For the guy widely known for putting “slacker-rock” on the musical map, former Pavement front man Stephen Malkmus sure stays busy. His current band, The Jicks — which formed in 2000, immediately after the demise of ’90s indie-rock gods Pavement — has now released more albums together than the band that preceded them. Released earlier this year, Wig Out at Jagbags marks the Jicks’ sixth album.
Whereas relations among Pavement members grew static with time, the Jicks (bassist Joanna Bolme, guitarist Mike Clark, and drummer Jake Morris) appear to function on a different spectrum. Malkmus doesn’t overthink why the Jicks have prevailed where Pavement didn’t. Mainly, he credits the Jicks’ functionality with increased maturity and an eased approach.
Several words come to mind when pondering the Pixies, among them “pioneering,” “innovative” and “influential.” Lately, it’s safe to add “resilient” when discussing the veteran rockers.
Since their 1986 inception, the Boston-born band — front man Black Francis, guitarist Joey Santiago, drummer David Lovering and beloved bassist Kim Deal — have been an integral part of the modern alt-rock mold. Last year, however, the Pixies experienced a potentially fatal blow when Deal announced her sudden departure after 25-plus years.
Despite the setback, the Pixies endured, regrouping with the help of touring bassists. Tickets to many shows on their current worldwide tour, which stops at Bayou Music Center on Thursday, have sold out within minutes.
Wednesday night’s sold-out crowd at Warehouse Live was filled to the brim, as eager fans awaited newly reunited art-rockers Neutral Milk Hotel. For many, it was the first chance to see the band that bewilderingly broke up right after their second and most lauded album, the 1998 masterpiece In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Their absence only spurred fondness for the band, however, which was more than apparent last night.
Adding to the mystique already surrounding NMH front man Jeff Mangum — who is notoriously reclusive and known for his general disuse of press ops — several signs were posted prohibiting any photography, including those snapped with a cell phone.
Those who haven’t seen the NMH front man since the ’90s were likely surprised by his updated image; Mangum looked nearly unrecognizable at first, appearing more like a homespun mountain man, his burly beard blanketing his face and a trucker’s hat atop his now-lengthy mop. Once he began singing, however, Mangum was instantly distinguishable, his unique voice filling the room in all its nostalgically unadulterated glory.
As nations united in Sochi Friday to celebrate an age-old Olympic tradition, Houston Gen-Xers skipped the Opening Ceremonies and gathered at Fitzgerald’s instead, to celebrate another timeless wonder: ’90s rock powerhouse Superchunk.
While the crowd at Fitz wasn’t particularly full as the indie-rock vets and DIY pioneers took the stage, quality certainly outweighed quantity; those in attendance were Superchunk superfans, which made the show — and general experience — that much more worthwhile.
The Chapel Hill-based quartet, which formed in 1989, took the stage right on time — early, even — after all, this wasn’t their first rodeo. Front man Mac McCaughan nostalgically acknowledged the first time they played Fitz (in 1991) before even playing the first song.
There were a few possible reasons for Houstonians to stay indoors last night: Not only was it the first televised night of the Winter Olympics, but it was also uncharacteristically frigid outside (at least by Houston standards). Nevertheless, Houston’s hip weren’t phased, as Rudyard’s was packed with fans awaiting London shoegazers Yuck.
It’d been three years (to the day) since we’d last seen Yuck in Houston, when they opened for Smith Westerns at Fitzgerald’s. This time around, however, Yuck’s lineup reflected their recent shuffle: guitarist Max Bloom now fronts the band, after their former front man Daniel Blumberg left the group last year.
According to Bloom, he’s had some time to prepare for the transition to front man - which might be why he seemed like a natural (although we did spy him nursing some Throat Coat tea before the show).
Since their 2011 debut, London-based shoegazers Yuck have earned an esteemed spot among the in-the-know indie circuit. With an impressive self-titled debut under their belts, their momentum has been growing.
You’d think last year’s departure of Yuck’s front man and chief songwriter, Daniel Blumberg, would have hindered the band; however, his departure doesn’t seem to have halted Yuck’s progress in the slightest.
After Blumberg left to pursue new project Hebronix, guitarist Max Bloom picked up the slack, stepping up to the abruptly vacant spot of band leader. Late last year, Yuck released their sophomore album, Glow & Behold, as a trio.
1. The National, Trouble Will Find Me
2. Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold
3. Kurt Vile, Wakin On a Pretty Daze
4. Radiator Hospital, Something Wild
5. The Men, New Moon
6. Thee Oh Sees, Floating Coffin
6. True Widow, Circumambulation
6. Phosphorescent, Muchacho
7. Midlake, Antiphon
8. Deerhunter, Monomania
9. Generationals, Put a Light On
10. Arcade Fire, Reflektor
As Friday’s temperatures plunged into the low 40s, Fitzgerald’s provided some welcome warmth. Thanks to a packed-in sold-out crowd awaiting beloved Boise rockers Built to Spill, the room grew steamy in no time.
Before the band began playing, front man Doug Martsch approached the mike without saying a word, yet somehow just his presence was enough to ignite boisterous cheers. He milked the attention for a moment, smiling, before playing set opener “Stop the Show.”
At the first notes, the crowd cheered in approving recognition. Similar to BTS’s last Fitz show, this was clearly a schooled and adoring fan base.
Martsch looked like his typically unassuming self, only now with a little more grey in his beard and a little less hair on his head.
"The past year has been quite a change for us," says Chvrches front woman Lauren Mayberry, during a recent phone interview.
In the past year alone, the Glasgow-based trio have become key players on the electro-pop scene. They’ve toured with Depeche Mode, sold out headlining tours across the world, and earned an award for the best developing non-U.S. band at SXSW in March.
Much of Chvrches’ popularity was achieved before their debut album, this year’s The Bones of What You Believe, was even released: Last year they released their first song, “Lies,” solely online, which instantly garnered attention. Their next single, the infectious “The Mother We Share” was one of last summer’s indie-pop anthems.