Thursday Picks & Sleepers

SXSW Thursday handicapping by the blurb

Thursday Picks & Sleepers

Thursday Picks



The Zombies

7pm, Stubb's
The second British band after the Beatles to land a No. 1 in the States – 1964's "She's Not There" – the onetime St. Albans quintet awed at Austin's Psych Fest last year. Still led by voice/songwriter axis Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent – "Tell Her No," "Time of the Season," and their Abbey Road, 1968's Odessey and Oracle – the 2013 SXSW splashes have now seeded a whole generation since reuniting for good in the late Nineties. – Neph Basedow


Golden Dawn Arkestra

7:30pm, Hotel Vegas Patio
Led by Austin saxophone master and Sahara Lounge co-owner Topaz McGarrigle, Golden Dawn Arkestra pays tribute to jazz extraterrestrial Sun Ra with an out-of-this-world live spectacle. Mesopotamian costumes and dancers combine with intergalactic grooves from nearly a dozen musicians wielding horns, synths, theremin, and all manner of percussion, that raises the cosmic consciousness of everything in its path. – Jim Caligiuri


Ume

8pm, Red 7
2011's Phantoms unleashed Lauren Larson's vicious guitar and roaring vocals. Last year's third corker, Monuments (Dangerbird), enlisted Queens of the Stone Age and Nirvana producer Adam Kasper to accomplish the Austin trio's most polished, ferocious effort yet. Heavy rhythms brace a relentless energy pulling tension between explosive and seductive. – Doug Freeman


The Vaccines

8pm, Cedar Street Courtyard
London's Ramones-meets-Byrds jangle outfit, the Vaccines haven't issued an LP since 2012's Come of Age, although its Melody Calling the following year topped charts in Australia and Mexico and brought a year-end U.S. tour with Mumford & Sons. Now comes new single "Handsome" and the announcement of English Graffiti, sure to top the NME once again. – Tim Stegall


Jad Fair

8pm, 405 Club
A forefather of lo-fi culture alongside brother David in early DIY band Half Japanese, Michigan's Jad Fair made a career of "naive" music, seemingly built on tools borrowed from the Velvet Underground and the Shaggs. He certainly paved a path for Daniel Johnston, whom Fair championed early on. Fair's most recent work: 2013's Surprising Wooden Clocks. – Tim Stegall


Emily Wolfe

8pm, Icenhauer's
Local singer-songwriter Emily Wolfe bought an electric guitar and never looked back. Early EPs were quiet acoustic offerings, but with each subsequent release Wolfe has stepped deeper into her role as a full-fledged rock goddess. It came to a head with October's Roulette, armed with ace-in-the-hole single "Swoon." – Abby Johnston


Possessed by Paul James

8:15pm, Holy Mountain
Multi-instrumentalist Konrad Wert drifts in from just south of town from time to time, a teacher by day and a one-man folk phenom by night. Under the sobriquet Possessed by Paul James, Wert spins guitar, banjo, and fiddle into a whirlwind of primal, stark folk. 2013's There Will Be Nights When I'm Lonely launched a few gut wrenchers. – Abby Johnston


Mantar
Mantar

Mantar

8:20pm, Dirty Dog Bar
This amp-abusing Hamburg metal duo crafted an aggro-opus on 2014 debut Death by Burning, which triangulated slowcore, doom punk, and black metal. Chiseled Turkish drummer Erinc Sakarya pounds through midtempo beatdowns as German guitarist Hanno Klänhardt cranks the gain knobs fully right and levies boiling distortion that complements his roaring anarchistic lyrics. – Kevin Curtin


Yawn

9pm, Valhalla
Second LP Love Chills released last fall, this Chicago fourpiece trips out garage-rock with a subtle synth-pop influence. That Animal Collective quirk coheres behind singer Adam Gil's even vocals and the group's coated harmonies. DIY driven – employing self-releases, free recordings, and crowdfunded vinyl – one half of the band recently co-launched Feel Trip, an artist-owned recording studio in Chicago's South Loop. – Neph Basedow


Max Frost

9pm, Stubb's
Austin native Max Frost – real name Max Frost (!) – plays guitar, bass, drums, keys, and self-produces as a white R&B singer, 22. Once his home recording "White Lies" went viral in 2013, he landed a deal with Atlantic, recording with Jeff Tweedy, and toured with Gary Clark Jr. Now Frost preps his 2015 debut LP and two advance singles, "Paranoia" and "Let Me Down Easy." He has our full attention. (Also: Fri., 1am, Victorian Room at the Driskill) – Kevin Curtin


