I realized a while back that there were more defunct bands on the "Bands" page than ones still playing here in town, so I decided to shift the ones that aren't really doing anything anymore off onto this new page. Bands that're here are ones I look back on fondly, but that haven't released much in a while or done anything new - and if any of 'em do stuff again, hey, I'll move 'em back over...
PREVIOUSLY FEATURED BANDS |
DEAD HOUSTON BANDS LIST
PREVIOUSLY FEATURED BANDS:
Okay, so I'm pretty
sure All Transistor is toast, at least for the time being. What began as just Thane from Linoleum Experiment and grew into a bona-fide Houston indie-rock supergroup (in the studio, anyway) has since lapsed into inactivity, which is a shame. Heck, I think even his "full-time" band, Sad Like Crazy, has gone away, at this point...sigh.
I've always had a soft spot for Thane's cracked Sebadoh-/Silkworm-ish indie-rock songs with the halfway nonsensical lyrics, and I'm sad to see them fall by the wayside. On a happy note, they did at least get one CD out on Ojet Records, Parts
, and it's really damn cool, a lot more like weirder, poppier folks like Guided By Voices and Spoon (which isn't too
much of a surprise, since GbV engineer John Croslin recorded a lot of the songs at his Austin studio) than what Thane had done in the past. It's some brilliant, amazing stuff, believe me, even now that the band's dead and gone. Thane's also been popping up here and there as Judas Bear, so maybe he'll eventually have something else out one of these days. [2/22/2007]
BEAT TEMPLE: Somebody recently reminded me how cool these folks are, so I figured that even though I haven't seen them in years, I'd mention 'em here. I think Beat Temple are pretty much the last bastion of the "Texas Funk Coalition"-type bands here in Houston, and they're one of the best. Cool, funky, beat-heavy music to move your booty. I think they've got at least one CD out, but I dunno for sure, 'cause I've never found it in stores (anybody know where I can get a copy?). Man...I can still remember the phenomenal show they put on four or five years ago at Wiess, playing N.O.D. with fellow funksters Venus In Furs (R.I.P. - sob.)... Uh, quick question: anybody know if these folks still exist? I sure haven't heard anything about 'em in a loooong time... [2/26/98]
Hrm. I hate to admit it, but I really haven't a clue what happened to Bickley. As far as I can tell, they just sort of stop played and disappeared into Houston's urban landscape, gone like dust in the wind. I never even got to hear much by this bunch of goofy pogo-punkers, but I fell hard for their track "Uncle Borloff," off the Noncompliance
comp. They put out at least a few albums of their own, including the debut full-length, Pogo-Au-Go-Go
, which was supposedly pretty damn cool (and which was re-released by Fearless Records, the label these guys were signed to), and their second release, Kiss The Bunny
, featured cover art so terrifying it still makes me twitch to think about it. As for other stuff, there's a 7" called "Down The Hatch," and the Bickley boys appeared on the first No Approval Needed
comp (on Broken Note), the Spider Club Music comp One Big Happy Slam Pit
, and the Punk Bites 2
comp, as well. Guess they've moved on to bigger & better things, eh? [8/25/2003]
Yeah, yeah -- so these guys have been broken up for quite some time now (well, as much as they were ever "together" to begin with), but I've kept them on here out of respect for their bizarre combination of performance art and retro-'80s music. In their blissfully short existence, they managed to storm the stages of half a dozen venues in town (sometimes even when they weren't even playing), cause at least a couple fistfights, and spark a long-standing feud with the members of Japanic...how many other bands in town can claim that?
Infamous history aside, the most apt description for the group that I ever heard was "Kraftwerk meets A-ha". Saw these guys at the '97 KTRU Outdoor Show, and man...were they bizarre. Imagine everything goofy, fun, and awful about '80s synth-pop/pre-techno/computer pop/whatever. Five guys (I think
) in white jumpsuits dancing around like maniacal robots and scribbling mathematical formulas on a whiteboard, all the while pounding out the beat on a drumpad and running lots of cool synth melodies from their interlinked Apples. Like Devo, but more silly...? I think this "press release" I got from 'em way back in the day probably explains their mission better than I can:
Big Science is a group of theoretical physicists and cybernetic helper robots from the future who have invented the ultimate musical generation system using a pair of cutting-edge Apple IIgs computers.
The group is led by Dr. Eddington Bogas, a nuclear physicist, robotics expert and musician.
Bogas is accompanied by Dr. Christoph L. French, a cybernetically-enhanced expert on sound synthesis.
The two have been sent back in time from the year 2075 by an elderly Steve Wozniak, in a last-ditch effort to reintroduce the Apple IIgs operating system as a superior technology. Big Science's stated goal is the "placement of the Apple IIgs Operating System as the dominating OS in the home, business, education and government sectors -- by any means necessary."
"The Mac OS is outdated. It's from 1984. The Apple IIgs was invented in 1986. Therefore it is superior. I won't even get into the archaic 8086 series chips."
There you go. Crazy as loons, but hey, it made for some unforgettable shows, that's for sure. [8/25/2003]
BIG TOP: sigh.
Me liking a band in this town is starting to look like the kiss of death (me, self-centered? nah...). Yes, Big Top are no more - due to various differences, they've decided it's about time to call it quits and move on. Former guitarist/singer Hector tells me he's already putting together a new "project," but really couldn't tell me much about it yet; all I know is that it won't
be Big Top.
At any rate, when they were together, Big Top were pretty damn cool new wave-ish pop-punk-type stuff. They were absolutely great live (I used to be constantly afraid that Hector'd swing wide and smash his guitar on something, tho'), and their tape Textbook For The TV Generation is darn good, esp. the end-of-the-world anthem "Red, Green, Blue." Unfortunately, I've been informed that they're all out of tapes, but luckily, "Red, Green, Blue" is also out on a split 7" out now with fellow Houstonians The Freshmakers (the record's a collaboration between Stupid Gaijin Records and BT's own Frantic Toaster Records...), so you're not totally screwed. Also, they've got a kick-ass new song, "Sulphur," on the generally-cool Aztlan Recording Studio (not Aztlan Records; it's on Norbac Records) comp Songs From the Icehouse. Unfortunately, I guess there won't be any more stuff on the way... (Oh yeah, and for those wondering, yup, former Big Top guitarist/singer/songwriter guy Hector also plays bass for the ever-entertaining Jack-Onz...) [10/18/98]
Photo by John Van.
Damn, gone too soon. The band hooked me with the first track I ever heard on their Myspace page, "Thickass Cables" live at Rudyard's, and proceeded to pull me in even deeper to their tight, twisty, math-y instro-rock. The music brought to mind Slint, Rodan, June of 44, and the rest of the whole Kentucky-then-Chicago school of post-rock that was big back in the late '90s, along with contemporaries like aMINIATURE or Edsel. Oh, and there was some resemblance to members of the current crop of instrumental rock/metal, folks like Pelican or Red Sparowes.
And luckily, it was all good. Churning dual guitars, hard-hitting drums, murky bass, sarcastic/smart song titles & artwork -- it's the whole deal. Even now, every time I put 'em on, my feet just kinda start foot-drumming, whether or not I want 'em to. (I'll let you in on a bit of a secret, by the way: drummer Kyle is pretty much the band's secret weapon.) I never got to see these guys play live, sadly, and apparently I'll now never get the chance, seeing as the band called it quits this spring.
Blades only put a couple of releases, unfortunately, a self-released EP called Who's the Creampuff Now? and a super-duper-limited edition EP put out by Grey Ghost that is definitely damn near impossible to find at this point. I'd had hopes the band would produce some new stuff before imploding, but the H-Town Band Curse appears to play true. Damn. [7/12/2008]
BONE SIMPLE: Sadly, these guys appeared to have gone the way of all H-town bands (eventually, at least). The band began as somewhat of a "studio project" for Ruel Russell, formerly the bassist for ska-/funk-/pop-/whatever-sters St. Vitus Dance, and Bob Wall, from the ska band Slow Children, and for a long, long time they never played any shows, although alter ego act St. Vitus Dance used to perform some of their songs live. The first I ever heard of the band was their damn-cool second album Tastes Like Chicken (never heard the first, unfortunately), which the band soon followed up with their latest release, Skinny Atlas. I still remember when I first heard the tape these guys sent me -- definitely NOT what I'd expected. I'd pegged them as your average ska band, but they're a far cry from that; instead, they hit all kinds of musical styles and influences, from Peter Gabriel-sounding soul to upbeat, English Beat- or Selecter-ish ska to Talking Heads-like funk-pop. You can still find their CDs at a few places around town, and they're pretty darn entertaining... Bone Simple the band did eventually play for a few years, but seem to've since disintegrated -- Bob went on to a solo career for a while, releasing a CD under his own name, and these days plays as the frontman of a band call the Grangers (who aren't half bad themselves). [8/4/2007]
BUDDHA ON THE MOON:
Okay. Much as I love these folks, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that they're no longer performing, at least not as Buddha on the Moon. Man, that makes me feel old -- bandleader/songwriter H.K. started the band back when both of us were in college, and they stuck it out in the bleak Houston music scene for a long, long time before fading gracefully away.
That kind of an exit's pretty fitting, really, considering the music -- minimal, quiet shoegazer pop. In their heyday, they got a lot of comparisons to people like the Mojave 3, Seam, or even Nick Drake, but still managed to sound like more than just a cobbled-together collection of influences. Buddha never played out much, especially after half the band moved away to Ann Arbor, preferring instead to quietly put out records and play far-off pop festivals.
By the end of their run, the band had a fairly sizeable pile of stuff out, including not one but two
full-length CDs (Stratospheric
and the more recent The Last Autumn Day
), plus the Broke
, On Holiday
, and Crépe Paper Airplane
7"s (most of which, unfortunately, are long out-of-print, although I've seen a few copies at SoundEx), a split 7" with The Steinbecks, the Translucence
10", and appearances on the now-ancient Alles ist Gut!
comp and a Silvergirl sampler cassette. phew...
