeping the hair out of your eyes. No Spring Breakers allowed. – Darcie Stevens

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Friday Picks & Sleepers
Friday Picks & Sleepers
Obvious Picks and loads of not-so-obvious Sleepers!

March 20, 2015

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