The Houston Music Blog section of the Free Press Houston.

Wednesday, April 30, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of May 1st 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 11:31 PM


Saturday, May 3 -
The Jonbenet /
Sharks and Sailors /
O Pioneers!!! /
Closet City
@ Walter's on Washington

Oh Jimminy Christmas, I'll admit it, it's a slow week- REALLY SLOW - thankfully Saturday will be anything but thanks to this excellent line-up. The Jonbenet are as heavy as a Higgs Boson. But don't just go off the myspace stuff, I mean sure it's heavy and hard but you have to have experience it live to truly get what they do. Beyond just the raw power of the amps and the riffs, lead singer Michael Murland proves to be just as droll and he is loud. Sharks and Sailors ain't no small shakes either. Their new album, Chinese Democracy, has been rumored for years about a possible release and this may be the year! The three piece has one of the most brutally precise sonics out there - one that drills though your skull, drops a charge of TNT, then runs away as your head explodes. Er... or something like that. Listen to Rickshaw live and you'll know what I mean. Oh Pioneers!!! is one I'm, stoked to see as Erick I Heart U will be backed up by members of the Papermoons which should be pretty sweet. Finally, Closet City is just straight up hardcore. Ahhh, yeah this is where you want to be Saturday Night!


Friday, May 2

The Texas Sapphires (in-store)
@ Cactus Music (6PM Free!)
Austin's Texas Sapphires bring their pedal steel fueled Country Bluegrass down to Houston and it's free.

Wicked Poseur
on KTRU's Revelry report (6PM Free!)
Ian and Matt have been doing a great job of broadcasting live local bands on Friday's Revelry Report. The always awesome sauce Wicked Poseur are playing tomorrow which should continue the shows amazing winning streak! Tune in brothas and sistahs.

Saturday, May 3

Arthur Yoria / Southern Backtones / Pale
@ Rudyard's
Arthur Yoria has a new single coming ou.t I'm gonna take a wild stab that he might be doing a pop song.

Doyle Bramhall
@ McGonigel's Mucky Duck
FYI - for all you Arc Angel's fans. I'd link to his myspace or his pages but his publicity shots are just too frightening for words. Attention Stacey and Clinton you know what you need to do!!

Saturday Secret Show
@The Shady Tavern
Who is playing? Jeez I don't know why are you asking me?

Sunday, May 4

Roger Waters
@ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Hi I'm Roger Waters. I was in this band called Pink Floyd. You may remember us. We made a lot of great albums. I went solo after that and made some really overwrought and histrionic solo albums that quite simply sucked ass. So I'm just giving up and serving up nostalgia.

Monday, May 5

B. / Elaine Greer / Foxhole /Interstate
@ Notsuoh
Yay B. and their math rockin' energetic shows! Yay Elaine Greer, her sharp as nails songwriting, and her lovely voice! Yay Bowling Green Kentucky's Foxhole in all it's instrumental goodness. Yay Interstate ... er ... IDon'tKnowWhoTheFuckYouAre... but sure why not? Ride those coattails my brothers. And I was complaining about it being a slow week. This and the JonBenet show look pretty awesome to me! [Oh damn it's on Monday! Grrrr!]

Uh Huh Her/Angie Mattson
@ Walter's on Washington
U.H.H., 20 words or less? OK? Go! "Femme 80's styled electro pop that would surely have found it's way onto a John Hughes film."

Tuesday, May 6
Mike Ness/Jesse Dayton
@ The Meridian
Another State of Mind has to be my favorite Punk tour documentary. The part with Minor Threat and that part with the guy showing you how to skank is pretty awesome. Yeah Mike Ness is still at it. Opener Jesse Dayton is from Austin and does that (stop the presses!!) Texas Singer Songwriter thing.

Wednesday, May 7
The Breeders/Colour Revolt
@ The Meridian
The Deal sisters return. Need I say more?

The Whigs/What Made Milwaukee Famous/The Dead Trees
@ Warehouse Live
Pop Rocks via Athens, Ga.'s (The Whigs), Austin TX (What Made Milwaukee Famous), and Portland, OR (The Dead Trees).

Tuesday, April 29, 2024

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Peter Brotzmann & Han Bennink (Sunday) and The Defenestration Unit (Friday)

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:29 AM

[Han Bennink disciplines his drum kit]

This weekend was all about the Jazz and less so about whiskey and beer. Friday I hit Brazil - a land where the beer and wine may flow but not so much the harder stuff. No worries, this was more of a pit stop in my evening on my way to some more serious boozing. The reason for the stop was I'd been jonesin' to see The Defenestration Unit (which has quite a few members with whom I've played music over the years) and Brazil's intimate space is a perfect venue for the ensemble. The band plays with no set list, or as Jim Otterson explains, "Jeff [Miller] just throws us a key and we go from there." Improvisation and horns sure, but this isn't what I'd call straight Jazz. They definitely have a huge bit of Krautrock running through their veins and Mike Switzer pretty much admitted this when I mentioned it but added "Well, I've been listening to a lot of James Brown so I'd hope it's a very funky Krautrock." Which isn't too far off as Bassist Jeff Miller, plays with the kind of detached funkiness you'd associate with say Berlin era Bowie. But overall they played a lovely first set that was a nice kickoff to my evening, I particularly love the sounds from that little Korg Charlie has been employing. Most importantly, the one thing I learned from watching this performance is that the best way to upstage your bandmates is to whip out a rubber chicken and actually play it for a few measures as Mike Switzer did (left). Sure you may point out that Jeff hit some sweet wah driven bass lines but, dude, Mike was just playing a chicken - that trumps all! So, appropriately, the band ended its first set not long after and I bid farewell and headed for the land of whiskey and hangovers.

Sunday found Diverse Works no better in the hard booze department but that was hardly a drawback as Peter Brotzmann and Han Bennink were in town thanks to Nameless Sound. Happily the show was well attended to the point where they had to add a few folding chairs at the last minute to accommodate the overflow. This was a boon for slack-asses like me as I got to sit not 5 feet from Brotzmann and, let me tell you, when you are close enough at a jazz show where you can feel the breath coming out of the horn, that's as good as it gets.

