Houston Music

Dig This: Back To Back, Black Congress, dUNETX, Frants, and Ghost Mountain

The current volume of local music is staggering. New Houston bands are born daily, and all too often pass away just as quickly. Rocks Off wants to help you (and ourselves) keep up.

Houston may have gotten colder, but that's just an excuse to hunker down with those headphones, discover some local music, and find out how good we have it here in this city. That's why we dig through the internet each week, highlighting more Houston acts on the roll - because like a six year-old's Christmas list, it just keeps growing, until one day they've circled everything in the LEGO catalog and half of the Toys 'R' Us tome as well. Okay, maybe we're the guilty party in the case of the LEGO's. Either way, dig in to another round of bonafide local music, find something to love, and then grab that coat, because everyone on our list plays within the next week.

dUNETX: This is one of Houston's longer-lived groups, clocking in as fifteen year veterans. Producing psychedelic power pop and garage rock, the trio has three albums and several EPs under their belts. Concertgoers might have seen them opening for the Meat Puppets at Fitzgerald's, but if you missed it then head over to Bandcamp and listen to a live recording of Keep Your Eyes On The Weeds for an idea of what the group brings to a show. After that, make sure to pencil in their 13th Annual dUNETXmas show at Big Top Lounge on that calendar. The band goes on at 10 and plays until they run out of songs, and it won't even cost you a dime at the door.

Other Sites: Bandcamp, Facebook, Reverbnation, Twitter, YouTube

Black Congress: While the five fellows in Black Congress don't take the stage as often as we'd like, their pickiness in selecting shows puts them on some fantastic bills. Tonight's show at Fitzgerald's falls in this category, when the band will open for the legendary David Yow as he brings Scratch Acid through town. Doling out some post-hardcore laced with a string of noise that could seemingly only come from a hotbed of such racket as Houston, the group pairs punishing rhythms with a wall of feedback heavy riffs. It's the sort of thing that landed them a FunFunFun Fest appearance and made Wayne Coyne ask for a copy of their record upon witnessing their set at the 2010 Free Press Summer Fest.

Other Sites: Bandcamp, Facebook

Ghost Mountain: Okay, okay. We know we've mentioned the two resulting projects that have sprung from the loins of Ghost Mountain (Cosmic Sound and Daniel Zen), but Dig This has yet to discuss the original group. Part of the reason was a very serious fear that one of our absolute favorite local acts had lapsed, falling into hiatus limbo as so many Houston groups do. Rejoice! Ghost Mountain is not dead. Daniel wrote us to say thanks for the kind words about his solo effort, and informed us that Ghost Mountain is at work on a new album. Their songs are playful romps with strikingly insightful lyrical moments, much like Anticon act WHY?, but with more electronics at work. Siamese Sailboats and Summer Tapes are great grabs, and are both available online. Catch them Saturday night at Fitzgerald's.

Other Sites: Facebook, MySpace

Back To Back: Following a familiar script in this town, this fairly new act rose from the ashes of other local punk bands. Playing some brutally short numbers - everything on their MySpace clocks in at under two minutes - they leave nothing to the imagination, bringing straightforward hardcore. If the photos and tunes are any indication, the live set should be a rollicking, jump-filled, fist-flying endeavor. Witness it Sunday night at Mango's when they play with Guilt Party, RZL DZL and Power Trip.

Other Sites: MySpace

Frants: For those wondering whatever happened to Gretchen Schmaltz, whose 2007 debut EP Laced Up Tightly on Mia Kat Empire was a local favorite, look no further than Frants. Schmaltz takes her delightful songwriting and places it in the hands of a trio of fellow musicians. The result is a fully formed take on Schmaltz's delicate songs, complete with percussion, bass, and a French horn. Combined with Gretchen's talent triumvirate in the fields of songwriting, lyrics, and vocal ability, it's more comforting than a hot toddy and a warm blanket. Frants makes a rare live appearance next week at The Continental Club.

Other Sites: Reverbnation

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Marc Brubaker
Contact: Marc Brubaker