The Doomstress Goes Digital-Goth in Vendetta Diabolique

Vendetta Diabolique Facebook
Doomstress Alexis is one of Houston's most gifted daughters when it comes to laying out the doom-metal in Project Armageddon. She's got a voice like a wasteland wind that matches well with her brand of droning, funeral-march music.

Now Alexis has teamed up with Jan Kimmel to work on something quite a bit different, Vendetta Diabolique. Gone is that thunderous bass like whale song, and the comparative tempo is through the roof. On the surface it's not all that fast but compared to a song Doomstress is known for, like "Fallow Fields," it's like watching the Flash.

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Love Grows for Deep Cuts at EP Release Show

Photos by Francisco Montes
Local indie-rockers Deep Cuts drew an enthusiastic crowd fans to Fitz's upstairs stage Friday night to celebrate the release of their first-ever studio recording, the Love Grows EP. Joining them were a few more of Houston's brighter new(ish) local groups, The Caldwell, Chemistry and Young Girls, as well as veterans LIMB. Rocks Off's Fransisco Montes was stationed down front and brought us this photo-review.

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The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Royal Blood, Paul Thorn, Tom Petty, etc.

Photo courtesy of BB Gun PR
Royal Blood
Warehouse Live, September 23

Britpop is having a moment in the U.S. again, as groups as disparate as Arctic Monkeys and Bastille have been greeted by alt-rock stations and listeners alike with open arms. The latest to make a big noise is Royal Blood, the Brighton duo of Michael Kerr and Ben Thatcher whose Zep-meets-Nirvana stomp (via the Black Keys) has caught on like the flu with everyone from the BBC to Jimmy Kimmel Live. (Jimmy Page is also reportedly a fan, so they must be doing it the right way.) With their eponymous debut LP brand-new in stores, Kerr and Thatcher have hit the colonies on their first round of headlining dates. Take cover. CHRIS GRAY

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: A Fistful of Soul, Untapped, Numbers' 36th, etc.

Photo by Brittany Burke
Deep Cuts
Fitzgerald's, September 19

Deep Cuts have gone from first band of the night to last band on the bill in an impressive amount of time; less than two years by our watch. Honed by many, many shows in between (including a FPSF 2013 spot), Chase Harris and Zach Alderman's indie-pop partnership has finally yielded something ready to pass along in digital and physical form, the Love Grows EP.

Setting out to capture their Gulf Coast surroundings in five songs, Deep Cuts conjure surf and sand, their beloved Tex-Mex cuisine, and a sinister undertow in the sun-kissed guitar tones of Love Grows' five songs. Mission accomplished; put this in your "Causeway" playlist. With Young Girls, Limb, The Caldwell, Mikey & the Drags and Lisa's Sons (emcees). CHRIS GRAY

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Fat Tony's Fall Function Turns Up All the Way

Photos by Marco Torres
Does Fat Tony know how to throw a party? The answer will always and forever be "Hell Yeah!" With the help of sponsor Remy Martin, Tony invited his Houston homies DJ Good Grief, Bombón and Rai P to assist him with the kickoff soiree for his upcoming tour. Our own Marco Torres sent in this visual summary of the event, held this past Saturday at The Summit, a new-ish venue located at 3536 Navigation Blvd. in the East End.

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Lone Star Music Fest Abruptly Cancels

The Lone Star Music Festival, which promised to bring an eclectic crop of national, regional and local artists to Discovery Green on November 7 and 8, abruptly and mysteriously scratched the event over the weekend, leaving only the following cryptic message on its Web site.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Lone Star Music Festival, planned for November 7 and 8 at Discovery Green in downtown Houston, is cancelled.

In fact, that sentence is the only thing that remains on the site, besides a promise that Ticketfly will notify everyone who had bought tickets and process refunds. The festival's Facebook page has also been deleted.

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The Best Acts at Yes, Indeed! Fest 2014

Photos by Violeta Alvarez
By Matthew Keever and Angelica Leicht

Six months after the release of their debut album, Shiny Eyes, Catch Fever's pop rock continues to please longtime fans and grab the attention of new listeners as well. The power trio rocked the Continental Club Saturday night at 8pm, with vocalist/guitarist Taylor Huffman crooning above bass and keyboard, incorporating harmonies and backing vocals perfectly above tight percussion.

The night was still young when Catch Fever was onstage, and the crowd hadn't quite formed yet, but the club was still filled with applause and good tunes for the duration of the group's set. M.K.

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The Five Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Overkill, Blaggards, Coheed and Cambria, etc.

eOne Music
Over Kill today: Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, Derek "The Skull" Tailer, Dave Linsk, D.D. Verni, and Ron Lipnicki.
Scout Bar, September 16

As the screamin' front man for New Jersey thrash-metal legends Overkill since Day 1 of the group's formation, Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth has seen, experienced and learned a lot in three and a half decades. So what is the one piece of advice that his 2014 self might offer the 1980 Blitz? "Give up the fucking cigarettes, man," he laughs heartily. "Throw them away!"

Ellsworth's voice is in fine condition, and he can certainly hit those super-high notes, on the band's newest effort, White Devil Armory (eOne Records). While not a concept album per se, its 11 tracks are essentially short stories featuring a character, "the Armorist" who embarks on a journey of war, cage-fighting, medical emergencies, devils, politics and religion -- all set to brutal double bass drums, deep bass notes and shredding guitar solos. Rocks Off will have a full interview with Ellsworth Tuesday morning. BOB RUGGIERO

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RIP Joe Sample: Houston Music Icon Dies at 75

Photo by Marco Torres
Joe Sample, the Houston native whose masterful keyboard playing made him a leading figure in the jazz fusion movement of the '60s and '70s and a top session musician in jazz, R&B and pop for several decades, passed away Friday night, according to his Facebook page. His family announced his death with the following message:

[Wife] Yolanda and his son Nicklas would like to thank all of you, his fans and friends, for your prayers and support during this trying time. Please know that Joe was aware and very appreciative of all of your prayers, comments, letters/cards and well wishes.

Sample was a graduate of Wheatley High School, where he and some classmates founded a group they called the Jazz Crusaders in the mid-'50s. They moved to Southern California in the early '60s and became one of the most popular and respected groups in jazz thanks to albums like Freedom Sound and Looking Ahead. In the '70s, as their sound incorporated more and more elements of funk and R&B, the group changed its name to the Crusaders. Sample also took plenty of jobs on the side, appearing on classic pop-rock albums such as Joni Mitchell's Court & Spark, Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On and Canned Heat's Up the Country. It was not easy work, he told the Houston Press in 2013:

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10 Acts to Watch at Yes, Indeed! Fest 2014

Photo by Trish Badger/Courtesy of Yes, Indeed!
Black Pistol Fire
By Chris Gray and Matthew Keever

Weekends that go by without another multi-stage festival setting up shop somewhere in Houston are getting pretty scarce, but Yes, Indeed~ has a definite leg up due to its track record and homegrown appeal. For its third edition, the nine-hour event relocates to mid-Main and expands to a nine-hour, four-stage musical feast unfolding at the Continental Club (plus patio), Big Top and Alley Kat, all within stumbling distance of one another if need be.

With almost 30 acts in all, Yes Indeed's backbone remains Houston's vibrant indie scene, but you'll find bands as far away as Kansas City, Canada and neighboring Louisiana, as well as a handful from Austin. To help you sort through the schedule (which you can find here), Rocks Off picked out ten acts we think are especially worthy of your attention. With tickets a mere $12 in advance (so get 'em now), whoever you choose will be quite a bargain.

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