First, for those of you from out of town, you might be interested in trying out some local acts. Maybe you won't be able to get into some of the bigger shows - and you just need want to check out some good music away from the crowds. Or you just want to see what all the "Austin music fuss" is about. Here are some of the best Texas has to offer. (Plus, for you out-of-towners, I made a must-see Austin Gowalla tour).
Old 97's - duh - if you frequent this blog, you know that I enjoy some Old 97's and Rhett Miller from time to time. They're from Dallas, but they get to Austin on a pretty regular basis. If you haven't had a chance to see them, catch them here. Their showcase is at Antone's on Thursday at 12:30 am, and then they play the Brooklyn Vegan/Knitting Factory free show at Barbarella on Friday afternoon and the Gibson Guitar Showcase that day as well (Rhett and Murry).
Quiet Company - also duh - yes, you've seen them on this blog, but now take the opportunity to experience the Quiet Company magic firsthand. They play The Marq on Thursday at 11pm. They also play the super cool Awesomest Journalism Party. Ever. during Interactive, plus lots more, so check their website. Hint. They like hugs. So hug them when you see them.
Okkervil River - well, they don't just belong to us anymore, they belong to the world. But I think Okkervil still considers Austin home base. I love this band. Call it indie folk, they put on a great live show, wonderful songs with great lyrics. Apparently, they are one of those few artists that gets more than one showcase. They are on the schedule for Wed at 12:50am at Red 7 Patio and Friday at 1am at Antone's. And at least one party, something at Flamingo Cantina on Friday at 5pm.
Hayes Carll - I also love this man. Talk about clever, smart lyrics. He's of the Texas country genre, and then not, and so completely charming. Great songs, too. He'll be playing from his new one KMAG YOYO. He's at a party at Swan Dive on Wed at 3pm, and his showcase is gonna be cool, at the new Moody Theater on Friday at 9pm.
The Black Angels - I haven't seen them before, but boy do they rock on CD. So, join me in taking this chance to check them out. Love the song "Telephone." Their showcase is at La Zona Rosa on Wed at 11pm. Oh wait, they also play Sat night at Cedar Street at midnight. Then some day things - the day stage in the Conv. Center on Friday at noon and the KEXP showcase at Mellow Johnny's on Thurs. afternoon.
Electric Touch - big fun. They're a rockin' band that's a throwback to the garage era. Great delivery of some fantastic songs. They play Stubbs at 8:30pm on Saturday.
SPEAK - This Austin pop band will have you dancing around, even if you hate dancing. You won't be able to help yourself. Check out the peppy tune Carrie. They are on Saturday at 8pm at Red 7.
Li'l Cap'n Travis - These guys are quintessential Austin. Some of the most talented musicians in town, playing original music you will love. They are of the Hole in the Wall crew, but play Momo's at 10:30pm on Wed for SXSW.
Pink Nasty - probably the best female singer-songwriter in town. She's got an edge that's hard to define, but masks it with sweet vocals.
Tony Scalzo - of the popular band Fastball, Tony is half the legendary Scalzo/Zuniga songwriting duo. Check him out solo, joined by some talented friends.
Future Clouds and Radar - an absolute favorite of mine for years. I've been following Robert Harrison since his days in Cotton Mather. He's an original, has written some of my all-time favorite songs.
Mother Truckers - this high energy country band will blow your mind. It's great beer-drinking music.
And then the rest, non-local acts that are must-sees for me. Check the SCHED for your chance to see these people, many of whom are playing multiple times during the week.
Dan Wilson - I've loved him since Trip Shakespeare, then Semisonic. Such a talented guy, having won a Grammy for his work with the Dixie Chicks and now is lighting up the charts with an Adele song. An amazing talent. Can't wait to see him again. The picture to the left is circa 1998, when I saw Semisonic at AstroWorld in Houston.
Liz Phair - Another who I've loved forever. You couldn't claim indie-chick status in the '90s without the full Liz Phair catalog in your CD collection. She rocks.
Fitz and the Tantrums - you've heard them. They're hot. They're playing all over town.
Bright Eyes and The Strokes are the big bands at Auditorium Shores, if you like crowds, that's where they will be. And, I just heard that Foo Fighters are playing the MTVU Woodie Awards at the Music Hall. They are also premiering a documentary in the film fest.
I saw John Vanderslice a couple years ago at ACL. In the rain. Pouring rain. During the Mud Fest of 2009. It was amazing. Sounds like he's playing several shows and parties this year.
Also saw City and Colour at ACL, not raining. But they were still awesome. Pretty vocals, great songs.
Smoking Popes - I love when the throwbacks show up. Another great band from the '90s. You've more than likely heard Need You Around. And Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark? If You Leave is an '80s classic! Pretty in Pink.
Duran Duran - are you kidding me? I'll be there, and looking forward to their SXSW talk, too.
Soundtrack of our Lives - I've seen them at ACL, SXSW, Waterloo Records - a spectacle to behold. They're a straight up rock band from Sweden, and I just love their song Sister Surround.
Sondre Lerche is a fantastic Norwegian singer-songwriter. He did an amazing rendition of The Ballad of El Goodo during the Alex Chilton tribute last year.
And last, but not least, Exene Cervenka, half of the duo known as X, one of the most influential punk bands of the '80s. A legend.