San Fermin

9pm, Clive Bar
San Fermin shouldn't work. Conceived by Brooklyn composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone, the outfit assembled to realize his work turned 2013's eponymous debut into a fascinating movement of electro-pop and intricate orchestrations. Now an eightpiece touring ensemble, the group's sophomore album, Jackrabbit, due on Downtown Records in April, proves even more adventurous and ambitious. (Also: Sat., 8:20pm, Central Presbyterian Church; 11pm, the Gatsby) – Doug Freeman


Suzy Bogguss

9pm, Holy Mountain
Behind hits "Drive South" and "Outbound Plane," Suzy Bogguss frequented the top of the country charts throughout the Nineties. While contemporary country radio has since transformed, Bogguss mounted a critically acclaimed comeback last year with Lucky, an album of Merle Haggard covers that struck both reverential and progressive as she torqued some of the outlaw's biggest hits with a feminine spin. – Doug Freeman


Elle King

9pm, Yahoo's Brazos Hall
Elle King's 2012 debut EP on Fat Possum set expectations high, with the young Brooklyn songwriter's powerful vox scouring biting roots-pop on songs like "Good to Be a Man." Her full-length finally arrived this year, and proved worth the wait, as Love Stuff (RCA) rips like a bluesier Amy Winehouse, aggressive swagger laced with rocking riffs and King's steel-nerved songwriting. (Also: Fri., 11:10pm, Stubb's) – Doug Freeman


Robert Earl Keen

10pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary
With his 1984 debut, No Kinda Dancer, Robert Earl Keen earned Best Songwriter honors at that year's Austin Music Awards. Thirty years on, no other Texan's had a bigger impact on this state's country music, and make no mistake, the Kerrville-based songwriter remains ambitious. February's Happy Prisoner (Dualtone) cut a set of bluegrass covers against Keen's distinct drawl, reaching back to his roots to stretch forward. – Doug Freeman


Berkshire Hounds

10pm, Lucky Lounge
Austin's Berkshire Hounds turns ramshackle into an art form. The young outfit's sound, led by Jim Campo and Spencer Garland, slops through horn-laden pop and rock with a seeming ambivalence to style or coherence that belies the actual quality of their songwriting and talent. 2014's 20-track debut, Are Not Amused, fascinated in its ability to continually impress while thwarting expectations, a rambunctious and infectious catastrophe. – Doug Freeman


Earl Sweatshirt

10pm, the Gatsby
The son of South African poet and political activist Keorapetse Kgositsile, Earl Sweatshirt (Thebe Neruda Kgositsile) was perhaps destined for greatness. After being discovered by Odd Future leader Tyler, the Creator, the gifted lyricist released an eponymous debut via download, controversial for themes of drug usage and violence. Ridding himself of the shock quality, the Los Angeles wordsmith stares into the mirror with advanced nuance on his proper studio debut, Doris. – Kahron Spearman


Dent May

10:15pm, Swan Dive
He ditched the ukulele, but Dent May maintains a smooth tenor with crazy beach appeal. Don't let the ebullient, L.A.-based pop fool you, though. The Oxford, Miss., native's penchant for breezy laces in a sad-boy lyricism, which thus makes for a striking balance. – Abby Johnston


2:54

10:30pm, Bar 96
Sibs Colette and Hannah Thurlow made London a more ethereal, enthralling place beginning in 2010, drawing crowds and comparisons to former tourmates the xx, but louder and with less love lost. Smash single "You're Early" digs a Lush groove for post-millennial dreamers. Get there early. – Marc Savlov


Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear

10:30pm, St. David's Bethell Hall
With no technology to hide behind, this Kansas City mother/son team strikes an indelible impression on the first note. Madisen's booming folk-blues tenor embodies universal longing for gentler times, while Ruth's harmonies ramp up the emotional quotient. The duo made its national TV debut on Letterman last month, while their debut LP arrives on Glassnote later this year. – Greg Beets


Tanya Tagaq

11pm, Flamingo Cantina
The animalistic panting and chanting that Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq loops into experimental music compositions sound, at once, totally unfamiliar and distinctly human. Hailing from Nunavut, the northernmost territory of Canada, Tagaq often performs her innovative take on aboriginal vocal techniques alongside a violinist, drummer, and DJ. On last year's Polaris Prize-winning album Animism, the best moments found her vocalizing over industrial and electronica tracks. (Also: Fri., 11pm, Speakeasy; Sat., 12mid, Swan Dive) – Kevin Curtin


My Jerusalem

11pm, Red Eyed Fly
Since Preachers in late 2012, Austin's My Jerusalem has toured relentlessly, joining such like-minded stalwarts as Peter Murphy and Psychedelic Furs on the road. That time made the dark, at times uplifting, imagination of the quartet's leader Jeff Klein clearer and more provocative. A follow-up's slated for fall. – Jim Caligiuri


Churchwood

11pm, Saxon Pub
Five wizened Austin music veterans piston a highly evolved avant-blues concern that bellows and spurts a mind-opening mix of wisdom and absurdity. Vocalist Joe Doerr is an English professor at St. Edward's University by day, but his stage persona taps the finer points of the Captain Beefheart/Tom Waits canon. The quintet's third album, 3: Trickgnosis, was one of 2014's finest local releases. – Greg Beets


Riders Against the Storm

11pm, Soho Lounge
Qi Dada and Chaka are husband and wife, MCs, and hosts of Austin's most vital dance party. The former likes to say that a party is the bastard child of ceremony, and RAS takes its role as masters of ceremony very seriously. The couple took home Band of the Year at the 2014 Austin Music Awards because they fill a dance floor with "Booty Sweat." – Thomas Fawcett


Beatking

11:40pm, Roosevelt Room
Beatking's 2014 album was called Gangsta Stripper Music 2. That's all you need to know about the Houston lifer. With all due respect to Ludacris, Juicy J, Too $hort, and Lil Jon, there's never been a rapper so committed to puerility quite like Beatking. – Luke Winkie


Diarrhea Planet

11:55pm, Swan Dive Patio
Nashville sixpiece Diarrhea Planet have the worst name in music, which says a lot when there's an act called Music Band playing the same SXSW showcase. The Nashville sextet, three EPs and a pair of LPs in, also makes the best trash rock out there – nondenominational bar jams with zero pretense. Make your peace. – Luke Winkie


Hamilton Leithauser
Hamilton Leithauser

Hamilton Leithauser

12mid, Mohawk
Fronting NYC outfit the Walkmen for 14 years, Hamilton Leithauser unleashed his debut solo effort, 2014's retro rocker Black Hours, shortly after the band's ambiguous breakup-slash-hiatus. Contributions from members of the Shins, Vampire Weekend, Dirty Projectors, and Fleet Foxes confirm that the perpetual suit-wearer maintains both his indie clique and stylized vocal bravado. – Neph Basedow


Heartless Bastards

12mid, Yahoo's Brazos Hall
This June one of Austin's best rock bands issues its fifth disc, Restless Ones, the follow-up to 2012 breakthrough Arrow. The no-frills quartet promises new textures with literary touchstones, while remaining true to its blues & bruise style and aiming for a natural progression to the idiosyncrasies that make them attractive. Erika Wennerstrom still wails like a hurricane. – Jim Caligiuri


The War on Drugs

12mid, Clive Bar
On their third visit to Austin in a year's time, Philly's front-runner guitar outfit dazzled at Austin Psych Fest last year and again at Stubb's. Bandleader Adam Granduciel adds an Americana twist to psychedelic rock that channels the Dead, Mark Knopfler, and even Springsteen. The sextet's third LP, last year's Lost in the Dream, remains the best indie output of 2014. – Neph Basedow


Aero Chord

12mid, Empire Control Room
Hat tips proffered by genre bigwigs Skrillex and Diplo, 23-year-old Athenian Alex Vlastaras cites video game soundtracks as his chief influence. Known to drop EDM remixes on a whim, the Fest's lone Grecian hypes last year's Break Them, featuring Long Island singer Anna Yvette. – Neph Basedow


Jesse Dayton

12:15am, Holy Mountain Backyard
Fresh off writing/directing his indie horror film debut Zombex and playing guitar on X bassist John Doe's latest solo turn – not to mention winning the Ameripolitan Outlaw Male of the Year award for 2015 – Beaumont-born Dayton pauses from his upcoming "outlaw country record, with a classic Townes Van Zandt songwriting approach" to demonstrate to this SXSW audience what country music really sounds like. – Tim Stegall


Pharmakon

12:30am, Hotel Vegas
There's a song on the new Pharmakon album Beastial Burden where Margaret Chardiet coughs, wheezes, hacks, and spits against a terrifying, inevitable push of bass. Noise music is naturally unsettling, but this New York auteur pushes the limit into pure, unrelenting horror. – Luke Winkie

Doomtree

12:45am, Karma Lounge The smartest thing to come out of Minneapolis since Prince, Hüsker Dü, the Replacements (anything, really), this Twin Cities hip-hop collective – wordy rappers Dessa, P.O.S., Mike Mictlan, Sims, and Cecil Otter, backed by producer/DJs Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger – just dropped the gorgeously dense All Hands. Don't call it a comeback. – Marc Savlov


Jeff the Brotherhood

12:55am, Swan Dive Patio
Not every band is "SO FUCKING PLEASED" to be dropped from Warner Bros., but so says Nashville's JTB about its release last month. Free from the grasp of the "demented vulture," the brotherly Nashville duo of Jake and Jamin Orrall pushes through with the release of eighth album Wasted on the Dream March 24 on its own label. – Abby Johnston


Black Pistol Fire

1am, Red Eyed Fly
Transplanted Toronto garage-blues duo BPF have burned a lot of interstate promoting last year's potent Hush or Howl. Potent with stompers like "Dimestore Heartthrob," guitarist/vocalist Kevin McKeown and drummer Eric Owen pause work on their fourth LP to demonstrate their festival-destroying chops. A sound bigger than this venue. – Tim Stegall


Javier Escovedo & the City Lights

1am, Saxon Pub
Late of Austin's True Believers and leader of U.S. punk pioneers the Zeros, Javier Escovedo first previewed the songs from his solo debut City Lights at SXSW 2004. Persistence and a belief in its garage-rocking power-pop saw the album released in Europe in 2008 and (finally) the States in 2012. Despite interruptions by Troobs and Zeros reunions, the San Diegan hits SX in support. – Michael Toland


Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

1am, Maggie Mae's Rooftop
Lukas Nelson's nasally twang carries the unmistakable imprint of his father, but musically, the country music scion forges his own path. Out front of his quartet Promise of the Real, Nelson unloads rock guitars and a dynamic live show tempered with a laid-back vibe. 2012's sophomore album Wasted raised the band to attention, but upcoming Love Yourself may spark fans who know Willie as Lukas' dad. – Doug Freeman


Bully

1am, Maggie Mae's
Nashville grunge upstarts Bully leveled up with the release of last year's sophomore 7-inch "Milkman" b/w "Faceblind," a perfect platter of plaid-shirted distortion and vocals that are sweet and grainy like a lipstick mark on sandpaper. Credit both to former Steve Albini intern Alicia Bognanno who sings, plays guitar, and records the band. – Kevin Curtin


Ava Luna

1am, the Hideout
Post-punk's danceable quick right turns find their soulful match in Ava Luna vocalists Carlos Hernandez and Felicia Douglass. Alternating between maple syrup and vinegar, the pair proves equally adept at funk grooves and frenzied skronk epics. The NYC quintet's 2014 full-length debut, Electric Balloon, runs rich with experimental spirit, compelling narratives, and future-forward rhythms. Their Mississippi-penned follow-up Infinite House is due in April. – Greg Beets


B. Dolan

1:10am, Soho Lounge
A bearded, white, Providence, R.I.-based political rapper with a spoken-word background signed to Strange Famous records. Nope, not Sage Francis. "Film the Police" updates the N.W.A. classic for a post-Oscar Grant/Eric Garner/Michael Brown world, while "Which Side Are You On?" uses Pete Seeger to call homophobic rappers to task. This all works only because dude is a beast on the mic. – Thomas Fawcett


Z-Ro

1:10am, Roosevelt Room
After a brief stint in the clink for allegedly beating up a home invader, Houston hustler Z-Ro returns to the circuit. February's Melting the Crown, with a guest spot from the big don Rick Ross himself, settles old beefs. At the end of the day, all the 38-year-old really wants to know is, "Where My Money At?" – Nina Hernandez


Elle Varner

TBA, the Majestic
Occasionally compared to Adele, Elle Varner's intense and sensual sound stands on its own, utilizing elements of pop, hip-hop, and Nineties-era R&B. Mixtape Conversational Lush featured samples and covers from Jay Z, Bill Withers, and Ani DiFranco, while 2012's critically acclaimed Perfectly Imperfect (RCA) reached No. 4 on the Billboard charts on the strength of trap/banjo jam "Refill" and "Only Wanna Give It to You." 4 Letter Word follows up soon. – Kahron Spearman




Thursday Sleepers



John Mills Times Ten

8pm, Elephant Room
From the halls of academia, Times Ten originally came together in 2009 to play charts written by UT jazz professor John Mills, a saxist who's played with Charlie Haden. The horn-heavy ensemble digs for the midpoint between acid jazz and big band, working both the rhythms and the soloists, including its leader. The band's only album appeared in 2010, with a follow-up due this year. – Michael Toland


Slow Down Molasses

8pm, Lamberts
Saddle Creek meets shoegaze in the hands of these ambitious Canadian prairie troubadours. Intimate fireplace folk ballads and twang-laden torch songs give way to expansive fuzz bombs with surprising seamlessness. Once ballooning to 14 members, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, collective has since pared back to a more manageable fivesome. Jace Lasek from Besnard Lakes produced their third LP, Burnt Black Cars, which arrives in May. – Greg Beets


URSS Bajo el Árbol

8pm, Javelina
Mexico City's indie rock front-runner scored a handful of hit singles in the past six years, becoming a Latin rock festival staple. Celebrating the expanded reissue of 2011 debut EP Líneas Mentales, the psych-painted sextet courts fans of past stage-mates Arcade Fire and TV on the Radio. – Michael Toland


Jawws

8:20pm, Swan Dive Patio
Unlike most punk bands mining adolescent angst from the rearview mirror, Nashville's Jawws nails the narrative here and now. The youthful fivesome barely scratches shaving age, but they reanimate American hardcore's golden age with an eager-beaver ferocity that transcends generations. A self-titled 7-inch debut on Jeff the Brotherhood's Infinity Cat imprint boasts dynamic, high-energy production that Reagan-era miscreants only dream about. – Greg Beets


El Dusty

8:35pm, Half Step
Corpus Christi trap tycoon El Dusty, frequent flier with local Latin DJ collective and label Peligrosa, spun deviously mutated cumbias on 2013's Locos Only. "Trapanera," teasing a second full-length effort, dials up jarring electro pulses. – Nina Hernandez


The Miseries

9pm, BD Riley's
Dutch singer-songwriter Tim Knol is well-known in his homeland for sentimental popcraft that woos festival crowds. None of that's in evidence when he leads his reformed Amsterdam foursome through short, sharp amalgams of garage, punk, and power-pop that effectively embody Pete Shelley-style discontentment. After a decade of dormancy, the Miseries unleash an untitled debut on the tastemaking Excelsior label later this month. – Greg Beets


La Orquesta Vulgar

9pm, Javelina
Latin jazz only begins the journey of La Orquesta Vulgar from Ciudad de México. The quintet incorporates everything from klezmer and swing to funk to post-bop – all in one song. Its sax-n-guitar eclectica has yet to make it onto wax, but the plans are afoot. (Also: Fri., 11pm, Elephant Room) – Michael Toland


A Pony Named Olga

9pm, Saxon Pub
Berlin's A Pony Named Olga sounds like its name. Lecherous and prone to injurious performance stunts, the trio floors it full speed into the meaty nexus of rockabilly, punk, and Eastern European folk. Girded by rock-solid rhythm, this potentially hoary proposition becomes irresistible. (Also: Fri., 7pm, 720 Club) – Greg Beets


Irene Diaz

9pm, Departure Lounge
Aside from having the best blunt bangs of any singer-songwriter since late folk icon Mary Travers, Irene Diaz channeled the mystery of noir on last year's incandescent debut EP I Love You Madly. Like Austin compadre Gina Chavez, the L.A. belter's fate remains wrapped up in her cultural identity. – Nina Hernandez


No Somos Marineros

10pm, Palm Door on Sixth Patio
Bachata punks No Somos Marineros represent Mexico's emo hordes. The quartet delivers head-stuffing reverb and an admirable punk rock sensibility with December's Lomas Verdes. Belabored "Jigglypuff" closes the catharsis on a wry note. – Nina Hernandez


Midnight Masses

10pm, Red Eyed Fly
This Austin/NYC quartet led by ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's Autry Fulbright and Jason Reece is more than a TOD side project. Conceived in 2008 as an elegy to Fulbright's late father, the band funnels space rock, motorik, and prog into soulful pop on LP Departures, and kicks out the psychedelic jams live. – Michael Toland


The Pop Group

10:45pm, Hotel Vegas Patio
Long before Rage Against the Machine, there was the Pop Group. The warped quartet of Bristol natives carved out brutal, dangerously political post-punk, with flashes of dub and free jazz in between the squall. They've been on the reunion gravy train since 2010. – Luke Winkie


The Districts

11pm, Parish
Weeks before they were expected to start college, this Lititz, Pa., quartet signed to Fat Possum Records, sidestepping higher education and relocating to Philadelphia to further pursue careers in blues-rock. Following a promising 2013 debut with this year's A Flourish and a Spoil, for which they tapped Dallas producer extraordinaire John Congleton, the foursome's sophomore effort brings bold and creative maturation. – Neph Basedow


Matthew E. White

11pm, Mohawk Outdoor
White's somber, soulful croon synthesizes a mellow pop and groovy R&B vibe that seems contradictory to his large, bearded presence. 2012 debut Big Inner, crafted by his Spacebomb recording collective, unloaded adventurous funk rhythms to match the Richmond, Va.-based songwriter's eclectic and cosmic vision, but this year's follow-up, Fresh Blood, proves both more intricate and reflective without compromising his signature swirling sound. – Doug Freeman


In Tall Buildings

11pm, the Hideout
Backed by his University of Michigan education in jazz and sound recording, Erik Hall sprinkles those studies into his eclectic chamber pop. Recording between his home studio and a rural Michigan farmhouse, the Chicago-based songwriter played every instrument on his sophomore output, February's Driver, released on local label Western Vinyl, which hosts Thursday's showcase. – Neph Basedow


Worldwide

11:30pm, Soho Lounge
Los Angeles-born, San Antonio-reared Michael Parker returns to Austin after a stellar set at last year's Weird City Hip-Hop Festival, preceded by two consecutive South by Southwest performances. In 2012, the rapper, now 29, dropped a pair of projects, Ga$ Money and As the World Turns, the latter chopped and screwed by OG Ron C and DJ Candlestick. – Neph Basedow


8th Grader

11:45pm, Cheer Up Charlies
This baby-making music project of San Francisco singer and producer Jayson Martinovich is what happens when millennials realize that Ginuwine and Jodeci were actually really dope. 8th Grader takes you back to middle school memories of awkward make-out sessions and careless love via synth-heavy R&B: "The feeling is slowly fading/ It's all we can do to keep the fire burning." (Also Sat., 12mid, Cedar Street Courtyard) – Thomas Fawcett


Danay Suarez

12mid, Flamingo Cantina
Cuban songstress Danay Suarez is something of a shape-shifter. She can float over the top of dubbed-out tropical rhythms as she does with jazzy vocals on "Flores," or flip verbal acrobatics like on the down-tempo hip-hop of "Yo Aprendi." Expect the Havana native to offer un poco de todo on her debut album Palabras Man­u­ales due later this year. – Thomas Fawcett


Total Unicorn
Total Unicorn

Total Unicorn

12mid, Red Eyed Fly
This one-horned splay of garishly gleeky sights and sounds will leave your senses spazzing. Ed Hall/Pong drummer Lyman Hardy composes crypto-electronic fascinations while visualist Stephen Hal Fishman constructs a sugar-high backdrop of colorful, post-consumerist absurdities. Choreographer Lindsey Taylor adds human form and movement despite donning a unicorn head. In 2014, the artfully hilarious trio toured Europe behind appropriately-titled EP debut, Horny. – Greg Beets


BP Fallon

12mid, Saxon Pub
Irish sprite BPF went from a lifetime behind the scenes with Bolan, Thunders, Zeppelin to a shamanic performer. Now a SXSW fixture promoting his second LP, Saustex's Live in Texas, Fallon weaves innate beat poetry atop mostly acoustic blues from the guitars of Joe "King" Carrasco, Danny B. Harvey, and Aaron Lee Tasjan. – Tim Stegall


