Named after the novel by Albertine Sarrazin, Astragal is a Houston based band that blends shoegaze and dreampop with the ethos of jazz and post-punk. The three piece project features Sam Enkelmann on drums, David Sosa on bass, and Jimmy Bent on guitar and vocals. Having met through a mixture of craigslist, local shows, and a common love for dogs, Astragal has since established a sound relying on shimmery guitar tones, ethereal vocals, punctual bass, and dynamic drums. Their split with local emo shoegaze group Donna Hayward marks their second release as a band.
Black Kite is a dark electronica duo consisting of Vicki Tippit and James Templeton that has been compared to Zola Jesus and Chelsea Wolfe. With live drums, hypnotizing vocals, and a haunting live presence, the two piece has been featured in Free Press Houston, Houston Press, as well as mentions in Noisey and RFtH.
Houston is a harsh, massive, cancerous mess of a city, both sprawling and claustrophobic, a tangle of congested freeways and trickle-away economics. Millions of people with rear-view mirror dreams commuting across concrete swamps controlled by a handful of ruddy-faced men who sweat pork fat and petroleum. If you're lucky you might land an oil job that allows you sit at an air-conditioned desk and eventually construct your own tiny pocket universe, one where you might cultivate passions beyond Netflix and alcoholism.
Buoyant Spirit are a trio led by Brett Taylor, born and raised in Pasadena, one of the refinery towns on Houston's industrial outer crust. Close enough to absorb the city's poison radiation but with enough distance to realize where the glow comes from and why it is false. Baked in the heat and suffocated by the air, love becomes a desperate abstract and hope a goddam laugh riot.
In Houston, self-deception is a primary survival skill. Buoyant Spirit represents a tiny part of Houston that got sick of lying to itself. They make music with electronics and drums and a guitar.
Rose Ette debuted their fresh take on indie-pop in 2015, and have since established themselves as one of Houston’s most exciting bands. They captured their guitar driven sound on Jungle, their debut EP, by mixing the shoe gaze-influenced sounds of the Jesus and Mary Chain with a girl-group vocal style to create something heavy and melodic. In 2016, lead singer and songwriter Teressa Vicinanza, of synth-pop duo Tee Vee, recruited a brand new lineup featuring Daniela Hernandez (New York City Queens), Jessica Baldauf (Orca Team), and John Baldwin (Lace).
To be so good so early is perhaps unfair to a public hungry for missteps and knocked-knees, but new trio Rough Sleepers are already vets of the cola wars. Singer-guitarist Tyler Morris and drummer Charlie Patranella were two-thirds of well-loved dub-goth act Balaclavas and its funky sequel, Subsonic Voices. With the addition of synth player Jonathan Story, Rough Sleepers sound like a Frankenstein's monster of Chrome's android rock and Trance Syndicate's pharmaceutical amp worship, which is to say that Rough Sleepers are heavy and hard-wired to the freak matrix.
There aren’t too many times when you can watch a room full of people be just as excited as the band that’s performing, but that’s what happens when Houston’s Ruiners performs. Mixing elements of punk and post punk, the four piece has been described as a mix of The Wipers and Television. Keeping on a tireless pace of recording and booking D.I.Y. charity shows since releasing the 2016 EP Wasted Years, while being respected as one of the most pure and integrity based punk bands coming out of the Houston punk scene.
Tee Vee is the mind and memories of Houston native Teresa Vicinanza. Known for her work as a singer and songwriter, Tee Vee encompasses her work as a producer and artist. She experiments with elements of synth pop, art pop, and dream pop. Tee Vee uses sampling, looping and layering, especially with vocal melodies and harmonies, to create an ethereal sound.
Jon Read is an artist and a musician. With his band, the Wiggins, he makes the kind of music that they’ll play on oldies stations fifty years from now after the plug gets pulled, the blood gets spilled, the power returns, and people get back to partying like they party right now. The Wiggins’ music is a loud, hissing mix of idiosyncratic garage and punk, surf-rock, blues, and country run deep with blown-out bass lines taken from carny rides and gangster rap, burnt-out guitar licks, and a voice coming from somewhere between Son House and a juvenile delinquent getting whipped with a fraying wire. Think Big Black, Pere Ubu, Billy Childish, and Devo. Damaged stuff: you can wreck your brain on it. He’s a surly entertainer, known for quitting songs midway, cutting sets in half, leaving his audiences begging for more in a storm of lacerating guitar feedback. Despite this abuse, or because of it, people go wild at Wiggins’ shows. They jack their backs and flout their inhibitions.