Hear This Now: Brand New Hearts + Hoofprints + Oceans of Slumber + Valens
UPDATE: Okay, so it turns out my brain’s already melted from the stress of this past week. Tonight’s Brand New Hearts show is at Big Star Bar, not at Rudz. Sorry, y’all! And thanks to Sarah for the correction!
I know I tend to not follow through with stuff like this, but dangit, we’re gonna do this thing, people. So here’s the second-ever installment of Hear This Now, which is where we shine a brief spotlight on a handful of new(-ish) bands we’ve run across in recent days that we happen to think are A) awesome, B) promising, or C) both at the same time. Bask in the awesomeness, then make a point of keeping an eye/ear on these bands; we will promise you (in a non-binding, non-money-back-guarantee kind of way) you won’t be sorry.
And with that, allons-y:
BRAND NEW HEARTS:
Alright, so I’m only on Installment #2 and I’m already blowing my own self-imposed rules out of the water, in this case by ranting/raving about a band I have yet to see or really hear (yet). But seriously, I haven’t been this excited about a band I’ve never heard since…um…hell, I’m not sure when. Jets to Brazil, maybe? Whatever.
Despite being mostly an unknown to yours truly, Brand New Hearts is what would’ve happened if somebody could’ve looked into my skull back in the late ’90s and somehow determined what my absolute-perfect scene supergroup would’ve looked like. This band includes Jeff Senske & Ben Murphy from Bright Men of Learning (among other things), Nathan Parsons from the ever-underrated Ultramagg, and Ryan Hull from Bring Back The Guns, all stellar, stellar musicians and songwriters from bands I’ve loved, essentially, since my formative years in this here scene. It’s actually physically impossible for this band to not be incredible.
And happily, there are a couple of quick teasers online as to what they sound like; I’m reminded of the more straightforwardly jangle-rock bands of the ’90s like Buffalo Tom or The Replacements, but with a shiny-clean, sly-grinning Big Star/Ultimate Fakebook vibe alongside. Check ’em out:
Brand New Hearts is playing 2/1/13 at Big Star Bar, along with Project Grimm & Strange Weapons, and again 2/22/13 at Houston House of Creeps, along with Hoofprints.
Along similar lines to the above, when I first heard about Hoofprints, I couldn’t help but get excited, in spite of the fact that I hadn’t yet heard anything by the band itself. I mean, c’mon — ex-members of Stadium and Little Compass and Earnie Banks and The Mahas and Golden Cities? Like with Brand New Hearts, it’s hard to see how that could go wrong.
And now that I’ve gotten to take a listen to the band, does it measure up? Oh, hell yes. It’s weighted fairly heavily in the direction of guitarist Ramzi Beshara‘s former bands Stadium & Little Compass, with those earnest vocals and “chunky”-sounding guitar riffs, but dammit, I’m always down with that; plus, there’s an intriguing roots-rock tone to some of the songs on debut cassette Secretly Destroying Honesty, with vocals almost reminiscent of Son Volt at times. Take a listen:
Hoofprints is playing 2/22/13 at Houston House of Creeps, along with Brand New Hearts.
OCEANS OF SLUMBER:
I’ve heard good things about these guys for a little while now, but I finally gave Oceans of Slumber a listen this week and yeah, I ended up pretty surprised. I was expecting full-on death-prog-metal, all technical breakdowns and impossibly-fast fingers, but while there is some of that, the band melds that speed and technicality to an awesomely down-to-earth, almost bluesy hard-rock thing, and damn, I’m liking it. It’s a little like Pantera if they’d gone on to dabble in death metal (and if Philip Anselmo could actually growl and sing). Whoa.
Here’re a handful of songs off the band’s brand-new album:
Oceans of Slumber is playing its CD release party 2/1/13 at The Scout Bar, along with Dixie Witch, Come See My Dead Person, & Anova Skyway, and again 2/7/13 at Fitzgerald’s, along with Intronaut & MOTHS.
Back again to the whole local-supergroup thing… Valens is an offshoot of Earhart, who I never got to hear but which spawned a bunch of other bands I like, including Square and Compass, and shares half its members with Holder, a badass band that also features Rudy & Steven Duarte (ex-The Tie That Binds/Radio Pioneer/etc.), so it stands to reason they’d be pretty damn good themselves…
And yep, while there’s not much to listen to yet, what I’ve heard so far is very promising, riding a line between indie-rock and lovelorn pop-punk while staying nice and noisy. “E. Wisconsin Avenue,” in particular, has some truly excellent guitars (even if one of the lyrics makes me think of Extreme, weirdly). You can listen to a few live tracks from these guys on a new sampler from Crime Fighter Records:
Valens is playing 2/2/13 at Dean’s, along with Ever Ending Kicks, Midnight Norma Lane, & Division Champs.
That’s it for now, y’all…