Friday Free For All: Adventure Club, Fergie, Alastair Galbraith, Meet Your Death, etc.
Photo by Agnes Patak/Courtesy of MSO PR
The Friday Free For All relays albums, artists, videos and vibes the Houston Press Music staff has been grooving to over the past week.
Between 2015’s Gaslamp fiasco and various velvet-rope dustups through the years at too many Washington Avenue discotheques to count, discrimination is no stranger to the Houston nightclubbing scene. Earlier this week, some fans who were hoping to see Montreal DJs Adventure Club’s Sunday matinee at Clé claimed discrimination to be the reason they stood in line so long that they ultimately left. According to KHOU, the owners of the upscale Midtown club said that wasn't racism, just capacity issues; one Clé owner, Zack Truesdell, said, “People who left...I wish they didn’t, because everybody ended up getting in.” (The club later released surveillance footage of a multiracial crowd soaking up the sun on Clé’s poolside patio.) The clear winner in all this is Adventure Club themselves, who offered to soothe any hurt feelings with a free makeup show this Saturday night at Stereo Live. RSVP here, and know that organizers urge everyone – of any color – who wants to get in to please be in line by 11 p.m. CHRIS GRAY
Remember that Jenny Lewis video with Kristen Stewart, Brie Larson and Anne Hathaway that was kind of cool and seemed to say something about gender roles? This isn’t that. Fergie and company aren’t donning fake facial hair and bro-ing out, like Lewis and friends did for “Just One of the Guys.” There’s no question that they are fully embracing their femininity, their model-status beauty and their ability to make money from those things. Oh, and something about being moms, too. The song is destined for Brandon Caldwell’s “Why This Song Sucks” bin, but it’s the video that matters here. It’s eye-catching, to say the least, with cameos from paid-in-full “Moms I’d Like to Follow” like Chrissy Teigen, Tara Lynn and Kim Kardashian, who gets showered in milk (because of course). There’s an empowering message buried underneath all that comeliness, something about a woman’s ability to be a mother and all other things, too. It might have rung truer had Fergie endeavored to include just one woman in the bit who didn’t live at the corner of Ford and Wilhelmina. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
I can't confirm, but I assume people from every state have a minimum amount of state pride. Someone, somewhere, thinks Florida is just awesome, even in the face of countless articles about the bizarre things that happen there. Barely anyone lives in Wyoming, but I'm sure at least three people think it's nifty. However, when it comes to state pride, Texas blows the rest of the U.S. away, which only makes sense as we are the best state. That's a fact. And whether you've lived here all your life or you got here as soon as you could, there's something in Slaid Cleave's “Texas Love Song” that'll bring a smile to your face. Hell, any song that shouts out The Mucky Duck is a winner in my book. CORY GARCIA
Let’s say you’re feeling a pastoral vibe, but you’re in a hurry, and your leave-taking of mind must be brief. In that case, try these two pieces from Dunedin, New Zealand’s finest. Alastair Galbraith’s music is wide-reaching, from singer-songwriter ballads to expansive hurdy-gurdy drones. All of it is incredibly special, calmative without being boring, emotionally restorative without being precious. I just happen to prefer the Syd Barrett mode lately. TEX KERSCHEN
MEET YOUR DEATH
Don’t expect a band called Meet Your Death to play nice; not sure why anyone would anyway. But if you’re feeling fatalistic, you could do a lot worse than this latest project from grizzled Austin blues-punk poets John Schooley (The Hard Feelings) and Walter Daniels (Jack O’Fire). Enlisting awesomely named drummer Matt Hammer and bassist Harpal Assi, Meet Your Death’s eponymous eight-song debut on 12XU is given to country-blues philosophizing on “When Fate Deals Its Mortal Blow” and “I Don’t Care If Tomorrow Never Comes,” and driven to demonic garage-rock on “Straight, Hard and Long.” (Wonder what that’s about.) Jon Spencer’s similarly hypersexualized, meat-and-bone Blues Explosion is an easy and appropriate reference point — when Daniels is putting Hades through his mouth harp most of all — but mostly Meet Your Death is grindhouse blues the way Iggy & the Stooges used to do when they were feeling less like streetwalkin’ cheetahs and more like hoochie coochie men. Best sleep with one eye open tonight. CHRIS GRAY
