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.

Saturday, 30 July 2011 – Letters To Voltron * Skeleton Dick * The Local Skank

Letters To Voltron – (Houston, TX )

From the future form the past, Letters to Voltron began their quest to conquer the world through auto-erotic musical stylings and homemade macramé. Shortly after being introduced into modern society Robert Callicotte and John Wayne Comunale, and Marty Eck abandoned the macramé and started their own internet company at the age of twelve only to have it fold after six and a half months. Leaving thousands of disgr…untled shareholders in their wake the three pressed on with their sex crazed Robot to take on several other musical endeavors, including being loosely associated with Taint Magazine for a very short time. Now, under the Omega Prophet umbrella L2V are poised to take their endeavors into the 10th dimension.

Skeleton Dick– (Houston, TX )

Bunny – Vocals and Backing Guitar
Nicky DaFish – Vocals and Backing Drums
JTan – Vocals and Backing Bass
Machine – Vocals and Backing Solos
Delron – Vocals

The Local Skank – (Houston, TX )

Skank: A rhythmic dance performed to reggae or ska music, characterized by bending forward, raising the knees, and extending the hands

The Local Skank: An all girl (and one guy) skank band originating out of New Orleans, characterized by their ska and pop-punk style of music.

Mere chance brought the ladies and gentleman of The Local Skank together in the summer of 2008. Responding to a craigslist ad posted by guitarist Dani Moody, the band quickly fell into place. With bassist Melissa Crory, trumpter Hannah Kreiger-Benson, and trombonist Ashley Shabankareh, the line-up was near complete. However, the band locked into place with the addition of drummer Darryl DiMaggio. Coming from Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, and Louisiana, these ladies and gentleman formed together to create an unique group previously lacking from the New Orleans music scene. With veteran rock musicians to their stylistically different backgrounds, including punk, goth, applachian dance, hip-hop, indie rock, and ska, The Locak Skank has worked towards creating their own musical dogma. Naming themselves after their favorite style of dance, The Local Skank has been bringing a distinctive perspective to New Orleans and will continue to do so for as long as they can rock!

 

Saturday, 23 July 2011 – The Inanimate Objects * Skeleton Dick * Shiny Darks

The Inanimate Objects – (Houston, TX ) The Inanimate Objects are a Houston, Texas based three-piece alternative music band, which has been cranking-out original compositions since the late 1970s, when the punk rock era was just beginning to surface. The band’s roots go back to 1978 in the Park Place region of southeast Houston, Texas, when original works were performed at parties with friends, using instruments such as a toy drum kit and a Silvertone guitar.
The band currently consists of the following, all of whom have been members since the band’s first public gig in 1980:

Ted Bare – lead guitar, rhythm guitar & vocals
Ron Obvious – drums
Ollie Stevans – bass guitar and vocals

During the early years, the band also included lead vocalist, Id Pleasure, who later resigned in 1987. Subsequently, Ollie and Ted have shared lead vocals about 50/50.

 

Skeleton Dick– (Houston, TX )

Bunny – Vocals and Backing Guitar
Nicky DaFish – Vocals and Backing Drums
JTan – Vocals and Backing Bass
Machine – Vocals and Backing Solos
Delron – Vocals

 

Shiny Darks – (Houston, TX )

It’s rock-n-roll with a kick to the face and a pat on the back. It’s true that “happy” and “positive” aren’t normally associated with aggressive music, but there’s more to The Shiny Darks than meets the eye. The thrillsome threesome from Houston, TX has managed to create a sound like no other- one that can start a pit and keep you smiling all at once. Epitomized in their newly released EP “Stab at Love”, The Shiny Darks’ transcend traditional punk, kick it up a notch, and slam it back down with some good ol’ rock-n-roll fun.

To create the magic, the Houston-based band took to the outskirts of the nation and found their resting place in Radiostar Studios (Weed, CA). It was there, through the eyes and ears of the great Sylvia Massy (Tool, Powerman 5000, Johnny Cash) and veteran studio/session musician turned producer Cameron McKenzie, “Stab at Love” came alive.

“Recording in Weed, CA with The Shiny Darks was definitely in my top five experiences of all time.” says Cameron. “Everyone there had nowhere to go but straight into rock history.”

“Recording The Shiny Darks could be the highlight of my career.” says Sylvia. “These guys live and breathe true rock-n-roll, dredged from the depths of dirty thoughts and high-school rejection. Bite marks bleed with the song ‘Stab’. Paul’s vocals and bass wrap around you like a warm strait-jacket. Gem’s drums drill into your temples like a lobotomy. Quenton’s guitars wake you up like a slap in the face. No kissy-kissy music here…”

“Stab at Love”, the first single off of the titular EP, explores loving and losing with the honesty of being freshly wounded. A heart that was, as the song pines, left “beating on the floor” now picked up and proudly displayed on the wounded’s sleeve.

“These songs are lyrically very personal to us. But everybody can relate. Love and loss in ‘Stab’ and ‘Photographs’, the desire for the ‘greener pasture’ and its ultimate disappointment in ‘Kennedy’, and surviving tough times in ‘Holiday’.” says Quenton Rockwell.

“Human nature is driven by two basic emotions: love and fear” says Paul Mendez. “These songs delve into the love side of things…mostly surviving the pain of it. We wrote about it and, to a degree, celebrate survival.”

