Wednesday Picks & Sleepers

The blurbing of SXSW

All showcases subject to change.



Iron Age

Thursday, 12:20am, Habana Calle 6 Patio

Iron Age's 2009 Tee Pee Records debut The Sleeping Eye unleashed the five local smelters onto U.S. byways with a galloping torpedo of blitzkrieg thrash. Led by Wade and Jared Allison, the quintet's local profile has happily taken a backseat to bigger, Sword-like campaigns.

Lions of Tsavo

Wednesday, 7:20pm, Mohawk Local Top 10 2008 Firelung, overseen by Sword bassist Bryan Richie, unleashed these former Ohioans' electrical firestorm of hornet guitar nestings. Ryan Chamberlain's bruisng pride of four has demoed a faster follow-up, Swarm of All the Unholy.

Mammoth Grinder

Wednesday, 8:35pm, Red 7 Patio Aggro spasms of hardcore, Mammoth Grinder races the clock on the larynx shred of six-stringer Chris Ulsh, locked in mortal fury with drummer Brian Boeckman. Debut vinyl Rage and Ruin resulted in the local trio's new Relapse Records EP, Extinction of Humanity. (Also: Sun., 11pm, Emo's Jr.)

Pack of Wolves

Pack of Wolves
Pack of Wolves (Photo by John Anderson)

Saturday, 1am, Lamberts Very few Wolf prints in the snow this winter – and it did snow in Austin last month – for these lupine locals, busy snapping and tearing a second full-length, tentatively titled Justice Born of Sin. Trey Ramirez's witching craw withered last SXSW's debut LP, Betrayer (Arclight), and here hopefully touches off further frenzy on new chase "Traveler." – Raoul Hernandez

The Fireants

7:30pm, Momo's One of the more surprising young bands in Austin, the Fireants get their inspiration from acts like the Band and Little Feat. All five members are still teenagers, either about to graduate high school or in their first year of college, but they possess talent beyond their years, as evidenced by 2009's self-titled EP. – Jim Caligiuri

The Strange Boys

8pm, Emo's Jr. These local garage wunderkinder have shuffled through a few lineup changes of late, including the addition of singer/saxophonist Jenna Thornhill deWitt of L.A.'s Mika Miko, and recorded their sophomore LP, Be Brave (In the Red), pretty much on a whim. Sounding like the morning after A Hard Day's Night, its rough-hewn blues are dominated by Ryan Sambol's deadbeat poetry. – Austin Powell

Suzanna Choffel

8pm, Live.Create. Lounge Austin native Choffel is unlike any other singer-songwriter in town, with poetic lyrics and a smoky voice adding to a funky, adventurous sound. A winner of numerous Austin Music Awards since 2006 debut Shudders & Rings, she most recently toured with Celtic rockers Carbon Leaf. – Jim Caligiuri


8pm, the Ghost Room Austin's most fashionable MC and sneaker pimp came into his own with last year's Rapid Ric-produced, Pink Floyd-sampling mixtape Haterz and Robotz. Zeale's collaborations with locals Los Bad Apples, Boombox ATX, and Grooveline Horns have only sharpened his singular vision for a forthcoming solo disc, a fusion of his consumer reporting and aggressive techno, helmed by European producer Marko Jelic. – Austin Powell

Ezra Furman & the Harpoons

9pm, Live.Create. Lounge After Banging Down the Doors in 2007, Ezra Furman & the Harpoons unloaded the ramshackle exuberance of Inside the Human Body, the Brooklyn-based quartet riffing cathartic pop behind Furman's unbridled yelp and howl. Falling somewhere between Jonathan Richman and the Violent Femmes, Furman's barrage of quirky pleas is matched only by the sincerity with which he delivers them. (Also: Thu., 1am, Valhalla.) – Doug Freeman

Catherine MacLellan

9pm, Victorian Room at the Driskill On her first two albums, Canadian songstress MacLellan blushed intimate ballads, her voice reflecting the polished beauty of Emmylou Harris and Joni Mitchell. Last year's Water in the Ground (True North) drifts with a lighter air and more versatility, from the opening bass strums of "Take a Break" to the light folk swing of "Hotel Stairs." – Doug Freeman