The show itself was droll, playful, and full of energy. Bennink and Brotzmann have played together for so long that their performance was like listening to two people complete each others sentences. That kind of playfulness and levity is something that many people miss by simply listening to recordings while never experiencing this stuff live. This is music of the moment; it is sound begin pulled out of the ether and being molded, beat, and shaped right in front of you with a full joy of creativity that acknowledges that it's supposed to be fun. Brotzmann is a Jazzman who plays with an ferocious intensity that reminds me of Hardcore - a blur of notes, volume, and energy. He can make the horn squeal for mercy yet can also whisper with great emotion. Bennink, for his part, is just as masterful but he is as much a joker as he is a musician. His sense of humor and childishness permeates his performances (likely why my 6-year-old son is a fan - "Aww dad, why couldn't I come?" "It was past your bedtime." "Awww!!!"). His performance style is not far off from that of Cop Warmth's Zlatan and his antics. For example, Bennink entered the stage with a huge hunk of wood, laid it across his lap, and began playing it, then, discarding it, fell back, and, laying flat on his back, played the floor while Brotzmann played over him. Later Bennink would play with his foot, chide his drum kit, drag chairs, throw things, and all sorts of shenanigans as a kind of comedic foil to Brotzmann's straight man. But here is the thing, as playful and even goofy as Bennink was, it never overshadowed the music or talked down to the audience. He and Brotzmann were simply having a discussion on stage like two enthralling dinner guests. Their chatter would range from loud arguments of notes and beats to quiet and thoughtful discourse and their manner had this wonderful way of engaging you and bringing you into the conversation. That, my friends, is a level of enganement with an audience to which every musician should asipre.

Special Note:

Some props are in order by the way for Nameless Sound who have for years not only been bringing Houston some of the finest in improvisational jazz,experimental, and any other genre that gets good coverage in say Signal to Noise Magazine but also have been doing excellent work with music education for kids. It's simply a great organization. So, if you've not checked them out see the link below.

More snapshots on Flickr:

Brotzman/Bennink (Link)
TDU (Link)


The Defenestration Unit (On Myspace)
Peter Brotzmann (
Han Bennink (
Nameless Sound (
Diverse Works (Website)

Labels: , , , , "Peter Brotzmann"

Sunday, April 27, 2024

Review - Papermoons-Lazy Bones

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 4:02 PM

My obsession for this last week has been the song Lazy Bones - a teaser Papermoons posted for their upcoming album on their Myspace. If there have been cries of 2024 being a rough year for Houston music (Proletariat's closing, the ongoing travails of SHFL, etc. ), let me just say that Papermoons are prepared to clean the slate and raise the bar. Papermoons show how you can accomplish more with understatement and simplicity than any overdriven Marshall, screaming rawk vocalist, or histrionic Xiu Xiu emoting song could ever dream of.

There are no gimmicks in this song. In fact, if you break it down, what do we have? Most of the song is just straight C to F with a bridge that rises to G - a straight 1-4-5. That's pretty basic stuff. But the band makes it work because they start with a strong melody and back it up with brilliant harmonies and enviable phrasing in which there are, on occasion, words you cannot make out simply because the phrasing chooses emotion over articulation. That kind of instinct is priceless.

Consider the transition between the opening and the first verse. The opening starts with a simple waltz where the chords ring each measure, the drums ride softly off the cymbals, and the vocals let the notes hover, then, with a short melodic run, the song plows into the first verse. The meter hasn't changed, the chords are still C to F, but there is this lovely momentum in that change and they do this by simply having the guitars, drums, and vocal melody emphasize the beat. In other words, they simply hang back then hit the beat. It's subtle but horribly effective and the reason it works is because it's all so organic and natural in feel.

It's gorgeous music performed with singular confidence and emotion that reaches in and grabs your heart and stops all the noise and clutter around you! It's 3:53 of pure beauty and if that isn't good enough for you then you have no soul!

I can't wait for the album this summer!


Rating System

David Thomas (Pere Ubu): So good my head is going to explode!

Dave Thomas (Wendy's): Pretty tasty.

Dave Thomas (SCTV): Oh My fucking God! What happened to these guys!
*Reserved for bands that at one time were great.

Celine Dion: Hey, more power to the artist and the fans but leave me out of it.

Nickelback Dude: So bad that I'm only reserving it for the worst of the worst; I mean, come on, we're talking sucking worse than Celine Dion.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 24, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of April 24, 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 1:47 PM

OK let me just say how much is sucks when I have to try to finish this up during lunch at work! Blogger loves to autosave and somehow my work disappeared and before I could navigate away Blogger autosaved. So I'm going to have to make this brief.

This Week's spotlight
Free Jazz Dudes from Holland and Germany!
Sun., April 27 -
Peter Brotzmann/Han Bennink
@ DiverseWorks ($13, 8PM)
See Nameless Sound for more Information (

Oh man this is gonna rock! Bennink is just this powerhouse player. He's got lungs of steel and his shows have the musical force of a hardcore show. Here, he's playing with Holland's Han Bennink who is a show unto himself. The guy will play anything in front of him - a ladder, the floor, his name it he'll bang on it. If you are one of those people who think this is just noise, I say reserve your judgement until you've actually seen it live.

Photographs from fotodraai (link)

Thursday, April 24

Black Black Gold
@ The Continental Club
Garagey Psych that will kick off your weekend with a bang.

Steve Earle/Allison Moorer (in-store)
@ Cactus Music
Steve "Motherfucking" Earle at Cactus FREE! How awesome is that!

The Neptones/The Misfires/Picture Book
@ Rudyard's

Hey Matt Sargent (Ex- Rusted Shut, Happy Fingers Institute, etc) is playing garagey surf with the Neptones - who'd a thunk it?

Friday, April 25

Steve Earle/Allison Moorer
@ Verizon Wireless Theater
In case you couldn't get enough at Cactus the day before.

Mike Park / O Pioneers!!! / Teenage Kicks / The Anchor
@ Casa Show'le
(6702 Langdon; 6PM, $6)

West coast acoustic singer and a dude with a thing for Bikini Kill headlines this show. Eric I Heart U's Oh Pioneer's is always a hoot and Teenage Kicks are poppy garage that tickles.

The Defenestration Unit
@ Brasil

Jazz and Coffee who'd a thought to put those together is a genius.

Saturday, April 26

Elf Power/Lazy Horse/The Missing Files
@ The Backroom (The Mink)
Athens, Ga./ Elephant 6 return with more of their psychedelic bubblegum. Lazy Horse, who plays before, finally has new recordings up on their myspace that actually sound good enough where you can actually tell what's going on. Bonus is that they are good songs too.

Buzzfest XXI,
featuring a hella lot of crap!
@ who cares


Pong/The Horsies
@ The Continental Club

Pong is Austin for lights and dancing.

Saturday - Sunday
April 26-27

iFEST 2024, featuring Bettye LaVette, Buddy Guy, Red Stick Ramblers, The Wailers, Sonny Landreth, Charlie Musselwhite, Shemekia Copeland, The Neville Brothers, DJ Sun, D.R.U.M., Jones Family Singers, Trudy Lynn, Step Rideau, Triple, The Flamin' Hellcats, Felipe Galvan y los Carnales, Yoko Mono, Cuervo, Karina Nistal, Zydeco Dots, Sonny Boy Terry, Earl Gilliam, Little Joe Washington, Kelly Dean, Kyle Turner, Sugar Bayou, Miss Leslie and Her Juke-Jointers, Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys, Johnny Falstaff, The Hollisters, Free Radicals, Ryan Scroggins and The Trenchtown Texans, Spain Colored Orange, & Plump
@ Downtown Houston

That's a hella lotta stuff, isn't it?!!

