The other day, Houston Press Night & Day editor Olivia Flores Alvarez - whom we're so glad is feeling better and back at work again - handed Rocks Off Lisa Nola's new book called Music Listography: Your Life In (Play)Lists, and the wheels started turning like "Proud Mary." Because we're not quite up to divulging information like "List Songs You'd Strip To" or "List a Song That Reminds You of Each Lover You've Had" - but stay tuned - we thought we'd go ahead and let some local musicians fess up in exchange for plugging their gig. Our first
victim participant is Jonx drummer Danny Mee, whose aggro-indie trio has a bunch of new songs online - from upcoming album Vocabularian Herds - it will no doubt play Friday night at Rudyard's with Bright Men of Learning and former Sharks and/or Sailors the Side Arms (who we hear are awesome). Mee knows what he's talking about, because he writes for us sometimes. Take it away, man... Please let the reader remind him or herself that these are my personal favorites, not my idea of "the best."
Patti Smith: Like Beat poetry, some of Patti Smith's lyrics seem to have been written with an inflated sense of importance. But at its best, her music is vicious, brave, and completely fucking insane. Without Patti Smith, would we have had Saccharine Trust, or U.S. Maple, or Make Believe? Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth): Honestly, I'm not as well-versed in the Sonic Youth discography as I should be, but Gordon is unique in her ability to blend rage and sensuality into something that is transcendently horrific, yet sly, controlled and revealing, and as thematically powerful as a Greek myth.
PJ Harvey: "50 FT Queenie!" NO... "Sheela-Na-Gig!" NO... "Wang Dang Doodle!" NO... Kathleen Hanna: An uncompromising songwriter with a big voice, and the leader of one of the last bands to make politically loaded music that seemed to resonate with people in mainstream indie rock. Donita Sparks & Suzi Gardner, L7; Mia Zapata, the Gits: Three of my favorite grunge singers. RAAARRRR! Kim Shattuck, the Muffs: The sweetest hooks in the meanest songs, sung with the most messed-up voice. Yasuko Onuki, Melt Banana: She sounds like a toy dog barking along to a grindcore record in mangled English... hmm, description does not do her justice.
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Chan Marshall (Cat Power): Marshall is a natural musician with an impossible voice who had the good fortune to be recognized as a genius during a period in her career when most artists can barely get heard. Even considering her famously inconsistent live presence and her recent descent into NPR-worthy snore-n-B, the first five Cat Power records are a compelling argument for the importance of indie-rock in nurturing invaluable talents that are too rough, weird or difficult for mainstream audiences. Jana Hunter: A precocious, sophisticated composer and perfectly pure singer who spent eight or nine years in Houston and was nice enough to have me play on a couple of her recent records. Her sister Aimee, who sang briefly in Inoculist with their brother John (and me), has a similarly enjoyable, yet surprisingly different, voice.