Sleater-Kinney Pick Up Right Where They Left Off

Photos by Jack Gorman
Warehouse Live
April 18, 2015

"Houston, it has been a long time," Carrie Brownstein painfully reminded the long-suffering devotees of one of the last decade's most influential bands, and tucking away the temporary trauma that was the memory of Sleater-Kinney's 2003 visit to the Woodlands Pavilion as Pearl Jam's openers became easy. As Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss also took their respective places, the memory of their absence was completely extinguished by performing songs from their extensive past catalog and their astonishing new album, No Cities to Love.

Like their timeless collection of songs, the packed Ballroom's diversity of race, gender and age was equally represented. Thirtysomething men sported Dwarves T-shirts, while middle-aged silver foxes clutched vinyl Sleater-Kinney albums. Teenage girls and college-age women shared the same admiration for a band that has pioneered socially conscious music for a gender that once was grossly underrepresented. Saturday night was a celebration uniting the Sleater-Kinney faithful with those who simply enjoy a show that rocks.

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Birdmagic & Perseph One Bring Beats and Love to Rudyard's

Photos by Susan Wyatt
Birdmagic, Perseph One, Pitter Patter
April 16, 2015

At night's end, Birdmagic looked like someone who had dominated an opponent after a 12-round fight. Predator, not prey, he stalked Rudyard's stage, eagerly pacing between soiled and pulsing snares. His shirt soaked with the labor of his effort, Birdmagic insisted that every person be in the moment filled with ecstatic joy. Thursday night, those who braved the deluge and participated in the 21st-century Dionysian festival left gratified.

Jonathan Perez, a.k.a. Pitter Patter, initiated the evening's events with his dynamic one-man show. Before Pitter Patter finished introducing himself to the crowd, he grabbed his drumsticks, clicked on his laptop, and performed angular rhythms over a collection of acoustic and electronic sounds. More psychedelic than experimental, the accompanying synths buttressed his primal pounding.

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Nosaj Thing Would Like Their Stolen Gear Back

Photo courtesy of Life or Death PR
No questions asked.
Nosaj Thing, the electronic musician/producer who has worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Kid Cudi, was robbed of his group's equipment early Thursday morning on Kirby and Richmond.

According to the band's Facebook page, their tour van was broken into and all of their equipment, including Macbooks and other devices, was taken.

The band is offering a cash reward for any information leading to the retrieval of their gear. Please contact the band on their Facebook pageĀ if you know anything about Thursday morning's robbery.

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Local Bands Do Their Part to Unf*%k the World

Photo by Jim Wilkinson, courtesy of Versa Nova
L-R: Versa Nova's Gray, Smith and Arnold
What would it take to unf*%k the world?

There's hardly enough blog space to launch into discussions on the grand and ultimately futile gestures it might take to make this planet a utopia. But one local band has at least a small-scale blueprint to help a little.

Spread music and share food. That's the plan behind Saturday's Unf*%k the World Fest. A dozen bands will come together at Harrisburg Studios to raise tour funds for local hardcore band Versa Nova, while also collecting food for the Star of Hope Mission.

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Handsomebeast Gives the Sexy Face Reaction Time of Your Life

Categories: Listen Up!

Photo courtesy of Handsomebeast
What Handsomebeast does is a type of music that can go very wrong very quickly if it's not handled with care and consideration; kind of like nuclear power or anal sex. They are a funk-rock band, and funk in rock too often leads to delusions of stank that are, to put it generously, highly undeserved.

Well, Handsomebeast's new EP, Sexy Face Reaction Time, handles the funk like a champ and it allows their music room to move and groove admirably. The result is a five-song collection that is playful and exciting, and not afraid to go all over the place while standing firmly on its incredible rhythm section.

I read once where the secret to Drunken Boxing was that the off-center movements were only effective because they were launched from a secretly solid balance. That's how I would describe a Handsomebeast song; the majestic flailing of a band that knows exactly what they're doing but want you to think they're out of control.

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For These Fans, Cake Beats Game of Thrones By a Mile

Photos by Francisco Montes
House of Blues
April 12, 2015

After a weekend of sporadic downpours and questionable weather, Houstonians could have easily opted to stay tucked in Sunday night for the Game of Thrones season premiere or yet another marathon of Bar Rescue. Quite the contrary: Cake's House of Blues show was completely sold out, overflowing with fans so dedicated they would have swum to the venue if needed.

