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January 28th, 2009
Record reviews: Three more San Marcos bands

Scene Reporter

This week, we listen in on three more San Marcos bands, to hear what they have to tell us about … anything.

The Couch
The Couch

The Couch is the self-titled EP for San Marcos rockers The Couch, which consists of lead vocalist Taylor Wilkins on guitar, Matt Adams on bass/backup vocals, Jud Johnson on drums/backup vocals. Reminiscent of The Black Crowes with a splash or two of the White Stripes, The Couch encompasses a soulful orchestration of instruments while maintaining a contemporary rock/funk sound.

The album’s first track, “The Sugared Jubilee,” reveals the band’s ability to rip into the musical abyss with burning guitar riffs, penetrating bass lines and incessant drumming. “Marvin,” begins with a Pulp Fiction sound bite from the scene in which Vincent Vega, played by John Travolta, asks backseat passenger Marvin his opinion, “accidently” shoots him in the face and begins to bicker with partner Jules Winnfiel (Samuel L. Jackson). While the lyrics are not titular to the song’s title, the track’s wailing guitar and piercing bass compliment Wilkins’ whisky soaked vocals nicely.

The album’s concluding track, “The Pauper, Pope and the Stoned,” opens with some sort of vibrato psychedelic sound that fades abruptly when Wilkins’s begins to sing. Beginning with an upbeat tempo and transitioning into to a more jam rock anthem midway, Wilkin’s sings about disregarding behavior during drunken stupors and repeats the lyrics, “stop drinking, stop drinking by yourself,” over and over with Adams and Johnson as backups – easily the standout track and most rock of the EP.

The album art features a caricature of what appears to be Arsenio Hall shouting “THE COUCH,” sketched by local artist and University Star cartoonist Doug Pollard. The Couch is a great album to put on during a pre-game before a night out on the town.

Three Leaf
Big Light
Pitchdark Productions

Big Light is the first self-produced debut album for San Marcos bluegrass-root-rockers Three Leaf. The quartet, which consists of singer/guitarist Chris Brennand, multi-instrumentalist Jared White, bassist Kent Chandler, and drummer/percussionist Zac Catanzaro, formed in 2000.

“Take What You Want,” is a folksy ballad permeated with rootsy banjo riffs, reiterating the lyrics “steal what you need, use your nails, use your teeth and you will go far,” through the song. Listening to the lyrics, one would realize it’s about growing up, getting caught in a corporate American dream and forgetting who you are.

The album’s second track entitled, “Raw Monkey,” is central to Three Leaf’s sound incorporating fast guitar riffs, melodic banjo strumming, beat-crazy percussion, and Brennand’s wailing vocals. The standout track “Opportunistic,” is a well developed upbeat track about a band on its way to stardom.

“Flagwave Shadows,” the tenth and last track of the album, is a slow paced tune consisting of melodic guitar and soft drumming, which escalate towards the end of the song while Brennard croons, “Love will leave you in the end, beautifully broken in.”

The album cover which is mostly black, features an illuminated cutout face. The posterior of the album reveals how the image on the front was created with a backlight. The focus of the album isn’t on jamming or really on bluegrass, but more on the songwriting and arrangements. Comparable to a more eclectic, rootsy Yonder Mountain String Band album with the inclusion of percussion and drums, Three Leaf’s Big Light is perfect to pop into the stereo on a chill evening or quiet night in.

Falcon Buddies
Travel By Magnet

Travel By Magnet is the first EP by experimental, progressive quartet Falcon Buddies, consisting of Dieter Geisler on keyboard/guitar/vocals, Morris Ramos on guitar, Ian Eskander on bass and Victor Tizoc Trevino on drums. The album is truly a multi-instrumental art pop electronic explosion of psychedelic fuzzed-out garage rock that could easily be a blender frappe of Guided By Voices, Flaming Lips and Yeasayer.

“Bedsheets,” begins with melodic piano and quickly escalates with serrated guitar riffs, swaggering bass, and light cymbal tapping. Geisler’s vocals on this particular track draw similarities to Interpol lead singer Paul Banks’ singing style, but transforms through the progression of the EP.

“Skaldabeast,” is a dreamy triumph of schizophrenic vision that evolves from mere chanting to a psychedelic precision of Geisler bellowing, “I don’t want to be afraid of this anymore, I don’t want to be afraid of this anymore. I don’t want to be afraaaaid.” The last track, entitled “To Red is Vain,” is an 80 percent instrumental track that features what seems to be a whole band inclusion of vocals in “Ohhh ohhh ohhhhh ohhh” reiterated mid song. The track is suggestive of Yeasayer’s 2080.

The album art is interesting and a bit difficult to understand. A close up of what seems to be cotton or synthetic stuffing graces the cover atop a bubble wrap and shipping manila envelope – a hook-like object protrudes from the cotton/stuffing. The inside flap features a close up of red, yellow and blue wires held together by a little plastic clip. A great album to listen to while trying to gain inspiration for an unconventional painting or drawing.

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