March is one of the busiest touring months of the year because just about every band in the world tries to schedule shows on the road to Austin for SXSW. We feel the reverberations even 1,500 miles away. So instead of the usual 20 songs, this slightly beefed-up version of the Mixtape column has 25 tracks for you to sample and enjoy. As usual, these are legal, right-click-saveable MP3s unless otherwise noted.
"Good Girls" (MySpace stream) -- Wale, (DC9, March 1)
The Next Big Thing from D.C.? Look no further than this upstart rapper who throws in the occasional go-go beat and has plenty of songs to get the crowd moving, including this track about ladies who "don't give it up on the first night."
"A Pillar of Salt" -- The Thermals (Black Cat, March 2)
The Portland, Ore., trio ditches the lo-fi sound of its first two albums, but the supercharged guitars are still there on this driving indie/punk anthem.
"Ash Wednesday" (MySpace stream) -- Elvis Perkins (Iota, March 3)
Anthony Perkins's kid plays forlorn folk rock that sounds like a mix of some of the bands he's recently opened for -- Okkervil River, My Morning Jacket and Pernice Brothers.
"Apple Orchard" -- Beach House (Warehouse Next Door, March 3)
The Baltimore band does the pretty, languid, Mazzy Star thing to near perfection on this track from the group's buzzed-about self-titled debut.
"The Road to Gila Bend" (YouTube video) -- Los Lobos (State Theatre, March 9)
A fantastic recent in-studio performance from the Tex-Mex/Americana sextet that has emerged as one of the most consistently great bands of our time.
"Drop Another Coin" -- The Ubangis (The Red & the Black, March 10)
Trashy garage rock vets sound good on record but are best appreciated live, where Cramps-inspired tunes like this one really take off.
"Know Your Onion!" -- The Shins (Constitution Hall, March 12)
The new "Wincing the Night Away" has made this quartet one of the biggest indie bands in the country, but this cut from the band's 2003 debut shows that punchy melodies and reverby guitar are still the band's strengths.
"I Believe in Ghosts" -- John Ralston (Jammin' Java, March 12)
The young singer-songwriter finds an appropriate home on emo powerhouse label Vagrant Records, but he's much more Dashboard than Fall Out Boy.
"Yell Fire!" -- Michael Franti and Spearhead (9:30 club, March 16)
Hip-hop veteran Franti delivers this reggae-infused protest rocker that will probably be played at many a MoveOn.org fundraiser over the next few years.
"Down to Zero" -- Bettye LaVette (Strathmore, March 17)
One of the comeback stars of 2005, the long-forgotten '60s soul singer returned with an album full of fiery interpretations of songs by female artists, including this take on Joan Armatrading's 1976 hit.
"Your Hand In Mine" -- Explosions in the Sky (9:30 club, March 17)
There's no crescendo too big for these Austin instrumental rockers who scored the soundtrack to the 2004 movie "Friday Night Lights"; this song was also featured on an episode of the TV adaptation.
"Home Again" (MySpace stream) -- Haale (Black Cat, March 21)
Born in New York to Iranian immigrants, this chanteuse plays self-described "Sufi psych rock," which in layman's terms means "something Thievery Corporation would really, really love to sample."
"The Dugout" -- Ladyhawk (The Red & the Black, March 21)
The Vancouver group sometimes takes a while to get to the point on this tune inspired by fellow Canuck Neil Young, but it's a very pleasing journey.
"Suzy Jones" -- Manhattan Love Suicides (The Red & the Black, March 22)
Upset because you can't make it out to Coachella for the Jesus and Mary Chain reunion? Check out the "Psychocandy"-esque noise-pop from these Brits and you might feel a little better.
"The Rat" -- The Walkmen (Rock and Roll Hotel, March 23)
This group of mostly St. Albans high school products might never top this pounding, propulsive track -- my favorite song from 2004 -- that recalls "War"-era U2 and features singer Hamilton Leithauser at his howling, passionate best.
"Friend to J.C." -- Mary Timony (Black Cat, March 23)
The former member of Helium and Autoclave abandoned some of the mystical themes that defined her first two solo albums and returned to her rock roots on 2005's "The Ex Hex."
"Double Vision" -- The Ponys (Black Cat, March 24)
For my money (admittedly not much), the best rock band out there right now. Yes, the best. Because nobody writes catchy, guitar-heavy indie/garage rock romps better than this Chicago quartet.
"Fool Yourself" (MySpace stream) -- Flex Matthews, (Warehouse Next Door, March 24)
The local rapper, one of the most active members of the local hip-hop scene, is originally from South Dakota ... for real.
"Biomusicology" -- Ted Leo (9:30 club, March 29)
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has made more consistently great music over the past 15 years than this stalwart indie rocker. Enjoy this classic from his best album, 2003's "The Tyranny of Distance."
"My Way" (MySpace stream) -- Monster Maker (Rock and Roll Hotel, March 30)
On this collaboration between Definitive Jux rapper C-Rayz Walz and underground producer Sharkey, the duo conjures up a sound that's part rap, part electro, part funk and all fun.
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