The Houston Music Blog section of the Free Press Houston.

Tuesday, December 30, 2024

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: 2024 Recap In One Hour - GO!

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

Since I've been taking a holiday break from live reviews, I figure I should roll through some of the stuff that I've dug this year. This is not intended to be all-encompassing. Hell, right off the top of my head, I can think of great artists - Tambersauro, Sharks and Sailors, PLF, Young Mammals, Hearts of Animals, Buxton, Giant Princess, etc. etc. etc. - that I didn't mention below. But the way I figured I'd approach this was like one of those games where you just say the first thing that pops into your head but with a time-limit of my Monday lunch break. So, for better or worse, here is what I could list off in that hour.

Best Album of 2024
Papermoons - New Tales (CD Team Science) -
"What's that you're listening to?"
"Oh Papermoons. I love this album!"
"Oh really?" (nod)
"You really like this?" (nod)
Ouch! OK so maybe one person I know didn't take a liking to this but, for me, this was the high watermark of music released in Houston this year and would put it up against anything released in 2024 outside of the city; I'll gladly take the label of being a wuss for thinking so. Much like last year where I obsessed endlessly about Hearts of Animals' Lemming Baby (Link), Papermoons' New Tales was never far from my CD player. This was an album I picked apart over and over again - stunned at how brilliantly constructed the whole thing is. I guess I'm a sucker for the juxtaposition of beautifully melodic songs with an undercurrent of sadness. With gorgeous harmonies, understated performances, and the idea that you can say a lot more without shouting this was an album with no equal.

Best EP of 2024

Balaclavas - Inferno (12" Phonographic Arts) The CDR early in the year was amazing but dropping in on 140 Gram Vinyl with a silkscreened cover was just too sweet! Dark, moody, and even danceable with the Dub-esque bass lines - this was a band that sounded like nobody else in Houston. It's the work of a band that clearly engages music as an artform but yet never goes so far as to see itself as precious. This was music as engaging and emotive theatre without succumbing to corny theatrics or self-important pomposity. If this wasn't on your turntable in 2024 you sorely missed out on some of the most vital and original sounds of the year.

Best Trend of 2024

The humble 7"
- This year it's hard to pick just one single. With the huge boom of local labels you could easily point to any label like Dull Knife, CutThroat, AG82, Ditchwater, Team Science, etc. or even self-released gems like the Monocles/News On The March split or the Welfare Mothers single and say "There, there that is the single of 2024!" only to reconsider as you flip to the next single in Sound Exchange's local 7" bin. So, I'm just throwing my hands in the air and not naming one for 2024! I was even thwarted in calling 2024 the year of the 7" as 2024 looks to already be lined-up with an even longer queue of 7" singles and EPs from more artists. So, God bless the humble 7" and all who sail with her.

Best Thing to Rise from the Bayou in 2024
Wild Moccasins - (Photo Molly Rodriguez) Hard to believe that last February, Ruth Rodriguez (yay Ruth!) wrote a little story in The Daily Cougar about a band by the name Wild Moccasins (Link). Here it is - not even a year later - and they've probably become the most ubiquitous band on the scene. It's not by accident or smarmy glad-handing that they have gotten to where they are - no, instead, if you've been following them this year, they've progressively gotten better and better by fine tuning their performances and their songs to the point where by the late summer they were pretty much an unstoppable force of H-Pop. Detractors may call them the Mickey Mouse Club but who needs those nay-sayers when you're in a club or warehouse packed with dancing kids having a blast? That's a rhetorical question, son. Look for their debut release in January 2024.

Best "Who the F*$# is This?" of 2024
Room 101 - If you walk into one of Roburt Reynolds performances (complete with stock film backgrounds and him collapsing on the floor), you'd think the guy was on leave from some lower level of hell but Chicago was his former residence and he has the aggressive post-punk angular guitar lines to prove it. And yes, while you'd think with the Wiggins, Hearts Of Animals, and so on, that Houston couldn't possibly use another drum machine backed solo performer, Room 101 proves that the pool is still plenty big. Bonus points for utterly driving poor Shea Serrano over at the the Houston Press nutters with a horribly obtuse interview (link). Look for a 7" in 2024.

Best Recorded Music You Never Heard in 2024
Jenny Westbury -
(Photo Mark Armes) When I interviewed Jenny Westbury earlier this year, she gave me a CDR of recorded material which was a huge eye-opener to her depth as a writer. Later, a good portion of the songs ended up on the AllStar Power Up CDR issued by Joe Mathlete but many of my favorites like Plight Of Leah and Gadget didn't which is a shame because they are such good songs. That's one of the problems you run into when you're as prolific as Westbury, she'll create these wonderful gems and then, like a sand mandala, they'll just blow away. Lucky for you, I posted a few of these "lost" tracks on for Non-Alignment Pact - check them out here (Link).

Best Live Festival of 2024
Hootenanny - Here's how I figure it. On paper this should have sucked. Cover bands?! Yuck! Nothing but glorified Karaoke! But here is the thing, this small one-venue festival blew the roof off the Mink - TWICE! The brainchild of Anna Garza, Ben Murphy, and ADR (I think Anna was the original organizer of the first), it worked because the bands are by nature NOT cover bands and what you got, for the most part, were interpretations and not mimicry. From John Sears playing Sam Cooke on an acoustic to the (then) Dimes and Mlee Suprean literally making the Mink floor shake as the Pixies, the first Hootenanny exceeded everyone's expectations and fire code capacity. The second Hootenanny had two strikes against it - recreating the success of the first and a safer selection of artists covered - but those handicaps were quickly put aside as, from Marshall Preddy breathing life into tired Rod Stewart warhorses to the show stopping American Sharks take on The Cars, Twotenanny's proved that the local indie bands were smarter and more clever than any naysayer could have expected. Sadly, there will be no Troistenanny.

Most Ungodly Smell of the Year
Rudyard's Plumbing - Yes, currently there is a plumber working to fix the cause of this and it most likely is fixed by press time here but - woo - man, that was some heinous funk!

Best Reason to NOT Steal Money from the Walter's Tip Jar
Roy - Just trust me. You really don't want to do that!

Most Lovable Crank of 2024
Kerry Melonson (Satin Hooks) - When some people get on their high horse it is usually pretty annoying but somehow Kerry is able to get away with it because he has that gift where he can be an asshole without being an asshole which is a good thing as when the man gets on one of his rants about "what musicians need to do", he gets epic.

Most Weaksauce Moment of 2024
The Proletariat Closing - Jeez hard to believe that back in February one of the best clubs in Houston read the Metro tea leaves and closed its doors forever. The final bittersweet show may have been headlined by the Fiery Furnaces but it was the locals (The Dimes, Hearts of Animals, and Elaine Greer) that really stole the show and why not? This was more than just a skanky bar with gross restrooms and a PA in need of repairs, it was our skanky bar with gross restrooms and a PA in need of repairs. For many of us, Denise Ramos' little club will always have a place in our hearts.

OK There's a lot more that happened in 2024 but my self-imposed time limit is up. So, have a safe and happy New Year's Eve. See you in 2024.

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Friday, December 26, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the final week of 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

The Scooter Diaries

Saturday, December 27
Benefit for Airon Paul Dugas, featuring
Paris Falls, Dannzig, Guitars, Teenage Kicks, Friendship, Wild Moccasins, & more

@ Walter's on Washington
(8PM $10 Door -
Free Keg and Free Ice Cream!!!!!!!!)

