Wednesday Picks & Sleepers

Handicapping SXSW 09 Wednesday night showcasers


All showcases subject to change

Lil Band o Gold

7pm, Continental Club This isn't just any collective of regional musicians; it's the best of two worlds. Lafayette, La.'s charismatic guitarist C.C. Adcock and Mamou Playboys' Steve Riley collected a mix of swamp-pop all-stars – including Warren Storm, Dickie Landry, and Dave Egan – from the heart of Louisiana and let 'em cook. The result is a divine sound, thick as roux and tougher than gator hide. – Margaret Moser

The Week That Was

8pm, Friends The solo vehicle of Field Music's Peter Brewis came to fruition on 2008's self-titled debut, a compelling and conceptual song cycle tackling the fragmented nature of modern media. Like the Who's Tommy, the project has revealed the full scope of Brewis' grandiose pop ambitions and orchestral skill as backed by a revolving cast of musicians. – Austin Powell

Shapes Have Fangs

8pm, the Music Gym Patio Sixties R&B got a sweaty boost in ATX fourpiece Shapes Have Fangs. The Kinks are but one touchstone for the group, which takes that band's big, fat grooves and updates them with harmonies and hooks. A new split 7-inch with fellow locals Cavedweller is the perfect appetizer. – Audra Schroeder

Cut Off Your Hands

8:45pm, Vice Like the Buzzcocks helmed by Phil Spector, New Zealand's Cut Off Your Hands carves crystallized pop gems that shout back to the beginning of the twist. After two well-received EPs in the UK, the collegiate quartet finally made its stateside debut earlier this year with You & I (Frenchkiss), an exuberate slab of post-punk longing that comes completely unhinged live. (Also: Thu., Emo's Main, 11pm; and Fri., Aces Lounge, 10pm.) – Austin Powell

No Kids

9:15pm, Beauty Bar Backyard Imagine Phoenix fronted by Usher. Spawned from the ashes of P:ano, this pop/R&B/electronic ooze of a Vancouver trio debuted last February with Come Into My House (Tomlab), the kind of disc calling for a dance in front of the mirror in your underwear with a hairbrush mic. – Darcie Stevens

Midnight Peacocks

10pm, Spiros Amphitheater Though grounded in scattershot noise rock and the guttural growl of bassist/vocalist Eitan Radoshinski, Tel Aviv's Midnight Peacocks strut their way across a wide range of ear-pricking iterations. The self-described "circus-core" trio's second album, Shalosh (Earsay), incorporates everything from surf to metal to Arabic folk. – Greg Beets

The Ugly Beats

10pm, Habana Calle 6 "Set the Wayback Machine, Sherman." "Where are we going today, Mr. Peabody?" "London, 1967. We're going to stroll by Tintern Abbey so I can get my freak beat on." "Should I pack our go-go boots?" "Yours, perhaps, but I'm a dog, Sherman. I cannot shimmy." – Michael Bertin

Department of Eagles

10pm, Central Presbyterian Church Former New York University roommates Fred Nicolaus and Daniel Rossen craft richly orchestrated chamber-pop antiquities as Department of Eagles, accentuating the finer points in Rossen's full-time work with Grizzly Bear. The duo's 4AD debut, In Ear Park, mines a timeless wonderment that, like bootlegs of Brian Wilson's Smile, thickens with every listen. – Austin Powell

Charanga Cakewalk

10pm, Club 115 As one of Austin's most prolific sidemen, keyboardist/accordionist Michael Ramos has gone from backing John Mellencamp and the BoDeans to scoring PBS programs and indie films. With Charanga Cakewalk, Ramos moves outside traditional Spanish-language music with worldly sophistication, urban quirk, and Continental flair, hence the "Dirty Cumbia." – Margaret Moser

Scott H. Biram

10pm, Continental Club Hailing from Austin by way of the universal roadside, Scott H. Biram is a one-man wrecking machine who survived a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler in 2003. His transistor growl foments 21st century chicken-scratch catharsis with roots stretching from Mississippi to Chicago's South Side. Biram's seventh broadside, Something's Wrong/Lost Forever, arrives in April. – Greg Beets

Girl in a Coma

10:30pm, Maggie Mae's San Antonio sibs Phanie and Nina Diaz have been making soulful, confessional rock that grips you right back since 2003. Their absolutely cracking debut, Both Before I'm Gone (2007), swept iTunes, netted awards, and found them oscillating wildly for the Last of the International Playboys in 2008. – Marc Savlov

