Representing the Locals: Long-Overdue Local News Roundup, Y’all

Been meaning to do this for a long damn while now, gathering up tidbits of info here, there, & everywhere. It’s a testament to how vibrant our much-bemoaned local scene actually is that there’s a bona-fide shitload of stuff going on: bands breaking up, bands forming, CDs coming out, local press shakeups, side projects, yadda, yadda, yadda. Does any of it matter to you or me? Well, I can’t speak for you, but given the people involved, I’d say, um, yeah.

With that, here goes. Apologies if I miss anybody/anything or post old-as-the-hills news all you in-the-know scenesters knew about three months ago; we cater to all types here, including the woefully uninformed:

  • Wedding Bells, Er, Rung for Bright Men, The C. of P.: This is kind of in the good news/bad news vein, I’m afraid. First off, it seems that a handful of cool local music folks have been tying the knot lately, and that’s always a good thing in my book. (Not that I’m some kind of marriage zealot, mind you, but good people happily getting together is pretty cool.) Homeboy Marshall of Bright Men of Learning got hitched a few weeks back to his lady — pictures are up here, all you voyeuristic vultures — so hats off to the two of them for that…

    Beyond that, not one, not two, but three members of another of my favorite local bands, The Church of Philadelphia, tied the knot recently, two of ’em to one another. Singer/guitarist Chris got married recently, as did guitarist/etc. guy Brian & vocalist/keyboardist Lindsay.

    The latter two were sweet enough to invite yours truly to the Memorial Day festivities, although I unfortunately couldn’t make it out for the happy event. Once Brian & Lindsay get back from their honeymoon, they’re off to Jinja, Uganda for a one-year-but-maybe-more stint working at some local businesses owned by Brian’s cousins. It sounds very, very cool, the experience of a lifetime, and I wish ’em all the best.

    The downside is that with Brian & Lindsay in Africa for at least a year, The Church is pretty likely to, um, go on hiatus for an extended period of time. Which bums me out, esp. since I was looking forward to the band/project’s next release. Brian assures me that he & Lindsay will keep doing things musical, though, and hinted that the band might well go on without ’em. Guess we’ll have to see what happens, eh? Either way, best wishes to Marshall, Brian, Lindsay, Chris, & their respective partners!

  • Side Project Time w/No Talk, Les Veines, Black Congress, BLACKIE, & Meat Gloves: As always, Houston music folk are a busy-bee bunch, constantly splitting out & starting side bands and sub-bands of their main gigs. No Talk is the new-ish deal from Beau of Insect Warfare infamy, a loud, raw, angry punk band that harks back to the days before super-processed vocals & shiny-sweet guitars; think The Dicks, Black Flag, or locals The Hates. And hell, they’ve already got 2 different 7″s coming out — how fuckin’ punk is that?

    Then there’s Les Veines, the new side deal of Something Fierce‘s Steven G., which is noisy and pretty-but-raw, with almost dreampop-y guitars, nearly subliminal drums and keys, and S.G. doing his best New Wave detached-vocal thing. Recommended for fans of Rough Trade stuff, I’d say. And I can’t forget the highly-lauded Black Congress, which includes Roy from the Fatal Flying Guilloteens (and a million other bands) — the band’s ferocious & math-y, with a fury that brings to mind bands like Drive Like Jehu or Paul Newman, and supposedly there’s an EP on the way.

    Less on my radar is Balaclavas side deal Meat Gloves and a project called Foes Like These (or Thieves Like Us; I’ve seen both listed) that includes members of Sharks & Sailors and Sinews — I haven’t yet heard ’em, but hey, given the pedigrees, they’re all bound to be worth a listen…

    There’s also BLACKIE, who used to be known as The Alsace Lorraine — not a side project, really, but a fairly major name change & it seems like they’ve shifted gears a bit. There’s a new album out now, too, reportedly called Wilderness of North America.

  • Bands Go Away — Blades, Rustler, Black Math Experiment Pack It In, At Least Temporarily: And yes, where there is new life, something’s gotta die; it’s the H-town Band Circle of Life, yo. Local instro-rockers Blades called it a day a while back, and more recently fellow instrumentalists Rustler had to put the live thing on the hold because drummer Jason skipped town for (I think?) Austin. Dang.

    On the plus side, the band is still releasing their full-length, Shark Week, hopefully sometime soon, and I’ve been assured that Jason’s gonna be back in town occasionally for a sporadic Rustler show. In the meantime, the two remaining Rustlerites are scouting around to start a new band. Keep your eyes out for that…

    Back on the bad, nasty, evil side of the news, David Arquette-beloved/-loving rockers The Black Math Experiment have also sadly decided to hang up their outfits… They’re apparently not strictly “breaking up,” but are going on indefinite hiatus after their DVD filming June 14th. From the sound of things, the band’s just moving on to other projects, and aren’t necessarily slamming the door on coming back together at some point later on.

  • Bands Come Back — The Scattered PAGES, Riff Tiffs, & Clandestine: Okay, so some of ’em weren’t gone for real long, but hey. The Scattered PAGES are finally off their temporary “break,” as of this very evening; hopefully the time away means they’re working on a new album, eh? Similarly, The Riff Tiffs have resurfaced, this time with a brand-new single and plans to spend the summer crafting new songs.

    In more long-term comings-back, local Celtic folk legends Clandestine have recently reformed and have released a new CD of their own, besides, entitled Red. I haven’t heard it yet, but pretty much anything these folks have ever done has been great.

  • And Even More Music on the Way from The Jonx, Papermoons, Etc.: phew. Even with Skyline’s excellent rundown of upcoming local releases, we can also look forward to new stuff from indie-folkies Papermoons, Mia Kat Empire-based indie-rockers Hollywood Black, emo crew While You Were Gone, & ambient-ish popsters Wood & Felt.

    There’s also the long-awaited Sharks & Sailors full-length(?), due out August 1st, which I’m very much looking forward to. The new songs I’ve heard are almost dreampop-y, with sweet, sweeping vocals and less fist-pumping roar than I’m used to, but I’m finding that I honestly don’t mind; I like the new shit nearly as much as the old. The “new” S&S draws a serious line back to mid-’90s indie-rock, with some nice chiming guitars and Spent-esque vocals.

    Possibly even better than even the S&S deal, though, is news that tough pseudo-pro/math-rock The Jonx are putting out a new one, too. According to Jonxite Danny Mee:

    The Jonx working on new CD: Anyway, we’ve been hard at work on songs for our third full-length album. As yet the album is untitled, although we’ve already rejected “Passion of the Jonx,” “the Unbearable Lightness of the Jonx,” “God Emperor of the Jonx,” “Sex and the City (and the Jonx),” and numerous other titles that didn’t live up to our exacting standards of obliqueness and difficulty of recall. If you have any suggestions let us know. We’re currently under the working title “Out Before the Sharks and Sailors CD.”

    Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

  • Houston Gets a House of Blues: Yep, the House of Blues chain is opening a franchise in our fair city. It’ll be at 1204 Caroline, according to the Website, part of some kind of entertainment complex that’s going up near Toyota Center. I dunno how the complex is progressing right now, but they’re supposed to be up & running by October. Can’t say what the H-town H.O.B. will be like, but I went to the Big Easy version a long, long time ago, and it was pretty damn cool.

  • Saying Goodbye to Scene Fixture Kirk “Guitar” Carr: We’ve had a rough time in recent months in terms of losing — or nearly losing — members of the local Houston scene. Chris King was thankfully doing better the last I heard, although apparently he may never fully recover. Our own special crazy blues legend Little Joe Washington had his own brush with serious illness, but happily is doing fairly well these days. And then, of course, there’s the tragic death of Art Car curator Tom Jones.

    Another one that I didn’t see much press about, though, was the death this past May of Kirk “Guitar” Carr, a fixture of the ’80s/early ’90s scene ’round here. He was in a band called Non Dairy Creamers back in the day (before my day, in fact), and also played in The Hightailers and probably a ton of other bands besides. Kirk was diagnosed with late-stage cancer and passed away May 12th, sadly. I don’t know the details beyond that, but it’s a damn shame… Check out Carolyn Wonderland’s blog (linked above) for a heartfelt tribute to the man.

  • Trenchtown Texans Recruiting New Members: Well, it might mean the band’s been going through some personnel changes, but heck, at least Ryan Scroggins and the Trenchtown Texans haven’t yet broken up or something nutty like that. What they are doing, though, is holding auditions for new members to play shows with this month & the next. Click here for details from the band.

    Gah. Okay, now my brain hurts. Time to go, y’all…if anybody’s got any other news they’d like to share, def. let us know, eh?


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