The Houston Music Blog section of the Free Press Houston.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chelsea Miller - Self-Titled

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:51 AM


Chelsea Miller
Self-titled

After a surprise sold-out show at Anderson Fair this past weekend, Missouri City’s, Chelsea Miller should start garnering serious attention around the Texas folk/ singer-songwriter scene. Chelsea Miller’s new, self-titled album is a little under 20 minutes of something Houston is not used to in it’s musicians- singing PRECISELY in key… ON ALL THE SONGS, lush harmonies, and string layers to give it that rich, hyper-produced, 96.5 feel. Produced by John Glover, this album will give girls plenty of moments to picture themselves on the cover of a Danielle Steele novel. For fans of Sarah Mclachlan, Fiona Apple, and the sappy Beatles shit.

Jana Hunter - There’s no Home

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:36 AM


Jana Hunter
There’s no Home

Ok. This album has gotten WAY too much press. Whenever someone becomes the media darling for little reason they need to get called out. This sordid amalgamation of poorly written melodies and redundant robot lyrics sat in my car for months until it slowly grew on me. I soon loved it. Then I hated it again. Shelby calls this “music indie chicks like to get fucked by.” That may be true. But that still does not explain the churning in my lower intestine. Pooh-pooh? Perhaps.

Riff Tiffs

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:30 AM


Riff Tiffs
Afflictinnitus

Seen the Riff Tiffs live? You should. This band is masters of slowly building a crescendo without prematurely ejaculation. (Sorry for the lewd comparison but it was the most fitting thing I could come up with.) Riff Tiffs find a cleaner sound and a more concise direction on this album than ever before. This is strong exemplified on what is my favorite track of the album, ‘Cornman’. They take a break for the school year to pursue higher education but should grace us with an appearance at the October Westheimer Block Party.

Sidebar Reviews

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:29 AM

By Him and Shelby

Generic Tribe
The Dressmaker, The Drone, and the Yellow

This 26 track album makes 7 for the Generic Tribe. The band is known for genre-bouncing and does so with utter fluidity on the album. Vocalist Mojo Jamima-hand finds a perfect balance of grit and beauty on the Lennon-sounding ‘Strange Look’. His carefully panned guitar faintly resembles a cello on the track without sounding ‘plug-in-esque’. . G-Tribe is also masterful at any exercise in hip-hop. Bassist Tyler finds bright spots and slick rhymes on Keys to the Kingdom. All the damn way around, this is an album to leave in on your digital music player of choice a month at a time and keep discovering.

Homegrown - Local Record Reviews

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:24 AM


Arthur Yoria
Handshake Smiles
Review by Jeremy Hart

I've never met a musician, from Houston or anywhere else, who can reinvent themselves as effortlessly from album to album as Arthur Yoria seems to. Just when I think I've got him pegged, he slips out the side and does something totally off the map from what he's done in the past, whether it's shifting from a smooth seducer to a freaked-out, amps-on-eleven rocker or from a rocker to a playful Spanish-speaking troubadour.

With Handshake Smiles, then, Yoria's shifted, chameleon-like, from all of those things into, well, himself. He's gotten a little scruffier, growing back/our his hair and beard, he's not wearing the shiny shirts anymore, and the music feels like a throwback to the things Yoria himself probably listened to growing up. Smiles is all a little rough around the edges -- probably partly because it was done just at a friend's house with a borrowed mic, although it sounds a heck of a lot better than it should for that -- and the songs follow suit, heading off in a more bluesy, more '60s-ish direction that "Goodbye Marisa," off of 2006's Something Must Be Wrong, telegraphed.

The guitars are simultaneously rawer and not as up-front as they have been in the past, the bass and drums grind together nicely -- see the break in "Clean For Free," in particular -- and the band seems relaxed as hell. I've heard Arthur play a fair number of these songs live a few times now, so they tend to sound somewhat familiar to me. Beyond hearing 'em live, though, there's just this warm, intimate, friendly feel to the songs, the kind that makes you feel like you've heard them all somewhere before, maybe on a crackly AM radio station back when radio didn't completely suck. Smiles is the sound of a bunch of guys getting together to chill and jam in their buddy's living room.
Except, of course, that they're not playing half-assed Zeppelin or Stones covers, but are instead playing some damn fine songs of their own. Despite the stylistic changeups, Yoria hasn't lost his songwriting touch, thankfully, and there are few weak moments among the 11 tracks on here. The aforementioned "Clean For Free" is easily a highlight, a languid, bluesy rocker that has Yoria declaring bluntly that he wants out (of a relationship, I'm assuming?) with no strings attached, and he doesn't give a crap about the fallout. "Love Song in G" comes off like a '60s rock love song, somewhere in the realm of a less-poppy Push Kings, while "Sandy" aims for Byrds/Teenage Fanclub heaven with an awesome-sounding organ. Then there's the title track, which swipes half a guitar line (and that lazy-summer-day feel, to boot) from "Brown Eyed Girl" and bumps along contentedly beneath the words.

Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I'm making too much of all the stylistics changes Yoria's been through over the past four or five EPs and albums. Rocker, folksinger, pop star -- at the end of the day, they're all the same guy, right? Looking back, though, it sure looks like the progression that led up to now was the collective sound of Yoria learning to live inside his own skin. Handshake Smiles is him actually making it there, comfortable with who he is and where he's headed, leaning back with a beer in his hand and a grin on his face.