Houston Music

The Rocks Off 200: Mlee Marie Mains, the Heart of Hearts of Animals

Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Who? Another Mutation is a funny title for Hearts of Animals' third full-length album. No two of its lo-fi, sweet but melancholy songs are quite the same, but all are recognizably the work of the young woman who offstage goes by the name of Mlee Marie Mains. Mlee/Hearts of Animals (pronounced "Emily" and "Hearts of Animals") has been a dependable presence in Houston's indie scene since 2007, when just about every music-loving site in town including this one flipped its collective wig over her self-released short LP/extended EP Lemming Baby.

Driven by the almost country-ish "Hearts Break" (hard not to think of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval on that one) and Casio-punk "Lostinthetranslation," Lemming was eventually remastered and released on iTunes last February. In the interim, Mlee recorded and released a second album, Cave Lights, in 2009. (That one is only available on Bandcamp, she says.)

She has also collaborated and guested live with a host of locals -- including a notable lead vocal on "Rust," from Linus Pauling Quartet's 2012 LP Bag of Hammers -- as Hearts of Animals has grown from a frequent solo act to a full-fledged band now also featuring her brother Joey.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray