When In Rome: The Best of The Week
I think it goes without saying that due to the spill over from Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, we have a pretty epic week ahead. Seriously, this is going to be one for the ages and you’ll have so many options that your head might spin. As last week proved, there are plenty of options here regularly, so this is just one where you’ll have tough choices to make. Here’s where you will have to possibly lose friends for the love of entertainment this week.
Wednesday, the week can get started off over at Walter’s for the high energy of Canadian street punks, Single Mothers. Remember how The Stooges sounded on “Funhouse?” Well, mix that with a hint of garage and a touch of PUP, and these guys are what you’ll get. Their newest album, “Negative Qualities” has the kind of ferocity that seems to have disappeared from music today, and it’s rough sound is very welcomed. Houston’s Black Coffee will bring a very old school hardcore sound to the show as well. I mean, they have songs that aren’t even a minute long if that helps. They dropped an album this year called “For The Birds” that felt like a mix of The Dicks and Big Black. Forced Fem will open things up with their blend of goth and punk with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $10.00 on the all ages show.
Over at Black Barbie, they’ll be hosting the album release party for Houston’s Biz Vicious. The musician, turned producer is bringing his electronic mix of video game synths and drum mixtures. The album, “We Lurk Among You” has an interesting sound that mixes hip hop with spaced out sounds and a hint of general nerdcore. Back from a trip south of the border, FLCON FCKER will also be on the bill. His crazy room filling glitch visuals will intertwine with his neverending innovations in sound. I don’t know how this guy has time to sleep with all of the collaborations and out of state shows he’s been on lately. The alt hip hop sounds of First Ward Sound will also be on hand, and should drop some crazy beats alongside rhythms you might not have heard before. Android Genius will get things started with a healthy mix of beats and synths that sound like they’re coming out of the future. Android will more than likely be performing songs from his soon to be released EP, so it’s worth making it out early to get a sneak peak at what he’s got in store. It’s a BYOB show that carries a $5.00 cover with doors at 9:00.
Fitzgerald’s will have the strange and hypnotic sounds of Chicago’s Angel Olsen. Olsen has been catching eyes since she did backing vocals for Bonnie Prince Billy, and she’s been on everyone’s radar since her debut album three years ago. Her newest album, “Burn Your Fire For No Witness” from earlier this year, sounds like a mix of Mary Lou Lord and Hospitality. The Chicago trio known as Lionlimb will get things started with their folk based jingly sound. The show is all ages, the doors are at 7:00, and the tickets are between $12.00 and $17.00.
Mango’s will be hosting the metal punk of Self Defense Family. These guys have been around for over a decade, and contain members from all over the place. Originally called End of a Year, the fact that these guys can get together and make an album is a little insane. They’re here in support of their latest, “Duets” which is on the heels of last year’s quick and garage heavy “Try Me.” I’ve seen them before and it’s an energetic show that will leave you impressed. The math chaos of Good Time Boys will also be on the show, and they’ll bring their Jawbreaker meets June Of 44 sound to life. This year they released a pretty great emo album called “Rain” that sounds like it was forged in 1998. Not to be outdone, Houston’s Bury The Crown will also be onboard, and they’ll bring their garage meets punk, meets metal sound to all in attendance. When I reviewed their newest album, “The Proletariat,” I found it to be like if The Dwarves formed a Red Fang cover band. Blase will open up the show with their screamy hardcore post punk sound. The show is all ages, the doors are at 9:00, and it’s a $10.00 cover.
However, it’s understandable if you just want to bang your head at House of Blues, when they host King Diamond. So, that operatic vocal style to me was always cheesy and dumb, until I saw this guy perform. I know he was in Mercyful Fate and all, but he’s one of those “see it live” kind of acts to appreciate. His last album was 2007’s “Give Me Your Soul…Please” due to a triple bypass surgery several years ago. The Denmark native is pretty intense to catch live, new album or not. The psych rock of Finland’s Jess And The Ancient Ones will be getting the show started as opener. These guys kind of sound like early Judas Priest mixed with Elf and a hint of Jefferson Airplane. They dropped a three song EP this year called “Astral Sabbat” that’s pretty good. The doors are at 7:00 and the tickets are between $47.00 and $58.00.
