• Divine Fits / Photo by J. Dennis Thomas

    Divine Fits Play All the Songs They've Got at First Official Gig

    Divine Fits — an indie rock supergroup made up of former Wolf Parader Dan Boeckner, Spoon leader Britt Daniel, drummer Sam Brown of the New Bomb Turks, and keyboardist Alex Fischel — are still learning their places onstage. Thursday morning, at Austin punk dive Beerland, about an hour into their second gig ever, Boeckner and Daniel looked at each other, saw something was off, and switched places and instruments. Another "What now?" look and Fischel ventured out from behind his bank of keyboards to strap on a bass guitar. At one point, Boeckner took a moment to catch his breath to tell the packed and steamy crowd, "We're happy we can [even] play these songs." Regardless, the band still has a firm grasp on its slim batch of songs and knows how to steer them in front of a crowd that expects a lot from a group with such an impressive pedigree.

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    Ted Leo Performs Intimate Memorial for Slain Austin Scene Booster Esme Barrera

    "It's a hard honor, but it's an honor to be here tonight." On Saturday night at Beerland in Austin, those were the only words rocker Ted Leo could get out without stammering or choking up. He and some of the city's most beloved punk bands packed into the popular dive bar for a night to celebrate Esme Barrera, 29, a leading light of the local music scene, murdered in her home early on January 1. Barrera was a huge fan of Leo, and the two had met and kept in touch at Austin shows through the years.

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    Green Day Burn Though New Songs, Drunken Misfits Covers at Austin Club Show

    On Thursday night, and well into Friday morning, punk storytellers Green Day squeezed into Austin dive Red 7 (capacity: 500) for an intimate show that featured old favorites, drunken covers and nearly an album's worth of early listens to new songs. So, how was it?: Tight.In such a small room, the packed-in crowd was spilling onto the stage pretty much from the opening chords of "Welcome to Paradise." The band busted out five new songs from their as-yet-untitled ninth studio album early in the set (sample titles "Nuclear Family, "Carpe Diem," "Stop When the Red Lights Flash," "99 Revolutions"), immediately followed by an mostly improvised ramble through over the band's catalog: "Longview" was a given, but who went into the night expecting to hear "Dominated Love Slave"?

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    Throw Me the Statue

    Who? A Half Moon Bay, California native, Throw Me the Statue creative force Scott Reitherman relocated to Seattle and began self-releasing CDs of buzzy, lo-fi indie pop in 2004. Friends, including Pedro the Lion alum Casey Foubert eventually pitched in to help as Reitherman added instruments including drum machines and glockenspiels to round out his sound. A full band finally came into shape in early 2007 as TMTS's debut album Moonbeams was set for release on Reitherman's Baskerville Hill label; a wider release drops this week via Secretly Canadian. What's the Deal? Imminently hummable from the first programmed drum beats and piano of lead track "Young Sensualists," Reitherman dabbles in a little bit of everything -- introspective musing on "Stupid Stone," sugar-high rushes on standout "Lolita" -- and does all of them with aplomb.

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    Crystal Castles

    Who? Toronto-based musicians Alice Glass (of Fetus Fatale) and Ethan Kath (of Jakarta) came together in December 2003 and started recording the electronic freakouts that are Crystal Castles' stock in trade. A 2005 studio mic check that was accidentally recorded and named "Alice Practice" started gaining label attention when it was posted on the group's MySpace page. After lots of production and remix work -- including tracks for Klaxons and the Little Ones -- a 2007 split single with HEALTH on Lovepump United marked the group's first official release. Their self-titled debut album drops March 18 on Last Gang Records. What's the Deal? Remember the end of Matrix: Revolutions where Keanu Reeves' body is carted off into a mechanized dystopia?

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    Bon Iver

    Who? Once a member of DeYarmond Edison, singer/songwriter Justin Vernon parted ways with the folk outfit when its other members relocated from its home base of Eau Claire, Wisconsin to North Carolina in 2005. After some work with the Rosebuds and Ticonderoga, Vernon retreated to his father's northern Wisconsin cabin and spent three winter months working solo on the songs that would eventually become For Emma, Forever Ago, the debut album for Bon Iver, his nom de band. Vernon self-released the album last fall and it sold-out on its first run; its reissue, with different artwork, drops Feb. 19 via Jagjaguwar. What's the Deal? Vernon's multi-tracked falsetto is the element that jumps out right away since it's all over For Emma's nine songs, but don't make the mistake of throwing him in the freak-folk clubhouse with Devendra Banhart and the like.

  • Clipd Beaks

    Who? The abrasive noiseniks in Clipd Beaks bonded earlyon in the icy air and basements of Minneapolis -- bassist Scott Eckleinand drummer Ray Benjamin met at age seven, guitarist Greg Pritchardjoined them as a teenager after kicking around area hardcore bands, butwith singer Nic Barbein signing on in 2003, Clipd Beaks was born. Aself-released debut preceded the band's 2005 move to Oakland,California that got the their career moving, with Tigerbeat6 releasingthe Preyers EP in 2006. The Hoarse Lords LP is available now via Lovepump United. What's the Deal? To all those who say Liars' Drum's Not Dead got too poppy or wish the Homosexuals would reform, say hello to your new favorite band.

  • Emily Jane White

    Who? From the rolling hills of San Francisco emergesCalifornia's latest offering to the neo-folk canon, in the form of26-year-old Emily Jane White and a ghostly charisma that sets herstarkly apart from peers like Brightblack Morning Light. A former UCSanta Cruz student, a four-track demo recording of White's sparse,smoldering tales caught the attention of Oakland indie label DoubleNegative Records, which released her debut album, Dark Undercoat this month. She also recorded the title track for Cam Archer's 2006 coming-of-age flick Wild Tigers I Have Known. What's the Deal?It's plenty tempting to name Cat Power as White's closest soniccontemporary, but for all her songwriting skill Chan Marshall can'tevoke the blunt isolation that makes it easy to imagine White singingsolo in an empty country chapel at the end of a dirt road.

  • The Stiletto Formal

    Who? Formed in 2004, you can still get hints of thatnew-band smell off of the Stiletto Formal and its members; vocalistKyle Howard, guitarist Jimi Lamp, cellist Sunny Davis, bassist PaulNeely and drummer Patrick McCarthy. Despite their relative youth, TSFhave already released two EPs -- 2005's Masochism in the Place of Romance and last year's This is My Boomstick -- both of which debuted in iTunes in late October.

  • We Are Wolves

    Who? Combining two seemingly inexhaustible indie rocktrends -- bands from Montreal and groups with razor-toothed wildlife intheir names -- dance/thrash/punk trio We Are Wolves definitively provesneither craze is played out. Made up of longtime friends Alex Ortiz(bass/guitar/vocals), Vincent Levesque (keyboards/ beatbox/vocals) andAntonin Marquis (drums/vocals), these Wolves dropped their 2005 debut Non-Stop Je Te Plie En Deux on Fat Possum, while their ultra-aggressive follow up Total Magique arrived in October via the Dare to Care imprint. What's the Deal?Coming off like the maladjusted offspring of the Faint, Brainiac, ShoutOut Out Out Out and Ghostland Observatory, We Are Wolves use theirinstruments just as much as weapons to weave a sinister groove thatchallenges, nee dares, listeners to keep from dancing.

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