It's nice to catch an act before everyone knows what's going on and enjoy that giddy satisfaction of having a pocket band all your own. San Antonio's poorly named Snowbyrd (the moniker suggests an awful Jimmy Buffet cover band from Denver) offer the rare chance to get in on the ground floor. These four rather normal-looking river walkers combine--and generally torment--a slew of classic influences (Mott the Hoople, Big Star, Clash) and end up producing a noise distinctly Texan, a punkish, reggae-inflected, well-lubricated twang. Mentored by legendary weirdo Jeff Smith (Hickoids, Loco Gringos), Snowbyrd are centered by brothers Chris and Scott Lutz, whose upcoming debut is going to be called either Bexar County Blackout or Another White Meat. Tough choice, whatever, but songs like "Figs 'n' Fountains" and the garage dub workout "St. Mary's" will thrill those looking for a band that everyone hasn't told them about.


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