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Posted at 5:01 PM ET, 03/18/2009

Local Flavor at SXSW

By David Malitz

Today I and thousands of others will be trekking to Austin, Tex., for the annual South by Southwest music festival. Not every performer in the world will be participating in the four-day orgy of bands and beer, but it sure seems that way. For artists looking to make a name for themselves, SXSW is the perfect place to do it, since the entire industry is usually there. Even though there are now more unofficial showcases than official ones, getting to be an "official showcase performer" is still seen as a big deal. There are 11 acts from D.C. that made the cut, including some names that you might not expect. Let's take a quick look at the roster, along with some local acts that will be making the Texas trip in an "unofficial" capacity.

Bomani Armah & Project Mayhem
Remember that "Read a Book" (NSFW) song from a couple years ago that was such a good crunk satire that it took a few listens to realize that it actually was a satire? That was Bomani, a big name in the local spoken-word/poetry/hip-hop scene.
Next time in D.C.: March 28, Urban Knowledge Bookstore in Hyattsville

Benjy Ferree
The longtime office favorite has proven an adept songwriter, moving from the backporch folk of his excellent debut, "Leaving the Nest" to the more extroverted, glammed-up sounds on "Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee."
Next time in D.C.: TBA

Gaybomb
This one-man project is what lots of people would call "not actually music." It's one dude who sits on the floor while manipulating sound collages, including bits of dialogue, field recordings and other found sounds. He'll be right at home at the International Noise Conference showcase in Austin.
Next time in D.C.: April 7, Velvet Lounge

The Hall Monitors
Check out Alex Baldinger's write-up from this past Friday's weekend section for the low-down on these locals who do bluesy, garage rock the right way. Expect plenty of showmanship and energy to go along with the "Nuggets"-worthy tunes.
Next time in D.C.: April 15, Black Cat

H.R. Band
No, it's not a theme band about human resources. It's the singer for hardcore punk pioneers Bad Brains. In his new band, he leaves the Bad Brains thrashing behind and gets engaged with reggae and hip-hop.
Next time in D.C.: TBA

Kid Congo Powers
The rock lifer was a founding member of the Gun Club and he also did time with psychobilly trailblazers the Cramps and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He remains a master of noirish soundscapes, exudes authority on stage and is just generally one of those guys you look at and say, "Yeah, that's rock-and-roll."
Next time in D.C.: TBA

Nadastrom
If you aren't familiar with Dave Nada, either you're new to town or you really need to rethink your nightlife choices. His Taxlo night up in Baltimore is known as one of the best DJ nights in the country, and he brings the beats to D.C. on a regular basis. His Oh! Snap residency at Wonderland Ballroom was one of the best nights in town, and his collaboration with producer Matt Nordstrom (hence the band name) has resulted in irresistible tracks and remixes.
Next time in D.C.: April 6, Zodiac (Baltimore)

Edie Sedgwick
The alter ego of Justin Moyer (a Post employee) is a cross-dressing, celebrity-obsessed singer who writes songs about the stars while being backed by some sinewy and seriously funky dance-punk. After the first song of a set, you'll see past the minor sideshow aspect and be able to enjoy the righteous rhythms.
Next time in D.C.: March 29, Black Cat

These United States
It's no surprise that D.C.'s most reliable road warriors will be making the trip down to Austin. Jesse Elliott leads an often rotating cast of characters through infectious compositions. TUS has a tendency to win over any audience, which helps explain all that time spent on the road.
Next time in D.C.: TBA

Tittsworth
The town's premier party-starter will be bringing his bag -- er, crate -- of tricks to Austin to prove that people know how to have fun here in D.C. Tittsworth has played huge clubs in big cities on just about every continent, so SXSW will be almost low key in comparison to some of his past gigs.
Next time in D.C.: TBA

Wayna
The R&B singer is the only Grammy nominee on this list ("Lovin You" from her 2008 album "Higher Grand" garnered a nomination for Best Urban Alternative Performance). She also has quite the backstory: she's a native of Ethiopia who moved to the States and was a writer in the Clinton White House before making her musical breakthrough. Don't expect too many club bangers; Wayna keeps her soul-tinged songs rather chill.
Next time in D.C.: April 2, Edens Lounge (Baltimore)

And now the "unofficial" locals...

Laura Burhenn
We haven't heard much from the sultry singer-songwriter since coulda-been-contenders Georgie James called it quits a year ago. Her solo work was more dramatic and torchy than the sprightly pop songs she penned for Georgie James.
Next time in D.C.: TBA

Deleted Scenes
Fresh off a glowing 8.0 review on Pitchfork, this is a band you can almost guarantee will be on the "official" list next year. The indie-rock quartet has a smart and slippery sound; a strong pop acumen and attention to detail keep everything on the band's debut album "Birdseed Shirt" sounding excellent.
Next time in D.C.: March 28, Black Cat

Carol Bui
Another singer-songwriter that we haven't heard much from lately, Bui is best known for her sharp, angular guitar playing, personal lyrics and emotive vocals.
Next time in D.C.: TBA

Middle Distance Runner
Most Middle Distance Runner shows end up being big parties, because it's hard not to be won over by the band's peppy and hooky alt-rock. This is another band that was featured in last Friday's roundup of local bands in the Weekend section.
Next time in D.C.: March 28, Iota

U.S. Royalty
This quartet, which plays rustic rock-and-roll, is quickly becoming one of the area's most popular rock acts. It can fill venues as diverse as Black Cat, Jammin' Java and Fire Flies, so you know it's not all the same people coming to their shows.
Next time in D.C.: April 8, Rock and Roll Hotel

Pygmy Lush
This Sterling group scores many points for completely reinventing itself on last year's excellent album "Mount Hope." Not many bands could -- or should -- transition from hardcore punk to hushed folk, but Pygmy Lush pulled it off with aplomb.
Next time in D.C.: April 2, The Girl Cave

Turboslut
You'll be hard pressed to find a band in D.C. -- or one down in Austin this week -- with a better name. The "turbo" in the name suggests something a little more hyperspeed than the sinister, sludgy songs the band delivers.
Next time in D.C.: TBA

Medications
Medications does a fine job of upholding D.C.'s Dischord legacy with a pummeling post-punk sound.
Next time in D.C.: March 29, Black Cat

By David Malitz  | March 18, 2009; 5:01 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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