Steve, the singularly named lead singer and guitarist for XBXRX, and his bandmate Vice have been pretty darn successful for a couple of 21-year-olds. They formed their noise band as wee teens in 1998 in Mobile, Alabama, and since then they've toured with legends Sonic Youth and recorded with Steve Albini, arguably the most sought-after producer in indie rock. But with success has come turmoil. XBXRX has been banned from certain venues in Mobile -- and the entire town of Sunnyvale, California -- based solely on its reputation for often insane onstage antics. The group went through 14 members before disbanding for a time in 2001.
"We kept saying yes to all these opportunities, and we just kind of overexerted ourselves mentally and physically," says Steve, now based in Oakland, California. "We needed some time to take a step away and put things into perspective." By the spring of 2003, their minds were fresh with new ideas and they got back to work.
Their latest offering, Sixth in Sixes, is a 25-minute, 18-track experimental assault of shrieking vocals and breakneck-paced punk rock. Most of the lyrics -- though indecipherable to even the most discerning listener -- revolve around the concept of an inevitable "sixth extinction" (seems the band really buys into the idea that there have been five major extinctions in the four-billion-year history of life on earth).
"It's becoming more and more visible, as the years progress," says Steve.
"The next mass extinction by the human race," he says. "We've been really worried about that." Great. So are we, now. 9 p.m. Thursday, November 3. Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington Avenue. For tickets, call 713-864-2727 or visit www.superunison.com. $9. -- Travis Ritter
The Skyline Bar and Grill's Singapore Sling
It's the top of the night, and longtime drinking companion Kori and I head up to the Skyline Bar and Grillat the top of the Hilton Americas Hotel (1600 Lamar, 713-739-8000). I have my heart, and hers too, set on a Singapore Sling. It's the kind of drink that gets you drunk fast, but you never know until it's too late. A short elevator trip, and we're at the bar overlooking the city on a smoggy evening. I ask bartender Candace for two Singapore Slings. When she says she's never heard of the drink, my heart sinks to the floor. I get two dirty martinis and sit down dumbfounded. Surely any bartender would know exactly what I'm talking about. I've been raving about this drink all night. Then I come up with a plan. I call an old friend who used to manage a bar and ask him for the recipe. I write it on the back of a napkin, and when Candace comes by to ask if we need another, I lay it on her. I tell her that Kori and I are celebrating seven years together and our first date was in a hotel bar drinking Singapore Slings. I hold out the Bevnap with the ingredients carefully scrawled on it, and she honors my request. Soon enough, we're sipping Singapore Slings in the loungelike area of the bar as the sun goes down on downtown Houston from 24 floors up. Getting out of there is another story...
4 ounces Beefeater gin
2 ounces Korbel brandy
1 ounce maraschino cherry juice
2 ounces orange juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Splash of club soda
Combine everything except the club soda and fruit in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a large slender glass with a sugared rim, splash with club soda and garnish with orange and cherry. Enjoy this potent cocktail on special occasions, like before passing out on the bathroom floor. -- Jason Kerr
Showin' Some Skin
Here's a fashion show that features men shakin' it in their birthday suits. Well, almost. Designer Earnest Diaz's Sk'n line offers clothes designed to resemble skin -- in both color and fit. His collection, which includes underwear, lounge wear and pajamas, makes its debut at this weekend's Naked Catalogue Affair and Flash-ion Show. Expect a parade of Diaz's gorgeous "U-men," who'll bare, er, wear it all. Diaz says he created the line because men are tired of the same old white undershirt and boxers, even if "they don't know it yet." 6 p.m. Saturday, November 5. Meteor, 2306 Genesee. For information, call 713-521-0123 or visit www.earnestdiaz.com. Free. -- Mary Templeton
Portland-based new-wave punk band the Epoxies rolls with the look (mascara, vinyl clothing, kitschy sunglasses) and sound (analog synthesizers, discordant guitars) that ruled the underground music scene in the late '70s and early '80s. The group's heady dose of fashionista new wave and rebellious punk rock is sure to win over a few new fans at the Engine Room this weekend, as vivacious lead singer Roxy Epoxy and her band churn songs that Blondie, Devo and Missing Persons should've written. Labelmates Against Me! are also on the bill. 9 p.m. Saturday, November 5. 1515 Pease. For tickets, call 713-654-7846 or visit www.engineroomhouston.net. $12. -- Travis Ritter