Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Jeff Fest + Silver Snakes + Omotai + Clouseaux + The Coathangers + Peter Matthew Bauer + Guess Genes + Sphynx + More

1025983_803659716311471_6567092934839547229_oIt’s Friday night, people, and as always (well, almost always), there’s plenty of awesome stuff going on in our not-quite-fair city. Here’s what sounds cool to me:

Jeff Fest: Memorial Festival for Jeff Hunter, featuring The Trimms, Baltazar Canales, Kosé, Love Horse, caffeinated, Gio Chamba, Say Girl Say, DKM, Jennifer O’Brien, Hand From Texas, whit, Places to Hide, NIKKHOO & his barefeet, 10,000 Chiefs Under The Sea, The Viridian Sons, Space Villains, Ornaments, & TheMotherfuckingWind @ Avant Garden (5PM-2AM)
Unfortunately, tonight starts on a bit of a tragic note. As we talked about a few weeks back, local radio show host and music scenesters Jeff Hunter committed suicide earlier this month. I didn’t know the man, but it’s a tragedy all the same; he affected a whole lot of people’s lives, and in a good way, serving as a mentor and friend to many.

So this evening up at Avant Garden, some of Jeff’s friends are coming together not to mourn but to celebrate his life, with a mini-festival they’re calling Jeff Fest. Some of the bands playing I’m not real familiar with, but I’ve heard excellent things about several of ’em, especially Love Horse, The Trimms, and Ornaments, and I like what I’ve heard from quirky tribal-soul folkies Say Girl Say quite a bit; their first few songs were a cappella, as far as I could tell, but lately they’ve incorporated more instruments, and thankfully, it works well both ways.

The show’s already started, I’m afraid, but it’ll go late, so get on up there and pay your respects.

Silver Snakes/Lions of Tsavo/Omotai/Forced Fem @ Mango’s
Mango’s comes in a close, close second tonight…and hey, it’s right freakin’ next door, so you’re in luck. Head on over there for a respite from the laidback folksingers and hippie vibes, because the lineup tonight is pretty goddamned heavy. Headliners Silver Snakes (from L.A.) are loud but nicely melodic, especially on their most recent release, Year Of The Snake, which is less hardcore/noisy than what I’d heard from ’em in the past — it’s kind of angling towards more of a post-hardcore, edge-of-emo sound, and I’m good with that.

clouseauxrecordreleaseFor their part, Austin’s Lions of Tsavo are even heavier and a whole lot noisier, crunching along in a jagged-edged, proggy, noisy, doom-y vein, and last year’s Traverser is pretty damn good. There’s also Forced Fem, which I’ve only heard briefly at FPSF but was pretty impressed by in passing, at least — I think it’s the new band of Denniz from the sadly-departed Peloton, which definitely helps.

Omotai gets the gold star from me, though, primarily because they’re currently my favorite heavy-ass band out there, from here or anywhere. They thunder and crash along like titanic gods (and goddess, obviously) of the Nether Realms, coming to Earth simply to lay waste to anything that dares creep into their sight. This spring’s Fresh Hell saw the band getting away from the more straight-up doom-metal stuff and rambling more into the post-punk arena, staking a claim in areas previously held by folks like Neurosis, Unsound, Barkmarket, and Federation X. And holy fuck is it good.

By the by, I’m told the band recently gained a new drummer, none other than ex-Jonx-er (and SCR contributor) Danny Mee. To which I can’t do much except hop up and down excitedly; make of that whatever you will, eh?

Clouseaux (record release)/The Mermaniacs @ The Big Top
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Oh, hell yes. The Big Top tonight plays host to none other than Clouseaux, one of my all-time favorite H-town bands and a seriously on-again-off-again endeavor, it seems like; if you’d asked me if they were still around about a month ago (before I saw ’em listed on the schedule, that is), I would’ve told you “no” and been pretty confident about it.

10544789_732123856848100_7462078732147577178_nI’m extremely happy, though, to find out that not only is the band still alive & kicking, but tonight’s the official record release party for their brand-new, Kickstarter-funded album. That’s great news, because I’ve been feeling a serious lack of groovy, Tiki-themed surf-lounge music in recent years; I listened to some of the band’s self-titled 2002 release earlier this week, and I couldn’t stop myself from grinning as they barrelled through the spy-sounding “A Most Excellent Flying Death” and the murky, mysterioso “Where Are We Now?” Guys, it’s been too damn long; don’t scare me like that, alright?

The Coathangers/White Fang @ Fitzgerald’s
On over at Fitzgerald’s, there’s two floors’ worth of goodness going on, but my money’s personally on this one, with Atlanta punks The Coathangers, who’ve transcended their reportedly half-assed origins to become a band well worth taking seriously; they make me think of Bikini Kill at points, but there’s a bluesy, gritty feel to it that’s more Black Keys than Riot Grrl, and at times they blaze with a magnificent fire that’s truly great to witness.

Plus, they’re playing with White Fang, who take stoner-rock and bring it down to the level of actual stoners, coming off like a combination between back-in-the-day Dinosaur Jr. (or maybe Sebadoh) and the likes of fellow Portlanders (and fellow “Fang”) band Red Fang. They’re loud and sludgy but mellow at the same time, and it works really damn well…

Peter Matthew Bauer (mem. of The Walkmen)/Guess Genes/Little Lo @ Walter’s ($10)
Then there’s Walter’s, which also has a killer lineup tonight. If you don’t know who Peter Matthew Bauer is, well, that’s okay, because you probably know his previous band, The Walkmen (and if you don’t, you should). And if that doesn’t make you sit up and listen, well, try this, instead — the guy’s solo album, Liberation!, is a far-flung, intensely personal exploration that brings to mind ’60s psych-pop, Guided By Voices’ rumbling, shaggy-haired catchiness, and Elvis Costello’s smart, sharp, post-New Wave soul.

Plus, he’s got some great people opening for him, namely Guess Genes, which is the newest project from Buxton frontman Sergio Trevino and the nameless mystery person behind Children of Pop, and which sounds pretty neat so far:

10470608_679618372121285_7692610754889551984_nFave band New York City Queens was scheduled to open, but they’ve apparently dropped off the bill and have been ably replaced by fellow cool people Little Lo, who I also like a heck of a lot. Being from Austin, they don’t play down here as much as I’d like, but honest, you need to catch this band’s orchestral-but-intimate take on indie-pop while you still can. (Get up there quick.)

Mellow Riot/Sphynx/Devil Killing Moth/Catalogue/Brando Dickson @ Notsuoh ($5/$8)
Lastly, get on over to Notsuoh tonight and gape, open-mouthed at the sheer ’80s-drenched spectacle that is Sphynx. I finally got to see the Austin trio this spring at Madness on Main Street, and once I got beyond the utter disbelief and hysterical laughter and realized how serious and into it these guys are, I was bowled over, completely. They may look and sound somewhat cheeseball, but they are honest-to-God true believers, and trust me, they get down like they’ve done it for decades now. Go witness it, seriously.

Runners-Up:
Alpha Rev/The Rocketboys/Stukenberg/Levi Weaver @ Fitzgerald’s
14th Annual Rock Baby Rock It Festival, featuring The Paladins, The Octanes, The Belmont Five, & The Mavens @ The Continental Club
Dangerous Toys/Tame Fury/Skrewpipe/Icky Hollow @ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)
Black Irish Texas/John Evans & Jesse Dayton (CD release) @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
Junior Brown @ Main Street Crossing (Tomball)
The Dead Links @ Big Star Bar
Morbid Angel/Dying Fetus/Thy Art Is Murder/Goatwhore/Origin/Decrepit Birth/Within the Ruins/Fallujah/Boreworm/I-Terra @ House of Blues


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