Local folkster Airon Paul Dugas hit some pretty unexpected hard times when his scooter met a car head on. While he survived, he's a bit worse for wear from the experience. Honestly, we'd much rather be writing about Airon Paul Dugas performing a show (I was really looking forward to that Paris Falls collaboration for example) this weekend than all this but at least we can say how lovely and sweet it is to see so many good people come to their friend's aid when he needs it. And what a line up - Paris Falls, Dannzig, Guitars, Teenage kicks, Friendship, and Wild Moccasins!! It’s quite the quality sampling of Houston Indie rockers coming to your aid. It's like When everyone comes out to help George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" but with free Ice Cream and Roy behind the bar selling booze.


Friday, December 26th

Golden Axe, No Talk, Bald Eagle Burger, Burn The Boats
@ Walter's on Washington
Umm Golden Axe? C'mon these guys could be playing with Hanna Montana and I'd recommend it. Metal riffage extraordinaire!

Other Stuff Happening on Friday
-Female Demand on the KTRU's Revelry Report (91.7fm 6pm)
-Barkus, Sly, & The Golden Egg (tour kickoff), Giant Battle Monster, Cavernous @ Fitzdown

Saturday, December 27th

Caddywhompus, Female Demand, Fat Tony, Blackie & special guests
@ Commerce Street Warehouse
(2220 Commerce, 8PM, $5 donation)
Riff Tiff's Chris Rehm and Sean Hart (Caddadywhompus) lead a sweet line up line up of folks who at this point need no introduction.

Born Liars, No Talk, The Wrong Ones
@ Rudyard's
You know the score rock and roll in its various styles straight-up garage, 80 punk, and glam.

Michelle Yom, Astrogenic Hallucinauting, Holy Ghost Machine Gun
@ Notsuoh
(9PM FREE!!)
Experimental groovyness. Yom is a flautist who's recordings can run from the straight up and jazzy to ones that defy your ideas of what a flute should sound like - a wonderful example of the kind of experimental music this city is well known for. BONUS: Yom will be playing with trombonist Mike Switzer, Tambersauro's Lance Higdonon on drums, and ex-Joint Chiefs Sax Player Doren Bernard on guitar. Neat! Solo percussionist AH opens and it looks to be just as interesting even though you know the urge to shout "Moby Dick!" or "YYZ!" will flutter in your brain for a minute.

Sunday, December 28th

Winter Wonderglam, featuring
Dead Roses, Backalley Sluts, ST37, A Thousand Cranes, Future Blondes, Skullcaster, //TENSE//, Snow Cone, DJ Black Slacks
@ River Oaks Theater
($5.00 11PM)

Were it not for Saturday's benefit this would easily land show of the week. Dead Roses (with the scene's lovable Eyore himself - Ralph Armin) leads a pretty eclectic night of music ranging from spacey Austin rockers ST37 to San Francisco's noisy Skullcaster and a wide sampling of everything in between. This should be a blast and the historic venue can't be beat!

Monday, December 29th

Box Elders, The Wiggins, Giant Princess
@ Rudyard's

Nutters line up for a Monday at Rudz with Omaha's Garagy Box Elders, the one-man brilliance of the Wiggins, and the Organ driven awesomeness of Giant Princess (whose 2024 releases are likely on everyone's most anticipated releases of 2024 lists). This is going to be a hoot. C'mon it's $5 it's a Monday and you've mastered your Wii games by now so get out of the house!

Wednesday, December 31st

Indie Houston Presents Giant Princess, Darwin's Finches, Mathletes, Riff Tiffs, Time Capsule Veterans, Ghormeh Sabzi
@ Indie Houston World Headquarters
(1618 Calumet FREE!!!)

Well this came out of nowhere and a pretty sweet line-up too. Frank Soto of Indie Houston (before they added Ghormen Sabzi) gives a pretty good summary of why this will be quite the New Year's show:

"We have decided to throw a party/ show here at our own office. We have plenty of space. We have lined up five bands: The Mathletes, The Riff Tiffs, Giant Princess, Darwin's Finches, and a brand new one Time Machine Veterans (they consist of Carlos from Young Mammals, Andrew from the Moccasins and Jaime from Giant Princess). Indiehouston will be providing at least two kegs but wait get this, this is the best part, the cover.... is Free!! Come on, where are you gonna go that
won't charge you to watch this line up?"

Tody Castillo
@ Rudyard's

OK so we erroneously posted this as happening on Christmas but it's happening on New Year's Eve. So now you can close out your year with some fine Americana. Bonus: You can stop wishing people could still light-up if only to cover up that ungodly smell because the plumber should be done with all the repairs at Rudz by this time.

Thursday, January 1st 2024

Warbler, The Eastern Sea, Elaine Greer, News on the March
@ The Mink
(Early Show 7PM)

Wow, what a way to kick off the New Year!!! If you like your live shows filled with sweet melodies and harmonies, you can't do better than Austin's Eastern Sea, local chanteuse Elaine Greer, and powerhouse ensemble News on The March. I've not heard Warbler live, but his recordings suggest he should be a pretty good fit for this line-up.

Thursday, December 18, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of December 19th, 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

Dang! You guys HAVE been good boys and girls!
Normally, I pick one show or two to spotlight but this week is so utterly crazy that it is literally impossible to do. In fact I'm even posting this one day early to give you a head-start since Santa brought you kids so many good shows to choose from on this Christmas week. So take notes, plan carefully, and Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 19th

Battle Rifle, Chocolate Crucifix, Assholes, and DJ Bill Fool
@ Leon's Lounge
(Free! bands start at 10PM)

Leave it to Anna Garza and Miss Rosa to set up a Gulf Coast Hardcore show at Houston's oldest continuously run bar - Leon's Lounge. Arts Hound has a really interesting history of the place which you can read here. I'm sure Leon's will be proud to add this evening to their storied past. Set to rock Leon's are Battle Rifle and the Assholes who I got a blast out of a few weeks ago at Noise Fest (link) and those lovable and droll Hypocristians from Pasadena - well, two of them - as Chocolate Crucifix. If you've never been to Leon's and/or you've never seen a Gulf Coast Hardcore show then you have two damn good reasons to go but I'll give you a third - It's free. But mind you if you are going, remember this ain't no 3 hour Springsteen set; hardcore bands play 15-20minutes MAX! So don't dilly-dally! [Full Disclosure: hey that's no promoter, that's my wife!]

Toy Drive, featuring
The Riff Tiffs, Wild Moccasins, Elaine Greer, B L A C K I E, sIngs, Giant Princess, News on the March, Buxton, Paleo, American Sharks, Death by Texas, & Wicked Poseur
@ The Mink
($10 or free with toy)
With the Exception of Makanda, Illinois' Paleo and Austin's Death by Texas, this is pretty much a full scale assault of who's who in Houston. Bask in the awesome shoegaze of the Riff Tiffs whose records are a mere hint of what they can do live, the pop frenzy of Wild Moccasins, the cascade of sweet melodies from chanteuse Elaine Greer, the noisy aggression of Blackie, the post-By the End Of Tonight solo-ness of Sings, the organ driven pop steam locomotive that is Giant Princess, the high lonesome rich pop of News On The March, the emotionally charged Americana of Buxton, the party party goodness of American Sharks, and the ...well er..Arthur Bates-ness of Wicked Poseur. For great bands, let's just say this is like shooting fish in a barrel.

