SXSW Friday Picks & Sleepers
Friday blurbs are down from Thursday's, but how are you holding up at this point?
Noisemakers with Peter Rosenberg
9pm, the Belmont Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg is the James Lipton of the rap game, his Noisemakers live interview series going deep inside the rappers' studio. Rosenberg will sit down with Nasir Jones, one of the most gifted MCs to ever pick up a microphone. Nas, whose 1994 debut Illmatic remains on hip-hop's desert island list, will release Life Is Good, his 10th studio LP, later this year. – Thomas Fawcett
TBA, Kiss & Fly Dee-1's syrupy Southern drawl is one of the freshest young voices in hip-hop. The New Orleans native and LSU grad taught middle school in the Crescent City for two years before making beats and rhymes a full-time gig. While Dee-1 walks and talks like a Cash Money Millionaire, his content is cool but conscious: "Every rapper needs to lose they deals and earn 'em back/Most of 'em done let the industry take 'em and turn 'em wack." – Thomas Fawcett
The Black Belles
9:15pm, the Stage on Sixth Patio; Sat., 10pm, Mohawk Patio Given its high-gothic horror-movie fashion sense, the Black Belles would be a natural stand-in for Winona Ryder if a Beetlejuice sequel ever comes to fruition. The Nashville, Tenn., quartet's swirl of tremolo-heavy guitar, overdriven vintage organ tones, tribal percussion, and droll vocal delivery makes its 2011 Jack White-produced debut a real hoot. The Belles' artful rendering of the Knickerbockers' "Lies" is disorienting and catchy all at once.
– Greg Beets
8:30pm, Frank; Thu., 10pm, Beale Street Tavern The Brooklyn-based trio Hospitality gives a renewed sense of sophistication to pop music. Its self-titled debut is layered with soaring harmonies, free-wheeling guitar, and despite her Kansas City, Mo., upbringing, a touch of a British accent from frontwoman Amber Papini. – Abby Johnston
9pm, B.D. Riley's Exemplifying the idea of a "cult" band, the dB's turned out four albums in the Eighties that helped set the template for a power-pop renaissance in that decade as well as part of the Nineties. The dB's had limited commercial appeal despite the efforts of seasoned songcrafters Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, but the years have been kind to the band's reputation. The timing couldn't be better for its first new album in 30 years.
– Adam Schragin
9:15pm, Elephant Room; Thu., 12:30am, St. David's Bethell Hall Kat Edmonson perches at the peak of Austin vocalists, the jazz chanteuse swaying with a sustaining twang that lilts and slides with evocative turns. 2009 debut Take to the Sky highlighted her interpretive skills, and upcoming sophomore LP Way Down Low shines amid pop flourishes and a breathy coyness while playfully jousting with Lyle Lovett on "Long Way Home." – Doug Freeman
9:30pm, Lamberts Singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn's the Mynabirds made a deserved splash with 2010's What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, which proved classic Brill Building songcraft has a place in indie pop. It's a compelling live act, and as Burhenn preps the release of the band's ambitious sophomore record Generals, the Mynabirds bring its song back to South by Southwest for the second time. – Michael Toland
The Big Pink
10pm, Lustre Pearl; Sat., noon, Radio Day Stage, Austin Convention Center A bombastic throwback to the Madchester scene of the early Nineties, the Big Pink helms ecstatic bangers with cocksure swagger, shoegaze guitars, and overblown volume. More of a come-on than an introduction, 2009's A Brief History of Love embodied every aspect of the Brit hype machine with massive singles like "Velvet" and "Dominos." The London duo recently released its highly anticipated follow-up, Future This (4AD). – Austin Powell
10pm, Hype Hotel One of the promising new entries in the indie-folk movement, Caveman paints with pastels, drenching four-part harmonies and hazy guitars in clouds of reverb. Imagine a softer Midlake. Led by former Metropolitan Opera singer Matt Iwanusa, the NYC quintet put out CoCo Beware last year, an effort so fully formed it's being re-released later this month by Fat Possum. – Austin Powell
11pm, Red 7; Thu., 8pm, Kiss & Fly; Thu., 10pm, Hype Hotel Sub Pop is slowly emerging from its guitar-driven comfort zone, having just last year released albums by Washed Out and Shabazz Palaces. Sure, they're two already established artists, so consider Theesatisfaction the label's first homegrown project. An eclectic, Seattle-based alt-rap duo reflecting everyone from Aphex Twin to Erykah Badu, it makes the world a better place prepping an album like Awe Naturale. – Luke Winkie
11:45pm, Chevrolet Sound Garage Behind a throbbing darkwave pummel, Dead Confederate rolled out from the dusk-drenched trenches of Athens, Ga., with a feedback-laced spin on Southern rock. 2008's Wrecking Ball (Razor & Tie) and 2010's Sugar (TAO) both brandished psych-rock with a melodic lyricism, and though the quartet's members have since pursued a number of side projects (including frontman Hardy Morris' supercollaboration, Diamond Rugs), the band returns label-free with a new collection of songs. – Doug Freeman
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
1am, Saxon Pub He can base his outfit in California, plug in his guitar, and rock – really rock – the festival circuit, but when Willie Nelson's son Lukas opens his mouth, that reedy voice makes it hard to forget about dear old dad. Lukas, like his half-sister Paula Nelson, also a musician, is embracing the family DNA, sealing the deal with a bluesy cover of pop's "Peaceful Solution" on his Promise of the Real download, recorded outside of Austin, naturally.
– Dan Oko
Girl in a Coma
1am, Easy Tiger Patio; Wed., 1am, the Studio by HGTV Mighty triumvirates always win: the father, son, and Holy Ghost; The Power Puff Girls; potato, egg, and cheese; and the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María, or as we Texans like to call them, the Nina, the Jenn, and the Phanie Maria, our own personal, sultry guitar saviors. Good things come in threes, yo, and 2011's superfine Exits & All the Rest (Blackheart) is – you guessed it – the San Antonio trio's third. – Kate X Messer
Akina Adderley & The Vintage Playboys
1am, Continental Club The little woman with the big voice, Akina Adderley is the grandniece of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and granddaughter of trumpeter Nat Adderley. With her horn-propelled local octet, Adderley delivers old-school R&B with uncommon panache, separating them from the recent soul revival. The group has just finished recording and is set to deliver its second collection of scream and shout this spring. – Jim Caligiuri
1am, St. David's Bethell Hall With 20-plus active members, Mother Falcon is probably Austin's biggest band. It's also one of the most adventurous, mixing classical instrumentation with a modern aesthetic – a chamber orchestra accessorized with ethereal vocals. Organized by cellist, guitarist, and vocalist Nick Gregg and featuring the voice of Claire Puckett, Mother Falcon's 2011 debut Alhambra was hailed as one of the year's best for its combination of daring and romance. – Jim Caligiuri
B L A C K I E
1:15am, Hotel Vegas Mutant love child of Ol' Dirty Bastard and Black Flag-era Henry Rollins, B L A C K I E will make your ears bleed with a barrage of industrial hip-hop and noise-rock turned up to 11. It's hard to know exactly what to expect from the Houston native, but shocking intensity and deafening volume is a safe bet.
– Thomas Fawcett