Friday Picks & Sleepers

TGIF! Friday night insight to SXSW 09.


All showcases subject to change

The Love Language

8pm, Habana Bar Backyard Last SXSW, MTV declared, "Lo-fi is all the rage." This Raleigh, N.C., septet brings out the genre's softer side, burying irresistibly rich pop melodies and Motown soul beneath a layer of distortion and tape fuzz. The band's self-titled debut sounds like the logical continuation of Spoon's A Series of Sneaks, custom-made for ghetto blasters. – Austin Powell

T Bird & the Breaks

8pm, Momo's Tim Crane, aka T Bird, masterminds this 11-piece local soul ensemble. Joining the soul revival from the direction of blue-eyed shouters such as Mitch Ryder and Delbert McClinton, Crane does it with a youthful, winning touch. 2009's Learn About It contains nine originals that match Wilson Pickett and Roy Head and give the Dap-Kings a run for their money. – Jim Caligiuri

LZ Love

8pm, B.D. Riley's Love's brand of gutbucket R&B has been a welcome addition to Austin from her Chicago/Louisiana/California upbringing. Her soulful, funky, righteous vocals decorated Michael Franti & Spearhead's acclaimed Yell Fire!, but nothing beats the baptismal fire of Love live. – Margaret Moser

Amazing Baby

10pm, Emo's Main Like the bastard child of fellow Brooklyn buzz bands MGMT and Yeasayer, newcomers Amazing Baby dabble in flamboyant psych-pop and freak-folk jams. The quintet's tantalizing debut EP, Infinite Fucking Cross, featuring cosmic trip "Pump Your Brakes," dropped digitally last July, with an LP reportedly close to completion. – Austin Powell

Black Tusk

10pm, Red 7 Volcanic highlands in British Columbia blow worlds away from Savannah, Ga., home to metal coven Baroness, Skeletonwitch, and Kylesa, but this trio's Black Tusk moniker has everything to do with this brutally lithe band's Southern discomfort. 2008's Passage Through Purgatory, liquid rhythms, riffs, and shrieks, preps a split with Holy Mountain and another LP in 2009. – Raoul Hernandez

Pilar Díaz

10pm, Fuze Chilean rockera Pilar Díaz emerges from L.A.'s Los Abandoned, once signed to Neil Young's Vapor imprint, but rather than West Hollywood punkette, she's channeled Julieta Venegas and Lila Downs into a mouth-watering eight-song EP that came out in December and still doesn't have a label. Take the hint, gringo. – Raoul Hernandez

Mickey Factz

10pm, Beauty Bar Backyard The remix-happy GFC movement that includes FKi and Stalley has a clear ringleader in Mickey Factz. The Bronx rookie, whose Leak mixtape series picked up the pace on Vol. 2: The Inspiration and continues in the spring with Vol. 3: The Achievement, is part 808's Kanye West and part The Grind Date Posdnuos in the studio. Onstage, he's his own party. (Also: 12mid, Back Alley Social.) – Chase Hoffberger


10:30pm, Back Alley Social Since adding gigs with Latin hip-hop players Los Bad Apples and Lucky Lounge mainstays BoomboxATX, Zeale's local live sets have gotten as flashy as his high-top Nikes. He's refined in the studio, too; January's Rapid Ric-mixed Haterz and Robotz is the most complete collection yet from the Bat City native, who cut his teeth on the battle-rap circuit. – Chase Hoffberger

The Airborne Toxic Event

11pm, Aces Lounge The ATE has what it takes to kill off the Killers. On last year's self-titled debut, the California quintet (Los Feliz, anyone?) comes across like the U.S. answer to U2. Frontman Mikel Jollett, a would-be writer and journalist, has clearly done his homework. – Dan Oko


11pm, Red 7 Rwake is the sound of the new Southern trend-kill. Emerging from the murk of NOLA sludge, the Little Rock, Ark.-based sextet crossbreeds bestial black metal with the ominous ambience and technical proficiency of Neurosis. The group's third LP, 2007's Voices of Omens (Relapse), proved an apocalyptic soundtrack for backwoods rituals and sacrificial offerings. – Austin Powell

MC Frontalot

11:15pm, Prague Straight outta Brooklyn, nerdcore rapper Damian Hess rhymes about goth girls and Margaret Thatcher. Nonetheless, his celebrity was enshrined with the SXSW Film 08 debut of Nerdcore Rising. With his 15 minutes about up, Hess still came on like a lost Beastie Boy on his Final Boss (Level Up) last fall. – Dan Oko