UME, Red Leaves
@ Rudyard's
Holy crap ex-pat Houston post-punks Ume return for the Christmas season with a lovely Christmas present - a free show at Rudyard's. If you're not familiar with the guitar- wielding blond locks of fury of Lauren Larson I cannot tell you how much I pity you. As the frontwoman of this trio, she flails with the kind of jaw dropping performance that would make Angus Young jealous yet it never upstages her singular fretwork that combines the melodic, the angular, and all out noisy freak-outs. Toss in a solid rhythm section and some brilliant tunes and you'll know why I get excited whenever Ume flies home for the holidays.

Something Fierce (CD release), Teenage Kicks
@ Walter's on Washington
Local Pop-Punk royalty Something Fierce's new CD is finally out. It's been about two and a half years since their first album, Come for the Bastards, hit the streets but the stream of great music hasn't stopped over those two years and in fact last year saw two brilliant singles that left the songwriting and performances of CFTB resemble nothing more than a sketch on a napkin. Now that may sound like a put-down but it's really not because the band has simply just come so far in fine-tuning their craft that they have taken it to a whole other level that the original album never could have suggested. Back then, they were a great live band with a good album but now they are a great live band with a string of 7-inches that kick you in the nuts and leave you whimpering on the ground. So naturally, given how far they have raised the bar, a full length has us saying "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Other stuff going on Friday:
-Lower Life Form, Duo @ Cactus Music (5:30PM)
-Del Castillo, Vallejo, Bayou Monster @ Warehouse Live
-The Raven Tree, Goodnight Goddess @ Notsuoh
-A Cinematic Lie, Out of Reach, The Distracted, Kamalicca @ Fitzdown

Saturday, December 20

Free Press Houston's Christmas Party, featuring
Satin Hooks, The Eastern Sea, Piano Vines, Nick Greer, Ozeal & The Eulypians, Chase Hamblin, & Female Demand
@ Avant Garden
($8.00 starts at 9PM 18+)
Yes, we has a party. Everyone's favorite metronome proponent Kerry of Satin Hooks will learn ya on how to rock, Austin's Eastern Sea will bathe you in sweet hummable melodies, Piano Vines will ensnare you in some fine indie pop, Bojones' Nick Greer will give it to you solo as will Picturebook's Chase Hamlin, Ozeal will kick it funky, and Female Demand will prog your face off. Consider it a compressed block party put on by glorious FPH leader.

Skyline Network Presents
A Gloriously Extravagant Multi-Million Dollar Extravaganza:
The Second Annual Sammies Music Awards!
Big Star Bar (1005 W 19th Street, 10PM Free)
If you haven't voted in this year's Sammies then good Gravy get to it - polling closes at noon on Friday!!! Here is the link: Vote! This is always a huge deal. Not only are there the usual guests stars- Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Sheckie Green etc. - but this year The Skyline Network is pulling out all the stops on the musical numbers including The Wild Moccasins doing Esther Williams inspired synchronized swimming, The Ton Tons' Asli Omar doing Bob Fosse choreographed Jazz Hands, and something on the roster with Domokos and Animal from the Muppets listed as "get fucked up and break shit". More info here- Link.

Do It Anyway You Wanna:
It's Reprogram Multimedia Annual Holiday Party, featuring
Spain Colored Orange, The Factory Party, B L A C K I E, and DJs Richard Henry, Yppah, Jeffery Mac, Paramour, Damon Allen, J. Calero, Dan Castillo, & Ceeplus Bad Knives
@ Bootleg Studios (2301 Commerce & Bastrop $10, 8PM)
Woo warehouse party. Local horn and organ powered faves Spain Coloured Orange join New Order acolytes The Factory Party and the ubiquitous one man Pasadena La Porte powerhouse Blackie. Throw in a barrel-full of some of Houston's most henie shaking DJs and "free adult refreshments" and you have the makings of another coolsauce warehouse party.

Anti-Christ Mass XI, featuring
Necrotic Void, Cerebral Rot, Adumus, Condemned, Ninth Kingdom, Insidious Decrepancy, Funeral Rites, To Scale The Throne, Golgotha, Demonical Genuflection, & Dismembered
@ Walter's on Washington

Santa Claus ain't no poser! I know! Dude I used to work overnight in a bookstore and the night of the week when Sweet Nightmares came on KPFT (now From the Depths on KTRU Sundays 10PM to 1AM) was our favorite because, when you're shelving books at 4am, nothing will keep you going more than bone crushing metal! So I ask you what do you think Santa has pumping on his sleigh? Melodic Indie Rock? Hell no! It's Metal! Metal that would make any mortal's ears bleed and scream in pain. Much like what you'll find tonight.

Come See My Dead Person, Two Star Symphony, Whorehound
@ Rudyard's
If all the above seem like too much, then consider this option: three bands, three completely different styles, and yet it all kind of works. Hey! You got your roguish Gypsyfied Tom Waits inspired rowdiness in my sublime chamber music and in my face crushing rock. Heeeeeey...That's pretty good!

Other stuff going on Saturday:
-King's X, Laidlaw, Jambi's Revenge @ The Meridian
-KPFT Benefit, featuring Plump & more @ Dan Electro's Guitar Bar

-J'ando @ Cactus Music (3PM)

-A Nightmare Before Christmas, featuring John Bourke, Stiletto, & Fredster @ Boondocks
-Stoney LaRue,Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights @ House of Blues
-Alpha Rev,Johnny Goudie, Vicarious Me @ Fitzgerald's

-The Mighty Orq, Skyblue72 @ Warehouse Live

-Benefit Show for Jacob Blaylock, featuring Nine Volt, Lluvia Dreams, The Delta Block, Young Ras Tesfa, Kozmik Nine, DJ Wayniac, & more @ Notsuoh
-The Caprolites, The Trian Woodburns, & Novox @ PJs Sports Bar

Sunday, December 21st

Trills the Season Toy Drive '08, featuring Nosaprise, Lower Life Form, Spain Colored Orange, The Mathletes, and DJs Dayta and License to Trill
@ Boondocks
($7 or Free with a Toy)

Yes another Toy Drive this time though the melodic Hip Hop of Nosaprise and Lower Life Form is paired with the afore mentioned local horn and organ powered pop of SCO and the unicorn space pop of the Mathletes.

Other stuff going on Sunday
-The Swingfield Playboys @ McGonigel's Mucky Duck
-Rocket for Ethiopia, The Takes, The No No No Hopes (ex-Janitor/Trigger Quintet), The Caprolites @ Walter's on Washington

Tuesday, December 23

Gay Marriage (7" release party) * Total Abuse * Black Congress * The Assholes
@ Rudyard's
Gay Marriage put out a CDR that I once said, were it ever released as a 7", I would happily put that 7" alongside The Party Owls' classic Rock Out EP as one of the greatest 7" EP to ever rise from The Lone Star State. I never thought it would happen but, sure enough, here we are and not only will it be released at a 7" on Ditchwater records but the band itself is reuniting for this record release. Yes, it's Tuesday but you should go because this will be your one chance to see Gay Marriage play and, look, most of these sets will be clocking in around 10 or maybe 15 minutes so don't complain about this one running late. [Full Disclosure: hey that's no DIY record mogul, that's my wife!]

