Wednesday SXSW Sleepers


The Tontons (Photo by Julie Worsham/thetontons.com)

Covet (with Yvette Young)

8pm, the Hideout
Virtuoso fretwork making a comeback in the hands of players who favor imagination over masturbation, San Jose's Covet flies like an eagle instead of stomping like a dinosaur. Leader Yvette Young caresses her guitar with spiderlike finesse, careful precision, and a light melodic touch, while her rhythm section keeps her afloat. New EP Currents establishes a prog/jazz sound Covet can call its own. – Michael Toland

Khali Haat

9pm, Russian House
Despite its sociopolitical origins, Afrobeat has become an international musical language. Austin's Khali Haat thus becomes the latest proponent, boasting a sure hand of its distinctive arrangements and mastering that all-important groove. Led by guitarist Eric Bohlke, the band layers melodic pop atop requisite rhythms for a sound more Poi Dog Pondering than Vampire Weekend on its three singles. – Michael Toland

Sur Oculto

9pm, the Hideout
The power in power trio doesn't always come from guitars. Argentinian trio Sur Oculto uses keyboards to pump up the heavy with a fire that sounds like Atomic Rooster gone jazz. The instrumental threesome hasn't released an album since 2013, when they reissued their 2002 debut, but they have three albums with which to hip American ears to the fusion their countrymen already know. – Michael Toland

The Tontons

10pm, Swan Dive Patio
One of Houston's favorite bands, the Tontons remain a fivepiece led by dynamic frontwoman Asli Omar. Road warriors throughout the South, their brand of Texas rock struts and rumbles. They've been working on a follow-up to acclaimed 2014 release Make Out King and Other Stories of Love. – Jim Caligiuri

Kay Odyssey

10pm, TenOak
Austin's Kay Odyssey summons the uncertain past with faraway vocal warbles and late-Eighties collegiate pop fuzz that recalls castaways like Antietam and Scrawl. Vocalist/guitarist Kristina Boswell weaves backhanded theatricality into her delivery, creating a slow-moving wave of emotion that ultimately becomes spellbinding on numbers like "Summer of Our Love" and "In Our Time." The quartet's 2015 full-length debut, Chimera, was an under-the-radar delight. – Greg Beets

Caveman

10:15pm, Sidewinder Outside
Caveman recently announced its third LP, Otero War, and a spring tour supporting Glaswegians Frightened Rabbit. That should help keep them out of the "another Brooklyn band" category after a pair of 2011/2013 releases brought on a crush of accolades, then relative radio silence. Still, by hearkening back to Wilco, the indie rock purists have proved their might in a world that can't pinpoint "indie rock" anymore. – Abby Johnston

The Statesboro Revue

10:30pm, Saxon Pub
Statesboro Revue imbues its jamming roots style with eclecticism, but with last year's third LP, Jukehouse Revival, the Central Texas outfit found a match to the versatile vox of frontman Stewart Mann. Gritty and smooth, Mann slides through bluesy rock rhythms, Seventies country-folk balladry, and guitar-ripped Southern rock anthems that meld into an energetic live set quickly garnering attention.– Doug Freeman

Oberhofer

10:30pm, Speakeasy Kabaret
Colorful indie-poppers Oberhofer, equipped with a glockenspiel (an instrument rarely used in indie rock), flourish their New Wave psychedelia with innocent "oohs" and Brad Oberhofer's strong vox. October disc Chronovision overflows summerlike fun and carelessness, with just a shot of angst.  – María Núñez

The Dirty Nil

10:55pm, Bungalow
Canada's TDN can't make up its mind – noisy punk-pop band? Punky noise pop? Poppy noise punk? The Ontario trio has a blast twisting its influences into the screeching ball of twentysomething rock rage that is its debut album Higher Power. Their rep as a fierce live act precedes them. (Also: Thu., 8:40pm, Buffalo Billiards)– Michael Toland

Cabezas Flutuantes

11pm, Russian House
From Brazil's tropical and Latin strands, Cabezas Flutuantes doesn't emulate the tradition into pastiche. Utilizing subtle synths, brooding strings, light theremin, and even handmade instruments, the Belo Horizonte crew whips up an eccentric brew of native sounds heard in 2013 debut Registro and forthcoming Experimental Macumba. – Alejandra Ramirez

Hooton Tennis Club

11:15pm, Barracuda
From Liverpool but hardly mop tops, Hooton Tennis Club welcome the uninitiated to the New Wave of British Power Pop! These four charmers behave like the only records worth owning were made entirely by Teenage Fan Club and Big Star, injecting melodic guitar crunch with a refreshing shot of candy-coated energy.– Tim Stegall

Geographer

11:20pm, Speakeasy Kabaret
Michael Deni has a great origin story: He escaped New Jersey and bolted for San Francisco, found a synthesizer on the street (they're full of them!), and the rest is history. Still, Geographer, the project he created through synth exploration, has largely divorced itself from its native instrument on 2015 album Ghost Modern, relying instead on electronic programming and quirk. – Abby Johnston

Boan

12mid, Trinity Hall
As beatman José Cota (Ssleeperhold) combines analog and digital synths to craft Eighties-flavored aural backbones, Boan partner Mariana Saldaña slithers around the stage, hair flipping and hip shaking like Austin's version of Selena. You know, if Selena had decided to go into noir electro-pop instead of Tejano.– Abby Johnston

The Crookes

12mid, ScratcHouse Backyard
Lucky Ones, the Crookes' fourth LP on their own Anywhere Records, proved Sheffield's finest as veterans of the shimmering, uptempo indie rock that emerged from post-post UK Britpop. Frontman and lyricist Daniel Hopewell's rough-edged love songs ("Play Dumb") are backed by Adam Crofts' frantic percussion.– Marc Savlov

Sheer Mag

12:05am, Mohawk Indoor
"Between the vacant homes are fancy doorbells wrapped with ribbon and bow," Christina Halladay snarls through the fuzz on "Fan the Flames," a call-to-arms for victims suffering at the hands of hellspawn landlords. Essentially all of the Philly band's two EPs are fight songs in some capacity, a bizarre but wonderful combination of cock-rock guitar riffs and messy punk challenging listeners to do better. – Libby Webster

Monuments

1am, Dirty Dog
Talk about finding the missing piece: After a revolving roster of co- and lead vocalists, 2014's The Amanuensis put newcomer Chris Barretto front and center, adding an accessible sheen to 2012 debut Gnosis' Tool-like tendencies. Remembering the lesson that too may djent bands forget (write a song), the British avant-garde metallers could well fill the prog/pop gap left by Lostprophets' fall from grace.  – Richard Whittaker

Girls Names

1am, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room
Hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland, this jagged post-punk quartet conjures a compelling mix of suspense and warmth on their third album, 2015's Arms Around a Vision. Despite starting life as a twopiece, their sonic pastiche aims for the nosebleed seats. A gift for the grandiose, they recall forebears like Roxy Music and Bauhaus.– Greg Beets

Magic!

1am, Flamingo Cantina
These reggae-pop fusionists might be branded one-hit wonders after their 2013 summer jam had everyone asking why you gotta be so "Rude" like a Caribbean act even though they hail from Canada. On said rude LP, Don't Kill the Magic, they experiment blending post-punk riffs with ska, the outcome being strangely addictive and catchy.– María Núñez

Escondido

1am, Parish
Hailing from Nashville, Escondido evokes Southwest nostalgia amidst swirling guitars, languid reverb, and thunderous horns. On 2013's The Ghost of Escondido and their most recent Walking With a Stranger, Jessica Maros and Tyler James invent pop-crafted melodies mirroring the country essence of their stomping grounds. Echoing Fleetwood Mac's glorious harmonies and Tom Petty's pining Western twang, Escondido covers all the bases.– Alejandra Ramirez

The Lytics

1am, Friends
For old heads who argue there's not enough rapping in rap these days, let the Lytics be the antidote. A fivepiece hip-hop family from Winnipeg (two brothers, their cousin, and a pair of brothers from another mother), the Lytics invoke Nineties favorites like the Roots, Pharcyde, and De la Soul with catchy hooks and MCs stacking bars on bars on bars.– Thomas Fawcett

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

2016 Sleepers, SXSW Music 2016

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