Houston Music

Artist of the Week: Guitars

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to [email protected].

Look, the last thing we want to do is come off as chauvinistic or sexist or anything like that, but we really dig indie bands where the lead singer is female.

It's hard to quantify the reason that they're so appealing. It's just, they're, eh, good. They always sound cool (even when they're not great), their confidence is intimidating, and they're usually dressed in something that's flannel or purple, both of which we also like.

So when we were presented with the work of Guitars, a charming CSS-type lo-fi pop band with a penchant for incisive guitar work and entirely singable choruses, we were pleased (even if the vocals are periodically provided by an evil, evil male.) We sent word to co-vocalist April Brem, and she and her bandmate/husband Jon were proper enough to answer a few questions for us.

Rocks Off: The most pressing question for you all, we think, is an obvious one: why aren't there any really cool, really fat guitar players anymore? We never see them, but it seems like those things would go hand in hand, you know. It's math, really. Fat guys? Cool. Guitars? Cool. Fat guys playing the guitar? Super wack. What gives?

April5k: While that may hold true for this town, Pig Champion was pretty cool, if you're into colostomy bags. And who isn't? They're like reverse Capri-Suns.

RO: [laughs]

Jon: Pig Champion was way fat and way cool.

RO: We think that you guys have a nice, catchy little lo-fi thing going on. It's very becoming. But we're curious to know, is that sound born out of creativity, or is it just shitty recording equipment?

A5K: You must have heard our old tracks on the MySpace. We just put new mastered versions up. If you are talking about the old ones, sure, I guess it was just a matter of using what we had, but if you heard the new ones, Albini's gonna be pissed.

Jon: "Paging Steve Albini to the control room"...[laughs]. That's what kept happening last time I went to tour Electrical Audio - something I like to do with friends when I'm in Chicago. Our new recordings are definitely higher fidelity than our demos, but we wanted these recordings to be raw, so by "industry standards" it most certainly is lo-fi. It basically just stems from wanting to create the type of recording I enjoy listening to in my oxygen tent. Creativity or shitty equipment? You forgot BOREDOM... oooohhh SHEIST!

RO: Do you all ever check out any European pop-rock bands? We think you all would get down with them. Someone like Howling Bells or Love Is All, they seem in your wheelhouse.

A5K: Those bands are way too synthy for us, and a bit too twee. We like "European Son," though.

J: Europeans make me uncomfortable. All those turtlenecks... it's just too much for me.

RO: Good point. The other day we watched Step Up 2: Taking It To The Streets. You seen it? How great was that, right?

A5K: I haven't seen it, but I can guarantee that it's no Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.

J: Jon Chu makes me uncomfortable.

RO: We saw that you guys have a SXSW performance or two coming up, as well as some out-of-state shows. How were you all able to secure all of that up so quickly? Again, we'd like to point out the lack of really cool, really fat guitars players in your band, so that can't be the reason.

A5K: There's a lot to be said for hard work, but even more to be said for good tunes. When you've got that, the booking agents are clamorin' for it.

J: I mailed out samplers of my essence, my musk if you will. The people with genetically superior pheromone recognition contacted me and we took it from there.

RO: That sounds completely reasonable. You all do the whole dual-vocals thing. Do any problems ever arise from that? What happens if an A&R calls and he likes Voice A but hates Voice B? Totally sell the other one out then, huh?

A5K: There is no such thing as a problem with vocals in punk rock.

J: Well, I suppose there are enough labor pools in this town to scout talent should that ever be an issue.

RO: Anything you guys want to plug - now's the time to do it.

A5K: Our LP White Night White Night is being pressed right now. We're limiting the first pressing to 100, so if you want one, you better get in the queue.

J: There will probably only be three or so available here from the first pressing.

Keep tabs on Guitars (get it?) at www.myspace.com/guitarszzzzz, and be sure to check them out at SXSW March 19 and 20.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Shea Serrano