Tuesday 08 May 2012 – Chris Milam * Jeff Boortz

Chris Milam (Memphis, TN)
http://www.chrismilam.com/

“Invites–and earns–all the Simon & Garfunkel comparisons.” —American Songwriter

“One of this generation’s most promising songwriters.” —Vanderbilt Hustler

“Reminiscent of Paul Simon…I’ve got a feeling about this kid.”  —Listen! Nashville

“A huge local discovery…Milam’s songwriting surpasses artists twice his age.” —Hardcore Troubadours

“He continues to turn a phrase on end with lethal precision.”  —Chattanooga Times Free Press

Chris Milam has more stories than songs. Of course, he’s not running short on those, either. And for every city, every stage , every hotel desk clerk he flirts with to get a few extra free muffins for the long drive back to Memphis, every pang of homesick or moment of road weary, there’ll be another song. And at least a dozen more stories.

But the one thing that remains the same through all of th…em, the one central character and unwavering motif, is the music. And like the stories of so much good music, this one starts in Memphis.

A lefty, Chris taught himself to play guitar by watching his brother, memorizing the shapes of his hands in different chords and flipping them upside down. Not long after, in high school, he started crafting songs. But it was in college that Chris did what maybe we’re all supposed to do in those four years: reach some level of self-actualization. Left entirely to his own devices, the only thing he wanted to do was write and play music. “I found myself telling people I was going to law school,” he says. “I’d told people that since the sixth grade, for some reaosn. I took the LSAT. I was looking at schools. And at some point everyone around me was like, ‘Who are you kidding? You’re not gonna do that.’ They were right.”

So, in December 2004, Chris became a full-time musician. He was gigging five or six nights a week in Nashville – at open mics, bars, on campus, at coffee houses – and writing the songs for what would become his debut album, Leaving Tennessee. He released it in the spring of 2005 to a burgeoning fan base and critical acclaim, and like a good southern gentleman, stayed true to his word – he left Tennessee. He spent two years on the road, booking his own tours coast-to-coast. He charmed audiences with his banter and his music: melodies both familiar and foreign, all at once. It’s thoughtful, carefully constructed pop – the kind of songs that make one edge of your mouth curl up when you realize you and the singer are both in on the secret.

Soon enough the Nashville music industry seemed to figure out what they were missing – prompted by multiple interested publishing companies, Chris released Tin Angel in 2008, a pop songwriting showcase EP. It wasn’t long before he found himself weighing offers and contemplating a future as a Nashville songwriter. It was a certain future, but he wasn’t certain it was for him.

“During my last six months in Nashville, I was really frustrated,” Milam recalls. “When you haven’t eaten lunch in three years, it’s tempting to take that deal. I’d only ever considered a career as an artist, but now, songwriting was a very real, tangible option. And I love writing songs. I was struggling to get by. I had to think about it – do I take what might be the safer, more certain path, or do I keep taking a chance on myself as an artist? And for me, personally – I just knew I wouldn’t be satisfied unless I continued to perform, to tour, to grow as an artist, writing and singing my own music. It was a risk, but I had a feeling it would be worth it.”

In February of 2009 he went to Arkansas, where he did nothing but write songs, secluded, every day for eight weeks. In April, he returned to Nashville with a mountain of new material and plans: plans to make an album, to move to New York, to go all in. His demos caught the ear of producer Steve Martin. Together they crafted the full-length Up, a musical thesis of sorts: mature, lyrical, expertly written.

Then came New York. And the East Village. And a lifestyle that invigorated his songwriting – unlike many of his peers who lost their art behind desks and retail counters, Chris spent all day watching the clock, impatient to get back to his guitar. He spent his nights at legendary spots like The Bitter End, where his songwriting heroes had played their first gigs decades earlier. But despite all the growing he did there, in Manhattan, Chris was stuck. What he wanted to do was hit the road – play for a different crowd every night. To do that, he needed a home base. So he picked the best one he knew: his hometown.

Since then, he’s been working on more stories. There’s the one about the biker bar in Grand Rapids, where he won over a group of Harley-riding-bikers who sat, quiet and rapt, through his entire set and dropped money at the merch table afterward. Or there’s the time he got checked at border patrol trying a shortcut through Canada with Arkansas plates, a Tennessee license, a car title in his dad’s name, traveling from Michigan to New York with what looked like a body under a blanket in his backseat (in truth, his guitar). Luckily, the border patrol girl just laughed with him.

