SXSW Saturday Picks & Sleepers

Last night of SX handicapping

All showcases subject to change


Agnes Obel

7:30pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary Copenhagen-born, Berlin-based Agnes Obel could conceivably be situated on a moody female singer-songwriter continuum alongside Feist and Cat Power. However, Obel's 2010 debut, Philharmonics (PIAS), is possessed of a delicacy and subtlety that is sometimes lost on American folks. – Melanie Haupt


8pm, Saxon Pub Among the best of the new breed of Austin singer-songwriters, BettySoo has delighted audiences nationwide; people don't expect such a colossal voice from the pint-sized Texas-born Korean charmer. Her Gurf Morlix-produced 2009 release, Heat Sin Water Skin, was among the year's best. Soo and Canadian Dobro whiz Doug Cox just finished a disc of covers under the name Across the Borderline. – Jim Caligiuri

An Horse

8pm, Maggie Mae's Rooftop No surprise that Brisbane, Australia, duo An Horse caught a break through the initial support of Tegan & Sara, with both acts unloading emotionally ripped pop. LP debut, 2009's Rearrange Beds (Mom + Pop Music), surfaced touches of Matt & Kim and Mates of State in the surges of urgency behind Kate Cooper's guitar and Damon Cox's drums. This spring's sophomore effort, Walls, matures in both sound and thematic complexity. – Doug Freeman


8pm, La Zona Rosa Given a key to supa-starr-dom after laying down tracks alongside Diplo and M.I.A., Baltimore DJ Blaqstarr quickly outgrew his city's signature club roots, bringing in 2011 by releasing the Divine EP, a futuristic journey through sex, designer drugs, and the parties that house both. (Also: Thu., 3pm, Dot Com Day Stage, Austin Convention Center) – Chase Hoffberger

Roc Marciano

9pm, Fuze Part of the Flipmode Squad in a past life, Roc Marciano turned back the clocks last summer when he dropped Marcberg, a portrait of New York City not painted since Capone N Noreaga and Mobb Deep ran things in Queensbridge. It's guttural, biting, and made for the subway – a "Thug's Prayer" in the truest sense. – Chase Hoffberger

Bad Sports

9:30pm, Easy Tiger Bad Sports were the brats under the bleachers, smoking schwag and scoping a peek up the girls' skirts as they crushed cans to "Teenage Lobotomy." The Denton's trio's brand of cataclysmic pop-punk branded Matador Records' Casual Victim Pile comp last year, climaxing in an eponymous Douchemaster debut of three chords and a cloud of dust. – Doug Freeman

Dred Skott

10:45pm, Red 7 Patio Making up one-third of ATX supergroup the League of Extraordinary Gz, Round Rock duo Dred Skott serves up Southern-fried heat at the hands of do-it-all wiz Reggie Coby, a vocal hybrid of Devin the Dude and Anthony Hamilton. His sparring partner, Esbe Da Bully, flexes lyrical strength akin to M.O.P's Billy Danze. They'll either clown ya or clock ya. – Chase Hoffberger


10pm, Beauty Bar/Palm Door An offshoot of Austin's Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma, Latin funkateers Brownout power up with dual guitars and Woodstock percussion. A mostly instrumental sound influenced by the J.B.'s and San Francisco's Malo, the octet brings South Texas roots to a party that can also get zestfully psychedelic. A follow-up to their well-received 2009 effort, Aguilas & Cobras, drops this summer. – Jim Caligiuri


11:20pm, Red 7 Patio In relative obscurity throughout Austin even after 2008's golden age throwback The Sounds in My Head Part I, KYDD turned domes late last year with the jazzmatazzed "Jungle," an ATX ode reminiscent of Phranchyze's "Love Me Back." Only 19, the verbose, gifted rapper is poised for a breakout 2011; his The Sounds in My Head Part II drops April 20. – Chase Hoffberger

