The day a lot of local indie-watchers have been waiting for has finally arrived: Houston Press Music Award winners (Best New Band; Best Indie Rock, 2007) Young Mammals' first full-length, Carrots, finally sees the light of day Friday. The Press sat down with guitarist Cley Miller and singer/guitarist Carlos Sanchez to get their thoughts on this momentous occasion.
Houston Press: What are the biggest changes from the first EP?
Carlos Sanchez: When we listen to the EP now, for me personally, I get embarrassed. My vocals are very unconfident, the songs are way too long and it was very high school of us. Now it seems like the songs are shorter, we thought a little bit more about them. But even when we were making the songs at first, we were still making them really long.
Cley Miller: That was [producer] Steve [Christenson]'s doing. He made us trim our songs a lot.
HP: What's the biggest change in the songs' construction this time?
CM: Yeah, it was really focused on dynamics. Next time we want to focus more on rhythm.
CS: For me personally, it's melody. I think all of us want to focus more on melody, actually.
CM: Not chanting.
CS: Because a lot of the stuff we've been listening to is a lot more singy and not as talky. We really like Pavement and Talking Heads but, at the moment, Animal Collective and Deerhoof.
HP: You invited a lot of local players to join you on the album. Did they volunteer or did you ask them?
CM: We asked them. From the beginning, Carlos wanted horns because when we first started the record, he was really into Neutral Milk Hotel. [So we got] Shane Patrick from Listen Listen. And I really wanted to add saxophone to a few songs — we have Charlie Naked from Linus Pauling. Then we had Mlee Suprean sing in one song. Austin Lloyd [News on the March] did backup vocals on the first song. For the most part, we did not write [their] parts.
HP: Future plans?
CM: At the moment, we have Ryan Chavez filling in on drums. We want to play a few more local shows. We want to tour in early April — just a five-day thing — and we're trying to book something in May, and then we'd like to go to the East Coastin July.
CS: Also, we're going to try and release a few more things like a [12-inch] EP, hopefully.
With Buxton and Woozyhelmet, 8 p.m. Saturday, February 28, at Aerosol Warfare/DiverseWorks house, 1625 Alabama.
Honoring Ireland this year, the Houston International Festival — iFest for short — announced its complete musical lineup last week. Besides Bud Light World Stage headliners including Los Lobos, the Ohio Players and Mavis Staples, artists heading here from Celtic lands include Ireland's Beoga, Cherish the Ladies and Danny O'Flaherty; Scottish singer Julie Fowlis; and Galicians (it's in Spain, but still Celtic) Lucia y Valdemar. Houston's ample Celtic community will be represented by the Blaggards, Needfire and the Killdares. See much more at www.ifest.org...It pleases the Press to report that, despite a number of message-board posts last week, Rap-a-Lot recording artist Z-Ro — pound for pound probably the most lyrically gifted MC in town — is not dead. Those rumors were put to bed last Friday when a receptionist for the local rap label told reporter Shea Serrano that Z-Ro is very much alive and well.
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1. Various Artists, African Scream Contest
2. Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion LP
3. Los Straitjackets, Rock en Español LP
4. Mrs. Miller, Wild, Cool & Swingin'
5. Beirut, March of the Zapotec
6. Raymond Scott, Microphone Music
7. Freddie King, My Feeling for the Blues
8. Born Liars, Ragged Island LP
9. Various Artists, Tamburitza!: From the Balkans to America 1910-1950
10. Hank Williams III, various albums
The Boxx (KBXX, 97.9 FM)
Most-played songs, week of February 16
1. Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain, "Blame It"
2. Z-Ro feat. Pimp C, "Top Notch"
3. Gorilla Zoe feat. Lil Wayne, "Lost"
4. Them G Spot Boyz, "Do the Stanky Legg"
5. Keri Hilson feat. Lil Wayne, "Turn Off"
6. The Dream, "Rockin' That Thang"
7. Beyoncé, "Diva"
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8. Beyoncé, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
9. Bobby Valentino feat. Yung Joc, "Beep"
10. Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo, "Bad Girl"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)