The Houston Music Blog section of the Free Press Houston.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star:Fired For Walking, Bright Men Of Learning, Novox @ Rudz 09/26/2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 5:30 AM

I was out of town camping this weekend so I didn't have time to really write a proper review of the Fired For Walking CD release show at Rudyard's this last Friday. I will say that it was a pretty nice evening of music both at Rudz as well as at Caroline Collective (where the Wild Moccasins were rocking an Indie Houston event).

Hope y'all got out and enjoyed post-curfew Houston. We will return to our regularly scheduled show wrap-ups next week. Until then, here are some pictures from Friday's show.


DJ. Mr. Castillo -
Playin' whatever he damn well pleases.
Go Mr. C!!!!

Blogger powers unite!
The Houston Press' Dusti Rhodes (l)
& The Skyline Network's ADR (r)


Novox's Kyle victorious despite equipment issues.

Novox - educated men who rock!

Bright Men of Learning performing a death metal song!

Objection overruled!
You may continue to rock Mr. Preddy.


Ladies and Gentlemen,
Steely Dan's Walter Becker!
Errr, no wait that's BDM.

Fired For Walking vs the presidential debates.
I'll go with FFW.


FFW's Mike thinking
"Wait Zardoz was the Wizard of Oz? Man, that's so Lame!"

FFW's Drew in his most sober looking shot.

FFW's Joel rockin' the hair!

Links:
More Pictures on my Flickr (Link)

Fired For Walking (Link)
Bright Men Of Learning (Link)
Novox (Link)

Labels: , , ,

This Just In - Ben Murphy Replaces Walter Becker

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:41 AM


Long time Steely Dan fans were surprised Friday night at Rudyard's when longtime band member Walter Becker (l) was replaced by Ben Murphy (r). Donald Fagan told the crowd "Oh like you can tell the difference!" When reached for comment, Mr. Murphy would only shout "AM GOLD!!!!"

Labels:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Christmas comes early for The Music Crumudgeon

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 8:56 PM

You know I've been anticipating this when my reaction to seeing this in my hands is to literally jump in the air and say "WOW!" then proceed to drop it in my I-tunes and put it on an infinite loop. On the quick here, there are lots of great instrumentals like the spacey where's-my-bong of The Next Day, the lovely sax harmonies of the unlisted final song, or the cheeky retro 80's dance floor of Pillow Fight but, for my money, it's the songs that are like manna from heaven. Suprean's gift for melody, phrasing, and lyrics are all here. Drain Me (easily the highlight for me) is HOA at her lyrical best - wrenching stop the world on its axis stuff - and, without giving anything away, the way the song ends is nothing short of brilliant. Sister Stories has a sweet chorus that is nothing short of intoxicating. The pretty and melancholy Sad Dancing sounds like the sad counter part to ABBA. Sit Right Here shares themes of longing and anxiety that were a hallmark of best of the songs from Lemming Baby. The biggest curve ball is a guest vocal by Joe Mathlete on Versus which sounds like Suprean and Mathlete doing some fucked-up version Berlin era Bowie. But yadda yadda yadda, I need to get back to editing these photos for tomorrow's Jameson & Lonestar but I just had to share my excitement. Woo!

Labels:

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of September 26th 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 5:28 AM

This week's spotlight
Two-fer at 4828 Caroline

Friday, September 26 -
Indie Houston presents
Final Fridays Film Screening with
The Wild Moccasins,
short films by Michael Rodriguez,
plus live streaming of Obama vs. McCain
@ Caroline Collective
(4828 Caroline; Moccasins start at 7PM)

Hooray, music events are just starting to get back to normal and Indie Houston is kicking it of with this event. Errr, well, it more fell on their lap but good for them for gettin' all scrappy and helping out the Caroline Collective folks in making this happen. Kicking things off at 7pm sharp will be the Wild Moccasins who we'll be featuring in our November issue. If you have been under a cave for this past year, the Moccasins are pretty much ramping up to be the indie-pop band of this year with their clever catchy songs and fun shows. If you still have the post-Ike blues (and who doesn't) this should be just what you need. There will be a screening of shorts by local filmmaker Michael Rodriguiez which, in turn, will be followed by a live stream of the presidential debates which Indie Houston hopes to see accompanied by some audience participation. Cool, I haven't seen people shout at a screen since I saw Evil Dead II at a dollar theatre.

Saturday, September 27 -
Artstorm Opening
Jon Read and Glen Gips
Lo-Fi No-Brow Folk


featuring The Wiggins, Hearts of Animals, & Benjamin Wesley
@ ArtStorm - inside Caroline Collective
(4828 Caroline; 7-10PM)
This show bums me out because I'm out of town on Saturday and it's going to be great. Artstorm is bringing you some great art by Jon Read and Glen Gips (that's John Read's work on the right) and this is the opening. For those unawares, John Read is also the nutter behind the ever charming distorto dancy drum-machine fueled low-fi pop of The Wiggins. The shows are always fun but this one will give your eyes a treat as well as your ears. As if that wasn't enough awesomeness, Hearts of Animals (who counts The Wiggins as an influence by the way) returns from her sabbatical. I'm hoping she'll be playing some new songs from her upcoming CD on Artstorm records. Last but surely not least, the painfully talented and prolific Benjamin Wesley (Fucking Transmissions, Basses Leaded, etc. etc. etc.) opens. He's the fucker who is totally ruining the bell curve for the rest of us.


Friday, September 26

Fired For Walking (EP release) / Bright Men of Learning / Novox / Mr. Castillo
@ Rudyard's

Lookee there; it's the debut EP release from local rockers Fired For Walking who carry the torch for 90's indie rock. That would be a pretty cool thing in and of itself but the band has set up a pretty happily diverse bill. Bright Men Of Learning should pair lovely with that drink in your hand through a combination of Marshall Preddy's whiskey strained vocals and one of the sharpest bands out there. Openers Novox are worth an early arrival. Just the other day I was at Skerret Street and heard the strains of this epic wave of notes swelling from the second floor that beckoned me like sirens. Thankfully I wasn't called to my doom but to the Novox rehearsal space where Kyle Phillips greeted me with a "Hey, you need a beer?"

Sideshow Tramps / News on the March
@ Dan Electro's Guitar Bar
The Sideshow Tramps are a Houston intuition specializing in fun high-energy shows of old timey music that bubble with a vigorous sass. They had some equipment stolen as a result of Hurricane Ike looters but you can't keep a kick-ass band down. Opening will be the sparkling harmony and cello rich Indie County Pop of News On The March which will be just the musical hug you need after a hurricane.

Spiritualized/Grand Ole Party
@ The Meridian
Dude, I smoked a lot of dope to Spacemen 3 in university.

boy./listenlisten/Lenny Briscoe
@ The House of Booze
(901 Eleanor; BYOB; 8PM)
House Party Awesomeness!!!!

12 Annual Houston Grand Taiko Festival
@ Miller Outdoor Theatre (7PM)
(FRIDAY AND SATURDAY)

Big loud drums in the classic Japanese tradition plus that one skinny white dude who look like Elric. That dude is awesome!

Kristine Mills (in-store)
@ Cactus Music (6PM)
My Free St. Arnold's Beer sense is tingling!
Robert Ellis
Live on KTRU's Revelry Report (91.7fm)
Not sure which Robert Ellis this is as there are many on the web but hey it's something to tune into on your way home.

Saturday, September 27

DSB (Japan), PLF and World Burns To Death
@ The White Swan
Hardcore show folks. Hit that circle pit, throw your fist in the air, and sweat it up with Japan's DSB and the local Grindcore masters PLF who will be touring Europe for most of October and, BONUS, be featured in our October's issue.

Carolyn Wonderland / The Hightailers
@ Dan Electro's Guitar Bar

Man, remember when Carolyn Wonderland was ubiquitous in Houston? She's been camping out in Austin for a while now.