Other stuff going on Tuesday
-Trish & Darin's Christmas Dinner Show @ McGonigel's Mucky Duck

Thursday, December 25

Tody Castillo
@ Rudyard's
Listen my children for the Three wise men did lay gifts before a young infant Jesus but after their long journey they were ready to kick back to some beer and Tody Castillo. And so they say every Christmas night, in a bar in Houston, Tody Castillo arrives to bring joy to all the little children who are 21-up. This show was erroneously listed as being on Christmas but I just got word that it is happening on New Year's Eve.

B L A C K I E, Nosaprise, Dunny Osmond
@ Notsuoh
Take a little Blackie from Saturday's Warehouse Show a little bit of Nosaprise from Sunday's Boondocks show and sprinkle a little Dunnock and, ahhh, smells like Christmas.

Other stuff going on Thursday
-30footFALL, Middlefinger, Avitia, Alshire @ Fitzgerald's
-The Handsomes, Thunderado @ The Continental Club
-Alphallenium @ Warehouse Live
- God Bless James Brown! Celebrating the godfather of Soul on the second anniversary of his death with DJ's Brett Koshkin, DJ Sun, and DJ Melodic @ Boondocks (Free!)

Monday, December 15, 2024

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Sleeping in The Aviary, Dizzy Pilot, Hearts of Animals at Walters 12/13/2009

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:22 AM

It wasn’t until I got to Walter’s on Saturday that I realized I’d forgotten to charge my camera’s batteries and to bring my handy dandy notebook so this will be a somewhat brief review and without the usual number of snapshots. Still, it was a nice night of music. Opening was Hearts of Animals who I haven’t seen perform live since the release of her new Cave Lights CD so it was wonderful to hear new songs like the heart melting Sister Stories performed alongside the older songs. Sleeping in The Aviary’s set was driving and solid with singer Elliott Kozel belting the songs out like his life depended on it. The night closed with Dizzy Pilot plowing through its songs with more muscle than I’d ever heard them lay out before (as impossible as that sounds) with the looser more improvisational aspects really shining. The three sets were made all the better by the Terry’s great work behind the sound board; he, along with Joe over at Rudz, are the kind of sound guys bands should thank every time they work with them. Seriously, those guys make the bands that work with them shine.

A few quick asides...

I spoke with Cley (who was backing up HOA on the first song) before the set and he told me the new Young Mammals album is slated for release this spring. So add that to your already heavy schedule of highly anticipated releases for 2024.

I also spoke with Sleeping In The Aviary who were horribly nice people. Celeste and Elliot went on at length about a show they recently played in Little Rock where they found themselves suddenly burdened with a three hour set. Not knowing what else to do, they started taking requests for covers from the audience and the requests eventually evolved into an impromptu 90’s set where someone in the audience would call-out something like Oasis which would be met with like a third of the audience booing the request then that very same third of the audience would be singing along and cheering to Wonderwall. The whole thing sounded pretty hilarious and fun especially since the band was figuring out the songs on the fly. But that’s the impression you got from SITA, that for them it’s just a whole lot of fun. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them return next summer.

Hearts of Animal's Mlee Suprean
(with Cley Miller of Young Mammals)

A few more pics over at my flickr (link)

Sleeping In The Aviary on Myspace (link)
Dizzy Pilot on Myspace (
Hearts of Animals on Myspace (

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Friday, December 12, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of December 12th, 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

This Week's Spotlight Is On
Metal at the River Oaks Theatre

Friday, December 12th
Insidious Decrepancy, Funeral Rites
@ River Oaks Theatre (FREE - Midnight)

I know what you are saying. You're amused by this show because it's a funny gimmick. Well, let me just get this out there and reply to that assertion with a "Duh! Of course!" C'mon it's metal at the River Oaks!!! Jeez!!! I mean you do the math then toss in FREE and the very satanic midnight hour and it's no contest! OK but seriously dig one man killing machine Insidious Decrepancy or the 15 years of crushing brutality of Funeral Rights and see if you don't find your hand uncontrollably folding into the Dio devil sign as your head succumbs to the call to bang thine head!

Still don't believe this is cool? Well, check out this picture of the marquee by River Oaks Theatre's Kirston Otis. YUSSSSS!
(Full disclosure one of the organizers is also my wife.)


Friday, December 12th

The Jonbenét, O Pioneers!!!, Brian's Johnson, This Year's Tiger, City of Compton
@ Walter's on Washington

This one is a really solid bill with the heavy and bad-ass Jonbenet, the high energy driving indie rock of O Pioneers, and the the AC/DC lovin'/Cockbar hatin' Brian's Johnson. Awesomeness in spades!

Antique Curtains, The Delta Block, The Wrong Ones
@ Notsuoh
Antique Curtain's weird low-fi aesthetic is one I'm still on the fence about but that's not so for the retro-punkers Delta Block and the trashy New York Dollsish rock of the Wrong Ones - should be pretty fun.

Unknown Pleasures
with DJ Shu and Wes Wallace

@ Numbers

A new Friday night recurring event over at Numbers where DJs Shu and Wes Wallace dig into their 80's collection for your listening and dancing pleasure.

Ice Cube, Trick Trick, Five Doza
@ The Meridian

Rap Icon, Film Auteur, and The Patron Saint of the Herb hits downtown.

The Quietest
on the KTRU Reverlry Report (6PM 91.7fm)

Ian and Matt's week live drive time awesomeness.

Saturday, December 13th

The Watermarks, Paris Falls, The Boxing Lesson
@ The Mink

Dude the lights! The organ! It must be Paris Falls! Awesome!

Sleeping In The Aviary, Dizzy Pilot, Hearts of Animals
@ Walter's on Washington
We played 5 questions with SITA in yesterday's music blog (link) and the new album is pretty sweet but hell toss in Dizzy Pilot and HOA and we're dancin' for joy!

Danseparc presents
Mustache Night 2
@ Numbers
Danseparc DJ's Michael Harwell and Shu welcome guests CeePlus bad Knives, Damon Allen, and GRRRL Parts to get behind the board and help lay out some of their guiltiest pleasures. Bring a mustache (real, drawn, glued, they don't care) and get $1.00 off admission!

Benefit Show for Sedition Books
Vegan Potluck,
featuring Jesse Williams, Chris Clavin, Hunger Strike Riot, Andy Herrada, & more
@ Sedition Books (901 Richmond
A few years back, you may recall there was a little bookstore on Washington that was doing pretty well for itself. That is until some arsonist decided that they didn't like this kind of store on that street. Why all the fiery hate? Well Sedition Books is your typical anarchist bookstore and I guess some people just don't like diverse political beliefs. Thankfully the store survived that little episode and spent a short time on OST before moving into its newest location in the 'Trose. Oh wait you've never been? Well, check them out. They are right next door to where the old Proletariat used to be and this fundraiser for this very community minded store is a great opportunity to do so.

Secret Saturday Shows, featuring
Lazy Horse, Darwin's Finches, & Bottom Four
@ The Shady Tavern

Holy Crap a not so secret Secret Saturday show!