9:20pm, Speakeasy Kabaret Stones Throw manager Egon can take credit for the flood of rare psych, funk, and soul reissues that have tickled eardrums over the last decade. He curated seminal comp The Funky 16 Corners; founded Now-Again Records, a label that introduced the Kashmere Stage Band to the masses; and unearths funk 45s region by region. – Thomas Fawcett

Michael Monroe

9:30pm, Austin Music Hall Forget L.A.; it was Finland's Hanoi Rocks that perfected glam metal and sax-playing shrieker Monroe that first stomped those stilettos. Add in Hanoi's bass-buster Sami Yaffa, ex-Blackheart Jimmy Clark on drums, former Danzig/Motörhead guitarist Todd Youth, and chaotic attractor Ginger of UK punks the Wildhearts, and sparks will fly. – Richard Whittaker


10:30pm, Momo's With 2009 debut Heat Sin Water Skin, BettySoo stepped into the upper echelon of Austin singer-songwriters. With the help of master producer/guitarist Gurf Morlix, she shaped a suite of gritty folk songs, so the resulting praise wasn't only local. – Jim Caligiuri

J. Rocc

11pm, Speakeasy Kabaret An original Beat Junkie, L.A. turntablist J. Rocc embodies Stones Throw's penchant for soul-inspired break beats and collaborated with both J Dilla and Madlib as Jaylib. Having just released Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: A Tribute to J Dilla with Madlib, J. Rocc's focused on putting the final touches on a solo effort. – Chase Hoffberger


11pm, Submerged Melbourne, Australia, quintet Beaches knows its geo-musical history. The ladies' mostly instrumental self-titled debut throws back to the winding, epic sounds of New Zealand's Flying Nun scene or Australia's late 1970s punk daze, all wah-wah pedals and feedback and crystalline harmonies that led gentleman and scholar Everett True to heap praise on them last year. – Audra Schroeder

Banda de Turistas

11pm, Bungalow The wisp of melody from "Love Potion No. 9" on the second track from this Buenos Aires quintet's domestic debut, Magical Radiophonic Heart (Nacional), furthers the disc's 1960s evocation more so than its pastoral sun shot CD art and 15 slices of two- and three-minute Zombies pop. (Also: Thu., 8pm, Flamingo Cantina.) – Raoul Hernandez

Johnny Flynn

11pm, Latitude 30 Flynn's an actor and poet besides a singer-songwriter, having started out as a member of British folkies the Sussex Wit. His 2008 release, A Larum (Lost Highway), was greeted warmly worldwide for its lyrical playfulness and jaunty melodies. In advance of a new spring disc, Flynn issued the Sweet William EP late last year. – Jim Caligiuri


11:15pm, Central Presbyterian Church Germany's Volker Bertelmann doesn't merely play piano; he contorts it to his will. Alias Hauschka, the internationally revered avant-garde composer, melds prepared piano with chamber orchestration and fractured, electronic textures that recall Erik Satie and Yann Tiersen. His 2008 breakthrough, Ferndorf, a masterstroke of serene repetition and music box orchestration, was followed last year by Snowflakes & Car Wrecks (FatCat). – Austin Powell


11:15pm, Beauty Bar Backyard Daniel Smith, the man behind various iterations of the same name (Danielson, the Danielson Famile, Brother Danielson) devotes his career to making lo-fi outsider music honoring a certain Western imagining of G-d, as well as celebrating his family. Beginners should consult Trying Hartz (Secretly Canadian), a 2-CD, 28-song retrospective of Smith & Co.'s career 1994-2004. – Melanie Haupt

The Muffs

12mid, Elysium The Muffs always seemed the quintessential 1990s band, their career arcing through the halcyon Clinton years and landing on 1995's Clueless soundtrack, which included the L.A. trio's revy cover of "Kids in America." A new LP's in the works, their first since 2004's Really Really Happy, and with the early 1990s back in vogue, there's no better time. – Audra Schroeder

The Sour Notes

12mid, the Hideout Four songs on the Sour Notes' third pop pleaser, It's Not Gonna Be Pretty, were inspired by Criterion DVD titles: "The Distant Knell" (The Seventh Seal), "A Cute Little Ruin" (Jules and Jim), "One Word Emotions" (Pierrot le Fou), and "It's the Hair That Makes the Dress Chic" (La Notte). Take that, James Mercer! The Austin quartet sells out New York. – Raoul Hernandez

