SXSW Overflow 2011: Day Eight (Dog Day, SGNLS, GreyMarket, Secret Society in Smaller Lies, & More)

Another day (Day 8, to be precise) of the Super Happy Fun Land SXSW Overflow Fest, and here’s another slew of bands, some very cool, some decent, and some eh — I really haven’t run across anything out-and-out awful yet, at least not to my ears.

Be warned, btw, that tonight’s bill differs quite a bit from the original listing I saw; there’s apparently been some shuffling of bands going on.

Anyway, here’s the list for tonight:

DOG DAY: They may only be a guitar-and-drums duo (apparently recently “devolved” down from a fuller band), but Nova Scotians Dog Day sound like something a whole hell of a lot bigger. Seth Smith‘s flat, Thurston Moore-meets-Lou Barlow vocals work damn well, coming off something like a more mild-mannered Bob Mould in his solo phase, and the Sebadoh-fuzzed guitar and stomping, relentless, nearly metronomic drums hit that perfect spot for me, as well. This is a band that makes me want to curl up in a corner with my headphones and use ’em as a blanket. (And yes, that’s a good thing.)

SGNLS: Okay, so it took a little while for me to really grab hold of SGNLS‘ ultra-modern, distant-sounding, Devo-gone-indie-rock sound, but dangit, I’m there. The songs cruise along nicely, stomping and thundering in like the Dead Kennedys if they picked up keyboards and samplers and set their sights on a dystopian future that looks like a funhouse-mirror version of the one we were promised back in the ’50s and ’60s.

GREYMARKET: Interesting; these guys are Overflow Fest alumni, but they fell through the cracks last year, and now I’m feeling some serious regrets about that. The band’s definitely not going to be everybody’s thing, but they’ve surprised me by sucking me in big-time with their smart, shiny, arena-ready pop; lots of big, big choruses and production so clean and bright you could probably eat off the damn thing. Occasionally it comes off like a cheesier Muse, but skip past those tracks, and the band’s pretty impressive.

SECRET SOCIETY IN SMALLER LIES: Houma’s Secret Society in Smaller Lies sound like they should be opening for Wire, spitting out bitterly quasi-political lyrics over sharp-edged, spiral-twisted guitar lines and stuttering, busy, flat-sounding drums; the tracks I’ve been able to find have been jagged chunks of post-punk messiness that just barely hold together, like The Jonx but more disjointed and spastic (none of which is a bad thing, naturally).

COLUMBOID: Ooky, kinda-spooky post-punk weirdo-rock that’d fit in well with local folks like Fiskadoro or Indian Jewelry — limber basslines weave in and out around half-squawked, half-moaned vocals that sound like they’re echoing down a darkened concrete hallway somewhere, while organ-like keys burble and roil down below.

DRUMS LIKE MACHINE GUNS: Noiseheads & experimentalists, here’s your band for the evening — the rest of y’all might want to run like fucking mad. No real vocals, as far as I can tell, just two guys manipulating subterranean-sounding rhythms, electronic blips and glitches, and bursts of noisy, headache-inducing static, with the occasional instrument (maybe?) stepping in from the side to make things even weirder. (And does the name mean that drums like machine guns, or that they resemble machine guns? Not a clue.)

LUSTER: Throwback, seriously ’80s-sounding electro-pop, with what sure sound like synth drums, those Miami Vice keys, and vocals that sound like they’re meant to sound like a British guy doing American soul. Some of the songs are interesting, but eh, I’m going to skip these folks.

There you go…


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