Lera Lynn McGonigel's Mucky Duck, January 23
Suggesting both Norah Jones and Gillian Welch, Lera Lynn's music is rootsy and refined, homespun without pouring on the twang. The young Nashville-based singer-songwriter -- who was actually born in Houston and grew up in Georgia -- stirred up lots of "one to watch" talk, and eventually landed herself on David Letterman, with 2014's The Avenues. Recorded with a cast of top L.A. session players, Lynn's second proper album exudes a wan melancholy tone that suggests staring out a rain-streaked window after midnight, waiting for the phone to ring, and watching a candle burn down to the nub.
Pitbulls and Parolees Fundraiser BFE Rock Club, January 23/18th St. Pier, Bar & Grill, January 24
Animal's Planet's Pitbulls and Parolees pairs canines who have been rescued from the mean streets with ex-cons who could likewise use a second chance -- and a friend. That kind of work can be very rewarding but not always very lucrative, which is why P&P's "Sui" Gordon and host Tia Torres are hitting the road to raise some awareness (and a little hell) for a great cause; namely, that people who abuse animals are lower than dirt.
Spread out over BFE up north and the 18th Street Pier by the Bay, this Friday/Saturday benefit features Tennessee-based metalcore bruisers Straight Line Stitch both nights, plus Iowa's Dead Horse Trauma; locals Kollective Mindz, Raised From Nothing and Citta; Harlem Heat/NWO's Stevie Ray; and lots more high-powered rock that's worth barking about.
Houston Press Artopia Winter Street Studios, January 24
Every year since 2009, Houston Press Artopia is a sure signal to even the most inveterate hibernators that it's time to get duded up and come mingle. Here we have galleries of Houston's top visual artists and graphic designers displaying their work; tables of skilled master chefs dispensing their delectable creations; and a triumvirate of runway shows by homegrown fashion designers, all with an appropriately chic soundtrack.
Interspersed among the party-stoking playlists of DJs Ceeplus Bad Knives and Chnnlz, Artopia's live performers are each perfectly in line with the evening's creme-de-la-creme theme: enchanting synth trio BLSHS, whose EP Abstract Desire is one of the more arresting local debuts by a local artist in recent memory; stylish alt-pop five-piece New York City Queens, whose third LP Glass House is due this year; and Purapharm, the intrepid psych-rockers due to release their eponymous EP in a matter of weeks.
Metacrisis The Alley Kat, January 24
A band since 2010, Metacrisis has just released their debut EP Halfway to Nowhere, a six-song sampler of full-blooded alt-rock reminiscent of near-forgotten '90s groups like Stabbing Westward and God Lives Underwater. Produced by veteran Sylvia Massy, whose other credits include Tool's Undertow and Love and Rockets' Sweet F.A., its industrial cues and anguished choruses mark the Houston four-piece as unmistakable descendants of Nine Inch Nails, yes, but fresher and more light-footed than plenty of other post-grunge also-rans. Nowhere was even recorded on one of the mixing boards featured in Dave Grohl's Sound City documentary.
The Suffers Fitzgerald's, January 24
At this point the buzz surrounding The Suffers' forthcoming EP Make Some Room is deafening, but they're eminently capable of delivering on the hype. The outsized Houston ensemble has brought back classic power-soul in a big way, seasoned with plenty of Jamaican spice and Latin aroma and driven home with Mahalia-like force by formidable front woman Kam Franklin.
Already amassing a multitude of Houston Press Music Awards, the Suffers have now begun making a name for themselves outside of Houston with recent or upcoming spots at Alabama's Hangout Music Festival, CMJ in New York and New Orleans' Voodoo Fest. And they're only getting stronger with each new gig. With Ishi, Rai P and Keeper.
More shows on the next page.
FIVE OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
American Sharks: Ex-Houston rawkers have more riffs than hair...almost; free show with From Beyond, Tron Sack and Moonrazor. (Fitzgerald's, January 23)
American Aquarium, Mike & the Moonpies: Touted North Carolina alt-country act is winning raves for new Springsteenian LP Wolves; great double bill with longhaired Austin Strait freaks Mike & the Pies. (Firehouse Saloon, January 23) TC5: aka the Texas City 5, Refinery Row British Invasion revivalists help your Saturday night go retro-pop; with Jay Hooks. (Continental Club, January 24)
Badfish: Sublime specialists headline after one of the Bayou City's best reggae groups, Cassette Tape; plus Ohio's similarly chill Shrub. (House of Blues, January 24)
Oak Ridge Boys: Oh "Elvira," where have you been? (Grand 1894 Opera House, Galveston, January 25)
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