It's no secret that Houston has an amazing music scene, but seeing local acts get love on a larger scale only reassures what Rocks Off has been saying for years. Last week, The Tontons' first Daytrotter session was released to the masses, and featured four songs, including "Bones 1" and "Bones 2" from the local quartet's most recent 7", (what else?) "Bones."
Daytrotter, which operates out of Rock Island, Illinois, hosts bands in a live recording studio environment before releasing each performance for free via their official Web site and mobile app. But while the performance lasts as long as an in-store or radio performance, getting a chance to record for Daytrotter is more than just that.
Instead, being invited to record a session has become a new rite of passage for up-and-coming acts -- much like being asked to perform for Seattle's 90.3 KEXP, or recording a Take Away Show for La Blogothèque. It's a nod of acceptance that says, "You've made it"; not to mention, each act gets its own nifty watercolor portrait.
The Tontons have certainly seen their share of success, performing at this month's Hangout Fest alongside names like Public Enemy and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, so it only seems natural that they've tackled yet another milestone with their four-track session at Daytrotter.
If you don't already have an account with Daytrotter, you have a lot of catching up to do. Lucky for you, Rocks Off has compiled a list of five other Houston acts who made it to Rock Island and set their name in the proverbial stone.
5. Buxton Buxton starts their session out with the slow, thoughtful track, "Body Count," which rivals the already beautiful version from their 2012 album, Nothing Here Seems Strange.
With a sound that has already won over their hometown, the Buxton boys (Sergio Trevino, Chris Wise, Jason Willis, Justin Terrell and Austin Sepulvado) jump straight into "Boy of Nine" with help from Haley Barnes. And like most of the band's performances, this four-song set feels entirely too short.
4. Jana Hunter Though she might be more widely known for her work with her band Lower Dens (who has also done a Daytrotter session), Jana Hunter has made some remarkable solo work. Currently residing in Baltimore, she hasn't been local for a number of years, but Hunter garnered Daytrotter's attention in 2007 -- three years before any other Houston native.
In fact, three of the four tracks come off of Hunter's second album, There's No Home, and this is one session that will leave you feeling its effects time and time again.
3. Robert Ellis Daytrotter seems to love Robert Ellis as much as Houston does. Out of the Houston bunch, Ellis is the only one with two sessions to his name, and he's also been featured at least once a year, every year, since 2010 with videos of live performances for CMJ and Paste.
From his two sessions, Ellis has recorded a total of nine songs, including "Westbound Train," "Friends Like These," and "No Fun," all of his 2011 album Photographs. Though Ellis has since moved to Nashville, these tracks are just as entertaining as those humid summer nights spent two-stepping and sipping on whiskey.
2. Wild Moccasins On their session, recorded in the summer of 2010, Wild Moccasins prove just what Houston has to offer the world.
With intertwining vocals from Cody Swann and Zahira Gutierrez, bandmates Nicholas Cody, Andrew Lee and John Baldwin help pound out hits from their first EP, Microscopic Metronomes, and debut full-length Skin Collision Past. Local hits like "My Favorites Die" and "Fruit Tea" make it clear why Of Montreal wanted to take the Moccasins on the road and share them with the rest of the world.
1. Hayes Carll If you couldn't hear the Bob Dylan influence in Hayes Carll's music before, this session will make it clear as can be when you hear his live version of "Grand Parade." Soon after, Carll moves on to "Stomp and Holler," proving that not all country singers sound the same.
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Recorded in 2011 after the release of his most recent album, KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories), his session ends with a stripped-down version of "Hide Me" that will stay with you long after it's over.