Wednesday 20 June 2012 – Possessed By Paul James * Delaney Davidson

Possessed By Paul James (Austin, TX)
http://ppjrecords.com/

Possessed By Paul James is the stage name of multi-instrumentalist Konrad Wert. He was raised Mennonite with Amish roots in the swamps of Immokalee, Florida and presently resides with his wife and son in the Hill Country of Texas.  Wert’s performances are so energetic that he could easily be mistaken for a small crowd. His songs are very honest. Not only are they completely personal and sincere, but they transcend identity and touch on the human condition.  “Possessed is just… possessed by experiences and family (Paul and Melvin James),” Wert says. ”…I connect with that, with the beauty of the brokenness, innocence and/or ugliness.”

PPJ has been around now since 2006 touring domestically and internationally while finding a balance between family and the opportunities of music.  “The goal is to be able to share and benefit both my family and those willing to listen.  That is a success in my opinion and thus far it seems to be working it’s way out.”

In 2006 SYA Records of Milan, Italy pressed Wert’s first LP ‘Possessed by Paul James’ followed by his first European tour.  In 2007 while touring overseas the Rev. Beatman of Voodoo Rhythm Records came to a PPJ show and liked what he heard and saw.  Thus in 2008 ‘Cold and Blind’ was released, Wert’s second album.  Presently we are awaiting PPJ’s 3rd record, ‘Feed the Family’ this time with the intent of going completely independent, pressing both CD, LP and 7-inch.

Needless to say it has been a slow and steady road for the music of Possessed by Paul James.  As Wert likes to put it, “This isn’t a race.  No one is coming in first or last, it’s simply a marathon in the process of music and that feels best.”

 

Delaney Davidson (New Zealand)
http://www.delaneydavidson.com/

Part man part wheel, Delaney Davidson is part wandering minstrel, part travelling salesman. One hand holds a small brown suitcase, his trade, his ghost orchestra, the other holds his guitar. One foot firmly in the Blues Trash corner of the ring, the other on the road, you could say Delaney sees music as he sees geography, and that although he has certain preferences, in fact all territories are up for grabs. Ireland, Germany, Italy, Brazil, UK, Switzerland, Mexico, Austria, Romania, Belgium, Holland, Russia, France, USA, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, all destinations on the ten year Solo Tour with which Davidson has turned homelessness into a success of its own. Man of a thousand faces, his work with paint, music, film and concept all has traces of his unique take on life. Part new world and part old world, this duality is echoed in the flavours he evokes with his work; Past VS present, too loud for folk VS too quiet for rock, Light VS Dark, Davidsons restless work refuses to be still for the portrait it is asked to sit for. A pattern we see in his own restless life, indeed, the apple never falls far from the tree.

“One rotten apple ruins the whole barrel” laughs Delaney when asked to describe his work. “But then I think we all need a few rotten apples, and sometimes thats where the flavour comes from, ripe vs rotten, where does one cross over into the other”

This approach of DIY has a special flavour of its own, and can continually be seen in Davidsons work. “Neccessity is the mother of invention, and a lo budget will lead to all sorts of beautiful stand-in potential. Whistling instead of violins. I love to see things take a step, and I think people like to see the triumph of a good idea over a slick production, I think it gives them hope and inspiration. Ultimately the result of hi gloss is alienation and a removed and depressed let down feeling or not being good enough. I say let it all go!”

While Davidson seeks to embody this ethic he also displays a degree of skill in his work. His painting exhibitions of Nocturnal Landscape in the early 1990′s showed a minimal use of form bordering on abstract and a tonal blend of colours that were darker than black. What these works lacked in skill they made up for in concept; they delighted the man on the street and astounded the connisseur. While he has spread the word of both New Zealand aswell as Voodoo Rhythm all through the world, there has also been talk of his being awarded an Honorary Masters degree in recognition of the body of work that has appeared over the years from his hand.

He proves this true in the series of short video films he is continually releasing on Youtube. All made on little or no budget, each one a triumph of style and medium. Lending itself well to visuals, the personality of his musical work has been sought after for film soundtrack, see the “Flammend Herz” (story of Herbert Hoffman, Hamburg Reeperbahns oldest tatooist), aswell as “Netherwood ” a localised tale of rural darkness, and the Delaney scowl is immortalised by Slowboat Films as his portrayal of Parrish echoes across the screen in the soporiphic noircotic nightmare “The Road to Nod” ; the tale of an old Jailbird as he spirals to hell.

