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SXSW Music: Wednesday critics’ picks

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 11, 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. Greta Svabo Bech: One of the most haunting voices in the festival comes from one of the most obscure locals, an island nation off the coast of Denmark. (18th Floor at Hilton Garden Inn)

9 p.m. Bipolar Sunshine: Adio Marchant’s vocals soar above mixes that blend elements of reggae, electronic dance music, R&B and upbeat Brit pop. (Hype Hotel)

10:15 p.m. Grand Analog: A Canadian hip-hop crew that embraces their throwback sound with melodic hooks and a feel-good vibe. (Friends)

11 p.m. Rittz: The misfit rapper from suburban Atlanta carves his own path, destroying haters with a brash, shotgun flow. (The Main)

Midnight Aloe Blacc: He’s already a soul sensation in Europe; this is Blacc’s year to break stateside. (Clive Bar)

1 a.m. Angelo Moore and the Brand New Step: A few years back, Fishbone upstaged headliners the Wu-Tang Clan at an Austin Music Hall show. The insane, 9,000 watt performance of Angelo Moore played no small part in the takedown. (Flamingo Cantina)


8 p.m. Youngbloods Choir at Austin Music Awards: The next generation lays claim to the throne in this group set including the kids of Jon Dee Graham, Will and Charlie Sexton, Sara Hickman and even SXSW founding director Roland Swenson. (Convention Center Austin Ballroom)

9 p.m. Haden Triplets: Old-time country from sisters Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden — yes, actually triplets. (St. David’s Historic Sanctuary)

10 p.m. St. Paul & the Broken Bones: Seemingly bookish, unassuming Alabamans until they start wailing on horns and strings and frontman Paul Janeway starts wailing away. (Tap Room at the Market)

11 p.m. Billy Joe Shaver: If only because the pairing of the outlaw artist and the name of the venue is priceless. BYO bulletproof jacket. (Shotguns)

Midnight. X (11:45 p.m.): John Doe with new Austin resident Exene and the gang; they reunite often these days, but it’s always worth going. (Mohawk outside)

1 a.m. Jerry David DeCicca: If you’re not blowing out the end of the night with Bright Light Social hour at Holy Mountain Backyard, wind down with an acoustic set by the Black Swans leader at this hidden gem of a venue. (Stephen F’s Bar)


8 p.m. Glass Animals: Spare, moody dreampop. Well, maybe nightmare pop. (Haven)

9 p.m. Leopold & His Fiction: The hardest working moustache at SXSW, serving up a sexy rock strut that would make Jack White red in the cheeks. (Karma Lounge)

10 p.m. The Kooks: The kind of stylish, slightly twee Britpop that got us all through the mid-2000s with wistful smiles on our faces. (The Parish)

10 p.m. Wanda Jackson: The 76-year-old Queen of Rockabilly herself. The next best thing to seeing Elvis during SXSW — which is saying a lot, because Elvis’ daughter is also on the lineup. (St. David’s Historic Sanctuary)

11 p.m. Diarrhea Planet: Oh, like you have a better name for a punk band? (Lamberts)

Midnight. Blondfire: Indie-pop band that’s cracked the radio-ready code. Think Metric, but without the feeling you’re about to be stabbed. (The Velveeta Room)

12:50 a.m. Against Me!: New album “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” is an emotionally complex gut-puncher. They are riding a high in 2013 that might be worth getting swept up in. (Red 7 patio)


8 p.m. Señor Faraón: For the second time Uruguayan artists will come to SXSW to share diverse music from one of South America’s most underrated countries. Start your evening with the smooth, atmospheric music of singer/songwriter Señor Faraón, then stick around for what promises to be great night. (Speakeasy)

9 p.m. Los PetitFellas: Jazz, funk, hip-hop, soul outfit from Colombia knows how to keep a party going. (North Door)

10 p.m. Saidah Baba Talibah: She’s been described as Toronto’s soul-funk diva, and her fierce voice captivates all who listen. (512 Rooftop)

11 p.m. Cuatro Pesos de Propina: The Uruguayan rockers help put the small country on the musical map with a sound inspired by the country’s roots music. (Speakeasy)

12:30 a.m. Federico Aubele: The Argentine singer/songwriter creates cinematic electronic music that can be haunting, sensual and always moving. (St. David’s Bethell Hall)

