Yr. (Early) Weekend, Pt. 1: Robert Ellis + Folk Family Revival + Electric Attitude + Jody Seabody & The Whirls + Funeral Horse + More

1797486_10202924264400187_118769046_nYep, we’re kicking things off a little early this week — it’s Thursday, April 3rd, at the moment — because damn, there’s just a lot of excellent stuff going on for a mere Thursday. Here’s what looks/sounds cool to me:

Robert Ellis/Wild Child @ Warehouse Live
Oh, man. Robert Ellis, I underestimated you, I truly did. When The Great Rearranger came out back in 2009, sure, I liked it quite a bit, and 2011’s Photographs was even better, although it still didn’t quite floor me, not really, not like I’d hoped it would. But this…damn.

See, The Lights from the Chemical Plant isn’t just yet-another-rootsy-folky-country-album, not by a long shot. There’s country there, it’s true, but there’s a whole lot of other stuff in there, as well, and weirdly, most of it sounds like the radio back when I was a (non-country-listening) kid. There’re songs on here that make me think of Harry Nilsson, others that make me think of Fleetwood Mac, and even one or two that bring to mind Kenny Rogers circa “Islands in the Stream” (and no, I don’t mean that as a bad thing, believe it or not). It’s not “country,” it’s not “pop,” it’s just…well, just good, solid songwriting, period.

And it’s phenomenal, especially the quasi-title track, “Chemical Plant,” which manages to distill down a childhood’s worth of admiration, pride, and sorrow for the narrator’s (Ellis’s?) parents and bury it deep within the muddy, mucky ground out beyond the Ship Channel, where the eponymous lights from the plants look like a Blade Runner set gone awry after the sun goes down. It’s haunting and heartbreaking, and it sounds like it could’ve come from nowhere else but right here. Wow.

Folk Family Revival @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
Edging a little bit back towards the more straight-up “country” side of things, there’s Folk Family Revival, who’re making the trek down from Magnolia tonight to the Mucky Duck. It’s been too damn long since the band released their debut album, Unfolding, which made my jaw drop with its raggedy-yet-powerful, rootsy, countryish rock vibe, so I’m glad to hear they’ve been working on new music that’ll hopefully(?) see the light of day soon.

Here’s a little taste of the new stuff, with “American Standard”, from their set last month at Blue Rock LIVE

1395369_721360477910214_1213685483_nElectric Attitude/Naughty Professor/The New Mercies @ The Alley Kat Bar & Lounge (3718 Main; free!)
And now, for something seriously, seriously funky… Apparently the departed venue The Mink rides again, kinda, now in the form of The Alley Kat Bar & Lounge, which seems to be heading back towards the former venue’s tradition of excellent local music. This evening they’ve got raw, gritty, impeccably-dressed soul/funk outfit Electric Attitude playing — I last saw those guys last fall at Yes Indeed! Fest, and holy crap were they good, just tight as hell, loud without making your ears bleed, and sounding like the second coming of The Bar-Kays (and no, I don’t say that lightly).

They’re playing with fellow funk-lovers Naughty Professor of New Orleans, another band I saw and was ridiculously impressed by last fall, as well as The New Mercies, which I’d thought was a “band”-type band but turns out to be Grandfather Child frontman Lucas Gorham going out on his own again with a solo effort. As I’m pretty sure I’ve said before, I have no clue what it sounds like, but it’s bound to be good.

10172807_374033519405349_82475057_nVoyage of Slaves/Jody Seabody & The Whirls/Mannequin Mishap/Funeral Horse @ Rudyard’s
Last but certainly not least, head on over to Rudyard’s tonight to catch this one, which features two of my favorite H-town bands. First tonight are Funeral Horse, who crunch and stomp along like some massive, slime-encrusted swamp beast that’s venturing out of the murk to destroy the sharp-edged, brightly-lit cities in the distance; they’re pretty awesome in recorded form, and I swear I’m going to get out & see ’em in-person at some point very soon.

Closing out the night, then, are Jody Seabody & The Whirls, which is one hell of a throwback psych-rock band, the kind that actually sounds like they’ve come straight from the ’60s to melt your brain, smiling all the while. They’re heavy and hazy and kinda-sorta funky, all at once…

Calabrese/We Were Wolves/Johnny Raygun @ Mango’s ($10)
WellWell/Bang Feather Bang/The Witherees/Fandeth @ Notsuoh ($3/$8)
Rodger Stella (mem. of Macronympha)/Hollow Bush/Werewolf Jerusalem/Wipe Hour/Vargrwulf/Postule/Tanner Garza/Jonathan Valdez @ Vinal Edge Records (239 W. 19th St.; 7-10PM)

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