There was a time, nearly 30 (!) years ago, when I was a member of the Violent Femmes fan club. With my membership came two prized possessions during the latter half of my high school days: a “Gimme The Car” bumper sticker (which resided in the back window of my Oldsmobuick) and a T-shirt with a bizarre I-still-don’t-know-what-it-was image.
I assume most people’s introduction to Violent Femmes’ music was/is “Add It Up” or “Blister In The Sun.” But, if I recall correctly, I bought the band’s 1986 album, The Blind Leading The Naked, at the Musicland in a suburban mall on a whim. Sometimes it’s great coming into a band’s catalog a couple of albums in, and while I remain a fan of their third album, the first two–their self-titled debut and Hallowed Ground–without a doubt deserve the most attention.
The Milwaukee-based band never played Texas back then (that I knew anyway), and I never saw the band live until some Houston radio station parking lot concert on the Richmond strip in the early- to mid-90s. But it was a great show, and one I remember fondly. I haven’t really kept up with the band much, so it was great to learn that Violent Femmes will perform at this year’s Free Press Summer Fest at Eleanor Tinsley Park near downtown Houston. The festival runs June 4-5, 2016, and passes are available at www.fpsf.com.
Here are a few videos from the band to tide you over:
Violent Femmes play the Free Press Summer Festival on the Venus Stage, Sunday, 6.5.16, at 7:30pm.
Tags: Free Press Summer Festival · Music · Show listings · Summer Fest
Photo: Brandon Holley
John Evans recently released Polyester, his first in six years, via Houston’s Splice Records. Evans is playing a series of free in-store record store sets, which brings him back to Houston this Saturday (5.21.16) to perform songs from the album at Cactus Music.
The show starts at 1pm, and copies of Polyester will be available.
Evans’ has been a long-time favorite of Houstonians, earning eight straight years of Houston Press Music Awards (including six-time Best Male Vocalist, four-time Best Songwriter, two-time Musician of the Year, and Best Roots Rock Band) before his move to Austin a few years ago.
Here are some videos from Evans, including “Butterfly Girl,” which is also the title of a documentary film about his daughter, Abbie, who passed away from a rare skin disease in 2013, and was the inspiration for Polyester. You can read more in the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houstonia.
More information about Evans may be found at www.johnevansband.com.
Tags: Cactus Music · Music · Show listings
I can’t recall when musician Josh Rouse last played Houston, but he’ll be here tomorrow night (Monday, 5.16.16) at the House of Blues Bronze Peacock Room. Arthur Yoria–whose latest video for “Ruff Life” is garnering attention–opens the show.
Tickets to the show, which starts at 6:30pm, are available from Live Nation.
Here is a video of a full show from 2013:
Watch Arthur Yoria’s video for “Ruff Life” below:
Visit Josh Rouse online at www.joshrouse.com. Arthur Yoria’s music may be found at www.arthuryoria.com.
Tags: Music · Show listings
One of Houston’s most interesting bands, The Linus Pauling Quartet, celebrates the digital release of its latest album, Ampalanche, with a free in-store performance today (Saturday, 4.23.16) at Cactus Music at 3pm.
Ampalanche will be available online via iTunes, emusic, Amazon, Spotify, and Bandcamp. The vinyl version is available via the Vincebus Eruptum label.
More information on The Linus Pauling Quartet may be found at www.worshipguitars.org/LP4.
Tags: Cactus Music · Music · Show listings
April 12th, 2016 · 1 Comment
While many may not yet be familiar with Starline‘s music, both band members have had an undeniable influence on the Houston music scene. Former Houston Rocket Matt Maloney founded 12 Records, which released Arthur Yoria’s still-impressive I’ll Be Here Awake in 2003, and Calvin Stanley was the frontman/guitarist for the long-running alt-rock band Pale (you may remember the video for “Catastrophic Skies”).
Obvious fans of Eighties-era 120 Minutes bands, Stanley and Maloney incorporate the more synth-driven influences of that time (Depeche Mode is an obvious example) into their songs, making them both modern and familiar. Mostly absent are the requisite guitar solos; instead, Starline intersperses them with a heavy dose of loops and beats.
