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SXSW Overflow: Day Twelve (Giant Battle Monster, Junius, Lazer Zeppelin, & More) [3/22/2010 04:55:00 PM]:
Getting near the home stretch, folks, for the Super Happy Fun Land SXSW Overflow Fest, and tonight's installment (today being Monday, March 22nd, btw) promises to be another pretty stellar pile of bands... (And hey, there's a flyer for this one; ooo-kay.)

Tonight's lineup -- which I think may've actually been somewhat in place before the Overflow Fest proper started to take shape -- is a bit odd, to say the least. It's like somebody booked two different shows, one with a slate of moody, intense, skyward-pointing-yet-heavy post-rockers who work in blazing/crunching guitars, the occasional stomping rhythm, and lots of echo effects and one with a bunch of nerds engaging in a full-on cage match of bit-fuckery, and then tacked on some other random, strange acts just for fun. Which may well be exactly what happened, come to think of it... Here goes:

GIANT BATTLE MONSTER: Hell, yeah. Not to pander too excessively to the locals & whatnot, but H-town boys Giant Battle Monster definitely stand out in tonight's roster. The aptly-named trio plays spastic, stomping, crushing, flat-out huge prog-rock that points fingers at Mr. Bungle, Blood Brothers, Between The Buried And Me, Bring Back The Guns, and probably a lot more things of which I'm not aware, and it's utterly, totally impossible to hold down long enough to really get a grip on. And yet, it's fucking badass.

JUNIUS: Damn, I knew this band sounded familiar... One of a handful of exceptions to the electro-mess rule tonight, Junius are actually a lot more "normal"-sounding, although not in a bad way -- they're much more of a atmospheric rock band, with soaring, occasionally Morrissey-like vocals, moody, swirling, Pelican-/Red Sparowes-like guitars, and some surprisingly heavy parts, and they make it work pretty darn well for 'em. I'd downloaded their track "At the Age of Decay" from, um, somewhere (cough) a while back and was pretty impressed, even though the Smiths-y stuff usually doesn't do all that much for me. In my view, they work in spite of their singer's resemblance to Moz, but that may just be me...

LAZER ZEPPELIN: Um. What? The weirdest part of listening to Lazer Zeppelin (which isn't, thank God, a Zeppelin tribute band, at least) is that I find myself liking it. I thought the chiptune/8-bit stuff and GBM were the weirdest stuff going on this evening, but no, it's this shambling, rambling, possibly-joking ensemble, who stagger their way through songs that sound like they're almost classic country tunes (see "Heaven's an All Night Diner") and some that actually are (see "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"), sounding like a bunch of '70s country/folk-rockers floating on a many, many tabs of bad acid and even worse booze. And again: I'm liking it. The hell?

BATTLEFIELDS: More metal-ish than most of what's going on, Minnesotans Battlefields set their guitars to "sludge" and stomp & crush their way across the landscape, carving a path with their big-ass doom-metal sword. Think Isis, think Neurosis; hell, think Earth, for that matter. Decent stuff, at least to a non-afficionado like me.

MC ROUTER: Ah, nerdcore. Not really my thing, but hey, I've gotta give it up for H-town emcee MC Router, and her 8-bit Nintendo-sampling and snarling geeky-kid rhymes are intriguing, to say the least; it ain't the Geto Boys, but it works. Plus, I've heard it comes off a lot better live than it does on the recordings...

YATAGARASU: From out of Huntsville, TX., here's Yatagarasu, who somehow cobble together noisy, messy, headache-inducing -- yet still weirdly intriguing -- mashing-up of blastbeats, overdriven mics/speakers, old-school synths, screaming, and seriously retro-sounding video game noises. It definitely does make my skull hurt, but at the same time, it makes me look back fondly at my old Atari Teenage Riot albums, and that's no bad thing...

BIT MUMMY: Another of the electro contingent, Bit Mummy makes odd, yet still sorta-kinda mesmerizing chiptune stuff that uses lots of old-school boops and bleeps, most -- I'm guessing, here -- ripped from classic video games.

WILLIAM SIDES ATARI PARTY: Okay, I'll admit it -- the chiptune stuff just doesn't grab me all that much. It's neat that people like Billy Sides of William Sides Atari Party (and previously of SKiN Graft Recs, apparently, before heading out on his own with No Sides Records) are making an artform of sorts out of manipulating video games, it just kinda grates after a while. At the same time, though, I applaud Sides for taking things one step beyond by focusing strictly on the old-old-old-school Atari 7800. Damn, I remember when those were The Shit...

Getting near the end, y'all; get up to SHFL while you can...

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