The April Skies, The Breathe EP / Flood

Any band that nabs their name from a band like the Jesus & Mary Chain better have the chops to back it up. The April Skies’ name naturally draws attention (and in the early ’90s, apparently got labels interested), but many of the band’s new songs hold little to capture the listener’s attention…

Live: Lamb of God/Opeth/Unearth/Chimaira/A Life Once Lost

This year marked the beginning of a new summer music festival called the Sounds of the Underground Tour. The tour brought to arenas across the country heaps of underground metal bands from record labels such as RoadRunner, Century Media, Metal Blade, and Trustkill. Unfortunately, the tour didn’t come to Houston, but there were several “off-dates,” where a select group of bands from the tour played shows at small venues in nearby towns…

A Wilhelm Scream, Ruiner

An unfortunate number of bands like A Wilhelm Scream leave me cold. I hate to say it, but it’s gotten so that most of the folks out there who sound like these Northeastern boys (and apparent diehard Red Sox fans) all just bleed into one another — they combine the speed and heavy guitars of […]

Various Artists, I Hate It Here, I Never Want To Leave

Damn, I feel old. I can remember a time when I’d scour the “Local” CD racks at Cactus and Soundwaves for H-town bands and comps, happily go see whoever was playing at Rudyard’s, Mary Jane’s, or The Oven on any given night, and shake my head in amazement at the wealth of unknown…

Various Artists, The Estrus Kamikaze Ass Chomp ‘N’ Stomp CD Sampler Vol. 4

This compilation features an assortment of bands that share a common affinity for pushing the boundaries of modern music. None of the 19 bands featured are very mainstream; Estrus, in fact, is known for its stable of well-respected, underground acts…

Various Artists, Buzzin’ Fly, Volume 2: Replenishing Music For The Modern Soul

Musician/DJ Ben Watt has been making music since the early eighties in the folk-turned-electro pop duo Everything But The Girl, but his more recent offerings are experiments in late-night club scenes. On this collection, the second in the Buzzin’ Fly series…

Chad VanGaalen, Infiniheart

People like Chad VanGaalen piss me off. Why? Well, the Calgary-based singer/songwriter/ artist/animator/genius/whatever irks me for a couple of reasons, the first of which is that, well, he makes it sound so easy. As a whole, Infiniheart sounds effortless…

The Upwelling, The Upwelling

I don’t understand the comparison of Brooklyn’s The Upwelling to Brian Eno that keeps coming up in their press stuff. To me, they sound more like a more focused, lighter Juno with a little emo flavoring — which is pretty catchy and damn right interesting…

Ume, Urgent Sea

Part-time Houstonians Ume do a rocking Blonde Redhead crossed with early Sonic Youth. Though a little derivative, the mixture is quite alluring, and on Urgent Sea, it yields at least three standout tracks. “Wake” is a thunderous, frightening opener…

22-20s, 22-20s

Similar to the Stones of the ’70s and the garage bands of late (Strokes, Sights, White Stripes), the 22-20s cross straight-up rock ‘n’ roll with classic blues while maintaining an Oasis-like swagger and modern appeal. Subject matter includes the typical rock star excesses…

T.Raumschmiere, Blitzkrieg Pop

With Blitzkrieg Pop, Berliner T.Raumschmiere (real name Marco Haas) delivers more high-energy abrasive dance music, positioning it as electronic punk rock. I can’t speak to his live show, which is reportedly quite kinetic, but on record that project is a pathetic failure…

Love as Laughter, Laughter’s Fifth

In recent discussions of rock music, the term “college rock,” which once referred to the type of pop music favored by college radio stations and students, has often been eclipsed by the term “indie-rock,” the criteria of which are more related to the way the music is produced and marketed…

Whitney Cline, Bring on the Rain

It takes a little getting used to, but eventually you’ll find yourself being taken somewhere deep inside Whitney Cline’s voice. With her debut album, Bring on the Rain — which is described in the press materials as a mix of folk and rock…

Last AmAndA, Last AmAndA

I can’t believe I don’t hate this. No, seriously; I’m a little disturbed about it. I first listened to transplanted Swedish (they now live in California, apparently) quintet Last AmAndA’s self-titled debut reluctantly, thinking for sure that I’d pan this quick and move on…

Kinski, Alpine Static

Alpine Static, the fourth composed full-length studio album from mostly-instrumental Seattle drone-rock quartet Kinski, marks another step in the band’s continued evolution. There seems to be a conscious effort here to make things a bit more concise…

The Capes, Taste

I’ll be the first moon-eyed idealist to proclaim that music can change the world; sappy as the sentiment is, I honestly believe it. At the same time, though, I recognize that a song doesn’t have to be world-altering in order to be good…

Maggie Kim, Lesson 1.5

Though on Lesson 1.5, Maggie Kim claims artistic geniuses like Missy Elliott, Prince, Beck and PJ Harvey as her heroes, her actual closest analogue is more likely Christina Aguilera: a marginally talented also-ran who is more famous for her outlandish fashion sense than her music…

The Kidnap Soundtrack, Beauty is the Other Dancer

This five-song CD from Houstonians The Kidnap Soundtrack is for those lovers of the heavy side of life. Its mellow beginning provides a relaxing mood until it leads into a rainstorm sound…where henceforth, the death metal singing (otherwise known as screaming) begins…

Keg Vultures, Bendy Straw Brain Massage and Spiritual Dry Cleaning

Austin’s Keg Vultures are apparently determined to annoy all listeners into submission with their garage-meets-fingernails on a blackboard approach. The merry pranksters of this unit wield their smart-ass bombast like a samurai sword…

Built Like Alaska, Autumnland

I was told this was country…and yet, when I listened to it, I didn’t hear a lick of country. But maybe what our esteemed editor meant when he recommended it as “country” was that it’s…rural. “Rural” may not sound like a way to describe music…

Broken Spindles, Inside/Absent

It’s funny; I know that I should know Joel Peterson more for his work in The Faint than for anything — after all, those Omaha electroslammers pretty much threw the doors wide open between indie-rock and quirky dance music — but after listening to Inside/Absent

The Hourly Radio, lure of the underground EP

No offense to Texas band The Hourly Radio, but after listening to lure of the underground, I’m simply not getting all the U2 comparisons in their press materials. Now, before anybody balks, let me say that I actually mean that as a compliment. Don’t get me wrong…

Hotpipes, The Deadly Poison

When a band asks “How old have we become?” on a song called “Fartknocker,” one has to wonder how the rest of the album’s gonna play out. For Tennessee-based Hotpipes, the result, The Deadly Poison, is part middle-of-the-road jam band, part indie-rock…

Taylor Hollingsworth, Tragic City

Most albums have some combination of good songs, mediocre songs, and bad songs. Really good songs are rare, and really bad songs are probably more rare. Tragic City, by Taylor Hollingsworth, is something of an achievement: all of the songs on the album are either really good or really bad…

Hell’s House Band, Dozen Lies

I’d never heard of Hell’s House Band before I got the chance to review their album Dozen Lies, and yes, my literal first impression was that this actually does sound like the house band in hell. The guitar work is gritty with a tangible, scummy blues feel…

The Hatepinks, Plastic Bag Ambitions

Shortest… Album… Ever. At about sixteen and a half minutes, France’s The Hatepinks’ 2005 disc, Plastic Bag Ambitions, is typical get in-get out, in-your-face, fast as possible, world-hating punk. As far as punk goes, though I’m not a punk fan…

The Hammer Bros., Free Palestine!

Political hip-hop can be quite good, if it’s done correctly. Take Public Enemy or Rage Against the Machine, for example. With Free Palestine!, unfortunately, the Hammer Bros. fall short…

Good Charlotte, The Chronicles of Life and Death

So, once you’ve hit the big time playing in your high school band, become ridiculously popular, been featured on the covers of magazines from here to Kingdom Come, have two hit records under your belt, and been showered with equal doses of adoration and criticism…

Go Real Slow, Thirteen

I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was starting my morning shift at KTRU one bright Wednesday in 1994, sifting through the piles of CDs looking for something to play — let’s see…Codeine, A-Bones, Liz Phair (yecch), Charles Gayle…Green Day. Green Day?…

Rosie Thomas, If Songs Could Be Held

There are only a few singers out there who possess voices that literally make me want to break down and cry; most, oddly, are guys, people like Mark Kozelek, Nick Drake, Eric Bachman, Tom Waits, or Will Sheff, who sound either so far gone or so deranged…

Temper Temper, Temper Temper

Well, well — it’s another dance/punk almost-but-not-quite electroclash band that’s made it big. How big? O.C. big, which means everyone will be listening to their hot-on-the-heels of Bloc Party dance floor-swagger rock. Some tracks on their self titled debut…

Statistics, Often Lie

So, what do you do when everybody around you suddenly seems to be doing the same thing you’ve been working at for the past few years? You stop and change directions. It can be one of the axioms for success, and one that Statistics frontman Denver Dalley…

The Squishees, Strands and Drools EP

The Pasadena goofballs formerly known as the Slurpees, forced to change their name by 7-11, continue to expand their no-longer-conventional definition of punk, creating for this EP, Strands and Drools, some kind of weird cross between mutant prog, post-rock…

The Skintones, Never Get Better

The Skintones are a punk rock trio from Madison, WI, and they’ve filled this album, Never Get Better, with politically-charged songs and traditional punk rock clich├ęs. They keep the number of chords on most of their songs to a minimum, but there are some impressive basslines…

The Short Happy Life, The Album Is Also Called ‘The Short Happy Life’

For a few tracks, the home-brewed nerd-pop of Jerry Fels’s one-man band the Short Happy Life (a name also used by a completely different band about five years ago) has a certain offhand charm, especially on songs like the lo-fi synth-pop of “What The Body Wants”…

The Breakup Society, James at 35

In the liner notes to Incesticide, St. Kurt of Aberdeen, in his quest for ever more refined mortification to maintain his state of rock-star holiness, wrote the following comment (one assumes he intended it to be self-lacerating), “I’ll be the first to admit that we’re…”

The Book of Lists, Red Arrows

Four Canadians deliver average pop-rock on this EP. Vocalist Chris Frey is the most interesting thing about this record, being both a former member of better band Destroyer and the focal point of the music itself. His vocals are of the Ian Curtis variety…

Jim Boggia, Safe in Sound

With pop savants like Jon Brion, Jason Falkner and even Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile making sure to do everything themselves, a performer like Jim Boggia comes off as a phenomenal slacker, contributing nothing but vocals (a cross between Richard X. Heyman and the Gin Blossoms’ Robin Wilson)…

The Seximals, Always Pithy After Repose

This is a different direction for the Seximals. Whereas their previous album, My Old Problems, was a collection of lo-fi rock songs, Always Pithy After Repose is a collection of sample-based pieces with samples culled from some of the Seximals’ favorite recordings…

The Bell Curve, The Bell Curve

Electronic, synth-heavy beats coupled with lyrics that bleed emotion — perfect for disaffected youth and trend-weary scenesters. The Bell Curve’s self-titled album is everything that early ’90s indie was built on and blends the slow drone of British shoegazer bands…


H-Town Mixtape

Upcoming Shows

Categories

Archives

Recent Posts

Links

Our Sponsors