Yahowha 13

12mid, Rusty Spurs One of the stranger tales in rock & roll history, Yahowha 13 is the musical offshoot of the Source Family, the psychedelic cult formed by Father Yod in the Hollywood Hills and relocated to Hawaii. The group recorded prolifically in the early 1970s, leading to 1998's God and Hair, a 13-disc collection of communal meditations and shamanic improvisation, curated by the Seeds' late Sky Saxon. Last year, Dave Nuss of the No Neck Blues Band culled "the lost music" for Drag City's Magnificence in the Memory.

Austin Powell

Luke Doucet

12mid, Soho Lounge Doucet's played the sensitive singer-songwriter, Sarah McLachlan's hired guitar slinger, and leader of jagged neo-psych band Veal. The Canadian's most recent release, 2008's Blood's Too Rich (Six Shooter), features his band the White Falcon and struts tough, reflecting Doucet's fascination with the American South and highlighting his stellar guitar work. – Jay Trachtenberg

Warren Hood

12:30am, Momo's Besides his work as a member of S.F.-based jam-grassers the Waybacks, Austin's Hood is carving out a successful solo career with his band the Hoodlums. Following in the footsteps of his late father, Champ, Warren's accomplished on fiddle and mandolin, and his fusion of jazz, blues, and Americana is performed with distinction. – Jim Caligiuri

The Black & White Years

1am, Dirty Dog Bar This popular Austin indie act played an early-evening showcase to roughly 10 people at 2007's SXSW, and one of those people was 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. Nursery Myths is the current EP. – Jay Trachtenberg

Carrie Rodriguez

1am, the Ghost Room This soulful, charismatic, once local fiddler/singer-songwriter was discovered by Chip "Wild Thing" Taylor, and the pair toured and recorded a series of albums together. Rodriguez has since established a flourishing solo career, self-releasing her new album, Love and Circumstance. (Also: Sat., 12mid, Amsterdam Cafe.) – Jay Trachtenberg

Joe Purdy

1am, Spill Purdy's best known for his song "Wash Away," which found its way into Hurley's headphones on an episode of Lost. The bigger mystery remains why, after 10 excellent indie albums of sparse folk ballads, capped by 2009's Last Clock on the Wall, the Arkansas songwriter is still one of the decade's most underrated artists. (Also: Thu., 10pm, the Parish.) – Doug Freeman


Bastard Child Death Cult

8pm, Red 7 As subtle as the name implies, this downtuned Toronto punk supergroup draws members from grizzled road dogs like Cancer Bats and Monster Voodoo Machine. The result is a multiplier of heaviness, with Damn 13 vocalist Adam "Doom" Sewell's roar bludgeoning the fuzzed-up hot rod charge of debut LP Year Zero. – Richard Whittaker

DJ Pasta

8pm, Flamingo Cantina There's a loose-knit tribe of vinyl-only DJs currently spinning da Big Easy, and Pasta's the swamp poppin', New-Orleans-walkin' master. He stands out from the slew spinning petroleum stacks as a spicy roux bridging old and new, from Cosimo Matassa to bleeps and bloops that'll enliven the shoegazer within.

Kate X Messer

Two Star Symphony

8pm, the Hideout This classically inclined fourpiece from the Bayou City is known for its gypsy vibe, silent-movie themes, and artistic collaborations, a favorite of Houston sophisticates since 2002. The in-demand symphony relies on instruments designed and built by master luthier Anton Krutz. – Dan Oko

Lynn Miles

8pm, Victorian Room at the Driskill If Miles wants to lose the Joni Mitchell comparisons, she's gonna have to stop those delicious octave leaps, flatten out her intricate strum and pick, and trash the brainy lyrics. For those who are bugged by such proud Canadian nationalism, think Brandi Carlile. Oh wait, Seattle is in Canada, too. – Kate X Messer

