17 Houston Acts to Watch Out for This Year
Photo by Mark C. Austin Bagheera
This slick, funky electro-duo has a huge year in store that only starts with a collaboration with Twin Shadow hooked up by Red Bull's Sound Select Program. Bagheera's Aidan Kennedy says he's still figuring out what to do with the songs he has stockpiled, but he knows he'd rather "get the right people involved" rather than release the music themselves.
"We're in no rush, and we're having a blast with all of the live-show support and opportunities we've been given over the past year," Kennedy says. "We have some really awesome festival plays this year that we aren't allowed to share yet, but we COULD NOT be more excited."
This indie-rock trio, whose melancholy and melodic sound recalls anything from Depeche Mode to Band of Horses, hope to have their album out at the end of February. The three members are all Houston natives, came together about two and a half years ago, and touch on anything from love and war to drug addiction and the local music scene in the album's seven songs.
"We try to maximize our creativity with only three people," says Josh Wilson, who plays bass, piano and sings. "The album has a lot of vocal and instrumental layers, and is comprised of very dynamic and different-sounding tunes. I feel what we're able to accomplish with only three people, the intricacies of our arrangements and the way our songs move set us apart from other indie-rock acts."
True, Robert Ellis has technically moved to Nashville, but he'll always be a Houstonian to us. Plus The Lights on the Chemical Plant, his second album for New West, is mostly about Houston. The album is due February 11, and single "Only Lies" has already premiered on Esquire.
"Photographs was very much first-person from my perspective," Ellis says of his previous album, released in 2011. "Much of the material on Chemical Plant is based in character studies or in fictional stories. Also, Chemical Plant has a big full-band arrangement on most songs, but not in the traditional classic country way that Photographs did. Stylistically, we wanted this one to be a little bit more ambiguous and try to develop what will hopefully become our own sound people think of when they think of us."
After releasing their first vinyl single, "Ourselves Together/The Cosmic Draw," these mellow psych-rockers also recently completed a video for "Cosmic Draw." They hope to have a second LP to follow 2012's Actual Magic out by the end of the year, but admit it's early to start talking about that.
"The way it's turning out so far, we're really excited about the sound of what we're working on," the band says. "I think people will be surprised. They can definitely expect some new songs turning up in our live shows as we get closer to the album coming out. Wish I could get more specific, but like I said it's pretty early on in the writing process for us."
We understand. See Featherface live at our Houston Press Artopia party on January 25.
The Beatlesque retro-rocker says he hopes to release two 7" singles soon and a full-length, more "groove-driven" followup to 2013's VAUdeVILLE later on in the year. "The last record was fairly rootsy and very '60s," Hamblin reckons. "I'd say the upcoming material will be more psychedelic and more modern but with an clear connection to what I've done previously both in vibe and lyrical content."
List continues on the next page.