Jon Dee Graham

10:15pm, Continental Club A ferocious guitarist and painfully honest songwriter, Jon Dee Graham delves into his quieter side Sunday nights upstairs at the Continental Gallery. There he shares the stage with fellow songwriter friends to captivate and complain. Last year's raw It's Not as Bad as It Looks on local indie Freedom Records topped local Top 10 lists. His latest project, the Hobart Brothers featuring Lil' Sis Hobart, with Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill, will also be making its debut this weekend. – Jim Caligiuri

Adebisi Shank

10:30pm, Emo's Annex Irish mathletes of the Nerd Rock Olympics go for the gold in creating instrumental soundtracks for your next life's video games. Bleep! Bloop! Tweedle! Any song titled "Micromachines" damn well better be cram-packed with morenotespersecond, and make the taut jaw of John Moschitta go slack from sheer exhaustion. Speaking of jaws: J. Robbins produced the Shank's debut. Hynnugh! – Kate X Messer

Extra Action Marching Band

11pm, Mellow Johnny's Founded by Crash Worship's Simon Cheffins, Oakland's Extra Action Marching Band delivers a full-on jolt to the senses. One minute you're quietly sipping Chardonnay at the bar, then you're ducking to avoid getting smacked in the forehead by a tuba while punk rock pom-pom girls undulate to second-line-friendly arrangements of Beyoncé and Black Sabbath. No band nerds here. – Greg Beets

Eliza Gilkyson

11pm, Victorian Room at the Driskill When she's not performing with a dynamic new folk trio dubbed Red Horse, which also includes John Gorka and Lucy Kaplansky, Eliza Gilkyson is one of Austin's prime voices of progressive thought and action. In the past decade, she's produced a series of discs, each better than the last, dealing with hope and freedom in poetic and revelatory ways. – Jim Caligiuri

Ty Segall

12mid, Mohawk Patio Ty Segall's throat-shredding garage rock primitivism picks up where the late Jay Reatard left off. The spry San Franciscan combines buzz-saw guitars, unrelenting drums, and perfectly insouciant hardcore vocals to epitomize the rage of mutant longing that fuels rock's transformative potential. Glam-pop chopper "Girlfriend" from 2010's Melted features a deadly one-note piano solo that'll take your brain hostage. – Greg Beets

Invincible + Waajeed

12mid, Karma Lounge A whip-smart female MC with a flow of her own, Invincible is an unlikely champion of the Motor City scene. With last year's "Detroit Summer" 7-inch, the Shapeshifter, along with producer Waajeed, released a banger that simultaneously questioned the city's resolve and had the people throwing their hands up. – Chase Hoffberger

The Ugly Beats

12mid, Easy Tiger Patio Garage rock revivalists, start your engines. Austin go-go archeologists the Ugly Beats continued their winning run with last year's Motor! Souped-up songs like "Things I Need To Know" and "Bee Line" boast extra-chewy pop chops that transcend eras. The only thing missing from the quintet's spot-on Spirit of '65 incantation is the telltale scent of Aqua Net. – Greg Beets

The Trishas

12mid, Momo's When Jamie Wilson, Liz Foster, Kelley Mickwee, and Savannah Welch sing, people take notice. It's not only the blending of their voices that makes the Austin quartet stand out. Like most great talents, the Trishas combine a wide range of sounds – gospel, bluegrass, soul, and country – into something greater than their individual parts. – Jim Caligiuri


12mid, Lamberts Balmorhea weaves dramatic narratives within the pull of their intricate instrumental compositions, pulsing with emotive and imagistic power in the interplay of Michael Muller and Rob Lowe's minimalist piano-and-strings constructs. Following the success of 2009's All Is Wild, All Is Silent (Western Vinyl), the Austin ensemble cut a more ambient tone with last year's fourth LP, Constellations. – Doug Freeman

Uncle Lucius

12mid, Saxon Pub One of the leading proponents of Austin's burgeoning new Southern rock scene, Uncle Lucius wood-chips roots music with gritty R&B in a distinctively exhilarating way. Over the past two years, the foursome released its inspired debut, Pick Your Head Up, and has been on a seemingly unending road trip. – Jim Caligiuri

