The Friday Free For All relays albums, artists, videos and vibes the Houston Press Music staff has been grooving to over the past week.
Houston Whatever Fest has abruptly uprooted itself to the spring – which, organizers were quick to point out last week, is not an April Fool’s joke – to make way for the exploding Come and Take It Comedy Fest, thus clearing Houston’s fall music-fest slate a little. Not to worry: The territory around Warehouse Live sometimes known as the “EaDo Party Park” will not lie fallow. Headlined by one of the trippiest bands in Texas, Levitation veterans Ringo Deathstarr, Yes, Indeed! will settle into its fourth location in five years September 17. Pretty much everything else surrounding the local-heavy event is the same – it’s still eclectic, affordable and awesome. Tickets start at $15, and can be had at yesindeedfest.com. The entire lineup follows, followed by a few Soundcloud/ReverbNation clips. (We’ve got a little room this week.) CHRIS GRAY
Ringo Deathstarr | Fea | The Wheel Workers | La Sien | Night Drive | PuraPharm | All People | Young Girls | Jody Seabody & the Whirls | Only Beast | Muddy Belle | Jon Black | Jealous Creatures | Arthur Yoria | Whit | Bernie Pink | JVS Reel | DASHR | A Tribute to the Sun | Islands & Tigers | Birthday Club | Nicole Starch & Torpedoed Heart | CHEW | Mockingbird Brother
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One could say Actual Figures is a Danish band, since they currently reside on an island off the Jutland peninsula. One could even call them a Berlin band, as that’s where they’ll be settled by the time this group of songs is released on the Bay Area-based F.R.E.A.K.S. label later this year. Just the same, it’s more emotionally truthful, if entirely factually false, to describe them as a band from around here. Listen to that rough croon, fatalistic, frayed, final. That’s none other than Brandon Davis, my longtime bandmate, who did time with me in my groups, as well as his own concerns The Electric Set, and Terrible Eagle. He’s joined here by Marie Mark Andersen, his wife and partner in a number of music and performance-art projects he has undertaken over the past several years of his life as an expatriate.
Davis went rogue long ago. He shook off his home, his car, a steady paycheck, his equipment, his family and many of his friends. He’s borderline stateless, skulking around the margins of Europe, living the kind of life that we often think about longingly and just as quickly dismiss after watching a romantic movie. When he says something ‘don’t matter at all’ (sic) he probably means it. Likely this means nothing to most of you, but from what I’ve seen, this world is small and filled with a lot of faces that are almost familiar yet completely strange. What’s more, our time is not so long as we need, running hardly longer than this song and just as empty. TEX KERSCHEN
Whenever a band matures, finds success, then reverses course and decides to "get back to basics," this is a red flag. Enter Green Day. The California trio was once riding high on the strength of mature concept records like American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. Then things kinda fell apart with a trio of successive albums in 2012 — Uno!, Dos! and Tre!. The concept was nice enough, but the music was underwhelming, front man Billie Joe Armstrong went to rehab in the midst of the albums' release, and things just kinda fell apart from there. Green Day has been quiet since then, until this week, when the band released a new single, "Bang Bang," from forthcoming album Revolution Radio (due October 7). The band is billing Revolution Radio as a return to its punk roots, which is all well and good. Who knows — the album might bring the band back to mainstream prominence. But if "Bang Bang" is any indication, I'm not optimistic. The track isn't bad per se, but rather, it's just kinda there. It sounds like the music of a band that wants to revisit its roots but isn't sure how to get there. In Green Day's case, perhaps looking back isn't the best course of action; the group was previously doing a damn fine job of examining the current state of things.