Friday, 29 July 2011 – The Squishees * Ghost Town Electric * Dead Mineral

 

 The Squishees – (Houston, TX )

Guitarist Erik Westfall, bassist Johnny Todd and drummer Jason Tortorice describe the band’s music as “an energetic mix of progressive punk-funk with an equal emphasis on offbeat lyricism and apocalyptic instrumentation.”

Review:

The Squishees
Strands and Drools EP

The Pasadena goofballs formerly known as the Slurpees, forced to change their name by 7-11, continue to expand their no-longer-conventional definition of punk, creating for this EP, Strands and Drools, some kind of weird cross between mutant prog, post-rock and space-alien funk fusion. Drummer Jason Tortorice really comes into his own here, getting around the kit and the beat quite impressively. Prime examples of the raw power of the Squishees are “Bobbysox,” a bizarro-world ZZ Top stomp with a salty sense of humor, herky-jerky timing, and a wicked solo, and the improv jam “Zindler’s Lobe,” which might as well be “Don Caballero 4” until it breaks into Minutemen-inspired funk, then heads off to Sabbathland and parts unknown. Even the rather silly “Bacon” comes off well when played by such imaginative musicians. Less successful is “The Theory of Billy and the Train,” an eight-and-a-half minute dirge, less theory than half-assed epic poem, that tells the story of an unfortunate boy who is hit by a train and cut in half. I trust I will spoil nothing if I reveal that both halves survive and that one of them is — gasp — evil. Despite its problems, even this song is hardly weak, instrumentally speaking.

This music is virtuosic and ambitious, while retaining a visceral punch — and yet it’s almost anti-commerical in its bizarre and idiosyncratic approach. Such a mixture, to me, seems quintessentially Houstonian in its artistic isolation. The Squishees represent the gritty, organic, and unpredictable sprawl of our city as well as anyone. – Space City Rock

Ghost Town Electric – (Houston, TX )

This is the story of Melvin, the Tromaville Health Club mop boy, who inadvertently and naively trusts the hedonistic, contemptuous and vain health club members, to the point of accidentally ending up in a vat of toxic waste. The devastating results then have a transmogrification effect, his alter ego is released, and the Toxic Avenger is born, to deadly and comical results. The local mop boy is now the local Superhero, the saviour of corruption, thuggish bullies and indifference.

 Dead Mineral – (Houston, TX )

Formed in 2005 under the name Novox, Dead Mineral have been blasting Houston area bars and clubs with mostly instrumental dual guitar driven rock that wraps beauty inside searing noise.

Members collectively hail from other Houston bands including Dry Nod, Sprawl, The Drunks, STOMA, The Keenlies, Run Trip and Fall, Rusted Shut, Project Grimm, Texas Guinness Lovers.