Local Love: Fox and Cats
One of the biggest complaints I hear from musicians is that they don’t get enough local press, or local airplay. So, now that terrestrial radio is almost dead, local bands just need a little work to get on to places like Spotify, Pandora, or even iTunes. One band that’s taken these steps and has gotten plenty of press from places like Absolute Punk and Highlight Magazine is Houston’s own Fox & Cats.
The first time I saw Fox & Cats, it was at the request of lead singer, Josh Willems. “You should come see my band. We’re a duo, I sing and my friend plays drums, she’s good,” he said. I remember thinking how lame it would be to see some twenty year old girl faintly play the drums like Meg White, or even worse, that it would be some singer songwriter sort of affair. Let me go on record as saying that I was way off. When I did get around to seeing them, it was in a small room at a house party. I remember the drum kit placed on a rug atop a wood floor. Within about ten seconds, I saw three things that made me realize not to “judge a book,” by description at least. First off, they were a solid unit and definitely changed my mind about duos, as their songs were fully formed and catchy. Secondly, his friend, Nicole; beat the kit like it owed her money, and she did so in a manner that wasn’t archaic. And third, she kept moving the drums with every lick, so she had to constantly move the throne while never missing a beat; proving she was a consummate musician in her own right.
Back in April, the pair traveled to Atlanta, to record at The Looking Glass studio with Kory Gable, a guy with an impressive list of indie acts under his belt. So, the daunting task of capturing the full Fox & Cats sound on record, would be at the hands of a guy who has worked with Senses Fail, Major League, and Darkest Hour, to name a few. The end result is “This Is Your Brain On Love,” an E.P. that is catchy, melodic, and a great listen. It truly encapsulates the band’s sound, along with added instrumentation and backing vocals, making a straightforward and hook fueled six songs.
Though the stand alone track in my opinion is second offering, “This Is Your Brain On Love,” though, it’s difficult to pick a favorite when you can easily hum along with any of the six songs within. Willems does a great job of mixing rock guitar and straightforward vocals. It’s a short and sweet example of what the band offers their listeners, clocking in at under twenty five minutes. You’ll hear earnest vocals in the vain of Max Bemis, pop hooks like they were penned by Benjamin Orr, and even melodies that would rival anything Evan Dando has written. The mark of good music is when it’s over, it almost commands another listen; and “This Is Your Brain On Love” definitely does so.
The E.P. is available at all the usual online spots, but you’d do better to just catch Fox & Cats live when they open for Kevin Devine downstairs at Fitzgerald’s on November 7th. For twelve bucks, you can catch Devine’s full band sound of melody and support local music at the same time. Devine released two albums on the same day, both have already charted in the Billboard 200, and this might be your last chance to see him this intimately before he blows up. You can get your own physical copy of Fox & Cats’ E.P., maybe a shirt, and hopefully not witness a drum kit move across the floor. Or maybe if you’re lucky, you will.