The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Showcases

March 7, 2008, Music


8pm, Fuze UGK's always been about more than Pimp and Bun. As forefathers of the Houston rap scene, the Underground Kingz had a hand in the development of nearly every rapper to come out of Texas. Before his passing last year, Pimp C had taken under his wing a number of artists. Making waves is Austin's DJ Rapid Ric, a spinner integral to the likes of Chamillionaire and Paul Wall. Ric's preparing his solo debut, Whut It Dew Family, for a spring release. Houston's five-man Circle G'z rotate bumps with uplifters and approach each verse trying to one-up the previous MC. Working with Scott Storch has helped San Antonio's Slykat bring the sound of his native Miami to Texas with his debut, Sunny Place, Shady People. He'll balance his desire to rep Miami with Austin's own MCs, Public Offenders, and fellow local Gerald G., putting "the hood on the map." Port Arthur represents with Bankroll Jonez, DJ B-Do & Young T.O.E., XVII, and Hezeleo, the family's fathered and headlined by the sublime Bun B. – Chase Hoffberger

Smalltown Supersound

8pm, the Thirsty Nickel No other label has reshaped modern electronica more in recent years than Oslo, Norway's Smalltown Supersound. Following the breakout success of quartet 120 Days at last year's conference, the label returns to highlight the collective brilliance of its roster. A resident DJ at native hot spot Sunkissed, Joachim Dyrdahl, aka Diskjokke, is a classically trained violinist and mathematician who crafts ethereal beatscapes on his forthcoming debut, Staying In. Labelmate Kim Hiorthøy focuses on fractured, lo-fi electronica with snippets of found sound, while space-disco explorer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has remixed Franz Ferdinand and LCD Soundsystem, collaborated with Prins Thomas, and runs his own label, Feedelity. Bergen neighbor Bjørn Torske, meanwhile, mixes house with ambient dubstep on 2007's Feil Knapp. On the other side of the Atlantic, San Francisco's Arp bathes Krautrock repetitions in warm, spacious electronica. Boston-based free-folk collective Sunburned Hand of the Man has dropped too many noise bombs to keep track of, but 2007's Smalltown debut, Fire Escape, is a collaboration with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), who orchestrated the sessions. The result is one of the most unpredictable and sublimely psychedelic albums in the Hand's canon. – Austin Powell

K Records

8pm, Emo's Lounge Having passed the quarter-century mark, the shield around the K remains a steadfast symbol of the Northwest's DIY ethos. The Calvin Johnson startup has cultivated acts from Beat Happening, Mecca Normal, and the Softies to contemporary Calvinists like Little Wings, Tender Forever, and Love as Laughter. This year's K Recs showcase brings something old, new, borrowed, and Blau. Karl Blau's been a backbone of the K stable, his credits including D+, Microphones, and Mirah, while his own work scours moody electronics into minimal contortions behind low monotone vocals. 2007's Dance Positive (Marriage) pulsed the songs of fellow D+ alum Bret Lunsford into quirky, drum-machine beats, while the Anacortes, Wash., artist preps Nature's Got Away this year for K. Jeremy Jay is the Olympia imprint's latest find, releasing his debut, A Place Where We Could Go, in April. The lanky L.A. songwriter drops lo-fi doo-wop pop like Jonathan Richman via Jens Lekman. Chicago collective Mahjongg angles eccentricities from the opposite direction, fusing eclectic world beats into an electronic maelstrom and industrial thump for this year's K debut Kontpab. New signees Saturday Looks Good to Me produced their best work on last fall's fourth LP Fill Up the Room, accenting Fred Thomas' pop perfection with rich, expansive arrangements. Since the Blow's 2006 full-length debut, Paper Television, which offered electro-pop gold from Khaela Maricich's jumping, pitchy vocals scampering atop Jona Bechtolts synthesized beats. Bechtolt sets sail as YACHT, while Maricich carries Blow solo. Last-minute addition Kimya Dawson probably missed an Oscar nomination by inches. – Doug Freeman

Columbus Discount

8pm, Lamberts Patio Columbus, Ohio's music scene is frighteningly prolific and highly contagious right now. Thank goodness the underground musicologists at Columbus Discount were able to gather a sample for the petri dish, all with very similar ideas about fidelity. Night of Pleasure's feedbacked slop-punk is one side of Columbus' hairy underbelly; the Unholy Two (actually a trio), which brings a more repetitive, stumbling pace that recalls Big Black, is another. Necropolis splits the difference between nervous and volatile, compressed into last year's stuttering 7-inch bruise, "Song for a Working Man" b/w "Cocksuckerbastardmotherfucker." Fronted by producer Will Foster, the man responsible for fellow Columbus punks the Cheater Slicks' 2007 LP, Walk Into the Sea, the fourpiece Guinea Worms bring a little 1960s garage swagger to their insanely awesome 7-inch, "Box of Records." On the more experimental tip, Columbus lifer Mike Rep, who started out in the mid-1970s with proto-punks Mike Rep & the Quotas, collaborates with Quota drummer Tommy Jay, whose own lunatic 1986 folk album, Tommy Jay's Tall Tales of Trauma, was just reissued on Discount. Quintet El Jesus de Magico closes out with their synth/punk/drug racket. – Audra Schroeder

