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Saturday SXSW Picks

March 18, 2016, Music

Grupo Fantasma

7pm, SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake
Austin's reigning ninepiece orchestra Grupo Fantasma blends Tejano, cumbia, stirring soul, and funk, for what will surely contend as the Festival's most energetic set. 2015 powerhouse Problemas, produced to stellar effect by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, is the group's sixth LP and first since the onetime Prince backers and GZA collaborators' 2010 Grammy-winning El Existential. The sound's no longer experimental or genre-busting, but simultaneously organic and refined. – Kahron Spearman

Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones

8pm, Central Presbyterian Church
After spearheading the Thompson Family album in 2014 – long-awaited reunion of its organizer's parents, Richard & Linda Thompson, plus various siblings – London-born scion Teddy, 40, found himself freed up for a proposition from Washington state power-popper Kelly Jones. The pair's country-style duets LP, Little Windows, now wins similar hearts. "We wanted to write ... songs that could stand next to those of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant," Thompson told Rolling Stone. – Raoul Hernandez

Judy Collins & Ari Hest

9pm, Central Presbyterian Church
Folk music royalty Judy Collins began her career in 1959. A contemporary of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan who she first brought to popular attention, she's won Grammys, and gave Stephen Sondheim his first Top 10 hit, "Send in the Clowns." Her most recent release, Strangers Again, features appearances by Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Glen Hansard, and young folksinger Ari Hest. – Jim Caligiuri

Jad Fair

9pm, the Hideout
Co-founder of the indomitable Half Japanese, Jad Fair is inseparable from the evolution of lo-fi as both a musical assignation and philosophy. The 42-year-old band's latest, Perfect, wraps Austin-based Fair's unique skew around universal notions of romance and perseverance. His solo work includes collaborations with John Zorn, Moe Tucker, and Daniel Johnston. 1989's Fair/Johnston effort It's Spooky remains a high-water mark for both. – Greg Beets

The Dumplings

10pm, Townsend
Pierogi by any other name, Justyna Swies and Kuba Karas have "taken Poland by storm," according to our Warsaw correspondent, taking home the Polish Grammy – the Fryderyk (as in Chopin) – for the duo's effervescent electro debut, 2014 Warner Music hit No Bad Days. November follow-up Sea You Later introduces rain to the rainbows, the instant comeliness of "Blue Flower" comparing to Beach House, only hookier. – Raoul Hernandez

Karriem Riggins

10pm, Empire Garage
As a jazz drummer, Karriem Riggins has worked with everyone from Donald Byrd and Milt Jackson to Paul McCartney. As a hip-hop producer, the Detroit beatsmith has aided the likes of Erykah Badu, Slum Village, and Common. His Stones Throw debut Alone Together fuses 34 sublime short instrumentals. If you claim to love Dilla, don't miss Karriem Riggins. – Thomas Fawcett

Amplified Heat

10pm, Velveeta Room
Brothers Jim, Gian, and Chris Ortiz mix a rich ragbag of regional influence and life experience into their rock cauldron. To their innate Colombian cultural influence, the Houston-reared siblings toss Deep Purple riffs, stoner psychedelia, and ZZ Top's Texas-centric blues boogie. The longtime Austinites debuted via 2004's In for Sin. – Neph Basedow

Ghost Wolves

10pm, BD Riley's
Ghost Wolves tore through SXSW last year with fuzz-gnashing post-blues & roll. Ready for a repeat? 2014 LP Man, Woman, Beast caught the local duo, comprised of Carley and Jonny Wolf, hamming out pulsating, tough, messy rock without frills, akin to some of Jack White's earlier recording projects. Carley's sweet, singsong voice pierces through the skuzzy sound. – Libby Webster

Ninet Tayeb

10pm, Scoot Inn
Ninet Tayeb blips radar outside her native Israel due to her participation in former Porcupine Tree leader Steven Wilson's solo album Hand. Cannot. Erase. The widescreen rocker, who sings in both Hebrew and English, is four albums deep, with the most recent overseen by Arctic Monkeys producer Mike Crossey. She readies her fifth LP for world domination, preceded by the single "Child." – Michael Toland

Homeboy Sandman

10:45pm, Empire Garage
It's all a game for Angel Del Villar, the melodic Queens MC known as Homeboy Sandman, who stacks genius-level bars inside clever and conversational flows. Long a standout in New York's underground scene, he burst through with 2010's The Good Sun, then secured a deal with Stones Throw Records and unleashed a barrage of EPs and two strong full-lengths. Follow-up Kindness for Weakness is slated for May. – Kahron Spearman

Linda Gail Lewis

11pm, Continental Club
Riding high on recent Lanark Records release Hard Rockin' Woman, recent Austin transplant Linda Gail Lewis busies herself showing the world that her older brother – Jerry Lee Lewis – isn't the only member of the family capable of destroying a piano with otherworldly boogie-woogie chops. She's also a fine, capable songwriter, and possibly a better singer than the Killer. – Tim Stegall

Author & Punisher

11pm, Swan Dive Patio
The industrial apocalypse is upon us. One-man electronic inferno Tristan Shone, aka Author & Punisher, secures his position as the new Justin Broadrick with 2015's Melk en Honing, a swirling sandstorm that blends Skinny Puppy, Land of Rape and Honey-era Ministry, and Neurosis. Any survivors of this San Diegan's live show knows the unreplicated majesty of his self-engineered music machines, more locomotive than any store-bought instrument. – Richard Whittaker

Soul Asylum

12mid, Scoot Inn
1992 Grave Dancers Union single "Runaway Train" launched this Minneapolis band from underground punks to mainstream grunge moguls. Austin versed, the alt-rock foursome first played locally in 1987, at Liberty Lunch. Songs on Clerks and Chasing Amy soundtracks, plus formerly dreadlocked frontman Dave Pirner's Reality Bites bit part, the Nineties clocked SA's reign. This month brings the Pirner-only Minnesotans' 11th LP, Change of Fortune. – Neph Basedow

Wild Child

12mid, St. David's Historic Sanctuary
Local septet Wild Child's lovely melodies don't trumpet heartbreak, but their indie folk grows more and more beloved for the discrepancy between its swoony musicality and wounded lyrics, especially third LP Fools. Effortless chemistry, onstage and on record, between lead singer and fiddle phenom Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins wins over the indie-folk set every time. – María Núñez

Bad Luck Jonathan

12mid, Saxon Pub
Keeping up with Jon Langford's multiple incarnations and projects remains a full-time job. Whether with the Mekons, Waco Brothers, Pine Valley Cosmonauts, or multiple other outfits, Langford unloads a distinctly identifiable blast of rock & roots punk. Bad Luck Jonathan, his latest quintet featuring members of Waco Brothers and Whiskeytown, melds those personalities into a fierce and unhinged live show both playful and blistering. – Doug Freeman

Snarky Puppy

12:30am, Cedar Street Courtyard
Born in the North Texas music haven of Denton, Snarky Puppy's eclectic jazz and funk-inflected compositions have now garnered a pair of Grammys as the outfit has become one of the most notable, if wide-ranging, troupes in contemporary music. Last year's exceptional collaboration with the Dutch Metropole Orkest, Sylva, topped Billboard's Jazz charts, while their new Family Dinner Vol. 2 LP runs an intoxicating gamut of global grooves. – Doug Freeman

Har Mar Superstar

1am, Cheer Up Charlies
Hard to believe Earth's Mightiest Soul Man Whose Name Isn't Charles Bradley is a pudgy white man born Sean Tillmann in 1978. Since his 1999 coming out as Har Mar Superstar, Tillmann's gone from mining the punk-driven electro path of Peaches to full-blown R&B powerhouse, complete with a horn section and the whole nine yards. New LP Best Summer Ever is a tour de force. – Tim Stegall

A$AP Rocky

TBA
For his latest trick, Harlem's A$AP Rocky has picked up and moved to London, and assumed his rightful place as tastemaker/culture disruptor extraordinaire. Prior to such permanent jet-setting, "Pretty Flacko" put out Billboard No. 1 At.Long.Last.A$AP, one of 2015's best in any genre. The brash and flashy MC/A$AP Mob leader has taken on other business ventures, including fashion collaborations with Raf Simons and becoming the face of Guess Jeans. – Kahron Spearman

Chance The Rapper

TBA, Stubb's
When he's not helping Kanye West get his shit together, Chicago's Chance the Rapper is quietly overthrowing the rap game. Lacing in just enough whimsy to make him completely relatable to even the hip-hop adverse, he's earned his cred through a shockingly long list of collaborations and his 2013 stunner Acid Rap. Little brother Taylor Bennett also showcases this SX. – Abby Johnston

Metro Boomin

TBA, Stubb's
Even if you're tangentially connected to today's rap scene, you've heard his production, and you've heard him before each track: "Metro Boomin want some more!" The 22-year-old trap wunderkind once known as Leland Wayne has made himself into one of the most desirable names in rap, producing tracks for Drake, Future, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and many more. In 2013, he released 19 & Boomin, his first solo project. Most recently, he was listed as executive producer for Drake and Future's What a Time to Be Alive mixtape. – Kahron Spearman

Oshun

TBA, Barracuda Backyard
Oshun's recent performance at East Austin outpost Sahara Lounge was a revelation. The NYC duo of Niambi Sala and Thandiwe (both D.C. natives) mesmerized with a blend of soulful spiritualism and fly rhymes. The group's moniker pays homage to the Yoruba water goddess while their songs celebrate womanhood, blackness, mindfulness, and spirituality. Hard to believe neither of them is old enough to buy a beer. – Thomas Fawcett

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