Sam Outlaw

12mid, St. David's Historic Sanctuary
A South Dakota cowboy transplanted to L.A., Sam Outlaw might seem like an awkward TV pilot premise, but he comes by his throwback country sound and moniker honestly. (Outlaw is actually his mother's maiden name.) Last year's self-released debut EP showcased the songwriter's smooth but aching twang and casually shuffling style, while expected 2015 full-length enlists My Morning Jacket's Bo Koster and Dawes' Taylor Gold­smith. (Also: Sat, 9pm, Swan Dive) – Doug Freeman


Skepta

12mid, Gypsy Lounge
London grime veteran Skepta (Joseph Adenuga) has managed to outlast (and outlive) most of his rivals. Originally a DJ/producer, he began rapping in 2005 after the disbandment of the Meridian Crew, which included younger brother JME (Jamie Adenuga.) Co-founder of collective/label Boy Better Know, he's evolved into straightforward hip-hop, most notably on 2012 mixtape Blacklisted. He has apparently been in the studio with Kanye West, assisting on the upcoming So Help Me God. – Kahron Spearman


Surly Gates

12mid, 720 Club Patio
Though fitting nicely in with the Lone Star State's psychedelic tradition, Austin's Surly Gates don't emulate the past with the same tenacity as their pals the Black Angels. On a self-titled EP, the fivesome instead paints acidic colors on a timeless rock chassis, as much Crazy Horse as 13th Floor Elevators. The band celebrates the release of EP number two with its second SXSW showcase in a row. – Michael Toland


Breakfast in Fur
Breakfast in Fur

Breakfast in Fur

12mid, Valhalla
Dropping a debut full-length just last month, the New Paltz, N.Y., band initially began as a solo bedroom recording endeavor of founder Dan Wolfe, who quickly plucked four additions to round out the psych-slanted dream-pop quintet. With only one EP preceding February's Flyaway Garden, the group's fresh sound yields promise that defies its limited repertoire. – Neph Basedow


Reptar

12:10am, 405 Club
Borrowing its moniker from the beloved green dinosaur in Rugrats, this erudite Athens, Ga., quartet puts the pop paradigm through multiple stress tests. Rusted Eighties techno-determinism, herky-jerky progressions, high-pitched vocal anxiety, and sweet strands of romanticism get deconstructed and cobbled back together with chewing gum and baling wire. Lurid Glow, their new second album, reconciles the tension with artful panache. – Greg Beets


La Inedita

1am, Russian House
Not many bands from any country create their own styles of music. La Inedita, who hail from Lima, Peru, claim to do just that by blending chicha (the Peruvian take on cumbia), dancehall, hip-hop, rock, and ragga and calling it Chichamuffin. That's also the name of the sixpiece's debut album, available for free download at its website. (Also: Sat. 8pm, Flamingo Cantina) – Michael Toland


Sunflower Bean

1am, BD Riley's
New York art-psych trio Sunflower Bean certainly looks the part with a Paisley Underground refugee on guitar, a mustachioed longhair drummer, and a fashion model bassist. Remarkably well-poised for a band that's only been around since 2013, they rocket back and forth between black light basement sludge rock, white-hot fuzz-pop, and skyward ethereality. Their debut EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets, overflows with multidimensional promise. – Greg Beets


Max Capote
Max Capote

Max Capote

1am, Javelina
"The dandy of rock," Max Capote takes the varied musical traditions of his native Uruguay and twists them to his own ends. The singer's playful takes on bossa nova, salsa, and rock & roll put him in the SXSW spotlight a couple of years ago, also earning him a Best New Artist nomination from the Latin Grammys. His latest, Aperitivo de Mova, hit U.S. shores last year. (Also: Fri., 12mid, Red Eyed Fly) – Michael Toland


Chihiro Yamazaki+ Route14band

1am, Elephant Room
Tokyo trumpeter Chihiro Yamazaki may come from a jazz background, but the music she makes with her group Route14band is more Chuck Mangione than Clark Terry. Over the course of five CDs, including last year's World of Sound, the quintet perfected a vision called "singing instruments," which earned it a past SXSW showcase and an invite to the Toronto International Jazz Festival. – Michael Toland

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Kevin Curtin, April 3, 2015

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SXSW Picks & Sleepers, SXSW Music 2015

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