The Clutters

12:10am, Headhunters Now a decade old, Nashville garage rock maestros the Clutters made fans out of Cameron Crowe and NPR with their first two Farfisa-fueled LPs. Rowdy, nasal broadsides like "9999 (Ways To Hate Us)" are a natural tonic for outsiders looking in. The quartet's third album, Breaking Bones, is due in May on Austin-based Chicken Ranch Records. – Greg Beets

The Woggles

12:30am, Mohawk Together since 1987, the Woggles earned preferred parking in Little Steven's Underground Garage by bringing punk abandon, B-movie humor, and sweet soul showmanship into the equation. The Georgia quartet's newest 7-inch, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me," rides an unbridled organ chug and snare-snapping backbeat toward two-minute immortality. As good as their albums are, the Woggles' live show is the reason you're here. – Greg Beets

Graham Reynolds & the Golden Arm Trio

12:30am, Elephant Room Ambition, thy name is Graham Reynolds. Two new discs, the triple concerto of The Difference Engine and a chopped-and-screwed Duke! Ellington tribute, crown the local composer's prolific career so far, one that includes an upcoming Richard Linklater/Jack Black collab, as well as his score to A Scanner Darkly. A recent invite to NYC's Jazz at Lincoln Center was well-deserved. – Raoul Hernandez

Great Lake Swimmers

12:30am, Central Presbyterian Church Rarely do bands evolve so significantly in sound over the course of a decade the way Great Lake Swimmers have. Where the Toronto quintet's eponymous 2003 debut, recorded in an abandoned grain silo, was haunted and deeply affecting, 2009's Lost Channels (Nettwerk) saw Tony Dekker and company take a turn toward a Neil Young-like ethos. – Melanie Haupt

Deer Tick

1am, Lustre Pearl John McCauley III's gritty voice sounds as if he's clawing his way out from the rock bottom of a dry emotional well, half-mad and with fingernails bleeding. Yet Deer Tick's rawness remains one of the Providence, R.I., quintet's most enduring assets, with last year's third album, The Black Dirt Sessions, baring their folk-rock sound down to its ragged, savage bones. – Doug Freeman

Quintron & Miss Pussycat

1am, Mohawk Patio Direct from the Spellcaster Lodge in New Orleans' Ninth Ward, Quintron & Miss Pussycat's handcrafted electric dance party and puppet show exudes the same highly imaginative underpinnings that made Pee-wee Herman such a joy to watch. Moreover, Quintron squeezes genuine soul out of slapdash inventions like the Drum Buddy. Next to that, PowerBook pop doesn't stand a chance. – Greg Beets


1am, Soho Lounge A rightful ambassador to the suitably strange Ninja Tune Records, Poirier's most recent effort, 2010's Running High, flaunted the Montreal native's recent propensity for soca and dancehall beats. He'll shake down any party on the solo tip, but bodies bounce even harder with longtime collaborators Boogat or Face-T on the mic. – Chase Hoffberger

Jean Grae

1am, Karma Lounge Give me Cake or Death already! NYC rap goddess Jean Grae's next album is slowly becoming the Chinese Democracy of hip-hop, so seeing her live will have to hold you over. If you're not following her on Twitter, you should, because she's quite funny, but if you've ever seen her do the "Stick Up Dance," you already know this. – Audra Schroeder


1:05am, Headhunters Now that the original Fantastic Four have buckled, only these real-life comic punk superheroes remain intact – Peelanders Red, Yellow, Green, and Pink. Japanese New Yorkers, the PZ prop-pop monkeys found their calling on last year's children's CD, P-TV-Z, for Austin indie Chicken Ranch Records. "Ice Cream!" and "No More Cavities" were seemingly at odds, but "Taco Taco Tacos" forgave all. – Raoul Hernandez

