SXSW Overflow: Day Fourteen (P.K. 14, Agent Ribbons, MaryAnne Marino, Carsick Cars, & More)
And here we are at the end — this year’s SXSW Overflow Fest at Super Happy Fun Land is over & done, after tonight. I’m a bit disappointed by the reports I’ve heard that the turnout’s been low-low-low, honestly, but it’s hard to compete against the juggernaut that is Southby, and I’m guessing a lot of folks are still recovering, so… sigh.
Anyway, there’s still an impressive bunch of bands left for this evening (Wed., March 24th), so get on over to the near-East End ‘hood and check ‘em out. Here’s what I think of the bands/musicians playing:
P.K. 14: Interesting; the guys in P.K. 14 sing in Chinese, which makes lyric comprehension a little rough (at least for me), but at the same time, I’m finding that I don’t mind — the moody, bitter, just-distorted-enough post-punk they play makes me think less of punk than it does Archers of Loaf or their early-’90s, mid-East Coast brethren, and that’s something I can love no matter what the language.
AGENT RIBBONS: Oddball, dramatic, somewhat baroque orchestral-pop with accordions, violins, and, er, is that a tuba I hear? Dunno for sure, but it sounds pretty intriguing, at the very least, kind of like a less-vampiric, more backwoodsy Rasputina. Agent Ribbons is coming through on its “Moving To Texas Tour,” btw, making the shift from Sacramento up to our hippie-er neighbors to the north. Texas hospitality tonight, hopefully?
MARYANNE MARINO: New Yorker MaryAnne Marino does a nicely lush, clear-voiced folk-pop thing that brings to mind former local singer Cameron Dezen in the pure, bright, clarity of her voice, and the songs she sings make me think at times of Aimee Mann; despite the general mainstream-ness of the music, that particular intersection’s a cool one, to me, so I’m enjoying this more than I figured I would.
JENNIFER KAY: The only local of the bunch, Jennifer Kay (aka Jennifer O’Brien, but she’s listed as the former on the SHFL schedule, so that’s what I’ll go with here), who I’ve heard before & liked quite a bit; she’s on the somber, slightly husky-sounding end of the folk spectrum, and she does it pretty damn well. There’s an interesting Mazzy Star thing going on on some of her songs, too, and that’s never a bad thing.
CARSICK CARS: Another of the Chinese contingent (I’m assuming they’re all touring together), Carsick Cars play some nicely energetic, repetitive, mid-tempo indie-rock that leaves me scratching my head at all the comparisons to punk bands — maybe they’re a lot wilder live? — and thinking these guys would’ve fit nicely playing a bill back in the day with Spoon, Silver Scooter, and maybe Silkworm. They do some cool stuff w/guitars, I’ve gotta say.
SILENT DIANE: At first blush, this one left me shrugging, but on further listens, Silent Diane starts to remind me — favorably — of The Magnetic Fields’ earliest stuff, with the beautiful melodies and pretty pop structures buried beneath overwhelming synths and washes of noise. Definitely interesting.
AV OKUBO: Haven’t heard much from Wuhan, China band AV Okubo, but what I’ve been able to dig up is kinda-punky rawk with occasional keyboards, half-Chinese/half-English vocals, & a decent amount of ferocity. Not the best thing I’ve heard lately, by far, but not bad…
Murky, messy, and somewhat headache-inducing, although I like the bits of dreampop-i-ness that seem to creep through. Makes sense that Sleep Over (sorry, can’t do the infinity symbol in the band’s name) is touring w/Silent Diane, because there’re definitely some similarities, but I’m afraid I’m liking Silent Diane more.
phew. That’s it, y’all — hopefully my little writeups have helped a teensy little bit, at least, folks considering heading over to the Fest. Maybe next year the Super Happy crew can be convinced to take the thing big-time and really promote the hell out of it…