Greatest Hits, Twenty Four Seven, Schmillion
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., July 13, 2012
Yet another U-18-ager you should know: Willie Graham. At 13, he's organizing Tuesdays at the Whip In for under-18 bands, Teen Proper Nang Night. It doesn't hurt that his dad is Jon Dee Graham, but then Willie has his own ideas about creating a teen club. Up soon on his schedule is Edison Chair, which is pushing into U-21 mode. Founders Nathan Thrash and Martin Aker, with drummer Wes Armstrong, once had interest from Jimmy Iovine – heady stuff for a teen trio from Dripping Springs. Thrash and Aker split a couple years back, the latter reinventing the band with Armstrong (who also has drummed for Carson Brock), Cord Jackson, and Will Bryant. That stabilized the Edison Chair releasing Greatest Hits: eight compact songs that boast gorgeous vocal harmonies ("On the Run") over punchy Sixties melodicism ("I'm Telling You"), and fit neatly in the company of Speak. Turn it up for Twenty Four Seven, a South Texas quartet featuring Nikko and Matthew Vallejo slamming drums and guitar with singer Josh Moya and bassist Christian Ruiz ("Someone Else," "Alive"). The band's untitled debut – produced by cousin AJ Vallejo – is the good stuff too: classic Texas power rock ("Never Stop," "Sucka Punch") with Vallejo sangre propelling every beat. Schmillion likewise leapfrogs past its untitled 2010 EP with a sophisticated boom, Seven throwing down killer takes on Tim Kerr/Ryan Anderson's "Saligia" as well as pounding through its own muscular brand of modern punk. With longtime producer Mike Vasquez steering the local quintet of four young women and a lone male in the left direction, Schmillion unknowingly elicits Austin's earliest female punk pioneers, like the Violators, the Chickadiesels, the Foams, and the Buffalo Gals, estimable names to locate in the footnotes of Austin music history.