Poor Dumb Bastards
@ Rudyard's

I have two theories on Poor Dumb Bastards and Sarah Palin which is that they are either Palin's worst nightmare or she secretly pleasures herself to naked images of Byron cavorting in his sweaty Texas manliness.

Insecticide / Temple of Wrath / Last Rosary / Coya
@ Walter's on Washington

Metal Metal Metal! LA Thrash-tastic trio along with some bad-ass local metal will make all those hours you spent practicing your Dio devil sign in front of the mirror pay off. \m/

House Party With Rebel Crew
Joe B. / Suma / Illset / Swift / BMC / Karina / Kool B
@ Avant Garden
DJ's at Avant Garden. I think that speaks for itself.

Opie Hendrix and the Texas Tallboys / Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
@ The Continental Club
Get yr. Whiskey-drinkin' pedalsteel washboard hootenanny Americana on at the Continental.

Azrael's Bane (CD release)
@ F.B.I. Rock Club #1

If there is a CD release happens I mention it.


Sunday, September 28

The Calm Blue Sea / Caddywhompus / Come See My Dead Person
@ Notsuoh
Austin shoegazers Calm Blue Sea and the over-the-top high-energy gypsy romp of CSMDP should be quite the juxtaposition.

HBC National Disaster Relief Concert and Fundraiser, featuring Arride, Small Victory, Sun Machine, Darwins God, Osirus, Dine Alone, Bayou Monster, Spare Parts, Robin Kirby, Rhythm Circus, Dyslexic Crown, John Evans, & 71 Stars
@ Hard Rock Cafe (2PM-12AM)

Fundraiser. Err that's the Houston Band Coalition not the HBC Bank.


Monday, September 29

listenlisten/Cory Derden
@ Boondocks
If the houseparty wasn't enough of listenlisten's quiet folksy melancholy, then this should do the trick.

Tuesday, September 30
Cola Freaks/Secret Prostitutes/The Caprolites
@ The Mink
Hi we are Cola Freaks! We are from Denmark we play...how you do say ...high energy punky new wave. We thought Secret Prostitutes were hot when they were all Indonesian rockers. Now with Chris Ryan of Dead City Sound and Wulfie from No Talk they are even hotter. Caprolites once gave ADR shit. Denmark loves Skyline but it's funny to see ADR catch shit at times.


The Black Keys
@ The Meridian
Akron Ohio's favorite blues fired duo hits the Meridian! This should be a pretty freaking sweet show.

Mary Cutrufello
@ McGonigel's Mucky Duck
Man, remember when Mary Cutrufello was ubiquitous in Houston? She's been camping out in Austin for a while now. Deja vu!

Thursday, October 2

The Ooga Boogas/The Welfare Mothers/Gnaugahyde
@ Rudyard's

Australia has been very welcoming of Houston bands over the years and in return the've thrown some pretty awesome trashy garage our way - the Ooga Boogas are squarely in that tradition. Check out this nice - if annoyingly brief except - on YouTube (Link). Throw in the ever brilliant garage-eers Welfare Mothers and you've got the making for a pretty top-shelf evening!

Yip Yip/Pataphysics/B L A C K I E/TENSE
@ The Mink (7PM)

I have bad nightmares about Yip Yip and they kind of look like this video (Link). Also on this bill willbe the ubiquitous and always brilliant B L A C K I E who will demonstrate his awesome powers behind the mic and the always nifty TENSE will open.

Throwrag /Roger Miret & The Disasters / Static Thought / Viva Hate / Hell City Kings
@ Walter's on Washington

Kinda Garage kinda Rockabilly, California's Throw Rag should be a good match for the hell-raising Hell City Kings.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Hell City Kings & Slippin' Mickies 09/20/2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:00 AM

Saturday night I texted one of my friends with the message "Off to Rudz - free show, cold beer, and AC." Well, two out of three folks. When I got there the doors were open and the patio was to capacity. It seems that Rudz power was indeed on but the storm had affected the juice in such a way that all but the AC could be turned on. That was pretty par for the course for local bars and small businesses across town. For example, Poison Girl supposedly had one night where the staff was battling a flaming generator one night last week. Thankfully, at Rudz, a huge box fan upstairs and a few minutes to acclimatize with a cold beer and you were gold - a little sweaty maybe but no worse for wear. Plus, like Mike Watt once told me, "This is rock and roll; it's all about sweat!" Amen grand poo bah!

Before I get into the review, let's talk US currency, bottle caps, and digestive system. I was asking Hell City King's Bill Fool about Born Liars and he mentioned how there was a show recently that ended up with bottles strewn everywhere from all the typical Born Liars insanity. During the show, someone threw him two dollar bills. One he tore up and ate. The other he ate whole. It turns out the US Mint isn't joking about the durability of its currency so in the end it came out as legible as it came in. This led to another similar story of Bill's high school friend who had a penchant for twisting off beer bottle caps with his teeth. Long story short, he swallowed one, and the cap came out (sans the rubber underneath and the printed graphics) in once piece, and the fellow now wears it as a necklace. Needless to say I didn't order any food at Rudz that night. Thanks Bill.

Openers Slippin' Mickies played well. The drums, bass, and guitar were all solid and just sloppy enough to be fun but something wasn't quite jellin'. Eventually, I concluded that the reason was the frontman. Mind you, the guy had a good rock voice and at times he'd be pretty charming on stage but it was what he'd do when he wasn't singing that was working against him. He'd sing a line then, clutching the mic tightly in his fist, swing his fist down to his waist, lower his head, and stand there bobbing his head to the music until the next line. Here is the deal - being the frontman is a tough job. It's as much performance as it is being able to sing; like it or not you are the center of attention. If you don't command the stage, it doesn't matter how well you can sing. Now in his defense, one friend of mine did say that the singer seemed off this evening. That may be true given everyone's issues with heat, clean-up, and day jobs. So I don't want to overstate the issue as the band did play well and their clever appropriation of Iron Maiden's The Trooper was likely the wittiest band member roll-call I'd ever seen.

Now, Hell City Kings' front man had no problems with taking on his duties as he stood there shirtless, tattooed, mustached, with short cropped thinning hair, and a presence that said "Goddamn, I am the prettiest motherfucker here!" Sergio Leone would have cast this dude in a heartbeat - the bad or the ugly but certainly not the good. That's the whole thing that made the show great. Here is this dude playing ugly to a hilt, slithering, oozing sweat, and generally goading the audience until, by the end, that infamous Rudyard's five foot gap is filled with fists and bodies screaming back. It's straight-up drunken I- don't- give- a- fuck, tattooed rock and roll. Ask me about the chord changes. Ask me about the nuances. Ask me about the lyrical content. I haven't a fucking clue. They just play it like Ike tearing across Houston and yr not worried about what it all means while it's happening. All I know is that the rhythm section was tight and brutal, the singer challenged the audience at every turn to embrace the sweat of the music, and the guitarists rolled through every rock and roll cliche (dual guitar leads, walk through the audience during a solo, guitar pose-o-rama, etc.) and despite all the posturing it wasn't corny, it was fun. Will Hell City Kings change rock and roll history? No, but it was a party. A very fucking hot and sweaty party of tattooed ugly mother fuckers with the rest of us shouting back "We're ugly and sweaty too!" and that is all that matters. In other words, they were the rock and roll sweat Mr. Watt had mentioned to me years ago.



Rundyard's Staff enjoying
the post Ike Air Conditioning!
Oh, do I Rock now?
Yr shaking your head; is that a yes or a no?
Because, if you want me to rock now, I can do it.

Woo look at me, I'm rocking now.

Yes you are my friend.
Yes, you are!

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn't me tonight.
*

The Enterprise is under attack!!!!

Oh, no I did NOT need to see that!


OK people! I'm not gonna say it again.
Do not make the Dio devil sign at my crotch.

