Once upon a time, cantstopthebleeding.com was one of the nation’s top sports blogeterria (blogoterrarium? blogtoxcity?) destinations, appealing to the friendless and socially challenged and/or persons hungry for LOTS & LOTS RECRIMINATIONS. As the nu media wars wore down, the site retreated into near dormancy, maintained by an automated system devised by the same brilliant minds behind Do512 the Atari Jaguar

I’m not sure how familiar you are with the phenomena of “artifical intelligence”, but about 9 years ago the cyborg in question began organizing an annual free show in the middle of March at a respected Red River venue. From day one the event was sponsor free and impervious to the crony-heavy network of booking agents, garbage labels and the like. In short, it made no sense whatsoever but since the bill is always super hot and there’s no cover, hardly anyone complains.

However, I won’t lie to you folks, times are tough. I’m still paying off the legal fees after last March’s embarrassing vomiting-on-the-Mr. Robot-ferris-wheel incident, and as such I’ve had to partner up with two dubious organizations this year. One is some bogus “indie” label no one’s ever heard of, the other some shadowy lobbyists who may or may not be funneling money to assorted hate groups. I need to do a little more research. At least the bill is super strong, and since none of you give two fucks about how the sausages are made, that’s all that matters

Past participants have included but not been limited to Dan Melchior, Complete, the Homosexuals, Tyvek, Spray Paint, Protomartyr, Obnox, Golden Pelicans, The Muffs, The Blind Shake, TV Ghost, Puffy Areolas, The Spits, Endless Boogie and far too many examples of yes-you-totally-blew-it-by-going-to-see-the-Oh-Sees-for-the-50th-time-instead. This year’s lineup is no different, except perhaps in that it is THE GREATEST EVER. And it’s after dark. And yes, there the aforementioned affiliation with a bogus indie label and an alleged paper-cup advocacy group that might be a front for something well & truly evil.

Portland based Rebecca Gates is perhaps best known for her amazing run of 1990’s recordings as the voice/guitar behind The Spinanes. That’s all well and good but her subsequent incarnation(s), including but not limited to 2012’s 12XU LP, ‘The Float’ have solidified her status as one of music’s sharpest minds. Her Central Texas appearances are rare — at least those we’re allowed to tell anyone about more than a few hours ahead of time.

Outer Spaces (Baltimore) — spearheaded by ex-Witches vocalist/guitarist Cara Beth Satalino, Outer Spaces are coming off one of 2016’s best albums in the form of ‘A Shedding Snake’ (Don Giovanni) and a run of East Coast dates supporting Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. I’m beyond thrilled they’re taking part in this show (especially the part about not having to pay them).

Thigh Master (Brisbane) – no less an authority than Sir Douglas Mosurock has said their ‘Early Times’ debut LP  “is loaded with sunny, ragged hooks and big, sloppy singalongs,” likening the combo to, “a lost Flying Nun band.” High praise, but not hype. There’s a new 7″ on 12XU coming in March, and with any luck this won’t be their only Austin show that week. Also, if you’ve got a couch they can crash on, HIT ME UP.

Street Eaters (Oakland) – a few years back, the duo of Megan March and John No opened for Cruddy’s LP release show here in Austin and it was nothing short of one of those, “did anyone get a look at the gaudy advertising on the side of the bus I just missed?” moments in life (especially as I actually missed their set while watching that movie about the guy who invented the intermittent windshield-wiper blades). But everyone who was there told me they were awesome and subsequent visits to this part of the world revealed those folks weren’t lying. And their records are killers, too.

Xetas (Austin) – this is not the time or place to leak new music from Xetas’ forthcoming 2nd 12XU LP, ‘The Tower’. For starters, no one’s reading this. More to the point, why make everyone else on the bill look feeble by comparison? (NOTE FROM PAPER CUP COUNCIL EDITOR : take that part out before publication).

The Gospel Truth (Austin) – how do these guys manage to top one of 2016’s most stunning albums, the filler-free ‘Jealous Fires’? To paraphrase Michael Angelo Battio, giving you the answer would be handing over the keys to the Lamborghini. Suffice to say subsequent new material from Mark Tonucci and collegues reveals they’re not even close to peaking.

Borzoi – I haven’t seen a better live band in the last two years. That I’ve been under house arrest during that stretch should not diminish the importance of that statement. Borzoi have pivoted from a powerful debut 7″ for Austin’s Pau Wau label to a genre-obliterating 4 song EP on 12XU this Spring ; catch the trio on tour this May or watch ’em from the back of the room like a smug, self-satisfied cultural tourist this March. Better yet, why choose?