Your Thursday should be a pretty good one when you start things off over at Warehouse Live for the intense energy of Toronto’s dynamic duo, Death From Above 1979. After a lengthy hiatus, the two piece came storming back this year with the release of the amazing, “The Physical World.” I caught these guys back and the day, and if you close your eyes, you’ll forget that they are a two piece. That’s just a small factor considering how energetically charged their live sets are. The psych heavy rock of Toronto’s BIBLICAL will get things started with their jammed out sounds. There’s a good chance that this show will sell out, so you might want to grab presale tickets. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00, and the tickets are between $30.50 and $32.50.
If you can’t get in for that show, then Warehouse Live does have another show with the hilarious comedy from Rachel Bloom. Bloom is a triple threat who sings funny songs, acts, writes, and to add a fourth; does stand up comedy. Her album, “Please Love Me” from last year is pretty damn funny. There doesn’t show an opener yet, but that will more than likely change by showtime. The doors are at 8:00, it’s an all ages show, and the tickets are between $10.00 and $14.00.
No one would blame you though, if you made it over to Bayou Music Center to catch British trio, Alt-J. I think eclectic is the best way to describe the music that these guys make. Since their debut album two years ago, they’ve been gaining a large following. Their newest album, this year’s “This Is All Yours” falls in line with their tradition of multiple vocals and melodic rhythms. They’ll have the pop electronica of LOVELIFE opening things up. These guys play a synth heavy pop with dual vocals, and their newest album, “Feel EP” is just a small sample of their sound. The doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $42.00 and $48.00.
Fitzgerald’s has a good show with the French pop sounds of Yelle. Though they’ve been around close to a decade, the group really got steam with the 2007 release, “Pop Up,” and they’ve been getting more and more praise ever since. Their newest release, “Completement Fou” keeps in tradition with their pop and synth based sound. Their singer sings in French, which just adds to the overall pop sound. The NYC trio of Lemonade will also be on hand to offer direct support with their synth heavy sound and dual vocals. The show is all ages, the doors are at 8:00 and the tickets are between $18.00 and $22.00.
Rudyards will host a barn burner when they have The Broken Spokes upstairs. These guys have been playing their blend of honky tonk for a good while, and they still manage to mix old country and Texas swing better than most around. They remind me of a mix of Hank Thompson and George Jones. These guys have a feverish schedule, and their music is what country used to sound like before it became pop crap. Austin’s Bo Brumble will open things up with his acoustic country sounds. He’ll play songs from his newest “Songs About Girls.” The show is 21 & up, the doors are at 8:00, and there’s no cover listed, but it shouldn’t be more than about $10.00.
Continental Club will usher in the roots rock of New Orleans’ The Iguanas. These guys have been around since the late eighties, and their mix of Tex-Mex, rock, and Cajun sounds is pretty amazing in it’s complex but simple sound. Their newest album, “Juarez” from this year mixes up genres with Spanish and English vocals that make their own sound like you may have never heard before. I caught them several years back and I was impressed with how tight they were live. It’s a 21 and up show with doors around 10:00, and a $12.00 cover.
If you’d rather laugh, Joke Joint Comedy Showcase will be hosting Michigan’s Dave Landau. Landau has made appearances everywhere from Last Comic Standing to Comedy Central, and he tours regularly. His 2013 album, “Voodoo Of Landoo” is pretty hilarious, where he lampoons everything from family to the music of Night Ranger. As per all of these shows, two of Houston’s better up and coming comics will serve as host and feature act. There’s one show on Thursday, and two on Friday and Saturday. The Thursday show has doors at 8:00, while the Friday and Saturday shows are at 8:00 and 10:30, and all carry a $16.00 cover.
