SXSW Overflow 2013: Day Thirteen (Stanley and the Search, Alien Knife Fight, & Dead Mineral)

stanleyandthesearch1Almost done, y’all — tonight, Thursday, March 21st, happens to be the penultimate night of this year’s SXSW Overflow Fest up at Super Happy Fun Land, so if you haven’t yet made it out, go, go, go.

I’ll admit that the lineup’s aren’t anywhere near as jam-packed as they were previously, but still, there’re some good folks playing. Oh, and there’s apparently free beer tonight, as well, if that’s something you’re into.


STANLEY AND THE SEARCH: First of all, I really have to hand it to these guys for Doing It For The Music, and despite my generally sarcastic nature, I’m dead serious this time around. See, L.A. pop-punk dudes Stanley and the Search were on the road near San Antonio last night when their tour van died, and being a scrappy, no-budget band without the benefit of some big-money label, they had to make a hard decision as to whether they call it a tour and head home or plunk down some serious $$$ and soldier on.

Happily, they decided on the latter because, well, they’re just that kind of never-say-die band. And that’s a damn good thing, because they also happen to be one of the best old-school pop-punk bands I’ve heard in a few years now. They drag me grinning back to the heyday of Austin’s Dynamite Boy, in particular, with seriously heart-on-sleeve emo sincerity lending a fiercely personal, hopeful tinge to the roaring guitars, head-snapping rhythms, and yell-along choruses worthy of similarly tuneful band The Stereo.

Not positive they’re going to be able to make it to town for tonight up at SHFL, but I’ve got my fingers crossed; hang in there, you guys. For the rest of you out there, listen to SATS’ self-titled album right here:

ALIEN KNIFE FIGHT: Then there’s Austin band Alien Knife Fight, which is definitely a different sort of beast. Where Stanley and the Search are bright and ferocious, Alien Knife Fight are slinky and dark, making their way down dirty, shadowy alleyways, smiling seductively at you while hiding a blade behind their way for when you get close enough to reach.

The whole thing is seriously reminiscent of gone-too-soon band Morphine (with whom they’ve apparently collaborated in the past), especially with Brad Houser‘s saxophones and vocalist/bassist Monique Ortiz‘s 2-string bass, but Ortiz’s voice is less Mark Sandman (thankfully) and more Margo Timmins or Alison Moyet, sultry and smoky over the top of the gritty, down-low groove. This is very damn cool, I’ve gotta say; I’m liking it a whole lot more than I’d suspected I would. Take a listen to some of their songs here:


DEAD MINERAL: Last — but certainly not least — there’s Dead Mineral, the local representatives in tonight’s lineup. I’ve talked about these guys before, in part because they’ve got a hell of an H-town pedigree; they used to be known as Novox, and prior to that various members of the band did time in legendary bands like Project Grimm, Sprawl, The Keenlies, Rusted Shut(!), and Texas Guinness Lovers(!!).

Unfortunately, I still have yet to see these guys live, but I’ve listened to their one release so far, the track “Hyper-Vigilance,” off their Get Your Sh*t Together, Vol. 1 split-7″ with also-cool Fired for Walking, and it’s seriously impressive. It’s an instrumental, although I’m not sure that’s indicative of everything they do, and it’s thoughtful and somber and surprisingly fragile; even when the heavier guitars come in about halfway through, the whole thing still feels like it could collapse in upon itself at any second. Well worth checking out, either live or in recorded form:


One night left after tonight, folks, and then you’re out of luck ’til next year…

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