The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Showcases


March 19, 2010, Music

New Romantic Pop

8pm, the Parish

Breathy, new romantic pop is a family affair for the members of Minneapolis' Lynhurst. Brothers Matt and Jake and sis Mari extrapolate the heartbreak of those difficult post-teen years and distill it all into lonely perfection. Stockholm's Last Days of April got the month wrong but the ethereal electro-alt-pop exactly right. Its single "I Wanna Know All You Know" rivals the Police's "Every Breath You Take" for naked musical need, only no one's lurking under your window, and if they are, they probably brought flowers. Back in Brooklyn, the Honey Brothers have rediscovered the instant joy inherent in playing that most unfairly disparaged of musical instruments, the ukulele. They're out to put the goofiest smile on your face possible while also casually sidestepping the twee label and moving straight on to "Wow, that's cool, wanna gaze into each other's eyes for hours?" territory. Speaking of twee, perennial favorites and former Portland, Ore., all-stars Stars of Track & Field appear to be feeling anything but sinister these days. A Time for Lions is a heady mix of full-on angst-rock that likely sounds just as fine in a dive bar as it would in a stadium setting. Brilliant. – Marc Savlov

Moshi Moshi/AIM

8pm, Latitude 30

Place next-big-thing bets on Moshi Moshi, the small London-based label whose roster includes Bloc Party, Hot Chip, and Lykke Li. Essentially a Brooklyn pinwheel, Uninhabitable Mansions features members of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Au Revoir Simone, and Dirty on Purpose, all of whom have equal weight on the band's late 2009 sleeper, Nature Is a Taker. Guest contributor to Gruff Rhys' Neon Neon, Wales' Cate Le Bon delves into dark folk and darker psychedelia on her recently released debut, Me Oh My. Nerdcore before the term, Best Fwends is a duo of Austin/Fort Worth pop contortionists whose spazzy debut, Alphabetically Arranged, earned the distinct honor of Vice's Worst Album of the Month. S.F. collective Still Flyin' is still expanding the drum circle from 2008's Never Gonna Touch the Ground, while the Wave Pictures' London calling bears Moshi's trademark stamp of quirk and spark. The best odds lie with headliner Slow Club from Sheffield, England. The folk-pop duo – Lonely Hearts' Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson – are precocious romantics recalling She & Him or a straight-faced version of early Vaselines, pulling equally from traditional folk, twee-pop, and golden AM rock. The expanded edition of Slow Club's recent debut, Yeah So, includes a bonus CD with five additional gems and a live set, as though to prove these two are in it for the long haul. – Austin Powell

New Orleans Bounce

8pm, Submerged

With its Super Bowl victory and Mardi Gras still lingering, New Orleans' bounce scene drops the wildest party this side of Austin's Shoal Creek Saloon. The most widely recognized name on the bill will likely be Juvenile allies Partners N Crime, Auto-Tune-friendly rappers Kango Slim and Mista Meana, who recently celebrated their 15th year with the release of We Are Legends (UTP), and 25-year veteran DJ Jubilee of Covington. NOLA's ladies' scene is magnified by Ms. Tee, whose self-released Female Baller takes inspiration from TLC and What's the 411?-era Mary J. Blige, and Magnolia Shorty, Tee's sidekick in Gutta Girlz and a part of the (still-banking) Cash Money crew. And take note of the uniquely Crescent City subgenre sissy bounce, represented by Big Freedia. Her recent collection of singles "Make Ya Booty Go" bounce, bounce, bounce. Then there's Katey Red, the 6-foot-2-inch cross-dressing pioneer of sissy bounce, and in the opposite corner, Vockah Redu, whose "Fuck Katey Red" launched the crunkest catfight in recent memory. – Chase Hoffberger

Audible Treats

7:30pm, the Independent @ 501 Studios

Forget Dostoevsky, this 10-deep bill of indie hip-hop will leave you fully briefed on notes from the underground. Oakland Hieroglyphics protégés League 510 and fellow Bay Area trio iLL-Literacy transport heads to town techno, while Berkeley's Truthlive spits optimistic realism and Brooklyn by way of Connecticut MC/graf artist Bisco Smith waxes Def Jux on The Broadcast. Buff1 and Beat Junkies' DJ Rhettmatic serve intoxicating interplay as Crown Royale, and Finale embodies blue-collar Detroit. Michigan MC One Be Lo first rocketed into orbit with underground heroes Binary Star and now nurses rhymes from fourth solo LP B.A.B.Y (Being a Black Youth). Cincinnati MCs Ilyas and Donwill team with Brooklyn MC/producer Von Pea to trade bars over Dilla-esque beats as Tanya Morgan on sophomore LP Brooklynati, while Native Tongues rapper Dres of Black Sheep reminds old-school fans "The Choice Is Yours" still. One of Motor City's new torchbearers, dual-threat MC/producer Black Milk boasts the audacity of dope, banking that his forthcoming disc will be Album of the Year. – Thomas Fawcett

Post Present Medium

8pm, Barbarella

"I do the band and the label, and that's pretty much all I do," professed Dean Spunt, one-half of the headlining, art-damaged noise-duo No Age, this time last year about his DIY imprint, Post Present Medium. "I'm kind of doing it 24 hours a day, but it's cool 'cause they're people that I'm really stoked on." As evinced by the label's showcase, not even losing national distribution from Touch & Go Records has slowed PPM's underground momentum. Olympia, Wash.'s Gun Outfit shotguns the glory years of 1980s SST Records on 2009's Dim Light, while the scathing ATX/Oakland hardcore outfit Total Abuse has another Texas chain saw massacre due in April. The noisy Minutemen convulsions of Kit found favor with Mike Watt, who guested on the fourpiece's latest aberration, Dreams Are Burned, but the real draw here is Best Coast. Over the course of three successive singles, Bethany Cosentino's L.A. trio has developed a stoned summer crush: girl-group pop blushing with clouds of distortion and reverb, epitomized in "Sun Was High (So Was I)." Fellow Smell-scene veteran Abe Vigoda has quickly outgrown its self-imposed "tropical punk" tag. The quartet's latest Reviver EP cleaned up with a lo-fi bent on Nigerian highlife, leading to a forthcoming national tour with Vampire Weekend. – Austin Powell


8pm, Maggie Mae's

Forget everything you know about Chilean music, which for most Americans probably totals zero to start with. Even with a low bar, the sampling of Chilean music at SXSW is surprisingly good, not to mention mostly sung in English. Plutopia showcase opener Casino comes off like a cross between a dirty Britpop band and a slick San Diego outfit. More notably, the quartet is probably the only band to have opened for both the Romantics and Kraftwerk. If you're calling yourselves the Ganjas, you're probably trying to be as unambiguous as possible about playing stoner rock. No need for Chile's bong-rattling Wolf & Cub equivalent to be coy. And Funky C offers solid evidence that at some point the most common things on Chilean radio were Santana and Kool & the Gang. Anita Tijoux fills the hip-hop niche somewhere between Princess Superstar and M.I.A. Maybe the biggest curiosity here are non-Chileans Capsula (from Argentina via Spain). They couldn't be more Sonic Youth. There's Cramps thrown in just to keep the flattery from being too sincere, but right down to the founding front-pairing of Martin Guevera and bass player Coni Duchess, the similarities are blatant. – Michael Bertin

Thicker Than Sizzurp

8pm, Victory Grill

While Austin's carved out its sound, the ties that bind ATX and Houston's hip-hop scene are thicker than sizzurp. Thank DJ Rapid Ric and his Whut It Dew crew, which pulls collectively from both cities, though there's an influx of Austin MCs championing the Screwston sound. First Class Fresh spent last July "Stuntin'" on Bags & Receipts, a mixtape surveying everything from Auto-Tune-hop and R&B to H-town bravado. Whut It Dew associates Black Mike & Kemistry pave the way for rapper/producer Young Nick, who last year took part in The Guudness, a Dungeon Family-inspired effort that rides Nick's casual bounce. Cali Zack & N/A's hot-off-the-presses Work blends Zack's left coast roots with inherited Texas drip, something San Francisco wildcard Afro Classics (8pm, Club de Ville), featuring Scarub of Living Legends and buddy Very, should appreciate. Die Slo Entertainment, young gun Sertified's label, which trots out a triumvirate of heavy hitters including Southern Made Click, Fiyah Boy, and the Throwed House Click, follows. Things round out with a trio of Bayou City bangers: A-3 from "the Dead End," Whut It Dew bully Da Ryno, and the Chamillionaire-styled flows of Magno aka Magnificent. – Chase Hoffberger

Pop Montreal

8pm, Paradise

Pop Montreal is the Quebec capital's version of SXSW or CMJ. This year it has imported the Reader's Digest version to Austin. Brasstronaut, from Vancouver, may look like a jazz or chamber music ensemble due to the bass, trumpet, and clarinet, but the sextet is actually an orchestral rock group, as evinced by the recent Mount Chimaera. All-girl the Peelies meet all of your garage-band semipunk needs. Doesn't hurt that they're all adorable, either. Threesome Radio Radio broadcasts an energetic and invigorating blend of hip-hop and electronica. Along those same lines comes Bonjay, a Toronto twosome featuring a lady named Alanna on the mic and a dude named Pho spinning beats. Body-movin'. Experimental Brooklyn duo Tanlines specializes in Animal Collective-ish bloops and vox, and Poirier fuses dancehall and rap to whip the dance floor into a fury with the help of reggae singer MC Zulu. – Melanie Haupt

Beijing Uprising

8pm, Speakeasy

Facing a repressive government, rampant industrialization, and newfound national wealth, Chinese youth bring their own cultural revolution. Beijing, in particular, has incubated a Madchester/Madhattan-worthy crop indebted to the likes of Joy Division, Television, and Sonic Youth. PK 14 ("public kingdom for teens") bellows with conviction, lining up behind Mandarin howler Yang Haisong, 34; in 2008 P.K. 14 visited the homeland of Swedish drummer Jonathan Leijonhufvud, 27, to record its fourth album, City Weather Sailing (Chengshi Tianqi de Hangxing). In a bit of artistic incest worthy of the Chelsea Hotel, the bill's multi-instrumental singer, Shou Wang, pulls double duty with the experimental, Laurie Anderson-worthy duo White and strums and sings for the trio Carsick Cars, a celebrated garage band produced by Haisong (and toured Europe with Sonic Youth). Alternating Mandarin and English lyrics, the Cars dropped the rocking You Can Listen You Can Talk (Maybe Mars) last summer. Snapline also shares two Carsick members and offers a more industrial sound that's garnered the attention of PiL/Ministry drummer Martin Atkins. From Wuhan, China, at the intersection of the Yangtze and Han rivers, comes the retro-punk rumble of AV Okubo. – Dan Oko

Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma

8pm, Soho Lounge

Established last year, the Academy of Contemporary Music offers an associate degree to the next generation of music-biz denizens, from producers and sound engineers to managers and performers. This showcase is all about the performers, and most of them are OKC-based masters of DIY – a nice progression from the raw to the cooked. First up is Gum, a green and earnest quintet of plugged-in folk-rockers. Quintet the City Lives takes us into the prime-time hours with its radio-ready light rock. Don't miss the Non, an experimental/instrumental quartet with its ambitious, self-released second LP, Tadaima. Newly signed to UK label Memphis Industries, Colourmusic sees the re-release of its first disc, F, Monday, Orange, February, Venus, Lunatic, 1 or 13, this summer; it's chockablock with big, floppy, psychedelic rock. Despite its members' youth, sextet the Uglysuit delivers surprisingly tender and reflective shoegazing folk. Finally, the extremely polished psych-rockers Stardeath & White Dwarfs close the bill, hot on the heels of their gig opening for the Flaming Lips, a job they're good enough to land even if the head dwarf weren't Wayne Coyne's nephew. – Melanie Haupt

Fucked Up & Friends

8:15pm, Red 7 Patio

Fucked Up sure is a charitable bunch. Toronto's hardcore champs used the Polaris Music Prize monetary award for the band's 2008 opus, The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador), to curate a benefit single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?", and recently pressed a 7-inch tribute series dedicated to independent record stores. Fresh off its bruising two-disc singles compilation, Couple Tracks, Fucked Up gathers a few friends and headlines for this well-deserved victory lap. Canadian collaborator Katie Stelmanis split a 7-inch with Fucked Up in 2008, and her latest single for Loog/Vice, "Believe Me," sounds like the female counterpart to Final Fantasy, classically informed electronic pop with a spunky sense of humor. Long Beach's Crystal Antlers bring the tumbling organ blues from 2009 Touch and Go tombstone Tentacles. Titus Andronicus' latest Shakespearian tragedy, The Monitor (XL), tackles the Civil War with unsettling, blue-collar strife that evinces the band's Jersey roots, followed in short order by veteran post-hardcore combo Rival Schools. In between SXSW stints with Demolished Thoughts – his one-time-only pairing with Thurston Moore and Andrew W.K. – and the classic rock heroics of Sweet Apple, J Mascis flies solo, which seems appropriate given that Dinosaur Jr.'s ultimate comeback LP, last year's Farm (Jagjaguwar), marked the emotive guitarist's most visceral and disarming work in years. – Austin Powell


7pm, Jaime's

San Antonio's upstart Saustex label has redefined the Alamo City's place in Texas music. Take Piñata Protest, for example, the quartet that uses accordion for power punk that sometimes sounds like a Spanish-speaking Pogues. The Summer Wardrobe made a name for itself masking behind Roky Erickson as Evil Hook Wildlife E.T., but the local quartet's psych-pop is powerful stuff on its own. What didn't kill Snowbyrd – the death of their drummer, S.A. visionary Manny Castillo – made its muscle-bound indie rock all the stronger. Neither age nor gray hair can wither or rein in the Hickoids' boozy, testosterone-fueled cowpunk, so give it up and let them lasso your ass away from the bar. The mighty Sons of Hercules sock tons of iron-fisted garage rock right to your gut so hard the only thing you can do to relieve the pressure is dance. – Margaret Moser

Five Dancehall Diasporics

Major Lazer (Sat., Cedar Street Courtyard, 12mid)

Fronting as a cartoon Jamaican commando with prosthetic lasers for arms, international beat ministers Diplo and Switch create a frenetic glitchy modern dancehall album on Guns Don't Kill People – Lazers Do with help from Santigold, Amanda Blank, and top talent from the isle.

Jovi Rockwell (Thu., Scoot Inn, 10:45pm)

She's yet to release a proper album, but sultry Miami-by-way-of-Trenchtown rapper/singer Jovi Rockwell got that lion pride.

Jahdan Blakkamoore (Wed., Speakeasy, 9pm)

A soldier formerly aligned with Boot Camp Clik, the Guyanese-born and Brooklyn-bred sing-jay is a Buzzrock Warrior. – Thomas Fawcett

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