SXSW groupings: Metal, Austin jazz, Polish acts, plus everything else
Sports as Bands
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (Wed., 9pm, the Phoenix)
This Detroit duo packs the horsepower of a Postal Service soapbox derby.
James Blake (Wed., 9:15pm, Stubb's)
This isn't the tennis player, rather the moody Brit singer-songwriter who trills with the melodrama of a five-setter. (Also: Thu., 1am, Central Presbyterian Church)
The Baseball Project (Wed., 12mid, Nuvola)
Peter Buck, Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, and Linda Pitmon go eight strong before bringing in a guest (Ben Gibbard, Ira Kaplan, Craig Finn, etc.) to close out the ninth. Can I be in your fantasy league?
Basketball (Sat., 12mid, Soho Lounge)
A mélange of DJ electronica and Persian rhythms (from Vancouver, actually), which makes sense as the Middle East has the worst basketball playing nations on the planet. – Michael Bertin
None More Black or Black Is the New Black: 20-Something Bands With an Aversion to Light
B L A C K I E ... All Caps, With Spaces (Wed., 9pm, Barcelona)
You mean to tell me someone wrote a psychopharmacological noise rap called "Lou Dobbs on My Knob" and didn't get nominated for a Grammy?
The Black Atlantic (Wed., 10pm, Esther's Follies)
At times the Dutch dead ringer for Bon Iver, if a little more layered in spots.
Black Cherry (Wed., 10pm, Prague)
This electro duo is way more MacBooky than a deathy "black" band.
The Pretty Black Chains (Wed., 10pm, Friends)
Led Zeppelin II will never stop spawning riffage. Never.
Nicole Atkins & the Black Sea (Wed., 11pm, Antone's)
Filter out the boring moments from a couple Maria McKee albums.
Cruel Black Dove (Wed., 11pm, Prague)
The Black Box Revelation (Wed., 12mid, Valhalla)
Belgian Flat Duo Jets. Or Belgian Les Aus.
Small Black (Wed., 12mid, Red 7)
Part Lush. Part Siouxsie Sioux. Both with a Factory's appreciation for chaotic noise.
Black Cards (Wed., 1am, Maggie Mae's Rooftop)
Fall Out Boy Pete Wentz's next project probably isn't what you were expecting. Unless you were expecting to go clubbing.
Blackbird Blackbird (Thu., 10:45pm, Karma Lounge)
Converting the Ruby Suns to 1's and 0's at the expense of the fun.
The Black Lips (Thu., 11pm, Club de Ville)
Psychedelic punks make "derivative" not seem so pejorative. More people should smoke whatever they're holding. (Also: Fri., 11pm, Lustre Pearl)
Black Milk (Thu., 11:15pm, Scoot Inn)
A) Hip-hop sounds so much cooler with an actual band behind it. B) Drummer Daru Jones might be a better reason to watch than the guy he's backing. (Also: Sat., 9:20pm, Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards)
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears (Fri., 8:05pm, ACL Live at the Moody Theater)
ATX's BJL fronts the best garage band that didn't come out of Stax.
Blacklisted Individuals (Fri., 9pm, the Marq)
This solves the mystery of what happened to the Roland drum machine used on the first Run-DMC disc. The rest is them working out whether they want to sound more like Eminem or OutKast.
The Black Cloud Collective (Fri., 9:10pm, Maggie Mae's)
Minor chords and odd time signatures in your cup o' rawk.
The Black Angels (Fri., 12mid, Cedar Street Courtyard)
Is the locals' logo an homage to the Velvet Underground or a rip-off of the Brian Jonestown Massacre? Answer: Yes. Same goes for the music.
Black Top Demon (Sat., 7pm, B.D. Riley's)
Mooney Suzuki sans schtick.
The Black (Sat., 9pm, TenOak)
Americana with as much Sterling Morrison as Scotty Moore.
Black Gandhi (Sat., 10pm, Flamingo Cantina)
Something about that name seems like it ought to be racist, no? Reggae.
Ice Black Birds (Sat., 12:30am, Black & Tan)
Blues in the sense that Jon Spencer was blues. The Brit fourpiece also has the rhythm to go with it.
