Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Hearts of Animals + LIMB + Young Mammals + Jeremy Messersmith + Second Lovers + I See Stars + Structures + Black Flag + More

10353113_10203393227287116_2060255055582139485_nAlright, people — let’s do this, dammit. Tonight (Friday, July 11th, for those somehow not keeping track) kicks off one hell of a weekend of shows, and I’m gonna do my damnedest to not drop the ball this week. sigh. Here we go:

Hearts of Animals/Young Mammals/LIMB @ Rudyard’s (free!)
First up, I cannot express how happy I am that Mlee Marie, the woman behind Hearts of Animals, has woken from her coupla-years-long hibernation recently. I was afraid the hiatus would end up being permanent, and that would’ve been a serious tragedy, because there’s really nobody in town doing quite what she does — she plays sweet-voiced yet murky pop tunes that meander and drift in the best way imaginable, and on new album Another Mutation, she’s broadening things somewhat.

It’s less experimental and more accessible, true, but I’m good with that, especially since the end result comes off like the middle ground between Tori Amos and Neko Case (with a little Jenny Lewis thrown in, to boot); there are new better places to be, to my mind. It’s gorgeous, gorgeous stuff, and I’m psyched as hell to hear it.

Of course, it helps that she’s got some damn fine people along for the ride tonight up at Rudyard’s, namely electro-manipulator LIMB — whose 2010 release The Shape of Punk for Some still makes my jaw drop — and super-hyper-energetic indie-pop/rock guys Young Mammals, who were themselves doing the hibernation thing for a couple of years, it seems like, and who I’m told also have a new album coming out soon. Keep an eye out.

Jeremy Messersmith/Second Lovers @ Fitzgerald’s
Then there’s Fitzgerald’s, which has a bit of a smaller bill but one that’s no less excellent for its size. Sweet-voiced, Minneapolis-based indie-pop-folk troubadour Jeremy Messersmith is one hell of a songwriter, going by what I’ve heard off of this year’s Heart Murmurs; he sings and plays songs that are delicate and warm, tender and easily bruised, but smart at the same time, and I’ve got pretty high hopes for his live performance, as well.

That said, the real draw for tonight, at least to me, is local band Second Lovers, who just get better and better every time I hear ’em. They’ve shed some of their early melancholy and embraced a slightly louder, more buoyant sound than they started with, but hey, I’m good with that — last year’s “New Mexico,” in particular, makes me grin every damn time I hear it (esp. the call-and-response guitars). Watch this band, people.

Little Joe Washington Fundraiser, featuring Nathan Quick, Shotgun Funeral, Fat Mannequin, Howl and the Rougarou, & Rory Jagdeo @ Avant Garden (6PM)
There’s a great, great show going on tonight over at the Avant Garden, too, and for a supremely great cause, to boot. If you don’t know who Little Joe Washington is, well, he’s pretty much the last man standing of the classic days of Houston blues; he’s outlasted all his peers and contemporaries and keeps right on playing (and well, I might add), but y’know, time catches up to all of us. He’s had some serious medical problems these past few years, and he needs help to pay the bills, so some good-hearted folks have come together to throw him a little fundraiser show, and yes, you should go see it.

5fec44cdb110b832daced791be1f9fe1Beyond the righteousness of the cause itself, the folks playing are pretty darn good, by all reports. I heard Nathan Quick for the first time a few months back and was mightily impressed with his raggedy-edged, rootsy vocals and truly great lyrics, and I’ve heard awesome things about Howl and the Rougarou, although I’ve yet to hear ’em.

I See Stars/The Acacia Strain/Like Moths to Flames/Slaves/Structures/Betraying the Martyrs/Palisades/Sworn In/Upon This Dawning/Kublai Khan @ Warehouse Live
Of course, it’s not a weekend night without growly, snarly heavy shit going on somewhere, right? Tonight’s no exception, naturally, so up at Warehouse Live this evening is a full, full slate of metalcore, death metal, and everything else in-between. Lots of detuned, machine-sounding guitars, half-intelligible vocals, triphammer beats, and the occasional odd electronic touch; sometimes that’s just what you (well, okay, I) need to hear, y’know?

Pay especially close attention to electronics-tinged metalcore headliners I See Stars (who, according to Wikipedia, are actually “electronicore”; seriously, people?), more straightforwardly heavy band The Acacia Strain, and ferocious-yet-complex screamo outfit Structures.

Black Flag/Cinema, Cinema/HOR @ House of Blues
Last but not least, I’m honestly pretty conflicted on this one. I mean, it’s Black Flagkind of. See, the only remaining original member is Greg Ginn (who’s also playing with his psych side band, HOR); he’s got a couple of young dudes on the drums and bass, and skater/singer Mike Vallely, of all people, doing the vocals. So…I dunno. It’d be great to hear those songs, it’s true, and 18-Year-Old Me is hopping up and down inside about that prospect, but the more cynical part of me has to wonder if it’s really gonna be the same without Keith Morris, Henry Rollins, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, or Robo

Runners-Up:
Dwight Taylor Lee @ MKT Bar (1001 Austin; 8PM, free!)
Ak’Chamel/Darwin’s Finches @ The Nance House (1503 Nance)
The Trimms (single release)/Mellow Riot/Chase Hamblin/Hereticks/Captain of the AM @ Fitzgerald’s
Happy Birthday to the Ground, featuring DJ Ziebro, This Time I Brought Bombs, Little Ghost, & The Rest of the Guys @ Notsuoh (free!)
Wrestlers @ MKT Bar (1001 Austin; 5PM, free!)
Shitstorm/Holly Hunt/Holy Money/Teeth Grinder/Lamentation @ Walter’s ($8)


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