H.K. had a side project of sorts for a while there with partner Nancy called The Imaginary Friend, and they even released a couple of 7"s under that moniker. Sadly, I have a sneaking suspicion that the Friend is at least "on hiatus" for now, too. [10/8/2007]
These folks used
to be one of the more fun Celtic folk bands around town - very talented musicians and singers, with a darn good sense of humor. Unfortunately, I'm told the band broke up a little while back (although I'm sure their CDs are still available around town). Chuck, their bass player, supposedly left for L.A., singer/drummer Melanie is playing in a new deal called Encarnation, and other members Anders & Maggie moved to NY and are now playing in a folk-rock "project" called SixMileBridge
(haven't heard either project yet, sorry...); keep an eye out, eh? [7/7/2000]
THE CINDERS: Yeah, the Cinders have apparently dissipated into the Houston-music ether, with the two main members of the group, Chris and Jason, now off in Austin (last I heard, anyway). Ah, well...as Houston's one-and-only indie-rock-country-supergroup, they were great while they lasted. In their heyday, The Cinders consisted of Chris from The Jinkies/Wholesome Rollers/etc., Jason from Clouded, Justin from The Wholesome Rollers/Jessica Six/etc., Chad from That Gospel Sound/dyn@mutt/etc., and Derek from Jessica Six (and probably three or four other bands, too). Anyway, these folks were (and still are) all damn fine musicians, and when they got together, the result was really good. The surprise part of this? Well, as you might've guessed from the first line there, The Cinders were a country band. They weren't crappy Garth Brooks pop-country or goofy redneck joke-country or anything like that, though -- they were more along the lines of country as done by folks like Son Volt, Wilco, Mike Ireland & Holler, and all those bizarrely-labeled "y'allternative" bands (with a little classic country-rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Alabama thrown in). The music they played was raw, honest, impassioned, kinda music-of-the-working-class-type stuff, and even though I hate country with a passion, well, I was blown away the very first time I saw these folks play. The songs were good, the playing was great, and...man, Chris and Jason sure could sing -- they did some amazing duets, and pulled off some cool harmonies, too (three-part, even, when Chad would join in). Too bad for us that they're now history... [5/2/2003]
Yeesh. I really
got behind on updating these damn things... I wish I could say that I know what happened to one-time local indie-rock heroes Clouded, but I'm afraid that I'm in the dark -- all I can tell for sure is that they're definitely not playing any shows anymore, which is a shame. I'm a stubborn bastard -- meaning that I hate
recanting my previous opinions. I do like to think I'm not entirely unchangeable, though, so here goes: Clouded were pretty damn cool. I was
disappointed by some of their live shows, but they also had some really good ones, too, and their self-titled CD was very
good. Anyway, theyed play catchy, anthemic, full-of-melodies, alternative-type rock, with a lot of '70s arena-rock influences alongside (a la
the Smashing Pumpkins, as an example). They sometimes engaged in a bit
of guitar wankery, but they were pretty solid overall, with some interesting songs. They put out a tape, the Jessica
EP (which I've never heard), and the aforementioned CD on 76.2% Records (now Ojet Records
), and like I said, it kicks ass (keep listening after the last song listed, by the way). I'd heard that they were going into the studio to record a new EP for 76.2% at some point, but nothing ever materialized, as far as I know. [5/2/2003]
I think part of the reason I liked this band was because they were so different from just about every other band in town -- when they were around, there were plenty of ska bands, more than enough punk bands, and even a small handful of "electronic" bands, but not a single other band that sounded like Coterie. They got comparisons to Radiohead most often, and they were pretty open about the fact that they loved the band (even doing a cover of "Paranoid Android" from time to time), but the band they made me
think of the most was mid-period U2 (before they went Vegas), especially with Trey Barnette's amazing guitar trickery. I swear, the first time I saw the band I would've sworn they had a fifth member hidden away in the back playing a keyboard; turns out, though, that it was all guitars, which I find pretty impressive. Anyway, these folks were a unique kind of pop-rock band for Houston -- the music they made hinted at every dark, atmospheric band you can name, and the lyrics were about two steps away from a slow suicide via sleeping pills, but then the band would drop in a majestic, triumphant-sounding chorus, and everything would be okay again. (Make sense?)
Fortunately, the band actually released a few things before breaking up, including a split cassette-EP with The Lost Episodes and a full-length CD, The Day Will Come, both released on Episodes member Jamie Sralla's Wayward Sound label (and both recorded at his Static House studio, I believe). They also apparently have a live recording somewhere from a Rudz show, and a 4-song EP, but I've never seen or heard either of those. Anyway, while some of these folks' songs did get a teeny bit goth-y for my own personal tastes, they made some truly beautiful music. Since the breakup, at least a few of the members have moved on to bigger/better things (along with a former member or two of equally defunct Secret Sunday) as MenMechanical -- check 'em out, eh? [5/2/2003]
DIG DUG: Damn, damn, damn. Yeah, yet another in the list of unrecognized local pop-punkers to bite the dust -- as the Act Your Age site puts it so eloquently, "Dig Dug Is Dead." Damn. Well, while they were around, they were pretty good; firmly in the pop-punk genre, but more pop than punk (as opposed to say, 30footFALL or Bickley), while not quite whiny enough to be "emo." Cool, melodic, heartfelt songs about girls & family & friends & stuff like that; right up my alley, really. They put out a few things before their demise: they showed up first on the Act Your Age Comp. on Act Your Age Records, along with Sore Loser, Jill & Jessica Six; they did a cool split-7" with San Antonio's Millhouse, again on Act Your Age (I think one of the guys in the band runs the label), and featuring awesome artwork by Russell Etchen, of Velvet Comics fame; they released what sounds like a neato record on Rebound, the Whoa, It's A Dig Dug 7" 7"; and just before the breakup, they put out Pop Trio of the Week a fine full-length (I'd heartily recommend it to all you pop-punk fans out there). I don't know all the reasons behind the breakup, but I think one of the guys went away to college and all that, which is understandable...anyway, a couple of the guys moved on to another band called The Business Machines, who promptly moved out to L.A. and vanished from my radar, at least. Damn shame... (Oh yeah, and 2 of the guys in the band were also in similarly-cool pop-punkers Sore Loser, who I think have also gone the way of the dodo...) [2/22/2007]
FOX FORCE FIVE:
I only got to see these guys (and girl) play once, but I was pretty damn impressed. They started off kind of slowly, playing a few generic indie-rock tunes, but then their dimunitive lead singer/guitarist kicked out some pretty amazing rockabilly/Chuck Berry/Beatles-like tunes, and they had me hooked. Unfortunately, according to Jeno, their guitarist, they have since "separated" - and since it's been a while now since I've seen 'em out & about, I'm guessing it was for good. The Fox Force Five band on One Million Dollar is apparently somebody completely different, by the way; Houston's
Fox Force Five were supposed to put out a 7" with Pennsylvanians Weston, but I kinda doubt that'll happen, at this point... The former members of FFF are still doing stuff, though - until recently, singer Greg was part of cool little lo-fi pop group Spaincoloredorange, with Gilbert from Blueprint (he's apparently no longer doing that, from the looks of it); guitarist(?) Geno is in a new band, as well, a deal called Oriole Lauren. I have no clue what they sound like, but hopefully I'll find out sometime... To contact (maybe): firstname.lastname@example.org
You know what they say about all good things... Well, first off, yes, this was
my own cheesy li'l band, and while I like to think my ego's smaller than the average city, I actually thought we were pretty good, so... Anyway, after about 5 years of trying to get our shit together, we finally called it quits in the fall of 2000; a sad moment, but y'know, we're keeping pretty busy. Bassist Josh Denk has been doing time in a variety of bands (Phyneas Gauge & Grey Eyed Athena, for two), and right now is rocking out with Telluride, the new "project" of ex-Wholesome Rollers frontman Marshall Preddy, and Mark, our drummer, is now a full-fledged blues guy, and you can catch him playing 'round town at any number of blues clubs. Lead guitarist Galen's spending most of his time either drinking or riding his motorocycle, and as for myself (Jeremy, that is), well, I've still got my little goofy one-man lo-fi "side project" (for lack of a better word), Moonrocket -- there's one Moonrocket tape available right now, I Don't Know How To Be Drunk
, and maybe more on the way someday.
Well, back when we were alive we were largely a pop-punk-/indie-rock-type band, sorta along the lines of folks like Superchunk and Seam (although we got compared to the Archers of Loaf more than anything; we were never entirely sure why, but were flattered all the same...) -- loud guitars, hopefully-cool melodies, songs about love, and some occasional screaming. At any rate, we did a split 7" with cool guys Big Top a long while ago, then a tape of ultra-lo-fi one-track recordings, entitled Lo-Fi As Fuck (just so nobody thinks sounded good or anything...), and before our demise we released a 6-song cassette EP, Like Hell, all on our own little now-defunct label, Stupid Gaijin Records. We also made it on a couple of compilations, including Passages: The Skill Set (along with folks like The Call, Cake Like, and The Amazing Royal Crowns; it was put together by Boston's INSTANT Magazine), and one of Broken Note's No Approval Needed co-op CDs. Not a whole lot to remember us by, but oh, well... To contact: "gaijin" at "spacecityrock dot com". [2/22/2007]
Yeah, the Website's still there, but I'm afraid that Hayflick Limit is no more. Which sucks, 'cause they were a darn good, truly original standout in a sea of punk/ska wannabees. I remember being worried by their name the first time I saw 'em -- "cowpunk?" Thankfully, these three guys were about as far from cowpunk as I can imagine... Instead, they played this weird, catchy funky-pop blend -- they used to be a bit noisier (see their cover of Jeffrey Lee Pierce's "Sex Beat"), but towards the end they were more prog-rock/art-rock, I think (although still cool), kind of fIREHOSE-/Minutemen-like, but with more melody & occasional harmony vocals. Their music managed to groove without sounding stupid or trying too hard, and the little weird bits kept it varied enough to be damn
interesting. They put out a self-released tape, which was pretty damn cool, and followed it up with an actual full-length album that I (regrettably) have yet to get a hold of (sorry, guys... :^<). in between, they did doing some strange stuff, including some recordings for cartoon soundtracks... anyway, i don't know what other musical endeavors guitarist jeff and drummer devon are up to, but bassist robin is off on his own now with his band slivered; go take a listen, eh? [5/2/2003]
I END RESULT:
Seems like a month doesn't go by without a badass local band breaking up, does it? Well, here's another for the list: perennial "Best Metal" PN
Award winners have reportedly called it quits, for reasons I dunno. Too bad for me; I'd just recently gotten to hear them for the first (and now last) time... I'll freely admit that when I went to see I End Result, I'd pretty much convinced myself I was gonna hate it. I stood towards the back of the crowd, just bracing myself for them to suck...and then they started playing and changed my mind. Wah...I still have to say that it's not quite my "thing" these days, but I End Result's cool punk-metal meld was pretty cool; way better than most of that sort of thing that I've heard recently. The obvious comparison, of course, was always to rasta-thrashers Bad Brains, but really, I End Result was way more than that - they threw in a lot of melody, too, alongside the hardcore guitars and fast rhythms. And man, guitarist Arnett is still
, one of the best guitarists I've seen around (and one of the few who can do flashy shit without looking like a wanker, y'know?). However, lead singer Rico(?)'s solemn, spiritual lyrics make it hard to completely
blow off the Bad Brains' influence...
Well, they've got one CD out for folks to remember them by, the Cosmic Electric EP, but when I asked if I could get a copy, they told me they were all sold out. I think they've got a song on the recent Broken Note No Approval Needed 5 comp, though, so pick it up... [6/22/98]
Another one that just fell off the radar with hardly a sound... Longstanding scenesters Blueprint had changed their name to "In Echos," the last I'd heard, trying to reflect their new sound and (unfortunately) stepping away from the emo-ish past... I never got to hear the final lineup, but I the last time I saw them (which was a long
while ago, admittedly), I just wasn't as impressed with their new "sound" as I am their older releases. They'd added a few new band members, including a sort-of-new bassist, a new guitarist, and an occasional percussion/vibes/keyboard player -- beyond personnel changes, though, they'd changed a good bit musically. They didn't sound a whole like the moody, Mineral-esque emo-pop-punk of their previous releases, but had foregone some of the pop stuff they used to do, and seemed to be kind of progressing towards a sort of emo-prog thing, playing lots of long instrumentals & things like that... Anyway, I liked some of it, but it bored me after a while, y'know?
If you want to hear what the band sounded like, there's quite a bit out there, largely thanks to Abridged Records (which also seems to now be toast), run by drummer Rob Hodges. They released a cool split-7" a while back with pop-punkers Jimmy Eat World, and it's VERY good (if you can find a copy), and there's a cool flexi that they put out a little while before that, called Acoustic, that showcases the quieter, less "rock" side of the band, and includes one of my favorite Blueprint songs ever, "Even Superheroes Make Mistakes" (which, by the way, side project Spain Colored Orange used to do live...). They also contributed a song to the 76.2% Records comp, It Came From Nowhere, another to the Fuzzgun Nothing Is Cool comp, and they've got probably one of the best songs on the generally-crappy Hellhole comp, "Dream & Weep," as well as at least two other 7"s (both of which are undoubtedly out-of-print by now) and a maybe-still-available tape/CD/vinyl EP that's pretty damn cool. I seem to remember hearing something about an actual In Echos CD, but I don't know a thing about it...
Man, does this band have a history... I dunno all of it, but what I do know is that Blueprint somehow managed to spawn several dozen other bands -- for two, original bassist Shane Ray went on to Celindine (and then Trompedo and That Gospel Sound) and ex-bassist Roy Mata went on to be in Cedar Of Lebanon, Gun, and the Fatal Flying Guilloteens...I'm sure there are plenty of others. They'd even expanded before breaking up into a five-piece, incorporating a drummer/percussionist named Bill who used to play drums in Refuse To Fall. Wah... And of course, as with every other band in town, pretty much everybody in the band did other stuff, too -- drummer Rob was in Broken Span for a while, and Rob and singer/guitarist Gilbert were also both in Spain Colored Orange (which I think is gone now, too...sigh). [5/2/2003]
THE JACK-ONZ: Man, these guys went through a lot in their relatively short life. First the band broke up, because singer/guitarist Forrest had to leave town, then they got back together and played just enough shows to piss off nearly every club in town, and then they decided to fake Forrest's death, thereby pissing off all their friends and guaranteeing they'd never get mentioned in the Public News ever again. Not the brightest of moves, really... All in all, they were pretty damn unique: loud, sloppy, bass-heavy garage-punk about Jack In The Box, wimmen, oilfields, and general silliness, with a stage "show" that was truly a wonder to behold -- three guys onstage in goofy make-up, wigs & dresses, sugar/hamburgers/fries/whatever flying everywhere, crazy pornographic posters & lyrics, a paunchy guy wearing a Jack head and a lime-green leisure suit dancing drunkenly in front of the stage...wow. The band was never all that "together," but fuck it -- it was stunning, a definite sight to see, and one I won't forget, myself... [8/2/2000]
Dammit, dammit, dammit. Another promising band down the tubes...argh. It's the curse of Houston, I swear: do well, start to gather fans...and then implode and move on to other things. So, in time-honored tradition, Japanic is now no more -- several of its members have since moved on to the awesome-sounding Swarm of Angels, and keyboardist Rob is now solo as LOW.Z...
I was intrigued by these folks from the first I heard of 'em, largely because of the name -- I mean, c'mon, how can you go wrong with a name like "Japanic"? And thankfully, they pretty much lived up to the promise of the name. They didn't sound much like any other band I've heard here in Houston (which is a good thing), but instead managed to make a mishmash of stuff like Devo, the Talking Heads, new wave, and more contemporary bands like The Make-Up, Pulsars, Satisfact, and Brainiac, and the result was awesome. Strange, computer-y pop songs about driving down to Hades and young girls at Studio 54 (I think?), backed up with lots of synths (and an Omnichord!), no bass, and frantic, scraping guitars. Sounds a little odd in print, I'm sure, but trust me, it worked while it lasted; I have yet to see any local band but these guys and The Suspects get everybody in a packed punk club dancing (and that's dancing, not moshing).
Anyway, they did a self-released 5-song CD EP, Orpheus Express, and then followed it up with a full-length, Red Book (on Plethorazine Records), that's even better than the first EP (it incorporates some of the same songs, but in slicker, better-sounding form). There was another Japanic CD after that, I believe, but I haven't heard that one (sorry, but my CD-buying budget is meager these days). Ah, well -- if we're lucky, the folks who made up the band will at least keep doing their thing in different forms... [5/2/2003]
JESSICA SIX: sigh.
Goddammit, this is starting to bug me - it seems like nearly half of my favorite Houston bands have broken up within the past year: Schrasj, Trompedo, The Jinkies, The Stalag 17, Supermarket All-Stars (okay, they just changed name & sound, but still), and now Jessica Six. Well, they were formerly
one of the coolest Superchunk-/Pavement-esque indie-rock bands around, at least, even if they're not now... They decided to call it quits after finally releasing a split-7" with Schrasj (on Act Your Age), and man, they managed to go out on a high note with "Souvenir," their side of the record. Unfortunately, they've only released a few other songs to the general public - their song "Anne Mars" was the highlight of the Act Your Age Records Comp, and they've also contributed tracks to the There Is A Light
and First Crush
compilations (both of which are really cool). I'm told they don't have any plans to put out any other stuff posthumously, but hey, who knows...
Anyway, I don't know a whole about the "why" behind the breakup - all singer/guitarist Lance would say about it was that they broke up "for every reason in the world and for absolutely no reason at all," so there you go... The guys in the band will probably go on to other music things, though, I'm betting - bassist Gram used to play in the now-defunct indie-pop band Schrasj, and then played for a while w/the more-recently-defunct Trompedo (and is now in Draper & Whipple and Sad Like Crazy; see the Schrasj deal elsewhere), guitarist/singer Lance was in Woody's Jukebox, Manhole, Horshack, and a bunch of other bands, and now has a new, cool band called Port Vale; earlier guitarist Justin went on to the Wholesome Rollers, and from there to The Cinders; while guitarist Will is also in the hardcore band Gun, and does this "studio project" thing called Planet Of The Apes (and prob'ly a dozen other things I've never heard of)... [2/5/99]
And, in fine Houston tradition, another great band calls it quits and goes their separate ways. Hard to believe, after all those years, but the Jinkies are breaking up, largely due (I believe) to singer/guitarist Carlos Deleon moving to NYC. At any rate, they were great while they lasted (sounds familiar, eh?) - cool, loud, poppy rock'n'roll, with a Beatles fixation ten times that of Matthew Sweet and a sometime penchant for psychedelic-sounding jams. Plus, they were absolutely insane - my defining image of the band is from the '96 PN Music Showcase, where they finished with a 15-minute-plus version of Flipper's "Sex Bomb," with guitarist/vocalist Carlos Deleon wrapped in Christmas tree lights, writhing on the floor and making skronking noises with his guitar. Woo-hah. They put one CD out while they were together, Everest
, and man, it's pretty damn cool, and they also appeared on the Norbac Records/Aztlan Studios Songs From the Icehouse
comp (yet another reason to run out & buy it). Damn.