Walter’s will be bringing the epic sounds of Connecticut’s The World Is A Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid To Die. So, I caught this ten or eleven piece act recently, and they seriously blew me away. They have an emo sound that I wish had been present in emo’s first wave. They’re like a mix of Slint, Braid, and American Football with vocals by Tim Kinsella. I thought their 2013 album, “Whenever, If Ever” was amazing, until I heard their 2014 album, “Between Bodies.” On it, they up their game by adding more instrumentation while keeping at their core sound. The Hotelier will also be on the bill, and they’ll bring their anti pop sound from Massachusetts with them. The four piece has an indie rock sound that hasn’t really existed since Seaweed was on a major label. Their new album, “Home, Like Noplace Is There,” is a rocking tour de force full of rhythmic changes and loud guitars. The slacker rock of Rozwell Kid is also on the show, and they should drive home the fact that guitar music isn’t dead. They have a driven guitar sound that’s more Brand New Hearts than you’ll hear outside of Houston. They have a hint of that Cheap Girls vibe to their sound for sure. The indie emo punk of Connecticut’s Posture & The Grizzly will open things up with their multifaceted sound. This is a seriously great lineup with doors at 6:30 and tickets between $12.00 and $14.00 for the all ages show.
Over at Mango’s there’s some hardcore punk when Forward from Japan stops in. These guys have been around over twenty years and they still bring it when they perform. Portland’s Long Knife will be there to play their Cro-Mags inspired punk, while Houston’s Back To Back will bring their riotous punk to life. If you’ve never seen these guys, they sound like a mix of early SST releases mixed with screamy vocals. A band called GAST is opening things up with doors at 8:00 and a $10.00 cover for the all ages show.
Friday, you have a boatload of options that start off over at Phoenicia MKT Bar with the Jaffer Khan & Friends 2 show. Since hosting the Beta bracket, MKT is proving that they want to keep the comedy shows going, and this show is a good example of that. Beta Theater has curated a series of shows featuring Houston’s better up and comers, and Jaffer Khan is easily at the top of that list. Jaffer will have a pretty hefty list of comics with the hilarious Victor Tran, the smart humor of MyCal Dede, the quick wit of Reed Becker, and the observational humor of Zahid Dewji. To sweeten the allure of the show, somehow Jeromy at Beta convinced 8th Wonder to give him an exclusive beer to be sold ONLY at this show. The show is all ages, it gets going at 9:00 sharp, and it’s 100% FREE.
No one would be mad though, if you chose to go over to Bayou Music Center to catch the indie rock sounds of Modest Mouse. They haven’t been in Houston for a good while, and the void has definitely been felt. After a period of inactivity due to various reasons, the band has returned to their roots with their recently dropped two song “White Lies, Yellow Teeth.” Modest Mouse is easily one of the best bands I’ve seen live, and their back catalog is better than most of their contemporaries. If the fact that they are playing isn’t enough, then perhaps a band who was rated as one of the best live bands on the planet the whole time they were together will entice you. San Diego’s Rocket From The Crypt has reunited and will bring their intense energy and showmanship to the show as well, when they open things up. RFTC is and has always been one of my favorite bands, and I can’t even tell you what album is their best to check out first. I went to California last year just to see one of their reunion shows, and I own more of their merch than probably any other band. Maybe start with “Scream Dracula Scream” and listen to every album after that. If there are any seats left, they run $59.00 each and the doors are at 8:00.
Stereo Live will bring the massively popular beats of Laidback Luke to town. Even though he was on FPSF earlier this year, the producer DJ has been blowing up since that performance. If you were unaware, he’s collaborated with Diplo, Steve Aoki, and Example. He also has a series of hit songs under his belt, and if you saw his set at FPSF, then you know he knows how to bring it live. This year he’s been staying busy with tons of drops, like “We’re Forever” and “Break Down The House.” This should be a pretty intense show with doors at 9:00 and tickets between $10.00 and $20.00 for the 18 and up show.
The indie folk of Cass McCombs will be downstairs at Fitzgerald’s as well. McCombs has been gaining traction since The National covered one of his songs, and he’s been gaining popularity ever since. His latest album, last year’s “Big Wheel and Others” drew the picture of a songwriter on the rise. As crazy as this sounds, Meat Puppets are opening this show up. So, these guys are living legends, and not because they were on the “Unplugged: Nirvana” album. SST records, the home to punk bands, Minutemen, and Husker Du, never really had a band before or after like Meat Puppets. There’s something magical about the simplistic nature in which these guys wrote songs on their early albums. They had a hit in the nineties with “Backwater” but I promise that’s not even close to the best song these guys ever wrote. Their latest album, “Rat Farm” keeps with their eclectic blend of swamp blues, rock, and folk. It’s a miracle that they’re still together after all they’ve been through; so you should go see them while you still can. The show is all ages, the doors are 8:00 and the tickets between $16.00 and $20.00.
