The Rocks Off 200: Handsomebeast, Silver Jeans Starchildren
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Handsomebeast, who have been kicking around Houston venues like Notsuoh full-time since 2013, strike us as one of the most likely bands in town to describe themselves as a "collective." As heard on their album Estilo Gacho (stream it here via Bandcamp), theirs is a sound created by serious musos whose principal purpose is to get people to move; the music made by these self-admitted "space-rock bump-n-grinders" has the side effect of sounding like it's coming from a lot more people than there actually are. But at the moment the band is made up of only four human beings, who by their own admission are tapped into some pretty universal shit.
Photos courtesy of Handsomebeast
"We strive to make music that can cause ripples of emotion in the brains of fellow humans," an HB spokesman explains by email. "Being our strongest and most meaningful connection to the universe and its natural mystic power, music influences our lives in such a way that we produce our own sounds and collection of frequencies for others to hear and experience. We like to share."
Whoa...pass some of that over here, please. Currently Handsomebeast is a finalist in the "Battle of the Bands" contest sponsored by the Silver Jeans Co. and FADER magazine, competing for a chance to win a trip to New York to record a demo and 500 "vinyls" of said demo that will be sold in Silver Jeans stores nationwide, plus a writeup in FADER. Voting ends Friday night, and due to some kind of glitch earlier this week, HB is running second behind some L.A. outfit. Won't you help 'em out by voting here?
Home Base: Booking agents, process servers and anyone else looking for Handsomebeast can find them at King Benny's House of Hits on the Eastside, which they describe as "our own recording studio and rehearsal space where we produce local acts and friends' music from the love in our hearts." That's where they did Estilo Gacho before having it mastered at 226 Recordings in the Heights.
"If you're interested in checking out some of the stuff we've recorded, just Google King Benny Productions and listen to the rawness," HB adds.
Good War Story: In which Handsomebeast tells us about one of the spontaneous shows they "organized" (quotation marks theirs):
It's not that we prefer throwing this type of show, but we have at times found ourselves at a loss of resources or with some sort of time conflict. When confronted with this type of situation, we won't just sit on our asses like blue-balled boners. The show must go on. We got all this energy that NEEDS to get out, so we make it happen.
A great example is our going-away show in New Orleans. We got double-booked and had all these college kids ready to see us play. So, after failing to negotiate with the venue, we organized a way to break into our college basement and play the show anyway. We asked our friends and fans to bring all available lamps and extension cords to the basement of the student center and we played a very hyped "underground" show.
Everyone could feel the energy of our struggle and joined in. It became one of those special connections between a band and an audience where the whole room, the lighting, the people, and the timing, felt like one unified thing.
Everyone -- around 50 plus people -- was crammed in this conference room below our cafeteria for one last memorable pelvic thrusting. And it was awesome.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "Well, the heat alone is unique and stimulating for people that like getting downright nasty," HB explains. "The refineries also provide an incomparable scent for some parts of the city. Also, the size of the city is immense and fruited with angry driving."
Seriously though (we think?), HB admits they've thought about leaving for L.A. or New Orleans, but at the end of the day are small-business owners with a growing enterprise in Houston who try to live by the creed "it is never really where you are that matters, it is what you're doing." Solid.
Story continues on the next page.