I know, I know — I’m slow on this one. Did an actual interview with these guys, and yet it takes me this long to actually get ’em up here? Sad, sad, sad…. Especially so because listenlisten (or LISTEN!LISTEN!, apparently) is one of the absolute leading lights of Houston’s undersung “countrified/folky indie” scene, which also includes people like Buxton, The Scattered PAGES, Papermoons, & Georgia’s Horse, just going by what the music sounds like.

The banjos and mandolins drift in out of the Appalachian treeline, married to melancholy, troubled voices that sing about things gone wrong and sounding like it’d fit best ’round a campfire of some doomed wagon-train from a century or so ago. And yes, I mean that in the best possible way. The band incorporates gospel, folk, bluegrass, and (no, seriously) rock into a fascinating, can’t-turn-away musical amalgam that’s as effortless as it is seemingly timeless. Think The Black Heart Procession, Murder by Death, Skeleton Key (in their less-funk moments), Will Oldham, William Elliot Whitmore, and Iron & Wine, and you’ll be nearing listenlisten territory. Add to that the band members’ generally reclusive natures, their penchant for hyper-obscure titles and lyrics (how can I not love a band with song titles like “Awaiting Strings And Implantable Things” and “Watching The Watchers Watch Us Watching”), and the fact that the one eponymous EP they’ve released so far was built out of actual wood, with the band’s name literally burned into it, and…well, you’ve got a hell of a musical phenomenon.

Luckily, while they’ve been keeping their collective head down lately, the band’s been busy working on their first full-length album, Hymns from Rhodesia (due out on Abilene label Murkville Music), which promises to be even stranger and more intriguing than that first show across the bow. Oh, and the band says the new stuff’s darker and more complex than the older stuff (to which I feel compelled to respond: better hide the straight-razor before listening, folks…). If we’re really fortunate, they’ll grace us with some live dates soon, too.

Band writeup by . Band writeup posted Saturday, September 3rd, 2011. Filed under Posts.

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