Murdocks, Loxsly, Housewife, and Cry Blood Apache
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., April 18, 2008
It's boys' town Austin here in the deEP end. We tipped you to Murdocks last fall ("Caught 'Em in Autumn," Nov. 9, 2007), and with a refitted lineup, the local trio's latest EP, Roar! (Surprise Truck), is an impressive response of raw riffage. Opener "Playhouse Down" rides anthemic la-la-las and hooky guitar, and it must be said that Murdocks write extremely catchy pop. The six tracks linger around three minutes each and are all riled up, save for sweet closer "Boy," which stretches out under guitarist Franklin Morris' gravel-howl pleas. Loxsly's Flashlights EP floats higher and lighter, abetted by pedal steel on opener "Lamprey Eels" and piano on "Chopper," showing the quintet's maturity since 2006's Maps and Organs LP. In a similar vein, trio Housewife returns from 2005's full-length, The Delicate Prey, with the six-song Triangulation (Domestic Junkie), making a beautiful racket on "Truth in New Wave" that sounds like Sonic Youth twitching in a heat wave. "There is truth in new wave; I can promise you this," assures guitarist John Rose, later spewing catharsis on the jagged "Sex and Violence." Local chameleons Cry Blood Apache's four-song Northern Travelers (Ghetto Pagoda) finally cements the ATX trio's darkwave into something – gasp! – accessible, starting off in pure Cure fashion on "The Northern Travelers" as guitarist Hans Hinrich harnesses the sonic spray of his live playing into a moody, propulsive jangle that beats a gauzy heart on "I Fly Towards You." Drum-machine-stimulated closer "Boy's Night Out" is the gem here, bending under Kaspar Glass' slurred vocals.