Black Heart Procession (Sat., 1am, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room)
Former Three Mile Pilots Pall Jenkins and Tobias Nathaniel give in to the dark side, musically anyway. – Michael Bertin
Gary Clark Jr. (Wed., 12mid, Ghost Room)
Austin's hottest young blues guitar slinger just signed with Warner Bros. after grandstanding at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival last year. (Also: Thu., 10:30pm, Habana Bar Backyard)
Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King (Wed., 10pm, Speakeasy)
Guitar Shorty (Wed., 11pm, Speakeasy)
The Alligator Records showcase is heavy on the Texas blues front. From Dallas, Kubek & King, a twin guitar tandem, churn out raucous roadhouse blues, while Guitar Shorty is said to have influenced a young Jimi Hendrix with his searing licks and soulful voice.
Bobby Rush (Sat., 10pm, 18th Floor at Hilton Garden Inn)
Homemade Jamz Blues Band (Sat., 1am, 18th Floor at Hilton Garden Inn)
Two generations from the True South Mississippi showcase. Bobby Rush, the so-called King of the Chitlin' Circuit, is a veteran road warrior, consummate showman, and bluesman to the core. Tupelo's Homemade Jamz is an award-winning, adolescent family band taking the blues into the future. – Jay Trachtenberg
Living in the Past
We Are Defiance (Wed., 9:15pm, Emo's Annex)
At their hardest, they're almost Fucked Up.
We Are Hex (Wed., 12mid, Elysium)
Gotta love a band whose main pic on its website looks like the members were extras from the photo shoot of the Dwarves' Blood Guts & Pussy. Not quite that hardcore. (Also: Fri., 1am, Habana Bar)
We Are Animal (Fri., 9pm, 512 Rooftop)
Is Britt Daniel all the rage in Wales?
We Are Enfant Terrible (Fri., 10pm, Swan Dive)
8-bits. Less bite.
We Were the States (Sat., 10:20pm, Headhunters)
If they showed up instead of the Riverboat Gamblers, it might be three songs until anybody noticed. – Michael Bertin
Shit Horse (Wed., 8pm, Habana Bar)
Fronted by the punk twin of Andre Williams, with an inspired debut EP title in They Shit Horses, Don't They?.
Shit & Shine (Wed., 1am, Habana Bar)
The musical equivalent of being chased with a chain saw. Brutal, but in the best possible way.
Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger! (Fri., 11pm, B.D. Riley's)
Name: A. Music: Eh. Italian answer to Radio 4.
Shit Robot (Sat., 12mid, La Zona Rosa)
Apparently Will Robinson didn't heed the warning. More daft than punk. – Michael Bertin
Austin Metal Triumvirate
Eagle Claw (Wed., 9pm, the Ale House)
Instrumental thrashers crest higher with every performance. Full-length indie debut last year, Poacher, left the two-axe quartet's "Elephant" prints.
Iron Age (Fri., 1am, Headhunters)
Singer Jason Tarpey's Cyclopean Records (see Austin sludgers the Roller) just posted new demos, a first following the galloping quintet's 2009 Tee Pee bow, The Sleeping Eye.
Tia Carrera (Wed., 12mid, Easy Tiger Patio)
Even at 33 minutes, "Saturn Missile Battery," from this improvisational psych-metal trio's fourth LP and second for Small Stone Reocrdings, Cosmic Priestess, still comes up short. The veteran locals – Erik Conn, Jason Morales, and Jamey Simms – thrive on deeper space still. – Raoul Hernandez
1001 Nights Orchestra (Wed., 8pm, Copa)
Austin's exciting Middle Eastern ensemble, headed by Iranian-born oud player Kamran Hooshmand.
Locos Por Juana (Thu., 11pm, Momo's)
Based in Miami, this bilingual band fuses the various Latin styles of Colombia with a heavy Caribbean influence. (Also: Fri., 11pm, Prague)
Grimy Styles (Thu., 11pm, St. David's Bethell Hall)
This Austin contingent employs a technique inspired by Jamaican dub masters like King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry.
