SXSW Overflow 2013: Day Two, Pt. 2 (The Bottom Dollars, DRGN KING, Cheers Elephant, The Nuclears, & Deathrow Tull)

Alrighty, back again to at least try to cram a few more of tonight’s bands up at Super Happy Fun Land‘s SXSW Overflow festival; still looking at tonight, Sunday, March 10th, y’all. Here we go once more:

THE BOTTOM DOLLARS: Another NYC band (this time from Brooklyn), but The Bottom Dollars don’t really sound like it; rather, they sound like a rootsy, countrified rock band from someplace further south and/or west. It’s bluesy and raggedy and soulful, with vocals like Ryan Adams, a swinging/rambling sense of melody, and a rough-edged, sincere delivery, and it all comes off like something you’re half-hearing through the door of a rundown honky-tonk on the wrong side of town. Which is to say, it’s excellent.

Take a listen to 2011’s The Halcyon Days, right here:

DRGN KING: Not quite what I was expecting, I’ve gotta say, but I’m good with it. Philly four-piece DRGN KING are psych-rock, sure, but they never let it get in the way of the actual song, which is my complaint with a lot of stuff like this. This is tightly, tightly, tightly-wound psych-rock, the kind that’s smart and sharp and relentlessly addictive while remaining strange enough to make you laugh nervously and say, “what the fuck was that?”

They stomp and slam and howl, shaking and rattling like their souls are coming apart; they’re informed by that whole retro-psych sound, but they sure as hell don’t hold themselves to it, instead merging ’00s noise-rock blasts with Flaming Lips-ian psychedelia and ’10s ironic weirdness. The band’s “Holy Ghost”/”Son of Wolfman (ft. Peedi Crakk)” 7-inch is freaking awesome beyond description, I swear:

CHEERS ELEPHANT: Like DRGN KING, above, Cheers Elephant hail from Philadelphia, but they point backwards more to the city’s soul-rock history than anything noisy or weird. I’ve been able to listen to 2012’s Like Wind Blows Fire, and it’s an impressive chunk of shiny, soulful, jangly pop-rock, one that makes me think of Houston’s own Featherface more than anything else. The band uses four(?)-part vocal harmonies like few bands I’ve heard recently, and they do it without it sounding gratuitous or like some godawful boy band; think Cheap Trick, The Posies, or Big Star, and you’ll be in the ballpark.

Here you go:

THE NUCLEARS: Okay, I’m digging this slew of throwback-ish bands tonight, and The Nuclears are another on the pile — new song “Baby You Know I Love You (But You Gotta Stop Bringing Me Down),” in particular, is awesomely soulful and Stax-like, and beyond that the band comes off like one of those more-polished garage-rock bands from Detroit (rather than their Brooklyn home). There’re some great boogie piano parts, some excellently snarling guitars, a lot of sung-shouted vocals, and yes, a saxophone. If the Blues Brothers were still around, this is what they’d sound like. Seriously:

DEATHROW TULL: And here we are, with yet another band that wins me over nearly on the name alone — Deathrow Tull makes me crack up every damn time I see it, honest. The band’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink takes it nearly the rest of the way, too, with the way they merge funky pop rhythms, too-pretty keys, soulful backing vocals, and smart-dude boy/girl rapping. This is like the band you and your 10 best friends back in college talked about forming when you got really, really wasted one night, but then you forgot about it by the next morning and just felt bummed out.

They’ve got a ton of videos up on their Website, but I think the “Sucker Punch” video’s the one I like best; it has a weird-yet-cool Sly & the Family Stone vibe to it:

phew. That’s it for tonight; I’ll try to get something posted about tomorrow if I can…


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