Friday Picks & Sleepers

Obvious Picks and loads of not-so-obvious Sleepers!

Friday Picks & Sleepers

Friday Picks

Kirk Franklin

7pm, PromiseLand Church
Fort Worth vocal powerhouse Kirk Franklin hasn't abandoned gospel messaging in favor of a mainstream pop romp, though it's hard to blame Texas artists who did. The veteran choir director dealt with adolescent doubts and strife by dedicating himself to the craft. Franklin released his sixth LP Hello Fear four years ago, scooping the Grammy for Best Gospel Album, and demonstrating that mainstream appeal and gospel fidelity aren't mutually exclusive. – Nina Hernandez

Paul Oscher

8pm, Saxon Pub
A member of the Muddy Waters Blues Band from 1967 to 1972, Paul Oscher has also recorded with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Mos Def. He recently relocated to Manchaca, just south of Austin, and once here he took up a Thursday night residency at C-Boy's Heart & Soul where he's generated a feverish following for channeling a Chicago blues sound that's authentic, soul-wrenching, and rare. – Jim Caligiuri

The Skull

9pm, Dirty Dog Bar
Led by ex-Trouble singer Eric Wagner, this Chicago outfit throws back to the American doom metal pioneered by his former outfit. The band's debut, last year's For Those Which Are Asleep, keeps tight faith with Wagner's psych-tinged metal vision, and his voice retains its keening power. An ex-Pentagram axeman and other ex-Trouble pals help out. – Michael Toland

The Residents

9pm, Paramount Theatre
Easily the strangest musical endeavor ever to emerge from Shreveport, La., the Residents remain pre-eminent purveyors of high-concept multimedia experimentalism. From rusty-edged excoriations of rock royalty featuring dearly departed guitarist Snakefinger to audiovisual window pushing that correctly anticipated the blurring of music and commerce, the mysterious San Francisco-based trio's influence is far-reaching. Their current tour, Shadowland, explores life, death, and points in-between with a career-spanning set list. – Greg Beets

Apanhador Só

9pm, Red Eyed Fly
This eclectic avant-rock trio from Porto Alegre, Brazil, swings wildly from lilting acoustic ballads to dysfunctional glitch snippets and epic guitar meltdowns punctuated by junkyard percussion. Their oblique arrangements and impulsive gear-shifting consistently defy expectation, but an interwoven pop sensibility keeps Apanhador Só from engaging in experimentalism for its own sake. Second album Antes Que Tu Conte Outra (2013) won multiple Brazilian music awards. – Greg Beets

Kate Tempest

9:10pm, Maggie Mae's Rooftop
Who else at SXSW this year has won the Ted Hughes Award? Anyone? Bueller? Poet, playwright, rap mistress nonpareil, Tempest lives up to her self-styled surname and then some. Haters say she's Lady Sovereign with an actual soul and no need for a thesaurus, lovers say "The Beigeness" is the finest piece of UK hip-hop since Scroobius Pip met Dan le Sac. – Marc Savlov

Celso Piña

9:45pm, MACC (Mexican American Cultural Center)
Monterrey, Mexico, cumbia king Celso Piña twists the game even further on 2012's Zona Preferente, a rundown of just how many ways he can bend the cyclical Colombian dance. Though he only taught himself to play the instrument in the Eighties, the 61-year-old accordion rebel produces sounds like he was born with the keys at his fingertips. – Nina Hernandez

Vockah Redu

10:20pm, Hotel Vegas @ Volstead
Imagine the love child of bounce queen Big Freedia and Ziggy Stardust and you have Vockah Redu. The New Orleans shaker has an aesthetic invoking Mars more than the Magnolia projects that raised him and serves up a delirious ass-shaking that toys with notions of art, ceremony, gender, and spirituality. (Also Sun., 7:30pm, Palm Door on Sixth) – Thomas Fawcett

Homeboy Sandman

10:30pm, Empire Garage
In the waning hours of ATX's inaugural Weird City Hip-Hop Festival last September, Queens MC Homeboy Sandman paused his manic musings to interrogate the crowd about listening to his music on Spotify. Surveying the response, the former law student proceeded to make his case against the platform with an argument as methodical as his verse on politically smoldering fifth LP Hallways. – Nina Hernandez

