Thursday Picks & Sleepers

Blurbing Thursday night SXSW 09 talent


All showcases subject to change

Peter Murphy

7pm, Elysium At last summer's birthday/Emo's gig, Bauhaus' skeletal frontman and goth-rock godhead proved once and for all his ethereal pipes have aged better than Bowie's. The world has not failed to fall apart in the interim, however; expect a soul-searing cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" and a deep, dark cascade of lovely hysteria. – Marc Savlov

Chikita Violenta

8pm, the Music Gym Patio These rockeros take cues from el Norte and British indie bands, giving them a sound that veers from singsong to miasmic. Their onda seems spare until they engross with something like "The Last Film," from 2007's The Stars and Suns Sessions, which comes at you like an electric drill before settling into a pensive, driving melody. (Also: Fri., Fuze, 1am.) – Belinda Acosta

The Golden Arm Trio Does Duke!

8pm, Elephant Room In the restless digits of the Golden Arm Trio's Graham Reynolds, popular music's greatest figure still leads the "Caravan." Austin's answer to Philip Glass follows his score to A Scanner Darkly with an upcoming Ellington immersion, featuring local jazz standards Alex Coke, Freddie Mendoza, and Chris Maresh on Far East Suite fare ("Blue Pepper") and a perennial or five ("Perdido"). See the light. – Raoul Hernandez

Dappled Cities

8pm, the Ranch Fivepiece indie rock from Sydney, Australia, with two lovely releases to its credit: 2004's A Smile and 2007's Granddance. Think jangly, dreamy, chamber pop with complex tempo changes and chord fussiness recommended for Fleet Foxes (albeit not as self-indulgent). Quiet for the past couple of years but emerging soon with new material. – Melanie Haupt

Grizzly Bear

8:30pm, Central Presbyterian Church Fresh from anti-hibernation amid the Department of Eagles, the Brooklyn fourpiece is prepping a May disc, Veckatimest (Warp). Daniel Rossen & Co. return to the haunting melodies and harmonies that made them heroes. (Also: Fri., Cedar Street Courtyard, 11:45pm.) – Dan Oko

Meat Puppets

9pm, Stubb's Formed in 1980, Phoenix, Ariz.'s Meat Puppets are the latest in a parade of proto-grunge survivors to storm back from irrelevance. Austin resident and principal Puppet Curt Kirkwood reunited with ultimate survivor Cris Kirkwood for 2007's return to psychedelic roots form Rise to Your Knees, and follow-up Sewn Together (Mega Force) drops in July. Live, there are no survivors. – Dan Oko

Young Galaxy

9pm, Buffalo Billiards Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless are dreamy, a couple poised on the brink of dusk as the stars break through the clouds. The core of Montreal quartet Young Galaxy, the two balance harmonies on 2007's self-titled Arts & Crafts debut, and with a new album in the can, it's time to sway in the dark. – Darcie Stevens

Tori Amos

10pm, La Zona Rosa Amos' new album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, drops in May, but then the flame-haired pianist has a vast catalog from which to cherry-pick. She's been exploring her multiple personalities as of late (2007's American Doll Posse), but her earlier 1990s albums remain fierce visions of strength for a whole generation of women ages 25-35. – Audra Schroeder

Sebastien Grainger

10pm, El Sol y la Luna There's no substitute for Death From Above 1979, but as the drummer/singer for the former duo, Toronto's Grainger carries the torch on debut solo LP Sebastien Grainger & the Mountains (Saddle Creek). He's no longer cacophonous or low-end-only, but he still rocks it heavy with "American Names" and a full band. (Also: Fri., Radio Room, 12mid.) – Darcie Stevens

Guy Davis

10pm, Victorian Room at the Driskill New York acoustic bluesman Guy Davis, blessed with a deep, soulful voice, can pick, pluck, and sing, but his mischievous sense of humor and impeccable timing make him special. Original tunes from latest disc Sweetheart Like You could be lost Taj Mahal sides, while renderings of Leadbelly and Son House are injected with new life. – Thomas Fawcett

Ruthie Foster

11pm, Mother Egan's You won't hear a better singer all weekend than Austinite Ruthie Foster. Her amazingly radiant, powerful voice is steeped in the gospel tradition, although she feels equally at home singing blues, country, R&B, and folk. Her new album, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn Music), recorded in Memphis, Tenn., at the famed Ardent Studios, is a soulful delight. – Jay Trachtenberg


11pm, Pangaea Pair the playful and seductive vocals of mohawked singer Jack Davey (the girl) with the future funk production of Brook D'Leau (the guy), and you have the oddly punctuated J*Davey. On The Beauty in Distortion/The Land of the Lost, the Hollywood hipsters spew a brew of acid grooves and glitchy hip-hop that channels everyone from Badu and Bambaataa to the B-52s. – Thomas Fawcett