Though “Stab at Love” boasts the flavors of rejection, pain, and agonizing heartache, the underlying theme which can all but be avoided is hope. The same could be said of each band member. Three very distinct personalities that are each tinged with optimism. “We want people to know that these times don’t last forever” says Gem Mendez (Paul’s baby sister). “There’s something else right around the corner. We wish for our music to touch those that have endured such pain and have fun with it, enough to take a peek at what good things are to come.”

Saturday, 16 July 2011 – Fired For Walking * Rainbow Dragon

Fired For Walking – (Houston, TX )

FIRED FOR WALKING is a heavy-pop/hard-indie/whatever-rock band from Houston, Texas. Formed in 2006, after a drunken challenge to start a band, DREW (bass), JOEL (guitar/vocals), MIKE (guitar/vocals) and RICK (drums) set about writing and fine-tuning a batch of songs that were based on the band’s number one rule; play whatever the hell you want. “I don’t care if someone brings in an idea for a neo-classical, deat…h-metal, rap song…, we should try and play it.” Joel says, adding, “If it sucks, we don’t play it in public.” With this musical philosophy intact, FIRED FOR WALKING unleashed its debut recording in Fall 2008. Released on the band’s own label, Four Letter Music, the self-titled, six song E.P. is a potent example of the band’s ability to maintain a variety of sounds, emotions and energy. It is loose, focused, bright, and dark; a little bit Foo Fighters, a little bit Queens of the Stone Age, with a touch of The Stooges… but the music is always on FFW’s terms. It’s rock and roll that knows what loud amps and good melodies are for.

Rainbow Dragon– (Austin, TX )

Born in a misty mountain top near a coal plant. Cracked open by a woman with big hair. Raised by a big guy in pelts. Reared on love, old TV reruns, big, sloppy dreams and beans. Thunder. Bzzca! This kind of magic, well, it’s special. Magic. Special magic with sprinkles and stuff. Magical stuff.

Friday, 15 July 2011 Horseshoe (Reunion Show)

Horseshoe – (Houston, TX )

An acid rock-loving quintet with a distinct country twang, Horseshoe rose from the debris of Tab Jones, a band that somehow fused rootsy authenticity with the twisted gospel of Pink Floyd’s crazed former leader, Syd Barrett. After that group sputtered in 1992, lead singer Greg Wood, drummer Eddie Hawkins, and guitarist Scott Daniels launched Horseshoe in 1994 with bassist Ben Collis and guitarist Cary Winscott. The burly son of a truck driver with a soft spot for Merle Haggard, Wood had been jotting down lyrics for years — and with input from Daniels and Hawkins, the tunes came pouring out faster than the band could learn them. By June 1995, Horseshoe was putting its ideas on tape with Hawkins, a competent engineer, behind the boards. But money problems ensured that it would be a while before the material could make it to CD. That partly explains the pieced-together feel of the band’s sprawling, fitfully brilliant 1996 debut, King of the World, which enjoyed national distribution on Houston’s Justice Records. A year after its release, Hawkins, Horseshoe’s steadying element, left the group to focus on family life. The band hung in there for a while with new drummer Michael Fischer, before hanging it up for good in 1999. After a harrowing series of personal setbacks and life-threatening medical woes, Wood re-emerged in 2002 with the solo album Ash Wednesday. ~ Hobart Rowland, All Music Guide

Thursday, 14 July 2011 – American Heist * Say Hello To Angels * Jukebox Romantics

American Heist – (Houston, TX )

Hailing from Houston, TX, The American Heist formed in early 2008. As a band they have played with the likes of AGAINST ME!, Mad Sin, The Hold Steady, $wingin Utter$, The Adolescents, Flatfoot 56, The Street Dogs, Fake Problems, The Koffin Kats and Reverend Horton Heat and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. The Heist recorded their first E.P. in April of 2009 in Austin, TX that was released through Cutthroat Records and a full length released August of 2010 through the same label. Vinyl & Digital Downloads on sale now!!!

 

Say Hello To The Angels – (Austin, TX )

“Angular, driven and beyond impressive, Say Hello To The Angels are rewriting the book on post-punk, and including chapters most have not yet even considered. ” – Loud Fast Rules! Magazine, Winter Issue 2007-2008.. ..”Armed with a blistering debut self-titled EP, the Angels’ momentum is certainly rocketing skyward, but strictly on their own terms.” – AMP Magazine, Winter Issue 2007-2008.. ..

 

Jukebox Romantics – (New York)

“The Jukebox Romantics are 5 certifiable and usually belligerent punk rockers from southern NY. Since releasing their debut album on Altercation Records in 2009, the Jukebox Romantics have taken their talked-about live show from coast to coast including dates during Austins SXSW 2010/2011 festivals and the Warped Tour and Gainesville’s The Fest 9 in late 2010. With a genre hopping approach to their sound, the Jukebox Romantics channel their influences of bands like The Clash, Bouncing Souls, and One Man Army through personal song writing and their ability and eagerness to be absorbed by their audiences. The Jukebox Romantics are gearing up for a busy busy 2011. With their 2nd full length, “A Lion And A Guy” being released on May 3rd, the JBR dudes plan on touring the US for most of the summer! Come drink and dance with them in your city!!”