Jeeeeeeeeez people!
What did I JUST say?!!!!


We sentence you to death by rock!


Links:
More pictures on myflickr (link)

Hell City Kings on myspace (link)
Slippin' Mickies on myspace (link)


*I Feel Pretty - Lyrics Stephen Sondheim - West Side Story (1956) .

Labels: "Hell City Kings",

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of September 19th 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 2:27 PM

This Week's Spotlight Is On
The City Of Houston #1 Teen Hit - Curfew!!


Just when the hot weather hits and people are sick and tired of being without power for a week, here comes the weekend with a promise of a respite of friends, music, and booze. Bartenders and local bar owners stand to make a much needed killing from cooped up adults who just need a break from the last week. At times like this it's good to remember the words of the great American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin who wrote "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy."

Unfortunately this boost to one segment of the economy and our spirits ain't happening. Yes that's correct your 1st amendment right to peaceably assemble has been revoked again - curfew has been extended to Monday. So, simply put - you are fucked!

If any good can come of this, it's to see the fucking stupidity of the weekend teen curfew. Yes that's right, nothing will make you feel more like a teenager than being kept indoors for your own good and this weekend you too can feel years younger and bask in the wild and free teen lifestyle. Stay home play your Wii, watch a movie, read a book, and in effect cut yourself off from society for six hours. Damn, that sounds exciting doesn't it? Well, this is what kids in Houston have to deal with every weekend so enjoy.

Post-Hurricane Curfew details for Houston and surrounding area from the Houston Chronicle (LINK)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Jana Hunter & Lesser gonzales at the Petrol Station 09/17/2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:22 AM

Jana Hunter’s show was one that almost didn’t happen. Diverse Works could no longer host the show after Hurricane Ike but a mad dash search for alternate venues by scrappy individuals eventually turned up The Petrol Station just north of 610 on Wakefield. Mind you, I didn’t exactly get the most welcome reception from the Petrol’s neighbors. Some crabby old dude yelling at you for parking in front of his house is a bit unsettling given the events this week. Exasperated, I finally just told the dude to do me a favor and chill – it’s been a rough week for everybody. This led to him shouting something about us “punks” like this was some 50’s rock and roll B-movie starring Bill Haley and Chuck Berry with the outraged neighbor shouting “You punks and your rock and roll music! Parking in front of my house! What is this country coming to?!” except that instead of Brando or Dean you got me and Chris Gray. Whatevs.

Inside though was a much better scene…hell, it was a good showing of the Indie scene. Sharks & Sailors, Bring Back The Guns, Young Mammals, Wols, Wicked Poseur, Wild Moccasins, and Bright Men of Learning, to name a few bands all had members representing and the usual scene peeps all came out to welcome back Jana, see how everyone else was doing, and just enjoy the evening. The Petrol Station itself was a very nice little bar with a nice bartender, a decent selection of beers, and one of the regular patrons, Mike, was showing off his MRE to everybody. Of the scene peeps, a few people fared worse than others but generally the news was the same from everybody – no power, no power, and no power – and you can tell that everyone is more than ready for normalcy.

Perhaps that’s why this show was so necessary – we all needed a break. Lesser Gonzales even started his set saying “So I hear you guys are a bit bored.” His set was a sweet solo set of quiet introspective folk with some lovely chord changes and a soft spoken phrasing that accompanied the night air perfectly. Jana followed with a full band and apologized to the audience for Wicked Poseur being bumped from the line-up due to time constraints and for the band’s volume; “We’re usually much louder than this.” She then led the band through an abbreviated set of her songs with the casual intimacy of performing for friends in their living room which was not too far from the truth. The band played beautifully and at one point the band was improvising into a cascade of loops and what sounded like a train whistle perfectly in key off in the distance but that seemed improbable. Yet, when the band stopped and Jana segued into a song, that train whistle - clear as day - joined along perfectly. One person amused by it all shouted “Whooo!”, Jana smiled, and the band joined in. That was the moment that captured the evening where even the trains were singing and glad to hear Jana back in town; somehow that told us all that it was going to be all right. Thanks Jana of not giving up on the show. We all needed that more than you’ll ever know.

(Here are a few pictures. Flash felt intrusive so I refrained from my usual hundred plus shots that I then whittle down to few good ones. Still hey it’s something. )



Lesser Gonzales kicks the evening off nicely.Dead City Sound's Chris Ryan with
Petrol Station regular Mike and his MRE.
Jana Hunter in summer hurricane casual.
The show was short, sweet and just
what we and the trains needed.



More pics on my flickr (link)

Labels: "jana hunter", "lesser gonzales"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: The Storm before Ike - Dissent, PLF, and Gorenado at the White Swan 09/10/08

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 5:44 AM

Well, here it is Monday and Hurricane Ike has pretty much thrown Houston and the surrounding areas into utter lameness and my favorite island is decimated by the sounds of the radio reports. My best hopes and wishes to those who suffered any losses in the storm. I’m exiled in Sugarland and we have no electricity and that means no fridge, no internet, and everything else you can think of. Houston is under curfew meaning Ike has effectively killed the scene this week. No booze, no music, and, hell, even my band’s rehearsal is down for the count. I’m gonna guess that by now, as we wait for power to come back on line and food & gas supplies to get back up to speed, everyone in the city of Montrose is pretty much freaking bored out of the their skulls.

A week ago boredom was hardly the case as I went down to the White Swan for a relaxing evening for metal/grindcore. Normally, I’d do a longer review but things being what they are (and my laptops battery is waning) I’ll keep this one brief and let the pictures do most of my talking. Let me make a few points though about the Gulf Coast Hardcore scene. First, one friend of mine asked during the last Hootenanny “Where are the kids?” Well the Riff Tiff’s show answered half of that question and this one answered the second half – they are skanking around a circle pit to some of the most brutal and uncompromising music around. Another writer asked me a question along the lines of where Rock lost its grit. I told him go to the White Swan on the 10th and you’ll find plenty of grit. Somehow he dismissed it as being too much of a subgenre to count towards his question but that’s typical of the media reaction to grindcore and metal. The fans are considered mindless and the music nothing more than a macho affectation. The irony being that the bands and their music are some of the smartest and sharpest shit out there and the fans are (surprise surprise) actually painfully good natured and courteous. That’s not to say you won’t get an elbow in your side during a set but unlike the five or so fuckheads at “We Are the Hollow Men” who were out to hurt people this was pretty much a well mannered circle pit. My favorite moment was during Dissent’s set when one kid, in early Woody Allen mode, shouted “Hey! Hey! Quit it! Just pushing! None of that!” after getting konked. That drew some laughs but, for all the poseur jokes, the person complaining was taken in stride. And, by the way, it’s not a sausage fest either but there was a fair showing of women at the show. All in all, it’s a pretty accepting scene of the classic Rock and Roll freaks, geeks, and losers who do what they love despite being virtually ignored by other scenes, media, and networks outside their own. It’s DIY at it’s sweatiest, smartest, and savviest. If anyone is carrying the punk rock flame, it’s these cats.

But enough rambling - the bands in Cliff’s Notes. Gorenado opened up and, being their first show, it was pretty good. Solid rhythm section and guitar but it still came off as “this is our first show and it’s still jellin’.” Nevertheless, a good way to start the evening. Now when PLF (Pretty Little Flower) started - night and day. Everything became louder, faster, and uglier and the audience rushed to the stage with their fists pounding to the blast beats and the cookie monster vocals. Picture a machine gun shredding you to pieces for 25 minutes and that about captures the charm of PLF. Dissent took things a bit slower and a bit more metal but to no less effect. What they may not have had in speed they, made up with brutal low end crushing of guitars that drove everyone into a frenzy of screaming, circle pits, and sweat. If you want metal that makes you ears bleed – this is your band.

OK apologies for the brief nature of this review but I have 5 minutes of battery left. Good luck all you FPH readers.