The ragged edges of the gloomy “Platinum Spider” contrast nicely with the upbeat “Four On The Floor,” catchy “Redacted,” and melodic album-standout “Everyone Makes A Sound.” One of four songs on CJM reworked from a self-titled debut EP quietly released digitally a couple of years ago, it would easily fit into Pale’s catalog. Despite the obvious studio tinkering–the album reportedly took two years to make–the duo (with assistance from producer Steve Christensen) shows restraint.
Those familiar with Pale’s fondness for anthemic hooks certainly won’t be disappointed with the songs on CJM, and will find common ground with the album’s introspective lyrics. CJM shows Stanley and Maloney to be kindred spirits in their songwriting and musical tastes, and much of the album also brings to mind another scruffy, brooding frontman that likes to noodle in the studio: Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor. Their songs contain a similar strong undercurrent of pining for lost loves and frustration with current relationships (“I don’t want to descend to your condescension / I hate that I live and breathe you,” Maloney sings on “Unloveable”). Starline’s songs also show the men wrestling with the inevitability of growing older and the challenges, soul-searching, and jaded frustration this can bring.
For example, “Orphans”–another album high point–finds them coming to terms with the death of close family members (the album’s title is a tribute to Maloney’s brother, Christopher). “Will you come find us, if you can,” Stanley sings. “We just want to understand.”
There’s miscommunication, disenchantment, technophobia, anger, and this longing for meaning throughout Starline’s songs, along with a cocksure-yet-sensitive sense of “I’ve got nothing to lose and plenty left to prove.” This last aspect is most evident in album opener, “Bruise,” on which Stanley sings, “I’ve got a soul like a bulletproof vest / I’m hitting back at the expecting less.”
CJM combines these dark themes with mostly catchy–and often danceable–songs that weave Starline’s New Wave-era influences into something new without sounding overly derivative or dated. If Maloney and Stanley have something left to prove, it will be interesting to hear.
Tags: InMyEar · Music · Reviews
David Gilmour plays tonight (Friday, 4.8.16) at Chicago’s United Center. This is a bucket list item for me.
Here are some videos from past shows:
Tags: InMyEar · Miscellaneous · Music · Show listings
The long-awaited new music venue White Oak Music Hall finally opens tomorrow night (Saturday, 4.9.16) with performances by M83 and Yacht. The venue–booked by Pegstar Productions–is set to host a lot of great upcoming shows, including The Flaming Lips, Explosions In The Sky, Reverend Horton Heat, and David Bazan.
As indicated on the venue’s website:
Pegstar Productions, one of the largest independently-owned concert booking and promotions companies in the Southwest, will book and operate WOMH. Perhaps best known for organizing the annual FPSF music festival in Houston, which attracts more than 80,000 attendees each year, Pegstar programmed well over 500 live events in 2014 alone.
More information and ticketing may be found at www.whiteoakmusichall.com.
Tags: Music · Show listings · White Oak Music Hall
Local musician Cameron Dezen Hammon‘s new album of 80’s and 90’s covers, Words Don’t Bleed, is now available, and the singer/songwriter celebrates with a show tonight (Friday, 3.4.16) at the Nightingale Room in downtown Houston. Showtime is 8:30pm.
Purchase the album online at amazon.com, buy it locally at the show tonight, or get it at Cactus Music.
More information may be found at www.camerondezenhammon.com.
Tags: InMyEar · Music · Show listings
The line-up for Free Press Summer Festival was announced this week, and includes another diverse set of bands. deadmau5, Modest Mouse, Violent Femmes, The Black Angels, Blue Healer, White Denim, The National, Trae Tha Truth, Built To Spill, Children of Pop, and many more will play June 4-5, 2016, in Houston’s Eleanor Tinsley Park.
Advanced tickets are available now at www.fpsf.com.
Tags: Free Press Summer Festival · Music · Show listings
February 25th, 2016 · 1 Comment
Local electro-rock band Starline–former Pale frontman/guitarist Calvin Stanley III and former NBA player Matt Maloney–releases its new album, CJM, today (2.25.16). It is available to purchase online and on streaming services.
The duo hosts an album listening party tonight in Houston at Hughes Hangar on Washington Ave. near downtown.
Houston Press recently published an article on Starline, which you can read here.
Visit Starline online at www.starline.band.
Tags: InMyEar · Music · Show listings