Listen to Austin 360 Radio

SXSW Music: Friday critics’ picks

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 14, 2014

In between your bold moves and free beer, you want to hear some music. Here are some picks from our team; as always, our suggestions cannot be contained. More .


8 p.m. Christian Tiger School: Truly ground-breaking, mind-melting electronic music from Cape Town, South Africa. (Vulcan Gas Company)

9 p.m. SZA: The first female artist signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, home to Kendrick Lamar, oozes sensuality and soul. (Hype Hotel)

10 p.m. Tinariwen: The nomadic guitar virtuosos who introduced the world to the enthralling desert blues of Mali. (Speakeasy)

11:20 p.m. Perfect P: With only a four-track EP and a demo to their unprintable name, the noise punk outfit from Syracuse, N.Y., set the Internet on fire at CMJ. Watch them skyrocket at SXSW. (Red 7 Patio)

11:45 p.m. Flying Lotus + Captain Murphy + Thundercat: If you plan to catch Nas’ headline set at 1 a.m., show up early to catch the second half of this set (starts at 10:45 p.m.), which should be radically experimental and amazing. (Austin Music Hall)

1 a.m. Har Mar Superstar: The unlikely sex symbol R&B alter ego of Minneapolis underground lifer Sean Tillman. (Swan Dive Patio)


8 p.m. Howe Gelb: The never-predictable Giant Sand ringleader pulled a big surprise with a New West label deal for his latest record. (Continental Club)

9 p.m. Big Phony: Born Robert Choy in New York, he now lives in South Korea and plays beautifully low-key songs that are much more real than his stage name suggests. (Stephen F’s Bar)

10 p.m. Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas: A young and hungry rock band from Detroit fronted by distinctive, soulful vocalist Hernandez. (Palm Door on Sixth)

11 p.m. Kurt Nilsen: The smarter pick is probably Rodney Crowell at Gatsby’s, but curiosity about the Norwegian Idol winner’s rare U.S. appearance is too tempting to pass up. (Rowdys)

Midnight. Los Lonely Boys: Lest we forget that these guys were easily the biggest band in Austin not long ago, their new album is first-class pop that serves as a convincing reminder. (Bungalow)

1 a.m. Aaron Lee Tasjan: A hired gun with the likes of Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ and BP Fallon, Tasjan has been a secret weapon in NYC guitar rock and pop for several years. (Rowdys)


8 p.m. Foster the People: Isn’t it a shame that “Pumped Up Kicks” is the single that went huge? (Butler Park Stage at Lady Bird Lake)

9 p.m. Small Black: Chillwavers with an overwhelming romantic stillness. They’re what U2 would sound like sleepwalking. (Red Eyed Fly)

9:35 p.m. Speedy Ortiz: Whipsmart alt-rock that sounds as ’90s as a DVD box set of “Daria.” (Hotel Vegas Patio)

10 p.m. The Griswolds: Their 2013 EP sounds like, at various times, Local Natives, Waaves, Walk the Moon and Family of the Year. Mostly, I just want to find out what sound ends up sticking. (Mohawk indoor)

11:10 p.m. Mary Lambert: A classy venue for the classy song stylings of the lady from the “Same Love” chorus. Worth a shot, if only for the novelty. (Victorian Room at The Driskill)

Midnight. Washed Out: The reigning champ of cascading, lush synthwave. Grab your passport, because you’re about to be transported. (Bar 96)

1 a.m. Sage Francis: You will not have a chance to see a more lyrically ferocious emcee. (512)


8 p.m. La Pulpafonic: Guaranteed to be a dance party, these electropop artists infuse Colombian folk music with their modern electronic sound. (Flamingo Cantina)

9:45 p.m. Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich + Fussible: Bringing a uniquely bicultural blend of electronic beats fused with Tijuana-inspired norteño music, this DJ duo creates a must-see show that often includes a backdrop of visuals and a full backing band. (Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center)

10 p.m. Kumbia Queers: Sprinkle some punk on your cumbia rhythms and you get a unique sound, making the six women of Kumbia Queers a band to watch. (Flamingo Cantina)