Sunday April 27

Papermoons/The Wild Moccasins
@ Dean's Credit Clothing

Cancelled !!!!
but they will both be at the Mink on May 16th with
Bright Men of Learning which will be awesome.
The Papermoon's new song on myspace (a teaser for the album they are recording) is the shit. Oh man, I mean their 7" was great but this is just on a whole different level. The vocal harmonies are crushingly good. Listen to it and see if it doesn't make you die from goodness. Also on the bill is Wild Moccasins whose Block Party show was one of those where it was impossible to walk away from - their myspace demos don't do them justice so see them live.

listenlisten/State Bird/Buxton
@ The Backroom (The Mink)

Listenlisten's acoustic stuff is pretty sweet. Just enough atmosphere and moodiness to have them on my to check out list. Buxton meanwhile are checked off that list but there are three exclamation marks to the right of the name. Great live performances and the new album is just one of those I can't put down. Just that song Joseph Collins alone was enough to kill which it's patient build up and joyous ending. Eh, I'll post a review soon. Point is don't miss the opening band!

The Defenestration Unit
@ Discovery Green Park

Jazz in the newest snazzy park downtown. This should be a good warm up to
the Brotzmann/Bennink show!

Monday April 28

Golden Axe
@ Rudyards
(Mike Sims Benefit $5 Suggested donation)
This just in..."We [Golden Axe] are playing Monday night at Rudyard's. Downstairs. To benefit Mike Sims' legal defense. there is a suggested $5 donation. we play at midnight. Mike books the bands at rudyard's and bartends as well and is an awesome dude as well. come help him out and jam out at the same time"

Wednesday April 30

Aaron Loesch'sOne Man Band
@ Under the Volcano
2349 Bissonnet

It's that dude that won that guitar contest a while back. Remember

Labels: "Peter Brotzmann" "Han Bennink"

Monday, April 21, 2024

Music with Jameson & Lonestar: Deadbolt, Trianwoodburns (Friday) and Speeding Motorcycle (Sunday)

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 6:46 AM

Now I'm gonna fess up and say that my interest in Friday's show was somewhat nominal. I had gone up to Rudyard's to go meet some friends and spent most of Deadbolt's set engaged in drunken chatter by the bar instead of dutiful rocking. So, you probably could have dropped a bomb in that room and I wouldn't have noticed. That being said Trian Woodburns opened with good set of garagey Rock and Roll. While I can't say I was particularly swayed one way or the other by the electric guitar stuff, it was quite a different matter when the guitarist played songs on an acoustic with his slide; they went from mildly pleasant to engaging. Deadbolt followed with it's vodoobilly thing. Powertools, sparks, a high concept look, and straight up well played evil sounding surf inspired garage. Good stuff but then, after the second song, I went to get a beer, ran into my friends, and (like I mentioned) that was about it for my attention span. Before I knew it the band ended and it was 2am.

Sunday night at Rudyard's though was a different matter. The Austin cast of Speedy Motorcycle came down to see a play so why not book a musical review of the Speedy Motorcycle (which recently closed in Austin)? Sure. Joe Mathlete, Kathy McCarty, Members of Cat Scientist, Invincible Czars, and others ripped through a solid set of Johnston songs that was fun, loose , and laid back. Maybe it was just me but the upbeat songs like Speeding Motorcycle and Funeral Girl really we're much more fun and engaging than the slow numbers. Nevertheless, the thing was, if you left after the main set you missed out on the real fun which was the encore (or should I say encores) which seemed totally off-the-cuff and a blast. Whereas the main set had most people being quite stoic, the encores eventually led to some righteous dancing and whooping. The whole thing closed with a rip roaring version of Johnston's Rock this Town with everyone singing along to the chorus! Yeah, it was late and I'll be tired this afternoon at work but it was worth it.

Trian Woodburns

Deadbolt and their powertools

Speedy Motorcycle
You can't keep a good musical down!

A reserved moment for the cast

Cathy McCarty feelin' it!

Speedy Motorcycle's
title track was one of the highlights!

What, you expected Gie Gie to stay OFF the stage?

Joe is ripping it up so let the dancin' commence!

More Pics (link)

Labels: "Cat Scientist", , , , , ,

Thursday, April 17, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of April 17, 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:06 PM

This week we open with free verse from the great man of letters ADR.

I just blatantly picked my nose at my desk and it felt great.

Pick your nose
It's awesome
I had totally forgotten the
perverse pleasure in it
Totally bad ass
I am gonna do it more
Yes, and you are right! I sure as hell don't know what the hell that has to do with shows this week!

This week's spotlight is on
Indian Jewelry's Tour Kick Off

Friday April 18
Indian Jewelry (tour kickoff) / Balaclavas / Wicked Poseur / A Thousand Cranes
@ The Backroom (The Mink)

I'm not a gamblin' man but this line up is a pretty solid deal. Indian Jewelry's tribal and strobe light infested shows are singular trippy experiences and well worth anybody's Friday evening. They have a Syndrum for Pete's sake! A Syndrum! Sold yet? OK, well it's also a tour kick-off so you know it's going to be special! OK, great I know you are psyched but how about they tack on the theatrically intense Balaclavas? You're even more stoked, right? But wait, don't touch that phone just yet because the Mink's also throwing the two man/two guitar dance party of Wicked Poseur. Too good to be true, you say? Well how about they throw in 1,000 Cranes just to seal the deal? No not 100, not 500, not 999 - One Thousand! OK, Now you can make that call!!!


Thursday April 17

Part of Aurora Picture Show's
Media Archeology: Live & Televised
@ Rice University, Herring Hall
(8pm Doors 7:15)
Holy crap, arguably one of the most high profile (and deservedly so) audio pastiche artists are playing tonight. The performance is described as follows; "For this all audio performance, Negativland creates an immersive, imaginary radio show while audience members sit blindfolded and listen to samples of people discussing the various facets of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and other major religions, and the role of religion in society. The performance is narrated by the fictional radio host, Dr. Oslo Norway" COOL! Bonus: KTRU 91.7fm Simulcast!

Hasbeen, Ale Gore, Champion, Joe Ray, Molotov Compromise
@ The White Swan
You know when bands like the Who have these farewell tours that aren't really farewell tours. Well, I'm hoping that Hasbeen keeps doing that if only because posters like this are freaking brilliant!