Gorenado begins the crushing evening.

Tom of Dissent pondering the philosophical

implications of (PLF) Matt's bass-line.
G is for grindcore, it's good enough for me!
Faster!
G is for grindcore, it's good enough for me!

Sometimes you get bruised...

...other times you do the bruising...

...and sometimes the music does the bruising.
Such is the way of PLF.

Evacuate all poseurs, Dissent's set has begun!

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
the mulberry bush , the mulberry bush

Tom takes a break because Dissent crushes it's own.

Listen closely and you can hear the denizens of
metal/grincore converse in their native tongue.
"UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"
"AAAAAAAAARGGGGG!"


ALL HAIL DISSENT
WHO HATH KICKED MY ASS SO MIGHTILY!


Link:
More pictures on my Flickr (Link)

PLF myspace (Link)
Dissent on Mysapce (Link)

Labels: , "pretty little flower", dissent, , plf

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of September 12th

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 10:49 AM

THIS WEEK'S SPOTLIGHT
IKE is killing the scene!!!!!


Shows are canceling left and right so a preview is pretty useless this week. We hope that all of our Free Press Friends and their loved ones are safely hunkered down and/or evacuated.

You guys stay safe out there. We want to see you out there with us next week at some bar drinking beer and whiskey to some good music. OK? OK!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Take Five - with The Delta Spirit

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 11:26 AM

Photograph by Matt Wignall
The Delta Spirit's album Tomorrow Goes Away is lovely collection of sharp melodic pop with tips of the hat to Country, Folk, and Indie Rock under the umbrella of a crisp and clean production that lets the unfettered interplay of the band members shine through. In short it's a hoot. The album - recorded in a cabin - hops from danceable romps (Trashcan) to somber hungover sadness (House built For Two) to sloppy garagey stumbles (Parade) with a joyous grace and confidence. If you like hummable melodies, droll arrangements, and solid live performances their show tomorrow night at Walter's On Washington with Dr. Dog and Seth Kaufman is likely one you do not want to miss.

Lucky for us we got a hold of producer turned full time band member Kelly Winrich who was good enough to play five questions with us.

1) Ode To Sunshine was produced/engineered in a cabin but the production is really sharp and at times even lush. I suspect the cabin wasn't on par with what Abe Lincoln grew up in so what was the cabin/studio like? What equipment did you bring in and how was the recording approached?

First and foremost, and probably the most important characteristic of the cabin, was that it was almost entirely unfurnished. It was half forest-green carpet, half oak wood floors. There was a freshly tuned upright piano waiting for us there, compliments of the Derek Shaw (the owner). There were glass windows or doors that allowed you too see into to each room. It was almost like it was built to be a studio. We still set up all in one room, to capture a live sound. Everyone was facing each other, and had a personal monitor speaker (no headphones). Most songs were recorded this way, save a few vocal/percussion overdubs. As far as the "lush" production is concerned, there were a few songs that we recorded in a traditional way (i.e. drums separately, layering, etc.). Ultimately, we catered to the song...if it didn't feel full enough, we adjusted to make it feel right. For the most part, we got lucky, and stuck to first takes.

2) Trashcan is a great pop song - a get off your feet and dance kind of song - but the rest of the album is a bit less light which makes Trashcan kind of stick out to the point where it took me some time to get past that song and get into the rest of the album (which I think is great). I'm just kind of curious about how you approach what goes on an album, what gets left off, and tracking. In effect what is your approach to editing and flow? Also is there any thematic thread in all the lyrics that you find yourself returning to?

There might be a reason that trashcan sticks out from the rest. It evolved from jam that only included myself on bass, Matt on piano, and a friend/non-band member Al Kweskin on drums. So the fact that it was only a partial group of the band may have been the reason the song was created in such a lighter mood. And if anything, the only reason certain songs were left off the album, was because of a lyrical or production inconsistency. And then some just downright didn't fit. We definitely took some time deciding the order and flow of the record. We arranged the track-list in a way that felt natural, from tempo, to key, to space between songs. And to answer the last question, lyrical themes are not as important to us as the individual song lyrics themselves, though since Matt writes the majority of the lyrics, that might be a theme in itself.

3) The album has some nice contrasts in approach like The Strange Vine evokes a Roy Orbison lushness whereas Parade sounds like some dirty drunken garage band sloppiness (particularly the guitar phrasing). I'm kind of curious how the songs evolved from composition to recording in terms of tone and arrangements.

That's what we were going for. We knew what we didn't like, and everything else was up for grabs. And when we started recording, some songs came easy and some songs needed last minute work. It all came down to the take. Parade, in particular, was the last song written for the record, so that may account for it's raw production and sound.

4) You guys have a pretty solid rep for lively performances. How do you approach the road, particularly the challenge of performing the same songs night after night and still keep it fresh?

Matt puts it best when he says "We try our best to really think about the song when we're performing" And that usually pertains to the lyrics and dynamics. I would say we play every song different each night, whether we mean to or not, and that keeps it fresh.

5) The new album wasn't recorded for Rounder but is being re-issued by Rounder. How did you go from unsigned band* to suddenly scoring a deal with Rounder and how has it changed how your fans view you?

We approached a possible record deal with caution. We're all about moving forward, and we weren't interested in letting a label set us back. But when we decided to sign to Rounder we were all confident in the people that were behind the label, not dollar signs or some flashy artist roster. And if fans are turned off by our decision to sign to Rounder, then maybe they're interested in the music for the wrong reason.
Links:
The Delta Spirit on Myspace (Link)
The Delta Spirit (Link)
Rounder Records (Link)
* Note that the band did release an EP on Monarchy Music before this album.

Labels:

Take Five - with T.K. Webb

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

Photo by Andrew Frasz

T.K. Webb and the Vision' new album Ancestor on Kemado records (think Austin's the Sword) is chock full of Rock with a capitol R. It's big guitars, Webb's whiskey soaked delivery, and an interplay and songwriting ranging from the heavy to the more mellow and trippy that will make you wonder just what you did with that elaborate bong you bought back in university.

Given that T.K. Webb and the Visions will be playing Thursday (September 11th) at Rudyard's with Sweeden's Heavy Rock masters Witchcraft and Graveyard we figured we'd ask him a few questions. Thankfully, Webb was kind enough to answer our questions - well, all but the one that was probably lame anyhow - but I guess question four was technically two questions so we'll count that as a win. He's a busy man, after all, and there is rock to attend to.

1) Ancestor is a big change from your prior solo albums. On the new album with the Visions there is a greater emphasis on texture and multi-tracking. How has the increases in studio intricacy affected your approach to the guitar, your singing, and songwriting?

This wasn't the first time I had been involved in playing and recording with a rock band. I feel more like we affect the sound in the studio than the other way around - like were the chef and the studio is the waiter.


2)How did working with a band affect your approach to songwriting and what do the players bring to your work?

The songs were written then brought to the band and arranged as a group. the approach is different in the way that the songs all still start as acoustic guitar songs, but now when they're brought to the band it allows a much broader range of possibilities for the final product.


3) What predicated the move to put together The Visions? Was it the move to Kemado Records who has fellow rock heavies like Austin's The Sword, was it just something you'd been moving towards, or something else?

This incarnation of the band is basically what predicated the evolution of the sound.


4-5) "Teen is Still Shaking" opens the album and it's a phenomenal song but the lyrics are somewhat obtuse. What is that song about and how do you approach lyrics in a song?

Teen is Still Shaking is about wondering if you're going to amount to shit and at the same time still having the heart to tell someone else they're not going to amount to shit. Writing the lyrics is just one foot in front of the other with a pen in my ass.

