Houston Music Roundup
By: Ramon Medina
Photo by Nicole Kibert
FPH asked folks in the music community for their highlights or thoughts on 2012. Here’s what they told us:
B.E. Godfrey (listenlisten)
Houston in 2012 was paused, anxiously awaiting its impending doom. Like a nervous child awaiting the inevitable punishment from misdeeds, frantically still, imagining every possible scenario. In such a close proximity to the center of Mayan rule, our fate is sensed in the bones of every emotionally-tuned Houstonian. Deeply aware that we’ll surely receive the first wave of apocalyptic destruction.
Bob Weber (Anarchitex)
There is a migration of bent genius into and through Super Happy Fun Land that no one can keep up with and for that I thank them. But the real climax of 2012 came late this year. I helped a bent old man on a cane as he walked down the sidewalk in the direction of Vinal Edge. A short time later, Doomsday crashed down and there was Jerry Anomie and Gwen in the store snarling through “Rather See You Dead,” then Nicki Sicki with that crazy grin, and the next night at Walter’s we watched AK-47 grind through Kiss My Machine. Eventually, the Descendants got up and burned holes in the air. Holy crap was that a blast! The Island lived once more!
Brandon Lemons (Treaty Oak Collective)
The rise and fall of the enforcement of the noise ordinance. I haven’t heard of anyone being fined for months now and a lot of those venues and people that were had their charges dismissed. Huge win for the Houston scene.
Things seem to be moving in a positive direction on all fronts. Great new bands emerging; Showers, Hoofprints, Sleuth, Tiny Empires, Holder, etc. Walter’s continues to get better and better shows and there’s tons of parking now. Lots of awesome support from the press outlets. Lots of great records being put out; Weird Party, Indian Jewelry, Omotai, Wiggins, etc.
Chris Wise (Buxton)
It seems like an important time in Houston music! The crucial aspect is for everyone to keep going. It seems as though the Houston Curse is for shit to get going and then stop. Everyone seems very supportive of one another and I’m really grateful for that. Featherface came out of nowhere and are already doing really great things. Hamamatsu Tom and Whatever The Fuck is one of the few things I’m genuinely surprised and inspired by. As long as everyone keeps having fun doing what they’re doing, good things will happen.
Chuck Roast (Vinal Edge Records)
From a personal perspective, moving my shop after some 26+ years to 239 W. 19th Street was the biggest thing for me. We’re trying very hard to create a musical, cultural hub in The Heights and we’ve had LOTS of live events and art displays already. We have a flyer exhibit of Island Club posters from back in the early Houston punk days that coincided with a Doomsday Massacre/Legionaire’s Disease/Verbal Abuse/Mydolls jam live in the shop. Free Radicals, Bliss Blood, and Grandfather Child performed. I guess, we’re going to be doing a lot of cool stuff with local and out-of-town musicians now that we have finally HIT TOWN!
David Ensminger (drummer, folklorist)
The Island reunion party at Walter’s proved Houston’s old school punk heritage was stunningly alive and fecund. Frail Jerry Anomie of Legionaire’s Disease launched into “Rather See You Dead” and erupted like a butterfly with napalm wings. Awe-inspiring. The whole place felt Dionysian, feverish, and otherworldly, like time out of time!
Justice Tirapelli-Jamail (The Manichean)
The progression of Houston’s scene has been pretty exciting. For starters, certain bands that have been hard at work have finally begun to garner national attention, i.e., Robert Ellis, Buxton, Wild Moccasins, and The Tontons. It is well-deserved attention and feels as if it’s been a long time coming.
It’s been sad to see Roky Moon and BOLT! and Female Demand call it quits, but among the fallen have risen new, refreshing acts. I’ve had some great times going to see bands like Featherface, Second Lovers, New York City Queens, and Bang Bangz. I can’t wait to see where each of them take their sound next.
Mlee Marie (Hearts of Animals)
Defining moment: Playing drums for Daniel Johnston!
What comes to mind is enjoying performers who are brave, get up on the stage balls-out, and are like, “Fuck you. I’m just gonna sing blues into this microphone all by myself now and I may or may not invite you to sing along!” (Wiggins), or people who have been around forever and are still playing fucking loud, rocking shows in neighborhood bars (Indian Jewelry/Wiggins), or snarky ukulele one-woman acts like Lindsey Simard and Poopy Lungstuffing, or sweet kids doing awesome cover shows together (The Halloweening was brilliant, Joe Mathlete!). I’m sad that Art Institute broke up. I saw a show of theirs and it was pretty amazing and then they broke up. I would have gone to see them again. There are some really amazing musicians here in Houston.