10 Houston Acts You Should Be Listening To

Photo courtesy of Giant Battle Monster
Giant Battle Monster
While their music is so weird it's probably understandable math-rock band Giant Battle Monster hasn't exactly taken Houston by storm, it's a shame that their brilliant and absolutely insane brand of music doesn't capture more imaginations. It's especially a shame because they're so hard-working.

This is a band who lost two-thirds of its membership and still managed to tour Japan DIY. If that accomplishment doesn't impress you, just check out their musicianship. These guys are the real deal, and the exact kind of weirdness you could only find in Houston. COREY DEITERMAN

iLL LiAD is full of surprises, from his genuine infatuation with Homer --"[his] were the only books I fell in love with as a child," he says -- to the synth-y, "electro-hop" sound of his new single 'Rise & Fall.'

It's that signature style paired with provocative (sometimes inflammatory) lyrics, as well as a handful of high-profile opening slots for Lunaface Productions shows, that have helped this enigmatic rapper beat the "odds" he felt the Houston scene once had leveled against him. With his sophomore album, The Odyssey, due for release next Friday and an upcoming gig with Local Theory, iLL LiAD is poised to join a group of elite young artists who are effectively recreating the standard sound of Houston hip-hop. LEILA CHEMAM-ALFARO

I've written before about my budding fandom for Legion, the very young, very fast speed metal band from Sugar Land. The group just released its first album on Ft. Worth's Metal Rising Records: State of Decay. Everybody knows that a speed metal band's first album is always their most brutal, so don't skip it.

Legion's hyperspeed ditties about war, religion and government oppression manage to pay reverent tribute to the classic thrash of the early '80s while retaining a gonzo, ADD-addled millennial spirit. The band is going through a lineup shuffle at the moment, but they seem just a little too close to making a name for themselves to quit now. Jump in a circle pit and give 'em a shot. NATHAN SMITH

The Manichean
Let's talk about showmanship, folks. Plenty of local acts have it, but none quite like The Manichean. To be fair, The Manichean don't just put on concerts; their live performances are an experience for your eyes, ears and mind. As much theater as it is music, Cory Sinclair and Justice Tirapelli-Jamail's band is something every Houstonian should experience, interpret and enjoy for themselves.

All of their music amounts to concept albums, as the Houston duo regale listeners with stories of love, heartache, loyalty and betrayal, rarely told from the perspective of a reliable narrator. Even when I'm not quite sure what's happening, it's always one hell of a ride. MATTHEW KEEVER

Still more locals on the next page.

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The Manichean don't know how to write a song or play their instruments.


How about Runaway Sun, Shellee Coley, or Folk Family Revival?


Scale the Summit - totally original, years of touring experience, 4 albums, an all 4 of them are prodigiously good at their instruments.  THE Houston band as far as I'm concerned, but I know that instrumental music is not for everybody. 

Jessica Alexander
Jessica Alexander

I went to see them in Bryan last weekend and was dissapointed to hear they broke up the day before. my other band Bike Problems played a house party in 2010/11 in Austin with them and it made realize that they were more than just a "party band."

Jessica Alexander
Jessica Alexander

Hey great list, guys, but football, etc. just lost their drummer last week. hopefully they stay together though, rad guys!

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