@ The Big Top (free!)

Free show at big top. Just FYI.

Little Brother Project (1PM)
The Secret Machines (acoustic 2:30PM)
@ Cactus Music

Free Music and St. Arnold's beer. Hooray cactus!

Sunday, December 14th

Matthew Shipp Trio
@ Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex

2201 Preston St.
(8PM $13 general / $10 for students; everyone under 18 gets in for free)
More info at Nameless Sound
Matthew Shipp is pretty amazing and I could ramble aimlessly about him but since Omar already spotlighted it yesterday on our homepage (link) that saves me a lot of typing and bad similes so just check out this brief video from youtube instead.

@ Toyota Center

Yes, AC/DC are one of those bands that you can joke about and say that they've written the same song over and over again but c'mon admit it, even if you agree with that assessment, you'd have to admit - it's a damn good song.

Monday, December 15th

Wheels on Fire, Guitars, The Backalley Sluts
@ Rudyard's
What's that I smell? It's a party! Your 60's garage party can't do better than Athens, Ohio's Wheels on Fire. OK well may be it can if you just add the bad ass fun of Gutars and the trashy & glammy Backalley Sluts.

Wicked Poseur, The Secret Prostitutes
@ Boondocks

Monday's at Walters means free shows with usually awesome bands. This night the bands are certified grade-A awesome.

Tuesday, December 16th

Justin Townes Earle, Samantha Crain
@ McGonigel's Mucky Duck

(In Store) Justin Townes Earle
@ Cactus Music (6PM)

Steve Earle's young 'un actually does right by his old man with his country twang and charming songs. Check him out for free at Cactus then, if that ain't enough, he's playin' at the Duck that night.

Something Fierce
on The KTRU Local Show (8pm 91.7fm)
Local pop-punk gods play live to plug their record release which is Friday the 19th at Walter's; more on that next week.

Thursday, December 11, 2024

Take Five - with Sleeping In The Aviary

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:14 AM

Madison, Wisconsin's Sleeping in the Aviary first album "Oh, This Thing?" was a refreshing blast of poppy up-beat low-fi indie rock so it was quite a surprise to hear their new album "Expensive Vomit in A Cheap Motel" taking such a decidedly more folky and weighty approach. That's not to say that there aren't rousing moments like "Things Look Good" which swaggers in the room like a joyous drunken Dylan or the driving kiss-off of "Write off" that rolls like your best summer road trip but, along with those, lay sad sweet little songs like "Calm me Down" or grittier songs like the bluesy "Gas Mask Blues" that give the band a bit more range than you'd have expected from their first release. That seems to be the point as Guitarist/Singer Elliott Kozel said "I think it would be boring to make the same record over and over again, I want to surprise people with each album that I make.” Amen, to that.

Well, Sleeping in the Aviary are playing with Dizzy Pilot and Hearts of Animals on Saturday at Walter's and we figured we hit them up with our five questions for shits and giggles and Kozel was kind enough to play along.

1) Your recordings have an off-the-cuff low-fi charm. How much of that is necessity and how much of that is by design?

It definitely varies. A song like Windshield was recorded that way because I was in Colorado without any of my equipment and the only thing i could use to record was a laptop computer and a video game headset microphone. One of the few places I could hole up and hide was the bathroom in the basement, so the hissy, reverby recording came from that environment. To try to make the rest of the album fit together as a whole, we decided to record the other songs we had purposely lo-fi on a tape machine i bought to make a creamy sauce album where a song like "Windshield" or "Everybody's Different, Everybody Dies" wouldn't seem completely out of place. A lot of times I feel that the "demo" versions of songs are way better and more honest than slicked and spiced "studio" versions of songs, so we tried to avoid losing that demo-y flavor throughout the project.

2) The songwriting one the new album has improved greatly and seems more folky than the last album be it the rousing and uplifting Things Look Good and the darker more gritty Gas Mask Blues. How do you feel this album differed from the previous album?

I don't see the songwriting as being better, but the songs are definitely longer and less in-your-face. EVIACH is a bit more depressing and personal than the last one and probably less "fun" to listen to. I think the production is more interesting this time around but maybe that's because I had a more specific idea of what I wanted it to sound like. We all had improved as far as getting specific sounds we wanted in the studio. It's less catchy, but more gritty. Oh, This Old Thing? was best to listen to when extremely drunk riding in the back seat of a fast car. Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel is best enjoyed while making a large batch of soup by yourself early in the evening.

3) You guys have played quite a few times here in the last year to where it seems you guys are just constantly touring. How does that seemingly constant touring affected your music.

I don't know about this one... I'm not sure it does. It definitely gives us interesting experiences to write about later, though. Writing songs on the road can be difficult sometimes, but it helps to be out of your comfort zone and when you are around cactus and armadillos it makes you look at the world a little different.

4) You added a new member this go around - Celeste. Her bowed saw on Gas Mask Blues has this lovely creepy and ghostly quality while her accordion on the sassy Write On is just the perfect festive touch. I've seen these instruments often dismissed as kitchy or limited in use. What do you think she and her instruments bring to the table that the band didn't have before and how would you address people whose only exposure to the accordion is Weird Al Yankovic?

Funnily enough: Celeste's first concert ever was a Weird Al performance! Phil's nickname is Weird Phil!

I would congratulate anyone who has only heard accordion whilst listening to Weird Al. We are all fans of his work and are very proud to be carrying his tradition forward. When we are driving around on tour, we like to listen to the radio and try to come up with our own Weird Al-esque parodies of popular song!

5) You've got some side projects, can you elaborate on those and what they add directly or indirectly to SITA? Also explain "spacey-folk!"

She is so beautiful/She is so blonde is my solo album and it's very calm and creamed out. It would be good for listening to in headphones on a long train ride to Mexico. Whatfor is our drummer Michael's side project in which he writes all the songs. It's Kinks-y 60's pop-rock that's great to listen to at the Metropolitan Opera house with your mother.

Spacey-Folk? It's Kevin Spacey straight outta K-PAX with a gut-bass and a bad case of the gut rot.

Bonus ZZ Top Quiz:
In the 1970's ZZ Top's Worldwide Texas Tour featured a stage set with a live animals. Can you name any of the four types of animals that were used on this tour? Super Awesome Texas Power Up Points if you can name all four.

Hmm animals, huh? I would have to guess pigs, alligators, snakes and horses.

[YUSSSS! The judges will accept snakes as ZZ Top brought along two large Rattlesnakes as well as a Longhorn Steer, a Black Buffalo, and Two Trained Black Buzzards. Thank you for playing.]

Sleeping in The Aviary on Myspace (Link)


Wednesday, December 10, 2024

I the 2024 Sammies. Did you?

