A few years ago, South by Southwest Music starting creeping over into Tuesday from its traditional Wednesday launch, 10 showcases here, a day party there. Then two years ago, the Foo Fighters played a “surprise” show at Stubb’s after the screening of their documentary. And last year, Jay-Z ruled ACL Live in a show that was officially part of SXSW Interactive.
What it all means today is that we have one more official day of music and one big party that merges all three parts of our favorite March monster.
Here, our critics offer their picks for Tuesday’s shows, with one hour-by-hour suggested schedule — if you’re organized that way — and then some don’t-miss band suggestions. We’ll do the same for Wednesday through Saturday in a special edition of Austin360 in Wednesday’s Statesman.
Tuesday by the hour
8 p.m. Wild Child – and more (The Parish). Well, here’s something cool: an evening showcase featuring a half-dozen stellar local acts, in one of Austin’s best-sounding rooms, that’s entirely free and open to the public. Even if you have a wristband or a badge, consider starting your evening here. The festivities kick off with the extraordinarily entrapping, irreverent ukulele pop of Wild Child, followed by the bewitching folk of Shakey Graves and Jess Williamson, the dense mastery of Mother Falcon, and the stomping country-rock of Band of Heathens. The evening closes with big tent pop courtesy of headliners Quiet Company.
9 p.m. People of Letters (18th Floor at the Hilton Garden Inn). This one’s … well, not a music performance at all. Instead, co-curators Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire are bringing their Australian literary salon to Austin, with an all-star lineup including author John Sayles, musician Amanda Palmer and famed fantasy and comics writer Neil Gaiman, with each writing and performing a letter live. Hey, you’re going to spend the rest of the night rocking out and drinking. Why not squeeze in some literature while you’re at it? (womenofletters.com.au)
10 p.m. HAIM (VEVO TV Control Room). A quartet out of Los Angeles that includes three sisters, HAIM is as shameless as any modern indie band in evoking the earnestness, floating vocals and synthesized grooves of ’80s pop. But they’re also excellent at it; 2012’s “Forever” EP packs three memorable songs and one great remix into its slim sub-15-minutes running time. (Could share a bill with: the Chromatics, Frankie Rose, Twin Shadow.)
11 p.m. Gaby Moreno (Central Presbyterian Church). Guatemalan singer/songwriter Moreno is nothing if not versatile, dabbling in blues, soul, pop and folk – or something else entirely, in the case of the theme song for NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” which she helped compose. But no matter what genre, or language, she’s tackling, Moreno is always recognizable by her voice – subtle, tuneful, and strikingly beautiful. (Could share a bill with: Madeleine Peyroux, Esperanza Spalding, Ximena Sarinana.)
12 a.m. Kelly Hogan (Central Presbyterian Church). Hogan is famous for dispensing quips as Neko Case’s backup singer, but she got a long overdue moment in the spotlight with 2012’s “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain,” her first album in more than a decade. It’s a lilting, contemplative alt-country masterpiece packed with quietly devastating details. (Could share a bill with: Jenny Lewis, Kathleen Edwards, Loretta Lynn.)
1 a.m. The Polyphonic Spree (Red 7 Patio). After a quiet few years, Tim DeLaughter’s celebratory, explosive, soaring, frequently robed “choral symphonic band” is poised to have a big year in 2013, with its first full-length album of original songs since 2007’s joyous “The Fragile Army,” and a new tour for all its 20-plus members. (Could share a bill with: the Flaming Lips, the New Pornographers, the Go! Team.)
— Patrick Caldwell
More Tuesday bands
Night Beds (8 p.m. Mohawk indoors). Quiet, sad, hazy country and folk with a heavy dose of musical and lyrical detail.
Crooks (9 p.m. The White Horse). Crooks’ garage country can be strung-out, foreboding and melancholy; outlaw country meets the spaghetti western.
Dana Falconberry (10 p.m. Valhalla). Singer-songwriter Falconberry’s latest, “Leelanau,” is an amazingly well-crafted and evocative document of childhood memories.