Dale Watson will bring his big Texas country sound to Continental Club. Watson is a heck of a musician, a heck of a nice guy, and one of the last true country artists around. On the solo side of things, Watson has just dropped a trilogy of his “Truckin’ Sessions” while with his Lonestars, he’s released a new album as well. “People I’ve Known Places I’ve Been,” falls in line with Watson’s larger than life sound that’s a mix of traditional honky tonk and Texas twang. Whether it’s Watson solo or not, it’s always a great show when he performs. The doors are at 10:00, the show is 21 & up, and the tickets are $15.00.
If you feel like indie pop, and you planned to make it out to House Of Blues for RDGLDGRN; that show was cancelled.
Upstairs at Fitz, they’ll have the weird and eclectic sound of Austin’s The Octopus Project. I don’t know if I can convey the importance of this group, as they tend to push the boundaries of what you think electropop truly sounds like. They’re indie, they’ve been together for fifteen years, and their latest album, last year’s “Fever Forms” is their best to date. Full of lush sounds, carefully timed arrangements, and a mix of New Order meets Superchunk. They’ll be joined by the indie electronic pop rock of Houston’s Bang Bangz. Well into the formative years as a band, this four piece dropped an amazing album last year with the intensely diverse “Red City.” They came back this year with an EP called, “En Vivo” where they found an interesting way to release a live record better than anyone since KISS dropped “Alive.” The all ages show carries a cover between $12,00 and $17.00 with doors at 8:00.
If you can find a well lit place to park, then you could make it over to Avant Garden for their Friday House Party show. The evening will feature DJ’s upstairs and downstairs making music to get down to. The six DJ’s on hand will be GRRRL PARTS, Hydro D. Reyes, Rigo Chavez, Hiram Trevino, Gabriela Ardon, Jay Tovar, and Mariana At Avant Garden. There’s no cover for 21 & up and it runs from 10:00 to 2:00 am.
Saturday, you can start things off over at Rudyard’s when Laredo’s The Reen stops by town. The indie pop rock band is in town with their truly throwback to doo wop and indie pop. They remind me like nineties act, Superdrag where they mix The Beatles with early Elvis, but not in a country way. They’ll have the acoustic pop of Dustin Prinz from the Carolina’s opening up the show. It’s a 21 & up evening with doors at 9:00 and a TBA cover.
Fitzgerald’s will have a pretty epic hip hop show when they host the popular Run The Jewels. RTJ features El-P and Killer Mike, and they’ve been getting bigger and bigger since they dropped, “Run The Jewels” only to be quickly followed by “Run The Jewels 2.” A quick rhyme flow backed by trippy EDM soundscapes and trap beats is the best way to describe what these two bring to a show. The trio hip hop collective known as Ratking from NYC will also be on the show. Ratking has been getting praise since their ep in 2012. This year, they released their debut album “So It Goes” to critical acclaim. Queens’ rapper Despot will also be there to blow everyone away with tracks from his upcoming release that the world seems to be waiting for. The Outfit TX will get things started and rep Houston well with songs from their newest, “Cognac/Four Corner Room.” The all ages show has cover between $20.00 and $22.00 and the doors are at 8:00.
Mango’s has Seattle’s Freak Vibe bring their punk and psych garage sound to town. Though there are screams and howls, these guys have a very throwback sound that blends together old rock, garage rock, punk rock, and occasionally psych elements. The duo of Empty Vessels will bring their chaotic and noise scream punk with them all the way from Connecticut. Guitar and drums are all you need when you’re as well versed as these two are. The female lead punk of Houston’s Common Ignorance will also be on hand, and they’ll bring their fast songs to life. Their singer, Jenn Smith can really scream while the rest of the band plays speed punk like an early DRI. The noise scream punk of Licker will also be there, while the quick and ferocity based punk of Paranoid Chant will perform. Bad Rat will open the all ages show with doors at 8:00 and an $8.00 cover.