Astronautilus/Single Frame
@ Boondocks
Astronautilus straddles the line of indie and rap with great dexterity throwing nimble vocals over sharp textures. Austin's Single Frame borrows so heavily from so many sources that it's kind of hard to peg them but a bit of new wave, electro, punk, and indie rock suggest an amusing opener.

Megadeth / Children of Bodom / Flames / Job For a Cowboy / High on Fire
@ Verizon Wireless Theater
All your favorite soft rock hits touch down at the Verizon tonight.

Friday April 18

Brent Green with Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) & Jeremy Gara (Arcade Fire)
Part of Aurora Picture Show's
Media Archeology: Live & Televised
@ The Orange Show

Filmmaker Brent Green will perform a a live narration to his animated films with an improvised soundtrack by Gelb and Gara. Should be cool. Oh and if it rains they will move it to the Aurora Picture show.

Unwed Sailor / Ryan Lindsey / Papermoons / B.
@ Walter's on Washington (8:30PM, $9)
Unwed Sailor play some pleasant indie instrumental rock. You may know Ryan Lindsey from Starlight Mints but he also makes straight-up pop solo records. Papermoons meanwhile specialize in folky roosty songs that grab your chest and rip our your heart with sweet fender tube amps and some of the best vocal harmonies out there. Listen to that song Lazy Bones and tell me otherwise! (Shit, they are playing with Bright Men of Learning on May 16 - kick ass!!!). B. meanwhile put on high energy shows of unabashed proggy math glory that leave your jaw on the floor. In other words, if show up late, you are lame!

Deadbolt / Trian Woodburns
@ Rudyard's
San Diego's Deadbolt have been at it since 1990 and comes highly recommended by Bill Fool. How to describe what they do? Well I think the band puts it best when they say, "We still have the snake dance and the karate demonstration and the power tools, and we still insult people.... Rockabilly is Peggy Sue at the malt shop; psychobilly is a crazy killer from outer space; voodoobilly is the darker, creepier side of the ’billy family. We’re the side with the missing teeth."

@ Verizon Wireless Theater

I'll be honest. I never bought into Ministry but if you did/do here you go.

Infamous Stringdusters
@ McGonigel's Mucky Duck
Well the international Bluegrass Music Association saw fit to bestow them best album of last year who am I to disagree?

Saturday April 19

Program / Built By Snow / The McKenzies
@ The Backroom (The Mink)
The McKenzies! The McKenzies! The McKenzies!
I know this is bad form but I am totally stoked about the opening band - The McKenzies! Is it me or did a lot of people just freak at the McKenzies set last week at the block party! They rip some sweet pop that is not to be missed.

@ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
You don't like Rush? Are you nuts?!! Dude, I saw them a few years ago at the CWMP and I have to say they put on a great show! I don't normally enjoy big venue shows like this but Rush at least proves it can be done and be fun.

South Austin Jug Band
@ McGonigel's Mucky Duck
(in-store) @ Cactus Music (12PM)
Austin Folkies double it up free and not so free!

James McMurtry/Jon Dee Graham
@ The Continental Club
James McMurtry (in-store)
@ Cactus Music (3PM)
Austin singer songwriter doubles it up free and not so free!

Saturday - Sunday April 19-20
iFEST 2024
featuring Bettye LaVette, Buddy Guy, Red Stick Ramblers, The Wailers, Sonny Landreth, Charlie Musselwhite, Shemekia Copeland, The Neville Brothers, DJ Sun, D.R.U.M., Jones Family Singers, Trudy Lynn, Step Rideau, Triple, The Flamin' Hellcats, Felipe Galvan y los Carnales, Yoko Mono, Cuervo, Karina Nistal, Zydeco Dots, Sonny Boy Terry, Earl Gilliam, Little Joe Washington, Kelly Dean, Kyle Turner, Sugar Bayou, Miss Leslie and Her Juke-Jointers, Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys, Johnny Falstaff, The Hollisters, Free Radicals, Ryan Scroggins and The Trenchtown Texans, Spain Colored Orange, & Plump
@ Downtown Houston

Fuck "Ifest"- that's weaksauce! It's the Houston International Festival. You know the score!

Sunday April 20
Southland Coalition presents
STEEM Festival, featuring
Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Hurts, Translations, Trills, Forests, Track53, & more
@ The Backroom (The Mink)
This is being put on by Southland Coalition which describes itself thusly; "A collective of greater Houston area underground, experimental artists all working together to combat the norm and shine a light on the unusual. A growing scene of idm, ambient, electronic, experimental music is rising up through the murky depths of the mainstream and stirring up misconceptions." Any questions?
Daniel Johnson's Speeding Motorcycle
@ Rudyard's
The Austin Cast of Speedy Mortorcycle bring the IBP favorite back to Houston for one night in a pretty cool venue. Joes Mathlete Explains it all:

"Everybody should completely come out to this... I'm bad at summaries but basically we did this play in Austin a month or two ago (that we originally did here in Houston in 2024) called Speeding Motorcycle, like a rock opera with Daniel Johnston's music.

On April 20 the band from the Austin show is coming down here to play a bunch of the songs we did in the show and the concert we did at the end of the show, and if you're at all a fan of Daniel Johnston it's something very much worth checking out. Even if you just like songs, or being at Rudyard's on a Sunday night, come on out and have a buncha fun.

The band includes a bunch of people who played with Daniel back in the Austin cassette days, like Kathy McCarty (she was in Glass Eye and did the DJ covers album "Dead Dog's Eyeball" in the mid-90s... if you've seen The Devil and Daniel Johnston, she's the awesome lady with the glasses), Bill Anderson (from Cat Scientist and the Horsies; he was in Daniel's band in the 80s and co-wrote several songs with him ("Ain't No Woman Gonna Make a George Jones Out Of Me")), Terri Lord and Sherri Anderson. Also Adam and Leila from the Invincible Czars, and some fun, friendly and attractive theater people you can buy drinks for and maybe make out with or something. Also I do some stuff." -Joe Mathlete

Monday April 21

Dizzy Pilot / The Jonbenet
@ Boondocks
Monday Night at Boondocks continues with the ever frantic Dizzy Pilot and the ever heavy and droll Jonbenet. Not to be missed!

Tuesday April 22

Cat Power/Appaloosa Cancelled (To Be Rescheduled)
@ Warehouse Live
Cat Power's high energy rock show has been a staple of heavy metals for decades now. With the distinctive voice of Rob Halford and the twin guitar attack of KK Downing and Glenn Tipton, it's no wonder songs like Turbo Lover, You've Got Another Thing Coming, Breaking The Law, and Hell Bent For Leather have become metal classics. Don't forget to camp out in the parking lot before the show!

Wednesday April 23

The Monocles (tour kick-off)
@ The Backroom (The Mink)
Monocles! Monocles! Monocles! One of the most ass-kicking of the Houston Super Awesome Garage Heroes prepare to leave Houston on a mission that involves really expensive gas tank fill ups!

