Thursday Picks & Sleepers

Blurbing SXSW 2010

THURSDAY PICKS

All showcases subject to change.

Dr. Dog

5pm, Day Stage Philly's Dr. Dog is set to release its sixth album and Anti- debut, Shame, Shame, next month. Hailed for its inventive updating of 1960s pop, the fivesome's harmonies, hooks galore, and kaleidoscope of instrumentation add up to a rootsy Beatles-esque. Shame, Shame is darker than previous efforts but has its sweet spots. (Also: Thu., 12mid, Lustre Pearl.)

Jim Caligiuri

The Cool Kids

6pm, Auditorium Shores For a duo that gets by on little more than an old drum machine, Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks sure do take their time in the studio. Long-awaited debut LP When Fish Ride Bicycles has become the white whale of backpack rap, but the delay certainly hasn't dimmed their appeal. (Also: Fri., 11:30pm, Mohawk Patio.)

Chase Hoffberger

Los Texas Wranglers

7pm, Kenny Dorham's Backyard Forget their wall loaded with "Cover Band" awards, Los Texas Wranglers are part Texas legacy, part Austin's future. This tough quintet of Tejano players with two female vocalists makes for plenty of dance-floor two-stepping and belly-rubbing that defies culture and invites bilingualism. Latest CD No Boundaries makes a perfect souvenir. – Margaret Moser

Richard Barone

7pm, the Hideout Former frontman of legendary New Jersey janglers the Bongos, Richard Barone is making his SXSW debut. Currently a New Yorker, he's collaborated with Moby, Lou Reed, Liza Minnelli, and Tiny Tim. His first book, Frontman: Surviving the Rock Star Myth, was recently published, and his latest musical effort, the Tony Visconti-produced Glow, is being released as a series of EPs throughout the year. – Jim Caligiuri

The Black Watch

8:50pm, Headhunters Named for a gun-totin' regiment of bagpipers, L.A.'s the Black Watch has spent the last decade churning out aural blur in the tradition of Yo La Tengo and all those other VU/Soft Boys offspring. Ex-Chills guitarist Steven Schayer keeps the pedigree true. Founder and only constant member John Andrew Fredrick possesses an uncanny knack for finding melody in the dissonance and chaos in the calm. – Kate X Messer

Orgone

9:40pm, Rusty Spurs Orgone was among Southern California's best funk throwbacks, well versed in the classics (the J.B.'s, the Meters), foreign languages (Latin, Afrobeat), and history (break beats, disco). Then came the coup of landing singer Fanny Franklin, whose sultry covers of Isaac Hayes and George McCrae raised the roof on 2007's Killion Floor. The ninepiece has backed Bun B, Pharaohe Monch, and Black Sheep. Will they have onstage company? – Thomas Fawcett

Notekillers

9:45pm, Headhunters A rarity from New York's early no wave scene, Notekillers issued one searing 7-inch, 1978's "The Zipper" b/w "Clock Wise," an instrumental torrent of psychotic free-jazz precision and abrasive surf velocity. Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore tracked down a few unreleased recordings, live cuts, and demos for 2004 anthology Notekillers (1977-1981) on his imprint Ecstatic Peace. After a nearly three-decade hiatus, the killers are back on the loose. – Austin Powell

Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm

10pm, Continental Club The grandson of R.L. Burnside, drummer Cedric Burnside began his career at 13 when he toured the world with the famed bluesman. Guitarist Lightnin' Malcolm grew up in rural Missouri and was also a child prodigy. Together they bring matchless energy to the blues, with an electrifying live show much bigger than just the two of them. 2 Man Wrecking Crew, their latest, is aptly titled. – Jim Caligiuri

Explode Into Colors

10pm, Wave Rooftop The incantations of Portland, Ore., trio Explode Into Colors are of the polyrhythmic variety, minimal keys, bass, and melodica buoyed by a warm front of percussion. A series of 7-inches last year sketched out a nice post-ESG dub plate, M.I.A. meets art school dropout. – Audra Schroeder

