Art Rock

Houston Press Singles Club: The Cops, Kristal Cherelle, The Broken Spokes, etc.

This jukebox is full of songs that are always free.
This jukebox is full of songs that are always free. Image by David Garrick

While this year is full of promise, there's plenty of music coming out of Houston worth getting into your ears. In this edition of the Singles Club, we'll hear some tongue in cheek punk from The Cops, a chillwave jam from Teenage Wildlife, a pop banger from Kristal Cherelle, an eclectic tune from Merel & Tony, and a country twanger from The Broken Spokes. While we appreciate you listening to these artists, please remember to visit them at their respective artist shops or pay to see them in person as well as stream them for free.

click to enlarge The Cops take dressing the role to a whole new level. - PHOTO BY VIOLETA ALVEREZ
The Cops take dressing the role to a whole new level.
Photo by Violeta Alverez
Most of the members of The Cops have been around the Houston punk scene for years, however there's just something captivating about their shtick with this band. Dressing like HPD officers, singing songs from the officer's point of view, and performing with an intensity that's hard to deny. Their debut album First Offense is full of songs that any punk would love, the song "Life On The Beat" is catchy and tough, like old school punk with a twist. There's an energy to this band that comes out with a bang all over this track that makes you wonder if they'll ever relent, which is more than enough reason to check them out sooner than later. You can catch The Cops when they perform around town, you can purchase their records from record shops around town, or directly from Artificial Head Records.

The chillwave genre is typically strewn with bands that sound like they're on the verge of falling asleep while they're making songs, though that's not the case with Houston's Teenage Wildlife. Last year, the duo dropped a self-titled  E.P. full of pop jams called Teenage Wildlife, and it's pretty magical. While most of the songs were definitely splendid, it's the song "Lost 'Till the End" that is hard not to love. Dual vocals and a stride that's similar to the works of Sergio Mendes, these two crafted a pop jam that you should love at first listen. While the duo appears to be more of a project than a performing band, you can still purchase their music from the duo's Bandcamp page.

click to enlarge Kristal Cherelle makes music you can't help but like. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTIST
Kristal Cherelle makes music you can't help but like.
Photo courtesy of Artist
If you stand out for catchy songs, you aren't alone in today's music world. If you can stand out for great songwriting though, you're a step above everyone else. I stumbled across the music of Houston's Kristal Cherelle a couple of years ago, and she doesn't disappoint on most areas, but her song craft is pretty remarkable. On her latest single, "Free in the Night," Cherelle strips away her acoustic guitar and adds synth pop and hip hop beats alongside her signature vocals to craft a jam that you'll more than likely place on repeat. The hook filled chorus, the catchy beats, and the head bopping nature of the song's stride make it pretty hard not to like from beginning to end. You can grab her music from all digital outlets, or directly from her website.

There's something about straight artistry that tickles the ears of any music journalist. True art, without genre or placement where the music is eclectic and different. That's probably the best way to describe the music of Merel & Tony. Mixing multiple instrumentation and beautiful vocals, this duo makes music that sounds like no one else while still having plenty of hooks to catch a hold of your ears and stick with you for days. On their latest release Merel & Tony III, they offer up a whole new approach to their already intriguing sound. The track, "Bones and Feathers" adds electronics to Merel's already lovely voice, making a track that's different yet still worth placing on repeat. You can purchase the duo's music from digital outlets, or directly from their Bandcamp page.

click to enlarge The Broken Spokes combine Western swing and old school country with ease. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTIST
The Broken Spokes combine Western swing and old school country with ease.
Photo courtesy of artist
Coming out of a former cow town like Houston, you'd think we'd hear more solid country coming in waves, but that just means that the artists here who make it stand out much more so. There are two worlds to country music, those who make pop country, and those who make country the way it used to be made. Houston's The Broken Spokes make the latter form, mixing Western swing with old school country twang, these guys are definitely the type of country musicians that you'll want to two-step to. Full of lush guitar notes and a singer who could swoon any cowgirl in the crowd, The Broken Spokes ignite the fire of country music's past all over "Friday Night Special" off of their latest release The Broken Spokes. This song should remind you of the type of twangy tunes that made acts like Hank Thompson, Ernest Tubb, and Bob Wills household names. You can purchase music from digital outlets from the band, or directly from their website.

That's it for this edition of the club. You can stream all of these tracks as often as you'd like, or subscribe to the playlist to get the tracks as soon as they're added. This week's selections start with song number sixty six.

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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.