This is a corner of the paper I usually try to reserve for notable touring acts, but as luck would have it, all the best noise this week is homegrown, so local boys get the nod. This time around I'm recommending Woody's Jukebox.
I caught most of the three-piece band's set opening Harvey's (and opening for Joint Chiefs) and made one of those rare mental notes to myself: see them again. What caught my ear, I think, was the way the guy who identifies himself as Jerm Boor spoke his songs rather than sang them. And the way he strung them out into wordy story monologues. Houston doesn't have too many wordy sorts.
Listening to the band's eponymously titled demo tape, the impressions grow stronger. Boor is indeed operating in that Bob Dylan/Lou Reed/whoever-that-guy-from-Pavement-is continuum of deadpan narrators with built-in irony dripping from every clipped syllable. Kinda like pre-annoying King Missile. And if the very name of track two, the artily titled "The ticklingly morbid tale of Milo (who was a bit on the flaky side)," doesn't give you some hint of what we're dealing with, then you're just not keeping up. No, the tape isn't uniformly amusing, but when the sloppiest stuff comes off sounding like second-rate De Schmog, you could be doing a lot worse.
This is nerd rock, for what it's worth, and I for one welcome it. And as you line up to witness it, you should keep in mind the three things that consistently destroy great nerd-rock bands: 1) they have an accidental novelty hit and are unbearable forever after; 2) they find a producer who hones the music into something palatable, resulting in an unpalatably smooth combination of instrument and word; 3) they move to San Francisco. So far, none of that's happened to Woody's Jukebox. They're still too amateur to have written a hit, I doubt if you could find a producer who's heard of 'em, and you can still hear them right here in the city of bargain rents.
Woody's Jukebox plays with Glitterpuss on Friday, February 18, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh, 521-0521. $3.
* Concrete Blonde at Bayou City Theater, Friday, February 18
* Road Kings final shows at the Satellite Lounge, Friday and Saturday, February 18 and 19
* Jawbox with Girls Against Boys at the Shimmy Shack, Saturday, February 19
* Billy Joe Shaver at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Saturday, February 19
* Iguanas at the Satellite Lounge, Sunday, February 20
* Robert Cray at Bayou City Theater, Monday, February 21
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