Each Wednesday (or Thursday, if the guy that was supposed to be interviewed disappears like a gypsy), 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.
There are myriad ways that a band lands in front of the Artist of the Week's Deciding Council of Artist of the Weekdom. Most come via word of mouth, with people emailing/tweeting/poking/friending us suggestions. Sometimes we'll stumble across them, either at a show or while drunkenly playing on the Internet in the awful hours of the evening.
And every once in a while, on the rarest of instances, The Great Eatlon (that thing from the M. Night Shymalan movie about pools or whatthefuckever) will swoop down from the heavens, tattered old scroll held in his diamond claws, and deliver us the name of the band he'd like chosen. When that happens, we don't ask questions, we just do. That's how we came to know the music of The Handshake, a right proper indie rock band that balances hubris up against honesty with an impeccable sense of timing.
Interview ahead. Go forth.
Rocks Off: First, tell everyone everything they need to know about The Handshake in exactly six words.
The Handshake: Three fine young gentlemen acting foolishly.
RO: On your American Arguments EP, there's a song called "South." How hardcore were you listening to The Black Keys when you all made it?
TH: It's funny that you mention the Black Keys because we can definitely say they serve as an inspiration in a lot of our music. We actually used to cover "I Got Mine" for a time. "South" also represents our burning love for The Dead Weather (more importantly Alison Mosshart). It definitely took a lot of inspiration from their track "Treat Me Like Your Mother" because that song just rocks face in every way possible.
RO: Oh, also: Is "Soldier" one of the greatest songs in the history of music, or is it THE GREATEST SONG IN THE HISTORY OF MUSIC?
TH: What is interesting about "Soldiers" is that it was the VERY first song we wrote as a band in a garage in 2008. I don't think any of us thought that it would have the sort of success it has had. We certainly are appreciative of it. Although, we can't tell you how many times people have asked us "why can't you just write another song like 'Soldiers'?" We think if we did that it could be a disaster.
RO: Speaking of, might we be able to convince you all to do a remix of Destiny Child's "Soldier"? Actually, could we get you all to do a whole album of Destiny's Child/Beyonce covers? I'm pretty certain that's a brilliant idea.
TH: Well wasn't there a weekly show at the old Walters where bands would play an entire set as another band? If that ever happened again we could definitely consider it. That, or all Michael McDonald songs. Either situation is a winner.
RO: You all have an in-store at Cactus Music this Saturday? I hear your last show in Houston was a tad insane. What's going to happen at this one? Is it true you all are planning to let a pack of rabid dogs run loose through the store midway through the set?
TH: Yeah, it's our first in-store and we couldn't be more excited. For our next show you can expect something along the lines of rabid dogs. We were thinking of having a burlesque show just happening in front of us while we provide the soundtrack. That's kind of the ideal situation.
RO: Is there anything you want to make sure gets mentioned?
TH: Following our Cactus in-store, we are playing at 10:00 p.m. at the Continental Club for the Main Street Block Party, right before What Made Milwaukee Famous and we would love anyone and everyone to come out.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.