Upon walking into House of Blues, it was clear why Cake still sells out shows 20-plus years after forming: fans everywhere were preemptively singing their favorite songs, giddy with anticipation for the California alt-rock vets to take the stage. The excitement among the crowd was almost enough to be happy that so many people got to experience this show, but frankly there were too damn many people in the venue. Overhearing tall men comment on how the place was too packed was commonplace.

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Second Lovers Step Up to the Plate

Photo courtesy of Second Lovers
"I want to be in the biggest band in the world," says Nic Morales. "When you are a kid and you dream of being a musician, and you see a big band on a big stage, every aspiring musician says to himself, 'I want to do that.'"

Morales is nursing a gentleman's beverage on a Sunday afternoon at Double Trouble, a relaxed yet debonair spot on Main Street. Apart from the dedicated drinkers, the place is understandably empty due to a stormy Saturday night. The front man and founder of Second Lovers is poised and composed with boyish looks minus the naive manner. Yet it is often difficult for him to disguise his enthusiasm about his band's present path.

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Folk Family Revival's Water Walker Finds Its Footing

Categories: Listen Up!

Photo provided by Rock Ridge Music
Note: Due to an error in the metadata in the review copy that we were sent the track listing on Water Walker appeared in alphabetical order instead of the intended order. We withdraw all criticisms of the album's pacing after re-listening to it in the correct order and would like to replace it with this one-sentence thumbnail review: Water Walker is another well-crafted pop folk outing from Folk Family Revival that showcases the band's unique blend of dream-like imagery and driving, down-home music to leave a dark, lasting effect on the listener.

by Folk Family Revival was easily one of the best local records of 2011, a down-home sucker-punch that mixed pop-folk with poignant, brilliant lyrics. Four years later. the band is back with a new record, Water Walker, and a high bar to clear.

To be perfectly honest, Water Walker has a pacing problem. Unfolding came out of the gate with a roar using "Fallin'", a love song that was equal parts whisper and scream. It got you hard and good and led easily into the ups and downs of the rest of the record.

Water Walker stumbles into its run time at first. "American Standard" is a plodding affair that feels like you're listening to it at three-quarter speed. It aims for a swinging rhythm but comes across slightly drunk. Following is a cover of Shellee Coley's "Cotton Dress," a payback for Coley's rendition of "Shade from the Storm" on her Songs Without Bridges. When Coley does FFR, she infuses a track with a hopelessness that belies Mason Lankford's chagrining optimism, but Lankford turns a mom-rock track into something that's not quite a love song or a family ode. It just rings off.

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Easter Sunday Filled With Sounds of Tomorrowland

Photos by Susan Wyatt
Houston's Matsu Mixu
The Van Allen Belt, PopeNQM, FLCON FCKER, Matsu Mixu
April 5, 2015

There were no empty tomb events downstairs at Fitzgerald's last night. No necromancy took place on Easter Sunday. Even if there were such a parlor trick, just about as many people who realized the profoundly large boulder moved attended an extraordinary lineup with The Van Allen Belt headlining.

Scarce as hen's teeth, the few who showed up to bear witness of Houston's burgeoning acts, some of whom will -- and have -- perform festivals and headline shows in the coming years, were treated to a musical Tomorrowland. Last night, bands filled the laboratory with future sounds, overwhelming the senses and courageously discovering new and unclaimed territories.

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Nathan Quick's City Lights EP Is Fast and Dirty

Categories: Listen Up!

It's been just over half a year since Nathan Quick's last offering, The Mile. That album was a jangling, poetic affair that was fun to listen to, but City Lights is a whole different animal. If The Mile was a big dog, then what we have here is a wolf.

Honestly, it's more single than EP, with "City Lights" and only two tracks to back it up. That aside, they make a hell of a trio as Quick takes his voice into previously uncharted territory. He sounds like he should be singing over the opening credits of a grindhouse flick about chicks with guns. Comparing his rough crooning wail to an L.A. Woman-era Jim Morrison is just barely an exaggeration, and combined with his road-song approach to everything, it's hypnotic.

"City Lights" also shows off one of my favorite aspects of Quick: He doesn't play guitar solos. Well, he does, but not solos that someone who grew up with a poster of Slash on his wall would call proper guitar solos. Instead they are these shade-throwing bits of aggressive noodling that let you know that while Quick isn't going to bust out a three-minute solo that will blister paint, he totally could if he felt it.

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