Vockah Redu

1:30am, Kiss & Fly In the inherently queer subgenre of New Orleans sissy bounce (excuse me, sissies doing bounce), Vockah Redu stands out as particularly odd. If Katey Red is the pioneer and Big Freedia the flamboyant star, Vockah Redu represents the avant-garde. Rest assured there will still be azz everywhere, it'll just feel like the party is on another planet. – Thomas Fawcett



7pm, Headhunters Butts are silly and a little gross. Proving the point, their latest cassette is called Number Two. For sheer sucker-punch immediacy, though, it's hard to knock a 21-second anthem to running out of toilet paper ("Wiggle Drip"). The Seattle duo's rudimentary guitar-and-drums art-punk sounds like Barnes & Barnes on a blind date with Heavens to Betsy. – Greg Beets

The Autumn Defense

8pm, Momo's Spearheaded by Wilco's Pat Sansone and John Stirratt, the Autumn Defense harkens back to the days when AM radio ruled. Combining West Coast pop sensibilities and lush textures, the Chicago-based duo uses gentle harmonies and ace multi-instrumental abilities to produce a sound that's monumentally golden. As expected, their latest release, 2010's Once Around, is packed with juicy melodies and glowing musicianship. – Jim Caligiuri

The Megaphonic Thrift

8pm, Speakeasy Let's see if we can get through this entire blurb without uttering the words "sonic" or "youth." To be fair, the first band that came to mind was Flying Nun legends the 3Ds, and ladies and gentlemen, that namecheck is no chopped liver. These cacopho-kids from Norway aren't so much derivative as worthy standard bearers in the noise re-revolution. – Kate X Messer

Maggie Bjorklund

8:25pm, Red Eyed Fly Long a session player for folks like Mark Pickerel, Steve Fisk, and Exene Cervenka and known in Europe as a member of the Darleens, Bjorklund is a steel guitar player and composer. Her first album, Coming Home (Bloodshot), comes out this spring and features such contributors as Calexico and Jon Auer. Western psychedelic pop cred! – Melanie Haupt

Family of the Year

9pm, Emo's Jr. Named for the book about the Mansons, this L.A. quartet assures they're nothing like the spawn of Spahn Ranch. Their Wally Gagel-produced Songbook, out in April, showcases their Imperial Teen meets the Mamas & the Papas left-coast vibe. Recent tours with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Gomez, and Ben Folds put their complex take on simple pop into perspective. – Kate X Messer

Golden Bear

9pm, the Marq Austin's Golden Bear burst forth with a gloriously epic and fantastical barrage of guitar-driven pop, a self-branded "Galactic Forest Rock" coursing anthemic behind the raw enthusiasm and warmly tempered vocals of frontman Chris Gregory. Their first new offering since 2007's To the Farthest Star (C-Side) is Alive, due later this year. – Doug Freeman

The Cambodian Space Project

9pm, Habana Bar Dengue Fever's Chhom Nimol isn't the only Cambodian leading a revival of Mekong Delta garage bop. Srey Thy's tart Khmer vocals power this Australian ninepiece's nervy bash and pop, needling Nuggets riffs riding the cymbal bash of CSP's psychedelic rent party. Maxi-single "I'm Unsatisfied" on Metal Postcard is its own documentary. – Raoul Hernandez


10pm, Lamberts The stunningly torched-and-tempered vocals of Sara Lucas rightfully garner the share of Callers' attention as she slides through jazzy blues that evoke Karen Dalton and Patti Smith, but the Brooklyn trio's mesmerizing sound is equally indebted to the virtuosity of musical brain Ryan Seaton, who never lets sophomore LP Life of Love (Western Vinyl) settle into expectations. – Doug Freeman

In-Flight Safety

10pm, Paradise They're huge in Canada, popular well beyond their Nova Scotian roots, and have an enviable career with tons of licensing and humongous tours. Then they cross the border south, where they've maybe played 10 times ever. Bewildering. They're fantastic. Elastic rhythms with heartbeat percussion and guitar hooks that won't quit. – Margaret Moser