The 1975 (11 p.m. Latitude 30). Manchester, England, four-piece inclined to crank out layered anthem rock.
Ryan Bingham (1 a.m. Central Presbyterian Church). On his latest, “Tomorrowland,” the gravelly voiced troubadour turns toward rock.
— Peter Mongillo
Camper Van Beethoven (7 p.m., El Sol y La Luna). Oddball pop before oddball pop meant, say, They Might Be Giants; key man David Lowery went on to the band Cracker and complaining about downloading on the Internet.
Adam WarRock (10 p.m. Flamingo Cantina). Raps about comic books and other nerdy topics, except the guy can put a complicated rhyme together as well as anyone.
Crooked Bangs (10 p.m. Headhunters Patio). One of Austin’s sharpest post-punk outfits released an excellent self-titled album on producer Mike McCarthy’s new label Western Medical.
Tegan and Sara (11:35 p.m. The Main). On their newest album, the Canadian twins move from well-meaning folk rock to dance music; it’s a good look.
Ryan Bingham (1 a.m. Central Presbyterian Church). A little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll; the admixture depends on the song and it’s getting more fluid.
— Joe Gross
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (9:40 p.m. The Main, 12:10 a.m. The Belmont). A pair of Seattle hip-hoppers who are literally everywhere this SXSW. Trust me, they have much more to offer than a silly song about musty duds.
Galaxy Express. (12:30 a.m. Elysium). Grungy, psych-rock outfit from Korea blows away stereotypes at the K-Pop Night Out showcase.
Icona Pop. (9:40 p.m. The Belmont, Midnight at Mohawk indoor). A Swedish electro-pop duo who are also literally everywhere this SXSW. They have much more to offer than the best brilliantly defiant, post-riot grrl pop song of 2012, “I Love It.”
Fetsum. (10 p.m. Whiskey Room). Drawing on a broad spectrum of sounds from a multi-national upbringing, this Egyptian-born, German-based artist makes incredibly moving, deeply personal urban folk music.
Emcida. (Midnight Whiskey Room). Astute, lyrically deft Brazilian rapper who drops serious knowledge switches smoothly between Portuguese and English.
— Deborah Sengupta Stith
Divine Fits (10:45 p.m. ACL Live, 12:30 a.m. Viceland). The indie rock rock super group featuring Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner sounds pretty much like how the product of those two should: spiky and fuzzy with the occasional weird detour or key change. Let’s hope for some new songs not heard on their very strong and fun debut record.
Icona Pop (9:40 p.m. The Belmont, Midnight at Mohawk indoor). Swedish-based synthpop that’s pitched to an incredible level of urgency, to the degree that dancing seems like the only way to keep their ultra-high frequencies from rupturing the body’s connective tissue. They’re playing a ton during SXSW, but try to catch them in a dance-friendly cave like La Zona Rosa where the lights and bass can really take hold.
Nobody Beats The Drum (8:30 p.m. La Zona Rosa). Man, the early 2000s were a weird time. How else to describe a period when what sounded like the mating of broken Casio keyboards, samplers and video game consoles became “the thing” for a couple of years? That electroclash stuff still hits hard live, even though the records usually age worse than fish, so check these folks out and dance like it’s still W’s first term.
Matthew Dear (12:05 a.m. The North Door). Last year’s “Beams” saw Dear moving further than ever toward standard popular song structures, but his synth-driven compositions still expand and contract like displaced earthworms. Dear’s SXSW show last year saw him rocking the North Door’s concrete room so hard it nearly pulsed, which was a thrilling thing to see, hear and, most of all, feel.
Shakey Graves (9 p.m. the Parish). Austin native Alejandro Rose-Garcia has built a startling following for a one-man band playing an off-kilter brand of hobo folk. People are digging it in a big way and the former “Friday Night Lights” actor has scored an impressive lineup of SXSW gigs that should provide momentum for a year of touring and festivals. Check him out now and say “I saw him when …” later on.
— Chad Swiatecki