Unless you live under a rock, you may have noticed that Houston's local scene is making huge strides, so it can be all too easy to miss some talent that deserves the much-needed attention. Acknowledging the wealth of musical diversity spread across Houston's various loops, we've gathered ten acts from the heavy-rock hemisphere we believe presently make our city much more musically interesting than any other Texas destinations.
Just never forget these artists can't continue without the attention of a loyal hometown fan base. So don't just click and like their pages — that's the least you can do. Show up to their gigs, buy their music, wear their shirts and rep that H-Town pride so everyone recognizes our talent. (Note: list is in alphabetical order.)
This progressive-metal act, whose name abbreviates from “A New Horizon,” is probably the newest group on our list. Formed in late 2014, making 2015 their break-out year, ANH have made waves in a music scene already flooded with talent — pretty good, considering ANH is based in Nacogdoches, yet performs frequently in the area and has recorded an EP, Beta, with Craig Douglas of Origin Sound. Lately, ANH have promised they've turned a corner and are writing new material featuring new instruments and new musical routes, with a goal of finishing by year's end. At the moment they may not be booking shows just yet, but surely the wait will be well worth it.
These rockers started their journey in 2007, but really far before that because all of them save one are family. The Rodriguez clan has been dedicated to playing their own brand of rock and roll since hitting the big stage at Houston's Rock the Bayou eight years ago. Since then, they’ve added more impressive steps to their trajectory including a 2012 HPMA nomination for Best Rock Band and touring with Dan Spitz of Anthrax the next year. A taste of their latest release, this year's If I Could EP, is available for your sampling pleasure through Reverbnation. Check out their next hometown gig August 6 at Fitzgerald’s.
COME SEE MY DEAD PERSON
According to their bio, “Originally formed in 2007, CSMDP has been perfecting their eclectic blend of gypsy-blues fusion for nearly a decade.” What’s missing is that they've been on a hiatus for a few years. (Insert corpse jokes here.) So, what makes "gyspy-blues fusion" anyway, you ask? Well, a heaping dose of hauntingly beautiful (and surprisingly upbeat) violin playing from Phil Davidson certainly helps. With Mike Mejia on acoustic guitar and vocals along with brother Matt on bass, CSMDP is one of H-Town's more remarkable sibling-driven acts, with Roy Martinez and Kenny Dickman (guitars) and finally Steve Stacy (drums) completing the picture. But there’s really no better way to appreciate CSMDP's beauty than hearing them live, which you can at the Nightingale Room Wednesday, July 20.
There’s much to be admired about the youth counterculture of the 1960s. It was a time of art, writing, self-expression and of course, incredible rock and roll, a tradition carried on by the locals in Ganesha. Though self-described as a power-trio, an even more accurate description of Ganesha might be the holy trinity of local psychedelic acid-rock. Originally from Pasadena, the current lineup has only been together a year and has already drawn an HPMA nomination as Best Rock Act. Not too shabby for a band that seems to come from a time warp, yet one live performance (or even a listen to their release, Downer) makes all that love and recognition easy to understand. Don’t believe us? See for yourself at Ganesha's next psychedelic turn-on gig, opening for Blues Funeral's CD release July 30 at Rudyard’s with Vehement Burn.
This five-piece band combines death metal, grindcore and (get ready for it) Screw music to create its so-called "death screw"; prepare to have your ears treated to some real hometown fusion. Where else on Earth could this marriage have taken place? Yet, don't think for a second this band is nothing more than an odd, trendy pairing of local flavors. Guitarist James Lopez burns through chords on six and seven strings while making it look easy. Formed in 2009, G.O.D.S. (aka God of Death Screw) discovered quickly that not everyone was a fan of such an unusual sound, and found booking difficult. Instead of asking venues to support them, they started throwing their own shows at their practice space, exactly the kind of ballsy ingenuity has kept the boys together for a good while. And now, not only are they recording another video, but will be releasing more music in the fall entitled Fatherless, Godless, Faithless. Catch their next gig at White Swan August 13.
These four Houston punk rockers originally formed in 2004, and after both a hiatus and some restructuring, reformed in 2015. With only a self-titled demo recording to claim, they’ve recently hit the studio and released a new EP. If that's not enough, their single “Chopper Slut” will be released on a 7-inch vinyl split with New Jersey's Electric Frankenstein on Self Destructo records this fall. With influences like Turbonegro, Motorhead and D.R.I., Hell’s Engine's bite leaves plenty of thrashy teeth marks. See them live with Speedealer, Sunday, July 17 at Rudyard’s.
Despite undergoing several lineup changes, Malevolent Force is still together. Since releasing their first full-length album last year, Descent Into the Abyss, the group is now working on a self-recorded, self-produced demo, Age of Aggression, scheduled for release later this summer. If you’ve never heard of Malevolent Force, that can be forgiven, but once you hear them, you won’t easily forget their unique stylings that combine two distinct sounds adored by metal fans: black and thrash. Hear the ghoulish delight for yourself this Friday at Satellite Bar with Deströyer 666 and Hel-Razor.
This ear-shattering five-piece metal band features Peruvian-born drummer Gonzo Merino and employs a variety of ethnic rhythm styles and breakdowns. Bassist David Followell and guitarist Mike Haseman add some detuned low-end sounds under Jason West’s screaming vocals, but perhaps most interesting are the melodies and harmonies issuing from Josh Dryer on both guitar and synthesizer. Asked what their vision is, ORR says to “throw down, have fun, and most importantly, entertain without taking ourselves too seriously.” See how they do at their next show, August 12 at Scout Bar with longtime local metal heroes Deadhorse.
These self-described “Bayou City misfits” are more of a super group, hailing from venerable H-Town bands like Manhole, Baron Von Bomblast and the DollyRockers (voice Allison Gibson); The Swamps (guitarist Adrian Lou Reed); and Muhammadali (drummer Juan Uceda); plus bassist Glenn Gilbert. Forming under the “simple desire to play something heavier,” they say, Supergrave is the dark and heavy expression of talented musicians who want to bring the doom-laden aggression, and do so very well.
12 YEARS DRIVEN
This fast-moving, five-piece rock band draws core strength from its energetic live performances to deliver what they promise: rock-your-ass-off loud music. Currently on rotation on more than 175 Internet radio stations, TYD have received plenty of buzz from not only a range of music-media outlets but even Houston's 94.5 The Buzz. See for yourself at BFE Rock Club July 22.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.