The Trishas

8pm, Opal Divine's Freehouse Austin's Trishas stand on the verge of great things. Jamie Wilson, Liz Foster, Kelley Mickwee, and Savannah Welch came together during a tribute to songwriter Kevin Welch, Savannah's father, in 2009. Since then, they've been amazing audiences with angelic harmonies and acoustic Americana. – Jim Caligiuri

Sofia Talvik

9pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary Looking like a young Brigitte Bardot, singer-songwriter Talvik's 2009 LP, Jonestown, fuses a mellow-gold voice to somber themes of mass suicide and winter landscapes. Talvik is blogging her SXSW experience on Cosmopolitan's Swedish website, a sure sign of her credibility with the Sex and the City crowd. – Melanie Haupt

Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles

9pm, Continental Club Borges' 2007 album Diamonds in the Dark (Sugar Hill), a titular hat tip to Exene Cervenka, hit some hard country pavement. Last year's The Stars Are Out, with cover nods to her Massachusetts turf (NRBQ, the Lemonheads, Magnetic Fields), leaves the pedal steel on the side of the road and drives the band home. (Also: Fri., 8pm, Cedar Street Courtyard.) – Kate X Messer

Das Racist

9:20pm, Buffalo Billiards The Harold & Kumar of hip-hop, Das Racist sparked an Internet sensation with the mind-numbingly repetitive dance track "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell." You see, one's at the Pizza Hut, the other at the Taco Bell. The Brooklyn trio's simultaneously been hailed as transcendent and blamed for ruining hip-hop. – Thomas Fawcett

Jern Eye

9:45pm, the Independent @ 501 Studios A Los Angeles native who moved to Oakland and thus immersed himself in every corner of California's dominant alternative hip-hop scene, Jern Eye put his cool, calm, and collected flow to good use on last year's Vision. He's a perfect fit for Seattle beat master Jake One, a prime indicator that Left Coast weed rap is in good hands. – Chase Hoffberger

Kaiser Cartel

10pm, Lamberts Brooklyn's Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel mix precious harmonies and a lo-fi aesthetic into a luminous whole, their songs featured on HBO's Bored to Death and ABC's Private Practice. The duo's now set to self-release Secret Transit, their second disc of inventive instrumentation and striking melodies. – Jim Caligiuri

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

10pm, Emo's Annex Live by licensing, die by licensing. We hope that's not the story with the Asteroids Galaxy Tour, a foot-moving force whose manic music was featured on an iPod commercial last summer. Single "Around the Bend" has a soulful retro-pop charm, and with lithe Swedish powerhouse Mette Lindberg on the mic, last year's Fruit made an irresistible sales pitch for fun. (Also: Fri., 8pm, Bungalow.) – Dan Oko


10:10pm, the Independent @ 501 Studios In the crowd of damn near any Austin hip-hop show, you'll find a video camera in the hands of MOS or G-Christ. Sure, the Web-based 54 Reality Show promotes the hard-hustling Killeen duo, but it also exposes the rest of the underground. When not behind the camera, the crew's in front of it, trading bars from LP Aggressive Soul and the forthcoming Ghetto Rhapsody. – Thomas Fawcett


10:15pm, Beauty Bar Backyard This winsome sister act from Riverside, N.J., was discovered by Ken Fabianovicz of Sounds Familyre in a church coffee shop. After recording a four-song demo produced by Danielson frontman Daniel Smith, the Cottingham sisters, who range in age from 16 to 23, were signed, and their debut, Time on a String, was just released. – Melanie Haupt


11pm, Antone's Like Austin's Grupo Fantasma, this Latin Afro-funk group from Colombia shifts styles at the drop of un gorro. Spanish raps, cumbia beats, and a plateful of soul are equal parts of their energizing, reggae-tinged recipe. The band relies on older traditions such as Bambazú and Aguabajo, and last year's exemplary Oro (Nacional) will finally be available stateside this spring. (Also: Thu., 1am, Momo's; Sat., 12mid, Beauty Bar/Palm Door.) – Dan Oko

The Megaphonic Thrift

11pm, Habana Calle 6 Have the many references to the holy trinity of My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur Jr. left you feeling short-sheeted and manhandled? Let's get down to brass strings and nickel nuts: These Norweegees are worthy of the spiritual(ized) comparison, delivering symphonically titillating, head-wagging majesty. – Kate X Messer