Sunday, April 13, 2024

Spring 2024 Westheimer Survives Yet Another Block Party

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 10:45 PM

No Beer or Jameson fueled review this week folks. This week I'm keepin' it straight edge. But even if you weren't abstaining, I hope you were able to make it out yesterday to the Block Party! I kicked around until 5pm and had to leave due to some other obligations but five hours was still quite the overdose of music. In those five hours I caught 20 acts and the stupid thing is, when I had to leave, I was bummed about having to miss Elaine Greer, The Papermoons, Oh Pioneers, Young Mammals, Rusted Shut and a whole host of other bands. Is that crazy? You'd think I'd have been sick of it all and ready to leave but the day was too beautiful and everywhere you looked you kept running into cool people and cool music. So here are some highlights:

The McKenzies drew me in with their upbeat drums, organ, and poppy melodies. For me, they were my happy pop "discovery" of the day complete with bubble machine. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the well executed pop song. Sadly, no releases yet but they say they are working on it. Highly recommended!

Defenestration Unit were missing a guitarist yet, no offense to Jim Otterson's skills, you never missed him. The band filled in the gaps beautifully and Charlie Ebersbaker's work on the Korg was a great addition to the band's palate.

Come See My Dead Person were a complete surprise. I walked in and there was this big dude with a small-scale acoustic guitar, a mandolin player, and a violinist, atop the usual drums, bass, and guitar. The singer was singing like some gypsy Tom Waits while the whole place was whooping it up. It's probably the only time I've seen a band have this infectious a "drag you in" live performance since the last time I saw the Sideshow Tramps.

Antarctica Starts Here played one of the best sets I saw on Saturday. Oh, this is a band that loves a wash of echo, reverb, and delay ON EVERYTHING. Add the shimmering guitars and their patient buildups leading to some gorgeous crescendos and I'm mainlining.

Sideshow Tramps make it look so easy! I caught a bit of their set and there is the drummer throwing his stick around like some Bennihanna chef, the washboard bassist is taking a solo to hoots and hollers from the audience, the cigar box guitarist is sashaying across the stage like he's Jimi Page, and the singer is making you buy whatever they are selling. Now, that's all fine and dandy but I'd gone to see Perseph One and that stage running late so I headed back to Avant Garden then, sure enough, when I get back, the goddamn stage is filled with people dancing and singing along! Goddamn it, I can't leave those Sideshow Tramps alone for five minutes!

Basses Loaded also fall under the category of bands that make it look easy with their cool bass lines, clever arrangements, and unstoppable skills. Fine cool I can deal with that and the fact that the whole American Sharks thing is also kickin' but I didn't know until later that day that 1/2 of the band was in The Fucking Transmissions. Fuck that! That's Bullshit! Attention Basses Loaded members, you have exceeded your cool band quota! Cut that shit out!

Buxton is a band I'd been curious to hear live since hearing them on Myspace and they did not disappoint. There's a lot to like about them, strong songs, engaging vocals etc. but for me the thing that put it over the top was the lead guitarist. Here was one of those bastards that had an insane control over what he was doing - it was enviable. He'd constantly punctuate the songs with these little guitar lines and phrasing that added texture, nuance, and weight to an already heady brew. One of the best performances of the day!

The Fucking Transmissions' set was hip hop at it's most musically witty. Ben (he of too much talent and too many cool bands) played guitar and bass simultaneously while the vocalists played off each other like droll school kids trying to outdo each other. Jovial and sharp, The Fucking Transmissions should quiet any naysayers who claim Houston Hip Hop is all out of tricks.

The Wild Moccasins got everyone in a tizzy. John Sears turned to me and said "Oh Shit they're the new De Schmog!" We'll, maybe if De Schmog was a bit more rootsy but, yeah, in terms of being upbeat, fun, and getting the crowd all nutters, they had it in spades.

I closed it off with Austin's Death Hell Battle Tank upstairs at Avant Garden. The singer (is this the dude from Fuck Emos by the way?) sure had sass. He got on the balcony and began, with his voice running through an octave divider, to taunt the people below to come upstairs all the while addressing the Houston crowd as "Hey Dallas" and telling them how much they sucked. The band - dressed in military headgear, fully in character, and with fog machine in hand - then charged through a really fucked-up version of The Immigrant Song. It was refreshing to see someone just be purely stupid and silly. Now I'll grant you, the shtick may get old but it was worth rolling this one at least once.

The Punk's Not Dead Award though for the day has to go to Cop Warmth and Blackie's guerrilla performance outside the bike shop. If you missed it like I did don't feel to bad; it was thrown together on a whim after the band's performance at Numbers . Cop Warmth are like excitable chimps and - fuck stages and set times - it was time to have some fun and fling some poo: get the equipment, set up by the bike shop, play, make some noise with Blackie, and hope it's all done before the cops shut you down. Just looking at these pictures by Brent (Link) and listening to what people said, Cop Warmth may just have topped everyone else and brought some much needed real chaos to an otherwise orderly event. Amen!

Here are some snapshots:

The McKenzies - awesome pop goodness!

The Defenestration Unit's Mike Switzer
has come to kick ass and chew bubblegum
and he's all out of bubblegum!

Generation Landslide
plays an exclusive set for Indian Jewelry


Team Death Trap

Come See My Dead Person rips up Mango's
and that's without their entire line-up.

Swans Will Attack

Antarctica Starts Here lay down shoegazer

shit that makes your hair stand on end!

News On the March

Sideshow Tramps!!

I left for five minutes.
When I get back everyone was on stage.

Mistress Green

Ill Advisory - the one man supergroup!

Basses Loaded!

Asses Kicked!
Mission Accomplished!


Buxton! Holy shit they are good!

The Fucking Transmissions dropping some cognitive
dissonance on that one dude who writes-off Houston as
"a talentless hip hop sewer of uncreative ass clowns "

The Wild Moccasins
wowing an enthusiastic crown outside Mango's

Piano Vines you got that one dude dancin'!!

Death Hell Battle Tank!

Because sometimes you need to get your stupid on!

Cop Warmth & Blackie
proof that punk's not dead!

And Finally!
Best swag of the day was from Johnathan Welch!

He was dutifully workin' it for his spiritual guru,
& handing out the most bad-ass bookmark ever.
(Yes, Johnathan, I linked the pictures to the site.)


Blog Reviews:

Breakfast On Tour review and pictures by Cereal (Link)

Handstamp (Chronicle) review and Pictures (Link), more pictures (Link), and Video (Link) by Sara Cress

Houston Calling
Review By David Cobb (Link)

Houston Press
review by Chris Gray (with link to a slide show Link)

Impose Magazine
review and photos by David deLeon (Link)


My Pictures (Link)

Brent's Pictures (

Groovehouse's Pictures (

William Cordray's Picture's (Link)

Send me you Flickr and other related links so I can add them, eh?