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

11pm, the Scoot Inn Rolling seven deep, Austin "post-grunge" racketeers When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth double up on drummers and singers for maximum shriek. Last year's ear-splitting local Top 10, Not Noiice (Chalk Circle), is the sonic equivalent of crashing a house party. – Audra Schroeder

Mammoth Grinder

11pm, Red 7 Freshman metal trio Mammoth Grinder proved one of Austin's fiercest 2008 newcomers, its vinyl debut, marble-colored LP Rage and Ruin, a Texan death match of scream and gargantuan slam. Hardcore brace rather than classic metal right turns grinds this Mammoth, howling vengeance in a postured genre. – Raoul Hernandez


11pm, Red 7 Patio Nottingham's Lovvers conjure blood visions like Jay Reatard. The abrasive lo-fi punk foursome has toured with No Age and Times New Viking, pressed a series of claustrophobic 7-inches, and bowed with an EP for Wichita Recordings, Think, which sounds like a basement party of filth and fury. – Austin Powell

The Cynics

11pm, Habana Calle 6 A kingpin of the mid-1980s garage-punk revival, the Cynics remain at the nucleus a quarter-century later via guitarist Gregg Kostelich's Get Hip label and searing live sets centered around vocalist Michael Kastelic's Iggy Pop-meets-Red Skelton stage antics. Pittsburgh-bred Kostelich and Kastelic went to Spain for a native rhythm section to record 2007's Here We Are. – Greg Beets

The Grates

11pm, Radio Room Make some noise joyously and maybe with a little recklessness. Full marks go to Aussie trio the Grates for not overthinking things and executing them almost flawlessly on new LP Teeth Lost, Hearts Won. When you rock that kind of abandon, wearing a Batgirl costume onstage works. – Michael Bertin

Avett Brothers

11pm, Stubb's After kicking up the Americana dust with their stage-stomping, string-band fury over the past five years, the Avett Brothers took a turn toward unique, broken balladry with 2007's aptly titled Emotionalism. Expect tunes from the North Carolina trio's sixth studio album, due this summer. – Doug Freeman

The Travelin' McCourys

11pm, Smokin' Music The sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury – Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo – inherited their father's dedication to bluegrass. With fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram, they're the Nashville act that can hold its own onstage with the likes of the Allman Brothers. – Jim Caligiuri

St. Vincent

11pm, Central Presbyterian Church Annie Clark's breathy cabaret vocals and stage presence belie the fierce tension of her shredding guitar work and playfully dark lyrics. 2007 debut Marry Me (Beggars Banquet) garnered the Dallas native a Plug Award for Female Artist of the Year, and her upcoming Actor unloads even more elaborately arranged pop masterpieces courtesy of John Congleton's co-production. (Also: Fri., Antone's, 12mid.) – Doug Freeman

Charles Hamilton

11:45pm, Back Alley Social This winter's DJ Skee-mixed Hamiltonization Process series was part of a 2008 onslaught of mixtape releases that exposed a playful side to 21-year-old Charles Hamilton. The Harlem native showed he has enough game to roll over any type of beat, be it J Dilla, mashed-up Windows Media Player sound bytes, or Young Jeezy. Expect an LP on Interscope. – Chase Hoffberger

The Black & White Years

12mid, Pangaea This Austin quartet played an early-evening showcase to fewer than a dozen people at SXSW 07, but one of them was former Talking Head Jerry Harrison. Impressed by the band's quirky, electro-dance grooves, he brought them to California and produced their effusive, self-titled debut, which came out in 2008. (Also: Fri., Austin Music Hall, 8pm.) – Jay Trachtenberg

Camera Obscura

12mid, Central Presbyterian Church With more than a decade behind them, Camera Obscura still delivers bittersweet, twee-tinged pop beyond compare, and upcoming fourth LP My Maudlin Career (4AD) further distances the Glasgow quartet from fellow Scots Belle & Sebastian. Frontwoman Tracyanne Campbell's vocals ring delicately with a suave balance of defiance and desperation. – Doug Freeman


12mid, Radio Room Patio Since breaking out of the Raleigh, N.C., scene via their early singles, Annuals have blossomed into one of the more dynamic indie pop groups around. Sophomore release Such Fun finds the sixpiece including traces of country to broaden the range. – Jay Trachtenberg

