Wales in 18 Adjectives
Toy Horses (Wed., Latitude 30, 8pm) Dual-powered, indie, melodic, Beatles-esque, charming, bright.
Amy Wadge (Thu., Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn, 10pm; Fri., Stephen F's Bar, 12mid) Lingering, earthy, thoughtful, warm, passionate, inviting.
Christopher Rees (Sat., Stephen F's Bar, 10pm) Orchestral, soulful, countryish, cautionary, mournful, satisfying. – Margaret Moser
Three Icelandic Acts That Still Had Enough Money to Visit Austin After Their Country Went Bankrupt
Bloodgroup (Sat., Karma Lounge, 10pm) Good to know that even an insolvent country can still generate enough electricity to power synthesizers.
Sprengjuhöllin (Wed., Opal Divine's, 8pm) The fivepiece released Bestu Kvedjur last November. Our guess at the translation: "We like hand claps and Britpop."
Steed Lord (Wed., Elysium, 9pm) All the depth of a Roxette song, and you can dance to it. – Michael Bertin
Hague Daze: Netherlands Genre-Benders
Awkward I (Fri., St. David's Church, 10pm) Mellow Bon Iver folk-pop.
Kraak & Smaak (Thu., Vice, 12mid) Wicked and wacked electro-funk trio.
Monokino (Wed., Elysium, 11pm) Synth pop trio trembling vocals across skuzzed beats. – Doug Freeman
Café Funquê (Sat., Opal Divine's, 10pm) Rio funksters get bum-bums shaking.
La Pupuña (Wed., Club 115, 1am; Fri., Copa, 9pm) Musicologists know how to party.
Los Pirata (Sat., Fuze, 9pm) São Paulista pirates fill the floor with heavy surf-punk. – Thomas Fawcett
Don't Cry for Argentina: Changing Tango's Promise
It may take two to tango, but Argentina's Pedro Menéndez is part of tango's triple threat. At SXSW last year, Menéndez wowed a modest Elephant Room crowd with his electronic tango trio, Zona Tango. This year, the multi-instrumentalist returns as Pedro Menéndez JazzTango Ensamble (Thu., Elephant Room, 11:45pm), incorporating classical compositions and folk traditions like Afro-Uruguayan drumming. Acolyte of the late Nuevo Tango pioneer Astor Piazzolla, Menéndez also performs as part of the Latin-tinged jazz-fusion operation Peter's Songs (Sat., Copa, 8pm). New disc Eclectico from the latter outfit was released in December. Menéndez isn't alone in tending tango's hot coals. Buenos Aires contemporaries Debayres (Wed., Club 115, 12mid) traffic their own notion of la orquesta típica. Fronted by Japanese singer Sawa Kobayashi, who sings in four languages, the band thrives in the nightclub rather than the ballroom. On the recent Tango Vivo, Debayres embraces innovation and preservation. – Dan Oko
Three Words on Seven DJs From Seven Countries
Infusion (Australia) (Wed., Prague, 8pm) Emotronic got soul!
Nid & Sancy (Belgium) (Sat., Club 115, 1am) Electro-punk clamps off.
Miami Horror (Australia) (Wed., Rusty Spurs, 11pm; Thu., Barcelona, 9pm) Remixing 1980s decadence.
Diva Gash (Colombia) (Wed., Habana Bar Backyard, 8pm) Soul Brothers No. 2.
Cosmopolitan (Mexico) (Wed., Habana Bar Backyard, 11pm) Too much Nintendo.
Boys Noize (Germany) (Wed., Elysium, 10pm) Autobahn, full throttle.
Popular Damage (Germany) (Fri., Speakeasy, 10pm) Synth-emo overdrive. – Chase Hoffberger
Oslo vs. Bergen Norwegian Pop-Off
Deleted Waveform Gatherings (Oslo) (Sat., B.D. Riley's, 10pm) vs. Casiokids (Bergen) (Thu., the Music Gym Patio, 11pm) Moogy quintet DWG mellows psychedelic, but Casiokids groove smoother.
Grande (Oslo) (Wed., Mother Egan's, 11pm) vs. the New Wine (Bergen) (Thu., the Music Gym Patio, 9pm) Grande's roots rhythms and weird, wide-ranging pitch trump Wine's synthy, sensitive beats.
The Shitsez (Oslo) (Sat., Buffalo Billiards, 8pm) vs. Datarock (Bergen) (Thu., Emo's Annex, 1am; Fri., Austin Music Hall 10pm) The Shitsez fire like CSS, but Datarock's nerdy DFA Devo-tion is in. – Doug Freeman
Five Down Under Acts for People Who Fear the Unknown
Birds of Tokyo (Thu., Friends, 10pm) Well-produced post-skater-punk not from San Diego.
Rodney Fisher (Sat., Wave Rooftop, 9pm) Check his passport; Fisher couldn't sound more American singer-songwriter.
Hell City Glamours (Fri., Smokin' Music, 10:30pm) Throwback to 1970s AOR.
The Temper Trap (Wed., Dirty Dog Bar, 10pm; Thu., Latitude 30, 1am) Too polished to be garage or indie but not slick enough to turn off.
Midnight Youth (Sat., Wave Rooftop, 12mid) Coldplay, Travis, and Keane. – Michael Bertin