Possible good news, tho' - before Carlos left town the band recorded a whole pile of new stuff that's been mixed & re-mixed and might someday be released sometime. Cross yr fingers. Also, keep an eye out for stuff by ex-Jinkies: Matthew Thurman has a bit of stuff out as 747, although he, too, now resides up in NYC and is apparently getting into acting (see below); Carlos Deleon is doing some musical stuff up there, as well, I hear, w/some guys in a band called "Mensclub" (or something like that); Mike Deleon now drums for The Westbury Squares; and Chris Nine now has her own band, the awesome straight-up country outfit The Cinders (see elsewhere), as well as a new pop project that's supposed to be "Jinki-esque," both as yet unnamed. Should be cool... [2/5/99]
Ah, good old J.V. All jokes have to end eventually, I suppose, and according to drummer/singer Matt Murillo, this one had reached that point. While they were around, these folks were absolutely hilarious. Goofy, sloppy garage pop that your parents
might've actually felt some kinship to; cheery, sarcastic grins; and high school cheerleader outfits that looked like they were hot as hell to wear onstage (on, and the occasional Bippy the Bear suit). Were they any good? Well, the songs were darn catchy, even if the playing wasn't always the greatest (the first time I ever saw them, Sean, their guitarist, had some guitar problems, but later on threw out "Yeah, I'd just like you guys to know that it's the guitar, not me -- 'cause y'know, I
!" Man -- I laughed for five minutes straight...). Fortunately, hey got better with age (and with a new guitarist, Rebecca from The Jewws), becoming tighter and smoother than ever before, far from any "joke" band I can think of. These folks deserved far more acclaim than they ever got, except in the weirdest of circles; heck, I heard once that even Scottish indie-pop kids Bis were big fans...
As for what they put out, they released a handful of 7"s -- Go! to the Ice Cream Social (on Austin's ever-fantastic Peek-a-Boo), "Juvenile" (on our own Remedial Records), Pep Rally Rock, (released on drummer Matt Murillo's own short-lived Twist Like This label), and a split-7" with Japan's Panther (NGOO Records) -- and have made their way onto a half-dozen comps, as well, from Girl Crazy to Oh Canaduh II. And thankfully, they finally got it together long enough to do a full-length, Bam Bam Bam!, which is absolutely brilliant. I can't even explain it -- with the CD, the J.V. kids sure looked like they'd finally grown into real-live musicians, and then they just realized they were too old for this crap and had different priorities, like marriage and stuff (but hey, the songs still fucking rock). A damn shame...
On the good side, despite moving off their separate ways -- I believe Matt and Kim are in the Pacific NW, these days -- there's still some tangential musical activity. Matt's in The Ka-nives, who play sporadically in town; maybe that means a J.V. reunion isn't totally out of the question? [2/22/2007]
THE LINOLEUM EXPERIMENT: Color me impressed, seriously. These guys were damn cool, and played some amazing songs - mostly mid-tempo indie-rock, kinda Sebadoh-/Silkworm-like (but more energetic, thankfully - as much as I like Sebadoh, y'know...), with a little bit of a country-ish flavor and some other cool little quirks. Unfortunately, the band called it quits, and lead singer/guitarist/songwriter guy Thane went on alone as "All Transistor" (see elsewhere for that); too bad, 'cause these guys were great live... The only thing they ever ended up releasing was "Lackadaisical," off the It Came From Nowhere... comp, a mellow, almost-unconscious little tune that didn't really represent 'em very well. They had a full-length due out at one point, called Echoed Stories, and it even got reviewed in the PN, but they decided to scrap it and try again - sound familiar? Oh yeah, and before the band's demise drummer Ben was also doing all kinds of other stuff, as well, including We've Got Airplanes (where he actually gets to play guitar & sing, instead of just drumming all the damn time - see their own listing for more about them, eh?), Spaincoloredorange (for a while; see elsewhere), and maybe a new rock thing with a couple of the guys from the Wholesome Rollers... (Oh yeah, and they wanted me to mention their bassist, "Basser X," 'cause he apparently doesn't get the props he should - sorry 'bout that, guys...didn't mean to leave anybody out.) [3/30/99]
THE LONELY GUYS: Ah, man... There are just some bands you can't help but like, y'know? I think The Lonely Guys definitely fall in that category -- yeah, they were silly, strange people who sang about bar mitzvahs and how much it sucks to have to mow the lawn, but they did it with such big, goofy grins on their faces that you couldn't help but like 'em (well, I couldn't, anyway). They played self-proclaimed "nerd rock," which was pretty much silly, simple pop songs about stuff like I mentioned above, and they even took the title of their first CD, Pretty Pathetic, from a conversation with a 15-year-old girl who called them up to ask if they really played Intellivision(the comment was apparently what the girl said when asked what she thought of their music...). Anyway, the CD isn't bad -- I've enjoyed it, definitely, silly though it is. I mean, come on -- how many guys out there can't relate to songs like "All The Pretty Girls Got Boyfriends", y'know? As you can probably guess, though, the band has seemingly vanished into the pop-geek netherworld...sigh. [5/2/2003]
Yes, the original H-town Latino surf-ska attack is dead, after a heck of a run; seriously, they outlasted most of their ska peers by close to a decade. These guys used to be a punk band known as Desorden, but their sound changed up a bit over the years, and they became one of the better-known ska bands in town. They weren't bad, although they got more points for just plain enjoying themselves than for being great musicians. I think they put a few tapes out, but I don't have any of 'em, I'm afraid... They used to run their own label, Pinche Flojo Records, and were featured on the cool comp of Texas bands called Scene? What Scene?
, as well as managing to get on the Puro Eskanol
Latin ska comp, on San Francisco's Aztlan Records. They also put out their first CD, called Vatos Rudos
(and I sure hope you can figure out what that means...right?), and I've heard it's cool, so check it out if you can find it... They had their fair share of band member problems and financial trouble, but for a while it seemed like they'd be around forever. Guess it wasn't meant to be... [2/22/2007]
Man, these guys were cool. I only got to hear them a couple of times, but what I did
hear , both at the "Mausoleum's Gate" show a while back and at a more recent show there with Big Top and The Freshmakers, impressed the hell out of me. Cool, melodic, somber, dream-poppy-type stuff; very shoegazery/stand-and-sway music (although they apparently find those characterizations pretty damn funny), and I like it a lot. I didn't think
they had anything out, but apparently they've got an 11-song tape, Whitley Streiber
...gonna have to see if I can get a copy of that, I think... And the Grimple Twins web page says
they've got a compilation of 4-track demos on the way; unfortunately, that sounds like that's about it for the M12 guys...
In case you didn't read the "Local News" bit I put on the main page a while ago, Majestic 12 lost their bassist, Steve Jimenez, this past year - he apparently had had a very severe congenital heart problem, and passed away Friday, Sept. 26, 1997. I don't know how the band's dealt with it, but I'm sure the loss is pretty rough - Steve was a cool guy and a great bass player. Looks like the band's decided to call it quits now, as well - they've all moved on to other stuff (which is too bad, 'cause M12 were neato). At any rate, singer/guitarist Matt played in both The Grimple Twins and Sunny Corleone for a while, and the "other" Matt played in The Grimple Twins and his own solo project, Blister, all of which eventually also went the way of the dodo. [2/22/2007]
MATTY & MOSSY:
Argh. Why do the good bands seem to die off even more quickly than the bad ones? Man... These guys were one of the most fascinating bands in town for a while there. I only ever got to see them a handful of times, but I was sold after the first show -- there was just something absolutely compelling about the band, something that makes it hard to look away. Vocalist/guitarist Jana (who's now out on her own, apparently) is unassuming and seemingly pretty shy off-stage, but she had this magnetism when she sings (or just speaks; the songs tend to vacillate between the two), and the music was on the 'odd' side of the rock spectrum, strange yet intense. There were some instrumental prog-rock jams in there, wedged in alongside skewed pop songs & Gang of Four punk noise. The result was something like Polvo fronted by Cat Power's Chan Marshall, and it was pretty damn cool...
Unfortunately, once they'd released their first CD (which is absolutely incredible, by the way), the band kind of fell apart -- first guitarist Heath got in a crippling accident that almost left him one-handed, and then there were rumors that the band was moving out to Athens, GA to hang out with the Elephant 6 crew...and then, poof, the band was gone. Double argh. Anyway, like I mentioned above, Jana's now doing a solo deal, and it's pretty awesome, as well... [5/2/2003]
When I first went to see these guys, opening for nearly-big-timers The Suspects, I expected a bunch of pimply ska kids from Bellaire...man, could I have been
more wrong? What this band actually is is a project of sorts by Matt Kelley, former lead singer of defunct psychedelic funk-jazzsters Sprawl, and because of his influence, the band carries a lot of Sprawl's old "trademarks" -- the rhythms stop and start, shifting genres like a DJ spinning a different record every few minutes, from ska to funk to jazz to thrash-punk and back again, punctuated the whole time by Kelley's weird yelps and yodels. Thankfully, while the band still gets a bit odd and psychedelic, they're not quite as experimental and jam-y as Sprawl got to be (if you liked
that part, sorry...). What they are is really energetic, together as hell, totally insane (well, Matt is, anyway), and a lot
of fun. The guys have gone through a lot of shit lately, which is too bad -- most notably, Matt blew out his knee at one show and then went on to slice open an artery at a Blue Iguana show a while back -- but they're still going strong. Brian's now drumming for 30footFALL, but he hasn't left the band; Claudio from The Suspects is gonna fill in on drums when he's out on tour, but it's just a fill-in thing. To make it even more complicated, Jason also played bass for a while in Janitor and is now playing bass for The Suspects...what can I say? Shit like this happens when everybody knows everybody else...
Go see 'em, and look for their CD, 3 Martini Lunch, wherever quality records & stuff are sold. They've also got a track on one of the latest Broken Note comps, No Approval Needed, Vol. 3 ("Death by Car"), and released an EP a while back, entitled Quickie, that is just downright awesome (and no, contrary to earlier info I'd been given, it is NOT on Broken Note, but was instead kindly put out by The Suspects' own label, It Is What It Is Records...man, what nice guys...). They contributed a track to the recent Dill Records DILLinquents compilation, and they may've had a couple of tracks on later comps, too, but I kinda lost track.