La Luz

10:40pm, Hotel Vegas Patio
Tailing 2012's auspicious EP Damp Face, Seattle quartet La Luz marked its full-length debut with 2013 lo-fi notable It's Alive, a doo-wop-doused collection of Sixties pop met with Nineties ennui. The all-female foursome match sweet harmonies to power-chord-dense composition and novice garage-rock, while housing an underlying dark air uncommon in surf-pop. – Neph Basedow

Drivin N Cryin

11pm, Javelina
Kevn Kinney's Southern rock institution snuck in under the radar during last year's SXSW, so a higher profile showcase this year was warranted. The Atlanta outfit, founded in 1985, follows up its deservedly acclaimed Songs From series of EPs with Scarred But Smarter, a documentary that chronicles 30 years of hard rocking folk and cow-punk. (Also: Sat., 11:45pm, Saxon Pub). – Michael Toland

Jon Dee Graham

11pm, The Velveeta Room
Playing two showcases this year, one of Austin's best guitarists and songwriters loads into SXSW promoting the forthcoming Do Not Forget. An engagingly patchwork live collection spanning 17 years and almost every format the man embraces – solo, duo, with a band, acoustic, electric – it showcases his gently burnished yet rough-hewn charm and a guitar expertise that can go from strum to Strat-stranglin' in seconds. – Tim Stegall

Brother Ali

11:15pm, Mohawk Outdoor
Never one to shy away from controversy, Brother Ali (Newman) creates it from time to time. Inspired by Public Enemy, KRS-One, and Rakim, Ali spits raps focused on social justice, racial inequality, and rights for gays, all over soul samples. The MC was last seen on Mourning in America and Dreaming In Color, an excellent treatise on rapper life and sociopolitical issues. – Kahron Spearman


11:20pm, Hotel Vegas @ Volstead
On only their second album, Chris Shaw and his band of Memphis misfits graduated out of the scrappy B-plus output that typifies garage-punk and found their sound on Midnight Passenger. The Goner Records gem fields a nail-tough hybrid of garage tone and hardcore angles. Perfect platform for the malcontented shouts of the wild frontman, who could be a cousin to onetime tour mate Orville Bateman Neeley of locals the OBN IIIs. – Kevin Curtin

Jarren Benton

11:45pm, Red 7 Patio
Georgia rapper Jarren Benton spent his childhood worshiping hip-hop, which led him on a whirlwind prodigy fast-track and a warped mixtape in Freebasing With Kevin Bacon three years ago. January's rugged EP Slow Motion Vol. 1 promises a methodical and socially conscious follow-up to 2013 debut My Grandma's Basement. – Nina Hernandez

Luther Dickinson

12mid, Continental Club
Like his father, Luther Dickinson has helped shape some the most important music of the past quarter century, from his North Mississippi Allstars and numerous other supergroups to producing and slinging guitar with everyone from the Black Crowes to Jim Lauderdale and Robert Plant. Prolific and boundary-pushing, last year's third solo LP, Rock & Roll Blues (New West), highlighted his songwriting talent as well. – Doug Freeman

Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels

Run The Jewels

12mid, Cedar Street Courtyard
The crime fighting partnership of Killer Mike and El-P has netted two stellar solo albums, and two even better RTJ LPs – revitalizing two dwindling careers into a much, much deserved renaissance. From Atlanta to New York the pair's sweet-and-sour tag team machine – Mike spitting social conscience and P pouring the par-tay – their working-man rap speaks to the masses. – Luke Winkie

Jones Family Singers

12:10am, Speakeasy
Besides performing, Bay City's JFS are the subject of highly-touted documentary The Jones Family Will Make a Way, making its world premiere at SXSW Film this week. Five sisters, two brothers, and their paterfamilias have stunned audiences for 20 years with a gospel soul and R&B that translated on disc last year in the powerful The Spirit Speaks (Arts+Labor). Prepare to shake. – Jim Caligiuri