I equate Blink-182 to Weezer in a way, in that both bands exploded on the scene with some catchy pop-rock tunes, got a little bored and experimental, and lost their way. Fortunately, both seemed to have regained their touch of late: Weezer with its latest, the self-titled "White Album," and Blink-182 with California, which dropped last week. Swapping out founding member Tom DeLonge with Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba was a risk for sure, but one that paid off, as Blink appears more at ease than on its last attempt at a comeback record, 2011's Neighborhoods. Lead single "Bored to Death" is not only one of the best tracks the band ever produced, but it signifies a band whose attempts at maturity land far better than they once did. As much is evident with tracks such as "Home Is Such a Lonely Place" and "Sober." Sure, the band makes room for toilet humor via "Built This Pool" and "Brohemian Rhapsody," but without toilet humor, it just wouldn't be a Blink-182 record. California showcases a band content with making catchy pop-rock tunes and enjoying itself in the process. As frontman Mark Hoppus put it on "Dammit" nearly 20 years ago, "Well I guess this is growing up." CLINT HALE
Twenty One Pilots at the Woodlands Pavilion on Tuesday night
Photo by Francisco Montes
QUITE A WEEK
Between the release of the new blink-182 album and the Twenty One Pilots show at the Woodlands Pavilion, it's been a fun week for me. Blink's seventh studio album, its first without co-founder Tom Delonge, showcases the band's return to its Take Off Your Pants and Jacket-era sound. Travis Barker, the band's drummer, can also be heard flexing his muscles on most of the tracks, which is always a welcome sound, especially after his muted role on 2011's Neighborhoods. At 16 tracks, California overstays its welcome a bit, and three or four songs could have been excluded to make the album tighter, but the record manages to be a thoroughly enjoyable affair nonetheless. And Twenty One Pilots? Their live shows continue to impress me, nearly three years removed from my introduction to them at House of Blues in 2013. It's been fun to see how far they've come, and it will be even more interesting to watch how high they can rise while maintaining the high bar they've set for themselves both as musicians and as performers. MATTHEW KEEVER
It may be that I’ve been in a real Chris Bell-inspired tailspin lately, playing and replaying “I Am the Cosmos” while on the verge of tears for no good reason. Experience proves that there are few tonics for such a malady, one of them being Ben Wallers. Wallers, onetime CEO of the Country Teasers, is also The Rebel, a recording star of the age following the age of digital recording, which is to say that it remains unclear what equipment he uses or eschews; all that is apparent is that he values his time a little too much to waste it in the studio suspended in the machinery of perpetual motion adding and adjusting gentle reverbs, working out compression ratios at the control booth, praying for death. Instead, he’s a kind of comedian of the Anglish sort, attracted to all the words and phrases and subjects that get forgotten when self-styled important or relevant songwriters get caught up in the throes of their Wordsworthian passions.
Whereas Wallers, despite hailing from some pastoral BFE in the Jane Austen country, models himself after America’s rappers and old country greats, heavily dusted in psychotropic powders, word-drunk and regular drunk, boastful, poison-tongued, always either tongue in cheek or so cussedly literal (again like a rapper, or a country-music librettist) as to amount to the same thing. TEX KERSCHEN
The best Sunday-night television program without gratuitous nudity and dragons is AMC’s Preacher. Adapted from a comic-book series of the same name, the yarn concerns Jesse Custer, the preacher of a small church in the fictitious west Texas town of Annville. Blessed and/or cursed with some otherworldly powers, Custer has a curious and exhilarating way of doing the Lord’s work. Aside from its outlandish supernatural plot and fascinating characters, the series is rife with music that absolutely fits. One of the first songs heard in Episode One is, appropriately, Willie Nelson’s “Time of the Preacher.” Johnny Cash’s “The Beast in Me” and “Rusty Cage” set the tone for current-day acts like Son of Dave and the brilliant Shovels & Rope. When music is not an afterthought but something that enhances the television show you’re watching, it’s a great thing, and something Preacher is doing well. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.