The Bloom Effect/Smooth

8:30pm, Molotov Lounge Do the ladies run this motherfucka? Heeeell yeaaaaah! With apologies to the Bama Boyz, Molotov is diva central on this night, as femcees and neo-soul goddesses hold it down for the fairer sex. Few soul artists have married R&B and hip-hop as successfully as Mary J. Blige did in the 1990s. It's the new millennium, so it's time to meet Seattle songstress Choklate, who burst onto the scene with an eponymous 2006 album and has lent her soulful voice to tracks by De la Soul, Gift of Gab, and Chali 2na. One listen to Jennifer Johns, and it's clear she was raised on a healthy diet of boom-bap rap, which she melds with reggae and Jill Scott-like vocals. Named one of Urb magazine's "Next 1,000," Houston's Cuban-Mexican, American-born Karina Nistal spits sexy verses in Spanish and English over next-level production, mixing Latin-tinged hip-hop, house, and reggaeton. Fellow H-Town MC IB3 brings feminine bravado to the mic, but ladies beware: She'll take your boyfriend. Heavy, the Jamaica, Queens, duo of singer Nicky Guiland and producer Casey Benjamin, brings New Wave neo-soul with a dose of old-school Chaka Kahn and Zapp flavor. – Thomas Fawcett

Australian Cattle God

8:50pm, Room 710 Founded in 2005 by Austin music vets Win Wallace, Bryan Nelson, and Lee Brooks, Australian Cattle God Records has cultivated a strong roster of Texas underground rock, while extending its tentacles as far afield as Japan and Israel. Nelson and Brooks handle drums and guitar in the Snake Trap, an instrumental trio whose prog-punk made 2006's At Home in a Hostile World a potent elixir for third-shift nods. Columbia, Mo., drum-and-bass duo Megazilla immolate all preconceived notions with a fuzzed-out, full-bodied thrash assault, while Austin's Good Times Crisis Band combines a classic-rock power-trio dynamic with post-punk paranoia on their 2007 debut, Select a Gather Point. Lick Lick's prog-punk monster-movie death match rails against slack-witted buffoonery; the Austin quintet's self-titled debut pits smoldering classic-rock organ riffs against the droll intonations of Mo Perce, who sings like she's had it with the likes of you. The growling, sludge-happy girls of Tacoma, Wash., duo Lozen deconstruct 1970s hard rock down to the studs on 2007's Enemies Against Power. With Scratch Acid guitarist Brett Bradford newly on board, local collective Gorch Fock shoots out the lights with trombone-fueled apocalypse rock. – Greg Beets

Chicken Ranch

9pm, Light Bar Austin's Chicken Ranch Records has come a long way since 1994, when owner Michael Dickinson started the label as a conduit for his Ruston, La.-based punk band, the Habitual Sex Offenders. Though still on the fringe, today's Ranch roster stretches far beyond two-minute hate. Murfreesboro, Tenn., quintet We Were the States unleashes dynamic prog-pop on their impressive debut, Believe the Thieves. Standout tracks like "Up Your Sleeve" and "Try" are itches you can't stop scratching. Atlanta's Tiger! Tiger! commingles garage pop and a deadly dose of sneer-and-sass from vocalist/guitarist Buffi Aguero. The quintet's latest, The Kind of Goodnight, strikes the perfect mix of bubblegum, heartache, and venom. Direct from the wrong side of Nashville, the Clutters drag Cheap Trick's hooks through a beery Farfisa fuzz on 2007's Don't Believe a Word. In advance of their forthcoming third album, Balls, Austin's own Yuppie Pricks return from their corporate retreat to spew supply-side punk nuggets like "Hummer in My Hummer" onto the not-so-great unwashed. Finally, locals Mr. Lewis & the Funeral 5 bring the curtain down with the sweeping theatricality of Kurt Weill by way of Nick Cave on latest Murder and the Art of the Dance. – Greg Beets


9pm, Mohawk Patio NYC's Frenchkiss Records, started in 1999, is the go-to label for bands with hipsterati cred. While home to indie stalwarts Les Savy Fav, this showcase shows off its most recent acquisitions. Call Me Lightning is a Milwaukee trio specializing in sassy pop-punk, their recent second album, Soft Skeletons, coming out after a four-year gap. Houston's Fatal Flying Guilloteens have long been a fixture of the Bayou City with angular punk, unleashing last year's Quantum Fucking. The Plastic Constellations may well deliver their swan song at this year's Festival. The Minneapolis quartet, sounding like distant musical cousins to fellow Minneapolitans Tapes 'n Tapes, drops its fourth album, We Appreciate You, on tax day and then embarks on indefinite hiatus. San Francisco's the Dodos cook up an innovative blend of indie folk and rock that would be at home on the soundtrack to a microbudget film. Topping the bill is the Big Sleep, a Brooklyn wall-of-sound alt-rock trio whose new Sleep Forever features Sonya Balchandani's punk-friendly vocals. – Melanie Haupt

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