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 4:27 AM

Have you voted and done your civic duty? Well, I have and I suggest you do too. This year's Sammies over at The Skyline Network is actually a pretty damn good slice of this year's best Indie Bands, Indie Labels, Venues etc from Houston. No matter the category there is something you'll like. So head on over and make your voice heard. (Link)

Tuesday, December 9, 2024

Local albums make me happy. Mostly.

posted by Free Press Houston @ 8:54 AM

By Omar Afra

Woozy Helmet
Get Down

Get Down is an apt title for this album. Ha-ha. Not funny. OK. Anyways, Woozy Helmet is one of the most crunktastic things in the state of Texas and this album exemplifies that paradigm in every way possibly. The songs on this album range from broken glass massaged into your testicles to being spoon fed vanilla custard. You could call this album a 'recording' but it is really more a snapshot of their kick-you-in-the nuts-tight live show. What respect means to Jose captures the serrated edges of Woozy Helmet while maintain the melody and fun they pull off so seamlessly. Other clutch songs include New Bear, Strawberry, and Hopeless. Like I fucking said, their live show awesomeness as they so exemplified last month at Artstorm for their CD release. Though their myspace says they hail from Austin, a sordid town full of dubiously gay frat boys and hippies who advocate a kinder gentler for of capitalism', we like to claim them as our own as FRONTMAN Jay is a fellow Montrosian. Or at least I run into him at Catbird's enough for him to qualify.
See em' live in Austin December 6th at Elysium.

Check Other
Westheimer Traffic: The Mixtape

Despite having produced this stellar mixtape, local 'monsters' Check Other perform hip-hop live with the tenacity of any heavy band around. To be honest, that tenacity is missing from most H Town rappers live performance. Check Other's members hail from NYC to the Left Coast as well as right here in Houston. Comprised of Sunny D. Cypher, Mention78, Sid, and Tommy Bumps, Westheimer Traffic is rife with whimsical rhymes and audacious claims. Love (What I need), Corona Light, and Get U Down are no doubt the golden tracks on this mixtape. You will hear allot of De LaSoul in their sound as they generously borrow from them and are honest about their influence as they cite it with ease. Nowadays, who better to be inspired by?

The Small Sounds

Self Titled

The Small Sounds have carved them selves out an album out that is more country than 'Indie Country' but waaaaaay to the left of 'orthodox' Nashville Country. This 12-song full-length album has grit, tenacity, stellar vocals and playing, and sounds quintessentially Houston. The haunting tale of Mothers and Daughters is a pretty Texas country ditty played within the framework of a Beatles-esque progression (without sounding contrived). This album is recorded simply and cleanly without the corny sounding, over washed reverb that all the kids are using these days to record their brand of Country. Or whatever. As for live performance, The Small Sounds pull off all their antics on stage with ease and their harmonies are a delight. They play the Armadillo Palace on December 13th.

Room 101

Angular guitar playing, impassioned vocals, and meditative beats make Room101 one of Houston's most interesting new acts. This sometimes sounds like Jeff Buckley mating with Fantomas then rapidly dips into a garage aesthetic. Plastic Bag Hat is a bright spot on this demo recorded and performed entirely by 'one man band' Robert Ruynolds. He would just as easily fit in onstage with local acts ranging from Hearts of Animals to Rusted Shut. Catch him at The Artery on December 5th.

Jacob Meador

In Dependence

Jacob Meador has been engineering thousands of albums at Houston's famed Sunrise Studios for several years now. Sitting back and watching bands record for dozens of years while hiding away your passions and music has to be frustrating. Meador puts this frustration to use in his ode to 'modern rock' In Dependence. Slickly recorded and engineered, this 8 songs album misses the mark yet leaves the door open. Nonetheless, though I may think this sort of music is a dead horse, those of you who enjoy the stylings of Incubus and other comparable (shitty) acts may enjoy this. Guest appearances are made by several local notables such as Nolan Burke and Winter Wallace. Jacob Meador performs live December 6th at Fitz.

Female Demand
Self Titled

2-piece drum and bass duo Female Demand wore Bumble Bee and Banana costumes while they performed at last October's Westheimer Block Party. As the sound of their erratic riffage escaped the inside on Mangos, attendees poured in to see what all the fuss was about. Those who did got a collective kick in the nuts from this fierce some duo. This self-titled ep captures that spirit in more ways than one. This roughly cut collection of songs is Lightning Bolt meets Zeppelin recording their music in the hole they dug Saddam out of. Despite the piss poor drum recording, check this out, then go see Female Demand live, and then load up on B12. Come to Helios on December 20th to see them as well as Satin Hooks, Piano Vines, Eastern Sea, Nick Greer, Ozeal, and Chase Hamblin.

Tonight Petr & The Wolf, listenlisten, Wild Moccasins, Sew What and FIRE!!!

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

You'd think I would have mentioned this in my Friday preview but for some reason I was mistakenly under the impression that this was next week. D'OH! No worries consider this your heads up for Music, Beer, and Bonfire at the ever wonderful Artstorm located inside Caroline Collective. Here are all the details for the show. (Thanks Saray for the heads up on my oversight and listenlisten for extra details. )
Here are the details:
Tuesday, December 9th
ArtStorm, 4828 Caroline St. (inside Caroline Collective)
$5 cover includes beer and bonfire. Starts at 7pm.
7:30 Wild Moccasins
8:15 listenlisten
9:00 Peter & the Wolf(Austin)
10:00 Sew What
More info here:

Monday, December 8, 2024

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Saturday Dec. 6th a night of Hardcore and Pop.

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

Yeah, it's gonna be a good night when the first thing you encounter on your way to the White Swan is a van parked in the street with the overwhelming smell of pot and sound of Van Halen emanating from inside. I guess that means it's either 1978 or some Gulf Coast Hardcore kid feels that Women and Children First is the only way to get stoked for hours of the city's best hardcore/Grind/Metal bands.. Have you seen junior's grades? gneaw! gneaw! gneaw! gneaw! gneaw! gneaw! gneaw! Yes folks, The White Swan was hosting the second night of Noisefest. Here's a brief rundown of what I saw there:

The Assholes opened sounding a lot like the bands I had in high school after hearing the Circle Jerks and Black Flag only better, faster, and funnier. Imagine a guitarist that looks like Stephen King and a small bald big eared dude playing songs like “Stupid Fuck” which consisted of those two words repeated over and over in rapid fire succession for about 30 seconds. Oh lordy, who knew Assholes could be such geniuses?

Satannibis was a three piece consisting of a drummer surrounded by sludgy dirty bass and guitar ( I think that was Dissent's white Epiphone wielding guitarist). The great thing about them was the drummer; he played not with a straight punk 1-2 1-2 but had a brutal yet loose and jazzy style that was totally unexpected.

Battle Rifle was likely the most droll band of the evening. Opening their set, the guitarist announced with a smile, “We'll make this quick; I have a fight to watch.” which was met with a “De La Joya's going' down!" from the audience (likely those charming smart-asses the Hypocristinas) which in turn led to a a hilarious back and fourth between the band and the audience. The music was no less brilliant with the brutal assault led by the drummer's sharp fast blast beats – that guy was a freaking machine! Likely the only band I've heard recently that could make a 20 second song sound epic.

The Ale Gore followed. God bless their little souls but they looked like everyone's favorite nerdy friends led by a lead singer who looked like Jeff Goldblum gone hardcore – with as bizarre results as you would expect. Oddly though, despite his awkwardness, he was actually was a pretty good frontman who put himself fully into what he was doing and to solid effect and the band was, for the most part, pretty dead-on with the exception of the drummer whose single kick drum style left you pining for the double-kick assault you expect with this kind of music. That aside, the only real issue with them was that they simply played too long. This stuff works great in 15-20 minute blasts max but their set may have gone 5 minuted too long which, in hardcore, is an eternity. Nevertheless. they were pretty fun.

