SXSW Overflow 2011: Day Nine (Archimedes, Watch Out!, Golden Time, This City Defects, & More)

Okay, so we’re coming up on Day 9 of Super Happy Fun Land‘s SXSW Overflow Fest, and the lineups are definitely getting lengthier; I’m going to try to write up everybody on the bill, at least briefly, but if I run out of time, I apologize in advance…

Here goes:

ARCHIMEDES, WATCH OUT!: I suspected these guys pretty much had to be sweet-voiced, catchily melodic, post-emo pop-punk just from the quasi-clever, obliquely-referencing band name, and yep, I was dead on. Boyish harmonies, heavy-but-not-too-heavy guitars, high-flying melodies, the whole nine yards — Archimedes, Watch Out! pretty much hit all the marks. That said, um, I’m a sucker for this stuff, so long as it’s done well, and right here? Hell, yeah, it is. The shout-along choruses, the Dynamite Boy-like riffs, the Stadium-esque harmonies, and the bitterly personal lyrics; I’m enjoying the heck out of this. Your mileage may vary, but I’m giving it a thumbs-up.

GOLDEN TIME: Somber, nicely orchestral, subtly electronicized bedroom folk-pop about boardgames (“Settlers of Catan”), heartbreak, and blue skies, all meandering along unassumingly, somewhat like Meryll’s first (and excellent) album. Golden Time doesn’t really ask much, just kind of wanders in, shrugs, and sets up in a corner, unnoticed by everybody, and then proceeds to make that sedate folk-pop soar.

THIS CITY DEFECTS: Snarling, snapping, fist-pumping post-hardcore rock that’s equal parts mathcore, prog-y, noodle-y, Mars Volta-like prog-metal, and squelching, shifting electronic beats. Think a toned-down Refused minus the accents and semi-anarchist politics, or maybe Fugazi with twitchy, Harvey Danger-ish vocals and way more guitar chops, and you’ll come close to this Calgary trio.

JAMES RABBIT: Another gang of out-and-out strange, somewhat spastic, all-over-the-place popsters, this time bringing to mind Ohioans Machine Go Boom or maybe the unabashed ’70s pop of The Push Kings, and against all odds, it works damn well for ’em. Frontman John Tyler Martin sounds like he’d be one of those people who’s annoying as hell to talk to for more than a few minutes at a stretch, but the crazy Michael Jackson vocal moments (young Michael, mind you) make me think he’s got to be a blast live.

CHRISTINA B AND THE FRENCH LANGUAGE: Swaying, bluesy/boozy barroom pop that points backwards to the ’50s more than anything else, all bump-and-grind rhythms and grooving, torchy vocals. Not sure if “The French Language” is actually a real band or just Christina B.‘s backing tracks — she seems to be somewhat of a one-woman show — but either way, she’s definitely intriguing, kind of like a less-nuts Nellie McKay.

IJI: O-kay, I’ll admit it — my first instinct was to dismiss this band as yet another tropicalia-inflected bunch of wannabe weirdos playing goofy, quirky songs that they thought were far more clever than they really were. Over the course of the handful of tracks I’ve been able to listen to, however, I’ve slowly been won over, in the process realizing that these guys aren’t as weird as I’d thought and don’t give a crap about poses. Instead, they’re all about melding cute pop melodies with samba-ish rhythms and some great, great horns.

MUMFORD’S: Interesting; Iowans Mumford’s are definitely flying the freak-folk flag, although they’re not too far off the map, truthfully — they mostly just play good-hearted, jangly, folky, story-songs, some with lots of instrumentation & horns and some just with vocals and guitar. The band was apparently a solo project for a good long time, and yeah, I can kind of tell; it still feels like there’s one guy (Don Mumford, apparently) driving the ship, and he’s an odd, odd duck. Should fit in perfectly at Super Happy…

$HINING PATH: I’m not sure just how to take Montgomery’s $hining Path (not sure if the dollar sign’s a real part of the name). One minute the band’s playing down-home, gritty, Deep South blues that shines a light straight back on their regional roots, and then the next they’re rambling their way through a messy, hard-to-follow slop of retro-sounding psych-rock. I suspect it’s going to take more than a casual listen to really get these guys.

UTOPIA PARK: A mixed bag of electronic-y lo-fi pop goodness, it sounds like; some of the tracks I’ve heard are full-on dreampop gems, but others aren’t much more than scrabbling bits of electronics and static over gently strummed guitars. Some of the band’s tracks make ’em sound relatively conventional in a lo-fi noise-pop way, but then I’m seeing pictures of the three guys in the band hunched over a bunch of boxes, no instruments in sight. Oh, and they’ve apparently done a remix for local folks Voidmate, so take that for whatever it’s worth.

THREE HAPPENIN GUYS: sigh. Sorry, but I don’t have a clue what these guys sound like, folks. Their Myspace page appears to be broken, and I get an error when I try to listen on the band’s own Happenin Records page, too. Dang…

Gah. It’s late, and my brain hurts. Have fun, folks…


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One Response to “SXSW Overflow 2011: Day Nine (Archimedes, Watch Out!, Golden Time, This City Defects, & More)”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Sarah Jaffe + Benjamin Wesley + For The Community III + Electric Attitude + More on September 29th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    […] iji/James Rabbit @ Vinal Edge Records (239 W. 19th; 7PM, free!) I thought these two bands — iji and James Rabbit — looked damn familiar, and lo and behold, my memory didn’t steer me wrong for once. The pair of bands both cruised through town in March of last year for the SXSW Overflow Fest up at Super Happy Fun Land, and I dutifully gave ‘em a listen and was surprised by how much I liked ‘em. Check out the writeup from back then over here. […]

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