Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: The Wheel Workers + Mike Doughty + Coheed and Cambria + American Fangs + Drew Ireland Benefit + More
The Wheel Workers (CD release)/Second Lovers/Jealous Creatures/The Wandering Buffaleros @ Fitzgerald’s
This one’s my favorite of the night, hands down. If you want a glimpse of the best of this city’s music scene these days, you couldn’t do much better than this lineup, which includes three of my current favorite bands and a guy who’s in two other awesome bands, out on his own for the night.
Headliners The Wheel Workers are the stars, naturally, since this is the release party for their brand-new album, Past to Present. Which, incidentally, is freaking great, a subversively political album that also happens to be a beautifully-constructed rock album that brings to mind Radiohead, Midnight Oil, and Fountains of Wayne, all at once. See the full review over here. Oh, and here’s a video the band put together for “Fine Time,” from the new album:
Then there’s Second Lovers, whose bitterly melancholy roots-folk-pop sound has won me over in a big way; they’ve had some changes to their lineup recently, as well, and tonight they’re “formally” welcoming new singer Kelsey Lee Bland (formerly of excuseMesir) to the band. Here’s a quick glimpse of Bland and frontman Nic Morales, doing “Daydreamer” live at the MKT Bar:
I can’t leave out Jealous Creatures, mind you, a band that’s surged to the top of my personal pile of Awesomest Bands Ever and then cemented their place up their with latest album Bazooka. They’re dark and murky in the best way, with a sound that’s equal parts indie-rock and windswept, lonesome-highway Western (minus the “country-“), and the new songs are beautifully introspective and personal.
And hey, since I’m throwing videos in here (and it’s damn entertaining), here’s a video for “Hurry Up” that the band assembled from old footage of Gamera vs. Guiron:
Last but not least, I have yet to hear The Wandering Bufaleros, unfortunately, but I definitely need to, seeing as it’s essentially a rotating cast of Houston-music luminaries, all helmed by Finnegan/The Literary Greats member Taylor Lee. Definitely going to have to give ’em a listen…
Mike Doughty @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
Oh, wow. I’ll freely admit that while I was/am a huge Soul Coughing fan, I kinda lost track of frontman Mike Doughty after the band called it a day. I know he’s had a pretty prolific solo career, and I’ve even heard a handful of tracks from the past several years of his work, but it wasn’t ’til new album The Flip Is Another Honey (apparently a quote from Variety way back in the day about a Jerry Lee Lewis B-side) that I’d really given him a serious listen as a solo artist.
And guess what? Yeah, he’s still pretty damn great. The Flip Is Another Honey is a “covers album,” but in Doughty’s hands that doesn’t mean quite the same thing as it does for other people — he actually deconstructs about half the songs, grafting his own verses onto the original choruses, and it works remarkably well.
Coheed and Cambria/Between the Buried and Me/Russian Circles @ Bayou Music Center
Prog-emo-core junkies, this is for you. Does anybody really need me to tell them who Coheed and Cambria are, at this point? Smart, ridiculously imaginative, sideways-thinking rockers who somehow have tied together seven freaking albums and a series of comic books into one long overarching story. Wow. They’re seriously like a band tailored specifically for nerds (like, say, me).
There’s also Between the Buried and Me, who take that same nerdiness and channel it straight into their guitars, playing like the angry kid brothers of every guitar god you ever worshipped growing up. The music they make is insanely complex and nimble, and meld elements of hardcore, death/thrash metal, and prog into a gigantic, sprawling morass of sound.
Opening instro-metal guys Russian Circles are no slouches, either; take a listen to 2011’s Empros, right here:
American Fangs/Mechanical Boy/To Kill A Party @ Jet Lounge
Damn, this one seriously snuck up on me… Apparently those American Fangs boys have been busy lately, cranking things back up again in preparation for a new EP and a tour next month with Hollywood Undead & Falling In Reverse — and that’s very good news, from where I sit, because these guys make some awesome, party-down, no-frills rock songs.
Here’s a lyric video for new track “Pomona”:
Can’t wait to hear more, y’all…
Let’s Do It For Drew!: A Benefit for Education, featuring Venomous Maximus, Fight Pretty (reunion!), Weird Party, Bowel (reunion!), & Bury The Crown @ Walter’s ($10)
I dunno Drew Ireland, I’m afraid (despite what the Facebook event page says), but hey, don’t let that stop the party. This is apparently a benefit not for him, strictly, but for the kids in the Uktrainian village he’s stationed at for the Peace Corps; the money raised will go towards computers, books, school supplies, and whatever else the kids need for their education. Sounds like a damn good cause to me.
And hey, there’s also the bands playing, like badass metalheads Venomous Maximus, snarling/stabbing noise-punks Weird Party, and reunited hardcore dudes Fight Pretty, all of whom I happen to like quite a bit. Get on out, give whatever you can.
Blackbird Raum/Days N’ Daze/Halevai Klezmer Band/Say Girl Say @ East Side Social Center (4202 Canal; $5)
Last but not least, hey, it’s those crazy protest-folk-punks in Days N’ Daze, playing at the East Side Social Center (which was a record store about a year ago at this time), along with the Halevai Klezmer Band(!) and a band called Say Girl Say who I keep hearing good things about. I don’t know a thing about headliners Blackbird Raum, unfortunately, but this sounds great even without ’em…
Benefit Show in Memory of Lora Rodriguez, featuring Fuska Blast, Idiginis, Always Guilty, & Cassette Tape @ Mango’s
endisnow/The Chemist Inside/The Dead Revolt/Wayside Drive/Battle Between @ Dean’s
Southern Backtones @ CHA Champagne & Wine Bar (810 Waugh Dr. #100)
Blaggards @ Ashford Arms Pub
2nd New Years 2013, featuring DJ Eric Salzman & DJ adr @ Big Star Bar