The last band I saw at Noisefest was Insecticide. I will admit it, I feel pretty stupid having never seen these Californians before this show. They've been doing this for 20 years and the kids all knew the songs and why wouldn't they? They were brutal uncompromising metal in all it's glory! The guitarist would blaze through solos with as much joyous ass-whoopin' as the best 20 some odd hotshot. The bassist meanwhile was a show unto himself – pure showmanship and without compromising the music (to borrow a quote from Andrew Moccasin). In fact, I was so enraptured in their performance, that I let my hardcore guard down and forgot to pay attention to my peripheral vision; there to my right was a body hurling in my direction. Thankfully the person's winter wear made for a blow as soft as a pillow but unfortunately it did knock off my glasses and, focusing more on my glasses than my balance, I fell flat on my ass. Classy! No problem though, everyone gave me a hand up and it was back to Insecticide in all their awesomeness!

Meanwhile, over at Rudyard's it was a totally different scene - the poppy indie-rock scene. Sadly, I missed Phillip Foshee but I did manage to catchElaine Greer. Beyond her trusty bass wielding sidekick , Travis, she was also assisted by Austin (News On The March/Humanicide), and Andrew (Wild Moccasins). Elaine was at her best. Hell, better than that. She whipped out a new song that I thought simply killed. Andrew kicked-in with this chugging locomotive beat while Austin laid down this lovely guitar line and Elaine's vocals carried the whole thing home. The song suddenly seemed to end as Elaine let a few chords ring on her guitar and the band then went into this lovely coda that was epic and heavy. Amazing stuff but unlike the participatory Hardcore crowd, people here were sitting on the floor or sitting in chairs like it was a poetry reading. Good god people! How anyone could sit through this, I have no idea.

Austin's Unbearables were a solid ensemble featuring two keyboardists, two wind players, bass, guitar, drums and one extra vocalist. The songs were sweet but the really nice thing was the leader of the band was sharp enough to leave the individual players room to move. The best songs were those in which the bassist would lay down a solid and dirty bass line with the drummer behind him laying down the backbeat. With that backdrop, the wind instruments (one woman of a flute and the other on trumpet, sax, and clarinet) would play off each other with a lovely psychedelic trippiness. Excellent stuff.

News On The March, whose EP release was being celebrated, stole the evening. If I had any issues with News on the March's Halloween show, I wasn't going to find them here. There the band's performance was constantly stepping over the music but here there was no sign of that. Here was a band fully focused on its music and delivering the goods. A lot of credit needs to go to soundman Joe Olmelchuck because to really appreciate News On The March live you want to savor it all and here the sound was pristine bringing out the glorious harmonies, rich cello, and those jangly melodic guitars. It was simply the perfect way to absorb the richness of what this band had to offer. And guess what? People finally got off their asses!! When Geoffrey of Sideshow Tramps started dancing with a woman in the audience it was the perfect expression of the joy that that band can bring to your soul.

More Photos on My Flickr

News On The March EP Release Pics (
Noisefest Pics (Link)

The Assholes (none, sorry)
Battle Rifle
The Ale Gore
Elaine Greer
The Unbearables
News On The March

Labels: , , , , Assholes, , , ,

Friday, December 5, 2024

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for Friday November 5th, 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

A Dark Crushing Hardcore Festival
and a Light Sunny H-Pop Record Release

H-Town Noisefest '08
@ The White Swan ($10/day starts at 7PM)

--Friday December 5th--
Gorenado, n.i.b.i.r.u., Termination Force, Ecocide, Dissent, El Desmadre, Laughing Dog, Catheter, Kill the Client
--Saturday December 6th--
The Assholes, Satannabis, 54R, Doom Siren, Snot Rokitts, Knelt Rote, PLF, Terrorism, Noisear, Superbad, Indigust

If you like your music loud, fast, heavy, punishing, and involving a circle pit then this is like an early Christmas present. The fun thing about this is the way the promoters describe the bands; you know, because there aren't enough sub-genres. So let's go though them shall we?

In Disgust (Extreme PowerGrindViolence, California) , Catheter (Grind HC Crusher Legends, Denver, Colorado) , Superbad (Crazy Heavy Jam-Grind / Portland, Oregon) , Noisear (Ripping Grind Brutality, New Mexico/Texas) , Laughing Dog (Crazy Grind, New Mexico) , Terrorism (Sick Grind/Gore, California) , Snotrokitz (Extremely Ripping HC Thrash, Oklahoma) , Knelt Rote (Portland, Oregon) ,
54R (Grindcore, Mississippi) , Doom Siren (Heavy Crust HC, Austin, Texas) , Kill the Client (Grindcore, Austin/DFW Texas) , Til Death (Crust HC, Texas) , PLF (Grinding Thrash, Houston, Texas) , Dissent (Burly Ripping Crust, Houston, Texas) , Satannabis (Slow/Fast Groove, Houston, Texas) , El Desmadre (Fast Ripping HC, Houston, Texas) , Termination Force (Grinding Thrash Metal, Houston, Texas) , Nibiru (Grindcore, Houston, Texas) , Gorenado (Fast Thrashing HC, Houston, Texas)
I love that there is a distinction between Crazy Grind and Sick Grind and that Knelt Rote's genre is merely Portland, Oregon. Oh and 54R, Kill The Client, and Nibiru. Grindcore? JUST grindcore? C'mon now, you're going to have to work harder if you want to earn those extra adjectives. But all kidding aside, this is going to be punishing and awesome. With sets expected to run about 15-20 minutes it's your best chance to come and sample some of Houston's and the Nation's best hardcore bands. Don't be intimidated, the hardcore kids are by and large nice people. If the circle pit is a bit rough for you, just keep your distance and you'll be fine. The fact of the matter is it's a bunch of kids out to have a good time. You should check it out or as the organizers say "Be there or POSE!"

Saturday, December 6th
News on the March (EP release)
with special guests
The Unbearables, Elaine Greer, Phillip Foshée
@ Rudyard's

News on the March have been laying down some lovely H-Pop that dips it's feet in Country Music while basking in lovely harmonies, clean reverb washed guitar, and some lovely cello work. Their previous EP release was thwarted by Hurricane Ike but here it is a few months later and the EP is in the band's hands and ready to jump in your CD player. Austin's Unbearables are a pop collective with some pretty arrangements and varied instrumentation that I'm sure will make for a very crowded stage. Elaine Greer's folky pop songs are always refreshing and lovely little gems that shine like a stars in the H-Pop sky. Phillip Foshée's folk music isn't the kind of thing that grabs you by the collar and demands your attention. Instead, it quietly grabs you with melody, emotion and understatement.


Friday, December 5th

Amplified Heat, The Big Green Machine, The Bexar County Bastards
@ Rudyard's

Jump in as Austin's Amplified Heat take the the Blue Cheer highway via Billy Gibbons Farm to Market. Oh yes, in case you didn't know, they even have a hot sauce made by Whorehound's Trevi Biles (Link)

Electric Attitude, The Gold Sounds, Studemont Project, Alkari @ Walter's on Washington
Go! Deer Park's favorite sons, Gold Sounds!

Benjamin Wesley
On the KTRU Revelry Report (6pm 91.7fm)

The Axeman from Fucking Transmissions / Bassess Loaded will likely be showing off his solo stuff. Neat!

