There's so much music flowing through this city that the Houston Press Singles Club takes in acts you've never heard alongside those we've all grown to love. In this edition, we'll hear from old friend Fat Tony and get our heads slammed by Omotai and Talking Forever, while Pitter Patter make our feet move and John Egan stirs our souls. Like every week, we encourage you to subscribe to this Spotify playlist to stay in the know, while purchasing the releases from the artists within directly from them or at their shows around town.
Fat Tony is currently dividing his time between here, L.A. and even down in Mexico. But his heart is still embedded here in the H, as his latest release is named MacGregor Park. While the album is full of bangers that lift this city and Tony's profile to newer heights, it's the track "Money All Around"" that I couldn't shake, full of lush beats and catchy sounds. Tony goes in deep here and proves why he's such a force in the Houston hip hop world. Fat Tony can definitely still bring it and this song is the definitive proof, possibly one of the strongest hip-hop tracks I've heard all year. Purchase merchandise and MacGregor Park directly from Fat Tony through his Bandcamp page
Last week we told you why Omotai has been up front in Houston's pack of metal bands for several years now. They're still easily one of the loudest bands you'll ever see live, but brand-new album A Ruined Oak takes what you thought you knew about the genre to a murkier place, taking the music on their previous three albums to a whole new level of darkness and heaviness. The title track might be one of the strongest metal songs out there right now, twisting doom-metal into a heavier but catchier hybrid without sounding like a polished pop song. The vocals alone sound like someone begging for their life at the bottom of a cavern hand-dug in the basement where the Silence of The Lambs character Buffalo Bill resides. Catch Omotai on tour (a proper album-release show in town is due early 2018), and purchase the vinyl version of A Ruined Oak at record shops throughout Houston or directly from the band's Bandcamp page.
Electronic music is definitely on the rise here, through the never-ending supply of artists standing in front of a laptop and one device after another. However, solo act Pitter Patter offers something completely different without steering too far off course. His energetic live shows are a trip; he'll play a full drum kit with a rack of electronic noisemakers in the background. While I'm down with pretty much every track on his latest release, last year's Realms, I must have put "The World We Know" on repeat no less than 100 times, no lie. It's a bona fide feet-mover, full of lush electronics, memorable synths, and drums that eclipse what any 808 has ever made. Catch Pitter Patter performing around town, and grab your own copy of Realms digitally from his Bandcamp page or on CD at Houston's finer record shops.
Now, I'm not really sure who knows John Egan and who doesn't, but I'm pretty sure that you'll love his music the first time you hear it. His latest album, Magnolia City, is a mix of Southern charm and Delta blues. Egan, who primarily plays the steely-sounding guitar known as a Dobro, would definitely be okay if he just played songs instrumentally, but his voice has a mix of despair, loneliness, and soul that you will more than likely find yourself falling for. "Where the Angels Fly" definitely my favorite track off the album, released just after the first of the year. Egan plays all over (always Mondays at the Big Easy), and has become quite the hot commodity as of late, so you should probably catch him before he's playing in rooms you can't afford. Purchase his music directly from him when he performs, as well as in record shops throughout Houston.
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Some of you may think emo died when record labels began slapping the name on albums by everyone from Taking Back Sunday to Say Anything. However it seems that the younger acts in this third wave really understand what the first wave was all about, and Houston's Talking Forever. Their debut album, My New Home, combined what bands like Braid and Mineral did 20 years ago without really lifting from either. Aside from their crushing live sets, this four-piece has already toured the country and set themselves up for a lifetime of riding in vans. "Cicadas" starts slow and melodic, leading into dual vocals before the band starts playing with an amp-blowing intensity far beyond their years. I saw the emo thing take off 20 years ago, and can safely say that bands like Talking Forever prove the genre isn't going away anytime soon. Purchase My New Home at record shops throughout Houston or directly from the band's Bandcamp page.
Note: This week's Houston Press Singles Club starts at song No. 11.
That's all for this week. Please subscribe to the playlist so you can stay in the loop and enjoy some of the best music coming out of Houston every other week.