Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sour Notes are a quirky, exciting, thoughtful indie-rock group that makes interesting, layered music and, as we've been told, are adept in concert. They're also, for the most part, Austinites. Generally, that'd be reason enough for us to point the Artist of the Week starship in the opposite direction.
But that "for the most part" thing, that qualifier is there because super-talented former Houstonians Jared Boulanger (who founded the Sour Notes as a solo project while still here) and Elaine Greer are in the band, and as Moses foretold*: Thou shalt not ignoreth bands that Elaineth Greereth doth partake in.
*Moses might not have actually foretold that. It's been a bit since we've been to church. He probably did, though. Who really knows?
So we called up The Sour Notes, who play at Fitzgerald's Sunday, as they drove into New York to bother them for a few minutes about Neil Young, the Devil and Lil' Flip. Keep it moving.
Rocks Off: First up, tell everyone everything they need to know about The Sour Notes in exactly six words.
The Sour Notes: Sparkly, vibrant pop from the South.
RO: If you played your Neil Young "Harvest Moon" cover for Neil Young, would he be pissed or amped with what you guys did to it?
TSN: He would probably not recognize it for the first four minutes, but he would probably think there was some life breathed into it after that.
RO: How'd you all end up on that song?
TSN: We were asked to play it at a tribute show in Austin with a bunch of other bands. We had like three months to work on it. We wanted to do something different. That one offered the most opportunity to change it up. We wanted to do something space rock-y. Plus, we changed all the cords, which we were really proud of.
RO: Better question: Is Neil Young pissed or amped with Jared stealing his haircut?
TSN: [laughs] He grew it just for the cover. He says he wanted to really get into the spirit of Neil Young.
RO: You know what song we really like? "Never Mix, Never Worry." We guess that's not really a question, but that doesn't mean it didn't need to be said.
TSN: Thanks. That song is actually based on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf*.
*Generally, we would've followed up on this with something clever, but we have no idea who Virginia Woolf is or why anyone would be afraid of her, so we just acted like it didn't get said. It's the same thing we do when one of our sons asks us a question we don't know the answer to, like "Where is my red car?" or "What's the capital of California?"
RO: Let's say the rapture was here and you guys, the sparkly, vibrant pop rockers from the South, were tasked with convincing the Devil not to upend everything entirely. He tells you that you can play him one song, and if it's good enough, he'll hold off on destroying humanity -something about music taming the beast or whatever. What song do you pick?
TSN: Hmmm... we're going to play "Last Looks."
TSN: Because it's the end and we're not gonna save anyone.
RO: What about if you could pick any song in all of music?
TSN: We wanna say "We Are the World." The other one we might pick is "Don't Stop Believin'."
RO: Oh, man. The Devil is definitely a Journey fan. You should go with that one. How are you all able to pump out so much music? I mean, it seems like there's a new tape each week. You guys are like indie-rock's Lil Flip.
TSN: We just kind of do this stuff everyday. It's the only thing we want to do. We're not getting any younger so we want to do as much as possible. It's a point of pride for the band to do as much as possible. It's something that all of our efforts go into. There's no point in doing it if you're not going to put out six albums. [laughs]
RO: Anything you want to make sure gets mentioned?
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TSN: We're having a great time on tour. We're touring with Elaine's band, so we're all in the van together being smelly. We haven't showered in three days. We're hard in the game [laughs]. And we're excited about our Houston show.
The Sour Notes play Sunday at Fitzgerald's downstairs with Ancient Cat Society (a three-piece folk group made from pieces of Buxton), Elaine Greer and her five-piece band and Austin's Marmalakes. Follow The Sour Notes on Twitter at @thesournotes.