Flower Travellin' Band

11pm, Smokin' Music No group better represented the enlightened counterculture of postwar Japan than the Flower Travellin' Band. The psychedelic pioneers' second LP, 1971's Satori – a five-part suite of explosive, exploratory heavy blues – tops Julian Cope's list of essential recordings in his 2007 book, Japrocksampler. After a three-decade hiatus, the Flower Travellin' Band reunited last year for the Fuji Rock Festival and has since released a new album, We Are Here, along with an eponymous live documentary. – Austin Powell

8Ball & MJG

11pm, Dirty Dog Bar 8Ball and MJG have been slingin' dirty Delta rap since 1993 debut Comin' Out Hard, but the Memphis lowriders have been going at it alone as of late. They followed up 2007's Ridin High with 8's Doin It Big and MJG's This Could Be the Day but recently returned to the studio to record a 10th LP. – Chase Hoffberger

Beautiful Nubia

11pm, Copa Soweto's streets aren't the only ones defining Afro-pop. This Nigerian singer-songwriter from Lagos has sold millions of albums but remains unknown stateside. Boasting traditional Yaruba harmonies, folk instrumentation, and quality riddem, last year's Kilòkilò should be a bigger breakthrough. – Dan Oko

Thee Oh Sees

11:20pm, Emo's Jr. With John Dwyer (Coachwhips, the Hospitals, Pink & Brown) leading the way, this SF quartet tosses West Coast pop in a psychedelic blender with droning garage riffs. After numerous incarnations and experimental forays, Dwyer settled the band into a bruising force with last year's The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In (Tomlab). – Doug Freeman

Black Lips

11:30pm, Cedar Street Courtyard Music spawned of pre-cosmic-cowboy Texas psychedelia doesn't seem the likeliest candidate to grow up in Aughties Atlanta, but this rowdy fourpiece made a name at SXSW 07 by playing 38 shows in 14 hours (approximately). This year's 200 Million Thousand (Vice) sounds good but comes off even better live. (Also: Fri., Emo's Main, 1am.) – Michael Bertin

Rye Rye

12mid, Aces Lounge Rapping over 130 banging beats per minute, Baltimore prodigy Rye Rye is a beast on the mic, to say nothing of her dance moves. Crossing Santogold with Lil' Kim, the 18-year-old party starter recently toured with M.I.A., who signed the rapper to her new NEET label. – Thomas Fawcett

The Clutters

12mid, the Tap Room This Nashville quartet's lurid Farfisa meltdown is strategically imbued with pop-happy ear worms to help spread the infection across subgenre borders. The band drew effusive praise from critical vectors like David Fricke and Cameron Crowe for 2007's Don't Believe a Word, released on Austin's Chicken Ranch Records. – Greg Beets

Rosalie Sorrels

12mid, Victorian Room at the Driskill After 25 albums, "the travelin' lady of Idaho" may not have the hit, but her beloved body of work is beyond platinum. Seventy-five-year-old Rosalie Sorrels is a storyteller and folksinger of the truest heart, from Ireland's green hills to the music of Bruce "Utah" Phillips, and perhaps the only folkie with liner notes written by Hunter S. Thompson and Studs Terkel. – Margaret Moser

Luke Doucet

12mid, the Velveeta Room Doucet's played the sensitive singer-songwriter, a hired guitar-slinger with Sarah McLachlan, and the leader of jagged neo-psych band Veal. The Canadian's latest release, Blood's Too Rich, featuring his crack band, the White Falcon, reflects Doucet's fascination with the American South and highlights his always stellar guitar work. – Jay Trachtenberg

Passion Pit

12mid, Emo's Main The glitch-pop equivalent of Vampire Weekend, Boston's Passion Pit gathered serious buzz at Emerson College with its self-recorded EP, Chunk of Change, a sentimental mixtape of laptop ballads in the vein of Dan Deacon and Hot Chip. NYC label Frenchkiss reissued it last year with synthetic smash "Sleepyhead," the quintet since signing to Columbia for its upcoming debut LP. – Austin Powell

Easy Star All-Stars

1am, Vice These New York City roots reggae rockers think big: They took Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and channeled it into Dub Side of the Moon (Easy Star). Likewise, Radiohead's OK Computer became Radiodread, and the upcoming Lonely Hearts Dub Band transforms the Beatles classic. – Jay Trachtenberg

The Gourds

1am, Continental Club Released in January, Haymaker! (Yep Roc) brings the five Gourds' patented mix of Cajun rock and true Texas country to the fore. Austin's answer to the Band became a local institution chronicling weird Americana long before Haymaker! landed at No. 10 on the group's discography. Snoop Dogg's "Gin 'n' Juice" remains optional. – Dan Oko

