The Five Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Dengue Fever, Arrested Development, etc.
Dengue Fever Fitzgerald's, April 6
The subset of Cambodian-American bands that have made a lasting impression on the wider indie-rock world pretty much belongs to Dengue Fever. Since the L.A.-based band's eponymous debut in 2003, fetching singer Chhom Nimol and her bandmates have created a unique hybrid of traditional Southeast Asian folk with a kaleidoscopic spin on late-'60s psychedelia lifted from some long ago Sunset Strip shagging den. Their latest record, 2015's The Deepest Lake, puts a more rhythmic spin on Dengue Fever's previous work, incorporating more elements of African percussion and hip-hop.
Shattered Sun House of Blues, April 7
Gateway to South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley on Highway 281 South, Alice, Texas is known as the "Home of Tejano Music" -- the first exclusively Tejano label was founded there in 1947 -- and the birthplace of Moonraker Bond girl Lois Chiles. But in hard-rock circles it's also known now as the hometown of Shattered Sun, a ferocious six-piece whose brand of melodic thrash carries a tinge of artier metal groups like Queensryche without skimping on the finger-bleeding, throat-ripping hard stuff.
In anticipation of next month's Victory Records debut, Hope Within Hatred, Shattered Sun premiered the video for "The Ultimatum" on Loudwire last week, calling the song, "our big 'F-- You' to everyone who ever said we couldn't do this," according to vocalist Marcus Leal. "No one ever expected us to go anywhere except for us." Now they're opening for thrash titans Testament and Exodus on this spring tour leading up to festival season -- well played, fellas.
Jimmy Smith Under the Volcano, April 8
Co-front man of the Gourds for nearly 20 years, Jimmy Smith was perhaps the most left-field member of the oddball Austin roots-rock cult heroes, due to his seeming to have a little more rock and roll wild child in him than partner Kevin Russell's unreconstructed gonzo country boy. Since the Gourds split in 2013, Smith has led the Hard Pans, whose differences from his portion of the Gourds catalog are minimal at best, as shown on last year's Dylanesque Budget Cuts. Still, this is billed as a solo gig, suggesting Smith's set list may be even more out-there and off-the-cuff than usual.
More shows on the next page.
Arrested Development Fitzgerald's, April 9
Atlanta's multigenerational Arrested Development combined Golden Age rap, a whole-earth worldview, and plenty of down-home Southern soul and gospel to become one of the most unusual and astonishing hip-hop successes of the early '90s. Not only did the positive messages of tracks like "Fishin' For Religion" and "Children Play With Earth" make them an ideal antidote to the gangsta-heavy climate at the time, but "Tennessee," "People Everyday" and "Mr. Wendal" were runaway crossover successes in 1992 and '93, all three hitting the Billboard Top 10; the first two also reached No. 1 on the rap singles chart. The group never quite caught the same lightning in a bottle again, but after writing such an original, uplifting and just plain fun chapter of rap history, they didn't really need to, either. With Camp Lo.
Anne McCue McGonigel's Mucky Duck, April 9
Alt-country singer-songwriter Anne McCue's admirers include Lucinda Williams, who gave her an early break in the U.S. by including the Australian native on her hand-picked Artist's Choice CD for Starbucks in the early 2000s, and Dave Alvin, her duet partner on the new track "Devil In the Middle." Now based in Nashville, McCue has also worked as a session guitarist and producer (appearing on Michelle Shocked's 2005 LP Mexican Standoff, among others) but put aside her rocker origins for this year's Blue Sky Thinkin', her tribute to great jazz guitarists of the 1930s and '40s like Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian.
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