There’s a Scorpio Party happening over at Bohemeo’s on the East side. The intense Latin infused rock of La Sien will headline the evening. La Sien dropped a pretty amazing debut in 2012 with “La Sien,” and they’re really great in a live setting. One of the best albums I’ve heard in a while came from Jealous Creatures, who will also be performing. That album “Bazooka” has elements of rock, alt country, and indie shoegaze; and they’re pretty impressive to see live. The bluesy vibe of Lafayette’s ElectroVeldt will also be there, while the indie sounds of Fort Worth’s Missing Sibling will perform as well. Houston’s A Sundae Drive will bring their indie emo pop to the show, performing songs from their amazing album “You’re Gonna Get Me.” The spaced out and almost Brit psych of Houston’s Purapharm will also be on hand. This eclectic act is one of those everyone needs to check out, if not for any other reason than to watch a singer manipulate a myriad of pedals at the same time. The doors are at 6:00 and the tickets are between $5.00 and $10.00.
Continental Club will host the Americana sounds of Houston’s Libby Koch. Koch was nominated for a Sammy this year, but she was well known prior to that. She’s been paving her own way since her 2008 EP, “Barn Burner.” This year she released the wonderful sounding, “Tennessee Colony” where she mixes traditional country with gospel and pretty much every other form of Western sounds in-between. The popular sound of New Orleans’ Andrew Duhon will also be on the show. Duhon made waves last year when he dropped the popular “The Moorings” and his acoustic sound is pretty hard to ignore. Houston’s alt country meets Americana band, Grand Old Grizzly will open the show up as only they can. If you’ve never seen these guys, you’ve been missing a band that could easily be the biggest band in the genre in a long time. The show is 21 & up, the doors are at probably around 9:00 and cover is $10.00.
Your Sunday can start with Where The Girls Are Fall Festival at Last Concert Cafe. The show is to benefit the Not On Our Watch America Foundation. The foundation helps to prevent child sexual abuse through PSA’s and awareness campaigns, while also contributing to places like Montrose Grace Place. The show will be headlined by the doom metal of Project Armageddon. I feel like I’ve said this plenty, but this band seems to really get the importance of live performance. They’re loud, they interact with attendees, and their latest album, “Tides of Doom” from 2012 is a force of sheer power. The sweet and soulful sounds of Charity Ann will go on before, and should really raise spirits with her positive and sultry sound. Charity Ann has a voice that’s like a mix of Janis Joplin and Tracy Chapman, so she’s definitely a not to be missed act. The six piece Americana of Houston’s The Atomic Nightingales will also be on hand to prove that women can bring plenty of honk with their tonk. Sarah Golden will also be on the bill, as will the folky sounds of Sherita Perez who will hypnotize all with her incredible vocals. The immensely strong vocals of singer Kristal Cherelle will open up the show. Cherelle just dropped her debut “Fighter,” where she mixes jazz and R&B better than you have ever heard before. Things get started at 4:00 and there’s a measly $5.00 cover that goes to a great cause.
The hilarious W. Kamau Bell will be dropping his smart comedy over at Warehouse Live. Bell is a political comic who has garnered praise from everywhere from the New York Times to fellow comic Chris Rock. He’s appeared everywhere from Comedy Central and Conan, to NPR and WTF with Marc Maron. He has a quick wit while covering racially charged topics in a frank and hilarious manner. His 2010 album, “Face Full of Flour” is still as relevant and funny today as it was when it came out. Houston’s Rich Williams will get the crowd amped up when he helps open the show up. Rich might be the hardest hustling comic in the city, and his energy is only matched by his ability to warm up a crowd. The doors are at 7:00, it’s an all ages show, and the tickets are between $15.00 and $17.00.