Links:

T.K. Webb on Mysapce (
Link)
T.K. Webb and The Visions website with stream of new album (
Link)
Kemado records (
Link)

Labels: "tk Webb" visions

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

PSA # 325

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 2:54 PM

Music writers suck. We all know it. They are squirrely little rats that run around at shows spreading a plague of uncool in their wake. Well, thanks to this picture from Indie Houston's new Flickr page (link), we can help you identify five characteristics of this scourge so that you can avoid catching the uncool.
(a) Zone of Uncool: Item (a) shows the area outside this zone. Much like a radioactive matter, writers are anathema to anything cool and therefore are bounded by an area of a few feet that protects other concert goers.

(b) Slouching and poor posture: either the result of time spent in front of a computer or mastering ducking dodgeballs.

(c) Sunburned: from goofing the day in Galveston instead of working on that PLF piece that Omar is expecting for the next issue.

(d) Girly Satchel: Likely filled with novels, CDs, a composition book, a crappy broken point-and-shoot, a flash drive, pens...well you get the idea - basically not worth mugging.

(e) Poor Fashion Sense: Ill fitting and worn out clothes are a staple of music writers. Ironically they also watch Project Runway and What Not To Wear.
Remember, if you spot one of these, don't panic. Simply ignore them as engaging them in any manner will result in endless pratter about the Wild Moccasins, Buxton, Hearts of Animals, Papermoons, or the awesomeness of Ronnie James Dio.

B L A C K I E Vs. KTRU

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 4:14 AM

If you read our preview on Friday, you'd know that B L A C K I E is playing on KTRU tonight but what's changed since then is he's playing live and you can be there for it. Ian (of the local show) writes that it will happen "just outside the student center (ray courtyard for those so inclined) and we'll be broadcasting it live as it happens. shows need a crowd. you can be in that crowd! pretty sweet. 8-10 PM to-morrow."

Here is a map (link)

Labels:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Indie Houston benefit with Harlem, The McKenzies, Paris Falls, & Giant Princess @ Late Night Pie

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 4:26 AM

Let's just start by saying that Indie Houston inaugural event was a raving success. The Bands were phenomenal, the venue was a welcome change of pace, and the evening was gorgeous. It's as if God looked down and said "YUSSS! About time someone got it right!"

Giant Princess opened a bit earlier than I expected and, when I got there, they were likely about halfway through their set of 60's garagey pop. The songs were great and the band sounded phenomenal but let me just go on about the band's secret weapon - their keyboardist and, in particular, his cheap-ass organ. To me, he's the element that makes this band stand out. It's a vintage sound that recalls the best of 60s garage and the beautiful thing is I'm not sure the band even recognizes how cool it sounds. As if to seal the deal on my appreciation for the keyboardist, during a short break (the band was forced to stop due to some power issues) the keyboardist walked around playing his little Casio while surrounded by a small swarm of amused attendees including B L A C K I E. Unfortunately, despite the goading, B L A C K I E never gave into the requests to rap over the improvised Casio. Bummer, but the little moment was pretty inspiring nonetheless. That kind of moment captures the anything goes, sure why the hell not spirit of the best of Houston Bands.

Following was Paris Falls who kept preventing me from getting a beer throughout their set. The fellow behind the counter was probably not used to swinging orders like a bartender so ordering a beer took a bit of a wait and, each time he got close to taking my order, Paris Falls would launch into a song like Lucky or Shelter and I'd have to forsake my chance at a beer least I miss an awesome song. The band played great - Jen's guitar lines were sweet, Ray's vocals were raspy goodness, and I was really digging Michael's 70's style drum fills - but the show was ultimately frustrating because I wanted everyone to hear them like I'd heard them before with a lovely mix. The sad matter of it is, the guitar was too loud and so the interaction between the Hammond and the guitar was lost. That's a shame because that is the sound that defines this band. This is, after all, the band that made me dust off my copy of Let It Be. Afterwards I was telling Jodie of the McKenzies about how I wished they had gotten a better mix and she simply replied "Dumbass, you should have told them; bands need to know that!" She was right, how stupid of me not to have told them. They are playing Boondocks tonight and that is an intimate environment where they should sound amazing. Head out there tonight if you can.

The Mckenzies followed with an energetic set that went from a tropical disturbance to a hurricane by the end of the evening. While Jodie and Miguel generally take front and center, the rhythm section really deserves some props because they give the songs some heavy duty rhythmic muscle. They stood aside to let Miguel and Jodie duet for a lovely version of This Lonely Heart but, when they came back, the band roared through to it's finish to everyone's thrill. Jodie is likely the most engaging member of the band with her stage banter and she easily pulled the sweetest tambourine move ever. "Dude," I said to the person just to my right, "did she just do a Pete Townsend windmill with her tambourine?!!! YUSSS!" Solid driving pop roaring over a cool Houston night with tambourine windmills? All right! That's it! I'm done! It can't get better than that!

You may think I'm kidding about that but I wasn't, I had completely forgotten that Harlem was closing after the McKenzies. Perhaps it was because I spent the entire day at Galveston running around and getting sunburned but a fourth band just seemed a bit much to me right then and I couldn't help but wonder how odd it was to close the first Indie Houston show with an Austin band. Still, once Harlem took the stage with a drunken (or fatigued) swagger, I realized why everyone was so excited to see these guys. It was dirty filthy straight up rock and roll garage and the band played with the an energy and a volume that made everyone wonder "How long until the cops shut this down?" Thankfully that never happened and the band packed it up with style.

The show ended a bit before 11PM with everyone in a good mood and pretty happy all the way around. Music, Beer, Pizza - you can't do much better than that. Sure someone pointed to the MFAH event as a bigger alternative venue event that night. I thought about it and - no ofense to the MFAH series which is great - but there is a huge difference between some corporate sponsored event with millions behind it and a more modest one that was built with sweat and hard work. If I can smell the sweat of DIY, that's where I want to be and this show stunk of it. Thank goodness! So cheers Indie Houston, let's do it again!


Giant Princess kicked off the evening in grand style.


A brief power outage forced Giant Pricess to take a break.
This fuzzy photo is of the keyboardist walking around
playing his Casio and trying to get B L A C K I E to rap over it.




Giant Princess' secret weapon in all its glory!


Paris Falls' guitar goes to 11.
It's one thing to play some bad-ass guitar lines.
It's another thing to do it in high heels.

Paris Falls showing some love for New Jersey's finest.
John Sears searches for magic nose goblins
while John read (Wiggins) looks on.

Wild Moccasins fan hot-line may I help you?

Jodie of the McKenzies - the Pete Townsend of the tambourine!

The McKenzies head for a frantic coda!

The McKenzies bring it on home!

Indie Houston masterminds Robert De Los Santos (l)
and Frank Soto (r).
Harlem gets all hot and sweaty
and this is just one song into their set.


Ex-Blades (back left) discuss the finer points of Harlem's set.
Andrew Moccasin takes another call while his bandmates watch the set.
Collin Hedrick (Giant Princess) looks on in fine Mickey Mouse headgear.


Kyle Gionis (Welfare Mothers) raises his beer to Harlem while
Brent (Dull Knife Records) prepares to attack them with his laser vision.

A pretty successful opening round for indie Houston:
Wild Moccasins, Welfare Mothers, Blades, Giant Princess, and others
all representin' and, hey, look Andrew is finally off the phone!




Links:
More Pictures on My Flickr (
Link)

Giant Princess (
Link)
Paris Falls (
Link)
The McKenzies (
Link)
Harlem (
Link)

Indie Houston on myspace (
Link)
IndieHouston.Org (
Link)

Labels: , "Indie Houston", , Harlem,

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of September 5th 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

This Week's Spotlight
Is On Pizza!!!!!