Allo Darlin'

11:10pm, Tap Room at Sixth Too bad Stephin Merritt and Claudia Gonson aren't coming to town for the premiere of the Magnetic Fields doc, because they could check out the spawn of their loins: London's Allo Darlin'. Whilst that analogy will surely make Merritt cringe in bodily function horror, these darlins might just wet their pants, even if their ukulele isn't a Mac sample. – Kate X Messer

Delhi 2 Dublin

12mid, Copa Vancouver's D2D brings together Celtic fiddles, Bhangra, and an assortment of organic and electronic sounds from tabla to turntable, offering a fresh view of global music forces along the Pacific Rim. The quintet's recording a follow-up to 2007's self-titled LP. – Dan Oko


12mid, Emo's Jr. When Warpaint slips into the chorus of "My Guy" on the track "Billie Holiday," from debut EP Exquisite Corpse (Manimal), it emerges as a distantly remembered lyric flitting to the surface from a deep dream consciousness. The L.A. quartet cuts its hypnotic haze with equally tight post-rock rhythms, attracting Rough Trade for the release of its upcoming Jon Brion-produced LP. – Doug Freeman

And So I Watch You From Afar

12mid, Friends After Explosions in the Sky's 10th anniversary last July 4, instrumental post-rock seemed down to it postscript. Now comes Belfast's four storms, the quartet's 2009 self-titled debut falling into place like the Grand Canyon. From needling dischord to soaring flights in a single song ("These Riots Are Just the Beginning"), And So I Watch You From Afar wasn't born on the Fourth of July, but it goes off just the same. – Raoul Hernandez


12:15am, Karma Lounge In a world where guys think it's complimentary to start reviews of female rappers with how much they "don't like female rappers but this one is dope," K.Flay's a frisky, wordsmithin' San Franciscan who spit-shines the floor with such tomfoolery. Her fileting of 2006 megahit "Crazy" into a treatise on modern mental health care is positively Gnarley. – Kate X Messer


12:15am, Dirty Dog Bar The consolidation of Chi-town nightlife assets DJ Mother Hubbard and DJ A-Cup has led to an uptick in a rapid rump recovery. High-profile sets are robust indicators that the duo's globally diversified portfolio of stomps and beats will achieve superior returns over the long term. (Also: Thu., 12:45am, the Phoenix.) – Kate X Messer

Jill Barber

1am, the Velveeta Room Barber was well on her way to becoming one of Canada's leading female folk talents on the strength of 2007 double Juno-nominated debut For All Time. With her new album, Chances, she takes a stunningly executed turn back to 1950s orchestral pop, her breathy swoons coating original tunes with glamorous nostalgia. – Doug Freeman

The Veils

1am, Elysium The Veils' third LP, Sun Gangs (Rough Trade), should have broken these Londoners stateside. The album encapsulates all that frontman Finn Andrews, son of XTC's Barry Andrews, does well: folky street poetry ("Three Sisters"), grandiose piano balladry ("Begin Again"), and explosive alt-rock juggernauts ("Killed by the Boom"). (Also: Fri., 1am, Cedar Street Courtyard.) – Austin Powell

Pac Div

1am, the Independent @ 501 Studios L.A.'s answer to the Cool Kids, Pac Div started in 2002 as a 10-man collective before dropping a whopping seven members in 2008. Since then, BeYoung and brothers Like and Mibbs released the viral Church League Champions mixtape and have plans to drop their debut album Grown Kid Syndrome this year. – Chase Hoffberger

The Beatards

1am, Club 115 Do the Millennials need their own Beastie Boys? This NYC trio wants to oblige, when not crafting get-on-the-dance-floor booty-movers. Either way, it's hard to take someone whose signature song is "Don't Step on My Sneakers" too seriously. – Michael Bertin

Orphaned Land

1am, Red 7 So much metal sounds Americanized that it takes someone extraordinary – a Bathory, Laibach, or Rammstein – to liberate it as an international art form. Veteran Israeli rockers Orphaned Land join that heady group, with their 2010 release The Never Ending Way of Orwarrior perfectly fusing Arabic rhythms, Jewish sacred music, and brutal riffs. – Richard Whittaker

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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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