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Banana Moon, The Sun Also Rises, Rocketship Girl, Party With the Nouns, Chinaski

Burgess Meredith, East Cameron Folkcore, Grace London, the Nouns, and Chinaski

Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., July 13, 2012

Texas Platters

Burgess Meredith's Banana Moon is the sound of the season. The Josh King-led local collective channels the ephemeral fun of Seventies AM-radio pop by grafting disparate sources like Beach Boys vocal harmonies and music-hall derived keyboard tinkering into an action-packed whole. "The Big Deal" bops along on a indiefied Chuck Berry riff that makes you want to drive with the windows down. Despite this deep-rooted transistor legacy, the band's clever songs and exquisitely layered arrangements are pure present tense. Rumbling across the plains like an infernal haboob, East Cameron Folkcore amplifies and agitates the Americana paradigm with sheer sonic squall on The Sun Also Rises. With double-digit membership and all the eclectic instrumentation that implies, they mash up folk, blues, country, and punk to articulate a ragged-yet-poignant soundtrack for the dispossessed. "Stupid Bird" arrives overstuffed with unhinged, window-smashing ire, while "Sideshow" exudes raspy, aching resignation. Without seeing her photo on the back of Rocketship Girl, you'd never know former Residual Kid Grace London is 12. London's indie-folk tunes bounce from whimsical ("Eloise") to tender ("Eyes"), but her vocal interpretations remain astute throughout. Ex-Glass Eye bassist/producer Brian Beattie gives this five-song set just the right dose of impish tweaking. No one would mistake sneering pop-punk trio the Nouns for visionaries, but the rudimentary, no-overdub shake appeal of Party with the Nouns is impossible to deny. One vision that comes to mind as "Launchpad McQuack" unspools is that of late BBC talent scout John Peel bopping about the studio. The self-titled debut from Chinaski missteps out of the gate with "Tattoos and/or Leather," a facile broadside in need of more piss and/or vinegar. Yet, the local quintet's high-pitched glam-punk finds its footing with "Hanger On," which struts around the room like a lost Sweeney Todd song.

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