Saturday, September 6
Indiehouston.org Benefit Show,
featuring
Paris Falls, The McKenzies, Giant Princess, & Harlem
@ Late Nite Pie (302 Tuam)

6-11PM $3 suggested donation

We've plugged the first three bands endlessly in these blogs before but, hey, why not do it again? Paris Falls are awesomeness and I'd argue that live they kick it even harder than on their excellent albums. The Mckenzies are super fun pop to make your day skip. Plus they have bubbles; Don Ho would be proud! Giant Princess may get cranky when you don't recognize them from a crowd but their music is such clever pop that we can't help but forgive them. Harlem is in Austin ... err the band that is...and also worship at the altar of garagey pop. It's gonna be a cool show that will benefit an ambitious group of people and you can eat pizza while your there! I'll be there for sure! I predict fun music and full bellies!

Oh yes. If you don't know who IndieHouston.Org is, read our interview with them. (Link)

ALSO THIS WEEK

Friday, September 5

Adventure / Wicked Poseur / Benjamin Wesley
@ The Mink (7PM)

Remember when video game music was video game music? You know with all those awesome midi sounds? Yeah? Well, Ben Boeldt does too and he's crafted a 16-bit danceable world that sounds as clever and amusing as that old NES you have in the attic. [9am update] I just got word of the support but do I really need to explain to you again the awesomeness of Wiched Poseur? I thought not.

Little Brother Project (CD release) / Skyblue 72 / Bayou Monster (ex-The Rising)
@ Warehouse Live
Not my thing but, hey, it's a CD Release!

Bruce Robison
(in-store) @ Cactus Music (6PM) Free!
(CD release) @ McGonigel's Mucky Duck (Not free)
Austin singer songwriter and free St. Arnold's beer at Cactus! I say again - Free Beer!

Lazlo
on KTRU's revelry report (91.7fm 6PM)
Music for your Friday Drive home.


Saturday, September 6th

Mia Kat Empire Day
(In-store),
featuring
The Mayapples, The Goods, Convair, Gretchen Schmaltz, Hollywood Black, Wood & Felt, & Buxton
@ Cactus Music (1-5PM)
Mia Kat Empire has been putting out some great and lovingly engineered albums of worthy artists. Today you can see a boatload of their bands for free while downing free St Arnold's beer! Awesomeness!


The Orange Show Foam Raiser,
featuring Sideshow Tramps, The Grass Skirts, & more
@ The Orange Show
(free St. Arnold's; $20/$25)
Sideshow Tramps put on one of the most rambunctious shows in Houston. If people aren't up and dancing in the Orange Show "pool" by the end of it, then hell surely has frozen over.

After Party with
Ceeplus Bad Knives, YPPAH, Dick Almighty, Curtis, and a Special Surpise Guest
@Three Muse Gallery
(2020 Commerce 11pm)
This just popped up on Hands Up Houston. All I have to say on this is "Wooo Warehouse party!!!!" :)

Saturday Secret Show
@The Shady Tavern (2-5PM)

No leaks this week sorry.

Await the Day (CD release) /The Access/Atonement
@ The Meridian
Not my thing but, hey, it's another CD Release


Monday, September 8th

Paris Falls
@ Boondocks

One of Houston's finest bands give you a sharp melodic style in the classic rock idiom without all the lame cliched pitfalls of the genre.


Tuesday September 9th

B L A C K I E
on the KTRU Local Show (91.7fm 8PM)
One of Houstons most awesome and challenging hippity-hoppers takes on KTRU's local show.


Wednesday, September 10

BENEFIT FOR GOD IS DEAD AND NOISEFEST
PLF, Dissent, El Desmadre, Chocolate Crucifix, Molotov Compromise
@ The White Swan
I know what you are saying, "Man, I could really go for some of Houston's best hardcore and gridcore but I also want to get my ass kicked!" Well, yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus!


Thursday, September 11th

Witchcraft
/TK Webb and the Visions/Graveyard
@ Rudyard's
Straight-up heavy-duty whip out the bong rock. I'm pretty stoked about the Swedes but TK Webb's new album is pretty sweet and we'll actually bring you a short 5 question interview with the dude next Wednesday.

Dr. Dog/The Delta Spirit/Seth Kaufman
@ Walter's on Washington

Crap! two solid shows on the same day! Dr. Dog's poppy psychedelia is always a treat and while I've never seen them live I'd trust it'd be a hoot to see the songs translated on the stage. The Delta Spirit is also aces and in fact I'm a little more psyched about them as, while less baroque in production, the music hits much closer to home. Just dig the poppy booggie-woogie funky goodness of the song Trashcan. Seth Kauffman will provide some pretty nice self-recorded low-fi pop.

Street Dogs /Hell City Kings/Los Skarnales
@ Warehouse Live
Boston punkers take on the Hells City Kings (tattoos, guitars, and Bill Fool) and Los Skarnales (Ska en Español).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

IndieHouston.Org

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:10 PM

The McKenzies, Paris Falls, and Giant Princess are playing a show this weekend that benefits Indie Houston Org. I got a little curious as to what IH was all about so I contacted IH's Robert Delossantos to find out.

FPH: So, the show looks pretty great this weekend. That got me wondering - what's Indie Houston?

Robert: This is basically a first of many shows that we want to put together. Indiehouston.org is an organization me and a friend are attempting to create to promote local artists around Houston. I want to get as many creative people as possible to promote shows.

FPH: Well, how do you plan on doing this?

Robert: Starting out, I knew that this would need multiple heads on this. What I want to do is get as many people to promote this scene we have and we're recruiting more and more people everyday to help promote a lot of different things. There are so many people -talented people that want to contribute something to this city, but they don't really know how or have any direction - graphic designers, musicians, artist, theater kids…


I have been a fan of most of these local artists since The Groceries and Impossibles reigned at Fitz. I go to a lot of shows, I see a lot of really die hard fans – I’m one of them – and I think the problem is we need to get in touch with more of those 3 million people in Houston. We're so scattered everywhere and many people don’t even know what the Free Press is. I talked to this girl the other day - she's someone I respect with a really good head on her shoulders - but she told me when I invited her to this show "Oh I don’t listen to anything that’s not mainstream." What? A lot of people in Houston have that mentality or maybe just haven’t been properly exposed.

FPH: Why do 3 million people matter?

Robert: Because the bands and the artists matter. Because I want to see those bands tour. Because I want to see that glory at the end of the tunnel for the Wild Moccasins and the McKenzies. I don’t want them to quit in 4 years because they have to pay rent.

I believe that if people in the 200 range or more show up [to shows] then we'd see more venues and we'd see more bands following them. I’m not saying that indiehouston.org is going to revolutionize Houston's local artists but I do believe that we can help improve the sort of participation in the community.

For instance, I bought a camera recently. We just met a photographer who would love to go with us to shows and take pictures -he's using our camera now. All he wants is something interesting to work on. A graphic designer wants to make fliers for as many projects that we give him. A film maker will maybe want to record a music video.

FPH: So are you trying to be the meeting point for all these people?

Robert: We do, and I aim to push that as far as I can. Indiehouston.org is already getting bands contacting us from around the nation. They don't know who to contact to book a show. I know a name like indiehouston.org will let another really good band know he's not going to end up on 45 and Tidwell if he wants to book a show.

What I want to do is bring a lot of different talents together and put on really good shows around Houston - turning a place like Late Nite Pie, who has never really put on a show before, into one more place we can go to see something great.

FPH: Let's say I'm a band and I want to join. What's expected of me and what should I expect of y'all?

Robert: That we're going to actually promote the show in every way possible. Of course, I expect the bands to do all they can to promote the show but I don't expect them to think they are alone in this. Bust your ass for your show but work together with everyone that you can. Free press does a great job. Skyline - hell yeah. Space City Rock - of course. Let’s welcome indiehouston.org; maybe we can help too.

