Dig This: Mantis, Pelviq Thrust, Super Robot Party, Mikey & The Drags, Trio Musette

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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.

It's a new year, one sure to be loaded with new Houston music, bursting at the seams like our jeans after all these holiday meals. Whether you just need a moment to kick those feet up, unbutton and relax or are jonesing for some tunes to fuel those workouts (like us, hopefully), there's a solution to be found in our local music scene. Dig This is back with another selection for perusing, so scroll down and dig in.

Mantis: Full disclosure: when we went to photograph the New Year's Day Bonanzarama this past weekend, we had no idea who or what Mantis was. On name alone, we surmised that it would be a heavy rock band, but lo and behold, we were blown away by this six-piece soul-funk outfit and its brass section. Fronted by the dynamic, fiery-haired, nimble-fingered Nicholas Greer, this group delivers bombastic soul fueled by Greer's adeptness at the keys and his lightning-quick vocal delivery.

Other Sites: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Trio Musette: The Wednesday open mike night at Fitzgerald's has become one of our favorite weekly stops, for several reasons. Central among those is the high probability of some of Houston's finer players appearing with new projects, like UnderHornVanChavez (featuring Will Van Horn and Ryan Chavez) or the aforementioned Trio Musette. This group contains Geoffrey Mueller (of Sideshow Tramps, Grandfather Child and more), Valery Pinchuk, Lara Catalani, and Laura Lee (of Khruangbin). Yes, for those counting, that makes a quartet and not a trio. The foursome play a mixture of old French and Russian folk styles, utilizing an accordian, bass, banjo, and acoustic guitar. There's no music online as yet, but we've been told they'll record soon. In the meantime, keep an eye out for future appearances.

Pelviq Thrust: Discoveries like this are the other reason we've taken to frequenting the Fitz open mike. Whether it's a group of high schoolers cutting their teeth or some unknown act displaying their chops, there's nearly always a surprise. Oh, and the booze is cheap, there are dirty comics, and it's hosted by an affable man with a grandiose moustache, but that's neither here nor there. What's important, though, is that it gave Pelviq Thrust (yes, with a Q) the opportunity to hop on stage, where in four short songs they "made [the crowd] swet their draws" as their Facebook states. The band unleashed some blues funk with a bit of raunchiness, calling for the crowd to chant "gimme dat butt!" before closing with their rendition of Mustang Sally. It was definitely a sight to behold.

Other Sites: Reverbnation

Mikey & The Drags: Rocks Off had a chat with Miguel Ponce last fall about his post-McKenzies band Mikey & The Drags, wherein he declared that if the band were a movie it would be directed by Ed Wood. He also said that The Drags name is because "we're no fun," but that's hardly the case. Since our chat, the three-piece has been busy crafting their psychedelically embellished garage rock. It's catchy, poppy, overdriven, reverb-filled fun. See for yourself on Tuesday, they'll be playing a free show at Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge.

Other Sites: Soundcloud

looking from super robot party on Vimeo.

Super Robot Party: This new reverb-laden five piece crafts ethereal shoegaze drones, touched with tidbits of folk. The experimental mixture sounds a lot like someone's garage in 1991, heck even a blend of several garages on the street, full of kids and guitars. The Pasadena group has nearly three dozen tracks available on Soundcloud, or for the full experience, catch them tonight at Dean's with Jealous Creatures and A Sundae Drive.

Other Sites: Facebook, MySpace, Reverbnation, Soundcloud, Twitter, Vimeo

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