Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Buxton + The Appleseed Cast + The Life and Times + Funeral Horse + Brazos + Big Country + The Guillotines + More

941752_461694480593303_2043918419_nYes, folks, it’s that time again — the weekend is here, starting tonight, Friday, July 12th, and while it’s not quite as jam-packed as some recent Fridays have been, well, it’s still looking pretty good. Apologies, by the way, for the quiet of late ’round these parts; we’ve got a bunch of things in the works, but they’re moving a little slowly (due to nobody’s fault but mine, I should note). Keep an eye out, but ’til then, here we go:

Buxton @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
Ah, Buxton — damn, I love this band so much, I feel like I can’t even properly express it, y’know? They’re subtle and gentle and laid-back beyond belief, but at the same time they’re mining a deep, deep vein of emotional turmoil, and they cloak it all in rootsy-but-not-country rhythms and instrumentation, with Sergio Trevino‘s vocals taking center stage. (Although everybody in the band is pretty badass in their own right, mind you; if you haven’t seen it already, check out Jason Smith‘s interview from a little while back with guitarist Jason Willis.)

The Appleseed Cast/The Life and Times/Muscle Worship @ Fitzgerald’s
As somebody who lived through the heyday of emo back in the ’90s, I can attest with head hung low that most of the bands from that era…well, they didn’t make it. Sure, they may’ve gotten back together these past couple of years, but in the meantime the vast majority of ’em broke up, imploded, or whatever else. But not The Appleseed Cast. No, these guys broke the pattern by refusing to call it a day and instead — gasp!evolving as a band, until they barely resemble their late-’90s selves.

And going by how they sound now, that’s no bad thing. These days the Cast are a full-fledged post-rock band, pointing fingers at skyward-facing bands Explosions in the Sky or My Education and channeling those emo-ish guitars into some seriously moody, intense compositions that are less “songs” and more like “movements.” And then, hey, there’s also ex-Shiner outfit The Life and Times, who are similarly moody but heavier and more flat-out “rock”-like; there’s a lot on No One Loves You Like I Do that makes me think of vintage Deftones, which is a little strange, really, but I’m liking it either way.

The Swamps/Mr. Clit & The Cigarettes/Stout City Luchadores/Funeral Horse @ Notsuoh ($5)
I’ll admit that I dunno most of the folks playing tonight up at Notsuoh, but I’ve been enjoying Funeral Horse quite a damn bit lately. They’re heavy and sludgy and dirge-y and sharp-edged all at once, bringing to mind old-old-old-school California punk rawk, back before it got all poppified and full of douchebags; think Agent Orange mind-melding with Early Man, and you’ll come close.

484662_554283717951084_915470517_nAnd hey, they just released their debut EP, Savage Audio Demon, on cassette (well, and digital download, too) for all who possess tape decks to hear & gape in wonderment. Check it out:

Brazos/Cayucas/Chemistry @ Mango’s
Okay, so you probably need a little bit of a break now to unwind your ratcheted-down brain; I present to you Brazos and Cayucas. Both are delicate and sweet and bouncy in the best possible way, shimmering and grinning along on a sun-soaked summer’s day until you can’t help but bounce and groove along. The former band’s new album, Saltwater, in particular, surprised me — I’d figured, based on 2009’s Phosphorescent Blues, that it’d be mellow and indie-folky, but it’s far more energetic and danceable than the band’s previous efforts. And while I definitely liked Blues, I’m pretty psyched to see/hear the change. The more I hear of bands like this, the more it feels like this is the new New Wave of pop, and I’m starting to like it.

Big Country/The Grizzly Band/Espantapajaros/The Analog People @ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)
And now for the roots of that sound, at least tangentially. Yes, that Big Country, the Scottish New Wave outfit. No, I don’t care if you don’t know any of their other songs, but if you don’t like “In a Big Country,” I’m afraid I’m going to have to reevaluate our friendship.

Besides, their new stuff’s not bad, despite the advancing years:

Mugen Hoso/The Swingin’ Dicks/The Guillotines/Die Rottz @ Rudyard’s
And last but not least, there’s a sweaty, snarling pile of punk rawk noise over at Rudyard’s tonight, with Japanese headliners Mugen Hoso, the re-formed Swingin’ Dicks, and ex-Pagans member Bobby Conn‘s newest band, The Guillotines — which shouldn’t be confused with the Fatal Flying Guillotines or The Guillo-Teens, both of whom are sadly long dead & gone. Go get drunk & loud.

Runners-Up:
Ezra Charles/Little Joe Washington @ The Continental Club
Inspector 7/Los Skarnales/The Bandulus/Saint Apes/Steel Toe Soul @ Walter’s
Blaggards @ Ashford Arms Pub (13308 Westheimer)
Zigtibra/Demonic Hen/Deep Space Showcase/Ak’chamel @ Super Happy Fun Land
Fistful of Soul @ The Big Top


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