His doorkeeper stance on stage work has often been one of pioneer, as was shown in his introduction of the lap steel into the Basel Stadt-theatres production of Die Dreigroschen Oper. Again walking the lines between, Delaney’s master of ceremonies attack was a key ingredient in the success of “Random Acts of God” a Contemporary Dance show as response to Christchurchs Earthquakes by Corrupt Productions.

Wisconsins Steelbridge Songfestival (Brain child of Timbuk3′s Pat Macdonald), aswell as Port Lyttletons Harbour Union both showcased his dark sense of humour and his ability to write with others, as does his melodic work in the Dead Brothers, but he seems to come into his own when he is solo. “I think its hard enough to follow your own path or brain and find the time or space to hear it. The idea of asking anyone else to follow it seems like a huge task for all involved. If you only have one suitcase, you can move house in a half hour. On the other hand if you have your house tidied up you can invite people round to dinner, and I love to work with others on certain things to acheive a flavour I can’t capture alone”

However nothing embodies his spirit of floating work as ramblingly succinctly as the eternal tour he began in the beginning of the century and still continues today. Work that encompasses some ten years and several continents, countless shows and numerous releases. He has shared the bills with Underground Queen Holly Golightly, Cult legend Reverend Beatman, Radical Film-maker Miron Zownir, German Intellectual Franz Dobler, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jack Oblivian, Bob Log III , Dr Quintron and T model Ford. Has it become a way of life for him? “I never worked so hard as I do now, Self Emplyoment is the key to an early grave, I see this in lots of musician friends of mine aswell. you are your own travel agent, your own booking agent, your own photographer, your own graphic designer, your own manager, your own producer.. on top of that you are a musician. With my show I am the drummer, singer, guitarist and sometimes harmonica player, you could say it is not a way of life, it IS life”

Tuesday 19 June 2012: Bootown Presents: Grown Up Storytime #46

Bootown – (Houston, TX )
http://www.facebook.com/BooTown

Grown-up Storytime:  a late-night event that takes place the third Tuesday of every month at Rudyard’s British Pub, a bar and venue located in the heart of Montrose. You send us stories, we pick the best ones, and assign them to a rotating crack-squad of expert story readers who show up the night of and wow our socks and/or pants off. It’s on a Tuesday – what else are you going to do?Interested in submitting a story or reading someone else’s story?!? Email us at grownupstorytime@bootown.o​rg

 

Saturday 16 June 2012 – Hounds of Jezebel * Morgue City * Days Before

Hounds of Jezebel (Houston, TX)
http://www.houndsofjezebel.com/

Hounds of Jezebel formed in the summer of 2010 from former members of goneblind and Prognosis. John Curry(vocals, guitars), Chris Loveless(guitars), “Rooster” Rodriguez(bass, vocals), and Mike Neyra(drums, vocals) met through a mutual friend and quickly began working on some music for the soul or what would later become the “Black Light Sunshine” sessions. Having been seasoned pro’s, these guys have obviously seen the big stage. But it’s their chemistry, even having only been together for a short time, that draws you to them. Their ability to connect. To Play. To Rock. Is the undeniable……Hounds of Jezebel.

 

 

Morgue City (Houston, TX)
http://www.morguecity.net/

Morgue City is a band that has gone through many many changes in sound and personnel. Like any successful project in the entertainment world it must be made up of resilient and determined people. This is the case with Morgue City. The band that has a rock attack intensity as well as a more sinister edge as it delves into the darker realms of noiz and it’s concurrent drones. Some of the Morgue City sound is very pop rock oriented but there is always a deviant grind of sound laced in the song work. The band consists of two musicians with a very long history in the music business. Founder, SPIKE the Percussionist, is known from a long list of projects that include Astrogenic Hallucinauting, Childman, Doggebi, Delicate Terror and as the music director for the world renowned flesh suspension group Constructs of Ritual Evolution – CoRE. The lead guitar and vocals are handled by Raul who is a multi instrumentalist and has a long history of studio work and touring. Raul hails from such bands as M-87 and was the former bass player for Bozo Porno Circus. The result is a musical conglomeration both hauntingly familiar and refreshingly new as well as powerful and beautifully dark. Combine the likes of everything from classical to jazz and gloom to power noiz with catchy lyrics, sophisticated beats, and musically diverse melodies and the result is Morgue City.

 

Days Before (Sorry, No info on-line)

Friday 15 June 2012 – Super Robot Party * Bipolar Gentlemen * PuraPharm

Super Robot Party (Houston, TX)

I hadn’t seen Super Robot Party, but I know the guys from 10 years ago. Matt Crow was in mytwilightpilot, and there’s a definite mtp stamp on their sound, but the vocals take the band in a decidedly britpop direction, so it comes out a little like if you slowed down and then Americanized the sound of Doves. in other words, beautiful!- Jason Smith – spacecityrock.com

Super Robot Party: This new reverb-laden five piece crafts ethereal shoegaze drones, touched with tidbits of folk. The experimental mixture sounds a lot like someone’s garage in 1991, heck even a blend of several garages on the street, full of kids and guitars. The Pasadena group has nearly three dozen tracks available on Soundcloud, or for the full experience, catch them tonight at Dean’s with Jealous Creatures and A Sundae Drive.-Marc Brubaker – The Houston Press

Bipolar Gentlemen (Austin, TX)
http://www.bipolargentlemen.com

Better than thousands of dollars in therapy. More fun than expensive prescriptions. It’s the band all the critics are calling a quartet.

 

 

 

 

PuraPharm (Houston, TX)
http://www.reverbnation.com/purapharm

Purapharm is the vision of, and was formed by, long-time singer/songwriter/guitarist, Tessa. She is now joined by bassist, and husband, Paul Adams, Niki Sims on saxophone and clarinet, and Anthony “Buffalo” Rodriguez on the beat machine, vocals, keyboards and guitar. Paul and Tessa are also the founding members of their former band, 61-Cygni (www.myspace.com/61cygni ), and they released two cd’s, “Binaural Beatings” and “Playing In The Halocline”. They played numerous shows in 61-Cygni, making a solid and original impression on the Houston music scene.

With Purapharm, they have maintained the wall of spaciousness provided by Tessa’s guitars & vocals and Paul’s thunderin’ bass groove foundations, but also added the soothing melodies of Niki’s horns and Buffalo’s hypnotic rhythms & melodies. The sound is toned down an iota from the 61-Cygni sound and is slightly more meditative, yet still maintaining the influences of bands like Curve, The Church, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins & Sonic Youth to name a few, that were ever-so present in 61-Cygni.

Purapharm is currently in the studio and in the pre-production stages of work on their debut release.

 

Thursday 14 June 2012 – Runaway Radio * L.L. Cooper

Runaway Radio (Houston, TX)
http://www.reverbnation.com/therunawayradio

We are a rock cover band in Houston, Texas playing everything from the Rolling Stones, to the The Clash, Blondie, Pretenders, U2, Prince, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, The Cure, The Kinks, The Go-Gos, to Motown, Wilco, The Pixies, Foo Fighters, and many more.

Runaway Radio is:
– Kim Fillion, lead female vocalist
– Dave Dickson, lead male vocalist and guitar
– James Hoover, bass player (and Grammy-winning producer)
– Wil Woodward, lead guitar
– Ken Fillion, drums

 

 

L.L. Cooper (Houston, TX)
http://www.reverbnation.com/llcooper

6 Nominations, Houston Press Music Awards, 2007-09 including “Best Songwriter”, “Best Roots-Rock”, and “Best New Act”.

“Reminiscent of The Bottle Rockets, Uncle Tupelo/Son Volt, and Alejandro Escovedo, Cooper’s not kidding around on lyrics like ‘When the bottle’s your only friend, you’re coughing up the blood, and your lungs will start to flood'” – Chris Gray, Houston Press
“LL Cooper’s Old Hardin Store Road plays like a sparkling amalgamation or world-weary, road tested genres…Cooper’s balance of humor and heartache make it an engaging expression of lyrical emotion.” – Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle
“…the kind of voice that sticks with you; it’s deep, dark, with a sly touch of sarcasm.” – Sara Cress, 29-95.com

Wednesday 13 June 2012 – Benjamin Wesley * Walker Lukens * Marshall Walker

Benjamin Wesley (Houstron, TX)
http://benjaminwesley.net/

All good art tells a story. The tale might not be a very pleasant one, but it keeps our attention throughout every twist, turn, and tumble of the plot. Thus, what people quickly discover about the life and music of Benjamin Wesley is that this singer-songwriter has a seemingly unending supply of narratives to share, and he does so with style and panache.

As anyone who’s ever seen Wesley put on one his celebrated one-man shows around the greater Houston, TX area can attest, the guy is extremely talented. Not many of us would be able to manage both an electric guitar and bass guitar strung about our necks while also manipulating the various synths, pads, and processors required to provide the beats, loops, and noises that give his songs such character. What makes this music so special is that you gain the sense – whether you’re watching a live set or listening to his music over your headphones – that he’s in the midst of a conversation with you, and you alone.

Part of this ability has been learned over the many years he’s spent playing music across the country. He cut his teeth on the road playing fiddle and banjo in the folk-punk band ROSA. He then honed his showmanship handling all manner of guitar duties for the gregarious rap collective Tha Fucking Transmissions. At the same time, he was serving as the frontman for Basses Loaded, a psych-rock band consisting of three bass players and a drummer. All the while, he was writing, crafting, and preparing his own material, saving his most personal material for just the right time.

2009 saw Wesley self-release his debut EP, Geschtichte (German for “history” or simply “story”) – a record that was lauded by critics across the whole of the Houston music scene. Yet, for all of that success, questions lingered about the depth of his art and what the future might hold. Should he continue? Should he tour? Do I have stories worth telling? Am I too old for this shit? Do I even want to attempt to carve out a place in the music industry, as it’s currently running?

His response to all of that navel-gazing and philosophizing? He decided to make another record, and this time, he was going to up the ante. Think/Thoughts comes across instantly as that intensely autobiographical album that so many songwriters have to release at some point in their careers. The album is replete with scenes and reflections dripping with cathartic release. The detailed tale told about administering CPR to his stepfather in “Great Moments In Life” is especially moving, though I’m also fond of the whimsical remembrances of good times with friends conveyed in “Aliens & Lightning Bugs.”

Throughout it all, Wesley has managed to match the passion of the stories told with the quality of the music. Buzzing guitar licks dance with bubbling synth melodies while strong beats frolic with sturdy bass rumbles and quirky embellishments of electronic noises. At the root of all these various sonic surprises is a hard kernel of honest pop goodness, tempered with timeless folk sensibilities – there’s no point in the music sounding fancy, stylish, and accomplished if it isn’t accessible and relatable.

Benjamin Wesley isn’t just another new-school folk singer who’s learned how to play a few interesting chord progressions while managing to teach himself a bit about modern technology to give himself a visual edge. This is a man proud of both his German heritage and his hometown of Houston, TX, and he’s experienced his own fair share of loss, anguish, and disappointment. Yet, he’s managed to come out on the other side – a little older and a little wiser, as the cliché goes – with stories that he wants to tell and music that he’s excited to share with others. And while he might be singing to a crowd of people at a show, he’s really just sitting there with you, talking with an old friend over a couple of drinks. Enjoy.

 

Walker Lukens (Brooklyn, NY)
http://www.walkerlukens.com/

Walker Lukens is a purveyor of something all too often lost in the hype machine that is the modern music business earnest, soulful, stripped-down, yet compelling songwriting. The music is basic, taking influence from folk, country and rock n roll, but his songs always seem find new ways to explore classic folk narratives and emotions. The lyrical strength of his work draws the listener in Lukens is a storyteller, the type of stories best pictured in a dusty just-on-this-side-of-the-border bar or as the backdrop to a long goodbye in a Hells Kitchen dive. These stories and these songs have an almost mystical way of staying with the listener long after hearing them.

Duty, Lukens sophomore release under the moniker The Brood, offers straightforward portraits of everyday life: The town drunk (David,) spirituality (O My Old Soul,)  loss (Heartbeat.) Somehow Lukens manages to take the listener seamlessly from lust (Eva) to loneliness (Free) in just forty minutes.
Originally hailing from Houston, Texas, Lukens spent his formative years fronting the heart-on-the-sleeve indie rock group, Carousel Shy, known for their ability to sell out shows and their prolific recording output. Four years, three EPs, one album, and three national tours later, Carousel Shy called it quits at the collective average age of 20. After residing in the Austin area, Lukens now calls New York City home, and plays both solo and with a full band.

Lukens music is perfect for dark, smoky bar, his guitar illuminated by a single spotlight, as people sit and sip whisky and beer, not necessarily for a wild Saturday night its more like a cure for the Sunday morning after.

The Broods 2007 release, Unhappy Party People saw Lukens and guitarist Eric Franco honing the alt-country folk sound so present on Duty. Franco also plays on, and serves as the cover model  nude only for a carefully placed guitar  for this latest album, Duty. The chemistry of this duo (who have been making music together for over a decade) is apparent on every track.

Lukens has just returned from a musical journey of epic proportion. Working with Houston photographer Logan Beck, the pair followed the route of Huckleberry Finn in reverse up the Mississippi River. Lukens wrote and recorded a song in every town where they stayed and collaborated with various musicians he met along the way. These recordings are currently being mixed and mastered for an upcoming EP. However, you can check out some rough versions of the tracks at Following Huck Finn.  Here youll also find information about Becks solo exhibition based on the trip.

Marshall Walker (The Woodlands, TX)
http://www.myspace.com/warblerpl

Marshall Walker of Warbler Pi