Madness on Main Street Rundown, Pt. 2: Children of Pop + Whiite Walls + Devil Killing Moth + Tom Lynch + Sand Dollar Swing + Muddy Belle

childrenofpop1And here we are, friends, back with the second installment of previews for this coming Saturday‘s Madness on Main Street Music Fest, which — as previously noted — promises to be a badass, laidback night of music along the Mid-Main strip that contains The Continental Club, The Big Top, the Pachinko Hut, and The Alley Kat Bar & Lounge. Tickets are a measly $12 ($10 plus the service charge) in advance, or $15 at the door for the whole damn thing; not a bad deal, if you ask me.

Without further ado, here goes:

Children of Pop
I went the wrong way around when getting into Children of Pop, I have to say; when I first heard the band (person? I have no fucking idea), it was on my car stereo, and while they/he/it definitely seemed promising, it felt too loose, maybe too unconnected, too messy to really be able to coalesce. Then I listened again, and again, and finally stuck on the headphones, and suddenly…it clicked. COP’s Fiesta/Drift, it turns out, is the very definition of a “headphone album,” where you can’t really get it unless you listen close up to the intricately layered, heavily electronic compositions.

Once you do, though…oh, wow. Like I said, it clicked, at least for me. Children of Pop has crafted a gorgeous, lush, massively complex gem of an album, one that dances along through the realms of electro-pop but never settles down anywhere, bringing to mind folks like Freelance Whales and Trembling Blue Stars and The Outfield all in the same damn passage. It’s beautiful, beautiful stuff, even if it apparently doesn’t really work over crap-ass car speakers.
[Children of Pop plays at 5PM at The Continental Club.]


 

whiitewalls1Whiite Walls
Okay, just to clarify: this band is Whiite Walls, with two “i”‘s, and they’re from Austin, unlike the band “White Walls” with one “i,” who are from Melbourne, Australia, or “White Walls,” also with one “i,” who are metal dudes from Romania, or The Whitewalls, who are A) an R&B/funk band from Philly or B) a rock band from Brooklyn. Jesus Christ, people — I had no idea this was that popular a name, honestly. I can see why these guys went with the two “i”‘s…

Anyway, the band Whiite Walls that we’re actually talking about here doesn’t sound much like any of those others; instead, they’re a straight-up, ’80s-loving electro-disco outfit, with lots of synths, funky basslines, alternating live and sampled beats, and distant/romantic vocals, married to a heavy dose of late-night murkiness. Fans of The Rapture, H-towners Bang Bangz (who I can’t believe they haven’t yet played with, by the by), or maybe early Killers would do well to check these guys out. Listen to the band’s recently-released self-titled EP below.
[Whiite Walls plays at 6:45PM at The Big Top.]


 

devilkillingmoth1Devil Killing Moth
At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with these guys. With a name like Devil Killing Moth, I’d blithely assumed they were some sort of experimental noise-rock mess (which I’m fine with in a lot of circumstances, for the record), but they turned out to be about as far as you can possibly get from that barring maybe a Japanese idol-pop band. No, what DKM are is a groove-rock band, really, merging together funky rhythms, strummy acoustic guitars, understated melodies, a vocal delivery that’s halfway between soul shouter and hip-hop MC, and some proggy/jazzy side excursions for flavor.

The result is interesting, definitely, although it hasn’t yet grabbed me quite like some of the other folks playing at Madness on Main Street have. Even still, the band’s promising as hell, and I’m looking forward to see what they do next…
[Devil Killing Moth plays at 8:30PM at The Alley Kat.]

 

Tom Lynch
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Another country/folk singer-songwriter guy? Seriously?” That was my initial reaction, too, before I was completely won over by recent H-town returnee (he apparently was born here but left a few years back to live in Australia) Tom Lynch‘s gently rambling, rootsy jangle-folk.

tomlynch1It’ll take me a few more listens for it to all truly sink in, but from where I’m standing right now, damn, this guy is one hell of a songwriter; I keep thinking of Ryan Adams as Lynch’s seemingly fragile, warm-hearted, rolling-down-the-highway Americana tunes come out of the headphones, and that’s a pretty high damn bar. There’s also hints of Steve Earle here and there, not to mention David Ramirez, and a little bit of Simon and Garfunkel peeking out from behind the raggedy jeans and button-down shirt. I’m new to Lynch’s music, but after hearing last year’s Hurricane, I can’t wait to see what he can do live.
[Tom Lynch plays at 5:15PM at The Pachinko Hut.]


 

Sand Dollar Swing
Whoa. Alright, didn’t see that one coming… I’d heard the name Sand Dollar Swing a few times but never knew much about the band, and now that I’m looking into ’em, it appears that one half of this duo is Curran Rehm, formerly of may-they-rest-in-peace psych-pop heroes The Riff Tiffs, whom I loved dearly, and the other is Cash Kilmister, also currently of dramatic indie-theater-rockers The Manichean. Which means that this band is essentially like a folky Houston music version of Voltron, at least to me.

Unfortunately, they don’t have any music online anywhere (not that I’ve been able to dig up, anyway), so I’m going to have to take them at their word when they say they’re a “country/folk/gospel duo” and hope I can see for myself what they sound like this weekend.
[Sand Dollar Swing plays at 7:15PM at The Pachinko Hut.]
 

Muddy Belle
Another surprise, although this one’s of the musical variety. I’d kind of assumed the three guys in Muddy Belle were probably another indie-ish country/folk outfit — Houston’s got a fair number of those, these days — but happily, they’re not. Instead, they’re a rough-around-the-edges blues-rawk trio, all Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar lines, moody rhythms, and Black Keys-like blues-soul vocals (see “I Got Time,” in particular, for that), and yeah, they’re pretty damn fun.

sanddollarswing1My one complaint with their new EP, Mercy Me, is that it’s just not dirty enough; if I’m listening to blues-rock, I want it to be dirty and grimy, with some of the edges not sanded off and still jagged. Mercy Me comes nearby, but it’s almost too clean for the kind of music it is, at least to me. I’m betting, however, that Muddy Belle live is a whole other story.
[Muddy Belle plays at 7PM at The Continental Club.]


 

And that’s all I’ve got for right now; more to come, though, I promise…

(Photos [top to bottom]: Children of Pop; Whiite Walls; Devil Killing Moth; Tom Lynch; Sand Dollar Swing. Whiite Walls photo by Candice Lawler; Devil Killing Moth photo by Luna Negra Photos.)


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2 Responses to “Madness on Main Street Rundown, Pt. 2: Children of Pop + Whiite Walls + Devil Killing Moth + Tom Lynch + Sand Dollar Swing + Muddy Belle”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Madness on Main Street Rundown, Pt. 3: Electric Attitude + Cosmic Bug Loaf + Glass the Sky + Antiques + The Docs + Sphynx + Satellite D’Homme + The Wandering Bufaleros on May 9th, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    […] — back again with installment #3 of the previews (see installments #1 and #2 over here and here) for the rapidly-approaching Madness on Main Street Music Fest, coming up this Saturday, May 9th […]

  2. Article on June 7th, 2014 at 1:56 am

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    SPACE CITY ROCK ยป Madness on Main Street Rundown, Pt. 2: Children of Pop + Whiite Walls + Devil Killing Moth + Tom Lynch + Sand Dollar Swing + Muddy Belle

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