Buddy Guy/Tom Hambridge
@ House of Blues
Buddy Guy is so amazing that even Hendrix would cancel his own shows to see him play. Check out this gorgeous video clip with the Texas Blues Legend Big Momma Thornton.

Saturday, December 6th

The Paper Chase, Tambersauro
@ Walter's on Washington

Can't tell you much about the Paperchase (thanks Myspace) but Tambersauro are one of Houston's sharpest and most energetic bands period. They're like the musical equivalent of watching gymnasts at work.

Andy Rourke (DJ set)/Fredster/Damon Allen/Les Boom/Shoe
@ The Meridian (Main Room)

Ex-Smiths Bassist Andy Rourke spins with some of Houston's finest DJs.

Secret Saturday Show
@ The Shady Tavern
The bands who playint he afternoon are hush hush but the price is always free.

Sunday, December 7th

Zechs Marquise, The Goods , Female Demand
@ The Mink
Marcel Rodriguez Lopez (of the Mars Volta) and his band, Zechs Marquise, clearly have been listening to a lot of Funkadelic and likely smoking a lot of herb if ya know what I mean. Should be a lot of fun plus it's one of your few chances to see a member of the MV outside a theatre stage.

Monday, December 8th

Fishbone, Heavy Mojo, Natives of the New Dawn, World's Most Dangerous Band
@ The Meridian

The first Fishbone EP was pretty amazing when it came out. I remember seeing the video for ? (Modern Industry) and wondering "What the fuck is that?" and immediately raced out to buy the EP. Somehow, they are still at it.

Dickey Hands, Burn the Boats
@ Boondocks
Monday's Free at Boondocks. Weee!

Wednesday, December 10th

Spain Coloured Orange, Motion Turns it On
@ Rudyards

This just popped on the radar screen so pardon the lack of a blurb but do these guys really need an introducton?

Thursday, December 11th

Eugene Chadbourne/Walter Daniels @ Rudyard's
Chadcourne's pretty fun to watch. Last I saw him was at the old SHFL and he ran through originals and interpretations of classic rock, jazz, and country in a way that recalls that same nervous energy of a mischievous child.

Monday, December 1, 2024

Wild Moccasins

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

Photography Molly Rodriguez

Pop. It’s not something that people regularly associate with Houston. Fair or not it’s a city more famous for sprawl, heat, mosquitoes, crooked businessmen, and masses of trucks, cars and neighboring chemical plants belching pollution into the sky than for being a home for bright melodies, sharp hooks, and youthful energy. Yet, over the last few years, there has been rising tide of great Houston pop bands that have redefined this city’s sound. Many come to mind but none this year has captured the restless and vigorous spirit of what is exploding out of Houston more than Wild Moccasins.

If you don’t believe that the H-Pop scene isn’t one of our youngest and most vibrant scenes, just walk into any Wild Moccasins show. Out in the audience you’ll see it: a floor shaking, hands rising in the air, voices singing along, and the joyous sweat of people dancing! Yes, people dancing! In Houston! To a live band! Bassist Nick Cody and drummer Andrew Ortiz are the kind of sprightly and agile rhythm section that demands a henie-shaking tithe from all who dare stand before them. Guitarist Andrew Lee’s clean reverbed sound may not be the distorted long-haired crushing sound of some bands but, much like David proved with a slingshot, there’s more to kicking ass that just being big and heavy. Front and center is Zahira Gutierrez (pronounced Zaira – the H is silent) whose stand-out vocals and (by comparison underappreciated) keyboards are the perfect compliment to principal songwriter Cody Swann’s guitar and vocals. It’s a band where each member throws in little flourishes in which their voice rises above the chorus but never dominates.

Surprisingly, this is Cody Swann's first band and the songs on the EP are the first he’s ever written. Cody and Zahira worked on songs together but soon Andrew Ortiz came in and gave the folky music a much needed kick. Nick Cody came into the picture when he heard them rehearsing at their friend Mary’s house with just drums and acoustic guitars and felt, not only that they needed a bass to fill out the sound but, that he’d be the right person for the job. Then, at a Dimes/Hearts of Animals show at Sound Exchange, they hit it off with a lead guitarist by the name of Andrew Lee from local ska band Dumbarton, brought him home, and recorded some tracks.

“I love those tracks,” says Andrew Ortiz, “because you can hear Zahira playing Mario Kart and cursing in the background.”

“Yeah,” says a red-faced Zahira laughing, “I kind-of really get into it.”

Andrew Lee says of his first impression, “I thought it was going to be a country folk thing but, once you put everyone together, that wasn’t the case.”

“The evolution from folk to pop was natural.” explains Cody, “It was a lot easier to play alone with an acoustic rather than an electric for me. ‘Shiny Strings’ was just a two and a half minute folk/pop song without drums. As we all practiced it, it became this poppy song - we added changes and it gained that minute and a half ending. That’s typical. I’ll write lyrics and chords, bring in a ‘skeleton,’ and [the song] changes. I tried with a new song to keep it set in stone and after a few practices realized it wasn't working for us. Now we’re very much what happens happens.”

That anything goes attitude was on full display at the last block party where the band seemed to shake the stage to near collapse. Andrew Ortiz loves energetic live shows, “I’ve been going to shows since I was 13 and there are bands that go, do shows, and just do their thing but then there are those bands that are into it - visually into it - and yet don’t sacrifice their sound.”

“It’s about being spontaneous.” says Andrew Lee, “When you see us live, it’s not like we sit there and say ‘OK, when I do this, you do this.’”

“For me,” says Andrew Ortiz, “it’s not about focusing on what I’m doing [as a performer], it’s about putting everything into what I’m doing but it takes a toll; I get tired.”

Mickey Mouse Club is a label that popped-up on Hands Up Houston and Nick responds to it with a laugh, “We’ve been called a pre-teen band.”

Zahira interjects, “I think it’s because we aren’t aggressive - people are wary of upbeat and happy music even when the lyrics may not be happy and upbeat.”

“Nobody called The Who a teen band and they were young.” says Nick Cody.

Andrew Ortiz seems equally perplexed and amused by this, “Criticizing our youth is cool. Not that I’m on a high horse but there’s this new community of kids and we’re all young and supportive. In Houston, all we have is each other; that’s cool!”

That camaraderie was on display in a recent regional tour with Young Mammals, Woozyhelmet, and The Mathletes What was simply a chance to play with some of their favorite Houston bands turned into a little goodwill tour where the Moccasins found themselves performing to rowdy crowds, having a blast, and redefining this city to outsiders. Yet, that gritty Houston stereotype is still a tough one to crack as Nick found out in Austin when someone, hearing they were from Houston, said, “Oh, sorry I’m not from Houston; I’m not into metal.” Clearly their work as H-Pop ambassadors has just begun.

The new Wild Moccasins EP, Microscopic Metronomes, is scheduled for release in January of 2024. In the meantime, you can see them December 9th W/ Peter & The Wolf & listenlisten @ Arstorm/Caroline Collective ($5 ; 7-10pm) and also on December 19th at the Mink Backroom Toy Drive W/ Buxton, News On The March, Elaine Greer, Giant Princess, and B-L-A-C-K-I-E.


Wild Moccasins on Myspace (Link)
Molly Rodtriguez Photogrpahy Link)