VV Brown

10pm, Latitude 30 Coming out of the same neo-soul bag as fellow Brits Duffy, Adele, and Amy Winehouse, Brown harnesses the verve of modern electro-pop with sophistication. The London songstress' delightfully retro leanings exude the spirit of doo-wop and Phil Spector girl groups on club-ready debut Travelling Like the Light. – Jay Trachtenberg

Hayes Carll

10pm, Antone's Carll's wicked way with country & western won him coast-to-coast acclaim for 2008 debut Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway). He put his best face forward in the video for novelty hit "She Left Me for Jesus," and as you might guess from that title, Carll's following in the tracks of Willie; Steve "Darlin, Darlin" Goodman; and Shel Silverstein. – Dan Oko

Men

10pm, Beauty Bar Backyard It's a Men's Men's Men's world, and you get to live in it, sucker. Bone up on your feminist/queer theory, 'cause we're getting a degree in fabulous! Le Tigre's J.D. Samson; brilliant, sexy art guerrillista Ginger Brooks Takahashi; and Mr. Ladybug Transistor Michael O'Neill fill your bookbag with luv. – Kate X Messer

Le Loup

10:30pm, Galaxy Room Forgive the crass comparison, but if Arcade Fire and Animal Collective had a love child, Le Loup might be the resulting offspring. That's this Washington, D.C., quintet's sound: rangy, electronic, and artsy, with choirs of emotion. Sophomore release Family (Hardly Art) came out in late 2009, the tension between organically grown licks and electronic loops palpable. – Melanie Haupt

Guitar Shorty

11pm, Valhalla Bare Knuckle is an apt title for the new album by a dyed-in-the-wool bluesman whose sizzling guitar chops always connect. Houston-born Shorty's been playing and recording the blues for more than 50 years and is still going strong. – Jay Trachtenberg

Court Yard Hounds

11pm, Antone's With Natalie Maines on indefinite hiatus, sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire of the Dixie Chicks could no longer ignore the creative itch. As Court Yard Hounds, their material tilts closer to the 1970s-style pop of the last Chicks disc with occasional political/social overtones. (Also: Fri., 4:30pm, Day Stage; Fri., 11pm, Beauty Bar/Palm Door.) – Jim Caligiuri

The Jim Jones Revue

11pm, Prague The new gig from former Thee Hypnotics caterwauler Jim Jones is a time machine. The punk-blues of the UK quintet's 2008 self-titled bow and last year's Here to Save Your Soul make stops in the garages of Detroit circa 1975 as well as Jerry Lee Lewis' killing fields. – Michael Bertin

The Dutchess & the Duke

11:30pm, Galaxy Room Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison offer an impressive amalgam of 1960s-inspired psych-folk, yet for all their retro-looting, the duo's Greg Ashley-produced sophomore LP, Sunset/Sunrise (Hardly Art), lingers under influences just long enough to sound familiarly comfortable. Touches of the Stones, the Animals, and the Kinks. – Doug Freeman

Chilly Gonzales

11:30pm, Central Presbyterian Church This classically trained, Paris-based pianist is best known for his collaborative work with fellow Canadian Feist, as well as his 2004 instrumental album, Solo Piano. His career also includes a stint in Germany as a rapper, the 1990s alt-rock band Son, and, most recently, a turn to hip-hop piano-rock with 2008's Soft Power. – Melanie Haupt

Anni Rossi

12mid, St. David's Historic Sanctuary At last year's SXSW, Anni Rossi fulfilled the high expectations of her Steve Albini-produced debut, Rockwell (4AD), emerging at the forefront of a new crop of female songwriters. The Chicago-based, classically trained violist delivers winding pop and folk narratives jolted by her hiccupped vocals, like a pluckier Regina Spektor or female Andrew Bird. – Doug Freeman

Shout Out Out Out Out

12mid, Beauty Bar Backyard Edmonton, Alberta, calls this electronic dance-punk sextet theirs, and theirs is a live set not to be missed if you like multiple drummers, bass, and a heaping helping of shivery synth. The group released its second full-length, Reintegration Time, last spring, but it's straight outta 1986. In a good way. (Also: Fri., 1am, Prague.) – Melanie Haupt

Barcelona

12mid, Maggie Mae's Rooftop Piano-based indie-rock ballads primed and ready for Grey's Anatomy are this Seattle trio's specialty. Singer Brian Fennell emotes breathily, but make no mistake, he can belt. The band signed with Universal in late 2008; the label remixed and re-released the group's sophomore full-length, Absolutes, last spring. – Melanie Haupt

Ana Tijoux

12mid, Flamingo Cantina Two years ago, Spanish MC Mala Rodríguez took SXSW by the short hairs, and this year French-born Chilean Tijoux fills the bill with her U.S. debut from pan-Latin monopoly Nacional Records. 1977, her birth year, follows Tijoux's seduction of tango-istas Bajofondo and rock en Español's Penelope Cruz, Julieta Venegas. (Also: Sat., 1am, Maggie Mae's.) – Raoul Hernandez

Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds

12mid, Prague The solo career of Kid Congo Powers gathers his decades of rock & roll: the Gun Club's primal psychobilly, the murder balladry of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and the Cramps' Psychedelic Jungle. His latest with the Pink Monkey Birds, Dracula Boots (In the Red), is a monster mash of Detroit grit and Los Angeles grime that includes covers of Bo Diddley's "Funky Fly" and Thee Midniters' "I Found a Peanut." – Austin Powell

Free Energy

12mid, Beauty Bar/Palm Door Featuring former members of Hockey Night, Philadelphia's Free Energy harkens back to the glory days of Saturday night rock & roll with liberal use of cowbell. Following its eponymous three-song EP, the band's debut LP, Stuck on Nothing (DFA/Astralwerks), was produced by LCD Soundsytem's James Murphy and sounds like the Rapture covering Jailbreak-era Thin Lizzy. (Also: Sat., 8pm, Cedar Street Courtyard.) – Austin Powell

Broken Social Scene

12:45am, Stubb's Coming out of a long winter's nap, the Canadian indie supergroup blinks, stretches, and warms up its Woodstock in order to flog fifth LP Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts). Other associated projects include a history of the band and the Toronto music scene, This Book Is Broken, and a tour documentary, This Movie Is Broken. (Also: Fri., 12mid, the Parish.) – Melanie Haupt

Bear in Heaven

1am, Mohawk This Brooklyn fourpiece had a sea change between 2007 Hometapes debut Red Bloom of the Boom and latest tongue-twister Beast Rest Forth Mouth. Effects-layered guitar noirscapes have given way to dancier rhythms and ambient heartbeats that fit the definition of progressive. (Also: Fri., 1am, Emo's Annex.) – Audra Schroeder

Killer Mike

1am, Klub Krucial It's hard not to love Killer Mike. The larger-than-life Atlanta MC first hit as the featured MC on OutKast's "The Whole World," but Mike's a comparable hitmaker of his own. His fifth LP, I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind III, drops this year. – Chase Hoffberger

Midlake

1am, Buffalo Billiards It took four years for Denton's Midlake to reboot after 2006 indie hit The Trials of Van Occupanther (Bella Union). Frontman/songwriter Tim Smith remains a Lone Star Bon Iver, with an able backing band marked by guitarists Eric Pulido and Eric Nichelson. New album The Courage of Others offers a grim and moody wall of sound. – Dan Oko

Eisley

1am, Maggie Mae's Rooftop With new EP Fire Kite, Tyler's DuPree quintet has moved away from the fanciful world of bedroom imaginations and rocks out unabashedly while keeping the lush female harmonies and airtight instrumentation intact. The clan's self-released third album is in the works after ending its seven-year relationship with Warner Bros. – Melanie Haupt

THURSDAY SLEEPERS

Mittens On Strings

7pm, Ale House If there's danger in being clever, it's that people will mistake it for being cute. It's best to just be earnest, and Chicagoans Mittens on Strings took that tip to tape on last year's instrumentally rich Let's Go to Baba's, which includes the song "Lou Reed Says." – Michael Bertin

Sharon Van Etten

7pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary On 2009 debut Because I Was in Love, Brooklyn songbird Van Etten balanced heartbreak rather gracefully, letting unadorned melodies say all she couldn't. Like the folkies before her, Van Etten is fond of simplicity, her honeyed voice and guitar the sole accompaniment on the journey inward. – Audra Schroeder

Grynch

7pm, Billboard.com Bungalow With a pair of wire-frame glasses that make him look about 16, Grynch is hardly your typical rapper. The smooth-talking MC has carved stone in Seattle's burgeoning scene, with two EPs and two LPs only five years in. Just don't let any Texans hear him chop and screw "My Volvo."

Chase Hoffberger

Wild Moccasins

7:40pm, Friends The male/female harmonies of the Wild Moccasins may be the most charming thing to emerge from Houston, well, ever. The young quintet's 2009 debut EP, Microscopic Metronomes, weaves clever lyrics into a pure pop swell, led by Cody Swan and Zahira Gutierrez's wistful interplay. The group's highly anticipated full-length is due in May. – Doug Freeman

Jessie Frye

8pm, the Hideout Fort Worth's Frye has one of those buttery voices that will have you craving milk fat and a cigarette in no time. This young woman decided at a very tender age (last year, at 20) to dedicate herself to the singular pursuit of her muse, and it's one helluva muse that gets producer John Congleton along for the ride. – Kate X Messer

San Saba County

8pm, Valhalla Frontman John Saba calls San Saba County "post-alt.country." Listening to the Austin-based quintet is like riding through the Texas desert on the loneliest of nights, and third disc ... Though Cheating Was Never an Option takes a giant step forward with a kitchen sink of new sounds and melodies. – Jim Caligiuri

General Elektriks

8pm, the Ghost Room At first glance, Quannum Records, better known for its collection of Bay Area underground hip-hop, seems like a strange fit for French piano wizard General Elektriks, né Hervé Salters. GE collects vintage keyboards and uses them to create the dreamy, looped soundscapes on latest Good City for Dreamers. – Thomas Fawcett

Bad Sports

8pm, Red 7 Patio The only Texas artist to be featured on both Matador Records' Red River round-up Casual Victim Pile and the equally rambunctious Denton Denton USA! (Play Pinball! Records), Bad Sports hits the sweet spot between those two thriving garage punk scenes. The trio's self-titled debut LP on Douchemaster Records is full of modern Nuggets, equal parts three-chord fervor and house-party belligerence. – Austin Powell

Truth Universal

9pm, the Independent @ 501 Studios Trinidad-born Tajiri Kamau has called New Orleans home for more than 30 years, but there's nothing to Truth Universal's flow that would suggest he's from the Big Easy. His style's inherently New York, conscious and charismatic, with a penchant for soul-sampled beats. His 2008 debut, Self Determination, is as focused as its title suggests. – Chase Hoffberger

Homeboy Sandman

9pm, Aces Lounge Homeboy Sandman possesses the single strangest flow in the rap game. Strike that – flows. The Queens MC stutter-steps, triple-times, and singsongs his way through the wordplay of sophomore LP Actual Factual Pterodactyl. Flipping the Guns n' Roses classic into "Freestyle O' Mine" live, the Ivy League graduate and law school dropout proves he could flow extemporaneously infinitely if fed intravenously. – Thomas Fawcett

The Lonely Forest

9:30pm, Club de Ville Handpicked to record the debut release for Death Cab guitarist Chris Walla's new label, Trans (an imprint of Atlantic), the Lonely Forest may not be the secret of the Northwest indie scene much longer. Last year's sophomore LP, We Sing the Body Electric!, echoes Built to Spill guitar tones with a polish and confidence that belies the quartet's youth. – Doug Freeman

Lawrence Arabia

10pm, Buffalo Billiards In 2006, New Zealand's James Milne released two critically acclaimed debuts: one with his quartet, the Reduction Agents, and another as Lawrence Arabia. The latter finally gets its follow-up this year with Chant Darling (Bella Union), offering quirky pop that tilts to the absurd. – Doug Freeman

Horse Feathers

10pm, Encore Patio Though the band alludes to a Marx Brothers' film in name, Horse Feathers delivers gorgeously constructed folk that is hauntingly poignant. The quartet's 2008 sophomore disc, House With No Home (Kill Rock Stars), reverberated starkly behind Justin Ringle's Sam Beam-meets-Tracy Chapman vocals. Upcoming Thistled Spring surges with more elaborate and compelling arrangements. – Doug Freeman

The Boxer Rebellion

10pm, Lustre Pearl Named after the Righteous Harmony Society Movement's anti-imperialism uprising in the late 19th century, London's Boxer Rebellion is a golden find – an unsigned band with a fully developed sound. The quartet's digitally released second LP, Union, is loaded with earnest, compelling, and occasionally shimmering stadium alt-rock. (Also: Fri., 10pm, Maggie Mae's Rooftop.) – Austin Powell

DD/MM/YYYY

10:15pm, Emo's Jr. Pronounced "day, month, year," this Canadian quintet plays genre and instrument hopscotch like barefoot Ritalin kids on hot cement. It's noise rock for the hardcore crowd. The group's breakthrough third LP, Black Square, has more sonic tentacles than Octopus Project, filtering spastic post-punk breakdowns, arcane electronic convulsions, and ambient interludes through the Thrill Jockey canon. (Also: Fri., 10pm, Prague.) – Austin Powell

Generationals

10:30pm, Club de Ville Formed after the fall of the Eames Era, the Generationals were born from Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer upon their return to New Orleans. Teaming up with Park the Van for the release of last year's debut, Con Law, the outfit kicks an amorphous blend of staccato indie-pop, MGMT-tinged disco-glam, and even the Motown rip of "When They Fight, They Fight." – Doug Freeman

Get Busy Committee

11pm, Velveeta Room Underground rap stalwart Ryu isn't pleased with his former label, Warner Bros., so the Cali MC hooked up with Apathy and producer Scoop Deville to form Get Busy Committee. He spits coke chronicles over electro-pop on self-released Uzi Does It, distributed on a machine-gun-shaped USB drive. (Also: Sat., 9:10pm, Club de Ville.) – Thomas Fawcett

Bobby Long

11pm, Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn This London singer-songwriter went from playing open mic nights to selling American clubs almost overnight. Long's co-writing "Let Me Sign," a song on the soundtrack for Twilight, was all it took. From Bob Dylan to Elliott Smith, his music possesses a captivating honesty and vulnerability. Latest Dirty Pond Songs came from his bedroom. – Jay Trachtenberg

Ninjasonik

11:15pm, Beauty Bar Backyard "We don't give a fuck; this is real shit, nigga." If those aren't the defining words of a generation, then we're through the looking glass, folks. Brooklyn-based trio Reverend McFly, Bathroomsexxx, and DJ Teenwolf is both crunk and funk and possibly some other kind of 'unk. "Somebody Gonna Get Pregnant." (Also: Thu., 12:15am, Submerged.) – Michael Bertin

Marina & the Diamonds

12mid, Lamberts Blow that mid-Aughts Imogen/Regina/Feist-y sound through the footlights of Amanda Palmer, Lene Lovich, and Siouxsie Sioux, and Marina comes into focus. Swabbing the lens with Britney Spears and Daniel Johnston adds some clarity. She's got the attention of Kanye, Perez, and the entire British press; now let's see who's "obsessed with the mess that's America." – Kate X Messer

Drive Like Maria

12mid, B.D. Riley's Isn't it funny that while the terms are neither mutually exclusive nor dependent, "ass rock" and "cock rock" often describe the same sound? Belgian/Dutch trio Drive Like Maria has that Queens of the Stone Age edge, serious licks with tongue planted firmly ... somewhere. – Kate X Messer

Broken Records

12mid, Buffalo Billiards Get ready for the Arcade Fire comparisons – or is it the Waterboys? Edinburgh-based sevenpiece Broken Records actually fits into a grand tradition of contemporary Scottish music championed by Idlewild and Belle & Sebastian, where the lines between folk, poetry, and pop converge. Their 4AD debut, 2009's Until the Earth Begins to Part, is modern chamber music, both epic and beguiling. – Richard Whittaker

Roxy Cottontail

12:05am, Karma Lounge A New York City native who tied herself in with Diplo and the Mad Decent crowd, Roxy Cottontail's repertoire of mixes includes everything from Nas and Spank Rock to Ace of Base. She's a walking party, boasting a résumé that includes nights with Afrika Bambaataa, Stretch Armstrong, and DJ A-Trak. – Chase Hoffberger

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