Ras G

12:20am, Empire Control Room
The closest there is to a present day Sun Ra, Gregory Shorter Jr. delivers nonstop, space-out, boom bap instrumentals. Recording out of his home studio Spacebase, the prolific producer created 2014's Down 2 Earth Vol. 2, recalling rap's golden era and its accompanying luminaries Diamond D and Pete Rock. He most recently produced 5 Chuckles, a collaboration with wolf-masked enigma Koreatown Oddity. – Kahron Spearman

Mannie Fresh

12:30am, the Belmont
As in-house producer during the heyday of Cash Money Records, Mannie Fresh was the chief architect for a New Orleans sound that blew up worldwide. The superproducer and sometimes-rapper made up one half of Big Tymers and crafted hits from Lil Wayne, Juvenile, and more recently Kanye West and T.I. A return to DJing provides the chance to spin his countless custom remixes as well as reconnect with the people. – Thomas Fawcett


12:45am, Mohawk Outdoor
Over the course of nearly 20 years, Atmosphere has dropped seven albums, put Minneapolis hip-hop on the map, cultivated an insanely loyal fan base, and redefined what sustained success can look like for indie hip-hoppers. The duo of rapper Slug and producer Ant named their latest LP Southsiders for the neighborhood that raised them. Slug has diffused a lot of wisdom through years of heart-on-the-sleeve raps but none wiser than this: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. – Thomas Fawcett

Black Milk
Black Milk

Black Milk

1am, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room
Slept-on to the point of coma, Detroit's Black Milk (Curtis Cross) has created one of the strongest catalogs in rap since 2005's Sound of the City. Clearly influenced by late producing giant J Dilla, there's likely been some long-standing shading over Milk because of the mutual love of filthy soul samples. Increasingly prolific over the last few years, the producer/rapper has released six critically acclaimed projects over the last four years. With a seventh on the way for Detroit's golden ear, Searching for Sanity further recognition is assured. – Kahron Spearman


1am, Elysium
All female J-punk trio "soo-she-mah-me-ray" made its name with wild performances at SXSW's Japan Nite, which they first surfed in 2004. Since then, they've released five albums of eclectic Japanese-language punk rock, all of which contain songs about food – whether that be a "Bread Basket" or "Brain Shortcake." Last fall saw the release of a Human Coating EP on their own Mojor label. – Kevin Curtin


1am, Dirty Dog Bar
The most impressive thing about North Cackalacky sludge veterans Weedeater is how being incredibly drunk and high seems only to make them more excellent onstage. Former Buzzoven bassist "Dixie" Dave Collins rattles low strings with eyes crossed and spine tweaked along to perma-high guitarist Dave "Shep" Shepherd's southern doom riffs and the circus drumming of Travis Owen. With fans awaiting the follow-up to 2011's Jason... the Dragon, we hope their SXSW appearance foreshadows a new release. – Kevin Curtin

Bomba Estéreo

1am, Half Step
Bogotá's explosive Bomba Estéreo follow up leafy third LP Elegancia Tropical with the fizzy electro Latin rhythms of last year's single "Que Bonito," which secured the troupe three Premios Nuestra Tierra nominations in Colombia last year. Over thundering percussion or a fog of synth, Liliana Saumet's sultry flow keeps the quartet anchored. – Nina Hernandez


1am, the Iron Bear
Once upon a time, Heems was one of the primary creative forces behind Das Racist, whose grad-thesis hip-hop imploded back in 2012. Since then, the Queens native has been traveling through a long-gestating career, with solo debut Eat Pray Thug getting constant delays until finally settling on a March 10 release. He claims it's his last album, but let's hope he's wrong. – Luke Winkie

The Tontons

1am, Palm Door on Sabine
One of the most exciting bands out of Texas, Houston's Tontons drew nationwide raves for latest release Make Out King and Other Stories of Love. Frontwoman Asli Omar asserts a riveting presence while the trio behind her emits a difficult to pin sound that's muscular and dynamic. – Jim Caligiuri


1am, Blackheart
Survival Sounds is a fitting name for Rubblebucket's fourth album. In 2013, the Brooklyn septet's leader, Kalmia Traver, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She's now cancer-free and back at the helm of the cosmic funk powerhouse that is a Rubblebucket show. Dancing robots, face paint, and a serious horn section make the ordeal a distant memory. – Abby Johnston