Lamin Fofana (Fri., 8pm, Flamingo Cantina)
Chief Boima (Fri., 9pm, Flamingo Cantina)
Sierra Leonians embrace global DJ culture in fusing electronic beats to indigenous sounds. (Also: Chief Boima on Sat., 12mid, Habana Bar)
Toubab Krewe (Fri., 12mid, Copa)
This all-instrumental band from Asheville, N.C., incorporates the guitar stylings of West Africa, particularly Mali, with a freewheeling jam band sensibility. (Also: Sat., 7:30pm, Habana Bar Backyard)
Givers (Fri., 12mid, Momo's)
The most pop-oriented band of the lot, this Lafayette, La., crew favors sunny, infectious Afrobeat. (Also: Sat., 11pm, Emo's Jr.) – Jay Trachtenberg
4th Pyramid (Wed., 8pm, Scoot Inn)
Toronto MC/DJ multitasker's much-anticipated The Pyramid Scheme drops now.
Cadence Weapon (Sat., 1am, Malaia)
Nerd rapper backs it up as Edmonton's poet laureate.
Buck 65 (Fri., 11pm, Paradise)
Traditionally alternative MC from Nova Scotia just celebrated 20 Odd Years of fitting in with Strange Famous and Anticon.
Sweatshop Union (Fri., 11:30pm, TenOak)
Smooth-talking sextet is the Great North's Jurassic 5.
Shad (Fri., 12mid, Paradise)
Soulful, verbose, and not lacking for one-liners, this Toronto baller's in short company at the top.
Keys N Krates (Fri., 1am, Paradise)
Toronto-based live band/DJs haven't met a remix they couldn't remix. – Chase Hoffberger
Globespinnin': A Worldwide Tour of DJs
Peanut Butter Wolf (Wed., 1am, Kiss & Fly)
Stones Throw founder's DJ game still embodies the label's classic sound.
Black Cherry (Wed., 10pm, Prague)
English dance pop served via singer Megane Quashie's overstated theatrics.
Boys Noize (Thu., 12mid, Elysium)
Quintessential German house.
Adrian Lux (Thu., 8pm, the Phoenix)
Swedish pop DJ makes songs Lily Allen would jump on.
Chief Boima (Fri., 11pm, Flamingo Cantina)
Sierra Leone's Dutty Artz staple gives its famed New York Tropical parties a run through the jungle.
Nid & Sancy (Sat., 8:25pm, the Parish Underground)
Belgian, high-octane, and relentless, almost as crazy as their namesakes.
Bonjay (Sat., 11pm, Soho Lounge)
Revving the low-end theory, it's Canada's seductive equal to J*Davey. – Chase Hoffberger
Altaar (Sat., 7pm, Valhalla)
At Oslo, Norway's icy intersection of hardcore and noise stand Andreas Tylden and Sten Ove Toft, whose new all-star assemblage divines deceptive doom and gloom on Okkult de Sac.
Eyehategod (Sat., 12mid, Scoot Inn)
Mike Williams' molten sludge barons performing the twentysomething NOLA institution's first two LPs – In the Name of Suffering (1992) and Take as Needed for Pain ('93) – last May at Emo's revived EHG.
Kylesa (Fri., 9:40pm, Dirty Dog Bar)
At Fun Fun Fun Fest last fall, these Savannah, Ga., marauders put their double drums to the career-high jams of the quintet's Season of Mist debut, Spiral Shadow, whose Laura Pleasants cuts as metal's ultimate Fender-wielding frontwoman.
Liturgy (Fri., 9pm, Emo's Jr.)
On a bitter cold Saturday during SXSW 2010, Brooklyn black metal quartet Liturgy proved its Scandinavian huevos outdoors at a Red 7 day party with the tearing prog grog of 2009 debut Renihilation, and its follow-up is due this spring.
Naam (Sat., 11pm, Scoot Inn)
Before doom came drone, the heavy-meddle psych of which this Brooklyn trio's eponymous 2009 Tee Pee debut turned from 1960s psychedelia into alchemical space-warp.
Pentagram (Sat., 1am, Scoot Inn)
New parent Bobby Liebling, 57, prepares a new disc, Last Rites, in time for Pentagram's 40th anniversary. Guitarist Victor Griffin's 2010 return to the Virginia quartet proved as Relentless as the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones.
