Photo: Courtesy of Artist
The question I always ask myself when I talk to some realtor in this town, is “who’s moving to Houston?” I mean, I understand the oil related moves, or the medical field related moves, or even the aeronautical moves…but for art? Then I remembered that when I was in Russia years ago, I met people who were very familiar with the Houston Ballet. But, in music it’s a rarity. However, about seven years ago, a band who was originally from New Brunswick, New Jersey moved to our fine city. After some amount of time of head scratching on how to figure the music scene out here; they decided to just call this place home and keep doing what they had always done…work. That band, the Houston three piece affectionately known as Football, etc. has kept trucking along with Houston as home but not a place where they’re garnered like some other bands who’ve made the scene here their focus. Signed to indie label, Count Your Lucky Stars, they’ve made quite the name for themselves all over the world outside of Houston, Texas. They just released a new four song EP that’s easily as refreshing as it is relevant. Recorded by former Jawbox guitarist, and indie rock producer (Promise Ring, Jets To Brazil, Against Me!) J. Robbins, the “Disappear” EP could easily be one of the better coupling of four songs you’ll hear all year.
The EP opens with the emotive and vocals upfront sound of “Sunday.” The structure of the song’s chorus brings back these feelings of how it felt to hear The Promise Ring for the first time. The bigger difference to then and now, is that singer Lindsay Minton has a mix of heartfelt emotion in her voice mixed with deadpan pain when she sings; where that never came across with The Promise Ring. The emotion filled lyrics that are met with crashing cymbals and a open framed guitar sound are more softer in the chorus that couples a nice pop hook. This is followed by the slower and softer atmospheric track, “Sweep.” The emotions are still high while there’s an added string instrument on the backside of the song. Such is the beauty of a three piece, the song sways in and out of an emotionally charge depth, but never feels depressive or sad.
Around the third song, “Receiver,” you should feel like your time invested is paying off. The band adds a dual vocal track and a nice and uncomplicated straightforward approach on the song. There’s a good amount of hooks that come in and out with the more upbeat pace, while the breaks are quick and immediate. There’s even a breakdown where it’s just the beauty of Daniel Hawkins’ drums and Minton’s guitar where the band reaches a new height of craftsmanship. The way that the bass comes in from Mercy Harper, it feels like how the song should sound before Minton drops in with some haunting vocals. The sign of a well written tune, is when every instrument hits like it should, which is the feeling not on just this song but the release as a whole. That’s 100% the case on the final song, “Open” where the band takes on more elements than they’ve done in the past to create something grand and equally beautiful. Beginning with an elemental and medium pace, the addition of stringed instruments and this build up that feels like waves crashing all around you is something inspired and rare in music today. The mix of the vocals with a driving pace that goes back to that opening structure complete with what sounds like a double vocal is so important that it makes your ears tickle with delight.
The only downfall to this release is that it’s over as quick as it begins. At just four songs, you feel like Football, etc. is just getting started, before it’s time to hit the replay button. But, the fact that you want to replay the songs over and over without hesitation; is a testament to the release itself. It should be a real treat to hear these songs live, as I’ve said for a while that they’re Houston’s best kept secret. I’ve seen kids sing along with the songs when they play live, and I have friends in other cities who are envious of me because I can see them whenever I want. Football, etc. is a handful of days from embarking on a tour of Japan…seriously. But you can see them live when they get back, as the play The Summit on May 1st with My Education, The Wheel Workers and Golden Cities.