1:30am, 405 Club
Wu-Tang Clan's Chef remains amongst the greatest MCs of the coke-rap era. As a solo act, the Staten Island spitter crafted classics like the Ghostface Killah-assisted Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.... To close a chapter and appease diehards, Rae released 2009's near-classic Only Built For Cuban Linx... Pt. II, which managed to critically overwhelm its main rival, Jay Z's Blueprint 3. (Also: Sat., 1:20am, the Belmont – with Ghostface Killah) – Kahron Spearman

Friday Sleepers


8pm, Paramount Theatre
A bridge to traditional Korean music, [su:m] employs zither, bamboo oboes, mouth organ, and dulcimer to address the 21st century. Veterans of international world music festivals, the Seoul duo of Jiha Park and Jungmin Seo find their sophomore album 2nd nominated for a Korean Music Award. (Also: Sat., 10:30pm, Victorian Room at the Driskill) – Michael Toland

Moon Honey

8pm, Trophy Club
Originally from New Orleans but now calling Los Angeles home, guitarist/composer Andrew Martin and vocalist Jessica Ramsey drew wide acclaim for their 2013 disc Hand-Painted Dream Photographs, a collection of songs approaching guitar symphonies. The sway and swoop built on mystical lyrics entwine with Ramsey's near operatic warble. – Jim Caligiuri

Amerigo Gazaway

8pm, Holy Mountain Backyard
The term mash-up hardly does justice to the beautiful (if legally iffy) art of Amerigo Gazaway. Under the guise of the Soul Mates Project, this Nashville experimentalist deconstructs and stitches together the catalogs of acts old and new. 2011's Fela Soul saw Daisy Age raps married to Afrobeat, while Yasiin Gaye matched Marvin with the artist formerly known as Mos Def. – Thomas Fawcett

Della Mae

8pm, the Gatsby
The five young women in Boston's Della Mae drew a Grammy nomination for their 2013 debut This World Oft Can Be. An eponymous follow-up due in May takes a serious turn away from bluegrass in working with producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones), and covering tunes from the Rolling Stones and the Low Anthem in a style that's more rock, blues, and folk. – Jim Caligiuri

Doug Burr

8pm, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room
One of Denton's best singer-songwriters over the past decade behind poignant narratives and intensely hushed, high-ranging delivery, Doug Burr recalls a folkier Will Johnson (Monsters of Folk, Centro-Matic). Fifth LP Pale White Dove, due in April, drives with darker and harder intent, an electric evolution from 2010's O Ye Devastator. – Doug Freeman

Sons of Bill

8pm, Lucky Lounge
Anchored by brothers Sam, James, and Abe Wilson, Charlottesville, Va., quintet Sons of Bill crafts literate Americana with a seamless and eclectic pop sensibility. The outfit's fourth LP, last year's standout Love and Logic (Thirty Tigers), benefited from former Uncle Tupelo and Wilco drummer Ken Coomer's production, with tunes ranging from lighter Jayhawks-styled melodies to low, burning ballads that hearken Lambchop. – Doug Freeman

Stinking Lizaveta

8pm, Dirty Dog Bar
Philly's Stinking Lizaveta has clocked multiple SXSW appearances over its 20-plus years, each one a psych/metal/jazz detonation on whatever hapless stage it encounters. The wordless power trio, featuring the Papadopoulos brothers on guitar and upright bass, hasn't dropped a LP since 2012's The 7th Direction. – Michael Toland

Bad Breeding

8pm, 720 Club
Post-apocalyptic hardcore quartet Bad Breeding hails from Stevenage, England, a frayed postwar "new town" north of Greater London where youth unemployment has soared in the wake of the Great Recession. Flash polemics such as "Age of Nothing" from 2014 debut LP Burn This Flag, encapsulate the desperation of being broke and mired in Nowheresville. (Also: Sat., 1am, Sledge Hammer) – Greg Beets

The Blind Pets

9pm, Valhalla
The Blind Pets endure as a meatier version of popular garage sensations like Ty Segall, except sweat-drenched frontman Joshua Logan will proudly manhandle a Gibson SG like he's playing an arena in 1975. The exciting Austin trio, rounded out by bassist Dusty Hannah and drummer Alex Mitchell, just issued their gloriously grungy fourth LP Heavy Petting. – Kevin Curtin

