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.
The debut album from Brett W. Taylor (Buoyant Spirit) emerged from the four months surrounding the death of his mother. In the album, he explores the themes of dreams, grief, youth, color, rigidity, endings, and the unknown.
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.
Think of your favorite 90’s movie soundtrack, the one that made you want to start an alternative band of your own (e.g. Reality Bites). Cool Moon, a power pop trio from Houston, Texas reincarnates that same feeling with a fresh, new face. Frontwoman Andrea Lisi’s vocals, both soft and brash, embodies something akin to Corin Tucker mixed with Liz Phair. The music, reminiscent of bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Jawbreaker, feature strong, crunchy guitars, driving bass lines, and captivating drum rhythms that perfectly complement and create a musical experience far greater than the sum of its parts.
Donna Hayward is a local Houston band formed out of a shared coffee addiction and an insane love for the show, Twin Peaks. Their EP entitled, “You Won’t Feel A Thing,” which was released by Sunday Drive Records and produced by Jon Januhowski in the year of 2016 blended emo instrumentals with a touch of shoegaze, poetic lyrics, and pounding drums. While this release showed Donna Hayward’s ability to write music cohesively, their 3 new songs on their split with Houston locals, Astragal, are undeniably their strongest songs to date.
Hailing from Galveston, Texas, EL LAGO sometimes evokes a past era of 80s and 90s dream pop, shoegaze, and indie rock, always looking to the future.
The debut album, Colors, will be released in the Fall and was recorded with Grammy-winning engineer and producer Steve Christensen and producer Austin Sepulvado at SugarHill Recording Studios.
Giant Kitty continues the tradition of strong female voices in punk while bringing along eclectic influences, diverse backgrounds, and a comedic sensibility. This four-piece combines elements of punk, new wave, hard rock, and riot grrrl to make both relevant and irreverent songs full of energy and sharp lyrics. Their sound is often described as a mix between the Runaways, Bikini Kill, and Blondie.
Don't Stop That Bus
Greg Cote & the Real Life Friends
Greg Cote loves his friends, to begin with. There can be no doubt whatsoever about that. So much does he love friends and friendship that he went on his first tour, LONG before he was ready to do so, simply to so he could finally meet a long time internet pal. That weeklong trip around Texas changed Greg forever. When he got home he kept writing and kept trying his best to put the sounds in his head out into the world. When the sounds became to numerous and intense for just one person he called his real life friend Jolene who he had secretly wanted to be in a band with for ages. Jolene is a top shelf bassist and all around solid human the match just made sense. Greg happened to run into Moe while attending a midnight showing of Space Jam and that just seemed to perfect of a meeting to not invite him to be in the band right then and there. They played their first show as a full band July 30th, 2016 and since then the jams have flowed like a river. For us its about the music but its also about the people. Its about real connections. Its about loving the people and things you love with no sense of irony or shame. Lets all be Real Life Friends.
With a fresh take on gritty emocore, that leans closer to punk in many ways, Groundhog Day have an intense sound that sears like a smoldering fire building and building until it is out of control. Their debut album The Worst It’s Ever Been looks at the feelings of loneliness, alienation, and depression that permeate Houston’s ever growing sprawl.
Hearts of Animals began as a DIY solo project by Mlee Marie in 2006 and has since evolved into a 4 piece band. Though always searching for a heavy tones and psychedelia, Mlee can't help but create pretty melodies throughout her songs. Mostly melancholy lyrics contrast with upbeat stylings and sometimes surf punk sounds. Hearts has become more collaborative over time with Clinton Heider (lead guitar) contributing to songwriting and Stephen Finley (bass guitar) recording and producing.
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.
Somewhere between bossa nova and bedroom pop lies, “so, so” the musical alias of Houston based musician, David Sosa. Bringing together the Jazz influences of Jaco Pastorius and modern day influences from the likes of Broken Social Scene and The Postal Service, Sosa has crafted a 4 song EP that is as equally representative of his musicianship as it is of his lovable personality. Songs of longing, heartbreak, and misunderstanding are captured through hook laden synth melodies, warm and wobbly yet melancholy guitar hooks, and insatiably groovy bass lines. And all coming together to form a group of songs as perfect for a daytime nap as for a lonely drive home.
Tee Vee is the musical guise of Teresa Vicinanza, a singer-songwriter operating from her home base of Houston, Texas. Writing, recording, and producing the project herself, Vicinanza uses Tee Vee as an outlet for processing life’s more mercurial themes, from highs of blissful memory to lows of lapses in mental health. Drawn from synth-, art-, and dream-pop, the sound of Tee Vee is at once delicate and danceable, with latticed synth squeals and cooing vocal loops weaving through the BOOM CLAP of vintage kick and snare samples. Melding this sonic palette with introspective song writing, Tee Vee offers music both singular and singable, like the daydream echo of a long-forgotten tune.
Velveteen Echo draws equally from indie rock and bedroom pop to create a sound that is reminiscent of bands like The Sundays and The Cranberries. The band deftly combines catchy vocal melodies, jangly guitar, precise bass lines, and endearing lyrics to offer something lovely and hard to dismiss.
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.