And his most recent release is a story in and of itself: “Never in Love” and “Always in Love” were released in October as companion singles, inspired by a chance Valentine’s Day exchange with a friend and a walk down Second Avenue in Manhattan.

In 2012, he’ll keep writing. He’ll record. He’ll stay on the road. Playing dozens of nights in a row to different venues, connecting with different people, doing exactly what he wants to be doing. He’ll report to no one but himself, his car, and plenty of highways between Memphis and the rest of the world.

 

Jeff Boortz Band (Houston, TX)
http://jeffboortz.com/

Jeff Boortz has been an unflinching force in the Houston music scene for the past eighteen years. Whether it’s solo acoustic, or a rocking set with his driving backup band, you always get a high energy show filled with top notch original songs. Boortz has been performing at Houston’s best live music venues including, House of Blues, Warehouse Live, Fitzgerald’s, Continental Club, Rudyard’s, and… Last Concert Cafe. He has shared the stage with regional notables such as Reckless Kelly, Robert Earl Keen, Bob Schneider, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and Eli Young. Tryin’ to get to you (2008), the last official release from Boortz, was recorded during a two year residency in Portland, OR. The move was intended to see what a change of scenery might do for his music and artistic reach. “I had been playing in Texas for years and nothing really seemed to be clicking”, said Boortz. After assembling a band, Boortz went on to play higher exposure shows and gain a loyal Portland following. The resulting album was recorded there with his live band and a host of other talented musicians. Tryin’ to get to you was a transition record in every sense of the word. From the charging start of the title track, on through to the bittersweet exit of ‘Time to Roll’, it was all about getting in and getting out. Boortz had already moved back to Houston before the recording sessions were finished. The album became a melting pot of songs written and inspired in Oregon and Texas. The styles are all over the place: pulsing road rockers, alt country ballads, pop gems, stomping folk, and a finger-picked lullaby. Tryin’ to get to you was a great document of an interesting experiment in relocation. Upon returning to Houston Boortz began performing with a revolving cast of side musicians. They played many new local and regional venues with more established artists for further exposure. In 2010 he began writing and performing material for a follow up record. The new album is tentatively titled Hey Passion and due for release in late 2011. Boortz has been working with John Jackson (former guitarist for Bob Dylan) and Ken Coomer (former drummer for Wilco) on preproduction ahead of the Nashville recording sessions. Boortz’ longtime Houston collaborators and current band mates, Jarrod Callahan (bass & vocals) and Randy Wheless (guitar & vocals) will round out the session band.

Saturday 05 May 2012 – Cinco De Mayo: Flamin Hellcats

Flamin Hellcats (Houston, TX)
http://www.reverbnation.com/theflaminhellcats

When you get right down to it, perfect rock and roll is a pretty simple thing. All too many people forget that, and cut pure rock with all kinds of additives in the name of creativity. Some of these divergent blends are interesting in their own right, true, but sometimes you just need it straight. Enter the Flamin’ Hellcats. Reveling in the perfection of rock and roll in its most basic forms, the local trio prefers the swagger of swinging eighth notes and walking bass lines, clean vocals and twangy guitars to the snide, overly self-conscious muso embellishments that often drain rock music of its very rock-ness. Paying homage to proto-rockers like Bill Haley and Carl Perkins, but with an ethos born of punk, the Hellcats sound a bit like the ‘50s on fast-forward. Hey, if you prefer your rock with mixers, that’s just fine. But if you want it strong and neat, The Flamin’ Hellcats – whose first album in several years is due soon – serve “101% Texas Vato-Billy,” which equates to about 200 Proof rock and roll. – Houston Press

 

Poor Dumb Bastards (Houston, TX)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Poor-Dumb-Bastards/126350582202