12mid, Club 115 Constant touring across Europe and North Africa indicates that the only thing lazy about this hard-rocking trio/sometimes quartet is the name. Prior to recording scheduled self-release Apoptosia, the band worked with Steve Albini. Purveyors of heavy metal Islam, they split time between the UK and Morocco, and obvious debts are owed to early Ozzy. – Dan Oko

Cancer Bats

12mid, Latitude 30 Canada and hardcore weren't synonymous to us Yanks prior to Fucked Up, but Toronto's Cancer Bats have been pounding for five years, combining the metal of In Flames with the intensity of Black Flag. With elbows out and steel toes laced up, the fourpiece released sophomore LP Hail Destroyer last year to sick reviews and crazy shows. 1 – Darcie Stevens

Ian McLagan & the Bump Band

12mid, Mother Egan's A founding member of Small Faces and Faces and Austin-based since 1994, Mac's toured or recorded with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and myriad others. Locally, he fronts a party band, and his thundering B-3 organ is all over current album Never Say Never. – Jay Trachtenberg

White Denim

12mid, Radio Room Patio Hands down the most exciting new indie rock band to emerge locally in years, White Denim packs more junk in its trunk than a traveling salesman. The trio's spastic full-length debut, Exposion – available as part of the band's subscription service – shuffles seamlessly from garage-funk benders and shoegazed ballads to piano pop and instrumental psych elixirs. – Austin Powell


12:05am, Headhunters Japanther is one of the young century's few feel-good DIY stories: The Brooklyn duo has spent the last eight years touring relentlessly on a shoestring, playing house shows, and dropping records on tiny underground labels. Pegged as "noise rock," what the band's truly involved in is old-fashioned punk songwriting filtered through the sensibility of stoned and scrappy youth. – Daniel Mee

New York Dolls

12:30am, Smokin' Music Almost 40 years on, and these damned dolls ain't dead yet. In fact, save for original bassist Arthur Kane and guitarist Johnny Thunders, these glam-punk heroes are more alive than ever, although frontman David Johansen appears to have been pickled in brine some time ago. Summer saw them gigging with Morrissey, and spring brings news of a Todd Rundgren-produced LP. – Marc Savlov

Dinosaur Jr.

12:45am, Cedar Street Courtyard That one-off 2006 Dinosaur Jr. reunion tour yielded a new album (2007's tepid Fat Possum LP Beyond) and a new label, indie pop haven Jagjaguwar. The amp-distressing trio's still ferocious live, singer/axeman J Mascis' searing solos close to illegal time limits, but it's always 1991 in our hearts. – Audra Schroeder

Okkervil River

1am, the Parish Since last SXSW's triumphant teaming with 13th Floor Elevators operator Roky Erickson, these Austin indie darlings lost Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg and guitarist Brian Cassidy but gained spots at this year's Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals. In September, the septet released The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar), the sequel to 2007's The Stage Names. – Melanie Haupt


1am, 18th Floor at Hilton Garden Inn Last year's Rook (Matador) was one of the best albums of 2008. Not one to rest on its laurels, this Austin-based art-rock trio topped off the year with heaps of touring and the release of a digital EP, The Snow Leopard. For now, a much-deserved breather, with some writing and a few gigs here and there. – Melanie Haupt

Future Clouds & Radar

1am, Wave The brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Robert Harrison (ex-Cotton Mather), Future Clouds & Radar is an Austin quintet that takes kaleidoscopic sound to another planet, drawing comparisons to such peerless acts as the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and XTC. Both its 2007 self-titled double-disc debut and 2008's Peoria made critics and orchestral-pop fans swoon. – Jim Caligiuri


1am, Antone's Ann Arbor isn't usually the first place that comes to mind when you think about Afrobeat, but this horn-heavy, percussion-driven collective takes the music of Nigeria's Fela Kuti and gives it a creative spin. Last year's Ghost Rock (Ubiquity) saw the band expanding its horizons, forging a deliciously funky world jazz concoction. – Jay Trachtenberg


All showcases subject to change

Amy Annelle

8:35pm, the Music Gym As one arm of the folk duo Precious Blood with local multi-instrumentlist Ralph White, Amy Annelle is the June to his Johnny. Solo, she takes us down darker roads, her voice old and wise, songs gothic Americana. She follows up her 2006 Brian Beattie-produced Songs for Creeps with a new LP later this year. – Audra Schroeder

The Postelles

9pm, Maggie Mae's Rooftop Stroking their way to a deal with EMI, this poppy NYC foursome has a wiggle in its walk to match the jangle in its rock. Albert Hammond Jr. produced the band's debut five-song EP, and Daniel Balk's indie honk follows the Vampire Weekend model of adenoidal angst. – Dan Oko