The Lovely Sparrows

12mid, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room Following their 2006 debut EP, Pulling Up Floors, Pouring on (New) Paint, last year's Lovely Sparrows inaugural LP, Bury the Cynics, stretched the Austinites' sound into even more elaborate chamber-pop arrangements. The winding lyrics of Shawn Jones remain their hallmark, abject disillusion laced with a dark humor. – Doug Freeman

Eli Paperboy Reed & the True Loves

12mid, Continental Club Beantown soul stirrer Eli "Paperboy" Reed is equal parts Wilson Pickett and Wally Cleaver, crooning classic soul over the crunchy grooves of his sevenpiece True Loves. The 25-year-old may not look the part, but his 2008 debut, Roll With You, is a scorching blast of R&B bravado. – Thomas Fawcett

Tony Joe White

12mid, the Parish Forty years after "Polk Salad Annie," part-Cherokee Louisianan Tony Joe White, largely credited as the progenitor of "swamp rock," still churns out gems such as last year's Deep Cuts. – Michael Bertin

An Horse

12mid, Maggie Mae's Rooftop Frontwoman Kate Cooper originally started out as a solo act, partner Damon Cox joined later, and Brisbane's gramatically challenged indie pop duo was born. Cooper was discovered by Tegan & Sara in 2008, and the first An Horse full-length, Rearrange Beds (Mom & Pop), just dropped stateside. – Melanie Haupt


12mid, Emo's Jr. Like the bastard sons of Brainiac, this Toronto quintet thrashes with precision, loves odd time signatures, and incorporates keyboards into the spaz-punk fold. Its metronomic drummer is the snapping backbone of latest LP Black Square, a buffet of noise, melody, and ominous ambience. – Audra Schroeder

This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb

12:15am, Habana Bar These DIY vets from Pensacola, Fla., play low-volume punk heavily influenced by the protest music of the 1960s. Past members include folksinger David Dondero and zine author Aaron Cometbus. The band made the front page of CNN in February when a bicycle festooned with one of its stickers caused a bomb scare. Again. – Daniel Mee

Tokyo Sex Destruction

1am, Opal Divine's Tokyo Sex Destruction is permanently preparing combustion. The Barcelona outfit ripped through Austin's Red Eyed Fly last year and left a wake the size of drummer J.C. Sinclair's Stax Records-magnitude pocket. Its most recent collection, Singles (BCore), lights the fuse. – Chase Hoffberger

The Bronx

1am, Red 7 Patio Los Angeles thump warriors the Bronx were scooped up by Island Def Jam after only a dozen shows, then jumped ship to form their own label, White Drugs, birthing a recent self-titled CD. Jackhammer single "Knifeman" blares the credo, "I wanna be original; I wanna be surrounded by art," and live, they're as exhilarating as sin. – Marc Savlov

Kid Congo Powers

1am, Emo's Jr. After co-founding Gun Club with the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce and playing guitar on skull-busting classics such as the Cramps' Psychedelic Jungle and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' Tender Prey, D.C.-based Kid Congo Powers has plenty of pedigree. Powers' forthcoming Dracula Boots (In the Red) wallops a slab of fuzz-happy trash rock. – Greg Beets

Delta Spirit

1am, Radio Room San Diego's Delta Spirit enjoyed the heck out of 2008. The band's Rounder debut, Ode to Sunshine, drew raves nationally with a sound distilled down to a sunshine-drenched Dylan. The young quintet, which spent the latter part of the year touring with Nada Surf, now headlines. (Also: Thu., Cedar Street Courtyard, 10:30pm.) – Jim Caligiuri

Gary Clark Jr.

1am, Continental Club Bringing up the rear of Austin's long, vaunted line of bluesmen guitarists (Jimmie Vaughan, W.C. Clark, Derek O'Brien), Clark starred and performed in John Sayles' 2007 film, Honeydripper, and his forthcoming album expands into R&B and soul. – Jay Trachtenberg


1:15am, Back Alley Social With Souls of Mischief and the Living Legends crew, Oakland, Calif.'s Zion-I spawned a Northern brand equivalent to L.A.'s Delicious Vinyl recordings. January's The Take Over, their sixth LP and fifth on MC Zumbi and DJ Amplive's own Live Up Records, brings that hyphy reggae vibe the underground has grown accustomed to. – Chase Hoffberger


