Ancient Cat Society, Ancient Cat Society

I’ve listened to and been a fan of the music Sergio Trevino and Haley Lynch (formerly Haley Barnes) have made in their own little realms for years now, he with roots-pop band Buxton and solo and she with delicate indie-pop outfit Dollie Barnes, rock band VODI, and solo, but until now…

Opeth, Sorceress

Opeth have divided their fans over the last few years by taking a musical approach that can barely be called metal, much less the brutal, technical death metal with which they made their name. Longtime fans seem to fall into one of two camps: some refuse to accept the new music because it’s “not Opeth”, while others think Michael Akerfeldt and company can do no wrong…

Shovels & Rope, Little Seeds

For a large chunk of my life, I would proudly declare to anybody who’d listen that I hated country music. I got downright righteous about it, honestly, for reasons that would probably only make sense to teenage wannabe music nerds with inflated senses of their own importance. And yeah, I’d imagine it was pretty freaking annoying…

Miears, Who Will Save You?

One of the best things I can say about any album, and even more so for an EP, is that it felt like it went by too fast, that I wanted it to keep going. That’s where I am with Miears’ new Who Will Save You? EP; it’s alluring and lush and intense, and I just want to hear more of it, or at least the whole damn thing, over and over again….

Red Fang, Only Ghosts

Red Fang are a conundrum of a band, one that I love for seemingly totally diametrically opposed reasons. On the one hand, I love their over-the-top, raw, heavy-as-fuck, metal sensibilities, the kind that write songs to make you punch the roof of your beat-to-shit old car…

Jerk, Jerk EP

With their new, self-titled EP, down-low, funky/reggaeified pop trio Jerk has staked out some impressively new, (mostly) unexplored territory. The Houston-dwelling band starts off sounding like a kind of downtempo…

Keeton Coffman, Killer Eyes

I love Keeton Coffman. Until now, I’ve been unable to even start to explain why; there’s just something about the guy’s voice that works for me, pulling me along with the song. It helps that he’s got this Springsteenian delivery I dig, sure…

The Head and the Heart, Signs of Light

Things have changed a fair bit for Seattle band The Head and the Heart, these past few years. Most famously, frontman Josiah Johnson has been struggling with addiction, which means that while he wrote/co-wrote the songs on Signs of Light — particularly the title track, which closes out the album…

The Dandy Warhols, Distortland

It’s been a long road for The Dandy Warhols. They’ve occupied a very specific niche, it seems like, over the course of their 20-plus-year career, standing at the intersection between psychedelic rock, Brit-influenced pop, and indie-rock, and despite being real-live adults these days…

Ra Ra Riot, Need Your Light

I heard this too late by a month or so, it feels like; here in Houston, despite it still being too goddamn hot to willingly spend significant time outdoors, summer’s finally on its way out, giving way to what passes for “Autumn” in these parts (i.e., “chilly” temps most Northerners would snicker at, although I’d dare ’em to try to survive the heart of summer down here…). See, Ra Ra Riot’s Need Your Light is, at its core, a summer album, at least to these ears…

The Crookes, Lucky Ones

I went into Lucky Ones, the fourth album from The Crookes, with some trepidation. See, everything I’d heard or read about the Sheffield band focused on how singer George Waite’s voice seriously sounded just like Morrissey’s…and, to the unending horror of my wonderful, Morrissey-loving wife, I’ve never been a fan…

Beach Slang, A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings

I’ll confess to being pretty disappointed in recent years with punk rock in general. Maybe I’m showing my age, but seriously, most of what I’ve heard lately has left me pretty cold, to the point where I’ve wondered if it’s really worth listening to as much anymore. Then, as happens at times like these, the Universe steps in to tell me I’m wrong, and I’m being a moron…in this case, “the Universe” being Pennsylvania rock dudes Beach Slang…

Adam Bricks, Relations

Alright, so I definitely need to quit referring to — and thinking of, beyond that — Adam Bricks as a folksinger. Because with Relations, he’s pretty much taken that label and lit it on fire, smiling, and then roared on past its accepted boundaries like he’s trying to craft something completely different. And yes, that’s a very, very good thing. Best of all, I think he knows exactly what he’s doing…

John Evans, Polyester

“A Tale of Two Elvises” — that’s what keeps popping into my head, weirdly, as I listen to John Evans’ new album Polyester. And it does make sense, kind of, as the album rolls on. I’ll explain how in a minute, but at the root, it’s because, see, Polyester isn’t much like what I’ve heard from Evans…

Into It. Over It., Standards

I never thought I’d say it, but I’m at the point in the whole emo-revival thing where it’s the bands who aren’t truly “emo” anymore that are the most interesting to me. I’m talking about the ones who blend together the original emo/post-emo stuff with, hell, I dunno, folk or prog or barroom rock…

Bleached, Welcome The Worms

Well, damn. Welcome The Worms, the brand-damn-new full-length from L.A. trio Bleached — two members of which, sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, you might remember from late-2000s band Mika Miko — grabbed tight to my skeptic self from the very first note of “Keep On Keepin’ On” and refused to let go ’til the very end of “Hollywood, We Did It All Wrong”…

The Wiggins, Greater Minds

Jon Read may not have been born in the sweaty, swampy, dirty depths of Houston, Texas, but the city fits him like a (tattered, weird-smelling) glove. There’s just something about that raw, ripped-open, messy, muddy sound Read’s crafted over the course of his 15 years or so of his musical career…

Cameron Dezen Hammon, Words Don’t Bleed

Sometimes the process is as cool as the product. (Well, almost as cool, anyway.) That’s definitely how I’m feeling about singer/songwriter and sometime The Rebecca West frontwoman Cameron Dezen Hammon’s latest…

Giant Kitty, This Stupid Stuff

Simple works. It just does, just about every damn time. And with This Stupid Stuff, four-piece punk rock crew Giant Kitty prove that over and over and over again. Even for a punk band these days, they’re refreshingly old-school, dancing across the grey area…

Deep Cuts, Gulf Coast Companion Vol. 1

Bad news first: no, this isn’t a brand-new full-length from quirky, beach-loving popsters Deep Cuts. That release is coming, yes, but this isn’t it, not yet. Instead, Gulf Coast Companion Vol. 1 is an everything-up-to-now compilation of all the music the supremely talented quintet has thrown out there, all cleaned up and shiny and bubbly and sunshiny. Oh, and it’s a cassette, that least-beloved of formats for seemingly everybody but me. I’ve gotten grief from multiple people about my love for cassettes…

The Ex-Optimists, Phantom Freight

More and more these days, I find myself admiring bravery when it comes to rock music; it’s a whole lot cooler, to me, to do something strange and different than it is to ride the same damn riffs and song structures and whatnot (well, okay, as long as the music itself works, but we’ll get to that)…

David Ramirez, Fables

I wasn’t sure what to make of David Ramirez’s latest full-length, Fables, not at first. I was expecting something more like the fiery Rooster, or maybe the downtrodden reconciliation of Apologies, but what I heard instead was a slate of (mostly) low-key, almost fragile songs that were slow-moving to the point of somnolence at times. I didn’t feel let down, not exactly, but I didn’t feel entirely satisfied, either…

Pecos Hank, El Reno Blues

Ever met someone who was, say, in a relationship with somebody, and you knew immediately that it wasn’t going to work — that something just wasn’t quite right, didn’t quite fit the way it was supposed to? Not that either person was bad, but that they weren’t right for one another? That’s how I feel about Hank Schyma, aka Pecos Hank, tornado-chaser, musician, videographer, and all-round larger-than-life dude…

Jealous Creatures, The Night Goes on for Days

Alright, so I’m gonna go out on a little bit of a limb, here: I think Jealous Creatures’ latest full-length, The Night Goes on for Days, is a sneaky, semi-secret, undeclared concept album of sorts. No, I’m serious. If I’m wrong, I’m sure the folks in the band will set me straight, but after repeated listenings to Night, it’s hard for me to escape the idea…

Knights of the Fire Kingdom, Knights of the Fire Kingdom

Oh, hell yes. From the very first blast of boogie-rawk guitar and distorted, half-snarled vocals on their eponymous debut LP, the Knights of the Fire Kingdom make it absolutely goddamn clear both what they are and what they are not, in equal measure. What they are is a straight-up, nitro-burning rock band…

The Wheel Workers, Citizens

Screw that whole “bands get quieter and more mellow as they get older” thing; who the hell wants that? The Wheel Workers, for one, sound like they’ve actually gotten louder and angrier as they’ve matured, band-wise, and I’m here to tell you that yes, that’s a very good thing. See, back in 2013 the band released their stellar second album, Past to Present, which pretty much took any problems I might’ve had with the band’s earlier stuff and threw them, smiling, into a running garbage disposal…

Football, Etc., Disappear

Sometimes, even when I really, really like a band — like is the case with, say, Houston-dwelling emo purveyors Football, etc. — there’s just some little thing/person/whatever missing to shove the whole thing over the edge into “holy crap, this is amazing” territory. Going by Football, etc.’s new four-song EP, Disappear, it looks like that thing is badass producer J. Robbins. Okay, that’s not all that’s happening here…

John Bassett, Unearth

This album is in my Top 5 for 2014. I’m giving it 5 stars not just because I love the album (I do), but because it is that most rare of albums these days: an actual masterpiece. John Bassett steps away from his band, KingBathmat, and puts the focus solely on himself. Although he is the singer, bass player, and songwriter for KingBathmat, the songs are written with a band environment in mind…

Two Star Symphony, Seven Deadly Sins

As I’ve proclaimed a few times before in these pages, it’s no small thing to try to convey an emotion, a feeling, using music alone. With a vocalist standing out in front of the band, you can make things a lot more clear, declare your intentions more succinctly, and actually pull the audience along with you to where you want them to go emotionally. If the lyrics of a song are about someone dying, then odds are good…

The Church of Philadelphia, We’re Gonna Dance Tonight

I found it really difficult to write this review, a whole lot harder than I’d ever expected I would. Now, in case you’re one of those people who only reads the first paragraph of a review and makes their mind up then and there, let me clarify that I don’t mean this review was hard to write because I don’t like The Church of Philadelphia’s long-awaited second album, We’re Gonna Dance Tonight. On the contrary, I absolutely love it…

Folk Family Revival, Water Walker

Four years is a long time for anybody, and even longer for a musician, who’s liable to spend large chunks of that time on the road, scrabbling and scraping for any way they can somehow get ahead and avoid going broke doing what they love. It’s a long time in which you might stumble, might fall…

A Sundae Drive, The Senseless & The Sound

Midway through listening to A Sundae Drive’s most recent full-length, the followup to 2011’s excellent, You’re Gonna Get Me, it hit me just how, well, how dark it is. There’s a murky, bitter edge to the band’s sound on here, despite the seemingly cheery pop melodies…

Torche, Restarter

For Floridian doom-metal heroes Torche, Restarter feels kind of like a homecoming. I say “kind of,” mind you, because this isn’t really a step backwards as much as it is an integration of the band’s earlier, heavier sounds with the poppier experiment that was 2012’s Harmonicraft. At the same time, though, the album feels very much akin to Meanderthal

The Coasts, Racilia

I will admit that I first listened to The Coasts because my friend and former co-worker, Ike Peters, is in the band. I spent my money on their first two albums (The Coasts and Santa Fe), though, because I actually liked them. The Coasts play lo-fi, indie pop-rock that is simultaneously fun and thoughtful, with bouncy melodies and some deceptively simple…

A Place To Bury Strangers, Transfixiation

I’ve never seen A Place To Bury Strangers live; after hearing Transfixiation, I’m not sure I’d survive the experience. Part of me wonders that, if I did, once I staggered, blood dripping steadily from my eardrums and my head full of darkness and fear and ruin, back out onto the street, maybe some new facet of the world I’d never fully recognized might suddenly reveal itself to me. Or, on the other hand, I might just pass out in the gutter, sobbing uncontrollably and unable to remember what all had happened. Still, it’s damned tempting to give it a try…

Quiet Company, Transgressor

After four long years, it’s here at last. Seriously, since the first time I heard Quiet Company’s We Are All Where We Belong, I feel like I’ve been holding my breath to see what comes next. Of course, that doesn’t mean the band’s been sitting still the whole time — far from it, in fact…

Sweet & Lynch, Only to Rise

Michael Sweet is busier now than he’s ever been. After Stryper released No More Hell to Pay, arguably their best album, in November 2013, Sweet released a long-awaited solo album last year, and now this collaboration with George Lynch. Stryper have also reportedly started working on their follow-up to No More Hell to Pay. Like I said, busy…

Hearts of Animals, Another Mutation

Time sometimes mellows a musician, and in a lot of instances, that can be a very, very bad thing. On Another Mutation, though, a little bit of mellowing and stepping backwards helps, allowing singer/multi-instrumentalist Mlee Marie’s clear, beautiful voice to shine through without some of the more experimental/noisy trappings of her early work cluttering things up. And once that happens, another thing immediately snaps into focus: she’s truly one hell of a songwriter…

The Suffers, Make Some Room

You can’t resist The Suffers; seriously, it’s impossible. Their music is just so infectious, so warm and mellow it’s like one of those rare perfect spring days when the sky’s bright and blue and cloudless, the weather’s warm but not yet hot, and all feels right with the world…

The Lotus Effect, Totality

Wow; talk about ambition. I knew the four guys in The Lotus Effect had pretty lofty aspirations for their long-awaited full-length album, but I wasn’t real clear what they had in mind, specifically. Now that I’ve heard the full scope of Totality…well, I’m back to “wow,” again…


H-Town Mixtape

Upcoming Shows

Categories

Archives

Recent Posts

Links

Our Sponsors