Links:
Indie Houston on myspace (Link)
IndieHouston.Org (Link)

Labels: IndieHouston.Org

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star:Indian Jewelry, Dizzy Pilot, Wiggins @ The Backroom & Archie Bell, Mighty Hannibal, Barbara Lynn @ The Continental 8/29

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

What do you do when you have two great shows next to each other? Why, club-hop of course! Now sure, this makes for a somewhat more frazzled experience and sure peeps prefer to just stay put but, given the artists performing and the intense contrast, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Over at the Mink's Backroom you had Indian Jewelry, Dizzy Pilot, and The Wiggins while over at The Continental Club you had Archie Bell, The Mighty Hannibal, and Barbara Lynn. In short, this was the best juxtaposition of generations and genres one could hope for and the question I kept wondering was which would blow the other away which was a pretty foolish thought as each had it's own unique charm and the differences only heightened the charm of each show.

The unbilled El Orbits opened up at the Continental and were clearly acting as the warm-up band before the headliners whom they would do an expert job of backing-up throughout the evening. The band plays a solid enough selection of rockabilly, lounge, and early Rock and Roll hits - in essence a cover band - but that's not a bad thing. There is something to be said for hearing a classic like Fats Domino's Ain't That a Shame played straight by live musicians in a club that brings a smile to my face. The band plays great songs with enough skill that it's garnered them the recurring Monday night slot at The Continental so if you ever want to kick back on a Monday with some straight up early rock and roll, you may want to swing by - after all it's free.

Things really kicked-off with Texas legend Miss Barbara Lynn. Once you walked inside you immediately felt the breeze of sass and grace from Miss Lynn. Lynn may be up there in her 60's but she can bring the room down with her expressive voice and smooth bluesy guitar work. Songs like her signature You'll Lose a Good Thing, still pack a punch when she delivers them in person especially since her delivery has a bit more grit and immediacy than her slick latter day recordings would suggest. Particularly amusing was her guitar work which alternated with a loose strummed rhythm style with a much more precise finger picked style when she played lead. It may not have been virtuosic arpeggios but within the blues idiom, her guitar was as distinctive as her voice. The audience was clearly energized by her and it took some effort to pull myself away to run to the Mink for Dizzy Pilot.

It's tough to bring out what Dizzy Pilot do on stage into a recording studio which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they are fun, wild, and woolly (definitely woolly) live but, on the other hand, Dizzy Pilot for the most part seems caged-in on their recordings. Consider guitarist Bill Kenny's guitar work on stage - it's like watching a gymnast on speed and while the songs are clearly structured there is this wild and frenetic quality that jumps from the dirty garage looseness of say Mudhoney to the more epic melodic precision of the best Flaming Lips lines. Vocalist and guitarist JJ White is no small shakes either as he belts his lungs out and flails on stage - he just doesn't do it under the attention grabbing mountain of hair Kenny employs. It's an energy that's contagious. Take the one fellow in the audience who was clearly waiting for his jam. When Heart of a Hurricane's notes rang out, the guy immediately began thrashing, hanging from the rafters, and bumping into people who easily forgive his enthusiasm. Who could blame him? Heart of a Hurricane is, after all, a kick-ass song.

Back at the Continental Club, The Mighty Hannibal was taking the stage with a sweetness in his voice and presence that lifted the crowd into a swoon. I'm going to assume that in his younger days the Mighty Hannibal may have been a much more spry performer but even though he largely stood in a very small area of the stage - which may be more of a practicality issue given his blindness - he clearly knew how to command the stage. I mean, you try to look cool wearing a skimmer hat on your head and see what it gets you. You really want to know how you have someone who can sing R&B? Have them do Mustang Sally. I freaking hate that warhorse of a song to the point where it's become synonymous with tired boring bar bands. But here is the thing - Hannibal made it work! That's something I thought was impossible but his voice was adept enough to make it swing along with everything else that night be it get up and dance funk to the more heartfelt couples-only soul. Regardless of the style, it was pretty hard to resist the urge to move and I'm glad that my posse stayed at the Mink because otherwise I may have had to hit the dance floor which is something nobody should be subjected to. Thankfully, the crowd had much more grace than I would have had on the dance floor and as I left the couples were dancing wrapped in the Hannibal's voice. Clearly, The Mighty Hannibal's work here was done.

Back at The Mink, The Wiggins was running through his weirdtronic one-man show. That's being a bit silly as the Wiggins' weirdness is less about the elements and more about how they are assembled. Imagine an 60's garage and psych song structure, throw in a Johnny Rotten nasal delivery, a distorted drum machine straight out of an 80's dance floor, drop a post-punk guitar style that's angular yet melodic like say Wire, and you might get an idea of what makes the Wiggins so clever and fun. Those elements aren't much in and of themselves but it's John Read ability to join those elements into something fresh and droll that tickles it's audience to no end. In fact, I can't think of anyone who has ever seen the Wiggins play who has not left with a smile and this was no different.

Closing the night over at the Continental was Archie Bell. Bell's a pro who knew how to work the crowd in his white suit - getting people all up and dancin' , singing along, and, of course, inciting the occasional request for Tighten Up. Bell knows that, despite his decades old catalog, people want to hear his signature song - Tighten Up - and demands for the song were met with a gracious and jovial "Oh you know I have to save that for last." that kept the audience on his side. That's a pretty sweet skill to have and it all comes from Bell's demeanor which invites the audience to have a good time with him. Be it engaging audience members directly, throwing down some sweet (if not so limber) dance moves, or just allowing the music carry him, Bell is clearly a veteran of an old school - one that just wants people to put aside their pretensions, feel good, and just enjoy themselves. And yes, Tighten Up closed the evening and the response was exactly what you'd expect - dancin' dancin' dancin'. Well, except for me of course. When I left, the bartender (knowing I'm not a regular) asked "D'ja have a good time?" I believe my response was something akin to an enthusiastic "Hell yeah!"

Finally, over at the Mink, Indian Jewelry took things in a totally different and trippy direction from Archie Bell but one that was no less raucous and joyous: drums machines crashing, guitars screeching, electronic sounds swirling, and a crowd that loved every second. Some songs - like say Temporary Famine Strip - are much better live than on CD but that no complaint against albums like the exceptional Free Gold but more a compliment to the band's loose and fluid live performance. The songs have structure but they are also open enough so as to leave room for the unexpected and allow the players to be in the moment. That kind of interaction makes their performances unique enough where no two are alike but it also leaves the albums to be merely a static snapshot - a single possible universe out of many. Regardless of this kind of penny-ante comparison between the recorded and the live - it should not be lost on anyone that Indian Jewelry are and have been one of Houston's most challenging yet accessible graduates of the Houston experimental community. They get trippy and noisy but the tribal beat that accompanies most songs is undeniable. One fan even took it upon herself to join the band on stage and start dancing. I ask you, how many experimental bands inspire that response? So dance on Indian Jewelry girl we totally know where you are coming from!


The El Orbits kicked off the evening with a nice set.

Indian Jewelry's entry won 1st Place
in this year's science fair!


Barbara Lynn may be hitting 60+ years but
she can still whoop your ass on a Strat!


Barbara Lynn shows us why they call her
The Queen of Gulf Coast Soul Blues


Dizzy Pilot's J.J. White
"I'd like to order a dozen crullers."

Dizzy Pilot's Bill Kenny -
"Dude how many times do I have to tell you!
This is not the donut shop!


This Dude was really excited about Dizzy Pilot's set.
He hung from the rafters, danced violently,
and here
almost fell on his ass
until
Al (ex-Sharks and Sailors) caught his fall.

Atlanta's Mighty Hannibal - how it's done folks!

The Mighty Hannibal - Style knows no age!

Happy couples dancing and
a satisfied Willie Nelson fan
-
The Mighty Hannibal's work here is done!

The Wiggins testifies at The Mink Backroom

No, the Wiggins did not play My Pal Foot Foot

Bobby Dj (Tense), Tex (Indian Jewelry),

and Omar (Caprolites) diggin' the Wiggins!
No, Tex isn't on a cell phone - he's singing along!