All showcases subject to change

Beans on Toast

7:30pm, Friends One man, one guitar, and a repertoire of grizzled UK folk-snark. Singles "Coke" and "M.D.M.Azing" extoll the dirty virtues of modern club-pub bathroom-stall culture with wit and whimsy and no small amount of cutting, cunning societal ripostes. (Also: Sat., Stephen F's Bar, 9pm.) – Marc Savlov

Young Mammals

8pm, Spiros As the Dimes, Houston quartet Young Mammals built significant momentum across Texas while still in high school, with a bouncy live presence and driving, Pixies-meet-the-Strokes sound. Their new album, self-released in February, is the first release as the Young Mammals. – Daniel Mee

Willem Maker

8pm, Emo's Jr. Willem Maker's 2007 debut, Stars Fell On, reissued last year by Fat Possum, unloaded the Alabama native's rugged blues and folk that surged behind his Eddie Vedder growls awakened to Southern rock revelation. Lo-fi and mean, Maker's follow-up, New Moon Hand, cuts his backwoods poeticism with help from like-minded members of Lambchop. – Doug Freeman

Anni Rossi

8pm, Central Presbyterian Church Chicago-based violist Rossi splits her time between avant-garde and hushed pop on debut 4AD disc Rockwell. She's classically trained but sways in the ancient folk tradition of rootlessness and restlessness, whispering in staccato along with her instrument, which often sounds otherworldly.– Audra Schroeder

Come on Gang!

9pm, Friends This Scottish trio first linked up at the Edinburgh College of Art two years ago, but it's already mastered delightfully spastic pop-punk. Last year's debut single, "Wheels," is catchier than the Spanish flu. – Marc Savlov


9pm, the Rio Grande Led by the alternating Portuguese/English cull of Camila Zamith, Brazil's Nancy crafts suave girl-group pop with hints of tropicalia and sumptuous string arrangements. The indie sextet's self-released debut EP, Keep Cooler, boasts the elusive eclecticism of St. Vincent and big-band elegance of Nancy Sinatra, plus a remix from Born Ruffians. – Austin Powell

The Homopolice

9pm, the Scoot Inn Punk noise that manifests itself in songs like "Ass Fucker" and "Fuck Entertainment." The band's booking policy: "Don't book us in your town. Fuck you." Clearly the Houston fourpiece is all about nuance. – Michael Bertin

Thee Headliners

9:15pm, Habana Bar This Portland, Ore., garage-folk hybrid trio shuffles up and down the AM radio dial circa 1965, alternating between slightly dissonant snorts of rock, R&B, and country. Their new sophomore LP, Rain & Blood (Starcleaner), is chock-full of left-field hooks and strange energy. – Greg Beets

Duquette Johnston

10pm, the Tap Room Psychedelic Southern rock isn't done any more authentically than by Duquette Johnston. The Alabama native takes a personal look at a troubled road amidst loud guitars itching for a Drive-by Truckers session. Currently in the studio working on a follow-up to 2006's Etowah, Johnston and his recent "Nothing to Fear" demonstrate a digestion of Lucinda Williams. – Chase Hoffberger

Fol Chen

10pm, Beauty Bar Cryptic L.A. electro-pop sextet Fol Chen released its debut LP, Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made, on Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty in February, replete with vocoder, drum machine, a deftly placed synthesizer, and tongue in cheek. – Darcie Stevens

Late of the Pier

10:30pm, La Zona Rosa Loving Of Montreal? Can't manage enough MGMT? This UK fourpiece picks up where you've been dropped off. Debut Fantasy Black Channel rocks like a robotic Prince fronting the New York Dolls. (Also: Fri., Aces Lounge, 1am.) – Dan Oko

Magneta Lane

11pm, Habana Calle 6 Patio Toronto all-girl trio Magneta Lane busts out raucous yet pretty tracks resting somewhere between Sleater-Kinney and the Pretenders. With third LP Gambling With God (Last Gang) on the brink, frontwoman Lexi Valentine's hypnotic presence gets another go stateside with "Lady Bones." – Darcie Stevens

Ruby Coast

11pm, B.D. Riley's There's a special place for innocent, simple pop songs, and apparently Ontario is it. Indie pop quintet Ruby Coast has a knack for crafting bubbly songs that float over life without being trite or self-conscious. While debut EP Projectable Collections is garnering more than a few comparisons to Tokyo Police Club, Ruby Coast is infinitely less hip. We like that. – Darcie Stevens

