Mail Call: Diagonals, Fountains of Wayne, Jason Isbell, Chess Records, Sally Crewe and More
After a hot minute, Mail Call returns in a slightly revamped format...
Pick of the Litter
Diagonals (Austin), Valley of the Cyclops (Monofonus Press)
They Say: "A sweet-and-sour dark-pop soundtrack for the dawn of the post-Bush era."
TicketsSun., Jul. 31, 8:00pm
Clint Black - On Purpose Tour
TicketsThu., Aug. 4, 7:00pm
Guns N' Roses: Not In This Lifetime?
TicketsFri., Aug. 5, 8:30pm
Russ: Did It My Way Tour
TicketsSat., Aug. 6, 6:00pm
World Famous Gospel Brunch at House of Blues Houston
TicketsSun., Aug. 7, 1:30pm
Rocks Off Says: Loose-fitting, lo-fi melodic garage that may have been inspired by a bong hit or two (think the desiccated Sub Pop '90s blues of Chicago's Red Red Meat). Never cooks, never stalls, but Steve Garcia's lyrics keep it interesting - "Suitcase Packed" is a no-punches-pulled tour diary, and it's hard not to smile at titles like "Clown Fucker" and "Neil Diamond Blues."
Coming Through?: Only one hometown Austin show is listed on Diagonals' MySpace page (February 6, Emo's), but undercover Houstonians the Octopus Project are fans - Diagonals opened OP's Warehouse Live show last year - so don't rule it out. Rudz and the Mink should both make the appropriate overtures.
Fun Facts: Diagonals' keyboardist is Dazed and Confused and Waking Life co-star Wiley Wiggins. CD comes with I Could Be Happy, an R. Crumb-ish comic by Michael Berryhill starring a ventriloquist's dummy (or is it?) with an attitude.
More to come...
Fountains of Wayne (New Jersey), No Better Place: Live in Chicago (Shout! Factory, DVD): "The band's warm, feel-good vibe has long endeared them to fans, and this performance catches them unleashing the hooks and humor that have made them champions of power pop."
Coming Through?: All that's listed now is a brief acoustic tour of the Northeast.
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit (Lightning Rod): "It's not simply that [Isbell] lives in Florence, Alabama, just outside Muscle Shoals, nor that he recorded Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at the famed FAME studio there. That guarantees nothing."
Coming Through?: Not at the moment, though a road dog like ex-Drive-By Truckers hand Isbell will be here eventually.
Various Artists, The Best of Chess Records (Universal Music Group): "Includes some of the most important recordings of the '50s and '60s from some of modern music's most important artists - every one of them a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
Coming Through?: In a matter of speaking - these songs are all featured in Cadillac Records, due on DVD March 10. Also makes a very nice, if up-the-middle, introduction to the seminal Chicago label and mid-century American R&B in general.
Fun Fact: Little Walter's "Last Night" is the only original Chess track featured in Cadillac Records; all the others are remakes. Alumna Etta "Beyonce Who?" James just signed on for House of Blues April 25.
Sally Crewe & the Sudden Moves
(Austin),Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You
(8-Track Mind): "WhileYour Nearest Exit...
is the most varied Sudden Moves effort to date, both rhythmically and lyrically, the bon mots flow very quickly and rarely overstay their welcome."
Coming Through?: Yes, at Meridian's Merge + Music + Fest, April 11 with a slew of other Houston and Austin bands. Perhaps before that, too.
Burn Halo (Orange County), Burn Halo: "A dynamic, gripping collection of gritty rock songs that immediately engage their listener."
Coming Through?: February 12 at Meridian with Escape the Fate, Black Tide and Attack Attack!
Carlon (New Jersey), Johari Window (Ropeadope): "Features the infectious single 'Cantaloupe,' an irresistable display of Beatles and Pink Floyd influences."
Coming Through?: Playing Ropeadope's SXSW showcase in Austin March 19. No Houston date listed (yet).
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.