The Wiggins Crowd:
Tex (Indian Jewelry),
Omar (Caprolites),
a very stern looking Erica (Indian Jewelry),
and Cley (Young Mammals)


Archie Bell - Nobody leaves without dancing!

Archie Bell Tightens It Up at the Continental Club


Indian Jewelry's bestest buddy - the strobe light

Ladies and gentlemen we have Maracas!

Out of control Indian Jewelry dancin'!!!

Errr no, wait! My bad.
The above caption was meant for

I can't help myself! I have to run onstage and dance! woman.
Fuck those chin-scratching crossed-arm music fans!
You go and dance to your heart's content!



Links

More Pictures on My Flickr (Link)

(all the following myspace and in order of appearance):
The El Orbits (Link)
Miss Barbara Lynn (Link)
Dizzy Pilot (Link)
The Mighty Hannibal (Link)
The Wiggins (Link)
Archie Bell (Link)
Indian Jewelry (Link)

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Bring On The Fall 2008 Westheimer Block Party.

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 6:25 PM

Behold the Fall 2008 Westheimer Block Party. Click on the images for a larger (more legible look at) Tim Dorsey's fine artwork and the details on the tentative line-up. Omar has been doing another insane job of booking an insane number of bands and he's still not done. So, if you want to keep up with the latest WBP news, tune into the Block Party Page (Link).


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Weekend Update - news from the local music scene - 1 September 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:52 AM

Well a few things to report this weekend.

First off, it was announced today the classic post-punk band The Mydolls will be playing Noise and Smoke II on November 15th. Awesomeness!


In other news Born Liars have a fan in Little Steven who has played the band quite a bit on his Underground Garage radio show. Bill Fool's a bit matter of fact about it all saying " We have been played a bunch on the Underground Garage station and last week Little Steven's assistant e-mailed me saying Little Steven loves us and wants everything we have to play it on the national show." Neat that this band is getting some well deserved national recognition.


Speaking of Born Liars. Ditchwater zine is expanding into the realm of 7"s in the form of Ditchwater Records and the inaugural release (which has been sent off to the pressing plant) will be by Born Liars. If that isn't cool enough the second release will be a reissue of the classic lost Gay Marriage EP (previously unreleased except via a few CDRs) with additional tracks. If you aren't familiar with Gay Marriage here is a review I did of their EP a few years back (Link). Look for the band possibly reuniting for the record release towards the end of the year. That logo was created by none other than the great Daniel Shaw.


Artstorm is also getting into the music release game and it seems that Hearts of Animals is finally looking to release some new material on Artstorm Records. In addition to HOA, the label has plans for other releases including music from Ironic Bong.


Artstorm is located within Caroline Collective which will be the location of a music conference of sorts called BandCamp (Link) later this year. Ian Wells of the KTRU Local Show/ Revelry Report contacted me about it:
"Matt Wettergreen, Phillip Beck (also from KTRU, great guy), and myself are organizing an event at Caroline Collective in late October, called Band Camp. Essentially, we'd like to get everyone in Houston who makes music together at Caroline and have a day-long "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Making Music but were too Afraid to Ask" collaborative session/hang-out/bbq/whatever."

Labels: , , , , , , "Noise and Smoke", , ditchwater,

Tambersauro

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

Photography by Nathan Nix

Tambersauro don’t merely perform music but do something more analogous to juggling music. Guitarist Mike Blackshear jumps between the melodic and the angular. Bassist Jeff Price isn’t content with just holding down the low end but flies across the fret board as if he were the lead guitarist. Drummer Lance Higdon is front and center, facing away from the audience, flailing like a tri-athlete pouring out every ounce of strength he has available. Lance doesn’t merely attack his kit but anything else on stage and seems to operate on some purely instinctual level. The band plays tight complex structures that shift time signatures, tempos, and key almost constantly. Yet, despite the music’s clear structure, both individually and as a unit, they are able to reach out and grab inspiration from the club, the audience, and each other to jump into flights of improvisation. They are a band whose unpredictability and playfulness suggests music is a giant sandbox in which to explore and play with all manner of possibilities.

“This band is like Houston,” says Lance, “there’s no zoning. We're a smorgasbord band and the funny thing is we’ve been at it so long that it's no longer weird. This is just what we do. When we got together, we wanted to focus on those less accessible elements of music.”

“I didn't conceive of this as a Mathrock band,” says Jeff, “but Lance injected that element. He brings in the technical, noise, improvisational, and Latin beat elements while Mike brings in the melodic. I put them together - I'm the meeting ground.”

Lance elucidates, “Mike likes structure and I push for abstraction, but it’s not half conventional and half abstract; it's a tension - a synthesis – that’s sincere and genuine. We break down ideas and hash them out to reach that overarching thing we want to be- music without influence. That's not to say that we're beyond influence but that we don't want to merely imitate.”

“We’re in constant pursuit of developing our own identity.” says Jeff, “Some bands you hear one note and you know who it is. The bands we grew up listening to were bands that were pioneering and singular. If you listen between the cracks you can hear where they are creating their own identity. It’s not about making a record; it's about creating a legacy.”

Over the last five years, that search for an identity has produced one split 10” and two albums including the newest - Theories Of Delusional Origin. “This new album,” says Lance, “was a long and complex process. Half of it was constructed in the studio and it was grueling process that, at times, would take the fun out of it. We did a ton takes on the drums for ‘Make Water Sand.’ Scott Ritter (who plays percussion on the album) listened to it at one point and said it was all technical and no aggression so that became a challenge - to marry those two.”

Challenging themselves and each other to be better musicians seems an unwritten code among Tambersauro. ”If we think it's too conventional,” Says Lance, “we tweak it. I try to challenge myself and try to play as a non-drummer.”

“Mike was influenced by metal,” says Jeff, “so, whenever his guitar sounds too metal, we tell him to rethink it. We busted his chops for months and he was such a sport about it. In this band, nobody gets their way but, in the end, everyone gets our way and the result is something we can all appreciate. We don’t know where it’s going and we wouldn’t want to.”

Lance points to Free Jazz drummer Han Bennink for inspiration, “He's almost 70 years old and he'll walk out and play on a 2x4. That’s one thing we strive for - that element of play where there is meaning but no point – where you ask ‘What happens if I do this and take a chance?’”

“Most bands only have a few years,” says Jeff, “and we’re such a niche band, why not do what you like? We're not about marketing ourselves and putting ourselves in a box. We wear jumpsuits because we’re trying to avoid looking cool. We’re trying to erase pretensions and have no ego. Our music is more important.”

Why have such an aggressive performance and why play live at all given that goal? Lance replies, “I'm not against performing or having fun. When we play, we play like we're going to die - like it's the apocalypse.”

“Rock has a default arrogance.” says Jeff, “You don't sit there quietly saying ‘I’m just playing Rock. Don’t' mind me.’ Of course there’s performance but people can tell when it’s sincere and when it's not. I can feel a sense of joy and it's contagious. We love just playing together but you have to get out there. Pete Townsend once said that you put your stuff out there in order to have it reflected back so you can progress. If you don't put it out there, you run in circles. You wouldn't make music if you didn't think it was worth hearing.”

Jeff also sees it as a way to challenge the status quo. “I think being creative makes the powers that be irritated. A show is the last place a guy like me should be, but why should I be told that I can't have that part of my life? Once a woman saw that I had a picture and asked what it was. I told her it was my band and she said ‘You play in a band? You need to grow up!’ and walked off. At first I thought that I had a lot of egg on my face. After I thought about it, I realized it was the best thing she could have said because if I haven't grown up then I haven't stopped living.”



Tambersauro’s new album "Theories Of Delusional Origin" will be available September 2nd. Their CD release show will be October 18th with Hollywood Black at The Backroom (behind the Mink).
Links:
Tambersauro on Myspace (Link)
Tambersauro.com (Link)
Esotype Records (Link)

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