Labels: , , , , , , , "Wild Moccasins", , , McKenzies

Thursday, April 10, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of April 10th 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:05 AM


Sat., April 12 -
Westheimer Block Party (More), featuring

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Health, Spain Colored Orange, Young Mammals (Frmly - the Dimes), By the End of Tonight
@ Numbers (Doors at 7:30)

Sabra Laval,Elaine Greer, Oh Pioneers!!!, Papermoons, Free Radicals, Sideshow Tramps, Piano Vines, Buxton, The Watermarks, News on the March, The Defenestration Unit, Guy Schwartz
(Avant Garden - Oustide)

Boo Town Presents, The Gold Sounds, Micah Omega, Econo, Midnight Pilots, Dead Roses, The Electricks, Death Hell Battle Tank, Cop Warmth, Finnegan, Dunnock's Ill Advisory, Antarctica Starts Here, Team Death Trap, Verecity
(Avant Garden - Upstairs)

HISD, Lisa's Sons, Nosaprise, Electric Touch, Three Armada, The Fucking Transmissions, Basses Loaded, Perseph One, American Sharks, Sky Blue 72, Kam
(Ouside - Numbers)

B, Concrete Rose Cabaret, Karina Nistal, Southern Backtones, Fat Tony, Mechanical Boy, Noon, Generation Landslide, Literary Greats.
(Inside - Numbers)

The McKenzies, Swans Will Attack (Frmly - Mexican War), Mistress Green, Lovie, Rise over Ruin, The Delta Block
(Mango's Outside)

CeePlus Bad Knives, Just Jesse, John the Third, Damon
(Mango's Patio)

Release the Controls, Closet City, Come See My Dead Person, Estudiantes Social Club, Giant Battle Monster, Poison Apple Martini, The Takes, JD's Throwdown, Orengus Deltroid, Satin Hooks, Lazlo, Studemont Project, The Chapter
(Mango's Inside)

Jebus bejebus look at that line up! It hurts just looking at it! Just copying the freaking links is taking me for ever! I mean here is the deal. You catch what you can. Don't worry if you haven't heard of every band - it's a freaking block party!! Walk around, check out bands you know, check out bands you don't know, discover new bands to adore, discover new bands to ridicule, say hi to your peeps, ignore your enemies, turn on, tune in, and hang out. Can't make the whole thing? Don't worry, just pop on over for a bit. The point is it's the best party in April and you'll hate yourself for missing it. Hell, when the free stuff ends, come on into the air conditioned comfort of Numbers 2 and check out the not so free show too. See, if you don't get home after our party and aren't near death or at least to the point of collapsing, we have failed in our block party duties. Or to put it another way, we're trying to kill you.

See you there!


Friday, April 11

Whorehound / Son(s) of Evel / Split Hoof
@ Rudyard's

John The Black is one kick ass guitar player so what else can he do on his birthday but rock your ass off with his band Whorehound! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, April 12
Amplified Heat / Scorpion Child / Prodigal Sons
@ Rudyard's
The first of two shows for people who are left alive after the block party and carry their own defibrillator, Amplified Heat are gold when it comes live shows.

Termination Force, Hypo-Christians, HasBeen, Ale Gore, Chocolate Crucifix
@ 2502 Leeland (9pm Sharp)
Here is the other one. Now you may notice this looks a hella lot like last week's canceled show at the Pitt and you'd be right - this is the rescheduled show. So if you didn't get your hit of Hardcore last week - here is your chance!

Sunday, April 13
KTRU 17th Annual Outdoor Show, featuring
Parts & Labor(!), Dead PA, Nosaprise, Balaclavas, KAI/ROS, Social Insects, Miles Ahead, Flying Balalaika Brothers, & Rachel Buchman
@ IM Fields 2/3 (Rice Univ. campus; 12PM, free)
Yeah, a family tradition here. Each year, KTRU brings some of the finest bands onto Rice campus and it makes for a lovely and laid back afternoon. I don't think I've ever attended one and had a bad time. Parts & Labor alone is worth the admission! I'm one of those P&L fans who find the live shows are so good that they make the LPs seem like a pale copy. The rest of the line up (which includes the recently profiled Balaclavas) is pretty amazing. I'll see you there too.

British Sea Power/Film School/Colour Music/The Watermarks
@ Numbers
This show has been burned in my head only because of a ridiculous attack on promoter Pegstar for booking the Watermarks and not the anonymous flamer's own band. The flamer's sour grapes caused a big commotion and the show got much more publicity than had the flamer kept his mouth shut. Which only goes to prove that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Monday, April 14

Born Liars/Black Black Gold
@ Boondocks
You know there are two solid big time shows happening but, no offense to the Boss or the angry red planet, you know where the sweat and craziness will be happening? Boondocks. Born Liars rip up the garage thing like nobody's business. They are so good that we're trying very hard to get around their nutters schedule to do a feature for May's issue.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
@ Toyota Center

The Mars Volta
@ Verizon Wireless Theater
Get your proggy weirdness on!

Wed., April 16
Son Volt/Bobby Bare Jr.
@ The Continental Club
Oh man this is a sweet bill. Do I need to explain who Sun Volt is? I didn't think so.

Scout Niblett, Throw Me The Statue, The Ruby Suns + Elaine Greer and Sew What? (solo sets)
@ The Mink Backroom
England's Scout Niblett minimal approach to her music make for some very intimate records. I'm kind of curious to see how it pulls off live. Pairing her with local singer songwriters Elaine Greer and Sew What is a nice contrast in solo styles too. Sandwiched in-between you'll find the poppy goodness of Seattle's Throw Me The Statue and the slightly odder pop stylings of New Zealand's Ruby Sons. In short, this show's kind of a smörgåsbord of styles which is something I find really refreshing.

Monday, April 7, 2024

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Clue to Kalo, Hearts of Animals @ The Backroom 06 April 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 8:17 PM

Sunday was just one of those nights where you had two very good choices from which to choose. On the one hand you had the International Noise Conference over at the Jet Lounge while The Mink Backroom had Casiotone and HOA. I'd actually considered trying to catch both but then realized how club hooping is generally a recipe for disaster and simply staked my claim with the show at the Backroom.