La Santa Cecilia

10pm, Copa The patron saint of arts and music, St. Cecilia blesses this L.A. sextet with the lead hip sway of Marisol, whose loud, clear, multilingual entreaties run through cumbia, bossa nova, and tango all on four songs of the group's recent EP, Noche y Citas. U.S. alterna-roots. – Raoul Hernandez

The Casualty Process

10pm, Malaia These notes from the Persian underground are sick, man. Frontman/founder Natch's heaving, distorted snatches of grimly dance-ready electro are coupled to singer Cis' ethereal femme whispers, making for a sound squall that's ripped from the Next Big Thing section of Al Jazeera. Revolutionary. – Marc Savlov


10pm, Malaia Upstairs Portishead beatmaker Geoff Barrow outsourced his new band, Beak>, to German singer Anika, and it's a perfectly blunted match. The idea behind last year's self-titled Stones Throw debut: screw and chop classics (the Kinks' "I Go To Sleep," Bob Dylan's "Masters of War"), throw in some deep dub, funk, and reverb. Rinse, repeat. This is just a DJ set, but girl's no doubt got some deep cuts for Saturday night. – Audra Schroeder

The Krayolas

11pm, TenOak Formed in 1975 by San Antonio brothers Hector and David Saldana, the Krayolas were initially dubbed the "Tex-Mex Beatles" based on the pop-smarts of early single "All I Do Is Try." Since then, their scope has expanded to incorporate Tejano, folk, blues, and anything else Sir Doug Sahm might've blared on the car radio while cruising through the West Side. – Greg Beets


12:10am, Red 7 Patio A favorite cousin of hip-hoppers in the ATX, San Antonio duo MoJoe has rocked the cradle of soulful Texas hip-hop since the departure of longtime collaborators Bavu Blakes and D-Madness. MCs Tre and Easy Lee dropped a gem last year with Dirty Genes, a stick-to-your-seat hot exhibition in merging hip-hop with R&B. – Chase Hoffberger


12mid, Lustre Pearl Since the 2009 release of its critically lauded debut, North Hills, Dawes has grown its fan base with an unremitting road schedule. Drawing from the Laurel Canyon sound of the late 1960s/1970s, the band layers mellow harmonies with gentle roots-rock that's infectious. The L.A. quartet of twentysomethings is currently preparing another disc, which should see the summer light. – Jim Caligiuri

Those Dancing Days

12mid, Latitude 30 Five girls from Stockholm, barely out of school, make up Those Dancing Days, a self-designated outfit of "professional party people." The music corroborates: The ladies' sophomore release, Daydreams and Nightmares (V2 Music Scandinavia), has all the coltish energy of their 2008 debut, In Our Space Hero Suits, but also reveals an artistic maturity that channels the best of Bow Wow Wow. – Melanie Haupt

Rich Aucoin

12mid, Paradise Part Daft Punk-inflected Dan Deacon, part DIY-driven Flaming Lips as filtered through Girl Talk, Canada's Rich Aucoin is a force of beat-blasted rave-ups and synth-stricken jams. While last year's Public Publication EP hints at the function, Aucoin's real appeal rises in the form of his live shows which invariably explode into crowd-surfed extravaganzas. – Doug Freeman

Frank Smith

1am, the Marq Since relocating to Austin from the Northeast several years ago, Frank Smith has cultivated its adopted Texas roots, striking a balance between classic college rock explosiveness and dire country ballads that can kick just as aggressively. On recently released eighth album, Nineteen, the band breaks both ways behind the intensity of Aaron Sinclair's weary and uneasy drawling growl. – Doug Freeman

Ruby Jane

1am, Victorian Room at the Driskill She's only 16, but Ruby Jane has already packed more into her career than most artists twice her age. The string of awards and recognitions garnered by the local fiddler is impressive, though more telling are the legends inviting her onstage – including Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel. – Doug Freeman

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