Gerald G

11:15pm, Fuze As part of DJ Rapid Ric's Whut It Dew family since 2006, Gerald G has had the opportunity to showcase his Texas-sized talent on such mixtapes as Afta Da Relays 2K7, All Flows From Da Garage, and the Whut It Dew series. Still a newcomer, the Austin native's debut, Mr. 512: The Album, is in the works. – Chase Hoffberger

Tara Jane O'Neil

11:15pm, Beauty Bar Backyard Like many of her fellow K Records labelmates, Tara Jane O'Neil's art extends well beyond her songwriting, encompassing visual arts and, as Strange Clouds, delicate instrumental scores. Her upcoming fifth album and K debut, A Ways Away, moves with a delicate grace behind her sweetly bared and trembling vocals. – Doug Freeman

Ceci Bastida

12mid, Flamingo Cantina Former singer for the seminal Mexican ska outfit Tijuana No!, Bastida is decidedly less agitated in her solo work but retains more than a little Latin flavor. Her second LP, Veo la Marea, is due out this year. (Also: Fri., Central Presbyterian Church, 8pm.) – Michael Bertin


12mid, Latitude 30 British singer-songwriter Matt Hales garnered attention with his polished, commercial-friendly songs, which appeared on shows such as Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, and Scrubs. His fourth studio album as Aqualung, Words and Music (Verve Forecast), dropped in October and features acoustic reworkings from his eponymous debut as well as Paul Simon covers. (Also: Thu., Elysium, 10pm.) – Melanie Haupt


12mid, Soho Lounge Fuel-injected post-space rock quintet Maserati bears comparisons to everything from Can to Pink Floyd to that eerie dream you had falling asleep to Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain. Latest deconstruction Inventions Remixes (Temporary Residence) is epic and intense; live, they kill with squall. – Marc Savlov

Angry vs. the Bear

12mid, B.D. Riley's This UK fourpiece never met an enraged ursine it didn't turn into a poppy electroclash single, and that's saying a lot for a band that's only been together six months. Frontwoman Mitzi Fox has the voice of a Weimar-era chanteuse on a post-disco bender, as heard in "I Sing, We Sing." – Marc Savlov

Deer Tick

1am, Club de Ville This Brooklyn/Providence, R.I.-based quartet says it sounds "like the Minutemen meets Brad Paisley meets Nirvana," but like the parasitic arachnid the band takes its name from, Deer Tick is a bloody deceiver. Instead, John Joseph McCauley's whiskey-smoke vox and the Tick's spare arrangements will soundtrack your next crush. (Also: Fri., Habana Bar Backyard, 1am.) – Marc Savlov

Kap Bambino

1am, Elysium The French show their freaky side with this electro duo from Bordeaux. Frontwoman Caroline Martial is a banshee onstage, her vocals capable of inducing epilepsy, while Martial's partner in crime, Orion Bouvier, mixes spastic electro-thrash beamed directly from outer space. New LP Blacklist drops soon. – Dan Oko


1am, Volume A fan of dark, echoey anthems, New York quartet Blacklist tucked into an ass-tight jean pocket new LP Midnight of the Century, which shuns shoegazing and turns it up in favor of mood lighting and influences from Suede to U2 while remaining fashionably East Coast. – Darcie Stevens

Ida Maria

1am, Buffalo Billiards When Ida Maria explodes the chorus of "Oh My God," it carries the gruff ferocity of Karen O with the enticing aloofness of Nico, a melding that winds throughout her 2008 debut, Fortress 'Round My Heart. Recent winner of a Norwegian Grammy, the 24-year-old may be this year's Scandinavian princess Lykke Li. (Also: Thu., Maggie Mae's, 12:45am.) – Doug Freeman


1am, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room Though based in New York, Hymns rollicks with an easy West Coast country-rock vibe that recalls the Flying Burrito Brothers with horns and shades of the quartet's roots in Texas and North Carolina. Last year's sophomore LP, Travel in Herds, rousted an eclectic range of influences from the Dead to Tom Petty, all burnt with Brian Harding's raspy vocals. – Doug Freeman

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Thursday Picks & Sleepers
Thursday Picks & Sleepers
SXSW Thursday handicapping by the blurb

March 20, 2015

Wednesday Showcases
Wednesday Showcases

March 20, 2015


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