Opening was Hearts of Animals who I've seen so many times that it would generally seem pointless and redundant to catch yet another performance but everyonce in a while you catch one performance like this and you remember what's so particularly special about HOA. Sunday night saw HOA perform under some dodgy circumstances: a Mac with its battery nigh dead, an odd little drum machine whose signal never fed properly to the board, and pre-amp tubes that weren't cooperating thus refusing her the crunchy distortion that we have come associate with HOA. But after a futile request for a distortion box, HOA simply forged ahead and, the thing was, I never missed the distortion. Perhaps because she had to fight the circumstances somewhat and knowing that her Powerbook could go at any moment, this HOA performance had a little but of the sass that had been missing from her SXSW performance. The clean guitar was actually quite enjoyable as the clear ringing notes had nothing to hide behind and, being a fan of her simple yet effective finger picking style, it was nice to hear that unfiltered and pure. That being said, despite the excellent performance, one thing kept ruining the music for me and that was the dude who was writhing on the floor, bumping into the microphone, and engaging other generally annoying behavior that would a suggest a person who clearly is desperate for attention. First off, I am still shocked that dude was not on drugs but more importantly the question that should be posed to people like this is "Did I just pay 8 bucks to watch you make an ass of yourself or did I pay 8 bucks to see someone play some songs that they worked pretty damn hard to perfect?" followed by the inevitable "No dude, that is a rhetorical question."

Clue to Kalo followed with a pretty shaky set. Don't get me wrong Clue to Kalo have their share of good solid songs (check out Love Check Music Game on their myspace for a lovely example of the band at their best) yet, there was something that never quite took off. You could argue that the sound didn't do much for the type of clean poppy instrumentation and harmonies in which the band prefers to tread and sure, they came off as pleasant, charming, and droll enough but the set never really left me engaged beyond a shrug of pleasantness. Perhaps this is a band better left to the controlled and precise world the studio which, by the way, is no dis.

Closing the evening was Casiotone for the Painfully Alone who played a sweet set. Now, I've been pretty shaky on his voice on his recordings (perhaps because he at times employs some good vocalists to share duties) but in a live perfoemance his voice is charming, sincere, and endearing. Now don't get me wrong with these qualifiers for his vocals, Owen Ashworth's main strength lies in his ability to write lovely little personal pop songs and arrange them with some lovely keyboards that at times give me the same fun kick I'd gotten when I'd first heard latter day Kraftwerk. His is all about the beauty of simplicity and Sunday's performance was appropriately ungilded; he simply laid out those songs and charmed the audience with his low key and humble stage personae. The oddest and funniest bit of banter came when he explained to the audience how the legs on muppets freak him out which may seem a bit of a shaggy dog but it pretty much captured the spirit of the evening which was simply a bunch of people sitting together listening to some songs and enjoying each others company. Now how much more pleasant a Sunday night would you want?

Labels: , "clue to kalo",

Saturday, April 5, 2024

Special Report: Punk Rock Starbucks (Video and Pictures)

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 10:02 PM

The Punk rock Starbucks show this afternoon was a hoot even if it was short. Yeah, you loser, I know you missed it so I posted a few pictures for you. But don't take my word for it, check out my little video at the bottom with bonus six-year-old commentary:

Be My Doppelganger

Dude, is that a Starbucks across the street?
A beautiful day and good music.
What could possibly go wrong?

Something Fierce

Cheese it! It's the cops!

The Man makes his move!Niki "Dude! We're so gonna get shut down!"

And now the video:

More pics at my flickr

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 3, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of April 3rd 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:27 AM

This week we're spotlighting that annoying thing that happens when there are two good shows on the same night.

Sunday, April 6 -
International Noise Conference:
anti-curators Domokos & Rotten Piece
Laundry Room Squelchers / Last Rape / Murex / Future Blondes / Meat Glove / A Thousand Cranes / Shithead / The Wiggins /How I Quit Crack / Muzak John / Have a Nice Day
@ Jet Lounge
Here is an interesting idea The International Noise Conference draws bands from around the world to its Miami home. Nice, but what if the tables were flipped and the INC came to you? Well, that's the idea here. Miami's Laundry Room Squelchers are touring from city to city and having local noise artists curate the evening. The Houston leg is being assembled By Domokos (Pink Cloud) and Shawn and Carol Kelly (Rotten Piece, Ouroboros, Sad Py
gmy, Etc.). They've assembled quite a cast and it should be a dizzying night as sets are geared to last no more than 15 minutes. Too many bands to describe but I promise it will be a blast of sound and creativity. If you are not familiar with any of this, you may want to check out this short video that was made for Current TV.Current TV: INC2008

Sunday, April 6 -
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone / Clue to Kalo / Hearts of Animals
@ The Mink
Oh the lowly Casio hated by many but admired by many more. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is definitely a case for this lowly keyboard. Owen Ashworth writes simple hummable pop songs whose keyboard arrangements are horribly endearing. Now sure his vocals are... umm... not the strongest but mercifully Ashworth isn't egotistical and in his recordings he employs a rotating cast of singers who fill in and flesh out his songs in a way that his own voice cannot. If you haven't heard his stuff you should give it a whirl. If you find the Casio too cold and electronic then maybe Australia's Clue for Kalo may be more your bag. With rich instrumentation and a lush sense of melody Mark Mitchell is savvy enough to never let the production overtake the songs but instead utilizes his spaces and textures to great effect. Lovely stuff and quite organic. Opener Hearts of Animals (just back from playing SXSW) needs no introduction in this column. Yes, Lemming Baby was one of the best albums from 2024 , and yes, you should listen to the 7" EP on Dull Knife which features song from her previously issued CDRs (Lemming Baby and Grey Ghost) but there is something very warm and unassuming about her live performances that always make it worth catching too. If you haven't seen her live, this may be a good chance to do so. As Skyline Network's ADR would say "ACES!"


Friday, April 4

Xiu Xiu/Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
@ The Orange Show
If you like subtlety and nuance the histrionic Xiu Xiu may not be up your alley but if you like your instrumentation densely layered and vocals hyper-emotive this will be manna from heaven. A nice contrast to the more laid back Thao whose Bag of Hammers is much too cute a pop song for me to resist.

The Wiggins/Majic Jewels/A Thousand Cranes/Giant Princess
@ Notsuoh
($2, 9PM)
Jon Read is the Wiggins and his one man guitar/echoed vocals/drum machine ensemble is always a blast. Fat on the drums and thick on the guitar you may find yourself even dancing to his madness if you are not too careful. A Thousand Cranes favor more the drone and space that would really go well with that water pipe you bought recently - the one you bought to smoke tobacco with. You know that 60's teen horror B film and there's this scene with some fucked up poppy but gritty garage band playing in the background in some party? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about when I hear Giant Princess' songs like Adventure or Oh Delilah.

Penny Royal/Dreamt
the End
@ Rudyard's

Omar really likes Penny Royal.