Red Fang (Fri., 8:10pm, Dirty Dog Bar)
Big Business' mammoth roots rock here moves Murder the Mountains, this Portland, Ore., quartet's April Relapse Records debut, a post-classic unleashing of 1970s metal, hardcore echo, and stoney vox.
Whitechapel (Fri., 12:50am, Emo's Annex)
Five years old with three releases – two on Metal Blade – Knoxville, Tenn., sextet Whitechapel delivers tech-tinged death metal one cyborg mosh at a time. Last year's A New Era of Corruption – corrosive.
Yob (Thu., 1am, Barbarella Patio)
"Yob might be one of the best bands in North America," wrote Ben Ratliff in The New York Times last March, but tour economics mostly keep the veteran Eugene, Ore., doom trio at home with the kids. Fifth LP The Great Cessation tolled low 'n' long in '09.
Zoroaster (Thu., 1am, Valhalla)
Under-heralded, last summer's Matador (eOne) dove deep canyons of peyote doom as only Southern metallers dare. The Atlanta trio's third LP tore sludgy psychosis a new third eye. – Raoul Hernandez
To the Clouds!
Cloud Nothings (Thu., 12:05am, 512 Rooftop)
Between raffish indie jangle and a braid-fellating music video, these young Clevelanders distill the sugary wooze of nerd love.
Cloud Control (Sat., 9pm, Maggie Mae's Rooftop)
This affable Australian collective commingles psych-tinged indie pop with tribal folk harmonies to create a sound that soars.
Future Clouds & Radar (Fri., 9pm, Easy Tiger)
Ex-Cotton Mather principal Robert Harrison leads this local ensemble through a sprawling array of perfect pop starbursts.
Cloudland Canyon (Fri., 11pm, Emo's Jr.)
Cacophonous, psychotronic saturation that resembles the Jesus & Mary Chain heard through a heady wall of radio interference.
– Greg Beets
Pamela Hart (Fri., 9pm, Elephant Room)
Soulful Austin songstress with a penchant for the Great American Songbook.
Kat Edmonson (Fri., 11pm, Elephant Room)
Edmonson's uncanny vocal resemblance to Blossom Dearie suited her well while on tour with Lyle Lovett.
Jeff Lofton (Fri., 12mid, Elephant Room)
Trumpeter Lofton hews closely to Miles, both post-bop and electric.
Elias Haslanger (Sat., 11:15pm, Elephant Room)
Restlessly adventurous local mainstay and saxophonist is a fierce improviser.
Graham Reynolds & the Golden Arm Trio (Sat., 12:30am, Elephant Room)
Iconoclastic pianist/composer provides a fresh perspective on some familiar and obscure Duke Ellington gems. – Jay Trachtenberg
Polska: Do They Make Polish Film Posters for Their Musical Acts Too?
Pustki (Fri., 8pm, Malaia)
Warsaw's "the Empties" have filled five albums' worth in two decades, with their 2008 disc Koniec Kryzysu nominated for a Polish Grammy, the Fryderyk Award. Vocalist Barbara Wrońksa likes her Stereolab.
L.Stadt (Fri., 12mid, the Parish Underground)
Big Euro rock in the mold of Damon Albarn's Blur shook its second LP in January. Warns the Lodz quartet, "Don't turn your back on America."
Kyst (Sat., 9:20pm, the Hideout)
Norwegians living in Sopot, Kyst smacks of the Northeastern pointillism endemic to 1990s Thrill Jockey acts, with a Touch and Go Records post-rock clatter. The quartet, often just Tobiasz Bilinski and Adam Byczkowski live, works its second CD, Hymns.
Bajzel (Sat., 9:20pm, Parish Underground)
According to the Polish edition of Newsweek, Bajzel (pronounced "bi-zel") "is our Beck. Only better." The Poznan-based one-man looper and multi-instrumentalist sounds it too, in English as well as his native tongue.
Indigo Tree (Sat. 11:10pm, the Parish Underground)
Wroclaw duo Peve Lety (guitar) and Filip Zawada (formerly of Pustki) wrote 2009 bow Lullabies of Love and Death as film music, soundtracking a Band of Horses harmonic jangle.
Kamp! (Fri., 12mid, Malaia)
Lodz programmers traffic in the New Synth Order of 1980s UK romanticism. "We are the Kampians!" – Raoul Hernandez