The Greencards

12mid, St. David's Church One of acoustic music's most worthy and recent success stories, the Greencards started in Austin, moved to Nashville, and have taken the rest of the globe by storm. World-class players – Carol Young on bass/vocals, Kym Warner on mandolin/bouzouki, and Eamon McLoughlin on fiddle/viola – the trio's on its fourth disc with April's Sugar Hill debut, Fascination. – Jim Caligiuri

Beach House

1am, Volume When Victoria Legrand sings, the microphone melts. Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House – vocalist/keyboardist Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally – waft a twinge of salty air with every measure, and last year's exquisite sophomore LP, Devotion, drifted out with the tide. (Also: Fri., Cedar Street Courtyard, 8:45pm; and Sat., Auditorium Shores Stage, 6pm.) – Darcie Stevens

The Intelligence

1am, Emo's Jr. In the Red brainiacs the Intelligence found a groove with third LP Deuteronomy. Singer Lars Finberg spent time with Seattle doom punks the A Frames, but this project is a bit more lighthearted, a poppier vision of Public Image Limited's cross-cutting guitar scrape. New LP Fake Surfers crests in April. – Audra Schroeder

Red Fang

1am, Spiros Portland, Ore., Sabbath devotees Red Fang scored a viral hit last year with the hilarious video for "Prehistoric Dog," which depicts the band battling medieval fantasy geeks (and losing) while clad in armor fashioned from beer cans. Drink up their new self-titled debut LP, out on Sargent House. – Daniel Mee


All showcases subject to change


7pm, Central Presbyterian Church Though their debut album won't be released until later this year on True Panther Sounds, San Francisco's Girls have already won over the bloggerati with the indie snarl of their "Lust for Life." Alternating playful and youthful, the quartet bounces California pop off the familiar malaise of slacker restlessness. – Doug Freeman

The Carrots

8pm, Emo's Jr. Have you heard the one about the girl group that moonlights as a punk rock band? Half the Carrots turn to power chords in Finally Punk when not decked out in matching taffeta and sequins, but this end of the Austin sixpiece's sophomore 7-inch, "Beverly" (Elefant), shortened hemlines last year like it was 1962. – Darcie Stevens

The Blue Aeroplanes

8pm, Elysium Seemingly lost in time among the grunge and Britpop of the early 1990s, the Blue Aeroplanes released several albums of poetic post-punk mingled with folk-rock jangle that drew comparisons to Lou Reed and R.E.M. Led by vocalist Gerard Langley, the Bristol-based group has been on and off since 1995 but is readying When Things Are Good for release this spring. – Jim Caligiuri

Ecstatic Sunshine

8pm, Volume Not quite indie rock and not quite experimental, Baltimore's Ecstatic Sunshine applies the principles of minimalism to the guitar manipulations of Sonic Youth and Glenn Branca, folding bits of candied instrumental pop into twisting mirror mazes on last year's Way. – Daniel Mee


8pm, Emo's Annex Twenty-one-year-old Mica Levi screws and chops traditional pop on her debut LP, Jewellery (Rough Trade). A few of the UK singer-songwriter's jams could be considered glitch-hop or dance on the level of M.I.A., but much of Jewellery conjures visions of an entirely new genre, especially when she incorporates a vacuum cleaner into her music. – Audra Schroeder

Dubb Sicks

8:30pm, Karma Lounge Dubb Sicks is a nasty motherfucker. The local rhyme slinger's 2008 release, Mind in the Gutter, is a hedonistic romp through Austin streets and Odessa trailer parks full of binge drinking, verbal beatdowns, and venereal diseases. Not exactly enlightening but entertaining as hell. – Thomas Fawcett

Ferraby Lionheart

9pm, Club de Ville This folksy L.A.-born singer-songwriter called Nashville home when he was discovered by Jon Brion. His solo debut, 2007's Catch the Brass Ring (Nettwerk), showcased the timbre of his voice, and while he recently separated from Nettwerk, Lionheart and his new band spent February in New York with a Monday night residency at Pianos. – Melanie Haupt


9pm, Submerged Indonesian hard rockers the Super Insurgent Group of Intemperance Talent claim to have been together since 1994 but didn't release their first LP until 2006. The years between show up in the group's honed, organic stage presence and the songwriting chops behind its Sabbath- and AC/DC-aping rock. – Daniel Mee

The Soft Pack

9:35pm, Opal Divine's Under the moniker the Muslims, this San Diego-born quartet issued an untitled 12-inch EP of mid-fi garage rock last year that crackled and popped like early Kinks but with enough low-end throttle and guitar chops to stand alone. The band has since changed its name to the Soft Pack and signed to Kemado Records. (Also: Fri., Mohawk, 11pm.) – Austin Powell

