Bare Bones

Austin's Woven Bones is serious about rock and roll, and makes no bones about its love affair with the more primitive aspects of drums, bass and guitar. Taking cues from the lo-fi aesthetic of the garage underground and post-punk pantheon, Woven Bones runs its cacophonous brand of minimalist hip-shake through the filter of a bevy of shoegaze progenitors, adding a dreamy luster and wicked feedback sheen.

The result is gargantuan and simplistic, crushingly loud and exceedingly melodic, comfortingly familiar and disconcertingly caustic — everything that makes rock and roll so damn vital in the first place. Chatter tracked down front man Andy Burr to discuss the platonic nature of rock music, Pink Floyd and scoring chicks.

Chatter: So how much of Woven Bones is just an effort to make girls think you're cool, instead of just another no-account dude in a city full of 'em?

Andy Burr: Nah, we're just in a rock band to have fun with each other, playing music we like. If there's chicks, it's just a bonus, and I'm the only one who can benefit, 'cause I'm the single one in the band.

C: Does it work out for you?

AB: I don't know. No comment.

C: I hear from a lot of like-minded groups that the lo-fi element of their music is less an intentional statement than a practical and financial reality. Are you guys trying to make a clean, slick pop record and just can't afford Dr. Luke?

AB: I'd say 75 percent yes, 25 percent our instruments just kind of sound the way they do, you know what I mean? You know, if you saw us live, the current way the guitar setup is for the band, you would be getting the same sound that is on the record.

As far as some other things, yes, time constraints, money constraints and whatnot. You don't have as much comfort as you'd like or time in the studio as you would if you had maybe a little more money or time behind it, you know.

C: So with infinite time and money, would you make like an Eagles ­album or something slick like that?

AB: Hold on [confers with bandmates in the background]. We'd make Pink Floyd's The Wall. We would definitely change from being just a song band into being something like...We would definitely do things like bring a movie into it and stuff like that, for sure.

C: How primitive do you think rock and roll can get before it devolves into just banging on stuff?

AB: I don't know, man. I think an acoustic guitar is pretty much it, so... take that.

C: On the flip side, how complex do you think a band can get before it's not rock and roll anymore?

AB: Autechre.

C: What would the perfect ­Woven Bones record sound like?

AB: I don't know. Ramones; Beach Boys; Stooges; V.U.; [The Jesus and] Mary Chain — all done our own way, with enough time spent on it to give the best hooks we can give somebody, you know.

We are pleased to welcome effervescent Brooklyn synth-punk duo Matt & Kim as our special guests at the 2010 Houston Press Music Awards showcase, Saturday, August 7, at various venues along Washington Avenue. Dallas soul revivalists Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights and more than 50 local bands round out the all-day festivities; watch our music blog Rocks Off for further updates and ticket information. We are trying to post as many MP3s by this year's HPMA nominees as we can, so if you or your band is nominated (and have not already done so), please send no more than two songs to [email protected]. See the songs we have already posted at

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1. Pink, "Glitter In the Air"

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(lists compiled by Chris Gray)

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Nicholas L. Hall is a husband and father who earns his keep playing a video game that controls the U.S. power grid. He also writes for the Houston Press about food, booze and music, in an attempt to keep the demons at bay. When he's not busy keeping your lights on, he can usually be found making various messes in the kitchen, with apologies to his wife.
Contact: Nicholas L. Hall