Saturday, April 5 -

This just in(!!!)
Punk Rock Show at Starbucks!! 5PM!!
Something Fierce / Be My Doppelgange / Alarma
@ the Starbucks across from the Starbucks on West Gray
Wow, if you can make it this is going to rule. Or let just steal Matt Brownlie's post on Handus Up becasue it's brilliant. He writes:

"Punk Show at Starbucks" would make an awesome title for a Wesley Willis song: To whit:





Lazy Horse
@ Notsuoh

I've not heard Lazy Horse and it's impossible to judge a band by its myspace so let me just say they've gotten a lot of props from people I trust, dig?

Hypo Christians / Hasbeen / PLF / Chocolate Crucifix
@ The Pitt (Pasadena)
Hypo Christians (that's hippo as in Hypocrite not high-po as in Hypodermic) prove that you can be goofy, have a sense of humor and still kick ass. Yes, that's right you can come out and get mutilated by a grindcore band with a Hello Kitty fetish. This will be Hasbeen's final show and they are so bad ass that they don't have a myspace. Grindcore gods PLF just got back from touring California - woohoo! They alone should make it worth your while. The fact that Chocolate Crucifix's "band website" links to the Smarties (candy) website should tell you that it has members from Hypo Christians.
Cancelled see comments

and a hella lot of other bands (see poster
@ The White Swan
OK so the Pitt show was canceled, try this on for size instead. $15 bucks is pretty steep (really really steep) but supposedly there are a lot of bands playing.

American Sharks / Be My Doppelganger / Something Fierce / The Takes / Cop Warmth
@ The Crocker House (9PM)
Yes Crocker House party. We have an office pool as to how long until the cops shut it down. JOKE! No, seriously this is going to be the an awesome house busting garage fest. Plus short shorts. Lots of 'em!

Metal Mayhem 08

Sever the Silence/Cane and Able/Bloodvoid/Lycophile
@ The Engine Room

You know why I love Metal? Because the prototype singer is a blue muppet with googly eyes and the prototype drummer is a coked-up jackhammer! I freaking love that!
Sunday, April 6 - (see above)

Monday, April 7 -
Sabra Laval / The Dead of Night /Cory Derden
@ Notsuoh
Get Your Folk ON! This will be a good aperitif to the barrage of Sunday night. Nothing complicated here, just singular and confident voices. Sabra Laval's quiet music has been among Houston's best and her strong and assured voice easily stands out in a crowd. Brooklyn's Dead of Night is Texas ex-pat Nancy Beth Brown who performs a capella songs in a manner that are direct, simple, and tactile yet hauntingly atmospheric. Corey Derden also deals in the quiet and the atmospheric. It's gonna be chill.

Tuesday, April 1, 2024

Richard Ramirez

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

Richard Saenz Fashion
Fashion Photography by Jessica Molina
Richard Ramirez Photo by Jovan Hernandez

Richard Ramirez has long been recognized as one of Houston’s most important Noise/ Experimental artists. Whether designing fashion or making music he has been producing challenging work for nearly 20 years with a fierce sense of daring and independence. Ramirez recently was good enough to answer a few questions for us:

FPH: What are you expressing through your music?

RR: At times, I would say aggression through 'noise'. I utilize metal items, chains, broken equipment, film samples, and field recordings for my work. For the most part, it is about taking sounds (natural and electronic) to its extreme. I say extreme because it pushes sound sources to the highest volume that can be created for a recording.

FPH: What attracted you to the noise/experimental genre?

RR: I liked that the artists were pushing the envelope of sound and thinking outside of traditional instruments and structure.

FPH: How do your other endeavors relate to your music?

I am also an 'avant-garde' fashion designer (under the alias, Richard Saenz). In fashion, my work is also about thinking outside of the 'box'. An extreme form of creating garments with irregular stitching burned fabrics, frayed hems, deconstructing items. I think my methods in my 'noise' is very similar to that of my fashion work.

FPH: In what way?

RR: I treat garments for my fashion in unconventional ways. 'noise' is treating equipment/sounds in unconventional ways. With both I sometimes see an item or hear something (field recordings) and I just want to deconstruct what I see or hear. [Noise/experimental is] more 'art' than 'music' for me. It is similar to abstract expressionism.

FPH: How are you distinguishing Art and Music? Isn't Music an artform?

RR: I just would not consider 'noise' to be music. The way I describe what I do is that it's 'sound art'. It may sound pretentious and it's not meant to sound that way. A lot of experimental/noise artist perform in galleries and artspaces. I guess the preference is to be linked to the art community. Maybe it is more accepting than the music industry.

FPH: Can you elaborate on any festivals or international performances you've played?

RR: I performed in Tokyo, Japan a few years back. It was a two day festival. Great turn out!!! They treat you like a 'rock star' which was kind of funny and strange. Last year, BLACK LEATHER JESUS, did a show opening for SONIC YOUTH in Marfa, TX. It was during the Chinati Open House weekend. Thurston and Lee are fans of my work and asked if I'd do it. It was the second time I had met them. My boyfriend, Jovan, and I met them a couple of years ago backstage at their show here. I was scared that their audience would not like us. However, it turned out well.

FPH: Why does noise exists and what part of modern life does it reflect?

RR: Noise is all around us everyday. Noise is part of the destruction of our environment. Sadly, we add to the pollution that exists. IT IS the soundtrack for the end of the world. As horrible as it may sound, I feel it is true.

FPH: Why so?

RR: Noise is chaos to some. Noise is destruction to some. There can be beauty in the ugliness of this genre. It really depends on the artist that creates it. I can only speak for myself and close friends that do this, as well. Not all noise is about negative issues and imagery. Some are about pornography (not necessarily a negative issue), eroticism, fetishism, and humor. There are noise artists are very political, as well.

FPH: How have things changed over the years?

RR: At first, it was difficult. I came 'out of the closet' early on. I got a lot of hate mail from that. There were not too many 'out' experimental/noise artist. I have been here for quite a long time. I am happy with the notoriety and respect that I have gained over the years. I've done so much with my solo and with my side projects. I feel more accepted now more than ever. I now see other 'noise' artists use 'homo-erotic' art (even though some are heterosexual). I don't receive as much hate as previously. I hope it stays that way.

FPH: Do you feel it really informs your music? Do you really think your music would be any different if you were straight?

RR: The artwork would be different (laughs). The noise/power electronics genre is known for its machismo and, at times, misogynist theme material. I wanted to show men in the same manner as women were being shown. It was a 'in your face' attitude with my imagery. I took a chance with it. It represents 'ME'. This is what I love to do (noise) and I so happened to be gay. It was necessary for me to do this regardless of the outcome.

Richard Ramirez will be performing as Werewolf Jerusalem at the No Fun Fest (link) in New York City on May 18th at the Knitting Factory. Later this year, he will also be performing in London. Closer to home he will be performing as Last Rape at the International Noise Conference (link) April 6th at the Jet Lounge.


Labels: "Black Leather Jesus", "Richard Ramirez", ,