Best of Houston

Rest of the Best: Houston's 10 Best Bands (With Only Two Members)

I went from being in a band that at its biggest had six members to ending up in one that has only two. Let me tell you something, it is fantastic! Thanks to modern technology, you can replace damn near any instrument and boil down an artistic vision to two mates that get along. I wouldn't trade it for any other sort of lineup.

And apparently I'm not alone, because a fair amount of musical duos in Houston have also found the tag-team to be the most effective way to deliver audio sucker-punches. Here follows 20 people who constitute ten phenomenal acts.

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10. Mannequin Mishap Tony Bautista and Manny Trey Lopez have been friends since they were both three months old, and three years ago they put their drums, bass and screaming skills to good use as a musical team. Last year they released debut album Hypnic Jerk II, a nonstop high-energy slap-punk sort of thing that isn't afraid to delve into more experimental math-rock. They sure don't sound like just two guys.

9. Cashus A pretty new band formed by Matt Cloud and Hayden Wander from excuseMesir and Ruiners, so far Cashus only has a three-song EP, Never Was, to its credit. What an EP it is, though, with plenty of hopeless, manic indie-rock energy. Cloud is a gift of a rhythm section that opens the songs up wide.

8. Vendetta Diabolique What do you get when you combine Doomstress Alexis's (Project Armageddon) one-of-a-kind wasteland wail with the guitar work of Jan Kimmel from Sanctus Bellum? An industrial dance outfit, believe it or not, and it is a thing of dark beauty. Nothing better than seeing of Houston metal's finest playing outside the box.

7. Tan Dragon Clan Austin Canik and Cody Adams use a lot of words to describe their sound, but for my money it's glam. Good, Roxy Music glam with just a touch of jazz and funk to give the boys room to maneuver. Seriously, they make me want to bust out the Velvet Goldmine DVD again.

6. Asmodeus X At its height, Asmo had four members, but as they finished out their career only Paul Fredric and Brad Marshall were left soldiering on to the end. At least that's what I thought. Apparently there's going to be an Asmodeus X reunion at the Texas Industrial Festival.

Whether this appearance will include former members Joel 313 and Chris Vasquez I don't know, but Marshall and Fredric put out quality product. Hopefully the two of them will find enough spark to grace us with another album or two.

5. Mood Indigo For something both low-key and impossibly wonderful, you'll want the vocal jazz-duo stylings of Susan Elliott and Joe Romano. It's like Bobby McFerrin meets Paul Simon, but with just enough rhythm to keep it moving like a dance. Mood Indigo approaches what they do with moderation and an eye for whimsy, and that's what makes them so engaging.

List continues on the next page.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner