If you survived the pre-partying (and you better have as we’re just getting started!), then you’ll be out there flooding the streets and back alleys today as we officially kick off this little catastrophe we call SXSW. Wednesday Dayshows are generally the best to catch the bands you really want to see if they are playing, as not all the yahoos have yet arrived in town. Below, we’ve thrown down our top choices of shows that are going on, though we recommend also cherrypicking a few of your must sees and knocking them out today if you can. Among our top picks for Wednesday are (of course) the Midgetmen’s annual SXSW Jump Start party, The Austinist’s teaming with the Windish Agency, Forcefield and Terrorbird’s show at Red 7, and Fat Possum, who are taking over Club DeVille. In fact, the venues look pretty much like our typical Red River weekend rounds, with the exception of the local off-the-grid, but sure to please showcase by those kids over at Skanky Possum. C’mon and jump, you know you wanna.
And here we are again, this ol’ rodeo. Some of us have already got almost a week of SXSW under our sleeves, others are just gearing up for the best part, which is obviously music. This year, the official SXSW showcases extended into Tuesday, because they can, but doesn’t really kick off until Wednesday. Needless to say, though, there are some awesome events going to kick off the music side of the fest, and below our are picks to help you kick off the week right. From this point on, expect awesome music, free booze, and hipsters run amuck in our fair city. We’re not gonna bother with the biggest or most ridiculously branded and sponsored shows, or the official badge crap - we’re just looking for a good time and don’t want to stand in stupid lines. Sorry Fader Fort. So today we kick things off with the amazing and sure to get you sweating Ice Cream Man party at Club DeVille, an awesome showcase at Red 7 that will blow your face off, and the 12th incarnation of everybody’s favorite SXSW starter, the Art Disaster Party at Beauty Bar. Check below for lineups and tastes to get you going.
Over two albums and the past five years, Wiretree has grown from the solo project of Kevin Peroni into one of the emerging acolytes of power-pop in Austin. Behind Peroni’s ranging and easy tenor, the quartet brings touches of the Pernice Brothers and New Pornographers, with a twinge of pedal steel twang and shades of both classic Eighties and contemporary indie pop. It’s a melding of influences and sounds that seems to finally come together in Wiretree’s latest effort, the band’s third LP tentatively titled Make Up, and currently being recorded at Hot Tracks! for a release later this year. You can check out some their new material in their recent ACL Satellite Set, or catch them this Saturday, February 26, at the Hole in the Wall with Digital Antique and The Lennings.
As they say, with a name like the Magnificent Snails, it better be good. Luckily for the local trio, who drops their debut EP, Baby Acid Trips, this week, they brandish a kind of pop flair that manages to be both catchy and continually interesting. With touches of horns and experimental torques, the Snails can ripple with softly gleaming harmonies, bounce with a kind of Vampire Weekend punch of infectiousness and even cut funky, garage-glam with an effective relish. Despite the fact that the trio includes Austin Sound contributor Chris Galis, we still recommend checking them out this Friday, February 18, at Club 1808, for their EP release show with Waldo Wittenmeyer and the Natural. Get a taste of Baby Acid Trips below.
Any conversation about the best new bands in Austin has to include Marmalakes, a trio that on the strength of last year’s debut EP, Wonder Winds, and charmingly buoyant live shows have helped galvanize a scene of unassuming, earnest and impressive young artists. On songs like the anthemic “Vittoria”, the band catches a perfect pop folk-pop hook that shadows elements of Local Natives and even Vampire Weekend, while winding through detailed landscapes with an alliterative laden wit. Marmalakes will be releasing their second EP later this year, but you should catch them as soon as possible, which happens to be this Thursday, February 10 at the Mohawk along with Austin heavy-hitters Fastball, and rising starts Quiet Company.
You might be inclined to write off a band like Not in the Face! simply on the basis of their name, but that would be a mistake. The duo of Jonathan Terrell and Wes Cargal cast raw rock nuggets that can claw and scratch with a garagey abrasiveness, kick dirty roots, and even unload an outright fury of heavy Zeppelin-esque prog that would seem impossible from a two-piece. With Cargal abusing on the drums and Terrell flailing out front with proto-punk intensity, Not in the Face! delivers it direct and untempered. They’ll be playing Club DeVille this Friday, February 4 alongside Crooks and DJ uLOVEi as part of Knuckle Rumbler and From the Mind of Adi’s First Friday Frolic. You can also catch Terrell running his rootsier solo project, JT & the Heartache Tycoons, at the Ghost Room on Saturday the 5th with Frank Smith and Sad Accordions.
Will Patterson’s Sleep Good has blossomed over the past couple of years from a bedroom pop project into a full scale outfit that mirrors the rise of his other work with Bill Baird’s Sunset. The two bands are often on the same bill together, and with good reason; both swim in the psych-pop wake of early Harry Nilsson, effusive and catchy, but not without a good amount of tongue-in-cheek wit that can bite and barb with ease and unexpected turns and experimentation that seem ever evolving in arrangements. Sleep Good dropped two noteworthy albums last year, Skyclimber and the December cassette Strange Vacations, and you can catch the quintet this Friday, January 28, at the Mohawk along with ((Sounder)) and the Denton five-piece Seryn, who will be releasing their debut EP at the show, This is Where We Are.
Rising out of the new pack of young indie bands making an impression, Little Lo might be best considered as splitting the difference between their peers Marmalakes and Mother Falcon, melding the folk-pop of the former with the ensemble energy of the latter. Fronted by the Jeff Mangum-meets-Michael Nau trembling vocals of Ryan McGill, the band can explode with a cathartic abandon of brass and keys and rolling percussion, but just as easily lull with a subtle folk touch that can silence a room. Though looking to release their official debut EP later this year, the outfit has already garnered well-deserved attention for their live shows, and you can experience Little Lo for yourself this Thursday, January 20th as they pack onto the stage at the Cactus Cafe along with the Sour Notes.
Listen to Cowboy and Indian and the aptness of the moniker is readily apparent. Jazz Mills, who dazzled as a backup singer in T Bird in the Breaks, and Jesse Plemons, of Friday Night Lights fame, meld a supple twang with a rootsy grit in duet, adding in Daniel James’ to lay down some funky blues touches on guitar. Though only formed less than a year ago, Mills and Plemons are a natural compliment to one another, and we are excited to see what the trio produces when they release their debut recording later in 2011. You can get a taste of that below with the bluesy “Ledbellies” that they’ve offered up for download, and catch them live as they kick off a big westward tour this Friday, January 14th at Lambert’s.
If the past few years of Austin music have been characterized by a resurgence of psych and garage sounds, then Rayon Beach sits at the perfect conjunction of the two. The trio’s debut EP, The Memory Teeth, was released on vinyl earlier this year by HoZac Records, and offered up a six song shot of trippy, gritty rock that nods to the 13th Floor Elevators while plowing into the fold of contemporary bands like Woven Bones. At times melodically delirious, and at others forcefully blunt in their garage trauma, Rayon Beach taps something primal and pulsing. You can catch them live this Thursday, November 4, for the Austinist’s free Fun Fun Fun Fest pre-party at the Mohawk with their latest installment of Local Music is Sexy, also featuring a heady lineup of TV Torso, Sally Crewe & the Sudden Moves, Watch Out For Rockets, Markov, and Hundred Visions on the outside stage with Rayon Beach, while Bill Baird, Weird Weeds, Sleep Good, Botany, Mutual Benefit, Dana Falconberry, and Amasa Ghana hold down the inside.