The Painted Redstarts

9pm, Lamberts
Prime movers among the local U-18 scene, guitarist William Harries Graham, son of Texas legend Jon Dee Graham, bass player Sam Jackson, and drummer James Caldwell make a noise that's enveloping and rooted in the glam guitar rock of recent collaborator Alejandro Escovedo. – Jim Caligiuri

Swearing at Motorists

9pm, 720 Club Patio
Hatched in 1994 from the same fertile soil that birthed Guided By Voices and Brainiac, Dayton, Ohio-bred Swearing at Motorists excel at two-minute bursts of insular pop from the basement of broken dreams. The prolific guitar/drum duo has since relocated to Germany, but 2014's While Laughing, the Joker Tells the Truth proves they haven't lost their native four-track sonic inventiveness and high lyrical wit. – Greg Beets

Mild High Club

9pm, Empire Garage
The entire recorded output of Stones Throw's Mild High Club consists of a 7-inch single that sounds like it sat on a car dashboard for an entire California summer. The stoned-to-the-bone project of Alexander Brettin laces organ-driven pop psychedelia with a resin-thick groove. "Windowpane" puffs a sunny Seventies vibe, while flipside "Weeping Willow" mindfucks. Pass the vape. – Thomas Fawcett

Daniel Romano

9pm, Continental Club
Daniel Romano reckons his easy-rolling country style as a moseying aesthetic, which accurately captures the Ontario songwriter's loping throwback sound – more the swooning and crooning Fifties country ballads than anything contemporary or Canadian. Also known for his work with City & Colour and Julie Doiron, as well as his visual art, Romano hit critical acclaim with 2013's fourth effort, Come Cry With Me. – Doug Freeman

David Longoria

10pm, Stephen F's Bar
In his former quartet the Black, David Longoria unraveled a Dylan-esque twang and rolling lyrics bursting through a rockabilly energy. Now, the Austin songwriter and poet turns towards an intimate folk. The intricate guitar work that highlighted last year's demos and cassette-only debut, I See the River, hearkened John Fahey as Longoria spins mesmerizing acoustic soundscapes. – Doug Freeman

Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire

10pm, 720 Club Patio
Scotsman Roddy Hart has knocked around for a decade, supporting Trashcan Sinatras on one hand and making a Nashville LP with Kris Kristofferson as guest on the other. After four solo platters, the pop-wise singer and songwriter found himself with the Lonesome Fire's widescreen anthems. A luminous 2013 debut now anticipates album No. 2. – Michael Toland

Girl Pilot

10pm, Lamberts
Sahara Smith from Wimberley now fronts a fourpiece dubbed Girl Pilot. With the inventive Lauren Gurgiolo (Okkervil River) on guitar, Smith's mature new vision burbles and quakes while remaining sultry and inviting. Her upcoming release, On My Way, was produced by Brian Beattie and features a poignant duet with Bill Callahan. – Jim Caligiuri

Nx Worries

10pm, Empire Garage
"Smoother than a motherfucker, suede on the inside," boasts Anderson Paak on "Suede." Damn right. The Stones Throw project pairing the man also known as Breezy Lovejoy with prolific producer Knxwledge results in an ultra pimped out West Coast vibe: "Now most of y'all can't do shit, but all my chicks cook grits and roll a spliff, at the same damn time/ You ain't live long enough to have a bitch this fine." – Thomas Fawcett



10pm, Dirty Dog Bar
Can instro-metal succeed? Lazer/Wulf will be its face if it does. The unrestrained Athens, Ga., trio spawned in 2010 adds a dollop of psych, a dash of funk, and a spoonful of punk to its roiling sludge trash. Their joy of performance blazes through loud and clear on third and latest LP The Beast of Left and Right. – Michael Toland

Silent Land Time Machine

10pm, the Madison
Led by the co-founder of Austin experimental music label Holodeck, Silent Land Time Machine favors a clash of sounds, from sampled voices and synth hums to ringing guitars and radio static. Unlike a lot of tape/file manipulators, SLTM hasn't shied away from live performance in its seven years, as its fifth release Live & Misc proves. – Michael Toland


10:30pm, Roosevelt Room
Boogie, a young L.A. rapper on the verge, unrolls "Bitter Raps" at a languid pace on debut EP Thirst 48, offering funny observations about the fakery of his peers with a soulful delivery and dark undertones. A former gangbanger, Boogie never glorifies his past but approaches it with introspection: "I built this underground railroad to get me out this hellhole/ Walking in my shoes would be the first time they felt soul." – Thomas Fawcett


10:50pm, Saxon Pub
Birdlegg Pittman, a staple of the Austin blues scene since the Seventies, remains a one-man wrecking crew, his sweat soaking the harp, patrons, and stages alike for the last 40 years despite a scene that occasionally forgets its rich blues history. In 2013, Dialtone successfully raised funds to release a full-length LP with his Tight Fit Blues band. – Nina Hernandez

The Suffers

11:10pm, Palm Door on Sabine
Four years of gigging around Houston helped the Suffers lock down Gulf Coast soul. The 10-piece collective created no small amount of buzz securing spots at Voodoo and the local Free Press Summer Fest. With a voice like Kam Franklin's at the helm, it's hard to stay obscure for long. The band's debut EP, Make Some Room, came out in January. – Abby Johnston

El Conjunto Nueva Ola

11:20pm, Flamingo Cantina
Hailing from Mexico City by way of Los Angeles, El Conjunto Nueva Ola combines undeniable stage fun with far-reaching musicality. Masked up as a mysterious gang of luchador superheroes, the sextet reimagines pop classics like "My Sharona" and "Take On Me" as charged conjunto. Latest single "El Jom Dipo (Pa' la People)," upbraids a certain home improvement store with hyper-caffeinated panache. (Also: Sat., 1am, Clive Bar) – Greg Beets

Sadat X

12mid, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room
Known for a distinct nasally flow and dexterous rhymes, hip-hop heads remember Sadat X as one-third of classic NYC rap crew Brand Nubian. 1996 debut Wild Cowboys was a solo career highlight, but his latest LP reminds rap fans that he Never Left. A renaissance man, Sadat's True Wine Connoisseurs web series is drunken comedy gold. – Thomas Fawcett

Low Cut Connie

12mid, 720 Club Patio
Philadelphia's Low Cut Connie mines a lurid grind aimed squarely at the hips. Summoning blurry apparitions of juke-joint pickups from the Fifties, boogie woogie pianist Adam Weiner and backbeat master Dan Finnemore remind us of rock & roll's genesis as a sex euphemism. Long-awaited third LP Hi Honey arrives April 21 with guest shots from Dean Ween and Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus. – Greg Beets

The Cribs

12:35am, Parish
Having already worked with Steve Albini and Lee Ranaldo, and spending two years with Johnny Marr on lead guitar, Wakefield, UK's Cribs now add Ric Ocasek to their producers list with forthcoming LP For All My Sisters. Teaser track "An Ivory Hand" indicates the ex-Car emphasizing the hooks, thickening the gloss, and buffing the Jarman brothers' ratty punk guitars to a high sheen. – Tim Stegall

El General Paz & La Triple Frontera

1am, Russian House
Formed by guitarist/producer Anel Paz in 2007, El General Paz & La Triple Frontera is based in Buenos Aires, but includes members from Uruguay and Brazil as well as Argentina. That blend likely explains the serious Latin funk grooves the sextet lays down on second album Maravillas, due for re-release later this year. – Michael Toland


1am, the Madison
Meet Austin's foremost synth super squad. The core four of Kyle Dixon, Mark Donica, Adam Jones, and Michael Stein load in an analog arsenal, crafting transformative instrumentals that wash over you with subtle melodies and heavy tones. Last year saw the release of two vinyls: three-track effort MF064, and a reissue of their long out-of-print 2012 debut LP. – Kevin Curtin

Jay Prince

1:15am, Bungalow
London rapper Jay Prince spits with youthful exuberance and an old soul steeped in Nineties hip-hop. That might explain the braids and shades reminiscent of P.M. Dawn and a throwback track titled "1993" on EP BeFor Our Time that matches his birth year. Prince plays the bouncy beat of "Polaroids" for nostalgia points: "It's that bump/ It's that funk/ It's that thing that make you jump." – Thomas Fawcett

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