Endless Boogie

10pm, Smokin' Music Brooklyn's Endless Boogie is indeed a fan of the extend-o-jam. Debut album Focus Level stomps through the swamp, dragging in blister-forming solos and ample choogle, with singer Paul Major doing his best Beefheart. (Also: Fri., the Music Gym, 1am.) – Audra Schroeder

Ralph White

10pm, Lamberts Whether playing accordion, kalimba, or fretless banjo, former Bad Liver Ralph White paints portraits of old Americana in lead-based paint. Austin's one-man band has played Cajun with the Gulf Coast Playboys and weird with Jandek but nothing as unique as 2007's Navasota River Devil Squirrel, followed this year by The Atavistic Waltz. – Darcie Stevens

Guinea Worms

10:15pm, the Music Gym This quartet's song "Box of Records" could be the "Louie Louie" of this century. They're yet another Columbus, Ohio, band with a penchant for shambolic, off-your-meds rock & roll, and latest 7-inch "Lost and Found" b/w "Jeans and Heels" (Columbus Discount) continues the trend. – Audra Schroeder

Yarah Bravo

11pm, Vice Born in Sweden to a Chilean mother and Brazilian father, Yarah Bravo's melodic flow blurs the line between rapping and singing, her style reminiscent of Digable Planets' Ladybug Mecca. The groove of "Bluebird" from her collaboration with husband DJ Vadim and BluRum 13 on One Self's Children of Possibility (2005) demonstrates massive potential for her forthcoming debut. – Thomas Fawcett


11pm, Red 7 Patio The dreamy synth-pop of Brooklyn trio Chairlift conjures visions of couples' skate, 1985. It might be Caroline Polachek's meet-me-in-the-back-seat vocals, but April's Columbia Records debut, Does You Inspire You, is all Saturday night drum-machine fever. – Audra Schroeder

Fight Bite

11pm, Rusty Spurs Denton duo Leanne Macomber and Jeff Louis III burrow under a heartbroken quilt of breathless ballads and melodic fuzz on self-released 2008 debut Emerald Eyes. A Beach House built on subtly swirling keys for Mazzy Star-gazing DIY pop lovers. – Doug Freeman

Jefferson Pitcher

11:15pm, Habana Calle 6 After setting NPR's All Things Considered ablaze with his 3-CD set of presidential songs, Of Great and Mortal Men, NYC's Jefferson Pitcher the songwriter is getting more difficult to separate from Jefferson Pitcher the historian. Fortunately, his sparse and touching The Residue competes with 220 years of American history. – Darcie Stevens

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

12mid, the Parish Downstairs Before falling under the tutelage of TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone and members of Grizzly Bear, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson was drug-addicted and homeless on the streets of New York. Last year's eponymous debut draws upon the 24-year-old songwriter's former desperation, its exuberant bursts of garage folk and raw lyrical wonder wrapping even the bleakest moments with hope. – Doug Freeman


1am, Wave Former Octopus Project guitarist Kevin Attics knows the indie playbook back to front. Songs with 27 instruments? Check. Boy-girl harmonies? Yes. An affinity for all things Victorian? Okay, didn't expect that one, but the end product is decidedly nonformulaic and rather infectious. – Michael Bertin

Gordon Gano & the Ryan Brothers

1am, the Parish Downstairs Best known for providing generations of brooding adolescents with the Violent Femmes' self-titled 1983 debut, Gordon Gano first collaborated with Billy and Brendan Ryan from indie pop outfit the Bogmen in 2001. Since then, the Gano/Ryan team has uncapped an eclectic torrent of songs that jump from dark gospel and off-kilter Americana to skittish rock. – Greg Beets

Benjy Ferree

1am, Buffalo Billiards Benjy Ferree's new mouthful of a sophomore album, Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee (Domino), is as improbable in sound as subject – a tribute to tragic Peter Pan child actor Bobby Driscoll. Yet the D.C. songwriter rolls through stripped blues rock, Beach Boys pop, bruising Link Wray riffs, and moments of Southern soul caught in his twinged tenor. – Doug Freeman

Vijay Kishore

1am, Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham folk-popster Kishore has been compared to everyone from Jeff Buckley to Nina Simone, but we like to think of him as that bald Desi heartbreaker everyone's going to be talking about the day you slept in late. Wake up to his lovely debut EP, Done It Again. – Marc Savlov

Tanya Morgan

1:10am, Back Alley Social While the name suggests the next neo-soul songstress, Tanya Morgan is in fact three dudes. The team of Cincinnati MCs Ilyas and Donwill plus Brooklyn MC/producer Von Pea dropped Moonlighting in 2006, and sophomore LP Brooklynati is due out this year. Spitting over Von Pea's Dilla-esque beats, the crew riffs off classic material from OutKast to Busta Rhymes. – Thomas Fawcett

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

March 20, 2015

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Wednesday Showcases

March 20, 2015


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