Pass the Salt

Veruca Salt, once so full of promise, is down to one original member and trawling for listeners.

After scoring acclaim with the 1994 power pop single, "Seether," from its American Thighs debut, Veruca Salt (named after the rich-bitch kid from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) seemed primed to take its place in the company of (or above) similar femme-driven rock acts like The Breeders, The Pixies and Hole. But in the eternity since then, Veruca Salt, with its infrequent recordings and schizophrenic approach to its music, has failed to deliver on that early promise (though the hard rock of 1997's Eight Arms to Hold You seemed decent enough).

From those days of yore, only singer/ songwriter/guitarist Louise Post (co-founder with Nina Gordon, who split in 1998) remains. In fact, the band's recently released Resolver sounds more like a Post solo-record, what with her guitar work, raspy voice, songwriting and lyrics (little more than high school journal scribblings) stamped all over the proceedings.

We'll just have to see to what degree the new lineup not only succeeds in a live setting, but balances Resolver songs with the back catalog. But if you go to the show, please don't be the idiot who screams out "Seether" all night. They'll get to it eventually.

Veruca Salt performs Thursday, June 1, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. For more information, call (713)862-7580.

The Resentments -- This "group" first assembled a few years back at a Sunday evening song-swap-cum-jam at Austin's Saxon Pub; at the time, country semi-star Hal Ketchum, then living in Capitol City, was playing with this collection of Austin singer-songwriters and musicians on his original instrument, the drums. This Houston visit is a chance to savor something Austinites get to enjoy almost every week.

The Resentments have solidified a line up with a three-man front: Stephen Bruton, who has penned songs for the likes of Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt, played with Kris Kristofferson and Raitt, and produced Jimmie Dale Gilmore and many others (and who plays his own solo gig at Rudyard's the next night); Jon Dee Graham, veteran of Austin's legendary '80s roots-rock group the True Believers, writer of songs for Patty Smyth and backing musician for John Doe, now an acclaimed solo artist; and "Scrappy" Jud Newcomb, the former Loose Diamonds guitarist who has also produced for Beaver Nelson and bent strings for Toni Price before launching his own solo career. Playing bass will be former Ugly American and Poi Dog Pondering member Bruce Hughes, and on the drums will be longtime Austin traps man "Mambo" John Treanor.

Given how busy all the Resentments are otherwise, this is the forum in which they can let their collective hair down, and enjoy their mutual admiration society. Each of the front men brings his own songs, and favorite covers, to the stage, and they are all among Austin's best guitar players. Since these musicians have been collaborating for years now, their act is too tight to call it a jam. Yet it's still loose enough to channel some magic. Think of it as a living-room session on a stage, one where the prime directive is fun. The Resentments perform Friday, May 26, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh. For more information, call (713)521-0521.

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Rob Patterson
Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero