SXSW Overflow: Day Seven (Liz Isenberg, Vio/Mire, Holy Liars, The Zut Alors, & More)

Wednesday, March 17th today, and not only is is St. Pat’s, but it’s also Day Seven (I think; my grasp of math & counting is a little hazy, these days) of Super Happy Fun Land‘s SXSW Overflow Fest. And yes, there’re yet more interesting-sounding bands playing this evening, starting somewhere ’round 6PM. Don’t feel bitter about not being at SXSW itself; these folks have brought SXSW to you, in chunks and pieces, ready to be devoured. Head on over to 3801 Polk tonight, y’all.

As with yesterday, here’re the bands playing tonight that I think sound cool, at least, in order from Awesome to Not-Godawful (again, see the SHFL site for the actual schedule):

LIZ ISENBERG: Being the H-town-booster that I am, I can’t help but think of our own now-expatriate Jana Hunter when I hear Liz Isenberg‘s warm, rambling indie-folk; they both seemingly possess a sort of sideways way of looking at the music they play, even while they’re working within what’s essentially a folk framework. For her part, Isenberg’s quiet, half-mumbled vocals are mesmerizing for all their low-key nonchalance — she sings like she thinks nobody’s listening, with an awesomely naked, wide-open honesty, and it’s pretty great.

VIO/MIRÉ: I’d thought this was a one-man band, but going by the Myspace videos & whatnot, it looks like guitarist Brendan Glasson actually works with at least one other guitarist & a keyboardist, too. Which is interesting, because Vio/Mire seems to consist primarily of delicate, fragile-voiced, quietly-unfolding folk songs that evoke cold, late, stark winter nights somewhere far to the north of Texas where it’s just you and a guitar and the silence. (And yes, that’s all to say that this is good.)

HOLY LIARS: Rootsy, down-and-dirty (but not sleazy, not really) rawk from the bars & honky-tonks & whatever the hell other watering holes they have in Athens, GA., these days. These guys are more Son Volt than Black Crowes, thankfully, and it works pretty well — frontman C. Nicholson Ross has a nicely-roughened voice that’s reminiscent of the Drive-By Truckers, and the guitars and confident and cool, especially on tracks like “Bullet” and the white-trash crush-song “Dirtbag.”

THE ZUT ALORS: With a name like The Zut Alors, I was honestly expecting some Estrus-style garage-rawk, but this is nothing of the sort. Instead, it’s sweet, bumping, understated electro-pop, and surprisingly addictive for that; there’s a weirdly hypnotic thing going on, where I listen and then just kind of space out, bobbing my head along for a couple of minutes ’til I realize, “oh, wait; I’m listening to which band, again?” And I know that probably doesn’t sound like a good thing, but it is.

THE BIRTHDAY SUITS: After hearing The Birthday Suits, it seems fairly appropriate that they hail from the Twin Cities, as they play a squalling, Twin/Tone kind of punk-tinged indie-rock that grabs drags the Ramones westward and makes ’em more desperate and frantic.

AT VERSARIS: Yep, it’s funky, jazzy, fun-sounding hip-hop from Catalonia, Spain; what, you thought Americans had a lock on the hip-hop thing? Nah — in fact, At Versaris‘ flow reminds me oddly of old-school French rapper MC Solaar, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, a lot of the impact of rap, in my estimation, has to do with the lyrics, and since I understand even less of the Spanish lyrics here than I do Solaar’s French rhymes…

Aa: I think, actually, that NYers Aa may well be the only band of the whole Overflow bunch who I’d heard of, at least, previous to this year… Not that that means these folks are really my cup of tea — they’re weirdly tribal and noisy and rhythmic, as far as I can tell, and they’re kinda-sorta causing me a headache. Still, they may be one of the biggest-name acts playing, and I’m guessing they’re a sight to behold live.

There it is, at least for this evening — once you’ve had your fill of awful green beer, get on up to downtown…


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One Response to “SXSW Overflow: Day Seven (Liz Isenberg, Vio/Mire, Holy Liars, The Zut Alors, & More)”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » SXSW Overflow: Day 10, Pt. 2 (Fenster, Vio/Miré, Tamarin, The Gallery, The Shivas, & The Photo Atlas) on March 18th, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    […] One of the few reruns I’ve come across this year, I first heard and wrote up Vio/Miré in 2010, and from what I’m hearing now, they haven’t changed a whole […]

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