PDB was formed in March 1991 by long time hetero life partners and musical collaborators, Mike Porterfield and Byron Dean. The initial interest was to find a means to get into Emo’s for free, later they discovered Emo’s was always free. Drawing on their collective influences and experiences from some of their earlier work, bands like Cretinoid, Plutonium Flatheads and the Byron Weird Group, Mike and Byron set out create a genre all their own, hence “Texas Drunk Rock” was born. Add the non bass playing talents of Steve Scholtes and the competent, metronomic drumming of Chi Chi Macoola, and PDB were able to carve their initials on the bathroom door of the Texas music scene. Through the many years and many lineup changes, but these Ill-minded sewer rockers have stayed true to their founding principals. POWER, PERFORMANCE, PERVERSION

Friday 04 May 2012 – Poor Pilate * Tiziano Dominico * Tyagaraja

Doors 8pm  / Music  9pm / $7

 

Poor Pilate (Houston, TX)
https://www.facebook.com/PoorPilate

Talley, M.B. – drums, groans

David Lascoe – keys, sings
Richard Talbot – guitars, melts
Mills-McCoin – hype, laughs

 

 

 

Tiziano Dominico (Houston, TX)
https://www.facebook.com/tizianodominico

Tiziano Dominico is a singer, songwriter, and visual artist living in Houston, TX. Tiziano grew up in the Northside of Houston in a very loving home as the son of an artist who encouraged and nurtured Tiziano’s creative expression in both music and art. Tiziano has been in several bands, most notably georgia’s Horse.

After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy (with a focus in Eastern thought) and Psychology, traveling abroad and living many life experiences, Tiziano has chosen songwriting to be his main form of artistic expression. His subject matter ranges from the literal to the contemplative, all stemming from the most elemental aspects of our human experience

 

 

Tyagaraja (Houston, TX)
https://www.facebook.com/tyagarajamusic

Tyagaraja is a dynamic and innovative artist that brings tangibility and connective energy to very forward ideas. Combined with the ecelctic music, Tyagaraja holds a voice of commanding power yet delicate expression, delivering an underlying message in the lyrics that speaks deeply to all.

The latest invention of his show is called “Art.Music.Life.” Art.Music.Life. features and showcases Visual Artists, Live Music, and a collective consciousness of sustainable from a range of healthy living and eating, Yoga and Meditation to social justice issues. The show is an overwhelming sensory overload that leaves the participant with tools to make their experience on earth a positive one. The AML fest is in one event a powerful rock show fit for theatrical settings, and in the next day a rejuvenating Yoga/Meditation retreat. Tours are being scheduled for Art.Music.Life. Summer 2011 in USA and Winter in India 2011. Many musicians and artists contribute to the tour and will be showcased in correlation with Tyagaraja.

Tyagaraja creates a unique aural experience with powerful dynamics, creative layers, and a notable connective energy that spans across many genres and audiences. Recently, Tyagaraja received 3 nominations for the Houston Press Music Awards including ‘Best LP/CD’ for ‘Open Book’.

Tyagaraja has performed at major festivals such as
Bonnaroo 2010 Manchester TN
Summer Fest 2010 Houston TX
SXSW Austin TX 2008-09, 2010

 

Wednesday 02 May 2012: Bootown Presents: Mijo

Bootown – (Houston, TX )
http://www.bootown.org/

MIJO

At Rudyards. Our non-traditional take on the Benshi show returns! We will grape one of the greatest pieces of Amurrican film history to date: ROADHOUSE. Enough said.

ps – moustaches galore.

OUR FANCY-PANTSY MISSION STATEMENT:
BooTown is dedicated to creating fun, original, collaborative theatre using interdisciplinary methods in non-traditional settings in order to cultivate new audiences.

Sunday 29 April 2012 – Woods * Mmoss * The Wiggins

Woods (Warwick, NY)
http://www.facebook.com/woodsfamilyband

With a title like At Echo Lake, the fifth album from New York’s Woods intimates a modern rock aesthetic fully informed by historical manifestations of teenage along with a concomitant feel for the specifics of time and place. The distance between 2007’s At Rear House and 2010’s At Echo Lake may at first seem only semantic but it more properly represents a move from a kind of informal back porch jam ethos to a fully-committed vision of the infinite possibilities of group playing.

Over the past few years Woods have established themselves as an anomaly in a world of freaks. They were an odd proposition even in the outré company of vocalist/guitarist/label owner Jeremy Earl’s Woodsist roster, perpetually out of time, committed to songsmanship in an age of noise, drone and improvisation, to extended soloing, oblique instrumentals and the usurping use of tapes and F/X in an age of dead-end singer-songwriters. Recent live shows have seen them best confuse the two, playing beautifully-constructed songs torn apart by fuzztone jams and odd electronics.