I heard rumors about a new full-length, once upon a time, and maybe even a joint deal with The Suspects, but sadly, these days the Middlefinger boys are pretty much retired. From what I hear, they're all happily living on the northern fringes of H-town or up in Austin (where Matt's been an elementary school teacher, I believe). Can't fault 'em for moving on; ah, well... [10/4/2007]
PANIC IN DETROIT: sigh
. After becoming a lazy, married homebody w/little inclination to go out on a weeknight after a long day at work, things 'round here definitely changed, and not for the good. Because of that laziness, I ended up kicking myself later on for missing out, like in the case of Panic in Detroit -- by the time I finally heard 'em, it was just about too late.
Hell, I never even got to see Panic in Detroit live, and after hearing their debut EP, I'm annoyed with myself about that. The band's pedigree should've gotten me out of the house -- Ben and Melissa both used to be in Pop Deflation/We've Got Airplanes and Lucky Motors, and Ryan Chavez used to play with The John Sparrow, all of which are bands I've also liked. I don't mean to imply, mind you, that Panic sounded anything like those other bands, because they really didn't; the reminded me, instead, of that wave of intelligent -but-loud indie-rockers that hit during the mid-'90s, bands like Jawbox, Edsel, Fugazi, or even Drive Like Jehu.
The guitars were loud and angry, the vocals had that J. Robbins-esque twinge to 'em, and the lyrics sounded like they would make sense...if only the listener were smart enough to decipher them. Good, good stuff. And sadly, they are now departed, as far as I can tell. Melissa now plays in the excellent-excellent Sharks and Sailors, Ben has dabbled in the solo thing and now plays in the also-excellent Bright Men of Learning, Ryan masterminded the Super Unison booking crew after Hands Up! Houston disintegrated, and now he apparently plays drums for the Smoking Popes(!). Damn. Ah, well -- at least they've all moved on to other good things, rather than forsaking poor, slow losers like myself. [2/22/07]
PHYNEAS GAUGE: Okay. Well, yet another cool (and unique) Houston band has bitten the dust -- the remaining members of Phyneas Gauge tried to survive the loss of drummer Eric to papahood and domesticity, but it just didn't work, so they pulled the plug, I'm afraid. Damn. Ah, well...they were neat while they lasted, at least... My friend Mark came back from one of their shows calling them "old-timey-sounding," and I guess that was sort of accurate, since they would throw some really cool ragtime-sounding bits into their songs, complete with muted horns and tinny-sounding vocals (yes, sung through a tin can). These guys blended together a dozen different styles, from punk to thrash to spaghetti western, and always added a heavy dose of tongue-in-cheek humor, to make something totally cool and weird-sounding. The only things I can think of that might compare are Sprawl (who they resemble most when they get funky), Middlefinger, or maybe Faith No More, back in their style-hopping days. Very talented people, playing oddly cool, catchy songs, being wildly entertaining, and having fun, more than anything else. They never put out a whole lot, but they popped up on the Static House showcase comp full frequency package, released a full-length CD, entitled I'm OK...You're on Fire, and have reportedly recorded some newer stuff, too (although I'm not sure what'll be done with that, now). Anyway, their lone CD is pretty darn cool, I must say (and looks very nice, as well) -- the next best thing to seeing the band in the flesh, which isn't really possible anymore... [9/20/00]
Inbred Whiteboy went away. In their place, though, just restructured a bit and taken a slightly different direction, came Pierce Elevated -- IWB guitarist Joel and drummer Brady left the band, to be replaced by former vocalist Mel House (who started doing the vocals and
all the guitars) and some guy named "Paul Nasty." The IWB guys once proclaimed themselves to be the "worst band in Houston" (which they weren't), and they were mostly sloppy, silly, tongue-in-cheek punk, throwing out covers of "Ice Ice Baby" and ripping off the Shaft
theme, but they got a bit more serious with the name change, with Mel and Eric Dick (bassist/vocalist) are trying to be a real-live band
-type band, in the Quicksand post-hardcore/indie-rock vein. I only got to see 'em once in the "final" incarnation before they disappeared once again, but they'd definitely evolved from a joke band into something interesting...
Of course, while I was glad to see the guys working on their songwriting and all that, I still miss the old IWB days, at least a little -- I dunno how fun it was to play, but damn, it was fun to watch. Not technically "tight," necessarily, but still cool, and damn entertaining live. They never released much in the way of tapes/CDs/whatever as either band, unfortunately, but they did have a handful of videotapes out, one entitled Inbred Whiteboy vs. The World (an earlier version of which I reviewed a long, long time ago) that manages to rip off the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" video, Charlie's Angels, '70s blaxploitation flicks, Father Knows Best, and VH1's Behind The Music (detailing Eric's tragic addiction) all in one shot, and it's absolutely hysterical.
In a way, the videos kind of highlighted House's true calling -- these days he's a horror flick director, believe it or not, in-between doing commercials and such for Kingwood Cable (Eric, I hear, is an insurance adjuster). Since Pierce Elevated faded away, there's been at least one Inbred Whiteboy reunion, I believe, and Mel started another band called Drowning in February, but now it sounds like that's on the back burner, too. Hopefully he'll take a break from the fake blood and pick up the guitar again one of these days... [11/10/2005]
POPULATION ZERO: sigh
. And then there's the ones you always thought
would go somewhere, but who never really did... I caught this electronic "project" many moons ago, at Robb Zipp's Gobblestock Festival, and found myself totally transfixed. Jason of Population Zero and fellow live-PA guy dj alone were stuck on the outside stage in the freezing cold (and don't forget the mosquitoes) after the sun went down and everybody either went to get food or went inside to watch whoever was on in there play. Seriously, there were a handful of people watching their sets, at the most, but they didn't let that stop 'em -- Jason (who was
Pop. Zero, all by himself) stayed onstage the whole time, dancing when he wasn't playing, and just basically acting like he didn't care if anybody watched or not, which I thought was way cool. (Plus, he was a real nice guy when I spoke to him after the set.)
When dj alone finished and Pop. Zero's set officially started, he seemed to almost be in a trance, dancing and triggering beats with his eyes closed. It was pretty hypnotic, believe me. I'm no electronica afficionado, so I've probably got it all wrong, but it sounded to me like some serious drum & bass stuff going on, with plenty of atmospheric noise and very danceable beats. The "Sesame Street" samples just about killed me... The few of us who did stay outside in the cold to watch caught an amazing performance.
Unfortunately, I don't think he ever put anything out, although I heard rumors for a long time about a 1216 Records comp called EMERGE -- I never found a copy, and unfortunately, I never got to see Pop. Zero again. Damn... [11/10/2005]
I was very bummed when Jessica Six called it quits. They were one of my favorites in the sea of rock bands in this town, and I wasn't sure if anything could replace 'em. Fortunately, out of the ashes came singer/guitarist Lance Walker's next band, Port Vale, and y'know, while I don't want to label them as replacements for the former group, they were pretty darn great in their own right. They put one 7" out on Ojet Records that showcased their poppy, vaguely Superchunk-y sound, and then they did a cool little CDEP, Western Winds,
which paved the way for The Music The Lights The Fire,
the band's first (and final, as it turned out) full-length. I sadly haven't ever gotten to hear it, but if it's anything like the earlier stuff, it should be great...
Anyway, what else can I say? It wasn't much of a surprise that I liked these guys, although they were considerably different from their "old" band -- this wasn't just "Jessica Six Mk. II," believe me. The music was/is a lot poppier and more mellow but still catchy as hell and rocks out exactly when it should; and the latter is pretty much my formula for a perfect indie-rock band. And sadly, they are no more, much like J6. Lance did a little acoustic-guitar-and-electronics "side project" with Jeff McLaughlin called The White Papers, and the EP they put out was darn good, but after that and the full-length, the band vanished. I've got no clue if they're gone for good or not, but it seems pretty likely, since drummer John Adams is in the Fatal Flying Guilloteens these days and Lance has himself gone on to be a fancy-shmancy bar-hopping writer for the Chronicle. (Kudos, Lance; I make fun because I'm jealous...) Ah, well. Nothing lasts forever, right? [11/10/2005]
Hmm. Well, after a brief stint as Houston's "next big thing," with tons of folks seemingly convinced that Rubbur would make it big and suddenly become rockstars, the guys kinda faded away... They were signed to Seattle indie label C/Z for a while, but before they got a chance to put out an album, the label folded and the band was left high & dry. Unfortunately, after going through about seven different drummers and having no luck getting signed anyplace else, Rubbur decided to call it a day. It's too bad, 'cause the last few times I saw them, especially, they were pretty cool... They've got a few things floating around, including some tapes I haven't ever seen, the "Nothing To Say" 7" on Fuzzgun (which can still be found lots of places in town), and appearances on the Fuzzgun Nothing Is Cool
comp, a C/Z Records comp I dunno the name of, and the Aztlan Studios Songs From the Icehouse
. They've got a song on the recent Broken Note Non-Compliance 2
comp, too (one that happens to be one of my favorites, by the way) - they recorded quite a bit before the breakup, but I dunno if any of that'll ever see the light of day, now.
Anyway, the guys are definitely keeping busy - guitarist Eric joined Linoleum Experiment a while back, and also helped start Drunken Thunder (about which I know nada, other than they sometimes dress in drag), and more recently, Davey and a couple other ex-Rubbur folks (dunno which) teamed up with ex-Jinkie drummer Mike to form a new, more "poppy" band, The Westbury Squares. They've got some big plans, I think, and hopefully things'll go better for 'em this time around. sigh. Fingers crossed... To contact: 2014 Sul Ross #2, Houston, TX. 77098, (713) 846-9753, Rubbur@aol.com. [11/29/98]
Saw these guys what seems like a looong time ago, now, way back when at the old Goat's Head Soup, and I have to say, I wasn't real impressed. And until recently, I hadn't actually heard or seen them play since - but I'm glad I actually got a chance to, 'cause they're way better now than they were then (I think at least half the band has changed since then, which might account for part of it). What do they sound like? Welll...umm...to tell the truth, I don't know how to describe it. The 2 songs of theirs that I've heard, off the Aztlan Studios Songs From the Icehouse comp (on Norbac Records), are both very odd, psychedelic-ish pop (is that a muted trombone I hear, maybe?) - and both are definitely interesting.
