SXSW Overflow 2013: Day Fourteen, At Long Last (The Witherees, Flux Bikes, Skyline FiftyFour, & Another Pearl Harbor)

witherees1Well, here we are, people; it’s Friday, March 22nd, the final night of SXSW Overflow 2013 at Super Happy Fun Land, after which you’ll have to sit on your hands ’til this time next year to enjoy the flood of talented-yet-obscure bands & musicians that go flowing through SHFL on their way to & from SXSW.

Tonight, admittedly, is a bit of a cheat, with three of the four bands scheduled being from here and not some far-flung locale, but what the hell, it’s still pretty badass, and the SHFLers have promised a cool send-off for the Fest’s final evening. Here we go:

THE WITHEREES: I’ve been meaning to give these guys a serious listen for a while now, since the first time I ran across ’em back in 2011, so I’m happy to finally have an excuse to take the plunge.

And hey, it’s well worth it, at least so far; folk-country-pop duo The Witherees play a warm-yet-barebones style of guitar-centric folk that calls to mind The Mountain Goats at points (see “Juiceton”) and Lucero at others (see “Sunshine” and “Shy Girl”), with a sharply bitter, sarcastic touch to the backstreet-wise stories spun out in the lyrics. They’re the kind of folk songs you wish that asshole with the guitar up on stage at open-mic night was playing, rather than the sappy, insipid crap he’s spewing.

No actual releases yet, unfortunately (although I believe they’ve been in the studio lately), but there’re some cool songs up on their Soundcloud page:


FLUX BIKES: Alright, so I’ve got no idea what a “flux bike” is, but dammit, I want one, based on the name alone. I mean, c’mon — Flux Bikes immediately generates visions of sleek, neon-bright lasercycles roaring through a digital wasteland, Tron-style, right? Imagine my surprise, then, when the thusly-named Chicago band comes on, and the music is less Justice and more, well, John Zorn.

Not trying to put it down, mind you — it’s just that this wasn’t what my sleep-deprived brain had been expecting to hear. The music is mesmerizing and cyclical and free jazz-like, merging Eastern-/African-sounding percussion with subtle-yet-disorienting saxophones to make something that lulls your mind into a trance just this side of consciousness. And yes, there are somehow bike wheels involved in all of it, although I couldn’t for the life of me tell you how. Listen to the duo’s 2012 EP Cycling Loops, right here:


SKYLINE FIFTYFOUR: Shamefaced Admission Time: I’d seen Skyline FiftyFour‘s name on a few lineups before now, but until this very afternoon, I’d assumed it was a typo, and that the band was actually the eerily-similarly-named skyblue72. But nope — as with the whole Blackie Dammett/B L A C K I E thing, I’d pretty much just fooled my own stupid ass.

And hey, since we were talking about trance-inducing stuff above, well, it sounds like Flux Bikes could very well segue neatly into Skyline FiftyFour; the Lake Jackson-dwelling trio plays music that’s prog-rock yet somewhat more experimental than most things with that particular tag, coming off at times like the soundtrack to Akira more than anything else, with lots of warbly noises, pseudo-futuristic-sounding menace, and repeating, circular grooves that drag you into the aforementioned trance. Along the way, they dabble in more straightforward, “rock” tracks, too; check ’em out and see what you think:


ANOTHER PEARL HARBOR: Closing out the night and the Overflow Fest, then, there’s Another Pearl Harbor, who veer somewhat away from the preceding two bands to follow a route that’s more traditionally rock-band-like, but hey, I’ve got no problem with that. The band’s loud and nicely noisy at points, bombastic and arena-sized like the Deftones and angry and confrontational like mid-period Soundgarden (to the point where I keep expecting Chris Cornell to come roaring in on “The Bends”), but with a weirdly Parts & Labor-esque rawness to it, which I’m liking quite a bit.

There’s also a seriously hazy, drifting, atmospheric-rock thing going on, too, and that’s never a bad thing in my book; it makes me think of Co-Pilot, or maybe a less-fragile Explosions in the Sky. Give ’em a listen:


And that, my friends, is that. Back to your pseudo-regular programming…

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One Response to “SXSW Overflow 2013: Day Fourteen, At Long Last (The Witherees, Flux Bikes, Skyline FiftyFour, & Another Pearl Harbor)”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Vacation Eyes + Mydolls + SXSW Overflow 2013 + SCN Zine Release + Devil Killing Moth + More on March 22nd, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    […] Fun Land Yep, the final night of the SXSW Overflow 2013 festivities over at Super Happy Fun Land; talked about this already today, but make sure you check out the show before it’s gone, gone, gone, esp. cool local duo The […]

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