The Austin Chronicle

Tuesday's Gone

First night SXSW showcasers suspend time

By Raoul Hernandez, March 8, 2013, Music

Opening bell just sounded, and you're off, scouring media madly for insight into an estimated 2,030 acts showcasing South by Southwest 2013. Who's playing where, and why do we care? Truth is, as maxed out as this publication will become over the next week, we'll only touch upon a quarter of the total talent showing off its wares, meaning this first sampler hopes to plunge you deeper into the schedule. Chilean clusters, Aussie literary circles, Austinites slanging French, and a Korean pop invasion? Like Nick Cave once said: Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! Tuesday soon gives way to four jam-packed days of musical mayhem, but counter to Lynyrd Skynyrd, it's not here and gone just yet.

Charli XCX

8pm, Belmont; Wed., 1am, Club de Ville

In the year since her gothic SXSW performance in Central Presbyterian Church, noire popstress Charli XCX dropped her first original mixtape and announced a Warner Bros. debut set for April. The 20-year old English singer offers Eighties Madonna sex appeal with floor-shaking bass and apocalyptic lyrics. – Abby Johnston

Henry Wagons

8:20pm, 18th Floor at the Hilton Garden Inn; Thu., 10pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary

Recently named one of Melbourne, Australia's 100 Most Influential People, Henry Wagons has his sights on bigger things. After releasing five country rock albums with his band Wagons, Henry takes the solo international route with his Expecting Company? EP. Six duets with the Kills' Alison Mosshart, Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens, and others, it's a fuzzy, cinematic visit to Las Vegas and the American West. – Jim Caligiuri

Erin Ivey

9pm, Parish Underground

Austin's urban folk songstress leaves behind regular trio the Finest Kind for her showcase set, but she shines just as bright solo. Broken Gold (2011) broke Top 10 lists of nearly all local outlets for Ivey's sepia-washed jazz pipes. Watch for cuts from forthcoming Dreamy Weather, which was recorded at the Cactus Cafe. – Abby Johnston


9pm, White Horse

Sure there are plenty of other country bands in Austin, but Crooks stands out with a sound that can be weary, reckless, and undeniably uplifting. Led by vocalist Josh Mazour and multi-instrumentalist Sam Alberts, their 2012 debut The Rain Will Come earned nationwide recognition, including praise from CMT, for both its pointed honesty and diversity of sounds, all accomplished while keeping things unapologetically country. – Jim Caligiuri

Sean Rowe

9pm, Central Presbyterian Church

When Sean Rowe croons "Bring Back the Night," opening track to last year's sophomore LP The Salesman and the Shark (Anti-), his smooth baritone evokes the very essence of the dark – the hunger and desperation but also the salving warm comfort. With Cohen-esque beauty to his songwriting, the Troy, N.Y., native crafts oblique narratives with a naturalistic awe. – Doug Freeman

Ancient VVisdom

9pm, the Jr

Austin's premier folk metal band celebrates not only the release of its second LP Deathlike, but also a recent tour with metal heavy hitters Enslaved, Royal Thunder, and Pallbearer. Given the band's distinctive sound – Townes Van Zandt as filtered through Masters of Reality – they've come far from humble beginnings. – Michael Toland

The Carper Family

10pm, Parish Underground

Still relatively new to Austin's country music scene, the Carper Family are Melissa Carper (bass), Bethe Chrisman (fiddle), and Jenn Miori (guitar). In truth, they're an imaginary family, but a staggeringly talented one with harmonies as close to sisterly as it gets. Old-Fashioned Gal, the title of their upcoming Cindy Cashdollar-produced CD accurately describes the trio's love of traditional country, old-time music, and swing. – Jim Caligiuri

Jason Isbell

10pm, Blackheart

Since his barnstorming days leading Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell's vision has been Southern rock's future, one more artful and promising than its Seventies heyday. Recent solo material plays out more reflective and soulful, like Music From Big Pink with more of a punk rock skeleton in its closet. Isbell delights in taking those bones out to dance, thankfully. – Tim Stegall

Atlas Genius

10:30pm, the Main; Wed., 11pm, Haven; Thu., 9:20pm, Belmont

Full-length debut When It Was Now (Warner Bros.) offers up Spoon-y, danceable modern rock from brothers Keith and Michael Jeffery of Adelaide, Australia. Updating an Eighties, Crowded House vibe, shimmering lead-off single "If So" embraces 21st century ennui while remaining indelibly sunny. After two months opening for Las Vegas indie rockers Imagine Dragons, AG kicks off its own U.S. headlining tour in ATX next month. – Dan Oko

Brutal Juice

11pm, Metal & Lace

Lounge The return of Brutal Juice to active duty – barring a few one-off shows since its 1997 dissolution – sparks a psychedelic punk flame that's been otherwise dormant. With a new disc on deck and a facetious claim on its Wiki page to being the greatest rock band of all time, the Denton band prepares to blow minds and cochlea with its hell-bent-for-denim acidcore. – Michael Toland

Spirit Family Reunion

11pm, Blackheart; Sat., 2:30pm, Auditorium Shores

Raucous bluegrass from Brooklyn may no longer be a novelty, but few outfits strike such natural Appalachian authenticity as Spirit Family Reunion. An unexpected breakout at last year's Newport Folk Festival, the sextet and its self-released debut LP, No Separation, comes rhythm driven, harmonizing bursts of strings and stomps, all of which explodes into a genuine hillbilly fervor onstage. – Doug Freeman