1 a.m. Hablan Por La Espada: Punk/rock outfit closes the Sounds from Uruguay showcase with an edgy and fun spirit that captures Uruguayan music styles such as candombe. (Speakeasy)


8 p.m. Milo & Otis: “Look at your life/look at the joy you give.” Thus sings Jamila Woods (the Milo to Owen Hill’s Otis) on blissful track “Joy.” Start SXSW night two with this Chicago roots duo and expect a good mood to carry into Thursday morning. (Lamberts)

9 p.m. Pile: The Boston punk underground already understands: Pile’s live show consumes audiences in the very best way. (Half Step) (Alternate pick for fans of French dance pop: La Femme at Lucille.)

10:30 p.m. Mirah: A prolific veteran of the Olympia, Wash., indie scene of the 1990s, Mirah is now based in Brooklyn and adored by Girls Rock Camp communities the world over. Catch her here or at several other official or unofficial sets throughout the week. (St. David’s Bethell Hall)

11:50 p.m. Touche Amore: This frenetic Los Angeles rock band absolutely slayed at the Mohawk last month. Leading into headliners Against Me!, expect an emotional, epic, exhausted end to your Wednesday. (Red 7 Patio)

12:50 a.m. Against Me!: Against Me! is the band of the fest. Any fest. Just go bask in Laura Jane Grace’s unparalleled songwriting, contagious energy, fierce authenticity, and downright punk greatness. (Red 7 Patio)


7:50 p.m. Perfect P: Raucous New York state punk rock revivalists jumpstart Wednesday night with teeth-kicking hardcore at an early evening set for NPR’s showcase. (Stubb’s)

9 p.m. Young Summer: Smooth, summery pop from singer-songwriter Bobbie Allen, who croons over Beach House-like synths. (The Iron Bear)

10 p.m. GRMLN: Yoodoo Park’s ’90s-facing punk pop and surf rock should provide a satisfying set for fans of Cloud Nothings and Wavves. (Karma Lounge)

11 pm. Mutual Benefit: This psychedelic indie folk act produces goosebump-inducing lush love songs for fans of Sufjan Stevens and Animal Collective. (Hype Hotel)

Midnight. Future Islands: New wave act Future Islands is the kind of band impossible to ignore on the stage, thanks to frontman Samuel Herring’s gripping, powerful vocals. (Haven)

1 a.m. Chromeo: The first three singles from the electro-funk duo Chromeo’s upcoming “White Women” LP are among the catchiest tunes the Canadian lads have produced to date. (Hype Hotel)


8 p.m. Sylvan Esso: One of my favorite songs of early 2014 is “Coffee,” a rainy day, bell-laden electro pop gem. It’s the kind of signature win that guarantees this Durham, N.C., duo will leave a dent on the year. (Hype Hotel)

9 p.m. Kelis: The R&B pop star is generally revered because she writes great songs with the kind of attitude and swagger that makes Pink look like Willa Ford. (Stubb’s)

10 p.m. GRMLN: It took me three strums of “Teenage Rhythm” to buy into fist-pumping romance. Do you have two ears and a heart? (Karma Lounge)

10:20 p.m. Polica: My hipster friends had this all over their best of 2013 playlists. Truth told, I’m not entirely sure what this is beyond the vitals: Minneapolis, synthpop. (Dickies)

11 p.m. St. Vincent: For critics on hand with the very real responsibility to dig and stumble upon, South By Southwest is like James Franco movies — “one for them, one for me.” (Stubb’s)

Midnight. CYMBALS: This is confident, beautifully penned pop dipped into the ‘80s. It should be deplorable for its also ran sonic palette, but “The Natural World” and “You Are” bring this year’s “The Age of Fracture” two monster potential singles. (Maggie Mae’s)

12:50 a.m. Against Me!: One of this year’s most striking and important records, Laura Jane Grace’s confessional and open-hearted songwriting on “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” jettisons past the band’s earlier, Bush-era left-wing antics in terms of sobering gut-checks. (Red 7 Patio)

1 a.m. Gunplay: Miami’s Gunplay is harboring one of those oft-delayed-because-the-label-isn’t-sure-how-to-sell-it classic rap albums that I can’t wait to hear. In the meantime, we have half-a-year-old singles like “Bible on the Dash” to tide us over. (Scoot Inn)