Dean’s is keeping their Sunday night Songwriter Series going this week when they host Justin Nava, Paul Pelc, and Kenyon Saylor White. You all know Nava from his band TheLastPlaceYouLook, but his solo stuff brings out a completely different sound. Not to mention, that there isn’t a musician in this town who couldn’t learn a lot about the music industry just by chatting him up. Paul Pelc is an indie folk songwriter here in Houston, and he just dropped an amazing EP called “Burdens.” Kenyon Saylor White is probably best known for his band, American Fangs; but he, like Nava, has a different sound in a solo setting. As per all of these shows, they get going around 8:00 and they’re 100% FREE.
If you want to get your punk on, Scout Bar is your go to spot when they host Sick Of It All. The New Yorkers have been playing since the mid eighties, and they never disappoint. They’ll be here in support of their new record, “Last Act Of Defiance” from this year. Eighties hardcore legends, Negative Approach for some reason will be going on prior. Their 1983 album, “Tied Down” is one of the best hardcore albums ever made. I’m shocked that they’re still alive, so this should be interesting to see live. Homewrecker NC will open the all ages show with doors at 7:00 and tickets between $16.00 and $18.00.
The indie pop duo of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. will be upstairs at Fitzgeralds. Their dancy and hypnotic sounds are more than enough to get people moving, and they have a pretty impressive back catalog. Their latest, this year’s two song “James Dean” just keeps in line with everything else they do. Last year’s “The Speed of Things” just proved how great electro pop can truly sound. The dark psych sound of LA’s Mini Mansions will get the show started with their mix of pop and gloomy psych electronics. They just dropped a two song single called “Death Is A Girl” and it’s been gaining in steam for the three piece. The all ages show carries a cover between $13.00 and $17.00 with doors at 8:00.
Warehouse Live will also have Mississippi’s Big Krit if you’re in a hip hop mood. Krit has been gaining popularity since his early days of doing mixtapes, and his debut release in 2012, “Live From The Underground” blew him up. He’s been dropping singles left and right this year, so hopefully he’ll have a new album out soon. Two-9 will get the show started with his never ending series of mixtapes and lyrical prowess. The doors are at 8:00, it’s all ages, and the tickets are $25.00.
However, I would guess that any fan of Dead Kennedys will be at Continental Club to catch Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine. So, this band isn’t really punk, but rather some kind of rock kind of sounding band. I personally hate Biafra after all the stories of him not paying artists’ their royalties & I did have to spend a couple of hours with that insufferable bastard in my youth once. But, that shouldn’t keep you from going. They’ll be here to support their new album, last year’s “White People and The Damage Done.” The lounge sounds of Houston’s Clouseaux will be on the bill as well as New Orleans’ hip hop Vockah Redu. The young sounding Thrill will open up the 21 & up show with doors at 9:00 and a $20.00 cover. There’s also a dance party after hosted by Biafra over at Big Top that gets going around 9:00, and should be a FREEBIE.
Monday, House of Blues will have the dance pop of Britain’s Neon Hitch. She will bring her immensely popular electro dance pop sound to town in support of her latest, last year’s “Happy Neon.” Canadian pop duo and twin sisters Carmen & Camille will also be on hand to bring their dancey pop to a live setting. The piano pop meets hip hop of Jared Evan will open the show with doors at 8:00 and tickets for $15.33.
Tuesday you can venture over to Discovery Green for the Circus Arts classes. The class teaches flexibility and balance while incorporating acrobatics and ground arts. Low wire tight rope, juggling and more will all be a part of the free class. You have to be at least 13 years old and it gets going around 5:30.
You could also go to Avant Garden for their open mic. They’ve had an open mic for as long as I can remember, and not much has changed. Singer/songwriter, or whatever you got, all are welcome where things get started around 8:30, the signup is after 7:00, and it’s 100% Free.
Over at MKT Bar, Dave Wrangler will be on hand to drop some of his trippy sounds. I have no idea if this will be from his DJ set, his original tunes, or his Vinyl Ranch set; but he’s entertaining no matter what. It’s FREE and it gets started at 6:00.
It’s a pretty epic week for sure that has more to do’s than usual. I will be at Fun Fun Fun Fest, so I hope you guys have a good one while I’m attempting to navigate the ever changing landscape of Austin. No matter what, please be mindful of your fellow Houstonians while you’re out and about.