The Sideshow Tragedy

11pm, Headhunters Patio

With the help of local funk/blues barons T-Bird & the Breaks, the Sideshow Tragedy's 2012 release Persona showed a band hitting its stride. Quiet Company broke out last year with a similarly dramatic indie rock howl, but this duo takes unabashed cues from its favorite acts (Stooges and Stones) and fuses them into a newly spit-shined performance. – Abby Johnston

Action Bronson

11:25pm, Belmont; Thu., 12:20am, North Door; Fri., 10:15pm, Viceland

They say that you should rap about what you know, so Action Bronson, a Ghostface Killah voice strapped with an impressive résumé built from working gourmet kitchens around Manhattan, drops bombs about gorgonzola cheeses and "the mozzarella, basil, and tomato." The Queens native's third LP, the Tommy Mas-produced Mr. Wonderful, is expected this year. – Chase Hoffberger

Kelly Hogan

12mid, Central Presbyterian Church

After two albums on Bloodshot early in this millennium, Kelly Hogan virtually disappeared except for occasionally backing folks like Neko Case, Drive-By Truckers, and the Mekons. She returned in 2012 with I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, her Anti- debut. A singer more than a songwriter, Hogan interprets tunes by composers like Vic Chesnutt, M. Ward, and Stephin Merritt with impeccable style. – Jim Caligiuri

Social Studies

12mid, Valhalla

It's early days yet to talk about maturity regarding a two-year-old band, but Social Studies, a fivepiece out of San Francisco, exudes confidence in its stripped-down arrangements and neo-New Wave aesthetic. Frontwoman Natalia Rogovin's voice is smoky and sultry, while drummer Michael Jirkovsky's toms become a character in their own right. The band currently tours its sophomore release, Developer.Melanie Haupt


12mid, Red 7 Patio; Fri., 10pm, Lustre Pearl & 1am, Mohawk Indoor; Sat., 12:10am, Parish

DIIV's acclaimed debut Oshin comes in waves. Led by Beach Fossils touring guitarist Zachary Cole Smith, the New York quartet percolates with trickling dual guitars, dream pop vocals, and linear percussion, hitting that euphoric sweet spot between the Mermen's surf-rock instrumentalism and the New Romanticism of Disintegration-era Cure. It's like floating in one of those sensory deprivation chambers. – Austin Powell

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

12:10am, Belmont; Wed., 12mid, Antone's; Fri., 12mid, Clive Bar

Indie rap went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 this winter when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Atmosphere-hued ode to the "Thrift Shop" had everybody and their frat-boy brother running out to the nearest Salvation Army. That hit, as well as the sexually progressive single "Same Love," both came packaged onto last year's The Heist, the Seattle duo's self-released debut. – Chase Hoffberger

The Polyphonic Spree

1am, Red 7 Patio; Thu., 12:30am, Main

No one had heard much from Tim DeLaughter's Dallas pop chorus in the half-decade since releasing The Fragile Army in 2007. Late last year, though, the 22-member psych-symphonic-pop klatsch reemerged with Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays, Vol. 1. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the group's fifth full-length, Yes, It's True, drops in May and demonstrates a newfound embrace of synths and drum machines. – Melanie Haupt

My Education

1am, Hideout; Fri., 8:30pm, Rebels Honky Tonk

Cinematic instrumentalists My Education have a soundtrack for every occasion. While 2010's Sunrise masterfully scored F.W. Murnau's silent classic of the same name, last year's A Drink for All My Friends scripted a more personal reckoning, offering climactic post-rock with a progressive streak and controls set for the heart of the sun. The Austin-based sextet moonlights Thursday at the Hideout as Sound Mass, an improv collaboration with Theta Night. – Austin Powell


1am, Metal & Lace Lounge

Industrial metal pioneer Adam Grossmann revives his Austin institution. "Universal Immolation," the 2011 contribution to a comp benefiting Queensland flood victims, shows no relenting in the bile and corrosive sonics that are Skrew's trademarks. Promised new material indicates current greed culture may have only increased the rage. Should be painfully loud-n-angry. – Tim Stegall

Amplified Heat

1am, Headhunters Patio; Wed., 12mid, Dirty Dog Bar

By far the closest thing Austin has to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Amplified Heat runs cosmically heavy blues-rock guitar over a high octane rhythm section. Considering the trio's shaggy hair and antique gear, they appear to be ripped from the same era. With their unbelievable chemistry, you won't be surprised to learn these three Cream-loving rockers are hermanos. – Kevin Curtin

Jason Eady

1am, White Horse

The title of Jason Eady's fourth LP, 2012's AM Country Heaven, perfectly captures the Austin songwriter's mix of outlaw ballads and honky-tonk heartbreak. Backed by local sideman supergroup Heybale, the album still retains elements of Eady's earlier electric blues efforts, but the more traditional country turn suits the Mississippi native's tales of hard-living reality and polished twang. – Doug Freeman

Ryan Bingham

1am, Central Presbyterian Church

All bets are off for the sawdust-throated folksinger who flipped over the card table with his latest release Tomorrowland, which found the Crazy Heart balladeer increasingly electric and layered. Ever the talented songwriter, Bingham still expressed his personal woes as well as the sorrows of strangers with accurate emotion, all while proving he can't be musically fenced in. – Kevin Curtin

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