6 p.m. Natalia Clavier: A happy hour opportunity to catch Clavier, who merges jazz, pop, and more, sings in both English and Spanish, and is known for fronting Thievery Corporation. (Wyndham Garden Hotel)

8:30 p.m. Tony Molina: Bay Area punk veteran bridges pop and hardcore as he flies solo from new band Caged Animal. (Red 7 Patio)

9:35 p.m. Speedy Ortiz: Touring relentlessly, Northampton, Mass., co-ed foursome fuses melody and dissonance to create “signature abrasive clarity.” Frontwoman Sadie Dupuis picks up where Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus left off. (Hotel Vegas Patio)

11 p.m. Deap Vally: Feminist and face-melting: two great tastes that go so great together. Deap Vally killed to a small-ish crowd at ACL Fest last year, wringing more power out of one guitar, drums, and fringe than most bands twice their size. Here’s hoping word gets out and this LA duo blows up. (Old School Bar & Grill) (Agonizingly booked in the same timeslot: Ana Tijoux at Buffalo Billiards.)

12 a.m. Those Darlins: Nashville’s darlings could be as huge as HAIM. Check out “Screws Get Loose” on Youtube and just try to keep it out of your head for the rest of the day. (Shotguns)

1 a.m. The Front Bottoms: This acoustic indie-punk group from New Jersey inspires serious devotion from fans. Learn some songs in advance and sing along. (Valhalla)


8 p.m. Wild Cub: Wild Cub’s single “Thunder Clatter” is the kind of bright ’80s synth pop destined to get stuck in your head on repeat for hours. (Stubb’s)

9 p.m. Hundred Waters: Hundred Waters’ shimmering indie pop walks the line between ethereal folk and glitchy electronic — think SBTRKT meets Sigur Rós. (Central Presbyterian Church)

10 p.m. Chela: The Australian female vocalist and Goldroom collaborator makes tropical-sounding electro-pop. (The Madison)

11:30 p.m. Temples: The UK buzz band brings Tame Impala-like psych rock to Texas as they prepare to break big. (Bar 96)

Midnight. ASTR: If Rihanna and Chvrches got together, the end result wouldn’t be far off from New York duo ASTR’s guilt-free pop. (Blackheart)

1 a.m. Gardens & Villa: Flute and synths will collide on the dance floor when this California-based indie act closes a hip showcase at Red Eyed Fly featuring Angel Olsen and Small Black. (Red Eyed Fly)


8 p.m. The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger: It’s checking out Sean Lennon’s latest project or street gyros. These are the kind of irrational choices the weathered South By journeyman must be mature enough to avoid. (Palm Door)

9 p.m. 424: File this under “you probably won’t see this again this year.” 424 is a Puerto Rican rock band that’s big in Mexico and co-signed by Warp Magazine. I’m going in cold. (Blackheart)

10 p.m. Foxboro Hot Tubs: Green Day’s hotel fake name vanity project is one I haven’t seen. But if it’s an excuse for the band to divert from insipid operas about the times, I’m all about it. (Brazos Hall)

11:10 p.m. Paul Wall: The Houston rappers routinely perform this week and are by now taken for granted. Paul Wall will perform alongside several well-wishers and some off-the-books cameramen. But the guy is so charming and good that seeing him return to the conference that made him a star 10 years ago seems like a fitting tribute. (Scoot Inn)

12:30 a.m. Young The Giant: This SoCal radio rock band is closer with every loud LP to something special. The guy sings about fish in the sea and cough syrup and sadness with blind earnestness. Curious to see what it can do live. (Stubb’s)

1 a.m. Yelawolf: 2010’s “Trunk Muzic” was all Southeastern flair — Cadillacs, catfish, crystal meth. Part OutKast, part intergalactic lover, Alabama’s Yelawolf was then corrupted by the bad rap rock ideas of fellow white icon, Eminem. I hope he’s here to atone, return to his roots. (Scoot Inn)