Unfortunately, it sounds like they've all gone they're separate ways - guitarist Chris Nine now plays with The Wholesome Rollers (and took Matthew Thurman's place in The Jinkies for a while); their other guitarist, Rigo, plays with Hoss, Brown Paper Dog, and now Drunken Thunder; and drummer J.J. is now doing stuff with jazz/funk/etc. improv group Free Radicals. I'm told Sasquatch is now on pretty much permanent hiatus, with no new stuff in the works - guess we'll see what happens, eh? To contact: 715 Fargo #2, Houston, TX. 77006, email@example.com. [6/5/98]
This band confuses me -- every time I think they've finally called it quits, they go and release something new and prove me wrong. However, this time around I think it's for good, 'cause I haven't heard a peep in a while... Too bad, too, 'cause these folks made some damn
cool music during their on-again, off-again musical life. There's a dearth of quiet
music in this town, and despite the fact that they don't play live anymore, it was cool when they did... If you want to get a taste of their melodic, grooving indie-pop, you can go get their 7"s -- "Tower"/"The Lemon Song" is good, "Fruit"/"Electro Pastel" is great, their song "Guns and Galveston," on the split-7" with Dallas' Transona Five is amazing, their 7" EP (featuring "Moneyshot," "Microphone 508," and "Winkle") is really cool, and their way-more-recent split-7" with Jessica Six ain't bad, either. So go someplace where they sell rekkids and get 'em, eh? They've also popped up on at least one comp recently, the ultra-neato Cher Doll Something Cool
compilation, which is seriously worth checking out, and both of their CDs, including their self-titled debut and their second effort, f
(both on 76.2%/Ojet Records
, naturally) are pretty damn awesome.
As for the band themselves, well, Gram played drums/other stuff for Trompedo (formerly known as Celindine) for a while, played bass for a bit with Jessica Six, and went on to a little pop group called Draper & Whipple (and later, The Drapes) with Killian, Christian, and Jonathan from de Schmog, and Terri, Alexei and Mark had a band called Ozone Park, which featured themselves and pretty much all the members of Echo Beach except singer Bronwen -- unfortunately, Ozone Park folded a while back, so I dunno what those three are doing these days (I heard they were moving to London, but that didn't seem to happen...sigh). After all that, Gram was in Sad Like Crazy (aka Fantastic Tres, Mud Company, etc., etc.) with Trey from Trompedo and a few other folks, but now he's outta there, too, after a pseudo-Schrasj reunion of sorts; the band packed their stuff and relocated to San Francisco to try their hand out there, and then reportedly broke up and went their separate ways (or so I hear). sigh. What're they up to now? Well, your guess is as good as mine... [8/2/2000]
Heh. Okay, I'll be a cheeseball and admit it -- sometimes I like doing this here Web site, and it's largely 'cause I've gotten to meet a lot of truly awesome folks I never would have otherwise. Self-proclaimed "nerd rock wunderkids" Scooter were one of those -- the coolest, absolute nicest people, and
one of the best damn indie-rock bands in town when they were around (and there really were very few to begin with). Plenty of sweet, melodic-yet-loud poppy-punky love songs, kinda reminiscent of stuff like Weezer or Superchunk, at least to me, and catchier than a case of the flu on a sunny day. They only ever put out one self-made CD EP, but it's excellent (try Cactus or Soundwaves, maybe, for copies). Sadly, they called it quits a few years ago, now, and all meandered off their separate ways. These days, bassist Mary lives in Massachusetts and practices law (I think?), in addition to doing some musical-type things
, while the other ex-Scooter guys have formed a new band, Co-Pilot, that sounds pretty promising... [2/22/2007]
Well, things have changed quite a bit more
over at Secret Sunday HQ lately, so I figure I'd better update the situation: contrary to what I'd heard a while ago, the band is indeed no more, even after replacing departed guitarist Paul with new guy Robb Moore and changing musical directions somewhat...
At any rate, despite their scuffles with the press (and the glove thrown down at one point by fellow Houstonians Trompedo -- I'm kinda disappointed the split-tape never happened, actually), these guys were actually pretty damn cool. They were somewhat more mainstream than most bands here in town who don't ride the Richmond gravy train, but that's not to say they didn't rock. Lots of cool, catchy melodies, lyrics that are only sappy some of the time (heh), and some truly good, interesting songs. Plus, they were pretty energetic live, and genuinely nice guys (not quite the ego-monsters they've been painted as). The whole thing was pretty Britpop-influenced, especially the keyboard bits, but they didn't ever fall into the trap and become Blur clones, thankfully... They've got two CDs out: their debut self-titled album, which I like (esp. the first track, "Superstar Sex Scandal"); and a newer album, Television, which improved on the first by leaps and bounds (and it looks amazing, seriously; I'm stunned and awed). By the way, a few of the guys from the band are reportedly working on some new projects with Brian from Coterie, so keep an eye out... [9/24/00]
Well, in typical Houston fashion, yet another former member of a darn good Houston band has resurfaced doing his own thing (I swear to God, it seems like every week
I hear of some cool band that broke up and spawned seven or eight new "projects") - yep, guitarist/singer Matthew Thurman, formerly of Smile 69 and the Jinkies (and maybe some other bands I don't know of), has continued doing his strange, psychedelic kind of rock on his own (examples of which can probably be heard on the Jinkies' Everest
). I dunno what else he's got, but he has 2 new tracks on the Songs From the Icehouse
comp that are pretty cool, both nice, spacey paeans to the space program - definitely worth hearing, esp. if you've liked his earlier stuff.
I heard from Matthew a while, and at the time he told me he was working on a solo album, and that he was gonna avoid singing about NASA & aliens, and would instead "concentrate on the day I saw the future people and the president's exploding head" (no, really, that's what he told me). I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but... Anyway, it looks like those plans may not come to pass, since Matthew's apparently living up in NYC right now with fellow former Jinkie Carlos Deleon, and is giving up the music biz to pursue his acting dream. sigh. Ah, well... To contact: 302 W. Pierce #3, Houston, TX. 77019, Sound747@aol.com. [2/5/99]
Sometimes I like surprises. I'd heard a ton of good stuff about local funksters 6-West before I heard them, but I gotta admit, I kinda blew it off as hype (not because of the band in particular, but just 'cause that's what I generally do 'til I get to hear the band). Anyway, one of the kind folks at Generic Records then passed me a tape of one of their live shows, and y'know, it was pretty cool -- so hey, maybe these guys are
good... Then, finally, I got to see 'em play this November at GobbleStock, and wow
. For me they were the show-stopper in a long day/night of damn fine bands -- and I think it was because of their charismatic, ultra-energetic, goofy-as-hell "frontman" as much as it was because of the music. I don't even know the guy's name (I think it's Justin Cone, but I'm not positive), but he was pretty spectacular to watch as he danced, jumped, joked, and generally spazzed out all over the stage; the best comparison I can come up with for his overall performance is something like "Ben Stiller crossbred with James Brown" (note that I said the best I
could come up with, mind you). All I could do was sit & watch, transfixed, with a goofy grin on my face.
That's not to say the music wasn't great, mind you -- the band reminded me at various points of J.B.-style Motown, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, 311-esque thrash-funk (the cool melodic parts, I might add, not 311's annoying rapping), and even Supergroove, the NZ kings of funk. It was cool stuff, seriously, and I'm bummed that I never got to hear the EP they were threatening to put out for a while there. The band had some weird stuff going on, replacing singer Justin with a different guy named Justin and even getting on the Disney Channel, and then they struggled on for a year or so before imploding. I'm told two or three of the guys from the band are now in The Last Place You Look, which is apparently more emo than anything (definitely not funk). Damn... [4/4/2004]
Okay. I thought
I had it worked out, but I was wrong. Oh, well (thanks to Jeno for straightening me out, by the way). Sore Loser isn't the remnants of Badger/The Tie That Binds (see below) -- those bands definitely continued on for a while after Sore Loser was formed. However, two of the members of The Tie That Binds, Kevin and Alex were
in the band, along with Matthew of local pop-punkers Dig Dug. The two bands (S.L. and Tie That Binds, that is) do
sounded a bit similar -- punkish indie-rock, lots o' harmony vocals and cool melodies -- but with a bit less of a metal influence, in Sore Loser's case. (To be honest, I always liked Sore Loser better, but that's just me...)