Future of the Left

9pm, Aces Lounge This Wales-based quartet's recent live CD, Last Night I Saved Her From Vampires, combines percussion-heavy guitar skronk with the intellectually sweaty lyricism that both Lester Bangs and Dylan Thomas could have tippled and toppled over. That may change: This is the sort of guitar-heavy hoodoo that can raise the dead. – Marc Savlov

Powell St. John

9:15pm, the Music Gym While maybe not as iconic as some of his late-1960s Texas psych contemporaries, Powell St. John is every bit the Hall of Famer they are (literally, as he was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2005). The former beatnik is perhaps best known for writing material for the 13th Floor Elevators, not to mention Boz Scaggs and Janis Joplin. – Michael Bertin

San Saba County

11pm, Mother Egan's San Saba County broke out in 2008 with its third disc, ... Though Cheating Was Never an Option, an uplifting combination that brought to mind the Cure, the Replacements, and Gram Parsons. The Austin foursome calls what it does "" – dour, driven, but always inventive. – Jim Caligiuri

One Right Turn

10pm, Submerged This pedigreed Hawaiian trio – comprising sisters Connie Cruz and Tiffa Garza and Tiffa's husband, Imua – specializes in earnest adult-contemporary pop. The Cruz family is well established in the Hawaiian music scene, and Imua Garza is the former lead singer of island reggae outfit Opihi Pickers. The group released four albums simultaneously in late 2008: Lean on My Shoulder, plus three individual solo releases. – Melanie Haupt

Polka Madre

12mid, Copa You can't be a wallflower when these crazy Mexico City kids get their polka punk on. They're not that nice little combo from your abuelita's back yard, either. Polka Madre is full-body polka, dowsed in surfer cool and klezmer-slapped, with some circus tinkles thrown in. Todo loco! Todo wacky! Todo must see!Belinda Acosta

David Tamaoka

12mid, Submerged Tamaoka is a singer-songwriter from Honolulu, blending the acoustic confessional poetry of Damien Rice and Jeff Buckley with songs ready for any given youth-oriented TV serial drama. Tamaoka won the BMI songwriting contest at the Kauai Music Festival in 2006, which afforded him the opportunity to lay down tracks for his yet-to-be-released solo debut. – Melanie Haupt

Asher Roth

12:30am, Club de Ville A suburban Philly white boy whose first CD was Dave Matthews Band, Asher Roth is in many ways your typical frat brat. Except, of course, for that major label deal he just signed. The Eminem comparisons are unavoidable not because Roth's a white rapper but because his voice is eerily similar to young Marshall. (Also: Sat., Vice, 10pm.) – Thomas Fawcett

Amy LaVere

1am, Habana Calle 6 Although Amy LaVere currently calls Memphis home, the bass-playing pixie is a native of Bethany, Texas. Her jazzy folk, as perfected on Anchors & Anvils, possesses an intoxicating Waitsian smoke-and-whiskey vibe. – Jim Caligiuri

Au Revoir Simone

1am, Maggie Mae's Rooftop This trio of long-haired, synth-playing brunettes from Brooklyn takes its name from a farewell salutation in Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Formed in 2003, ARS released The Bird of Music, its second full-length, in 2007 and specializes in reflective, subdued fun. – Melanie Haupt

Magic Lantern

1am, the Hideout There's something about Long Beach and druggy psych rock that makes perfect sense. Unlike its more upbeat LBC homeboys Crystal Antlers, fivepiece Magic Lantern comes from the Comets on Fire school of winding jams, as heard on new LP Underwater Dynasty. – Audra Schroeder


1am, Radio Room Pterodactyl's jittery, freaky punk sometimes comes across like an Unwound LP played at the wrong speed, but the skronk hides a curious pathos. Bassist Zach Lehrhoff also played in the Seconds and Ex Models, and drummer Matt Marlin recently served as a stand-in for Zach Hill in Marnie Stern's touring band. – Daniel Mee

Boxcar Satan

1am, Habana Bar Beefhearted guitarist/vocalist Sanford Allen leads venerable San Antonio art-punk trio Boxcar Satan on a teeth-gnashing excursion into the darkest nights of film-noir soul. While Pere Ubu and Scratch Acid define the surface, Boxcar's sour-mash mojo is distilled from deep in the Mississippi Delta. Its fifth album, 2008's Trouble All Its Own, gathers no moss. – Greg Beets

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

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

March 20, 2015

Wednesday Showcases
Wednesday Showcases

March 20, 2015


Friday Picks & Sleepers

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle