Never Mind Arcade Fire: Bands Who Fit Other Houston 'Burbs
On last year's The Suburbs, the Butlers and their Canadian compatriots reflected on the brothers' restless Montgomery County days in songs such as "The Suburbs," "The Suburbs (Continued)," "Month of May," and "Sprawl (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," and were rewarded with the biggest Album of the Year upset since Herbie Hancock beat out Amy Winehouse and Kanye West in... 2008.
Although they seem to be still in touch with at least a few people from back home, such as Pale singer Calvin Stanley, the Butlers have been pretty mum about their Woodlands beginnings since claiming to have "fled Texas" in the liner notes of the album that started it all, 2004's Funeral. Their almost-interview with Rocks Off's predecessor John Nova Lomax before the band's previous Houston-area show, January 2005 at
Pearl Bar Mary Jane's Fat Cat, is a Houston Press classic.
Since then, Arcade Fire has shunned Texas outright except for ACLs 2005 and '07 (and now the past five days), while becoming one of the biggest bands in the world. The Woodlands has kept right on sprawling, while curiously neglecting to erect a statue in the Butler brothers' honor. At Dallas' Gexa Energy Pavilion last Saturday, Win told the crowd he thinks Houston is "depressing." Should be an interesting evening.
Rocks Off Sr., ourselves a more or less proud son of Friendswood, asked our staff to reflect on their own suburban origins and come up with an artist or band they felt best exemplified their own upbringings. Turns out Arcade Fire let The Woodlands off easy.
Why? Because this band reminds of every bad thing that happened in Pearland while I was growing up. And also because the band reminds me of everything I love the town for to this day. Disgraced cheerleaders, bad cocaine, misguided tattoos, rich kids, gross bars, hot wings, huge trucks, small minds, great Mexican food, bastard children, drunk drivers, and that was just 2007.
Also, come on, "Lit Up" is kind of a jam even today.
JEF WITH ONE F
What band and album could sum up the East Houston suburb I spent my formative years incarcerated in? Nickelback. Only Nickelback.
Chad Kroeger and Co. have written exactly one decent song in their entire career. That song is the 2000 single "Leader of Men," a song that should've warned us all. In it, they blatantly tell us that forging a trail of their own is too hard, and they'll be content to be stuck forever.
Whenever I drive through the bit of I-10 between the East Loop and the East Beltway, I always have the feeling that I am somehow going down a steep valley, and that the only was to escape is to speed as fast as possible to maintain escape velocity. All but a small, hardy handful of the people I grew up with there have let their orbits slowly decay until they are once again stuck back in Jake City.
Only the acme of mediocrity that is Nickelback could do my hometown justice. The apathy towards learning in "Photograph," the pot-soaked pseudo-spirituality of "If Everyone Cared," the brutish lust of "Animals"... if they could harness all of these concepts to the casual, lazy racism and petty violence that peppered the air with impotent small-arms fire on Saturday nights then Jacinto City would be done perfect justice.