At any rate, they put 2 7"s out as Sore Loser (one by themselves and one with Cedar Of Lebanon). The later Sore Loser 7", it only hurts on the inside., was particularly cool -- if you can find it at SoundEx or elsewhere, check it out. Love that "Sore Loser Theme"... I read someplace, also, that they've got a split 7" with the Narcissistic Freds out on Red Jag Wire, too, but I've never actually run across that one, and they've released a full-length CD/LP on Act Your Age Records recently, called Sore Loser is Out to Save the World, which was cool (reviewed here, if you're interested). Sadly, after all that the band just sort of disappeared. Drummer Ryan moved on to bigger/better things (Hands Up! Houston/Super Unison, Panic in Detroit), and at least one of the other guys in the band moved on to The John Sparrow, who may or may not still be together themselves. [2/22/2007]
Nope, The Sperlings are no more; they've been gone for quite some time, but I hadn't gotten a chance to change the write-up 'til now (sound familiar?). Poor guys; I finally gave 'em a spot on here after years
of promising 'em I would...and then they're toast. Argh. Why the delay in the first place? Well...I wasn't real big on their debut album, Glidepath To Normalcy
, but they sent me a copy of their second CD, Sea of Sarcasm
(both on their own Bronze Beagle Records), and it was a major improvement. Loud, melody-filled power-pop a la Cheap Trick, The Kinks, or maybe Semisonic (with a little Hüsker Dü thrown in, as well), and just as catchy as all three. They'd gotten a lot better, thankfully, after my first lukewarm encounter with the band, so I finally came through on my promise. Sorry about that, guys -- I guess it's somewhat of a moot point anyway, eh?
release a third (and final) album, I believe, but I never got a chance to see it, and then James, the drummer, quit to go to law school, and that was pretty much it. I'm not sure what most of the band's up to these days, but guitarist Rob Smith played wacked-out keyboards in Japanic 'til they too called it quits and kinda-sorta metamorphosized into Swarm of Angels, and now I'm told he's on his own as LOW.Z (it's, uh, what a Tom's potato chips logo looks like upside-down; no, I'm serious). Haven't heard that latest effort yet, but keep an eye out, 'cause he's played a few shows around town... [8/25/03]
THE STALAG SEVENTEEN:
Well, turns out TSS are no more after all; they got back together a while back, and I think they've got a final 7" due out on Highwater Records, but all the folks in the band have since moved on; they're now all in The Entertainment System, channeling some serious glam-indie-rock. I've only seen the new band once so far, and they were pretty good, but TSS were pretty impressive the first time around, too, playing some amazingly intense, complex music. To me, at least, it brought to mind things like early Jawbox, Edsel, and Fugazi; they had that same kind of melody-meets-off-kilter-arrangements thing going, as well as that sort of half-shouting, half-singing style... The band used
to be based in Houston, and one of the guys in the band, Mike, used to be in Cedar Of Lebanon, but now they're apparently up in Austin (I'm gonna leave 'em on here, tho'). Oh yeah, and 3 out of 4 of the band were also in another Austin band, Airport Architect, who I never got to hear much from.
Anyway, their debut 7", One Forty-Four, is still available on Austin's Red Jagwire Records (and it's darn neato; I hear there aren't many left, tho'), and they appear on the There Is A Light comp on Austin's Thick As Thieves Records with a bunch of other folks (and I think they're one of the better bands on there). And unfortunately, that's about all I know of for 'em... [9/24/00]
Yeah, I'm afraid Sugar Shack aren't around anymore, and haven't been for quite a while now. Which is kinda ironic, since I was so damn slow at getting 'em on
It was pointed out to me a back then that "hey, you ought to have Sugar Shack on there -- they rock!" At the time, however, I said something like "yeah, that's great, and everybody's band rocks to somebody, right? I sure as hell can't put 'em all up here." In my defense, at that point I'd only seen Sugar Shack once, and it was a long time ago. After that, however, I finally got my hands on their CD Five Weeks Ahead of My Time (on Estrus Records, naturally), and had to admit my error. In their day, Sugar Shack were the absolute gods of garage rock in Houston, the forerunners of folks like the Flamin' Hellcats, the Fatal Flying Guilloteens, and The Mirrors, and I had to bow down to their pompadoured, gas-guzzling, chain-smoking, bottle-breakin' supremacy.
Wah. Really, these folks are/were fucking amazing, esp. on Five Weeks, which is a totally classic record (at least to a non garage-rock afficionado like myself). I know they put out a couple of others, but, uh, I ain't got those, so I can't say nothin' about 'em. The guitars shred the speaker cone, and you can hear the sneer on singer Mark Lochridge's face; that, coupled with songs about how fucked-up Houston is, that bitch that dumped you, getting drunk, and bein' a man, and you can't go wrong. Sugar Shack were the shit, and they are definitely missed. [12/17/2007]
Formed out of the remains of ill-fated ska freaks Slaphappy, the All-Stars were always more punk than ska (well, to me, anyway), but were a hell of a lot of fun (and they were loads better than their former band ever was). They toured all over the country a few times, mostly with Florida ska-punks Less Than Jake, and they played a lot around town, usually to pretty huge crowds, but due to some recent personnel changes (specifically, bassist Jason had to leave for flight school), they changed their name to Last Summer (see below) and quit playing The Ska. Ah, well.. (Their "new direction," apparently, is stuff more like Jawbreaker and Fifteen, but still has horns - dunno exactly what it sounds like yet, but I'm definitely curious.)
As the All-Stars, though, they put out a few things: they've got a really-kewl split-10" out (a joint deal with Houston punks Injury, on Elevator Records), as well as a 7" of some of their old stuff on Fueled By Ramen Records (limited edition! get your copy quick!), a second split-7" with Less Than Jake and appearances on some compilations (I think the Skanarchy 3 comp, but they were supposed to also be on the Punk Goes Ska and This Aren't Two-Tone comps, too...whew). To contact: Last Summer, 2620-B S. Shepherd Dr. #105, Houston, TX. 77098, firstname.lastname@example.org. [1/23/98]
THAT GOSPEL SOUND: Here's one band that never quite held it together long enough to really do it right -- it seemed like every time I'd talk to bandleader Damon, he'd have a new group of people as his band. Weird...
That Gospel Sound pretty much was Damon's band (his first after quitting Celindine), but they didn't really resemble anything Damon's done up to that point, whether in Celindine or straightedge legends Refuse To Fall. In the beginning they were mostly an instrumental deal, with Damon only singing on a few songs, and they had sort of a weird postrock-meets-Ennio Morricone western soundtrack sound, kind of like Shark Quest or a less-surfy Death Valley, but their sound changed pretty radically over time as they lost people (Chad Shaw, who moved on to The Cinders, and violinist/guitarist Zeek, who went off to music school) and added new ones (two former members of a local band called Breth). The last time I saw/heard them, they'd mutated into a sort of cross between, say, Low and The Cowboy Junkies (largely because of their new singer's husky, sorta-bluesy voice). Despite the changes, they were still darn good, and it's a shame they couldn't stick it out long enough to release an album or something. Ah, well...
Damon, meanwhile, has been keeping a low profile 'til relatively recently -- he's spent the past year or so putting together a new "new wave"-y band called Das Automatik, as well as making his way into the DJ arena and trying to book some shows. He's a guy who's definitely not willing to be pigeonholed, that's for sure; best of luck to him. [8/25/03]
THE TIE THAT BINDS:
Hrm. Well, I haven't heard a peep from these guys in something like five years now (at least), and their Website's dead and gone, so I'm guessing that means they're officially kaput. And that's a damn shame, because they were one of the first good indie-rock-ish bands I ever heard here in H-town... The Tie That Binds (who used
to be known as Badger, before some loser Kiss side project threatened to sue 'em) were probably one of the cooler pop-punk-melodic-rock-with-cool-vocal-melodies-type bands here in their heyday, well before that kind of thing became a national craze. They released one full-length CD that I know of, slowly sinking under
, which I still have to hear, unfortunately, and they've also got something like a half-dozen tracks floating around out there as Badger (including a split-7" with Blueprint and a track on the Justice Records Hellhole
comp). I'm not positive, but I think
the guys from the band went on to be in Sore Loser, and from there morphed into The John Sparrow -- that whole little crew of bands was awful hard to keep track of... [11/10/2005]
THE TRIGGER QUINTET:
Moderately punkish/emo-ish, cool, odd, depressed rock. Only heard one 7-inch (on Twistworthy Records), but it's definitely neato. I really know nothing
else about these people, other than they broke up a while back, and 2 of the former members (Michael and Tim) have a new band, called The Desert Jetset. I haven't seen TDJ yet myself, but they should be interesting, at least, so go check 'em out (do they still exist? anybody?)... (And for all you trivia freaks out there, yes, Mark Twistworthy is indeed the brother of Bill from The Suspects...) [2/17/98]
Dammit - first Celindine call it quits, and then Trompedo. Unfortunately, the Trompedo guys played their last show together up in the newly-renovated Rudz upstairs with Clouded & Spoon; nobody but the band knew about it beforehand (not even 76.2% Records guy Mark Caperton), and I kinda figured guitarist/singer Trey Pool was kidding when he said in between songs that it was the band's last-ever show. sigh
. It's too bad, too, 'cause they were damn cool. Silkworm-/Sebadoh-ish moody indie-rock with a fair amount of Grifters/Archers of Loaf/Yo La Tengo influences (and even some really odd Slint-ish parts to it), a little country-ish influence, well-written tunes, the occasional weird instrument, and some generally fine songs, all around. The band's style had changed somewhat since their days as Celindine - they were a bit less structured & more "jam-ish" recently, and Jason was playing some very
bizarre homemade instruments - but I still thought they were pretty cool (so there).
They've got some stuff out as Celindine, like an old demo or two (the sick ghost currently covered in secret ants one is pretty good), plus a song on the 76.2% Records double 7-inch comp It Came From Nowhere... ("Starry Eyes"), and their very own 7-inch, "Flying Like Sitting Ducks"/"No Crest", again on 76.2%. Check it - and keep an eye out for their debut album (although I imagine it may or may not actually happen, now that the band's called it quits...). They had the whole thing recorded, but then guitarist Damon quit the band (he was replaced by Jason, who was a friend of Trey's from back home in Florida or something), and I'd heard that they re-recorded the whole thing real recently, ultra-lo-fi-style, and had scrapped the old recording. No word on that, but at the final show they did have copies of a lo-fi 8-track tape that's pretty damn cool, so grab one if you can find it (or maybe write to the guys at the address below; I dunno how many copies they made).
Man...these guys must've set a local record for personnel changes, even before the breakup: not only are original drummer Jeremy (who was also in the Linoleum Experiment for a while, with Celindine/Trompedo bassist Shane) and the afore-mentioned original(?) guitarist Damon (who's now in That Gospel Sound, who're pretty cool themselves) no longer in the band, but Gram (formerly of Schrasj, and still of Jessica Six), who replaced Jeremy on drums (and occasionally played other instruments when they did that instrument-switch thing) is now no longer playing with the band, either. They did their last couple of shows with Jeff of Buzzie Rifle, too, to throw yet another musician in there...
Anyway, the folks in the band aren't falling off the face of the planet or anything - for two, Shane played with That Gospel Sound for a while (Damon from Celindine's band, actually), is now in an interesting little band called Star City, and told me he and Trey are planning to hopefully do some cool 4-track stuff on their own, and Gram is up to all kinds of stuff (see Schrasj, elsewhere). Unfortunately, a few people've left town recently - Jeff played drums for The Wholesome Rollers before they broke up, but has reportedly headed back to California, and Jason, who played a few infrequent solo shows as "The Last Weak," has gone home to Florida. Ah, well... (Oh yeah, and there's apparently another band in the works, this one called Sad Like Crazy (or Fantastic Tres, or Mud Company) and featuring Gram and Trey of Trompedo and somebody else I don't know; keep an eye, 'cause I hear they're gonna be putting out some stuff on Ojet Records sometime soon...) [2/5/99]
Man, I suck. I put all this shit up here about all these bands, and somehow manage to completely overlook one of the two I happen to share a practice space with. Sorry, guys... At any rate, Ultra Hummus are not
a punk-pop/-rock/-punk/-anything band - Derek Ultra and his comrade Jorge Hummus are talkin' some serious noise experimentation, here. A heavily-amped guitar and a drum kit are all they use, and manage to coax some surprisingly cool noise-jams out of the mess. They don't play out much (the last time I saw them play was at last year's
KTRU show, and they were on first, before anybody showed up), but they've got a show coming up at Mary Jane's very soon, and as a recent PN
pointed out, their new CD, Straight Outta Droubi's
, is a big hit at KTRU - good luck getting copies, though, since there are only (I believe) three in existence...
sigh. Unfortunately, Ultra Hummus hung up their pseudonyms and moved on many, many moons ago -- drummer Doug Dillaman (a.k.a. Derek, I believe) has since moved to Oregon and then New Zealand, pursuing his dream of being a real-live filmmaker, and Conor Prischmann (a.k.a. Jorge) lives in the Bay Area when he's not traveling the country to see friends. Given the distance, I'm guessing a reunion's not real likely. Ah, well... [10/3/2007]
Man, that Omari sure was a busy back when he was in town (and yeah, it looks like he still is)... Not only did he play in his "real" band, garage-rockers The Jewws, but he also popped up now and then as The Ugly Spirits and this here incarnation, Washington Westcott (which is the coolest damn name ever taken from a freeway exit sign). Mr., er, Westcott called himself a "mod sharecropper," but there wasn't much modern about him at all -- and believe me, it was a good thing. Westcott played utterly stripped-down, bare-bones stompin' blues, the kind people like Eric Clapton grew up wanting to emulate, and it was awesome. No theatrics, nothing pretty: just one guy, a pseudo-distorted guitar, a mic that looked like something Jerry Lee Lewis might've used, and a foot pedal-operated bass drum to provide the rhythm. The result was wailing, raw, raggedy electrified blues, with hardly a concession to fidelity or modern tastes.
Unfortunately, after toiling for several years in the band-unfriendly Houston hothouse, Omari headed northwest, up to Austin, where he's currently living & making music. The Washington Westcott project's still around, but it's nearly unrecognizable these days -- now it's the "Washington Westcott Art Ensemble," and what I've heard so far sounds like outtakes from an unreleased Austin Powers soundtrack. Guess he did finally succumb to his love for all things mod, in the end... Oh, and true to form, Omari's also playing in another band, Alright Tonight, who I have yet to hear but who also have some '60s thang going on. If you're in the vicinity of Austin, check 'em out. [10/3/07]
THE WESTBURY SQUARES:
Yep, another long-gone band who I'm finally moving over to this page...sorry for the delay, but sometimes it's hard to tell who's dead and buried and who's just "on hiatus" and is planning to be back someday. Plus, I didn't really want to believe it of these guys -- the Squares were a hell of a lot of fun, and I guess I didn't want to admit they were gone.
Even looking back now, I'm still not sure what or who to compare these guys to. The band consisted of ex-members of Rubbur (namely, Davey, Vince, and Eric) and The Jinkies (drummer Mike, who was a hell of a lot better, from what I've heard, than any of the drummers I ever heard w/Rubbur; sorry, but they were always screwing up the beat), so the easy shot would be to compare this to both those bands, but...it just didn't fly. This wasn't the straight-ahead pop-punk of Rubbur, and it was definitely nowhere near the Beatles-fixated pop of The Jinkies -- it was something different, it's own particular animal. Pavement might be a closer comparison than either one, but there were still parts of the music that sounded a little too "odd" -- they almost made me think of fellow (former) locals Trompedo, or king weirdo-indie-rockers the Archers of Loaf. And the Squares took it in quite a few directions, as well -- on their debut self-released CD, they went from almost prog-sounding rock to Mineral-ish prettiness to somewhat silly computer noise faux-techno. I got to see these guys live quite a few times over the years, and they were pretty darn good, better than Rubbur ever was. Not sure what Davey & co. are doing these days, but I'm guessing they're still out there making music somewhere... [11/10/2005]
WE'VE GOT AIRPLANES: We've Got Airplanes is indeed dead, and while Lucky Motors lived on for a while after, they're now toast, too. Argh. Anyway, the band started out as Pop Deflation, but after a minor stripping-down process and a name change, became We've Got Airplanes. The band was basically Ben Murphy (formerly of The Linoleum Experiment/Port Vale/Spaincoloredorange/etc.), Joseph (who used to be in the broken span, among others), and bassist Melissa, playing very pretty, quiet, melodic pop songs, mostly, that're kind of retro-ish and remind me of bands like Holiday (among others). Anyway, they put out one totally amazing-sounding tape out as Pop Deflation, dreaming of directions, and you really ought to check it out, if you can find a copy somehow. They had an actual CD on the way, entitled what did you do to get so blue, to be released on Kid Records (up in Aggieland), which features some guest stuff from Mark Richardson (formerly of Clouded) and Brady from Inbred Whiteboy; unfortunately, plans changed and the whole thing got scrapped, which sucks, but hey... There were also plans for a 10" after that with the "full" band, to be put out by Joseph's own (now-deceased) Carbon Based Records, but again, that didn't happen, either, I'm afraid. Ah, well -- guess we'll just have to be happy with what's left behind, and look forward to the future of Lucky Motors, eh? [11/17/00]
THE WHOLESOME ROLLERS:
Dammit. Yet another of the most promising "new" bands in town ("new" in that they were only around a year or so, not "new" in that the folks in the band had never played anywhere before, mind you) bites the dust. Yeah, folks told me about it and then band leader Marshall confirmed it for me - The Wholesome Rollers are toast. It's a sad thing, too, 'cause they were one of my favorite bands here in town, with that whole "Uncle Tupelo-meets-Pavement" thing going, and they never got to put out more than a self-released tape. sigh.
Ah, well -- Marshall assured me then that a new band would "arise under [his] historically bad aegis," whatever the fuck that meant (heh), and lo and behold, he wasn't kidding. In the days since, he's fronted a series of country-indie-rock successors to the Rollers, most recently the Bright Men of Learning
, and has kept right on doing his thing. The other former members of the Rollers have gone off to do some other cool stuff, too -- Chris & Justin, were in the very
country Cinders for a while, and drummer Jeff (who also played for Buzzie Rifle, Trompedo, and That Gospel Sound) ended up joining Marshall in his later projects. [2/22/2007]
DEAD HOUSTON BANDS LIST:
[Last updated 7/16/2009.]
Absence Of Change
Alaska Is For Players
Alf Needs Weapons
Birds Over Buildings
Blue October -- Never got to hear these folks, but I was told they're cool...now, though, I'm told they're pretty much from College Station these days...
The Carter Administration
Cop on Fire
Daddy Warbucks (also here)
The Democratic Art
Dinosaur Salad -- Loud, rude quasi-funky rap-thrash, sorta along the lines of Korn or other stuff like that. Not my thing, but hey...
The Down and Dirties
The Drapes -- Formerly known as Draper&Whipple, & also formerly featuring members of de Schmog & Schrasj, among others...
drive that fast
The Entertainment System
Frank D. and the New Deal
Gates of Acheron
The Geto Boys -- Tha homeboyz who made the Nickel famous. "Crooked Officer" is still a fucking badass track.
Goohead -- Is it really that much better in L.A. than it is here in H-town? An unfortunate number of people seem to think so, anyway...sigh.
The Great Groovy Neptune
Handdriver 9 1/2
Ignite the Morning
Immortal Skin Headdress
In The Market
The John Sparrow
The Judys -- These guys don't exist anymore, but they've been described to me as "the best party band of all time," whatever that means.
ladies who lunch
The Last Wish
The Love Pumps
The Loving Thing
The Mike Gunn
The Mod Squad -- These folks sorta broke up, but actually kinda lost a few members and transmuted into the (much better, I think) Half Loaded.
Modern Day John
The Modern Kicks
The Nautical Mile -- Mix together the desert, the sea, an oyster, wind, and you have The Nautical Mile
One Man Down
Otaku No Robo
Pain Teens -- Another band that no longer exists, since Bliss headed off to NYC to seek fame & fortune, but boy, they were weird while it lasted. I will admit I was never a big fan, but the Pain Teens were at least different, and I respect that a lot... (I think at least one of their early albums was re-released recently, by the way, on Charnel Music(?), if I remember right)
Ranch Industry (also here)
Rated R Kids
The Red and White
Sail on Silvergirl
The Second String Rivals
Snit's Dog & Pony Show
St. Vitus Dance
Johnny Switchblade & The Blackouts
This Is The Concierge
The Tie That Binds
The Trigger Quintet
waiting for her...
The Westbury Squares
What About Now!