At Echo Lake feels like a diamond-sharp distillation of the turbulent power of their live shows, in much the same way that The Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star” single amplified and engulfed the planetary aspect of their improvised takes. Some of the material here – the opening “Blood Dries Darker”, the euphoric “Mornin’ Time” – is so lush that lesser brains would’ve succumbed to the appeal of strings and horns but At Echo Lake is more Fifth Dimension than Notorious Byrd Brothers, nowhere more so than on “From The Horn”, a track that is as beautiful in its assault on form as “Eight Miles High” or Swell Maps’ “Midget Submarines”. But despite the instrumental innovation that the album heralds – G. Lucas Cranes’ psychedelic tapework on “Suffering Season”, guest musician Matthew Valentine’s harmonica and modified banjo/sitar on “Time Fading Lines” – At Echo Lake is all about the vocals.

Woods’ secret weapon is the quality of Earl’s voice, osmosing the naive style of Jad Fair, Jonathan Richman and Neil Young while re-thinking it as a discipline and a tradition. Here he is singing at the peak of his powers, in a high soulful style that is bolstered by heavenly arrangements of backing vocals. At Echo Lake feels like the transmission point for teenage garage from the past to the future. Deformed by contemporary experiments, bolstered by magical traditions from the past, it’s the sound of now, right here, At Echo Lake.

-David Keenan/Glasgow/March 2010

 

Mmoss (New England)
http://www.facebook.com/internetmmoss

“Local band cultivates psychedelic garage rock and the cassette tape revival on the Seacoast.

Two dueling projectors splashed trippy images on sheets draped behind the stage at The Barley Pub in Dover on Nov. 17. At one projector, a volunteer held a blue rubber bathmat under the light, casting an image of large azure bubbles on the wall behind the band. She continually folded and rotated the mat, making the bubbles appear to pulsate and undulate. At the other projector, another volunteer manipulated a plastic bag full of multi-colored fluids to produce a liquid lightshow on the adjacent wall. The two projected images overlapped in the middle, resulting in a strangely visceral effect, like bodily fluids coursing between throbbing internal organs.

It felt like a hazy flashback to a Jefferson Airplane concert in San Francisco, circa 1967. But the band onstage was Mmoss, a Dover-based quartet of 20-somethings featuring Doug Tuttle on electric guitar, Rachel Neveu on organ and flute, Justin DeArmitt on bass and Brian Levin on drums.

The group offered a psychedelic stew of retro rock, often with harmonized vocals and strong organ presence from Neveu. Even their physical appearance harkened back to the late ’60s, with Tuttle sporting a mustache, Levin wearing a bushy beard and DeArmitt flaring thick sideburns and wavy hair.

And yet it would be an oversimplification to call Mmoss a derivative band. They have aptly been described as “garage folk” and “garage prog,” mixing elements of post-punk, and shoegaze into their droning, psychedelic sound. ”  – The Wire

 

The Wiggins (Houston, TX)
http://www.myspace.com/thewigginsrox

 

Lo-fi living… THE WIGGINS have played these cool as f*** bands: DANIEL JOHNSTON, GANG GANG DANCE, INDIAN JEWERLY, THE BLACK LIPS, KONG SAUCE, STEREO TOTAL, QUINTRON, FINALLY PUNK, RUA MINX, TIMES NEW VIKING, and GLASS CANDY!+ some others(you know who you are!!)…. played at SXSW 2007, yeah, rad.. And here’s a recent review from PUNK PLANET!!! check it: Part electro surf punk from outer space, part David Lynch outtake, and part home brewed garage opiate, I’m not exactly sure what The Wiggins are, but whatever it is, it’s in’ rad. Think the redefinition of lo-fi, Lou Reed in a garage disposal, Johnny Thunders’vampire alter-ego, leper underwear parties, and successful amateur noir snake charming. Rumor has it there’s just one local Houstoner behind all this madness, which makes the effort even more impressive. This is the stuff of magic that gluttonous hipster vultures and college radio DJs will be getting all weak the knees about once Pitchfork clocks in a 8.372, so do yourself a favor and get it while it’s fresh. (BM)

Friday 27 April 2012 – Something Fierce * Occult Detective Club * Muhammadali (Free Show !!!)

Something Fierce (Houston, TX)
http://www.somethingfiercemusic.com/

Something Fierce is a three-piece punk/pop band from Houston, Texas whose music combines the sound and attitude of first-wave 1977 punk with an energy and outlook that’s thoroughly contemporary, updating the attack of the Clash and the Buzzcocks for the 21st century.

Something Fierce were founded in 2005 by guitarist and lead vocalist Steven Garcia (ex-Gun Crazy and Born Liars) and bassist and vocalist Niki Sevven (formerly with the Neckbreakers); the group went though several drummers before teaming up with Andrew Keith, who they recognized from his frequent presence at local shows and parties.

In 2006, Something Fierce recorded their debut album, Come for the Bastards, which they released themselves. The release was followed by frequent touring through the Southwest, with occasional road trips into the South and Midwest; they group also recorded a handful of 7″ releases, including a split single with the Hangouts. In 2008, Something Fierce released their second full-length album, There Are No Answers; while the first pressing of the album was distributed by the band itself, the Portland, Oregon-based punk label Dirtnap Records liked the disc and reissued it after signing the band in 2009.

The band continued to tour extensively and released a 7″ on Action Town Records in 2010 before recording their third album, Don’t Be So Cruel, in 2011. The third album found Something Fierce’s sound evolving in a more sophisticated, pop-influenced direction without losing sight of their punk roots. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

 

Occult Detective Club (Carrollton/Denton, TX)
http://occultdetectiveclub.wordpress.com/

Occult Detective Club are from North Texas. The band is D. A. Anguiano (Maaster Gaiden, Secret Bangs), A. Mess (A.N.S, Stymie), Chris Reeves (Collick, Stymie) and Tyler Shults (Druids on Parade, Koji Kondo, Mass Sterilization). They released the ten song LP Tortures in spring 2010 on Red Lounge Records. Their second album Crimes was released February 2011 on Alive Natural Sound Records.

 

 

 

Muhammidali (Houston, TX)
http://www.facebook.com/muhammadalitheband

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 23 April 2012 – Bob Log III * Mr. Free & the Satellite Freakout

Bob Log III (Tucson, AZ)
http://www.boblog111.com/

Bob Log III is a One Man Band Slide Guitar Party.

Bob Log III is an American, Slide Guitar, One Man Band. During performances, he plays old silvertone archtop guitars, wears a full body cannonball man suit, and a helmet wired to a telephone which allows him to devote his hands and feet to guitar and drums. The spectacle has been described as a guitar dance party, full of sweaty smiles, jumps and kicks. Touring over 150 shows a year in more than 30 countries, Log and his guitar never, ever quit. Bob Log’s version of quick Delta blues is a continuation the sound that Bob Log and Thermos pioneered in the duo, Doo Rag. The major differences are: greater emphasis on guitar showmanship, and drumming -one man band style-with his feet. It sounds like three drummers, two guitar players, and one sort of singer. Based in Tucson, Arizona, and Melbourne, Australia, he has made frequent tours of North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, Mexico, and Iceland.

The upcoming release of his long awaited new album, MY SHIT IS PERFECT, begins the onset of another slew of adventures. Geography be damned, Bob Log III intends to take these songs and his unique slide guitar party to the good people of the world. There is no town too remote, there never has been.

 

Mr. Free & the Satellite Freakout  (Tucson, AZ)
http://www.satellitefreakout.com/

The carnivalesque brainfreeze that is Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout is spasmodic, schizophrenic and somehow still grounded in songs you can’t shake. This band must been seen to be believed. Mr. Free, he is not just a singer- he’s a performer. Often with bizarre makeup, costumes, and drooling paint, this group doesn’t just play…they put on a show. Freely winding his way through the audience, toying with fans—getting in their faces, rubbing against them, sitting among them. He can be frightening, hilarious and confrontational, but never boring. It’s a delicate balancing act between music and performance art. The performance would be enough in itself, but then there’s the music- dense, dark, whimsical and everything in between, MFSF! manages to create music that is both complex and hook-filled.