Houston Music

Houston Press Singles Club: MIEARS, Vodi, Ruiners, etc.

The singles are always plentiful here.
The singles are always plentiful here. Image by David Garrick

This week in the club, we'll add the electronica of MIEARS, the pop punk of Turnaways, the smooth sounds of Vodi, the chill vibes of De'Wayne Jackson, and the intense punk of Ruiners to the list. While we're happy when you subscribe to the playlist, we also ask that you support these artists through their performances and artist shops.

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MIEARS doesn't disappoint on her stellar and beautiful debut E.P.
Photo by Alida Bonifaz
Debut records can sometimes be the hardest thing for any artist to release, especially when they've become known for a particular sound. For Houston's MIEARS, that's what she was up against when releasing solo work earlier this year. But, on Who Will Save You? she not only released one of the more intriguing records to come out of Houston this year, but she reinvented her sound from her role in BLSHS without alienating any of her previous fan base. While most of the record was dreamy and worth getting into your ears, the track "Reaching" really felt like the strongest mix of her past and future sounds melding together. Complete with dark undertones and what sound like vintage synths, MIEARS' vocals just sit atop the music like some sort of ghostly apparition that's lingering between death and the afterlife. You can purchase MIEARS music from most record stores in Houston, from her directly when she performs, or from her Bandcamp page.

Pop punk has felt like it was dying on the vines of the music industry for such a long time now, that when great pop punk bands come around, it's like the sub genre getting placed on life support. While Houston's Turnaways are due for a new album sooner than later, their 2016 release Summer Love was and still is a solid and almost anthemic release from start to finish. On the song, "11 to 9," they prove real quick that great pop punk doesn't have to come from California, and it can certainly hit all of the right cylinders at the same time. There's nothing happening on this song that couldn't have come from the Fat Wreck catalog, but the fact that it didn't, makes it that much stronger of a song. You can purchase music from Turnaways when they perform, or directly from their Bandcamp page.

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Vodi finds the balance between soft and melodic rock on their debut album.
Photo by Lauren Marek
For the longest time it's felt like every band that tried to find the balance between yacht rock and traditional indie rock has failed. There have been highlights like War On drugs, but Houston's Vodi really seemed to find the sweet spot. On their debut album Talk, they dropped a slew of songs that were between the insane sounds that Jeff Lynne made with E.L.O. and the duo behind Steely Dan without copping from either. While the album was full of solid songs, the track "Night Creature" offered up a more upbeat and engaging sound that shows off how solid this group of who's who artists can be when they play together. There are moments on the song that feel like Southern California in the late seventies, which adds to the charm of the song's quicker stride. You can purchase merchandise directly from the band on their website, at their shows, or from pretty much every record store in Houston.

R&B is and has always been full of swagger. For many R&B artists today, it feels like they're rehashing things we heard on R&B records in the past, without treading too much new ground in the future. However, for Houston's De'Wayne Jackson, that's not the case at all. While he's been grinding for a good while now, on his 2017 release Don't Be Afraid, he not only adds his name to the list of solid R&B artists from the past, but he carves his own path in the legacy as well. While the bulk of the release is full of bangers, it's the track "Watchin" that's hard to deny the power of. Full of dark mystery coupled with hip hop rhymes alongside a soulful vibe, the song proves that there are still R&B artists adding to the genre without really taking too many cues from those who came before them. You can purchase music from Jackson at his shows or directly from iTunes.

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Ruiners make the kind of punk that fills a room with intensity.
Photo by Derek Rathbun
Punk music is typically chaotic, and full of energy. So while Houston's Ruiners embody both of those principles, they also add hints of emo core and post punk to create some of the most intense music you will hear coming out today. On their most recent album Plebeian, the four piece bring all of the leanings towards bands like Television and Wire coupled with hints of Fugazi and Unwound together to offer something you can really sink your teeth into. On the song "Nothing," the four piece add dual vocals with their crazed and raw sound to craft a song that you should find yourself repeating again and again. You can purchase Ruiners' music from local record stores, from Miss Champagne Records, or from the band's Bandcamp page.

That's it for this week. Don't forget that you can subscribe to this playlist and hear these songs as soon as they're added. This week's additions begin with track No. 31.

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David Garrick is a former contributor to the Houston Press. His articles focus primarily on Houston music and Houston music events.